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Concept WADs

In the music world there's the idea of a concept album and it occurred to me that the same could be applied to Doom WADs as well - there are specific WADs that I can think of that do things that are different and original. A couple that immediately spring to mind as examples are Cyberdreams and Scythe. What others can people think of?

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tons of concept wads are released pretty much every other day in the form of doomworld threads. I'm sure you've read the "hey guys, i've got an idea for a megawad where..." posts.

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What exactly do you have in mind? A megawad with at least a handful of maps that all share the same idea / theme / gameplay? That present consistency in any / all aspects?

Off the top of my head - Equinox springs to mind, when it comes to vanilla stuff.

Of course there are more advanced, yet still doom-ish, story-based megawads like Daedalus and RTC-3057.

And there's another category for remakes and reinterpretations, that by definition all have (or at least try to have) maps that follow the same set of guidelines, like DTWiD and KDiZD.

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ellmo said:

What exactly do you have in mind?

I guess I should clarify.

The Wikipedia definition of concept album describes an album that is "unified by a theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, narrative, or lyrical". Under that definition I guess any TC would be a "concept WAD". But that's not really what I'm interested in.

What I'm more interested in is WADs that have some particular original theme that's unique and different to what we see in most Doom levels. Levels where some specific concept (in terms of design or gameplay) is the defining aspect of them. Cyberdreams is one example where the gameplay is puzzle-based, which is obviously different. Scythe is another where everything takes place in small maps.

The analogy with an album is misleading: it doesn't have to be a MegaWAD and could just be a single level. I described Evilution MAP04 (Wormhole) as a "concept map" in another thread, for example.

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There have been a few made for ZDoom. On the top of my head:

  • Cutmanmike's ZPortal (basically the same idea as Portal).
  • LilWhiteMouse's Bittersweet (you always go back to the same level, each time retextured and somewhat rearranged with ACS)
  • Phobus' Virus (levels based around flight)
  • Xaser's TurboChargedARCADE!
  • Skadoomer's Foreverhood

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I had a project idea that I started, but eventually abandoned.



Can I also self-promoted Phocas Island 2 here?

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fraggle said:
Levels where some specific concept (in terms of design or gameplay) is the defining aspect of them.

In DOOM and DOOM II, Sandy Petersen's levels tend to stand out in that way, and in different ways. For example, E2M9 (special infighting encounter), E3M5 (architectural highlight) or Map08 (tricks and traps).

Scythe is another where everything takes place in small maps.

It's also split in three distinct episodes to enhance that on a larger scale.

Without going into TCs, I'd say Darkening II manages to classify as conceptual in aesthetics by using a strong texture pack and music that's experimental for DOOM. Perdition's Gate does so in the narrative by introducing an different story, a subtle graphic theme to go with it and the use of the intermissions to tell the story.

Castle Phobos is conceptual in making one huge level rather than many in sequence. I mean, not just in connecting level exits and starts but in the gameplay sense, as later on you'll need weapons you found in earlier levels, and the like.

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myk said:

Castle Phobos is conceptual in making one huge level rather than many in sequence. I mean, not just in connecting level exits and starts but in the gameplay sense, as later on you'll need weapons you found in earlier levels, and the like.

In that case I'd say my Coils of the Twisted Tale takes that to the next logical step by using ZDoom to create an entire 11 map "episode" of sorts in one map with music transitions, titles and more, complete with autosaves at the start of each "episode". Sort of forces a narrative on the progression, but could quite easily have been multiple maps.


I do quite like this distinction, as the examples that really stand out are very different from the norm. I'm quite tempted to say Jack101's Beyond Reality qualifies, as it centres around surrealism, but it's probably more accurate to say that each of the themes within (particularly the one of "restoring colour" for maps 13-15) are their own concepts.

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not mentioned yet:
1024 (obvious)
1monster (use just one monster type per map)
1on1comp_b1 (predefined thing placement - build a map around it!)
all 32in24's (duhh)

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I don't know, maybe the Wasteland series (Dead Base, Mountain of Fire, Sands of Death, etc.)

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Hmm, what about that furry date-sim zdoom mod, was it ever finished?

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Memfis said:

Hmm, what about that furry date-sim zdoom mod, was it ever finished?


0_o What did I just read?

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I remember a WAD that was a community project and used 10 textures and flats overall. I can't remember it's name, maybe "10 Community Project".

That's a concept, even if sounds bad...

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Ahhh, TCP... I remember that. I even put two maps in it! The most useful thing about it was one dedicated SP episode of 15 maps (+ a secret one, which in itself had a neat concept by Joshy back before doom community fame) and 5 co-op designed maps. We had a 10 flat/texture limit (uses ZDoom's texture/flat mixing) and a size limit of 2048x2048 for the playable area. I'm pretty proud of my MAP16 in that one, as it's a co-op map where each player experiences something completely different whilst being mutually supportive and also works as a single-player experience. Issues were the new palette (garish greens and blues) and general ZN00bishness of most maps, I'd say.

Just for fun, Here's the /newstuff Chronicles where Wills reviewed it - I never did take his advice on making more jungle temples :\

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dew said:

not mentioned yet:
1024 (obvious)
1monster (use just one monster type per map)
1on1comp_b1 (predefined thing placement - build a map around it!)
all 32in24's (duhh)

5 rooms of Doom, also
there maybe more

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I can think of a few...I was the master of innovative ideas and concepts after all :P (for those who can remember my old sig)

In fact none of my wads were built without a concept in mind.

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