The Heretic Project (Quest Name Pending)
@Cuppykeks I felt like playing through Incision of the Voice again. One thing I forgot to mention before -- really awesome doomcute, especially that boat. Posting a couple texturing errors I found this time around, with screenshots below.
There's a HOM here, on the lip of the wooden ceiling.
Misaligned texture here near the start.
Misalignment (near the blue key room).
Minor issue here, but it looks like some of those brown block textures on the beam that juts out should be wood textures as well? (This is in the phoenix rod room.)
This last screenshot is not an error, but I just wanted to mention that this area looks amazing, especially with the dark tree/vine textures against the red sky. Makes me kind of wish for a forest-themed map that capitalizes on that aesthetic.
(Btw, the resource balance on my first map is where it should be now, I think, so an updated version should be ready soon. I'm also making progress on my crypt map, which will most likely be ready by next weekend or soon after.)
Thank you I've fixed them! I'll go ahead and share the next version: SCT_IncisionofTheVoiceV2.wad
Just small adjustments and fixes, even added additional detail to that boat. Didn't change the large stairs much besides adding sectors that might catch the player in a fall, and I've decided to stick to my guns on the final fight. I'll keep in mind that aesthetic if it comes up for a "Phase 2" map in the red sky slots.
Here's an update to my map with the texture oversights fixed, some more detailing and openable chests added, a few dangerous enemies added to certain locations, and the resource excess cut down to encourage more scavenging and exploration for the first half of the map. fd_citadelv4.WAD For anyone testing, no pressure to record a demo if you want to use saves, as this is a longer map.
@Cuppykeks Played through the most recent version of Incision of the Voice, and it looked great! Nice additions to the boat. I almost had a full demo for you too, though I died at the end by accidentally telefragging a gasbag. (Here's the demo, though, in case it might be useful iotv2_fd.lmp .) I still think the number of gasbags in the final fight is too much (I tried out the fight with half the gasbag generators, and it seemed more fun and less random to me that way, FWIW). Hopefully we can get more people to playtest this and the other maps before we release the first episode.
@Fiendish Played the latest version of your map! Demo: fd_citadelv4_2.lmp Died once, but beat the map the second time. Hope it doesn't desync this time (I theorize it did last time due to me alt-tabbing after that first death). I stare at the green leaves for a while early on because I was waiting for ShareX to take a screenshot of the vines bleeding into the floor:
screenshot doesn't get the angle though
The text box get blocked by her head a bit, maybe it could be moved upwards if that feels right.
About the map's gameplay I enjoyed it greatly this time and I'm hoping if the demo plays to its conclusion that it'll give you greater insight on how you might want to adjust the balance. In my second playthrough I was overflowing with time bombs in particular, if you think that should be changed.
I enjoyed the new hellstaff secret and the backpack that replaced it. I do kind of miss the wings of wrath being where it used to be if there is still one you can get before the blue key, since I thought it was a good tease but I guess the greater ease of transportation takes away from that desire. I really enjoyed the amount of chests you can open, with great use of the door texture that's much better than it being a door! Again, awesome map and a joy to play!
Thank you for the demo of my map! I noticed that you don't use keys to look up and down as that would helped in particular at the giant staircase part so you could shoot at the monsters up above before making your way across. I'll try out halving the gasbags and see how it feels to me, but yeah having more playtesters would help and maybe I could even have a trigger to unlock the other half of the gasbags as well as a trigger to shut them down or instead.
Kind of a stream of consciousness write-up sorry but anyway with the help of reference art I've started on a map I hope to be more slower paced and puzzling. Still don't know exactly how the layout will be but here's a picture
@Cuppykeks Thank you for the demo and feedback! Glad to hear that you enjoyed it! The demo didn't desync this time, btw, and yes I do need to bind look up/down in Crispy. Here's a minor update to my map. (Just fixed the bleeding foliage and text textures, reduced the number of time bombs a bit, obscured the ring secret a bit more, and put the wings secret back in but made it somewhat harder to find.) fd_citadelv5
Making the gasbag generators openable/closable on your map seems like an interesting idea! Also digging the screenshot for the E2 map, especially the waterfall placement and dark pointed windows. It'll be good to have some slower paced maps to vary up the wad.
Here's another map for this. I'm still working on the aesthetics of some sections, but it's ready for feedback on the gameplay. It's a moody ~10-12 minute crypt-themed map. No difficulty settings yet.
I'm thinking about trimming down some of the rooms and monsters around of the green key to shorten the map a bit. But let me know what you think, and thanks in advance!
Please find attached my submission, I call it Furnace; [kvsari]_furnace_v1.wad
Please let me know what you think.
@kvsari Very cool map! Excellent job creating an immersive setting. The combat encounters were also well crafted. I liked having so many time bombs, especially together with the presence of sharp corners, which allowed for plenty of tactical opportunities. In general, I appreciated the liberal and intentional usage of items throughout the map. Favorite fights were the one after the first gate and the green key fight.
Here are some demos on Crispy Heretic. furnace_fd4.lmp furnace_fd3.lmp furnace_fd2.lmp furnace_fd1.lmp I ran into softlocks quite a few times and so gave up trying to record an FDA, and finished the map in DSDA-doom using the rewind function to get out of any softlocks. One of the demos ended abruptly due to Crispy crashing as I tried to use a tome (not sure why it does that sometimes).
The biggest issue I found was the aforementioned softlocks. They all occurred around the same area, with pits of enemies that are supposed to rise up later on. The problem is that it's possible to fall into them before triggering them to rise. (However, even if they are triggered to rise, it is almost as bad to fall into them and get stuck in a monster as it's still rising, as I did on the first recording). You could make some of these pits into regular teleport ambushes, or make sure that they trigger before the player can reach them. In any case, I'd also suggest bringing them up to a height that the player can walk over the monsters' heads just in case.
Again, the enemy placement was really well done throughout. I do have a few nitpicks, though. Overall, I found there to be way more health than necessary. I never really felt in much danger, other than when pushing gasbags around, because at any given time I was stacked with quartz flasks and knew there were lines of crystal vials lying around nearby if needed. I'd suggest cutting back on the amount of health pickups, at least for skill 4.
Second, I wasn't a fan of the maulotaurs at the end of the map, as it felt tedious to have to kill four of them, especially after having just gotten through 600 enemies over the course of the past 25 minutes or so. I felt the disciple swarm would have been a good finisher (or heck, even the big battle before entering the blue portal). Thankfully, it wasn't difficult to hit the switches to exit and walk past the maulotaurs, but IMO the map would be stronger without the maulotaurs in the first place.
Two more minor things: you might consider giving the dragonclaw earlier, as it did begin to grind a bit being stuck with the crossbow for so long. The phoenix rod definitely came at a good time and helped, but by the time I got the dragonclaw, I had pretty much no reason to use it rather than the hellstaff/phoenix rod. Why not hand it out earlier? Second, the two turret ghost undead warriors outside of the building that houses the green key seemed a bit unnecessary, as they never really posed a threat and were too big to exit their rooms when the wall opened behind them later on.
Aesthetically, the map had a strong, coherent theme, with some ending areas that provided an appreciated contrast. Really nice use of curves. However, you might consider breaking up the lavafall-textured walls that surround the boundaries of the map (using metal pillars, for example). I suspect that would help make the aesthetic pop more and make it less monotonous, especially around the beginning portion.
Overall, though, this map was solid and a lot of fun to play! Hope you find this helpful.
Awesome tense crypt diving map with cool effects. The glowing light room was really cool, though I didn't notice the much earlier floor sigil having any effect if it did. I ran out of ammo many times but that might have been because I was being stingy with my inventory items. There may be a discrepancy there though with the non-linear progression so watching the demos should help a lot. Thank you for the map! I didn't notice many visual bugs besides sprites clipping through under the floor like with the exit room sparkles. The cloudy liquid where the gaspod generator was could use a damaging sector too if it's not a bother.
@kvsari I played a bit of your map but I'll have to finish later. First impressions are that the map definitely needs more time in the oven. The wait time from the start waiting to lower is longer than I'd like, and the area looks pretty samey. Besides the issue of gameplay balance and intrigue I wonder if it would be better to widen the gap between the floor and the lava walls, so you would have to stay within otherwise you'll take lava damage. I went inside that fire hole where the waterfall is and was a little disappointed in it not being a damaging sector.
Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately I don't have the time to work much more on this map especially with widening the gap between the lava falls and the floor. I therefore withdraw my submission. Good luck to you all.
@kvsari Thank you I understand. Thank you for your efforts, I greatly appreciated your interest.
@Cuppykeks Thanks for the demos and feedback! The demos are super helpful. The ammo issues I think were due to hanging back when ammo was placed in danger ahead in a lot of cases. Regardless, though, I don't want players to end up resorting to staff/wand usage as much as you did, as I imagine that would feel very grindy. So I'll up the ammo.
You got it for making the sludge damaging, and for the earlier floor sigil to have a similar lighting effect as the ones at the end. I'll also make sure to eliminate any sprite clipping. I do think I'll reduce the size and number of monsters around the green key area too.
Updated the map (titled "The Resurrection"). Did what I mentioned I'd do above, and also added a few more secrets (including a whole new little optional area inside a secret). Btw, the MIDI is "In Tents" by Lee Jackson (from Duke3d). fd_resurrectionv2.wad
In addition, because the default settings on GZDoom look godawful for this map and ruin the atmosphere, I included a MAPINFO that sets the lightmode for this map to look more like software renderer for those who run this on default GZDoom settings. So requesting to include/incorporate the MAPINFO lump in this if you don't mind
Edit: Oops, just realized I forgot to add difficulty settings. I'll make sure to add them in for a final version before the deadline.
SOME REAL CRITIQUE TIME:
I decided to play this map full force and the extra abundance of ammo made it pretty easy to do so. I think I played it pretty efficiently but by the end I had plenty of ammo and just held left-click as I blasted through for the most part. I miss the eggs, and they actually would have come in handy to prevent deaths in the first demo (for crowd control). I actually forgot I had the phoenix rod for the most part after acquiring it as there wasn't much reason to return to using it afterwards. I do feel like there's too much ammo now on that note since I didn't ever use the phoenix rod to deal wider damage to save ammo on the ol' reliable crossbow and dragon claw.
The sigil lighting the floor makes sense knowing what's ahead, but I wonder if players will stay confused by it. Maybe you can glow a sector from away as well to hint a secret area (with an egg if anything)? To give it purpose in the moment, but easily recalled when they re-appear.
I find the area in and around where the gaspods are in particular to be a bit stale as it's just clearing the area of the usual enemies until the path to progression is found. Some spice and variety could do well, maybe an iron lich when you turn the corner before pressing the switch to access the yellow key? I feel that area is lacking in interest. For instance there's not much reason to enter the outdoors outside of picking up an item seen there. Instead of the few monsters on the emptier end of the area there could be a small place to explore there, like a separate crypt or storeroom. Would be a good place to stock some supplies.
The entire secret combat scenario was a bit odd, but it did allow me to restore health through the gauntlets and tome of power. I wondered if it was part of the progression until I remembered you saying you implemented an optional area.
If the map is easy to blast through and there's not that much to explore then without that resource management the map becomes a bit stale and makes it too obvious how a sizable portion of the map is just rooms to battle through with no real stakes. If it wasn't greatly detailed then the areas that don't have anything too interesting about them would be quite bland and reveal themselves to be lacking in the level design department. It'd be nice if the Hellstaff got more use too.
This map feels like it could easily be translated into a Doom map rather than remaining a uniquely Heretic map.
In the optional area I noticed this torch higher than the rest.
Since you've withdrawn your map IDK how interested you are in the feedback but I'll say some anyway. I don't think there's too much health but there are a lot of ethereal arrows once the map opens up the first time. The map was confusing to navigate particularly in the first furnace area where I think the 3 switch sequence was too much. The progression was a bit confusing and the yellow door doesn't seem to open from the other side. I got around the softlock by running into the lava and hitting a teleport pad (which are missing the indicating sparkles) to take to the other side, which makes me question if I could sequence break the map by just doing a lava run. Not that I'd mind that as long the map's design takes that into account. The real void area with the black sky was pretty cool.
I'm thinking of calling this project
...Of Myths Relinquished
The Ultimate Heresy of Myths Relinquished
Yay? Nay? Cool or lame? I assembled it just earlier today and so far have had 1 positive and 1 neutral reaction.
So the demo album release thread would look like
[HERETIC] Of Myth Relinquished DEMO EPISODE
@Cuppykeks I really appreciate the demos and the critique. Again, I want to make the best maps I can for this and improve as a mapper in general, so constructive criticism really is much appreciated. I'll see what I can do to address these points before the deadline. If you or I still think it could use more time in the oven once I post the next version, then I propose not to include it in the demo release.
A couple things to mention here:
I intended for a very different way of playing in the area with the gaspods. It's much more fun to immediately go out into the open area once the ambush triggers and then use the gaspod generator to dispatch swaths of enemies at once. I tried to pressure the player to do that by moving most of the enemies to teleport in behind the player, and by having armor and a phoenix rod in view in the outdoor area. I'll try to turn up the heat even more so that the player will end up completely swamped unless they flee to the outdoors.
The egg was moved to a secret, but it's maybe not a bad idea to swap in more non-secret eggs in place of some of the crossbow ammo. Also, I'm starting to think the initial secret shadowsphere should be replaced with something else since it really takes all the bite out of the early ghost undead warrior room.
I don't think the map could easily be translated to a doom map, at least not without losing a lot of intended elements, as most of the setpiece fights were conceived and designed around the properties of ghost monsters. But I think the sense would come through more if the player had a stronger need to use the gaspods instead of the crossbow. And having more eggs in place of ammo would probably help too.
I'll see what I can do to revamp the optional fight to make it more interesting. initially, the room was just put there to make the secret more elaborate and add to the feeling of exploration.
The wall torch being higher is due to items being pushed around (not sure what causes this bug, but I think it happens when floors move up/down sometimes). All of them are placed at the same distance from the walls. I suspect surrounding them with impassible lines might prevent this, but would also potentially interfere with player movement. If you know of any other way to prevent that from happening, let me know!
I don't notice the phoenix rod or shield outside until most of the monsters are dead or I do naturally run out there. It's not very known in the midst of combat and it isn't much brighter outdoors than it is indoors. You could make it much darker indoors, but with a torch outdoors (torch pickups are always bright) to lead outdoors. Instead of monsters teleporting when you enter the room, you could have them teleport gradually within that darkness but you have no idea where they are (kind of like the final encounter) and the only bright area is the way outdoors. Actually you don't even need the torch, but it's an option for sure!
I would like the shadowsphere to stay, but elsewhere in a harder to find secret if you can find a spot (nice to have the option). It could be replaced with the backpack perhaps.
Random backpack tip: Without the backpack you can't carry as much ammo. Sure, that's obvious but that limited ammo capacity allows you to carry over a lot of extra ammo over from each encounter. Without the backpack the player can't hoard as much and will run out of ammo quicker to force weapon usage variety more often. They'll have to backtrack for anything they missed later. So keep in mind how this can affect gameplay balance and possibly give extra gameplay due to the exploration factor it can lead into.
The optional room doesn't even have to have a fight. It could just be the tome of power with or without the disciples of d'sparil.
The torch being pushed around I think is just proximity based. Maybe something to do with the map nodes/blockmap or however. If a sector moves in the same vague "chunk" of the map the Thing will adjust to the height of the floor that will accommodate its mass/hitbox. Like when placing items on stairs if the item box overlaps with the next higher stair it will hang in mid-air to that floor height. You can solve this through distancing the sectors that change height, or by making the hole in the ground the same mass of the Thing so it only has that floor to move on.
Having to get creative a bit instead of holding fire with egg usage. As for the ghost monsters the claw weapon hits them all, but only the crossbow's largest bolt can hit them. If there weren't so many crossbow bolts then the player wouldn't feel they can waste them all shooting ghost monsters in the least efficient way (which is what I did since I never ran out). Having to make sure phoenix rod shots count is good too.
My current map has been long delayed since the plans have changed a lot, heh. It was going to be a lot more straight forward but then I thought about focusing on what gaspod and teleporter gimmicks I could do so I've been sitting on that for a while seeing how to blend in all the ideas I've had and hoping it can work out. If not then I'll just go back to the super simple plan I had starting out. Need to experiment faster. That means failing faster which means getting to the successful path sooner. Truly wonderful advice :S
I just registered here to drop this off! Let me know if it works okay. No map title; you go ahead and name it. No music; you go ahead and find music for it. No difficulties implimented. We'll see what needs to be done after a play test. Thanks!
@Egregor Thank you for the map! I'm sorry but this isn't cutting it for me. The map isn't bad, it's slow to start but once the combat gets going it's fun and engaging however I really felt an ammo and health drought past the starting area. Maybe I'm missing something though but I think you have the balance down really tight where there's not much to spare, and the placement of some supplies is a bit inconvenient. But regardless the visuals for the most part are on a lower standard from the rest of the maps submitted, the visual language is entirely different, and the NPCs being nothing but cardboard cutouts was a letdown. No demo as I was saving and loading my game repeatedly. My time upon completion was almost 30 minutes. As for the design of the layout itself, the symmetry is a let down as once you see one half of the map you already know what the other half looks like. I know the map isn't entirely symmetrical but it's more than enough to dull the excitement of exploration upon this realization. The combat was kind of a grind, but I made it better for myself by rushing ahead a bit and with the power of savescumming and blasting away the heavy opposition, even utilizing some infighting. I got a little lost at the start of the map, so I think some signposting in the visual language would help make navigation easier. There was also a distinct lack of ambient sounds. The gameplay is definitely more on the side of being more Doom than Heretic. Lacking in inventory usage, ghost enemies, and generally running around firing away with whatever can be found. About the visual language, for instance you use door textures for lifts, and the switches aren't consistent in the least. It would have been much safer to stick to the conventions of Heretic. I also found the progression from yellow key front gate to the door to the farm barn to be convoluted. I do like the barn though it's pretty cute.
This map for the most part plays okay, but I'm sorry I just don't think it's a good fit for this project.
@Cuppykeks okay... so the gap between where it is at now and where you feel it needs to be is too wide to be reconciled? This is... disappointing. I wish some of these concerns were brought to my attention a month ago when I originally showed you an earlier work in progress.
If the game-play balance is too tight, that issue can be easily addressed. Some of these other issues, I don't really know what to make of them: " the visual language is entirely different". I guess I don't understand how my map "communicates" any different than others. If your referring to textures for doors, lifts, and switches, those issues can also be addressed. I don't really understand how you feel there is a lack of items either: time-bombs, tomes of power, eggs, quartz flasks, they are all there in spades.
And the NPC characters? They are part of the textures. How can they be anything but cardboard cutouts? What are others doing with them? What am I missing here?
At the end of the day if you don't care for the map it's your right not to use it for your project. But I will say that having it rejected without giving me a chance to address any of these issues, while other mappers are given a chance to address their map's issues feels very frustrating.