Plasmaplant (plasmap.zip) is now on /idgames

If you ever played any of my Cabal maps, Master Levels, or found a thing or two you liked about Eternal Doom - give this a shot.

EDIT: Updated version was just uploaded to /idgames, featuring fixes and improvements, a new monster and a classic Doom midi imbedded (E1M3), to lose those D_RUNNIN woes.

plasmap.zip link:
http://doomworld.com/idgames/?file=levels/doom2/Ports/p-r/plasmap.zip

Review:
http://onemandoom.blogspot.no/2014/06/plasmaplant-plasmapwad.html

UV playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaQtVINH7dk

HMP playthrough, partial:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEKYiihuqaI

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This was a very creative map, I liked it. Great atmosphere, my only nitpicks would be the use of stealth monsters and lack of custom music.

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Lack of music? Did that MM2 track get removed?

Anyway, I'll give this another go sometime this week.

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Wow this is a dickish map. I'm about halfway through and it's been constant ambushes and traps. Looks great and certainly well designed but I need a break for a bit, even on HMP. I'll have to check out UV after just to see how much more painful it gets!

I agree that it should have some different music, even if you want no music then set it that way! One of the quieter tracks from Doom 1 might work, I don't know.

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Finished it. Very good overall, the 2nd half was much more fun with the varied architecture and gameplay setups, the first half was spent mostly wandering around blue caverns looking for supplies and trying to avoid surprises. Not a huge fan of the ending though. Visually it's quite unique, really has a distinct feel, quite excellent. The only thing I didn't like too much were the orange flames in the AV pits, they looked a bit cartoony compared to the rest. Just a nitpick.

Hope we see some more Soundblock levels in the near future!

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You're Sverre right? That's cool! I see this is a boom format map (with I'm guessing zdoom extended nodes?) and jumping/crouching/freelook should be disabled, so I tried recompiling the textures/flats to make it compatible with prboom-plus but I'm guessing some flats are used on walls and some textures are used on flats? Nothing against zdoom, but I think this map could also be compatible with non-zdoom ports.

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TimeOfDeath said:

You're Sverre right? That's cool! I see this is a boom format map (with I'm guessing zdoom extended nodes?) and jumping/crouching/freelook should be disabled, so I tried recompiling the textures/flats to make it compatible with prboom-plus but I'm guessing some flats are used on walls and some textures are used on flats? Nothing against zdoom, but I think this map could also be compatible with non-zdoom ports.


Hello. Sverre I be.

Yeah, there are non-64x64 on floors and ceilings in this one, so a Boom version would require some careful search-replace (and subsequently slight degrading of visuals - but, perhaps, less slimage as well?)

I might put a Boom version out I guess, but I really try to avoid diverging versions. Twice the upkeep. I've got a short list of non-critical issues that could go into a v1.1 patch. If I'm not out of steam when that happens, I could post a Boom version. Right now, other things are in my Doom queue.

The map's jump secure, so you can jump and duck as much as you want. Not that I recommend it, but as far as I know, nothing breaks for doing so - no huge nuke pits to hop out of here. ;] Jumping opens up a couple of optional shortcuts. Its more linear to play without jumping, but I do prefer it.

The map's not had any particular nodebuilder ran on it, so since its built for ZDOOM, the auto-builder takes over from there.

If you need a suitable flat name to search-replace weed-out for you Boom testing needs, I suggest "3dem1_5" from the resource wad.

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Making / posting / authorizing a Boom version would likely expand your audience and get you some cool demos to watch. I don't really care, myself. I use ZDoom for most of my playing needs.

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Personally, I wouldn't bother make another version if I were you, Sverre. I find it immensely annoying that people can't figure out how to download and "install" a FREE sourceport so they can play whatever gets released. Sure, use your favourite sourceport most of the time, but don't complain that a given level isn't compatible with it. It's not our job as level designers to make a version of our levels to every kind of sourceport available. And this is especially because sourceports aren't that difficult to download and install. They're small and free. It's not like you have paid for them and that gives you certain privileges. I'm not targeting someone specific here and I guess this rant shouldn't be in your thread, Sverre. I just had to say it, it's been bottled up for too long.

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There's a trend I've noticed of some people having a bias against ZDoom, for whatever reason. I think it's because many ZDoom maps go over the top in extra features, detracting from the "core doom experience" if you will, and ZDoom offers a lot of options for gameplay changes that likewise change things, even though it can also come extremely close to vanilla behaviour if you set it as such. It's too bad because though there are many "overly ZDoom-y" wads, there are also a lot of good maps that use the added features sparingly, that just seem to get less interest than a Boom map would.

Normally I like to advocate for using the lowest level of compatibility for anything, and for a wad that didn't really use any ZDoom features apart from convenience ones I'd suggest going to Boom. But between the shadow enemies and flat usage I think it might be more trouble than it would be worth.

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Well said, Chris. I'd like to add that mappers are also under no obligation to design maps people can beat on their FDA at UV.

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plums said:

There's a trend I've noticed of some people having a bias against ZDoom, for whatever reason.


I used to be anti-ZDoom, but I got over it. As a sourceport, I use GZDoom almost as much as Risen3D. The advantages of Risen3D, IMO, are that it's better-looking and feels very smooth and fast owing to its uncapped frame rate. The advantages of GZDoom come down mainly to its monster and secret counters. The advantage of regular ZDoom to me is the software rendering, which is good at detecting VPOs, HOMs and texture bleeding that do not appear in GL ports.

That said, my main gripe about ZDoom maps is that so often they feature silly messages in microscopic fonts that I cannot read even if they didn't disappear in a fraction of a second. That's about all, really, but it's intensely irritating whenever it's encountered. However, the potential in GZDoom mapping is incredible and is something I want to try someday, based on some of the more spectacular things I've seen recently.

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SteveD said:

Well said, Chris. I'd like to add that mappers are also under no obligation to design maps people can beat on their FDA at UV.


Right you are! Thanks for reminding us, that we have to take every skill level of every possible Doomer out there into consideration, when we're actually just creating a level that's supposed to reach out to the casual players, and not just a select few, elite slaugthermap fans...

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Of course I bother - I take pride in my work, imperfect and limited in audience as it may be. I do try, and always have tried, to make maps I'd want to play myself, but my preferences do wander, and completing a long mapping journey usually sates my thirst in that general direction of level design. Though playfully simple in layout, Plasmaplant turned into a behemoth of a map - taking me about two hours to play through, so now I'm instead making more manageable bytesize stuff, and having fun while building for that style. Playing through the 300 lines project only fanned my fires further in that direction.

As to the compatibility debate - the safest bet is of course to map for the original exes, like pcorf did for Zone300, with their inherit limitations. It gets politicky, after that and I don't think anyone has an answer that will suit everyone. BOOM's the biggest Doom-source baby I guess, but I'm most familiar with ZDOOM at the moment, so I'll stay in that lane for a while, to keep momentum. Planning to give GZDOOM a second look, but I'm not "looking for a place to pull over" right now. Supporting jumping and ducking while mapping does complicate things, but it helps me to think of it in a Deus Ex style mindframe, opening multiple solutions through a map, however modest the differences may be to others - some players will jump, others will rely on just the tools provided by the original game. I think each approach is fine, but my heart is mostly in the old school camp. I have to go with what works though, and Boom-wise, my maps simply aren't working these days. That's not because Boom is broken (it isn't), but because I'm doing what I always do when mapping for Doom - trying out new stuff - and some of that new stuff ended up working ok in zdoom, and not in boom (np.wad). At the end of the day, I'm getting to explore some design conundrums I've yet to tackle, and that felt, and still feels, great.

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Well keep in mind chances are incredibly high that you won't have any FDAs at all when it comes to requirement of zdoom.

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Ragnor said:

Lack of music? Did that MM2 track get removed?


Sorry that I didn't comment about this before - music is always a big part of the experience. Yeah, I took the piece out. If anyone has Mark Klem's contact info, please private-message it to me on here, and I'll drop him a line about whether its ok to use it. Call me strange, but I felt bad about putting his music in the final map, without his expressed permission. Its the best track from MM2 IMO, the sequel to one of my favorite Doom-experiences ever, one that taught me much about the depths of Doom level design - lessons that I'm still enjoying.

Btw - I'm not ashamed to admit that neither Google nor the Doom wiki will tell me what you guys take "FDA" to mean. I have a vivid imagination, so feel free to stop me on this particular point.

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Soundblock said:

what you guys take "FDA" to mean. I have a vivid imagination, so feel free to stop me on this particular point.

"First Demo Attempt" -- it's a relatively recent trend over here (oldest threads in the Wads & Mods and Speed Demos forums where this term appear are dated 2009) which was imported from the Russian Doom community.

The idea is that you record your first attempt at playing the map or map set; without any foreknowledge of the map's layout, difficulty, traps, encounters, secrets, etc.

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Gez said:

"First Demo Attempt" -- it's a relatively recent trend over here (oldest threads in the Wads & Mods and Speed Demos forums where this term appear are dated 2009) which was imported from the Russian Doom community.

The idea is that you record your first attempt at playing the map or map set; without any foreknowledge of the map's layout, difficulty, traps, encounters, secrets, etc.


That's a great way to record first impressions, which generally are the most valuable...

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There are actually FDAs dated 2001. Opulent recorded some when he was testing the old development version of Plutonia 2 and they are still available on their FTP. So it's quite an old concept.

The idea was introduced to the Russian community by entryway in 2007 I think. When giving feedback on some newly released level, he posted his first attempt demo, saying that he always records them. It sounded like a cool thing so some people started to do the same, then the First Demo Contest was born, then Hitherto and Heretic started posting FDAs here, etc.

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Soundblock said:

If anyone has Mark Klem's contact info, please private-message it to me on here, and I'll drop him a line about whether its ok to use it.


There are a few Mark Klem wads with the following written in the Copyright/Permission section:

Also, you may freely use the music contained in any MK WAD, provided that you give me credit for writing it. Thanks.
Same goes for the sound effects and any graphics.


If you specifically want to contact him anyhow, he was on Doom Radio fairly recently so I assume he's not hard to track down.

BTW I've started using a stable version of ZDoom for FDAs, it's not too hard to get demos if people make the effort to record them. (ZDoom demos must be played back with exactly the same version they were recorded on unfortunately.)

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Chris Hansen said:

Right you are! Thanks for reminding us, that we have to take every skill level of every possible Doomer out there into consideration, when we're actually just creating a level that's supposed to reach out to the casual players, and not just a select few, elite slaugthermap fans...


Seems to me you're making the opposite point. "Elite slaughtermap fans" only need one difficulty, UV, and they shouldn't mind if they can't beat a level on their first try. There's two more difficulty levels to accomodate other Doomers.

It's really not hard to make a wad where UV is very hard, HMP is normal and HNTR is very easy. But instead, what we see most of the time in "casual" wads is mappers neglecting Doomers at the "higher" end of the skill curve by making UV normal, HMP easy and HNTR very easy.

(I'm being nice; most of the time UV is very easy, and the two other difficulties didn't get any real balancing, because "everyone plays UV".)

As a mapper you're entitled to make a wad as hard or as easy as you wish, and as restrictive when it comes to compatibility as you want. As a player you're entitled to skip a wad too hard or too easy for you, or using something other than your favorite port.

I don't see what's the big fuss, personally as a mapper (not that I map all that much lately, but hey) I'd rather have people popping out to tell me "hey, I'd have liked to play this but I have this particular issue with it" than complete silence. Shows there's interest.

Of course, for anyone who likes Doom "casually" enough tight gameplay balance isn't a concern, and if that person also uses ZDoom as their favorite port, most of all wads ever released will work for them. In that situation, no doubt it can be attractive to be an egocentric asshole and argue anyone with different tastes is just a dumb, whiny, lazy gamer with rude and unreasonable demands... "If *I* don't have a problem, nobody else can possibly be having that problem".

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I hope that track is put back in. That music was a BIG part of the feel of playing the beta and helped keep me in the mood to keep on going under all that insane difficulty.

I still have to find time for this finished version, always busy at this time of year :(

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Hei og hallo, Sverre! :)

I sincerely enjoyed your Eternal Doom maps, and I think the Eternal Doom status bar is one of the coolest pieces of "paintings" that I have ever seen. :)

I am currently playing this map, and I agree that it has some harsh tricks. That aside, it's fun and engaging and it has me compelled to declare victory over it.

I wanted to chime in on the Boom debate, primarily. I think Boom is absolute trash. The mouse response is missing a butt cheek, and the collision detection is an absolute joke. Just the other day, I was watching a Youtube video of some Doom Pwad run, and this poor dude fired 5 SG blasts, on a freaking Imp.

F Boom, IMO.

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This map is definitely different. It reminds me of Eternal in the sense that my main memories of that mapset are -- very impressive work, but, "What do I do now, ma?" As in, what am I doing, where am I going, and how do I get there? Confusion reigns supreme. ;D

The blue section is very beautiful. It reminds me of the alien section of Star Trek Voyager:Elite Force, one of the few FPSes other than Doom that I actually enjoy. Even the oddly organic walls with the circular holes in them call that game to mind -- for no specific, valid reason so far as my memory of the actual game goes. ;D

Allow me to say that I haven't finished this map yet. I started on UV and was killed after wandering a bit in the blue area. I consulted the monster counter and saw that I had 795 enemies to kill, whereupon I dropped to HNTR since I felt that the way the game was flowing, 795 enemies would be too grindy for me in layouts like this, because although the map is a bit peculiar, it seems to lean more to traditional layout than slaughter layout. Therefore, my prediction was that 795 enemies would not come to me in massive swarms allowing me to create infighting through ring-around-the-rosie tactics, and instead I'd have to bash through a variety of setpieces, minor skirmishes and other traditional types of combat. 460 monsters seemed more appropriate to me in that case.

I'll agree with plums that much was aggravating -- the stealth monsters especially, plus the constant teleporting-in of more monsters shooting at you from behind walls, so they keep coming almost as fast as you can kill them. Then there's the Archie in the wall in a kind of modified guardshack, and GZDoom simply would not target the little jagoff. I wasted ammo trying to kill that thing. Then there was the issue of going into the blue area, killing stuff, then running back to the armory to replenish heath and ammo -- again and again and again. Backtrack after backtrack. I really felt pinned in that area and was praying for a way to simply move forward, but the one obvious route was guarded by well-placed Arachnotrons that I had to kill first, and then I was mired in combat with teleporting (?) stealth Imps. I did finally die in a room almost pitch black with tons of candles and all kinds of pyramids to run up and down. I'll admit that a more skilled player could attack these areas more aggressively, but the darkness caused a lot of disorientation and the stealth enemies meant I could never be sure what I was really up against, so I abandoned my usual kamikaze tactics in favor of caution.

So for me the gameplay is not really compelling, yet I still enjoy the map and plan to finish it. Where it succeeds is in atmosphere. This is a beautiful and spooky map, expertly constructed. It seems to be something of a singular vision, and I admire that. The blue area's construction also promotes a fair number of roaming monsters -- I was constantly menaced by Cacos and Zombieboys stumbling in from some previously unknown quadrant after I thought I had killed everything, and I like that. It keeps me sweating. ;D

So thanks for a massive and difficult map -- even on HNTR! -- that is oozing atmosphere, in some cases for the very things I don't like (stealth monsters). ;D I will try to finish it this weekend. I anticipate significant pain . . .

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pro:

- extremely pretty, the automap especially. I'm a sucker for organic curves, as well as the mixture of void and bright colors. The mid-texture usage is interesting and creates a pretty cool beehive looking environment.
- the last area with the fast scrolling floors is very striking visually, an impressive concept that I don't think I've seen before.
- I like how you get to later visit some of the "cubbies" in the first area that contained monsters shooting at you through holes. Interconnection and revisiting areas from a different angle is always a plus for me.
- that compblue piano deserves special mention :)

con:

- stealth monsters, fuck them to hell. Way too annoying.
- the first curvy blue area is very flat and disorienting. Took me forever to figure out the switch-hunt (until I noticed there are numbers drawn on the automap). Area would benefit from some height variation to mix up the gameplay, and perhaps some visual landmarks to make it easier to navigate.
- strange monster closet layout, I guess it's sort of the map's gimmick but having constant random ambushes for doing nothing seemingly important started feeling old after awhile.



So yah I guess I kind of echo the thoughts others have had: The atmosphere and detailing is superb, but I personally didn't find the gameplay as enjoyable.


edit: @ discussion of ports and whatever:

I say map for whatever you want, if someone is going to purposefully avoid the map because it's not designed for their favorite port then fuck em. In theory providing a compelling enough description and/or screenshots should be enough to sway those who are inconvenienced by it. Want demos? map for boom. want it to run on a vic-20? map for vanilla. advanced features / don't-give-a-shit? map for zdoom. super-extra-don't-give-a-shit? map for zandro or whatever. As long as you specify what you tested in then it's all good imo.

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Soundblock said:

...or found a thing or two you liked about Eternal Doom...

What didn't I like about Eternal Doom! I am gonna definitely try this wad out right now!

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Recap since my last post:
- The HUD: I had to give that old horse a kick in the butt again, just to see it in action again. Pushing some new pixels these days (there should be room for a third beholder in Doom - right?), so it helped giving the GUI (my old "best" in the pixelart department, I reckon) a fresh look first.
- On the use of stealth monsters: There aren't any stealthies placed in the section with remote lights only - what pops out of the dark there is strictly speaking hidden by the dark. I guess a zombiesoldier might wander in there if you shook the level up the right way, but I haven't had that happen in the manymany playthroughs. Stealth revvies pretty much have to be dealt with immediately so rarely wander, and I only use them as close vicinity ambushes, to keep the follow-up retreat for cover a bit more disorienting. Agreed, they're tough as nails, perhaps more jump-scare (Event Horizon) than tactically challenging (Aliens), but I enjoy the "wait for them to pop-up triggerhair moments" - and the level's thought of as "a last map". Stealth old after a while I guess - I'm definetely going scarcer on my use of steathies in any future maps, but I still think it was fun mapping around them, if only for one map. Other than the mentioned steathies, they're only placed as static item/portal guardians and marked thematically, so these ones shouldn't be too hard to deal with. I recognise the stealthies get a lot of discrimination, and perhaps rightly so - there's something airtight about a map free of stealthies that the opposite don't have. Stealth cacos and stealth demons (spectres? duh?) are an insult to demonity though. Until I can find a fun way to implement them anyway. ;)
- The large return-to ammo-depot at start: A purposeful design that I think is a major point that sets the map apart from other levels, in the by now very crowded Doom design space. Without this feature; no plasmaplant - it was the gensesis of the first few lines to pulse back and forth into the starting space. Maybe one time too many, but that's the stuff you find out once the map's crystallised and no longer majorly mallable.
- About the lack of verticality: This was a tradeoff I knowingly made to 1) get the lighting curves I was looking for and 2) to minimise the need for freelook, which IMO warps the graphics slightly and in the long run ends up hurting my old mouse-strained hand. Call it a map catering to the blurry-eyed and battlescarred - I am feeling my age slightly and making amends. The many similar, though all uniquely lit semi-paralell pathways still has me looking for unique markers to remember them by when I play it (still trying for a UV demo run - damn that blue key cybo) - but I think the source chamber, or core is enough of a landmark, whoe direction is always readily avaiable, unless you're tip-toeing into the deep ends.
- On constant ambushes: I may have overplayed my old "re-stock the map on re-entry, perhaps even on re-re-entry" formula (someone paid me a hearty compliment about this once, and it stuck - perhaps it did more damage than good? ;-), but I really wanted the map to act unpredictably in the encounters section. The map can make me jump even though I built it, which I'm not sure is a good thing, but its what I set out to try from the start, so I guess this was a "build the road as you walk it" approach that didn't take me exactly where I wanted, but ended up being a still enjoyable learning experience about when things go too far, or get very close to going too far. The "unpredictability tension" didn't couple too well with the marathon-length of the map, would be my closest attempt at a conclusion on that point. I prefer maps to be completable in one sitting.
- Summa summarum: I totally appreciate time taking out of to check the map out. Apologies to any affronts afflicted, perhaps due to wildly different tastes in playstyle? Its a bit of a system reboot of a level for me, not having done any levels in a few years. Any follow-ups are bound to be more unclogged, though hopefully still signature Crani.. uh.. I mean Soundblock.

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Soundblock said:

Recap since my last post:
- The HUD: I had to give that old horse a kick in the butt again, just to see it in action again. Pushing some new pixels these days (there should be room for a third beholder in Doom - right?)

I might have to trade inthe BFG to get it working in the wad format (it fires a miniature BFG shot)

If you're still targeting ZDoom ports, you do not need to trade in or sacrifice anything. It's perfectly possible to have both monsters and player weapons using BFG shots.

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Gez said:

If you're still targeting ZDoom ports, you do not need to trade in or sacrifice anything. It's perfectly possible to have both monsters and player weapons using BFG shots.


I want to modify the BFG missile-sprite though, to about 50-75% of its original size for the Cluster-attack. So I basically want to create a brand new missile-type, graphically similar to the existing BFG-ball, but smaller. The current sprite (BFS1A0) is too wide for a caco-sized monster to convincingly spit, IMO. Besides, monsters can't reproduce the radiation damage-trace effect of the player's BFG function, if I remember correctly?

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You don't need to replace the existing BFG projectile sprites, though. Your new projectile can perfectly well use new sprite names.

As for the tracers, it's actually possible, but it's not really a good idea for a monster.

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