Learning Doom: Let’s Examine Yuan_Ti_Replacer.wad

Hexenmapper has been working on some monster replacements for Heretic and posting them in the HUMP discord server.

I asked if I could use them, since I want to make an expanded ‘Doom 2′ style monster roster for Heretic and he’s already made an Arch Vile type creature. He said yes, because he’s a really cool person.

I’m going to walk you through the inside of a simple monster replacer mod. Let’s have a look at what sort of stuff is inside…

1) First I’ll have to open SLADE, so I can rummage around the data file.

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2) Then I’ll find my data file. Luckily I keep everything well organized…

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3) Here’s what the inside of a Doom (or Heretic, or Hexen, or Strife…) wad file looks like:

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4) This is the DECORATE file. Decorate is a language added to sourceports that let’s you create new monsters and effects without much technical know-how. Pictured below is an Arch Vile type monster that resurrects enemies

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5) Hexenmapper has been hard at work; every non-Boss in Heretic is now replaced by an identical copy with a resurrection animation (their death animation played backwards). Because the other two new monsters replace Heretic’s ‘ghost’ enemies, those monsters’ resurrectable versions are disabled (but can easily be turned back on)

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6) Let’s have a look at the graphics for the new Yuan-Ti Monsters. As you can see, it’s a “Frankensprite” of the Ophidian and the Brown Chaos Serpent enemies.

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7) The side view had some sprite tearing I thought. However, other views of the Yuan Ti are very well done.

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8) Holy cow, that’s how it attacks? That lightning attack looks cool as hell

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9) The Arch Vile type monster is a smaller version of Hexen’s Korax

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10) The third new monster is an Archer, based on the Hexen II enemy. This is from Realm 667 and modified from the existing Archer resource.

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11) The Credits List

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So for reference:

DECORATE contains the programming for the monsters (health, movement, properties, lists of sprites to use for each animation cycle, etc)
SNDINFO is ‘sound information’ which assigns labels to the sound files so that the Decorate file can tell the game which sounds to play
GLDEFS tells the game to light up the area around monsters when they’re using their magic attacks
The rest is sound and graphics data that get used by DECORATE and SNDINFO.

Will I use it? In a modified form, probably.

I was thinking of using the Korax sprite for a boss monster so I might change swap the graphics. I certainly can’t ignore the work put into making each Heretic monster resurrectable though!

I think the archer would make a good “shotgun sergeant”, perhaps if I made their attack more like an ethereal crossbow attack.

I may have already put in a monster that does what the Yuan-ti does, so that one might not be used.

Heretic: Advanced Mapping

For fun and to brush up on my GZDoomBuilder skills I decided to recreate a major location from the freeform RPG I’ve been running on and off for the past 3 years.

There is a LOT of artwork of the various characters.

I really wanted to practice with GZDoom exclusive features more and hopefully this will help me learn some new tricks (the dynamic light shown in the above pic is the first time I’ve ever tried using them).

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The level itself is a small witch’s tower at the edge of a vast forest. So far I’ve only finished the cellar area.

Because Heretic has so few resources I’ve had to add stuff from Hexen and Realm667. After testing out my work in progress I do regret not simply using Hexen as the base, given that the combat feels closer to what I want and there’s so many textures and options available from the start.

Below are some pics from my test map where I’ve been testing out new sprites, animated textures, and monsters. I can’t begin say how proud I am for figuring out how to emulate the Wendigo’s fragmenting ice attack outside of Hexen.

Not only did I get the Wendigo’s attack working, but I’ve also edited the terrain files so that characters sink into mud and create splashing effects as they move in water/slime/mud.

I’ve even managed to create PolyObjects – swingable objects (in this case, a door that creates an ominous creak and slowly opens – this is no mean feat in an essentially 2D game engine based on static sectors).

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Quake: Dissolution of Eternity (Revisit)

1,000,000 hours in MS Paint

It’s time to play Quake’s second expansion.

It dives into the action faster than Scourge. There’s no warm-up techbase to get you started. You’re thrown straight into one of two episodes: a mainly medieval fortress, or a time travel themed episode. Episode 2 is the more interesting of the two, with a much greater diversity of levels offered by its’ theme.

Monster placement is suspect: shamblers in clear rooms, fiends in tight corridors, and ‘let’s spawn a scrag in front of that wind tunnel just as you jump in, so you fall into the lava and die’). The new weapons are minimum effort re-skins and lack oomph but they do make combat feel faster and more exciting.

The new monsters are introduced slowly. Some of the design choices strike me as baffling.

Who thought it was a good idea to make a Spawn the same colour as the wall textures?

I wish I could just click my fingers…

Dissolution is marred by designs like that. Slip ups that make some sections far more frustrating than they should be.

Quake: Scourge of Armagon (Revisit)

Well-coordinated and heavily armed group of eldritch abominations beaten by a ranger with the genre’s weakest shotgun and a grenade launcher with 14 foot max range.

This morning I finished my Scourge of Armagon run.

Scourge of Armagon is good fun and worth playing after finishing the ‘main’ campaign of Quake, but I don’t think it was worth full asking price. The new ideas are forgettable and (most) of the levels indistinct. I like the idea of Ranger (and possibly his homeworld?) continuing the war against ‘Quake’ which now seems to be the codename for all the Lovecraftian entities that want to attack Earth.

Scourge doesn’t seem to have had a lasting impact on Quake multiplayer, and its’ new features and weapons aren’t found in later Quake mods. It has this feeling of not being ‘canon’ as it introduced nothing iconic, and I doubt Id Software will ever care to reference it.

It’s just a new set of levels with a couple of new weapons, some new power-ups and a very small amount of new enemies. The new laser gun is great, and much preferred over the charge-eating lightning gun, while mjölnir went largely unused.

It starts fairly strong but the levels started to feel bland by the halfway point. They’re all fairly well put together but progression feels disjointed, even for Quake. Armagon having 0 personality and impact certainly doesn’t help things. He’s just an enemy fought in the last level (even Shub had some text at the end of each episode). There’s no sense of an evil plan, no feeling that you’ve invaded his home. The boss fight against Armagon himself is pretty lame; I had him dead in about half a minute.

The later levels feel samey. There is a noticeable overuse of Vores – while it is nice that the designers wanted to escalate Quake’s challenge, the lack of a new high-tier monster on the level of the Shambler / Vore hurts the encounters.

Scourge of Armagon is a competently put together expansion pack, but it is just a retreading. Good but forgettable. More Quake is always nice though.

Time for Dissolution of Eternity. Widely said to be the inferior expansion but which seems to get remembered more.

Doom: Halloween.wad

The Halloween level was never publicly released, so here it is.

It’s been a busy few months. Wish I could say I spent all of it making levels but no. I’d love to make another one tied to this. It was a good learning experience.

Halloween.wad, by Rolo
http://www.mediafire.com/file/0uit0i22xgoii4g/Halloween%20by%20Rolo.wad

The map is built in Boom format but uses decorate to replace a monster, so you’ll need a source port that can support that. I used GZ Doom.

Ion Maiden Reveal Trailer

After Bombshell had a, uh, lackluster debut, the planned quirky tie-in promo minigame expanded in scope to become a full-fledged actual game, bringing along the developers of eDuke32 and several prominent Doom sprite artists (such as Cage and HDoomguy) to turn it into a bigger project.

Has launched in Early Access with a “preview campaign” spanning five-ish maps.

A Little More DUSK Episode 2

WE SOLD OUR SOULS FOR KNOWLEDGE
ALTARS OF CONCRETE
FED WITH BLOOD AND BONE

I finished Dusk episode 2. It has a bleak, oppressive atmosphere. That, plus the sense of reality breaking down made Dusk Ep 2 really great to play. At the same time though I’m in no hurry to replay it. All those wendigos, crying cyborgs, and Lovecraftian machinery fueled by corpses.

The second to last level was great, but the final level really could have done with more as it doesn’t deliver the payoff promised by the previous two levels.

In an ideal world Dusk would only be an average game in a sea of great shooters. Even then I’d still recommend it.

DUSK Episode 2

My sound card is buggered right now so I’m using headphones. I’m not sure whether that was a genius move or a terrible mistake. Dusk episode 2 is scary.  I yelped when the new bad guy spoke. I screamed the second time I met a wendigo (I expected the first one).

It’s also harder. I mastered episode 1 on hard but I feel off-balance in episode 2 on hard. In a good way – I think the difficulty so far is just about right for me. There’s a LOT of enemies and all of them are very dangerous if left alive too long. You’ve got to keep moving and weaving between cover if you want to survive. The popcorn enemy dies quicker but hits harder, and the tanky scarecrows have been replaced with the incredibly dangerous welder.

There’s plenty of new enemies, although at least one is a pallet swap (super cultists). There’s no new weapons, but that’s to be expected. This is/was supposed to be like the old 90s shareware games after all. According to the devs their ambition has grown since DUSK’s “shareware” episode got such great reviews. There may be further unique art assets and monsters in episode 3. I’m excited about this, even though the promise of uniquely styled episodes reminds me of Daikatana.

I had an initially rocky start with DUSK with the new climbing power up being bugged, but the devs have quickly addressed this in patches and it’s much better now. I never quite feel like I’m playing episode 2 properly, but maybe I’m just nervous from the thick atmosphere and new monsters. I’m surprised that the Black Mesa inspired episode is scarier than the Blood / Silent Hill themed episode – but I guess I didn’t play episode 1 in a dark room with headphones on.

I didn’t mention it in the episode 1 write up, but DUSK is being developed by one of the guys involved with the Rise of the Triad remake. I’m looking out for bad platforming sections but nothing egregious has popped up (the lava section in the Foundry secret level comes close). I’m also worried that episode 3 will have bad ‘gimmick’ levels, as that can sometimes be the case with “otherwordly” themed final levels in games (levels that make devs go nuts with portal tricks and frustrating mazes), but they don’t seem to be rushing development (far from it) so I’m hopeful they’ll come up with something nicely balanced. So far I’ve thoroughly enjoyed DUSK and not had any causes for concern.

A reminder for the people who are newer to FPS gaming – although I’m saying “episode 2″ it’s not a sequel or an episodic game. You buy DUSK and you get a full 33 level game with extra modes, it’s kind of like an early access thing. Getting the first 11 levels in advance was meant to be a pre-order bonus referencing 90s shareware, but the positive reception has meant they’re taking their time finishing everything off so now the episodes are released as they’re finalized. The entire package is $20 US or £15 UK.

It’s still the same DUSK that I loved first time around – just more intense. More enemies, more intense encounters, more intense atmosphere. I’m just under halfway through episode 2 so this is purely a first impression – but the fact that I felt the need to come on Tumblr to wax about my experience probably says a lot.