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Andy Johnsen

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  1. Andy Johnsen

    Have you actually played Valley Of Echoes?

    Valley of Echoes was an early experimental map I did with Antony Burden's "DETH" editor back when an open scaled Doom map was a novelty in itself. Today few people grind out maps with vanilla compatibility, and if they do there are handy VPO checkers available. So from todays perspective it obviously lose some of its original intent and design challenge. Locally we didn't really understand the engine limitations in 1997/98 when I did this thing, so it was a bit of "what can I get away with" in terms of canyon scale, basically expanding until something broke. The first AV maps were limited in size by the editor we used, more so than the game. DETH could handle larger scaled maps. I did a small write-up on my reasons for cutting it in the Black Label remake Spencer did a few years back, so I'll copy-paste that for further context: "It's an odd thing how the one map we replaced in the second release of Alien Vendetta never really went away. Over the years, the original AV release has been mostly forgotten - still people kept asking what happened to the "lost map", wondering why it was replaced. "Valley of Echoes" originally filled the 25th slot and made the third episode even more exhausting than it is now. It was one of my earlier creations, probably built in 1997/98. I updated it several times during the initial production of AV, and the first gameplay layout was way harder than what ended up in the release (as crazy as that may sound, since it's generally considered one of the hardest maps of the first release). The basic idea behind it was to take inspiration from two of my favorite maps - Doom2 Map26 "The Abandoned Mines" By John Romero, and Plutonia Map15 "The Twilight" by Milo Casali (which in turn is also a Map26 tribute I'd say), and combine it with a sprawling canyon. I might have taken some slight inspiration from the huge outdoor areas found in some of the industrial maps of TNT: Evolution, as well as the canyon maps of Duke Nukem 3d. The map name is derived from a location in Filmation's "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" episode 124 - "The Toymaker", where He-Man and friends venture into the dreaded Valley of Echoes in pursuit of the villain. Unfortunately the map rubbed me the wrong way shortly after our initial release. Not only did it contribute to a complete overkill in the last act since it sat in the middle of several other huge maps, but it was also too simplistic, over-scaled and tacky gameplay wise. You felt worn out from playing it, and it offered few fun fights. Never a good sign if you aim for replayability." As for the self-extracting exe this was a very bad last minute call me and Kim made the evening before releasing the first AV version. It was intended to give a nice installer interface thing, but turned out to be buggy and a complete annoyance to people. We quickly reuploaded without the crappy Visual Basic extractor (but not soon enough to not annoy the heck out of everyone who grabbed it). I might still have it somewhere on an old disc, but most likely this one is lost. The original release of AV is also available at the AV homepage, maintained by Brad: http://doom2.net/av/get.html
  2. Andy Johnsen

    Why is it called Alien Vendetta anyway?

    I guess I'll throw in a little tidbit of trivia here; I actually named the project "Alien Vindicta" back in 1996, then made the change to "Alien Vendetta" in august 1999. I figured demons / Hell spawn were just as "alien" to this world as anything. The initial idea behind the name centered around a useless and never fleshed out storyline based on a supposed revenge quest from the Icon of Sin after it was defeated in Doom II. Even though the storyline was never elaborated on and eventually dropped, I figured the name sounded cool enough to stick. "Alien Vindicta" actually exist as a 32 level hastily compiled megawad; a super early AV version that thankfully never saw release. I'm glad I resisted the temptation to throw out "Vindicta" in 98, or AV in its current form wouldn't exist. It does contain several very early 90ies editions of the current AV maps, as well as a bunch of my own unreleased content that I made when I was around 16 and messed around in archaic editors, heh. I'm not too keen on letting this relic out the door, but maybe some day. For kicks, here is the 1996 title screen that Kim Malde made for it about 26 years ago, for what "could have been" (ouch!):
  3. Andy Johnsen

    Alien Vendetta MIDI Pack - Now on idgames!

    Wow. On a personal note, this is certainly the Christmas present of the year. My apologies for not posting earlier, and to @Cammy for not being as available as I would have liked to the past months - been extremely busy times. I knew this thing was in good hands, though. I was honored to hear of this undertaking when Cammy told me about it, and now I'm blown away by the accumulated talent that put work and love into this - the end result far exceeded any expectations. All this talent pooling together 20 years down the road to deliver a full fledged custom soundtrack for AV is baffling to me. I'm currently playing through it with the new tunes, and this thing didn't feel as fresh since we first released it. I've added a few notes on each track as I've been playing through the maps: Title Track: Whispers of War - To have @leejacksonaudio do the intro track for AV is pretty awesome. I absolutely love this track. Badass and perfect mood setter. Intermission: Xenotime - Amazing. @Dragonfly & @Cammy talent pairing for one of the more important tracks in the set (in my opinion). One of my favs. Text: Ad Vitam - Better than the original, and I really like that one too. This is fantastic @Bucket. Map01 - Love the name of this track, perfect opener, captures the mood of the map very well. I'm quite sick of the original choice by now, so this instantly breaths new life into a playthrough. Map02 - More upbeat and high tempo, reflecting the mood and theme change with this map, wonderful fit for a small high action tech-base. Map03 - I was sold on this one long before the train sounds notched it completely. What a loving tribute track. Quite possible one of my favs. Map04 - The original track is one of the better fits we picked back in the day in my opinion, so I was interested to see if it could be matched. "Shotgun Shawarma" easily does, quite impressive. Another high tempo fav, and it makes me want to replay the map right now. Map05 - What a mood setting piece by Dragonfly. Excellent match, carefully suited to the maps intentions. I could not have asked for a better fit back in the day. Map06 - Surprisingly upbeat and addictive. I especially enjoy the part from the 1 minute mark on. Solid match to go with one of my favorite AV maps. It definitely lightens the mood, though. Map07 - This one originally received a fairly dull midi choice by me. This custom track by @SynDoom instantly elevate a rather simple arena styled creation. Obviously an improvement over the original choice, in my opinion. Map08 - I was excited for this one, since the original track we chose have gotten so much love through the years. @Lippeth nailed it. You managed to keep the enigmatic somberness; this is majestic and beautiful. Another favorite. Map09 - The man who contributed greatly to immortalizing Kims masterpiece returns twenty years later. Just to get another @Chris Laverdure track for Alien Vendetta holds special meaning to me. Thanks man. I already told you how much I love this one, and I appreciate all the work you put into it. It's proper foreboding, builds wonderfully and goes so well with the darkly lit Castle Gardens. Map10 - Also one of the AV tracks that received some praise for elevating the map. The original track is fantastic, and the map that enjoyed the pairing is quite special too. Yet, @msx2plus managed to capture the same serene magic. The track you came up with serve as a tribute both to Lee's "Plasma" track, and Kims' architecture. Much like @Lippeth did, you recaptured the original magic while adding new flavor. Map11 - @Bucket took on a beast of a map here, and this lengthy track goes in quite a different direction than the original choice, it definitely impacts the feel of the map, and I really enjoyed the lengthy buildup with the unexpected mood change at around 03:45. Great stuff. Map12 - Excellent pairing of track and map. The frantic pace goes great with this intended high tempo Spencer tech-base. This would suit many slaughter-maps very well. I really enjoy the latter part. For me, this is another fav. Fantastic @JDoyle Map13 - Yet another Spencer map that feels very fresh with this new track. This piece grants more of an edge to the map where as the original choice went for a laid back classic Doom tech base. Map14 - Much like map13, this gives a distinct mood difference, arguably better suited to the pace of the map. Map15 - @JD Herrera's track will hopefully be picked up by more mappers in the future. This is excellent for any kind of fast paced tech base. Very well suited to AV15 as well, and in line with the original feel. Map31 - Proper upbeat and paced for the map it embraces, this felt perfectly suited when playing through. Great track name too! Map32 - Knightrider of Doom just made a slaughter map classic piece with this in my opinion. I would easily have chosen this as the AV32 piece if offered back in the day. This is just as adrenaline inducing as the map set out to be. Just fantastic, and one of my favs. Map16 - I really enjoyed this piece. Solid contribution by @TheUltimateDoomer666. Great buildup and pace. When a track improves a map considerably, one should be quite satisfied. Map17 - The favs keep coming, this one made a lackluster map absolutely playable. One of the cases where the track is clearly superior to the map, no less. Awesome work @Varis Alpha. I would not have envisioned this when I did some crude lines in DEU back in 1996. Map18 - @Jimmy already graced Black Label with his talent, but this was special to me. What a haunting, wonderful tribute and what a beauty of a track. This is a masterpiece. Map19 - I know @Deadwing as a prolific mapper, had no idea you also did soundtracks, what a pleasant surprise. Obviously there is no lack of multitalented people in the Doom Community. This gives a very different vibe to AV19 compared to the medieval Heretic pairing we originally went with. Very interesting. Map20 - Man, this intro change and subtle remaster is pure magic. AV20 and Chris' track here hits really close to home for me, and though it is a slightly painful and somber reminder of someone I would love to share this all with, it's also a beautiful tribute. I'm glad the original was kept and tended to instead of replaced completely, since the map and the track is so interconnected. Map21 - Instant points for the tracks title! An initially sublime and very fitting mood piece for the breather map, though I really enjoy the latter part from 1:45 onwards. Map22 - Surprisingly dark and unsetteling coop feature by @TrialD and @Cammy. Rubicon just got more intense, this is a great way to kick off the fire and brimstone carnage episode of AV. The original track tried to do something similar, but this elevates from my intention. Map23 - Though the upbeat parts might be a tad chipper than I would have envisioned for this medieval setting myself, the intro and the contrasting darker parts works really well for me. I'm sure most people will view it as an improvement over the original track too, which goes all out on dark and foreboding. Map24 - I could think of a ton of maps where this universally good track would fit right in. Suits Clandestine Complex like a snug glove, too. A super sweet tribute to the original. Map25 - "You Really Suck" is fantastic. The original we used for AV25 is one of my favorite tracks, and it has graced many Doom maps through the years. @leejacksonaudio - this new piece is goose bump inducing. I'll be sure to hit the map author up with a link to the midi pack so he can enjoy playing through it with this running. I can only imagine it will be used for quite a few Doom maps down the road. Map26 - Again I'm humbled by the amount of thought that went into fitting these tracks with the maps. This works superb for Dark Dome. "Into Sandy's City" is my favorite Doom track, yet I'm not going to miss it with the given replacement. Map27 - One of my absolute fav. pairings as far as intended mood with map goes. Dark, foreboding, evil. For a map that goes on far too long, one can appreciate your effort to match it with a lengthy track as well, Cammy. You must have put a lot of effort and time into this. Map28 - decino nailed this one proper. AV28 came from a doom related dream I had back in 1997, and I'm pretty sure your track would have fit right in there too. This elevates my ancient map considerably. Thank you for your contribution, and for this dark art. Map29 - Ocelot picked a great Heretic track for me back in the day, for this map. Admittedly I was never 100% convinced we should have gone with it, mainly because of the short duration. This piece fixes that, it's aptly dark for the setting, lengthy and surprising. A clear improvement for the given map, in my opinion. Fantastic work @PsychEyeball Map30 - I might still have picked the original for this specific map, but that said, the track supplied here is way better than the map it accompanies. Rather than changing the midi, I'd probably change the map to better suit it in this case. Bonus Track: Chicago Typography - You even graced the gone but surprisingly not forgotten "Valley of Echoes". I'm flattered Cammy. The track is arguably too good for the map, but at least now I can play through it myself and get enjoyment from it. This is such a lengthy, beautiful piece. ------------ I'll leave it with a huge "thank you" to Cammy and everyone who contributed. A full fledged custom soundtrack was sorely missing from the original release. The kind of talent that got together for this is certainly more than we could have hoped for back in the day. Obviously this midi pack will be a great resource for future mappers as well, I'm convinced we'll see several of these tracks turn into classics. Alien Vendetta has received a lasting amount of love through the years, and I'm sure the rest of the AV team is with me in being humbled by this, and the fact people still enjoy it enough to put work and care into it. This midi pack was quite the gift.
  4. Andy Johnsen

    The Top 25 Sector Ships of All Time

    This is correct information. We didn't overly emphasize Maldes input in Map01 by avoiding an ingame credit, but he definitely did enough on both accounts to receive such, so it was eventually added in Map03. The name on the ship was picked by me as an ode to our long time hangout on IRC, the place where most of our Doom mapping and speedrunning / deathmatching was discussed. The idea to put a cargo ship in there was entirely his. (The "Sedlo" easter egg unofficial secret was something I had him put in there at some point, as a side note - Mattias trusted us to edit it at our will and was fine with everything).
  5. Andy Johnsen

    Who is Martin Hunsager?

    I guess I could let him answer these questions himself, but I'll add a bit of second hand trivia / input seeing I have some time to kill right now. I've known Martin since we were about eight-nine years old. He was and is a part of the Norwegian Stavanger-based click that got heavily into Doom back in the mid 90ies. He wandered more to the side of Cooperative multiplayer / single player and mapping - while the rest of us dabbled in competitive Deathmach and speedrunning as well. Henning Skogsto, Jan Jansen, Zokum and Kim Malde were all part of the same click. I still play Cooperative with Martin regularly, and yes, he's still mapping off the grid - so you might be in luck if you want more of his stuff. As for his maps, he did dabble with a few that didn't see completion, ment for previous local projects. Luckily two made it into AV. These are the only current public releases. AV's "Nemesis" have gotten somewhat of a notorious reputation the latter years, the novelty of a huge sprawling open castle map seems lost on people now that limit removing mapping is the norm :) It's still one of my favorite AV maps, and I belive popularly underrated, especially given the tools and engine it was designed for. There's an obvious hindsight issues with the caves being too cramped, and I'm sure there's other aspects of it he would have tweaked today - but the map is a grand adventure, and definitely a source of inspiration to several maps that followed it through the years. Slowing down the pace is the way to go in "Nemesis" - naturally this will not be to everyone's taste. "Sunset" is a beautiful map, agreed. The basic layout is simple and slick. If you go back and look at the first release of AV, you can see the unedited version before Kim went over it with some extra detailing. Visually it became a darker and more atmospheric affair. We received mixed feedback on the alterations done to Map01 from the AV team - Anthony Soto uttered clear disapproval and Martin wasn't too happy about it himself, but then (and still) it seemed obvious to me that it elevated the map considerably visually. For some added trivia, Kim did screw up one of the secret areas when adding gradient light as he accidentally left multiple sectors marked with the "secret" property. It was an easy mistake to make back in the day with the crummy tools and no sound cue to tell when you entered a secret upon testing. For some more (useless) trivia while we're at it - both Martin and Kim opted out of doing monster and item placement in their maps, say for a few "key spots" (like some eye candy powerups, a Cyberdemon and a few Arch-viles in Map11 and Map20), so any gameplay frustration aside from possible architectural quirks must be blamed on me. It just seemed like a natural thing back then that I'd do the monster placement since I spent far more time playing the game, and time constraints because of travles became an issue for Martin during the final AV stretch. It was more of an issue to do gameplay in Misri Halek than in Nemesis for sure, the map had plenty of opportunity for interesting combat. In any future releases, I'm sure mr. Hunsager will do his own gameplay as well, add to it he has 20 years worth of extra experience now. I would be anticipating anything he (potentially, eventually?) completes with the modern bag of tools. (Hi Chris! - The review site might see more updates some time in the future, but lets be honest; there's better review formats out and about these days that do not put people to sleep :)
  6. Congrats on the release. Did a coop session on this today. A few coop blocking instances in some of the maps, if you want to look into that (basically any area that blocks the player upon death). I suppose multiplayer testing would root out a bit of this. My main gripe would be the death exits. I blame mr. Alm for partly introducing this in Scythe - it really takes the joy out of continuous play in my opinion. Worrying that carry over ammo and weapons will somehow diminish the fun in Doom maps is a misconception that needs to explode on a stack of barrels. Weapons and ammo carried from the previous maps should feel like a reward, especially after harsh survival. You can always warp to maps if you want pistol starts. One expect continuous play in episodes, not a forced reset, darn it.
  7. Although it is flattering and cool to see a few people suggest one put work into a new track for AV, it would preferably be limited to an alternative extra resource to load with the original release, and not compiled with the maps. I don't see why one would want to remix or alter the Map20 track personally, since it's the only original track, like you point out. Though I suppose if one just want to freshen things up with options, there's never an issue with that ("Black Label" also have original tracks in place, thanks to Jimmy Paddock). I wouldn't be too happy about having an alternative "unofficial" version out there with AV Black Label, new midis and the old 25 included. If we wanted to compile this and release it as a unified thing, me and Brad would have done so by now. There's already two versions of AV out there and people who want to attach the original map25 could easily extract it and add it as a separate file for simplicity. :)
  8. Andy Johnsen

    Sunder - Map20 Appears, finally.

    Not "vanilla compatible" by any stretch. It might use the vanilla format in a limit removing / limit increased port though. Unless you can run this with the original Doom II executable, it's limit removing at the very least. Somewhere down the line the term seems to have been confused with maps that do not utilize any port specific features. BTSX would be vanilla compatible, you can run it with the original game. Anything that exceeds the original game limits would not be vanilla compatible.
  9. Andy Johnsen

    Which Alien Vendetta Version Is The Best

    Yes, it's too obscure for a required backtrack if you head in there with no keys - agreed. There should have been a simple teleport or lift solution to get back to the start area, immediately upon dropping down there.
  10. Andy Johnsen

    Which Alien Vendetta Version Is The Best

    I think there has been some confusement as to AV Black Label replacing the original maps, this was never the intent - it's just ment to be an additional set of expansion maps by one of the original authors. So feel free to enjoy both as separate entities. :)
  11. Andy Johnsen

    Which Alien Vendetta Version Is The Best

    Hm. Could you specify this a bit, I'm not sure it's correct. You can return to the start area by a white teleport pad located in the first canyon with the yellow key switch (it will bring you to the open yard with the arch-vile right next to the starting area, and you'll need another teleport from there to get to one of the ledges and stroll through a secret passage that'll take you further back even). You'll have to illogically pass through a few grate / window textures in the map at certain points. A totally acceptable quirk back in 1998 when it was designed, unfortunately. :) Overall there's very few parts of AV where you cannot backtrack, but some backtracking occasionally do require secrets.
  12. Good rundown, and certainly something one can get behind (even though I would not bring vastly different games into the comparison and disregard the new releases - but they're still part of the franchise so fair enough if one want to widen the scope). I'd still go with Looper, Hi Jango(Chewy) and Ocelot for overall skill display through the years, but Zero has several "first ever" both in accomplishment and engine understanding / exploit arenas that surpass past and present. So the argument to pick him is solid and valid. The biggest flaw in the rundown would be completely disregarding the Deathmatch aspect, which Doomkid points to as well. Personally I always messured Doom skill as an equal split between SP and DM, and with that in mind, for me, the case still holds for at least mentioning Chewy and Ocelot if one was to attempt an overall crowning. For sheer Single player output ratio it becomes less of a competition, but to me that matters less than what was produced and what effort it took - and one cannot disregard the skillset that goes into the other "half" of the games venue. As for my personal opinion on this; Most impressive trickster and inventive player award goes to Zero - while most effortless, impressive and raw skill display in single player would go to Looper. I do belive his current world record full game UV run of Doom 2 is the most impressive Doom recording we've seen so far. The effortless precision on display there is more than just grind. For raw talent, I'd go with either him or Chewy, and I've seen a few "Doom Gods" come and go through the years. Old Sedlo deserve a nod for being on a top tire of movement skill combined with a very high level Deathmatch game for over 20 years, as well - despite not being active to a large extent anymore. In current or past ability he's right up there with 4shockblasts of today in my opinion, but there's more of an understanding for the game now and slicker tools. All that said; entertaining vid that makes a case one could easily agree with. ZeroMaster is unique in many ways and this was a well deserved ode to his SP efforts.
  13. As I've seen stated before - obviously the issue with many of these would be resources taken from Heretic, Hexen, Duke3D and other 90ies shooters. Of course it would be possible to clean up most of them and replace the textures with new custom ones or stock textures, but this would indeed require permissions from the original authors and a fair amount of work. I can only speak for AV, but if it was considered, I'm fairly confident we could contact everyone we needed to from the original team and make a "clean" version of it for this purpose. It would be a fun challenge just to dress it up to see how it'd look. I'm sure there are many other better candidates too. There would probably be even less work with something like Memento Mori 1 / 2 since afaik they use mostly custom textures and music, without pillaging other games. The issue there would probably be being able to contact the slew of original authors for permissions. Plutonia 2 with a bit of cleanup would be an excellent candidate. I suppose it mostly utilize the Final Doom texture pack anyway. It'll be interesting to see which ones make it eventually, pretty cool stuff in either case.
  14. Andy Johnsen

    Chainsaw. What for?

    For continuous play of a set, a chainsaw (unlike a berserk pack) carries over. Utilizing infights together with a chainsaw makes it quite the ammo saver, even against high end monsters. In multiplayer cooperative games it becomes extra valuable and superbly effective since you just use one player as the initial attacker so the other can safely chop away once the target is proper tagged onto the decoy. The more tools the merrier, a chainsaw is one of the least gameplay intrusive things you can place in a map without ruining the balance, yet a very helpful tool on occasions.
  15. Andy Johnsen

    what are you working on? I wanna see your wads.

    No, I'm not going to lecture you on what to cut, I gave my advice as a generalized idea; I'm simply proposing more originality as the way to go, since I see little point in remaking existing areas, especially if there's no obvious visual improvement. There's a difference between being inspired and rehashing several areas. It's simply a question of "why" from me, when the latter is the case in excess. At the end of the day as long as you're having fun with it you can go in whatever direction you want. I maintain you'll have a better and more interesting product if it's the result of your own creativity. And you seem fully capable of making fresh areas with interesting architecture. I'm not going to participate in a "please don't quit" petition by trying to pull you back in through sugar coating your feelings or pandering to a repeated need for approval (common, you already did that defeatist dance back in 2010 over the same project with the same sticking point). You can take advice or leave advice, in either case it's just ment to be that. Good luck one way or the other, the more maps and the more mappers the merrier!