Greetings, fellow Doomers, and happy winter festivities!
This December happens to be a celebrated one, in part due to our favourite FPS reaching three decades of age. For me however, it has one more reason to feel festive...
Ten years ago, I was an odd teenager with an interest in video games. A quite retro-skewed interest, so to say. About a fortnight after playing Half-Life 1 for the first time(first FPS game I beat, fell in love with it at the time), I noticed a Quakecon Sale announcement on Steam. From that point on, I became fixated on getting my hands on the Id Software shooters. Without saying too much, after several months my patience ran dry, and finally, a few days after Christmas, I traded a few TF2 keys(yeah, those were wild times) for a copy of Doom 3:BFG Edition...
...Next day, after the game finished installing, I got through the first few levels, and I quite quickly became hooked. It was certainly interesting to play a game composed of polygonal environments and sprites, and I kept on going. I remember that the Baron's death animation made an impression on me, and so did the face skin texture. Needless to say, I enjoyed the games very much. Funnily enough, I didn't realise Doom 1 had a run function, so I beat it without it(I think there's a demo category for doing this, IIRC it's called Stroller?). Took me a while to figure out how to progress in Underhalls though, lmao. Some of you might flinch at the fact I was using the Doom BFG edition to play these games, but hey, that's probably a far better method than setting the wrong settings in GZDoom and playing with freelook and jumping, right? XD
Soon enough, I became exposed to the modding scene. The oldest memories relating to that are me watching a compilation of Brutal Doom player deaths and executions. Around that time, I downloaded a copy of Doomseeker, and tried out some servers. The first one I came stepped into was a Mega Man 8-Bit Deathmatch server with a TF2-esque Versus Saxton Hale gamemode, where the players were fighting a Pissed Off Roll character. At that moment, I felt amazed with what Doom is capable of when it comes to being a modding platform. Truly, the sky was the limit, and anything seemed possible. What I also remember from that era is that people really liked playing Zombie Horde, didn't they? Every match I was part of ended with the marines losing though...
Naturally, at that time, I tried to create some things of my own. Unfortunately, I was unable to grasp how the editor works, so I didn't get very far...
Due to obligations and having a backlog of other games, I didn't get into the modding scene has hard as one'd expect. Thankfully, a few years later, a person in my circles had an interest in playing Zandronum multiplayer, so naturally we played some of that together. A lot of coop sessions throughout some of the strangest wads we could think of, including the legendary Mock 2, but also Mortal Kombat Doom and Sailor Moon Doom(there's like 4 of them). We played with skins on, so at one point, I took some sprites from Ace Attorney and turned them into Zandronum skins. Released at the end of 2017, this would be my first successfully released mod for Doom...
A few months later, during Spring 2018, after I was done with finals, I decided that I had enough, and wanted to finally make a map of my own. Once again, I had a bit of a rocky start, but I ended up making a map for Heretic just to feel unique. It was kinda quirky, kinda flawed, but I suppose it could have been worse. Sometime around the time, I would play Jack in the Dark, which was an attempt to take a bloody and scary adventure like Alone in the Dark and turn it into something happy and child friendly, so I had an idea to create something like that, but for Doom, likely next Halloween. When October turned around, I didn't have enough time to make anything new, so I decided to take my Heretic map and polish it for a public release, which ended up as Escape from the Catacombs. Due to how the idgames archive works, it showed up a few days after Halloween. I was told that I should wait for a /newest review, which was monthly and still going at the time. November issue came, and I wasn't mentioned. Same with December. And then... nobody ever wrote anything for that every again! Talk about disappointment! Since I didn't make a thread, not a lot of people were aware of that map, from what I assumed. Still, for a first map, I think it was okayish, since at every step of the production I wanted to make sure I was putting out the best I could. Still, the fact that it's advertised as vanilla and to this day only runs on GZDoom is a major faux pas...
Months pass, decino annouces his Viewer Submission Round 1. Naturally, the thought of my creation being featured on a gaming channel like this was exciting to me, so as soon as I was done with exams for uni, I got to work. At the time, I didn't really understand how complevels work, so I simply checked if the map runs with Chocolate Doom or PrBoom+ to be safe. Done in about 5 days, Toxic Plant was released. A few months later, the video was released as well . I was surprised that the comments were generally postive, despite this being my second published PWAD. Some people pointed out the fact that the PWAD has a story attached. At the time, I had the wrong impression that this sort of thing was customary in PWADs, but that likely came from me remembering how the Master Levels had a fancy story that didn't much the gameplay, like the Cybedermon being turned into Doomguy or whatever.
October was around the corner, so I got to work on my kid-friendly Doom mod. At the time, my skills in making art and sprites were lacking, so I wanted to find a way to create character sprites, since what I could find at the time from resources was not sufficient for what I needed or wanted. The result: me creating clay models, taking a bunch of photos, and fusing the clay parts together in Photoshop, resulting in PSD files that were over 1GB in size! But hey, I found the process to be rather fun. Unfortunately, I spent too much time on the sprites, so I didn't have time to make the map. Well, the next year was still a possibility...
...And fortunately, it was, and I took it and delivered. decino also released a video featuring it, and it seems like the reception was positive. For once, I released something that's unique and characteristic of me. Of course, I've learned a lot since then, and if I were to remake SPIADW today, it would look a lot different. But hey, a stepping stone...
Since then, I've been releasing PWADs from time to time, though a more important one includes Plunge. It was a college project, where respondents could send their opinions about the game. I'd say it was a success. Certainly, it's great that the professors allowed me to submit something like this!
And that brings us to today, more or less. 30 years of Doom, 25 years of the Boom source port, 10 years of me being a Doom fan and 5 years of me being a mapper. December is a month of significance for both this franchise, and me. But enough about my personal story, as I'd like to announce something...
A Mapping Contest!
- The point of the contest is to submit ONE playable level for any of the Doom engine games. This includes Doom 1 and 2, but also can include Final Doom, Heretic, Hexen, Strife, Doom 64, and even fan-made stuff like Sonic Robo Blast 2, Adventures of Square, MM8BDM and more!
- You can use any complevel or source port you like, just please make sure it runs on modern systems. GZDoom, Boom, MBF, vanilla etc should be fine, and so should something like Eternity Engine or Sonic Robo Blast 2. Please no Doom Legacy though. Note: if you end up making something that only works on outdated ZDoom versions, please tell me about it.
- You are not allowed to submit previously published content, only maps made specifically for the contest.
- You can include graphic replacements, dehacked patches, and gameplay modifications of any kind. Just make sure to also include a playable map to go along with it.
- I intend to be able to play submissions on YouTube(or even Twitch), so please do not include NSFW content of any kind.
The deadline is 1st of May, 2024.
Okay, but what about the judging criteria?
My favourite PWADs happen to:
- have an unique approach when it comes to gameplay and level design(Eternal Doom, The Given, Grove)
- happen to be Total Conversions
- try to take full advantage of the source port being used(Boomedit, Daedalus)
- change the characters to something else, such as from other IPs
- be "soulful"(weird 90s wads)
So, even if you don't have the ability to create a smashing hit like any of the Cacoward winners, I believe you still have a chance to win me over, especaially if you create something unique and from the heart.
What about the prizes?
Well that's probably to be consulted with the winners. Generally, I plan to have multiple slots for winners, but I could end up creating multiple categories if necessary. Due to my limited financial situation, I probably won't be able to giveaway expensive prizes, but I'd love to give away a bag of Polish trinkets or candies to the winner, or just plain cash. However, embargos and postal services being a bitch is a thing that happens, so I might end up just doing 2d/3d art commissions(I'd love to, actually). A 3D printed SPIADW girl could be nice though. Again, will likely decide after the submissions come in.
In any case, the contest is about celebrating the creativity the Doom fandom is capable of, so even if you don't end up winning, I'd love to see your efforts.
To submit a WAD, post either below, or send one to my e-mail.
I'll see you later!