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Xaser

dead.air - v2

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dead.air - beta v2 link - requires (g/q)zdoom

Some of you may recognize by the title what this is a "sequel" to.
For the rest, here are some context-free screenshots:





Usual boilerplate about "this is a beta; gameplay is rough" applies.
Otherwise, have fun, kind folk.

[EDIT] There are a few node issues with the map at present which result in some end-arena HOM and various geometry holes in GZDoom. Using the software renderer ought to fix the latter for the time being -- haven't tried QZDoom just yet but that may or may not work too.

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This map is an utterly ludicrous, horrible nightmare... and I love it. That might have been the most intense, intimidating game of Doom I've ever played. I was circlestrafing so hard I think I broke both keys and my fingers.

Criticism-wise I think the gameplay got just a little repetitive during the colored skull key sections, especially the blue one, but there was enough nail-biting carnage and adrenaline-pumping music going on to keep me thoroughly entertained regardless. The way I perceived the encounters kinda bordered on slaughter, so I guess I was in two minds about it personally (I played on UV, for the record).

It looks like I missed a ridiculous amount of stuff because I think I missed all but one of the five secrets. I'll probably play it again shortly, though. Would be interesting to see if you added any "New Game++" stuff to this seeing as the level restarted with all my weapons and ammo once I beat it (and was curiously missing the intro sequence).

Still. Good God, Xaser.

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This looks rather nice. I don't play many zdoom maps so I have a few quick questions:
Was this designed with mouselook/freelook in mind, or is it playable without?
Jumping and crouching - Necessary, or should I keep them unbound?

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Jumping/crouching are not necessary but ought not break the map in unintended ways (there's one particular shortcut I left in for the super-athletic folk).

You'll probably have a less good time without mouselook, as one of the weapons is most effective when firing over enemies' heads.

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Firstly, LOVE IT.

Secondly, there might be some stuff to fix:

Walking into the wireframe globe in the main tower (the one that makes "NNN" appear when you walk into it) causes an unknown script error. "Uberflicker," I think it was called?

I couldn't figure out what triggers finishing the blue area. I killed everything. is there a switch or critical floor to touch? Maybe they should be highlighted?

The Grafters at the end are way too difficult, especially with no cover. I'd make their tracer rockets die after a period of time and weaken their seeking accuracy a tad.

The sound for firing the Super Nailgun is way too tinny. I'd add a little more bass and ease up off the treble a bit to keep it punchy and less grating.

In the ending, the regular status bar (with scaling on) peeks out in the bottom of the screen.



That's really it, for now. Great work, Xaser!

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I love the look of this style, it has an amazingly creepy look. Really looking forward to giving this a spin when I get a chance!

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MTrop said:

I couldn't figure out what triggers finishing the blue area. I killed everything. is there a switch or critical floor to touch? Maybe they should be highlighted?


Same here. Cleared the blue area with no idea how to proceed. :S

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There's a big skull switch on the opposite side of the COMPOHSO-ish panel in that screenshot.

For the next version, I'll probably just make the bridge raise when all the monsters are dead, for sanity n' whatnot.

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WOW. beautiful map

so this is one of the first times i played a zdoom wad w the fog and ambient sounds and tons of decorate where it wasnt just cheesy. in fact it was downright creepy, that's good, awesome.
the audio is *great* (never thought i'd say that about a doom wad)
the weapons feel pretty damn good.

perhaps more useful feedback (obviously some of this is subjective):
something i found to be a p significant issue: the flash on the machine gun is so fast that it makes me uncomfortable. i imagine people with issues with seizures could have problems with it.

couldnt figure out what to do after picking up the first key in the tower (didn't realize i was supposed to use jump to get to the globe, didn't even realize it was a switch, thought it was just decorative). is there a way to do that without jumping?

the upgrades to gun 1 are cool but sometimes it's sort of unsure if it's an upgrade or not until you start actually using it (and even then) like the purple -> blue change. idk how much you're willing to change at this point so maybe this isn't fixable at this stage. but like imagine how much more noticeable it would be as an improvement if an upgrade shot 3 projectiles instead of 1 or something.

i felt the grenade launcher's explosion sprite is very misleading, much too small for the radius.

using regular revenants was kind of strange with all the other changed monsters but they're one of the best doom monsters so i guess it's fine, but then there was the cyberdemons who i thought were regular cyberdemons because the sprite is so similar and then i died immediately for thinking this. i don't know how much you can do about it at this point though.

much like the other posters, i couldn't figure out wtf to do after killing the monsters in the blue area for a while.

also, looking at the NNN in the final area murders my FPS, which is a bit troublesome for a final fight. consider disabling the translucent midtexes during the actual combat maybe? idk. wish ACS had a way to detect FPS tbh

I thought the early part of the map was great, but once you get to the keys the fights aren't as interesting and the atmosphere isn't as successfully creepy. You can sort of break doom fights abstractly into 3 stages. the initial "surprise" followed by "omg how do i deal with this" and then "i have now stabilized the game state into an unloseable situation and i will loop whatever action is letting me win". in the first area usually you throw more stuff at me and restart the stages or the 3rd one is short and sweet, but in the later parts of the map it kind of drags on. just like "oh yeah i can't really lose from here but there's still 30 more of these guys to kill :("

felt like being able to pick red blue or green was kind of strange because of like, there's no indication of what the choice will be. it felt kind of meaningless. again, i don't know how much you're willing to change at this point beyond bugfixes, but if there was some kind of larger indication about what the choice is or if you just removed the choice altogether i think that would be better. removal of the choice would allow you to pace the areas a lot better imo. right now it's just like. "ok. what color do i want to look at at the moment?"

i thought the red area was the most interesting of the three. i did the areas in the order of blue -> red -> green if that matters.

the leadup to the final with the empty void and skyscraper chunks was beautiful.

the final area itself is kind of a disappointment. it feels like it's supposed to be climactic but it's just sort of a reiteration of a lot of things the player already did without any new elements. other than the cybers at the very end. except they're just shooting homing missiles like the cacos in a big open area (much like the red key area except that also had imps!) so really it feels like more of the same? i don't know.

i know some of the stuff is hard to fix when a map is basically done.

some screenshotty stuff:

Spoiler

for a while i thought the way to proceed in the blue area had to do with this bit on the map but i guess it's nothing?


HOM or something

about here:



this blood decal on black looks kind of strange? if you're using UDMF maybe consider using nodecals?


I was super disappointed this little ledge didn't lead to a secret. Really felt like one.


the pinkies in the left area at the start are really easy to just strand up the stairs here and just pick off slowly dunno if intentional


in the green area i fell and didn't get teleported


in general the green area was way too easy and there were a lot of enemies i could just slowly pick off like this


anyway very cool good map. i hope my post was helpful at all.

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Superb. Only part of the way through so far, but really enjoying it. Reminds me of a cross between Unreal, Undying and System Shock. Also, you are my hero for recreating the flak cannon from Unreal in the Doom universe. Ever since I played that game in high school, I wished this was possible.

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Just cleared the map. Great stuff Xaser! The new weapons and enemies were all quite interesting, especially the Flak Cannon and grenade launcher. I somewhat agree with the above post that the key areas can drag a bit as you're mostly playing out the same encounter multiple times against hordes of fodder. Wasn't too sure on the rocket mechanics for those Cybers, but grabbing the invis let me circlestrafe for days. Otherwise the homers would always get me. The map ran smoothly for me and as far as visual bugs, I noticed quite a few cracks in the floor showing the skybox/texture.

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The homing rockets of the grafters can be outrun with straferunning. Never stop straferunning though; they'll catch up to you if you do a nonstrafe run. After a while the rockets climb up then dive down and crash on the ground, so just outrun them long enough and they disappear.

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This is a definite improvement upon dead.wire in every way possible, bizarre in a good way, interestingly unorthodox and generally punchy partial conversion packed up into one massive level with tons of meat.

The (re)design of the enemies and the overall atmosphere of the map's first half did a good job of invoking that "Lovecraftian star-spawn overtaking earthly cities" feel. After that, the surroundings become much more abstract/futuristic and cyberspace-like, which kinda prevents me from extending the metaphor and concluding this post with "Cthulhu fhtagn", yet nevertheless this eclectic mix is rather attractive and never really lets go all this "VR turning into a trippy nightmare" thing.

It's obvious that the new toys are cool, did Xaser ever fail as a weaponsmith ever since Zen Dynamics, if not earlier? So, the only thing I'd like to mention apart from these obvious things is that I totally loved the idea of upgradable #1. It's not exactly a peashooter even in its initial form, and the upgrades (I believe I found 3?) make it even more formidable, especially considering the infinite ammo. Useless when surrounded by hordes of course, but clearing out "interstitial" squads and finishing off individuals - even stronger ones - with this thingie seems quite natural.

Didn't mind the general line of gameplay here in spite of a definite degree of repetitiveness (the fact that the encounters are generally centered around new weapons mostly helps), the finale is the only part that felt a bit too circlestrafey, yet I'm inclined to agree with MTrop wrt the grafters, it's hard to fully understand how their missiles behave with an insane amount of those nipping on the player's heels, the appropriate speed, angle and all that could help keeping the safe distance are not exactly easy to discern. And seeing that there's no cover at that stage - I think it becomes a notable issue.
Now that I think of it - for me personaly it'd be more interesting should they fire non-homing missiles in a mancubus-like fashion, i.e. in a pattern that'd value reflexes over mere running in circles when it comes to dodging.

Well anyway, cool stuff, the nuances are inevitable but they aren't dealbreakers, I think it's fun and fresh enough. Good work!
...Ah screw it. Cyber Cthulhu fhtagn.

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Gez said:

The homing rockets of the grafters can be outrun with straferunning. Never stop straferunning though; they'll catch up to you if you do a nonstrafe run. After a while the rockets climb up then dive down and crash on the ground, so just outrun them long enough and they disappear.

I should note that I was unable to do this, but got around it by being clever about using the anti-matter driver to propel myself - the recoil on that thing's huuuuge, especially if you jump before firing and are moving in the direction you launch yourself towards.

Which is honestly a lot more interesting than just perfect circle-strafing, although it's not super reliable unless you're really good at snap-aiming and is hardly intuitive outside of "the last portion of the map was based around the new weapon, so maybe that still holds true here."

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Glad folks are enjoying this! Released a v2, with a few tweaks n' such:

  • fixed "uberflicker" script error
  • fixed gzdoom geometry holes
  • fixed end arena HOM
  • fixed half of starvoid in green area not teleporting you
  • fixed z-fighting in city 3d bridge windows
  • blue area stair now raises immediately when all enemies are dead
  • - related: I had a few enemies in a secret are mis-tagged so they were required kills too; fixed too.
  • monolith NNN globe now has an item + steps to incentivize walking up to it.
  • decals no longer appear in end arena
  • added little ledge secret
Hopefully this fixes all the geometry holes and navigation issues. As a heads-up, I also plan on reworking the Grafter fight so it's less "moar homing missiles!1"; for now, try dodging in a figure-8.

Some random general author-commentary: the later stages of the map are definitely meant to be "fun weapon showcase" rather than "ooo spooky". The big draw of those arenas are meant to be the new toys; if playing with the new stuff loses its luster before the area is complete, I'm not sure if anything can be done about it.

Regarding key choice: railroading the encounters wouldn't improve things any, and it enhances replayability by letting you choose a different route if you want to give it another go.

Just musing on my own stuff. I'm definitely going to continue to tweak and improve things -- the end fight will get an upgrade for sure -- though some things may end up being a matter of taste in the end.

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Oh, a very minor thing: the green key still has a yellow automap color.

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@Gez: A very minor fix was applied that shall be seen in the next minor release. Thanks. :P

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Damn that was fun! The new weapons are really satisfying to use and I love the various area ideas you've strung into this and the whole thing kept me on my toes throughout.

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I got a chance to play this today, and man...this was utterly fantastic! I enjoyed everything about it. The weapons were a lot of fun to use, and the environments were creepy and immersive. It got pretty damn hard there at the end, especially those Grafters. But I had a blast playing it! I would really love to see more maps like this :D

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