The Heretic Project (Quest Name Pending)
I played through the latest versions of the maps I hadn't done demos/feedback for already. Wrote down a few thoughts below.
Banquet of Flames V2:
Here's a demo (not blind) recorded on crispy heretic: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HlPOQcmSk_gF6WEUcuhs2WV0MsWpndlS/view?usp=share_link
I really liked the abundance of bombs here and the ability to approach the map in a variety of ways. The detailing and vibrant colors here are beautiful. The secrets were really satisfying too, especially the wings of wrath.
The ending of the map is so cool! I love the silhouette houses and the floating structure, both the inside and outside of it. Definitely helped give the map a strong sense of narrative, not to mention that it looks just awesome.
I wasn't able to find 2 enemies. I found all the secrets, so you might want to check to make sure that these last two enemies I missed are killable.
Overall, this is a fantastic, short and punchy map! I ended up playing through it 3 times in a row due to me being a dummy and dying at the end to crushers or other things I shouldn't have. But it says something that it was still a joy to play the third time in a row.
More minor suggestions:
There are some places where flying makes the sky look glitched out (didn't show them in the demo). It might be more trouble than it's worth to fix this, though, as you'd have to ensure that the player cannot fly higher than a ceiling with a sky texture in sight.
The chain texture in the doortracks looks kind of odd to me, since it looks like the chain is pushing up the door. But of course, this is more of a personal preference kind of thing.
I see now on your previous post that you intended the HOM at the end, but just mentioning that it seemed like a glitch when I saw it, FWIW.
I also wasn't able to find 2 enemies in this map, so again you might want to verify that they aren't stuck or anything.
I liked the new secret, but flying does allow the player to reach the edges of the map, which look very off. It might be more trouble than it's worth trying to make them look okay on a map this open, though.
Forgot to mention before that I really like the combined the mist and water vapor where the water meets the lava!
Library Theatre V4:
I did record a new demo on crispy heretic, but it unfortunately got desynced somehow. The map still seems great! Anyway, here were just a few thoughts on my more recent playthrough.
Ammo and items felt much more abundant this time. You probably don't need as many tomes as are placed, but I don't think it hurts here to have more than necessary. Overall, I felt gameplay was balanced and fun; I found no issues here.
I noticed this time that the windows to the outside close when you start the final battle at the theater. Really cool detail there! Nice chessboard at the start too.
- I like the skylights overall, but some of them look a bit odd because they have too thin of a border. I think they would benefit from having thicker borders if possible, to make the walls/ceilings look like they have some more depth.
@Fiendish Thank you for the feedback
I might remove that HOM just so people don't keep mentioning it in the future heh :y
Just some project thoughts:
Hopefully there can be at least 1 or 2 more maps with a floating fortress takedown if appropriate (an extremely extravagant take on the ol' exit room with a monster (Disciple of D'Sparil) in it). Would help cement a narrative as a whole.
I kinda want a different name for the project since there's one called Utter Heresy in progress already. The Ultimate Heresy can be an episode title if one comes up.
Also I wanted this MIDI in the resource pack instead of that Chrono Trigger one but couldn't find it then: inori-G2MIDI.mid
My current map is finally starting to pick up again since after I made that cool opening scene. It took me a while to figure out how I was going to continue and fit in ideas I already had initially. Hopefully will progress smoothly henceforth.
All texture requests open again for the weekend. This is because HW_055 does not tile properly in-engine due to being of 96 width so I should fix that.
Also a small preview screenie since I'm here:
Here's a completed draft of a map, ready for feedback on gameplay. It's a fairly large, interconnected map with an emphasis on exploration and verticality.
Thanks in advance if you play it. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, especially regarding gameplay. Let me know too if you think the map is too long. It takes me about 15 minutes to complete, but of course that's with knowledge of the layout. (I should also mention that the detailing is not totally finished yet, so there are a couple rooms that might look a bit barren compared to the rest. But want to get a sense first if I need to cut the map down in size before I spend any more time on that.)
Note: Don't worry about trying to record an FDA if you end up dying and want to use saves. Overall I don't think it's too hard of a map, but there are a couple battles that could be challenging, especially one at the end.
First of all.. WOW I love this map. I had a lot of fun with the tense resource scavenging. Great environment, use of Heretic's gameplay, and near the end where the plot elements revealed themselves more definitely makes this an all-time great to me. I wonder if there was more to the cat but I did like it, though kinda wish I wasn't able to shoot past it because I did try to see if that triggered anything.
The ambush setpiece fights, at least the first few did totally eviscerate me and I died at least twice panicking and getting stuck while I was trying to use the time bombs. I also totally turned chicken and ran the first time I got the phoenix rod, though I suspect you wanted to trap me in there from all angles and I just got lucky. In my playthroughs I collected the various artifacts I could and saved them for when I thought I needed them (I'm glad I was able to use the shadowsphere to great effect here). I don't think that planning ahead aspect is a bad thing I do like it, but those fights can get cramped fast and it feels I'll always have to die to it first before I can get a feel for what's happening but even then I feel I just have to get lucky in a savescummy way. If the teleporting monsters were paced slower that could make up for the claustrophobic death traps and give time to process the situation better. As for the last arena I never did get to use most of the area to fight if you intended it to be that way: I just camped in a doorway to spray and pray my way to some breathing room to then run around and clean up the stragglers. It does feel like excess fat though. You can gleam more feedback out of watching my demos I hope.
Time for some pictures I took of things I took note of (mostly errors):
The chains on this lift have a tutti-frutti effect due to the void space on a wall
Personally I'd like this water flow to have a scrolling effect.
I noticed this stained glass wall and I tried to shoot it and break it but nothing happened. I kept hearing something trigger though until I went around the fountain to see the switch. I don't know what it does but I was triggering it by shooting over it.
Not sure if this can be helped but I noticed these monsters in this corner always get stuck here
These wooden pillars aren't aligned like the rest (near the green key door
That's it for the pictures. Another thing I would have liked is a chaos device to bring me back to the start once I had used the yellow key and was ready to proceed to the upper levels.
After losing myself lost in the map in my first few tries (I don't mind this) it did start to be a bit cumbersome to move myself from either the bottom of the map to somewhere higher or just making my way around to wherever the yellow key room was. After playing enough I did familiarize myself with the map much better. I don't know if you want to do anything about that, but it was just my experience when recording the demos. Again the ambush trigger fights could use some adjusting, or at least some difficulty settings. The map took me almost 23 minutes to beat; thank you for the map it was a pleasure to play.
@Cuppykeks Wow, thanks so much for all the feedback! I really appreciate your taking the time to work your way through it and spell out your thoughts about it in as much detail.
I'll work on an updated version that takes your feedback into account, mainly easing up on the big setpiece encounters, and making it clearer when they're going to be triggered. I think with the last arena, I might just give a free ring of invincibility as well, or else significantly reduce the number of disciples -- in any case, I'll reduce the difficulty one way or another. I'll also see what I can do to streamline traversal in the areas you mentioned.
Again, I really appreciate it!
Project status update (today's the day of the original release date after all): I haven't updated the resources yet as there haven't been any requests and I've been holding off on seeing if there's anything I want to add as well due to wanting to finish my map first. My current map is almost done; just need to make the final area. Changed title from "Embryology of Cocytus" to "The Ultimate Heresy," thinking it more appropriate as well it can still be the name of the project in the same way you come across the song the album is named after. The map has changed courses a lot as it has gone on. I've been able to relax a bit too since I have a proposition here that I hope I can get some thoughts on:
I'm thinking of this project's release as a "phase 1" of sorts. The project will still wrap up and release as scheduled but if I as well as others are interested in continuing things at a later date this year (after AUGER;ZENITH DM) then we can come back refreshed and able to expand on & finish this project further as the bestest Heretic project ever. I'm treating this as the only time I'll ever be mapping for Heretic and I actually really like it too. I've worked really hard but I'm afraid burnout is starting to settle in. It would also allow me to try recruiting mappers who were interested but couldn't make it at this time, apply polish and feedback from the community, and be more upfront with my expectations for the project as it didn't start with this ambition, although I am also experimenting with ways to manage projects some. Hope you guys can forgive the ride, as least since I promise I'll still get things done! Please let me know what you think.
@Cuppykeks I would be happy this proposal, and I would also be okay with postponing releasing the set until it feels completely finished. Either way, I am all for putting out the best map set that we can, and if we need more time to make that happen, that would be worth it to me. I can say that if we keep working on it beyond March (whether as a phase 2 or not), I have the interest in making more maps for this beyond the two I've got in progress, as I've really enjoyed working on it so far.
Also, as far as naming the project goes, we might consider something connected to the floating fortresses (maybe something like D'Sparil's Vengeance or Invasion?). That might help to differentiate it more from other wads with "heresy" in the title.
@Fiendish Glad to hear that! Thank you. I was contemplating that if released on schedule if it would be a single episode's worth, like a demo. It'd be more for everyone other than myself, as I'm fine with withholding my own work from the public eye if cutting things out I made for just 1 episode, beyond just trying to keep my word on releasing March 23rd. But that in itself sounds kind of disappointing, and there might be too many maps already for that anyhow.
The other avenue was the default of wrapping everything up as is and get close to a full 2 episodes as can be to release. Doing it this way and pushing forward to a "Phase 2" would ideally have me look to 3 episodes for the end of episode fights and an experimental fight I wanted to try for a "true final boss," if it can actually work. I'll need a new sky for an E3 too though :y
I am thankful to know you're interested in continuing to make awesome Heretic maps with me and that's a great reason to continue past the original scope of the project. Either way of going about it I'll have to change my plans on what maps to make so the D'Sparil fight I was going to make would be postponed until Phase 2. Because not only would it be a tease for players on completing the game, it would also drive me nuts knowing how it can't possibly be finished without the final showdown in the flying fortress! I'd have to get back to work on this Heretic project ASAP then if it's like that!
I'll have to think more on the name still, but could stick with The Ultimate Heresy by the very end since I'm still attached to it and want to believe it worthy of such a title then. Haven't got anything else that is punchy or clicks in the right way like that yet. I've been thinking along the avenues of being the sole individual standing against the doomsday cult that has taken over the realm. The only optimist in a world of pessimists? And that this current invasion is the culling, the promised time of death. "The Ultimate Defiance" ..? Sounds like a good boss map name at least.
Thank you again.
I think all of those suggestions for the project sound good to me. I suppose we can see how many maps are complete around mid-March and then see what makes the most sense to do at that point?
Here's an updated version of the Druids' Citadel. I tried to incorporate all of the feedback/suggestions, and I think this version is significantly better for it. Let me know if you think it could use any further changes. Thanks again for the demos and feedback on the earlier version!
Thank you I'll check it out! I'm leaning more towards the single episode approach and calling it a demo episode release. It seems there'll just be barely over an episode anyway and can save stuff for later to tease with right off the bat.
EDIT: Actually maybe I'll make it shorter with a credits map and replace the credits graphic with a teaser image.
Now without further ado I bring my NEWest map:
Plays on E4M5. This is some hardcore Heretic gaming. Please let me know what you think! Yes I changed the map name again :y
Quick updates on my old maps, not asking for playthroughs but keepings things up to date and collected:
- tried fixing possible stuck teleporting enemies (lowering the ceiling of gargoyle containers)
- same thing with the enemies but it's not exactly perfect here (lazy D:)
- small visual upgrades with exactly one less bumpy sector and all time bombs removed
@Cuppykeks Amazing work yet again! The visuals here are absolutely gorgeous, gives a strong sense of place, and the combat is fun and creative throughout. All of the hazardous rooms and deadly enemy placement made the map thrilling and tense to play. I especially loved the first maulotaur fight with the crusher. You do colors so well in your maps, and the detailing and lighting really make the place pop (especially the gradient light emitted from the windows at the beginning, and the light coming through the barred window).
I only have one complaint: the stairway with the raining gasbags (awesome idea, btw!) felt too punishing to me in its execution, especially going into it blind. I think the main issue for me is the giant holes in the stairs filled with lava. The problem is that you can't see them clearly when coming up the stairs, and then when you get stuck in them, there's a good chance that a gasbag chain reaction will trigger and cause instant death before you realize how to get to safety. It took a few rounds of trial and error to figure out where the right pathway is, and then just booking it straight up that path.
On a similar note, the final fight also felt like it can be randomly punishing, as enemies can unpredictably set off a huge chain reaction of gasbags, resulting in instant death. I really liked the setup, though, especially since it calls back to earlier fights throughout the map but raises the stakes. If there is a way to cut back on the number of gasbags that fill the room, that might be a good idea, so as to make the fight less unpredictably punishing.
Here's a demo in Crispy with a handful of attempts e4m5demo.lmp . I had to finish the map with saves, as I kept dying near the pathway to the blue key.
I also played through the updated versions of the other three maps. Didn't find any issues. But this time I played using International Heretic and found that the pathway to the tower on Stagnant Neverland raises to the ceiling when you pick up the map, making the map unfinishable. Not sure why it's doing that, but seems clearly an issue with the port since this doesn't happen on any other port (so we might want to warn against using it when posting the wad). All of these maps are truly amazing, especially Stagnant Neverland (what a unique map!).
@Fiendish Thank you for playing glad you liked it a lot! I enjoyed watching your demo, though it desynced after the first death (good run)! That stairway could have been more considerate for sure. I built it that way to make the running across it difficult but I should have paid more attention to how impractical it felt to navigate more than just rushing through the correct path. I'm still attached to the current setup though so I'll see if I can help mitigate the guesswork first before I start repairing that bridge.
The final fight is a challenge for sure, but I knew it'd be very tricky so I'm really just hoping players simply deal with it and maybe use some secret artifacts to help cheese it,
or hitting the (super?) secret to disabling the gasbag generators altogether in that room(dang I wish this forum had spoiler tags). I do enjoy trying to beat it without the extra help though, but at the very least I could do difficulty settings later.
Thank you for testing the other maps again (and for the praise altogether)! Stagnant Neverland is like the top contender for me to keep away from the demo release mwahaha.
The layout flows better but the thing I noted the most is how much more there was in supplies, so it was lacking the scavenging element I liked about the previous version as this time it felt like I didn't have to use everything in my arsenal to survive as well as never having to look far for protection. It's a lot easier this time around with an abundance of ammo more than I could carry! Having played the map already helps but I didn't feel this way when replaying the previous version multiple times. I don't know if you want to change a lot about this, but while the map flows better the gameplay wasn't as engaging for me as it previously was.
missing texture here (also maybe that sector is supposed to be darker to match too:
wooden beam isn't wood on this side here (also the wings were pretty easy to find!):
@Cuppykeks Thanks for the demo and feedback! The demo got desynced partway through the second run (wonder why that happens), but it was really helpful from what I could watch. I'll work on bringing the resource abundance down so it requires more scavenging like the first version did, as well as make the hellstaff and wings secrets harder.
What kind of problems did you have with your map Stagnant Neverland? Was it because it got too big? I'm having weird graphical glitches with my map suddenly in Crispy Heretic. It looks like the BSP explodes in certain areas. Also, what node builder are you using?
I've tested in dsda-doom (0.25.6) and although there are no graphical glitches except for animated hanging mid-textures not animating, the map cannot be completed because for one section I'm using the portal animation and a teleport linedef close to it just won't trigger no matter how slowly I try to walk through it. That works under Crispy Heretic.
@kvsari It was too big yeah. It wouldn't load in Crispy Heretic until the sourceport was updated twice, lastly to support DeepBSP nodes. I am building my maps using DeepBSP. Make sure your port is updated if you haven't since the project started: http://latest.chocolate-doom.org
About your portal problem you'll have to move the teleport lines further away for it to work. DSDA can't handle so many action linedefs so close together. I had this issue with Cinderblood.
If your map is still glitching out for some reason then try opening a new map and copy pasting everything over to a new WAD. You'll have to re-do all your merged sectors and such though. This is a last resort option of mine.
Thanks for that. Do you know if the problem is caused by the size of the map boundaries or the number of linedefs?
@kvsari I do not sorry. Stagnant Neverland has sidedefs go over the 65535 limit, and I had to call it around there but cutting down that number did not help the map run before the sourceport updates.