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About StoneFrog

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  1. When I was younger I used to really wish I could live among those fictional worlds and maps, whether it was Doom or D&D or Half-Life. I'm also a big sci fi/fantasy world and can relate to that feeling of having a purpose but wanting to remain a pariah, a loner. Likewise I feel the Doom community and the desire to share creations with complete strangers brings a kind of acceptance that's harder to find in the real world - you do your own thing, others play it, you go back off to playing on your own... In a way it saddens me that I don't feel that pull as strongly anymore, even though I guess I'm happier in the other areas of my life now.
  2. StoneFrog

    What makes classic DOOM scary?

    There's a good article (blog post?) somewhere likening Doom to a 2.5D version of Asteroids. Since most of the enemies are projectile attackers, player maneuverability and knowledge of the map becomes really important. I guess you could say that resourcefulness like that isn't always as important in modern FPS games.
  3. StoneFrog

    What makes classic DOOM scary?

    That sounds pretty apt. I think the vague sense of scale and diminished lighting (per fraggle) and other things just make the game feel sort of otherworldly. I've always found something really cozy but also unnerving about representational spaces on older game engines (up through about Goldsrc). I have to wonder how much of that has to do with my age and the era of games I grew up with though. It is really appealing to the imagination. Do you think a part of it is also due a feeling of control? The environment is pretty static at the start of each level, and you know that moving forward, attacking, etc. could be the start of something terrible. Maybe placing this progression in the hands of the player adds to a sense of anticipation and foreboding.
  4. StoneFrog

    Post-Millennials: Why do you play with Doom?

    I was born in '93 so I count as a millennial, but just chipping in that I've always had a lot of fondness for modding games of the late 90's/turn of the century. I used to be into RPGMaker2000, with all of those ripped tilesets and MIDI music, then moved on to bigger and better things like Half-Life. So I didn't actually grow up with Doom (got started around 2009), but for me it captures the era of the kinds of games I grew up with and loved to study. But I just love all the mental and creative exercise, pre-visualization and whatnot, that's enabled by working with an engine that's so easy to mod for. You fill in a sector or delete some linedefs, and all kinds of new ideas come to you. I appreciate that more than ever now, in fact, I'm probably spoiled by it.
  5. StoneFrog

    How Do You Guys Build Your Levels?

    It's tricky. I also used to go room by room, fully detailing and putting in monsters, and never got anywhere. Then I tried the opposite approach - beginning with what I call a "paper edit" (describing the map, both thematically and the flow and important encounters) verbally on paper, drawing a rough layout, and then working it out in Doom Builder. But then I get too reluctant to begin adding things, even though in the case of Doom, a lot of the level's naturalness comes from you being driven onward by fighting monsters. And I rarely adhere to that paper layout too closely, anyway. If you ever get stuck with that layout stuff though, I suggest changing the negative space. Make more sectors in between areas or something.
  6. StoneFrog

    Post Your Doom Picture (Part 2)

    +1 for loving the look of that layout. I already feel the urge to start a new map of my own. You could try filling in some of those empty spaces with new sectors, creating some low canal/water areas with open sky. Although, that may detract from the fast-paced feel I'm getting from this, if you make it too complex. Great work!
  7. StoneFrog

    Doom and Morals

    This is too much. But I guess that's what I get for preferring Plutonia. That guy talks funny.
  8. StoneFrog

    Post Your Controversial Opinions About Doom

    I feel that way sometimes. But greater opportunities for use of upbeat MIDI music = greater nostalgia for Doom. Didn't you used to post on Bethsoft and the DaggerXL boards?
  9. StoneFrog

    Post your Doom picture! [post in Part 2 instead]

    Jimi- Really sublime aesthetic there. Low contrast textures and a breezy, open sky with a captivating color to it. Atmosphere reminds me of so many early 90's games, even Daggerfall in a way. It only took months of errantly adding random things to the outer regions of the map to avoid working on the rest of it, but I've finally filled in the center and developed an aesthetic I'm fairly proud of:
  10. StoneFrog

    Post your Doom picture! [post in Part 2 instead]

    Ha, you can't win if you keep comparing your map to those of others. My earliest maps were too linear and segmented, and now I think my current one is too open and aimless, even though at face value I have played and enjoyed many maps that are clearly no more strictly organized than my own. A lot of it is just excessive self-criticism.
  11. StoneFrog

    What do YOU think makes the perfect map?

    Plutonia 2, basically. A high level of connectivity - not in the sense that you're in a wide open arena all the time, but that you could run circuits throughout the map and through all sorts of overlapping buildings, height levels and enemy encounters, constantly feeling "exposed" in a sense. I also prefer simplicity in detailing, with general large-scale architecture and interesting texture usage as the main source of visual interest.
  12. StoneFrog

    Doom Vs. Heretic/Hexen?

    I'm another oldschool RPG fan and there's always just been a certain "expansive" quality to Heretic's sound design, music, and levels that I find immensely compelling, a sense that there's always much more than you ever actually see. It's a shame that the later episodes tend to have relatively simplistic/gimmick-based levels. Something about maps like The Glacier and Halls of Fear feel positively cozy to me, all the warm/earthy colors of the architecture and precious lights against those deep menacing red and blue skies. I consider kristus' Curse of D'Sparil PWAD an exceptional example of bringing the gameplay flow of Heretic up to that "vast" feeling I've always gotten from the game's atmosphere and architecture. Mind you, this is basically the only Heretic PWAD I've ever played because there seem to be so few of them with serious effort behind them.
  13. StoneFrog

    Doom Vs. Heretic/Hexen?

    I've always loved Heretic's garish color palette. It has this (for lack of a more precise term) radiant quality to it that reminds me of 70's and 80's fantasy camp, before everything became "majestic" and digitally painted. But Doom is definitely tops. I never liked Hexen, atmospheric though it may be, the level design and pacing never did anything for me. I love older RPGs and adventure games, but in the Doom engine it always just struck me as somewhat depressing to play in spite of how technically impressive it was. However, I'm still intrigued by the idea of a more ambitious and open-ended Hexen PWAD.
  14. I wonder how much of it has to do with our expectation towards older games. Anybody who's ever attempted to do high resolution textures for DOS and Win9x-era games has probably noticed that it can be very difficult to remain faithful to the originals. On one end, you have people who think that the higher resolution means there ought to be a higher level of "realism", which means creating lots of visual noise through grungey overlays - this helps fill in what feels to be bare and underdetailed space you never had in the low res originals, but it can tile pretty badly and usually never looks good. Other people try and sort of interpret the pixels into a sort of painted style, but I've seen very few people do that particularly well rather than it looking borderline cartoony. At the same time, I think that "small" scale detail in Doom, clutter and 3D computers lining the halls, is distracting. I wonder if it has to do with the fact I never play the game at a resolution higher than 640x480, and there's some sort of subconscious ideal proportion between the amount of distinct visual elements on the screen versus the total screen real estate. Another thing to consider is when abstract, architecturally-based maps began to look "off". I think a lot of it simply has to do with the switch from brush-based engines to entire rooms being virtually a single model, something which I feel has considerably hindered level design because people are no longer working with "low-level" building blocks. We seemed to get away with making games look more detailed but still abstract up until 2003 or so. Many newer games, stylistically, have too much visual noise for my liking. As an avid Elder Scrolls fan, I want to give the example of how jagged and exaggerated the proportions are in Morrowind's characters, versus Oblivion which had an extremely "inflated" and bulky look. As with texturing, maybe a higher polygon budget means less attention given to the placement of each, and so things don't seem as resolutely designed. The same thing can happen with lower poly art too (Thief's models have always felt somewhat formless compared to those in Deus Ex or Half-Life), but I don't seem to notice it as often. Do you think that was a stylistic choice on the part of the Classic Doom team to make the mod look the way it does, or a direction that it sort of had to inevitably gravitate towards? That's the tricky thing, because I guess they could have gone with something more abstract, but it would have felt weird, and less like a "remake."
  15. StoneFrog

    Post your Doom picture! [post in Part 2 instead]

    I always break down and use the Plutonia bricks in situations like that because I like how they have more depth to them.