Thanks for the comments guys :). I didn't think a dumb DB shot would really warrant it, heh! With any luck I'll have some proper screenshots sometime this coming week. Unless I just decide that I'm going to be too lazy to do any mapping this week :P
Most of the action is still going to take place in the "old" map; in fact, probably most of it will. I've changed very little in the way of the gameplay from the map other than moving the start and exit. The new start location is probably the main gameplay changing factor here since you no longer start right in the middle of everything. I'm going to have to tweak some of the monster and weapon placements near where you enter the old map so the difficulty doesn't spike up suddenly. Other than that though, the old map's gameplay is pretty much still the same as before (aside from some balance tweaks I've made since the beta, obviously).
Obvioiusly it's too early to say at this point, but I think I will not like the changes done to map02. It had such a neat compact layout but now there is a huge "sprout" that will probably feel totally disconnected from that main structure with all the keys. Plus, seems like it will be very different thematically (looks like a purely indoor area). Oh well, I still have the old release on my hard drive, so nothing will be lost I guess.
A large portion of the new areas contain, ironically enough, side areas and secrets. There's a very direct path from the new start and to the new exit. The goal is still the same too; grab the six keys and head for the exit. Thematically, yes there is a bit of a contrast between the new and the old. But I was being a bit deliberate with that contrast because I wanted the player to start off deep underground where the teleporters are, and then make their way outside to the more lively part of the map. I probably could have kept a similar mood and design for the new areas, but I like to play with setting contrasts like that sometimes and, hopefully, it won't detract from the experience :)
I hope that you will like the new changes I've made, but of course that may not be the case. I really don't think they detract from the map. The new player start location is the big thing to note here, because that does alter the overall gameplay flow (which isn't something I can comment on just yet since I'm still working on that). I'm thinking about doing another public test candidate after I finish MAP04, so I would love to hear your thoughts on the changes whenever that time comes Memfis ;)
@Ribbiks: Essel explained the sidedef limit thing very well. As he said, it depends on the design of the map. In my personal experience, I have to be very wary of the limit bitch-slapping me past 100K sidedefs. I got to about 105K on this map when it hit the first go round. After I did some optimizations, I started adding some scenic details around the bulk of the map (the "mountains" you see around the outer edges). I drew them out and setup my sector heights before adding textures, and I was able to save without any problems. But as soon as I started adding textures and alignments, I hit the limit again. Those sides could no longer be compressed once I textured and aligned them because they weren't all the same anymore (the different alignment values made them unique). Thankfully I was able to finish up the additions and stay under the map's the limit, which is right around 106K~ish sides. But you gotta be very careful if you do hit the limit, because DB can't save the map until your back under the limit.
Unfortunately in the case of the linedef limit, once you hit 65536, that's it; there is no compression to save you. Thankfully that limit is much harder to hit, and it is also easier to harvest lines instead of sides (since you know 1 line = 1 line, but in the case of sides you may not always know if 1 side will equal 1 side because of compression). I hit this limit in MAP01 the last time I worked on it because I wasn't paying attention :/
Anyways, thank again for the comments guys! I'll have some more worthwhile stuff to show off soon I hope :D