Bumpity-bump! Just played the latest Alpha as a continuous 6 map set. Here's my thoughts:
In general, mappers could do with paying attention to things like DoomBuilder 2's autoalignment when splitting and moving linedefs, as things like doors are offset on the x-axis when they shouldn't be. Likewise, "lower-unpegged" should be set on DOORTRAK and other textures being used on the solid walls inside of doors. On the plus side, the included music is very nice!
MAP01 had a nice, chaotic layout with monster placement to match. Secrets were quite clever and took a bit of thinking about too, which was good. Ended up with plenty of ammo at the end, but throughout the map wasn't over-stocked or anything, so that seems fine. The looks aren't bad, but do seem a bit inconsistent (just to avoid using the word "chaotic" twice). Not sure what I'd do to improve them other than try and make the material transitions less harsh.
MAP02 was thoroughly over-stocked with easy-to-find secrets, which makes it very easy to play through. On the plus side the layout isn't bad. The motif of cubbyhole-items was a nice change of pace and the visuals were alright too - seemed a bit E1 to begin with. I did quite like the nested secret, as well as the secret nukage tunnel that leads back to an earlier part of the level. It's a good use of interconnectivity!
MAP03 looked alright, although the starting outer area walls could benefit from not being COMPSPAN and instead be some sort of bricks. My main complaint with this level is that all of the monster closets and opening walls are given away obviously on the automap and often with the texture alignment too. Made things very predictable. The SSG wasn't really much of a secret IMO and it would have probably been better off in the middle of the room where the Mancubi ambush you (preferably in the enclosed but where the supplies to trigger the ambush currently are). Monster placement might benefit from being less symmetrical as well
MAP04 seems like a break from the style of the others, as it's just one long, unexciting corridor packed with monsters. Visually it's more impressive than all that's come before, but the layout really lets it down. The traps are reasonably well executed, but the only interesting fight is the one where the Arch-Vile can join in with the Hell Knights and Baron of Hell after killing (yet another) horde of zombies. In a pistol start getting the SSG earlier might be nicer, as it was pretty much my default weapon for the map.
MAP05 looked nice and played pretty well (albeit quite easy). The only downsides were the switch with the DOORBLUE bars on either side (how are we meant to know to press it without looking at the automap in ZDoom?) and the "red" key card door, which is actually a blue key door. Managed to not find some of the monsters near the end, with the invisibility part remaining untouched for me. Had no idea what to do after pressing the computers and killing the Archie, so I just went for the exit (which rather overstocks you for a fight with a cyberdemon, I thought).
MAP06 is a completely different .WAD to the others. It looks pretty good, but outright confused me. First of all, why did I get instantly killed for skirting the lava pits? Surely I should at least actually fall in before dying? Secondly, where were 500 of the monsters? I managed to beat the map with a lot of save/die/loading (those cyberdemons seemed to fill the available space a bit too well for my liking), but somehow managed to avoid fighting 500 of the monsters, getting a kill count of around 380. Kind of glad I did though, as those that I did fight seemed like an ample challenge to me... Perhaps it's a ZDoom issue? I don't know.
All in all, I quite liked the first 3 maps and MAP05. MAP04 is a very dull idea that I've played too many times to count and MAP06 didn't quite seem to work right.
Outpost 3J was incredibly easy - definitely the clear MAP01 at the moment. The secret SSG was massively unnecessary, but well implemented. The map looks very nice and has a reasonable layout for a short, simple, easy map.
Also, why does Sewage Processing have a seperate link up from the one in the Alpha? At first glance the map has no clear differences?
The Prisoner is actually just a pretty damn good map! Felt rather Evilution and if I was looking for things to whinge about, I'd say that the monster closet door sides could use a bit of work (change to a door-track or support texture and check "lower-unpregged") and the majority of the monsters do seem to always be in front of you, making quite easy to pick and choose your battles, as well as allowing the player lots of breathing room. A bit too room-door-room, if you will.
Last edited by Phobus on Apr 28 2012 at 12:03