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I'm gonna use blogs like a blog for once. Get your pitchforks ready.
I don't like it when WADs start getting too far away from the source material. Most of my favorite megawads use the stock Doom(2) textures a lot, even when they've also added loads of customs. There also seems to be an obsession with largeness in mapping these days, which makes sense as there's a bigger "woah" factor when you play something like that, but at the same time I always find myself getting lost and disinterested and the monster placement is either too overbearing or easy as hell due to some weird little exploit the author didn't notice.
Wads using almost entirely custom textures isn't a new thing, but it's becoming more and more common. Combine that with the very non-iwad like structure of the maps (TOO MANY LINEDEFS AND SECTORS) and it starts to feel like an entirely different game and loses a great deal of it's appeal to me. Christ what a shallow fuck
Some people out there don't get why dwango5 and dwango6 are two of my all-time favorite deathmatch wads. The truth is, bar the overtly terrible maps that were simply a product of 90s experimentation, they almost feel like "the iwad of deathmatch". A lot of similar mapping decisions to the iwads, partly due to half of them being rearranged iwad maps, but even the stuff from scratch seemed to use very similar design philosophies, just in a deathmatch setting rather than single player. A lot of these decisions really irritate the modern player which is understandable, but part of me finds it strange how less and less people can even accept the existence of "slower paced maps with traps and secrets" in deathmatch wads because they think it's unfair or too slow or whatever. To that I just say, the more practiced person always has the advantage, that's just even further pronounced when part of practicing is "finding out stuff about the map". Like, duh, you're gonna be better at the map if you've played the map more.. That just gives the other player incentive to practice up on that map and utilize the secrets better than you do! It gives a map character, adds another dynamic to gameplay and often increases replayability, in my opinion.
It's somewhat bizarre to hear people refer to your maps as "too 90's" when really you're just aiming to make something that feels like an extension of the source game, because that's what you enjoy and see as "the official golden standard", if you will. See, I love Doom with all it comes with, the music, the textures, the maps, the oddities, "warts and all" as they say! When you do a strange/funny/quirky little mapping decision, be it a trap in a deathmatch map, an obscure secret, a stark change of theme or whatever else, people seem to react like "UGH WTF IS THIS" more than ever these days just because it's not following whatever the modern mapping trend may be, but the iwads are full of stuff like this and something about it really appeals to me. Every time I see people complain about this, I can't help but think "did you even enjoy playing Doom? Like, non modded Doom?" I don't care about using higher resolutions in modern source ports or whatever, but it's just strange that it's now a thing to "like Doom mods, but not really like the source maps/game itself."
Now of course I've made / contributed to quite a handful of ZDoom/kinda-sorta modern-ish stuff, especially in years past, but even that stuff didn't deviate super far from the source material which I guess is why I liked working on it.
Another tiny thing I'm going to pointlessly bitch about is the palette getting changed so often. I thought it was badass in the early 00's when UDM3 came out, but something about changing the colors has that same effect on me that 'too many custom textures' does. It's starts feeling like a different game even through such a simple, shallow change. Psychology at work in some weird way there I guess.
Now before you tell me how I'm a giant dumbass and how my opinions are objectively wrong, hear me out - I absolutely love that this content is being made for Doom. I don't give a damn that it's not for me, there's plenty of stuff that already hits that mark out there and people with different tastes deserve to have stuff too.
I'm really happy to see stuff that utilizes anything from Boom to GZDoom to it's fullest, incorporates 3D floors, uses a broad range of new colors and textures - It's all amazing and extremely impressive, and not just from a technical standpoint. Some of this stuff doubles as art, there's no questioning that. I'm so glad people love Doom so much that they want expand on it as much as possible and in a huge variety of ways. Even people simply making Boom or very basic ZDoom stuff but mapping in a more modern fashion with all the custom resources and whatnot tend to fall into the "I'll probably play 1/3rd of this then get bored" category for me personally, but damn, I'm so glad it's being made because it keeps this game fresh and alive to the rest of the world.
Also worth noting, I actually do have some fun with a lot of the wads/mods I'm sitting here whining about, I just tire of them much faster due to all the strange, random reasons I've laid out above and rarely get far into them, as far as SP stuff goes anyway.
With all this bullshit said, I hope none of you hate me for these opinions or think I don't appreciate the hours and hours of love and hard work that goes into creating these beastly wads (stuff like Ancient Aliens, Sunlust, Sunder, gameplay mods like Complex Doom or even Brutal Doom or HDoom). Not my cup of tea, but I'm so glad you guys are doing so much to keep this game and modding community alive, the place would simply not be the same without all of you and your hard work. I know my tastes and preferences are pretty random/old, but I'm just a sucker for stuff that feels "pure Doomy" in that it doesn't deviate extremely far from the stylization of the iwads. For whatever reason, releasing wads with similar design principles to the iwads/source game in mind seems to really irritate most people (more notably in the MP community, but it happens even with SP shit too) but it's just what I like so it's what I make - I can't help it!
Sorry for the ramble, I hope I haven't bored or irritated too many of you. For whatever reason I felt compelled to make this big shpeel. Also note that I realize there's plenty of stuff still being made that fits the description of what I like and for that I'm of course very grateful. (not for deathmatch though ;-; )
tl;dr: I really like the iwads/older mapping tendencies so naturally that's what goes into my maps and I find it kind of strange just how much expectations/norms have changed in terms of map design, but if you're into the newer style that's totally cool by me and I appreciate anyone working on anything that helps keep this community going.
EDIT: For some reason, the Mechanix wads are pretty much always an exception to my tastes. Aeon DM is in my top 5 DM wads, the layouts are just so clever and solid that you can't help but enjoy deathmatching there.
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Played 3 maps of Sinister Seven after deleting the new sprites, sounds and palette. It was interesting. I like how the levels look very simple on the automap and yet none of the rooms are boring. Action was fun enough everywhere and the health balance allowed me to play fast. The metal music was a turnoff for me though. I don't really see Doom as some brutal game for tough guys, for me it's closer to playing with legos or something (probably not the best example). So I prefer midis that are more upbeat, relaxing or blues-like.
Also after some time you start noticing that the structure of these levels is disappointingly simple, i.e. mostly flat rooms connected by doors, lifts or hallways. I would prefer a little more 3D feel with some bridges, towers, multi-store buildings (not literally but you know what I mean) and stuff.
And I think visually it's a bit too simple. Like, not bad at all but perhaps there aren't enough design elements that would seriously stand out. It could be some parts with elaborate lighting, particularly unusual texture combinations or weird use of triggers like structures rising out of the floor or I don't know. Well, I guess the custom graphics and sounds were supposed to give the wad that special look but unfortunately they weren't quite to my taste. But overall I guess I liked what I saw and I feel kinda inspired now mapping-wise, I feel like I learned some neat design decisions. I also remember playing some maps from Devil'z Work before, these were interesting too.
And I think visually it's a bit too simple.
Of course when you threw out the palette and sprites. Those things were added to complement the levels, they didn't add it for "hehehehe i can maek paelete lets maek paelete and use it in level hehehehe", right? right?
(I have no idea what Sinister Seven is so this post might be nonsense.)
Thanks a lot for checking them out Memfis. I agree with your criticisms looking back, especially in that they can be too flat too often. The use of more towers, bridges and switches activating moving parts and other stuff in that vein would definitely add a layer of entertainment. As far as the sprites in SinSeven, I actually would take them out if I could re-release it, I added those in with they the 'hey, newer Doomers might see this custom stuff and be less turned off by the old style nature of this wad' mindset which is silly looking back. I used the same logic in adding a custom palette to the Devil'z Work which I would also retroactively undo if possible. I like the sprites enough, but they're totally unnecessary and actually draw away from that 'old Doom' feel I go for. I appreciate you commenting on them man.