I'm going to keep my blabbing short, because GooberMan himself has plenty to say about his latest level. Be sure to check out GooberMan's page hosted here at Doomworld, and get Doom Arcade and play it if you haven't already. Hopefully, Space Station Omega will be the first in a series of many related maps to be released in the future.
Space Station Omega is the first in a new series of levels. The series name is "The Gateway Experiments, or Doesn't The Military Ever Learn?" Why is this level getting a feature on Doomworld? It is the follow up to Doom Arcade, which was quite popular upon release. It is set 10 years after the events in Doom Arcade and uses the characters I have created for Doom Arcade and an earlier project, The Doom Chronicles.
The concept for the series was that of a TV show for Doom with a storyline that arcs over the entire season. I intended to release one a month, but that hasn't happened yet - this map was started in December 2001(!). The story is going to be different to the average Doom mod's story. While it starts out pretty cliche (yet another demon invasion???), it won't end that way. In fact, just as a little bit of a plot hint, the demon invasion you escape from isn't really an invasion at all. The plot will get bigger, grander, and go in directions you're not expecting it to go in.
Space Station Omega is the biggest map I have ever made, both in terms of size and the amount of scripts used. And it shows. Multiple paths; complete sections of the level you don't have to visit; a plot that runs throughout the entire level (and series); and the ultimate in ACS scripting to this date - an interactive speech system. For the first time in a story-based ZDoom WAD, you can choose what you say to people. As usual, the scripts have been included with the WAD if you want to see how I did everything, and I've even included some freebies in the ZIP in the form of a camera tutorial I wrote some time ago and a much cleaner version of the speech script.
Next Doom projects for me involve doing some scripting work for RTC-3057, and either another Doom Arcade map or Gateway Experiments map.
Anyway, enough BS from me, download the map and the latest ZDoom and play :)
Well first off, its a good map. The corridors in the space station use slopes both along their length and around the doors to give them a believable "space age" kind of architecture. Poly objects are used well too, from sliding transparent doors to the cool lift doors that actually behave like lift doors are supposed to. There are clearly functional areas within the map; i.e. areas that before things went horribly wrong you could easily imagine people working or relaxing in. Because of the use of lifts and so on, it allows the level to feel as if it is part of a much bigger station. It's not packed with detail and custom textures are only used where the stock ones simply won't do, but there is enough to "key you in" to what the level is all about.
As far as Zdoom special effects go, there are some really nice ones. The way the camera is used to simulate you getting up off the floor after being knocked down is a nice touch, and the intro with the space ship "actually" flying into the space station is a show stopper - and what got me interested in the map in the first place.
The scripting is a big feature of the wad, sometimes overtly, sometimes in the background. I hadn't actually realised that decisions I made, and where I went was having an impact on how the level played out, until I was told. And of course, there is the interactive speech system. This was easy to get used to, and in general the speech was paced well enough not to get tedious, but no so quick to be unreadable. It means you have to get used to a different style of Doom gameplay. I.e. you have to stop, think, take time and "listen" to clues. But that's kind of the point to this wad, isn't it?
I just re-read [the above], and realised it sounds a bit bland, 'cause I didn't say anything like "It rocks". Which of course I should have said, because it does. I don't think I stressed the innovativeness of it either, giving, as it does a totally different twist to doom gameplay.
So, just to put the record straight: