The /newstuff Chronicles #286

AlexMax here, and unfortunately, I write this /newstuff with a heavy heart. I'm sure you're all aware why, so I'll go ahead and dedicate this /newstuff to Dylan 'Toke' McIntosh. You will be missed, fellow Doomer, fellow mapper, and friend.

Now, before I begin reviewing, I am going to abuse my soapbox to make a plea to people submitting levels. Can you please not leave us reviewers and players in the dark about what ports they will run on? The text file included with Babel, for example stated that he had tested the map with ZDoom, but had no idea if it ran on any other port or not. Is it really that hard to figure out what source ports your map will run on? Test first, then give us a definitive answer. Thank you.

  • Babel - Jacob H. Orloff
    ZDoom - Solo Play - 145 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    This map is a one-off in a token brown rooms and corridors, fairly standard as far as Doom 2 goes. This author sure loves his Hell Knights and Barons, and you'll find swarms of them, in sometimes borderline unfair quantities, throughout the map. This wouldn't be so bad, except the fact that this map is very tight, and you are not given a whole lot of leeway, either in movemnt, or in ammo and health. It was frustrating, but I chalk it up to me sucking at single player, and if you're really stumped by the difficulty, you can simply load the map in Eternity or prBoom and your journey through the map will be substantially easier. Texturing choices are decent, for what the author was trying to accomplish, but considering the author's editor of choice, I did see a fair bit more texture misalignment than I wanted to see, especially on light sources and stairways. One minor gripe I had with the map from a construction standpoint is that although this map broke on non-ZDoom ports, I didn't see any particular reason why, as the map was very plain looking from an SFX standpoint and hardly made use of ZDoom features at all. Overall, nothing spectacular, but it's not a bad map at all, and I recommend it if you have a half hour to kill.

  • Dynamite Deathmatch - RottKing
    Skulltag - Deathmatch - 2956 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    This is one seriously slick set of FFA maps. Most FFA maps that you see, even today, tend to either be overly linear or overly symmetrical. Rottking, however, seems to be able to come up with really awesome FFA layouts seemingly from nowhere, twisting and turning and flowing into each other perfectly. I never once felt like I was running into a dead end or that he was running out of ideas. The maps range from Egyptian temples to sprawling tech bases, but the real standout map for me was the Villa, which consists of a elegant house with an awesome brightly lit outside that looks fantastic and uses Doom's limited palette to the fullest. All of this fantastic-looking detail, and not ONCE did I feel like it was obstructing my path or blocking me or that I was getting hung up on it. Weapons are well placed for the most part, and while the SSG starts are kind of cliché, considering that Skulltags SSG is gimped to hell I'm willing to forgive it. Don't play this mapset without music either, as it uses a great selection of catchy tunes from various movies and video games. Highly recommended, and my pick for WAD of the week.

  • R.I.P Toke - Julian "_Jaws_" Williams
    ZDaemon - Deathmatch - 712 KB - (img) (img) (img)
    This is a tribute from _Jaws_ to the late great mapper Dylan 'Toke' McIntosh. Unfortunately, it seems like the point of the tribute was missed, because while it looks neat and has ambient noise...something someone doesn't often see in maps, the actual map itself is...well...let me point out a few things. First of all, a few technical nigglings out of the way, the spawns are broken...at least in Skulltag, since all but one of the starts has their Deathmatch flag cleared. Also, the green room is really freaking hard to navigate, and I found myself going into the slime more often than not. Secondly, and this is more of a personal concern, am I the only one who finds it ironic that a tribute map to someone who prioritized oldschool gameplay and map design is stocked to the gills with ZDoom special effects? Really, the whole vibe of the map felt really creepy and obsessed instead of being a nice nod or respectful tribute. But you know what, it's not really what matters to me, if this map helps the ZDaemon community to make peace with one of the greatest modern mappers, then really, everything else is moot. You probably know already if you need to download this map or not, so I'll pass judgement of the final product to you, dear reader.

  • SnowyCTF - Ben Wachal
    Skulltag - CTF - 155 KB - (img) (img) (img)
    This is a fairly simple CTF map that makes liberal use of ZDCTFMP textures and feels a whole lot like a poor man's "Ralphis' Magical Ice Forts". I say poor man's because really, this map doesn't look like much, and two of the main entrances are really cramped. It was easy enough to get into the flag room with 2 players per side, and them being bots, but I can only imagine what a few more players would do to it. Other than that, it's a basic two front one back layout. Nothing much else to say about it, really. Give it a try if you're really bored, but there are definitely better options out there.

  • Urban Twilight - Jacek "Illdo" Dobrzyniecki
    ZDoom - Solo Play - 119 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    A relatively easy single player romp through a city that is now infested with hellspawn. The detailing is simple and the fights are not challenging for the most part, if you can kill a single Baron in tight quarters given a SSG, you'll have no problems here. The real problem with this map is how it tries to be a "realistic" map. I suppose that such things are fair, considering that this IS a map that was entered in a\"realistic places" contest, but the realism angle really hampers it in terms of what the author could do. Naturally, you get what you get when you try to make ANY map to realistic proportions, too many cramped quarters and too much Z axis in said cramped quarters. The second thing in particular made some battles, like defeating the Baron in the computer lab, more annoying than they should have been. But honestly, for what it is, it's not a bad map. Worth a download if you're bored.

NO WAD LEFT BEHIND

This ongoing section of mine is for WADs that were supposed to be reviewed some time ago, but somehow got passed over. Not to let them be resigned to some dark corner of the FTP server, I will now give this map the proper review it so richly deserves.
  • OGRE Labs - Russell Pearson
    Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 987 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    The setup of this map is pretty pedestrian, it's the classic "base is infested with a hellish invasion, and you have to go through the base, clear it out, and hopefully take hell down a few notches too". But seriously, who gives a shit. Russell Pearson clearly has a intricate knowledge of how to balance a map and keep the player on edge with his monster selections. More than once I found myself facing a huge demonic horde and turned tail, only to run into a crowd of imps on my way out. Or, try to hide behind a piece of architecture only to find that there was someone waiting for me. The flow of the map worked really nicely, and although I found myself using the same battlefields over and over again, the situations themselves were quite different and I can't imagine how Russell kept it all straight in his head. From beginning to end, this map was a blast, gameplaywise, and it made a hour-long romp (my final time was around 40 minutes, but this doesn't count the number of times I had to reload) through the level seem like a mere twenty minutes.

    The detail work itself is stunning, but that kind of goes without saying. The architecture itself, though, seemed a little bit too 'uniform' near the beginning of the map, but as I got closer and closer to the end, the authors texture choices seemed to allow him to dabble a bit and allow me to pick out individual rooms, something that was hard without the automap near the beginning. A little variation would have been nice, but seriously, I'm nit-picking here. Especially impressive from a mappers standpoint was how he fit three exits around the three-stop elevator without any one of them feeling too cramped or shoehorned in. And of course, the outside area was pretty, and when I got to hell, I was genuinely creeped out by the ambient sounds.

    And the most surprising thing of all is that he did all of this in BOOM! Yes sir, I played through this entire map in Eternity, and encountered exactly zero problems, though according to the text file a previous version had a bug near the end of the map on non-ZDoom ports. But this map is proof that you can do amazing things, even when you're limited to BOOM. This map is my pick of the...shit, when did this map come out...I think dean missed it TWICE or something stupid like that...but regardless it comes with a hearty recommendation. Play it, jerkfaces.

THE GODDAMN SHITHOUSE

Unfortunately, this week wasn't all decent maps. In fact, there were so many terrible ones that I decided to put them all under one banner...the goddamn shithouse. Having your map reviewed by me is a privilege and from now on, if your map pisses me off, it will end up here, with a short summary and none of the fancy things other reviews get, like screenshots. In short, leave these maps on your hard drive next time.
  • Batma - Ruba
    An almost endless S curve that twists on and on and on until the very end where a wall opens and a million Cacos screech at once, scaring the shit out of you.
  • Maze of Frustration - Paul Corfiatis
    A group of 16 rooms that host an annoying as fuck teleporter maze. Also has the unique distinction of claiming to be a fun DM map as well when in reality it's probably the furthest thing from fun you can have in a DM map.
  • Switch Stampede - Matthew "Agent Spork" McGee
    You press over 400 switches and I'm assuming the map ends, because I never got that far. Funny for about two seconds, then you are simply left wondering which emo on IRC suggested this stupid endeavor. I blame DD_133.

Share this post


Link to post

fp

I've noticed a lot of "USE ZDOOM ONLY" kind of maps where they'd run in eternity just fine. I guess they never use any other ports.

and Switch stampede: "puke 2" shows you its REAL intentions.

and ogrelabs is awesome. birdman does it yet again.

Share this post


Link to post
AlexMax said:

Switch Stampede[/b] - Matthew "Agent Spork" McGee
You press over 400 switches and I'm assuming the map ends, because I never got that far. Funny for about two seconds, then you are simply left wondering which emo on IRC suggested this stupid endeavor. I blame DD_133.


Yeah I think at one point I did suggest something like that. You can't not like buttons and switches. :(

Good week otherwise though, Ogre Labs and Dynamite Deathmatch are great.

Share this post


Link to post

I think a lot of newcomers no longer understand the differences between Vanilla, Limit-Removing (lv 1), BOOM-compatible, Limit-Removing (lv 2, AKA doubled segs/vertices/sidedefs), and ZDoom.

Share this post


Link to post

Batma: Intriguing idea, and not quite as ugly as I was expecting. Trying to speedrun it is interesting since you have to balance the stimpaks with the almost inevitable damages from slime pools and/or a demon getting in the way at the wrong time. And even though I was expecting it the ending still made me jump :)

Maze of Frustration: Okay I liked this, I got lucky though and found the secret relatively easily. Doing so improves it a great deal. I think this map would be fun for recording demos.

Goddamn Shithouse: AlexMax do you think you could be a little more original than stealing ancient forum names from Something Awful?!?!

Share this post


Link to post
Quasar said:

I think a lot of newcomers no longer understand the differences between Vanilla, Limit-Removing (lv 1), BOOM-compatible, Limit-Removing (lv 2, AKA doubled segs/vertices/sidedefs), and ZDoom.

I doubt it. A lot of newcomers have the fanciful idea that if Port X is the only port they test with, then you absolutely must use Port X and not Port Y or Z. This especially boggles my mind for any map that says it requires ZDoom but uses no ZDoom features and is in a Doom map format. Stupidity in motion.

Share this post


Link to post
HobbsTiger1 said:

I doubt it. A lot of newcomers have the fanciful idea that if Port X is the only port they test with, then you absolutely must use Port X and not Port Y or Z. This especially boggles my mind for any map that says it requires ZDoom but uses no ZDoom features and is in a Doom map format. Stupidity in motion.


Or even better, use ZDoom to make maps that could have been easily done in BOOM. If anything the fact that Russell made OGRE Labs in plain ol' BOOM means that many ZDoom mappers have a looooong way to go before they should even be considering limiting their maps to ZDoom only.

RjY said:

Goddamn Shithouse: AlexMax do you think you could be a little more original than stealing ancient forum names from Something Awful?!?!


Who cares?

Share this post


Link to post

Quasar said:
I think a lot of newcomers no longer understand the differences between Vanilla, Limit-Removing (lv 1), BOOM-compatible, Limit-Removing (lv 2, AKA doubled segs/vertices/sidedefs), and ZDoom.

While they might do it somewhat more, it's not just the newbies; experienced mappers do it as well. That's one reason why I asked for an additional line in the text file template saying "tested with..." It can give you an idea of what the level may run under aside from what the author thought it would require (or tried to dictate as the engine to use).

AlexMax said:
Or even better, use ZDoom to make maps that could have been easily done in BOOM. If anything the fact that Russell made OGRE Labs in plain ol' BOOM means that many ZDoom mappers have a looooong way to go before they should even be considering limiting their maps to ZDoom only.

Actually a case in point of what I said above; the wad doesn't use Boom stuff (triggers, etc.), but since it was tested with Boom-like physics only (maybe ZDoom?), it breaks using Doom physics (PrBoom with comp level 2, Boom with Doom compatibility on, or MBF with certain compatibilities toggled on). Not that I'm critcising Russell, as he kindly released this as he was moving to 3D mapping, but it came to mind as an example in context.

In the database someone said:
first arena of the endbattle-the tele was not accessible in prboom+ comp -1

Only if certain Doom compatibility modes are enabled (probably the one related to floor behavior).

Share this post


Link to post

My curiosity beckons me to try Switch Stampede, but I already know I'm going to grind my teeth while playing it.

Share this post


Link to post

OMFG BIASED WAD OF WEEK! </end reviewer gripe>

A few nice wads out there this week, but i dont think there was anything that excited me a whole lot.

Share this post


Link to post

I couldnt see the "no wad left behind" and "shithouse" sections on the review page, only in this forum post. Also the "picture viewer" sucks, why not just link to images like before. It weren't broke so you didnt need to fix it!

Share this post


Link to post

deathbringer said:
Also the "picture viewer" sucks, why not just link to images like before.

Because the contrast between dark screenshots and the white browser background is too sharp.

Share this post


Link to post
myk said:

Because the contrast between dark screenshots and the white browser background is too sharp.

I disagree. And if they're going to be done like this, they should at least be displayed at an earthly resolution instead of 2048x1024 or whatever the heck that is. Those won't even fit on my laptop's widescreen display, and I'm sure not going to save them to my hard drive just so I can look at them scaled down.

Share this post


Link to post

Taking screenshots of Doom in anything higher than 640x480 is rather pointless.

Share this post


Link to post
Quasar said:

I disagree. And if they're going to be done like this, they should at least be displayed at an earthly resolution instead of 2048x1024 or whatever the heck that is. Those won't even fit on my laptop's widescreen display, and I'm sure not going to save them to my hard drive just so I can look at them scaled down.


Now that I have a LCD, if I want to play Doom and have it not look like ass, I either have to play it at 1280x1024, or in a window. I'll keep that in mind for future reviews, though.

Share this post


Link to post

Fredrik said:
Taking screenshots of Doom in anything higher than 640x480 is rather pointless.

It depends on the usual resolution used by viewers (I think 1024x768 is a good standard nowadays). So anything from 512x384 to 800x600 seems like a good size. To me, any smaller seems unnecessary (especially since some people browse at very high resolutions), any bigger, an issue for many.

Quasar said:
I disagree.

It depends on the monitor's settings and contrast range, so it's best to use a method that won't be a genuine problem to some (and not just a preference choice).

Share this post


Link to post

No, no, see...
Taking screenshots OF DOOM in anything higher than 640x480 is rather pointless.

And my desktop is 1600x1200. I still keep my browser window at 1024 wide (or rotate the monitor) because it's vertical space I want, not horizontal. If you're viewing the internet at 1600 wide and pages are built for 1024 (or 800 even), then you get whitespace fucking your eyes in the ass. So there's your other point.

Share this post


Link to post

Does anyone else have trouble with all the screenshot links or is it just me?

Share this post


Link to post

Zeroth said:
Does anyone else have trouble with all the screenshot links or is it just me?

It's not just you; it seems like the viewer was affectd by what damaged the search feature; it should be fixed soon.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't really see the need for the viewer myself; but then again my default background isn't white (it's a "plummy" off-white colour that is a lot less glaring).

If you want to view the screenshots directly, just go to the directory listing here: http://www.doomworld.com/images/newstuff/286/

Share this post


Link to post

Grazza said:
If you want to view the screenshots directly, just go to the directory listing here: http://www.doomworld.com/images/newstuff/286/

Yeah. Also, even if broken the viewer still works, it just has junk over it.

Having said that, it may be a good idea for future chronicles to provide a link to the shots page. Like at the bottom it could say...

All screen shots

So anyone not liking the viewer would have the link handy without needing to edit an URL and whatnot. At least I'll be including it, unless it's added as a systematic feature.

Share this post


Link to post

nice review, thanks AlexMax

I really liked "Ogre Labs" - Five Stars ^^

hmm I'll test the other maps too on sunday.

bye, luc

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now