Novel in Doom format
I think there is a nascent kind of overarching WAD type in Doom which in my opinion is exemplified by some of Impies releases. We all know him for his Dynamite Duchess trilogy but I'm referring to his excellent Splatterhouse TC and his Strange Aeons.
This WAD type would be what I call "A novel in Doom format". There are some other WADS out there that I think would fit the bill.
The main features of a novel in Doom format would be its cohesion between maps creating a sense of journey. This is best accomplished by a single mapper who would have to be quite skilled as there'd need to be some variety to the maps. Also, apart from the intermission screens, the WAD must be in the "show, don't tell" form of storytelling. Thus the geometry of the maps, their themes, features, enemy placement and enemy types (and daresay more) would all convey a non-verbal story which is internally consistent and progresses from map to map.
What about text? This is tricky and I hazard that the less text the better since the primary mechanism of story conveyance must be in the gameplay itself. Thus the text, if any, must play second fiddle to the map and the monsters within. And here is where the skill would come in, to have a strong story without explicitly signalling that presense of one with walls of text.
Does anyone else have any thoughts or criticisms about this? Are there other WADs out there you think embody the "A novel in Doom format" concept?
Three's a Crowd is a highly creative vanilla megawad by Scypek2, "It tells the story of three people and the different challenges they face trying to survive and save each other after the research facility they're stationed at is struck by a hellish invasion..."
On a much smaller scale there's this : https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom2/Ports/d-f/dparody
But it's more of a joke book.
Three's a Crowd is kicking my ass! I'm finding this wad to be quite difficult. @joe-ilya, are you punishing me for Spawn Cell?
I like getting my ass kicked in Doom maps, and I thoroughly enjoyed that megawad. Perhaps you should bump down the difficulty, it's a tricky one for sure and I should've given you a warning.
Another example I have is Zombie Horde, a Zandronum mod for multiplayer where you're either a zombie whose goal is to infect all the marines, or a marine whose goal is to escape/kill all the zombies.
There are escape maps that follow a narrative, there's a journey through a city to get into a bomb shelter, a wild western romp to get on a moving train, or a lab escape to get on a helicopter, and more.
Here's an ancient video of me playing through one of the escape maps :
WADs that had a map where the exit was near-identical to the start of the next one always stood out to me. One instance was in STRAIN, and I can't remember if Eternal Doom III had any like that but I liked the idea of the map that had a portal where you travel through time. The sense of adventure in longer mapsets is one I highly value. Super Sonic Doom made a big impression on me with the variety of different environments and how you traveled through each zone of the journey.
Older WADs definitely had more story to them, and those by Team TNT had a fair share of backstory to go with them: https://web.archive.org/web/20160314072923/http://teamtnt.com/icstory.htm
Just finished Three's a Crowd. What a high quality WAD! This is what I was talking about. Each map tells its own story and a part of the overarching story. Every map is different and not a single slot is wasted on filler (in my opinion). My favourite level would have to be MAP29 Sheer Poison. Not because I think it's the funnest (I hate the constant damage) but because it clearly communicates through the gameplay itself and the map geometry (where you start in a fake warehouse but really you're in hell), that the IoS is done playing around and is really trying to kill you this time. Combined with the music it gives a sense of hopelessness. That death is inevitable and that your struggles are almost over; give up, you'll die anyway, soon you can sleep. This level communicates a sense of sadness due to the inhospitable environment coupled with the cruel deception at the start. The last level, MAP30, is the only IoS fight I've encountered which isn't a let down. The strength of the multi-map build-up of the IoS and the sacrifices of the Doomguys gives gravitas to this enemy (without relying on the spawner!).