Saturday, May 30, 2015

Master Levels and Speculation

John Romero released a boatload of dev shit for Doom and Doom II, furthering the already intimate understandings of Doom's development history into previously uncharted depths. A lot of this stuff is tangentially interesting to me, but I'm not someone to go gaga over the pornographic details of how Doom was made unless it turns up something Not Yet Seen, like those art assets. One of the things uncovered during this asset dump is a file that contains at the very least this list of .WAD and .TXT names, which shows an inarguable connection to the Master Levels For Doom II.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Quake: Descent into Heresy (QUAKE-DIH_1.PK3)

by "osjclatchford"

Do you love Quake? Do you like Heretic? Then do I have a mod for you! Descent Into Heresy is an unusual combo for the ZDoom engine that will no doubt have some players rattling their chains due to the mixture of fantasy and... Quake. The flipside is that people inured to the mixture of Gothic horror / fantasy and gunpowder are probably more ready to accept a mod that throws shotguns in Heretic than the Hexen crowd was at the genesis of The Ranger. This rev of the mod was stamped mid 2015, and in some aspects, it brings the gunplay of Quake to the world of Parthoris.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

not so stealth update

Nebula 95 now has its own series page, which is something I've been meaning to do since, like, March, but it got bogged down in a really long essay on the pathetic "elitism" vs. "rugged individualism" slapfight that I see going on in the community, which i have since cut out. It was a "stealth update" because, uh, that's how I've handled all the Serial Killing features so far. Heck, i don't even know how many people know that the feature even exists!

Serial Killing is one of the features on the blog, which really means that I should be featuring them whenever they're written instead of sneakily inserting them at the day after the last review for the series was posted, but there are many things about this site that I am uncoordinated with. I guess this is my attempt to do these articles justice since they constitute some of the least-trafficked areas of the blog. Serial Killing is a very not politically correct title, and it still feels a little gross having it there, because I find nothing glamorous about its namesake. I am strongly considering changing the name of the feature to "Super Serials" as I am writing this.

anyway, regardless of the name of the feature, it had its genesis in the Master Levels For Doom II article. one of the things I did was do exhaustive playthroughs of all the surrounding material, which included several different series - Titan, Inferno, and Cabal. at some point I foolishly thought that it would be pretty cool to build posts similar to my multi-map reviews for the "collected" series. in fact, I didn't have the infobox style in place at the time. after "borrowing" it from andy olivera's Visions of Doom page, i tweaked the format and tested it out in the series pages and then, on recommendation, reformatted the rest of the site reviews using it.

another thing I started doing like a few years ago but never really knuckled down to finish was something similar to the series feature but geared more toward authors, like a career retrospective. i still have the Christen David Klie article bouncing around in my drafts. I've also had a bunch of other feature ideas kicking around, but the only one that's made it was the hastily slapped-together Maximum Doom article.

in any case, if you didn't know about the series features before, I hope you'll give them a read! they were fun to write, and i hope they're at least fun to read, if not informative.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

KZDOOM6: Hidden Valley of the Aliens (KZDOOM6.WAD)


by Kurt Kesler

Boom appealed to Doom PWAD authors with several advanced features, like BEX, custom color maps, silent teleporters, and "limit removal". Kesler was one of many mappers that experimented with TNT's engine when it became available, producing his KBOOM series of maps in 1998. It was only natural that when the ZDoom engine came along with several more advancements, chief among them ACS scripting a la Hexen, Kesler would try it out, too. KZDOOM6 is the penultimate entry in the self-explanatory KZDOOM series, a MAP01 replacement released in 2000. While the valley setting is pretty much a commonality of his later works, the brick and mortar structures built into the landscape are not.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dimensions of Time (DOT.WAD)

Matt Tropiano is making Hell of cool maps for major projects like The Adventures of Square and Back to Saturn X. Back in 1998, though, he was a thirteen-year-old who loved Doom so much that he made his own megaWAD. Dimensions of Time is a full replacement for Doom II that's a little challenging to bite into as an experienced player; more on that, later. It's oft-cited as one of the unsung heroes of 1998. I disagree, but I can see where a lot of the appeal comes from. More than anything, I'm impressed that the author is still trucking along and doing stuff like Coffee Break Part 1 and Forsaken Overlook.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Phocas Island (PHOCAS.WAD)

by Chris "Chopkinsca" Hopkins

Chris Hopkins was something of a Doom community fixture in the mid-2000s, though he's still around. While he's most famous for Phocas Island 2, his crown jewel had to come from somewhere. To wit, Phocas Island. Released in 2004, it's a very large single level for ZDoom, occupying the MAP01 slot. The plot is pretty simple, considering that it's a location-driven story. And, well, it's not much of a story! You're shipwrecked on an island, which you quickly find out is populated by demons and their ilk. Are you prepared to clean the island out in your attempt to find a possible means of escape?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dark Covenant (DARKCVNT.WAD)

Dark Covenant is a PWAD I've seen bandied about as one of the lost classics of 1996. It's a twelve-map episode for Doom II, released by one Keith Phipps. DARKCVNT has no real story, but it kind of runs as an analogue to Doom II's main story. The player wakes up in his or her house, only to find that demons and zombies are everywhere. It's a mad trek through sewers, a ruined city, and caverns, eventually ending up at a UAC facility that takes you to Hell and back again before reaching one of those world ships that the Hellspawn were holding hostage.... It never really occurred to me how ridiculous it was that Hell was holding the Earth's escape fleets hostage with a single button. I mean, it's obviously their rules since they're warping reality, so maybe the device in "Circle of Death" is some kind of Hellish warp interdictor.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Hoover Dam (HOOVER.WAD)

by Michael Reed

Early Doom authors often looked without for inspiration as much as they looked within. For every slavish reinterpretation of Knee Deep in the Dead, you had people making their own houses, work places, etc.. Michael Reed went big with this one, building his level after the Hoover Dam, on the borders of Arizona and Nevada perched upon the Colorado River. It's a pretty big MAP01 replacement for Doom II, published in 1995. The thrust is that the demonspawn have given to Eco terrorism, infesting the Dam facilities with the intent to bust it wide-ass open. You who are filled with nationalistic pride must confront the insurgents and reclaim... a reclamation structure.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

KZDOOM5: The Evil Place (KZDOOM5.WAD)

by Kurt Kesler

If you're looking for Kurt Kesler's vanilla levels, they're all collected in KMEGA1. His Boom maps weren't, but they're neatly organized as the KBOOM series. There are also a few limit-removing maps as the short-lived KHILLS series, an attempt at source port agnostic levels from when Kesler got badgered into briefly abandoning Boom. They must have wailed during his final run of PWADs, since the KZDOOM series is even more selective than Boom insofar as what maps made for it will run in. KZDOOM5 aka "The Evil Place" is something of a return to form after KZDOOM4. The previous map was a brick and wood castle theme that Kesler rarely played with as he found it difficult to get in to. This one is a big ass industrial complex set in a giant lake of slag.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Escape From Natas (EFN.WAD)

First, there was Escape From Phobos, where Snake Plisskin awoke in the throes of an alien invasion of Mars, tasked by one John Carmack to come to Deimos and rescue him. Then there was Escape From Deimos, where Snake reached Carmack's research complex only after he had been undone by his own horrific discoveries. And now, Escape From Natas. The finale to Snake's extraterrestrial adventures bears more resemblance to EFD; released in 1997, almost all the action is contained in MAP01, with a brief adventure in MAP02 to serve as the true culmination of the player's efforts.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Escape From Deimos (EFD.WAD)

by Chris Christenson
and Nicol Jarvie

Escape From Deimos is the second in a trilogy of works by Chris Christenson (with help from Nicol Jarvie) that are supposed to take place roughly concurrently with the events of Doom. The protagonist of this exercise, however, is none other than Snake Plisskin, hence the title. Rather than a minisode of sorts for this second entry, Christenson restricted himself to a single map, this one also for Doom II and also released in 1997. In Phobos, Snake was released from suspended animation in a desperate bid by the Deimos project coordinator, one John Carmack. In Deimos, Carmack suffers a violent death off camera, with your actions after finding his corpse documented in the followup, Escape From Natas, where the rest of this story's assertions are made.