The Heretic Mod

I’ve been tinkering with ZDoom for years. After taking part in HUMP, I wanted to make more Heretic levels but wasn’t happy with the limited texture variety and enemy roster. I started making little edits to Heretic and trying to create a ‘toolset’ that would allow me to build maps without any of the issues that people have with Heretic. It started off with adding textures from Hexen, then tweaks to the monsters… very slowly it turned into an actual mod. I’ve started and stopped mapping for Heretic a few times, never happy with the designs I’ve come up with. It looked like the most recent map was going to go the same way, but I’ve turned it around and managed to tweak the layout into something I’m happy with. I’ve also locked down the features I want in the mod, making it officially a mod and not a universal toolset for Heretic mapping.

There is a new player character and I’ve gone through a few designs. First was a grouchy but good-hearted witch, then a powerful half-demon sorceress, but the current design is an older and more sinister witch.

What’s Changed?

Player

  • The player is now a new character (the grand witch) with new graphics and sounds

Health & Armour

  • Armour system changed to match Doom (less generous than Heretic; 33%/50% damage resistance)
  • Added Life Sphere (+100HP up to 200HP, instant use powerup)
  • Replaced Enchanted Shield with Amulet of Warding (200% armour, same effects as Mega Armour)
  • Added herbs (+1HP pickups, heals up to 200HP)
  • Replaced Quartz Flask with large health potions (+25hp, instant use)

Weapons & Ammo

  • Staff has been replaced with a short ranged “Zap!” attack
  • Tome of Power turns zap red and does more damage
  • Amber wand replaced with the lavender staff (100% accuracy, but fires a fast projectile instead of a hit scan attack)
  • Large dragon claw pickups give more ammo
  • Ammo maximums have been increased for some weapons (dragon claw, firemace)
  • The hellstaff projectile is now 33% smaller
  • The firemace always spawns
  • The empowered firemace has been replaced. It now fires a triple shot at no extra ammo cost.
  • Dragon claw graphic and sounds have been replaced
  • Incorporated the fixed firemace graphics from the Heretic minor sprite fixing project

Power-Ups & Inventory

  • Added lore items which shed more light on the story when they are picked up
  • Quartz Flasks have been replaced with instant use large health potions
  • Morph Ovum has been replaced with Dog Mode
  • Chaos Device replaced with Boots of Protection (Rad Suit)
  • Time Bomb of the Ancients replaced with a much more effective Poison Flechette
  • Life Sphere replaces the Mystic Urn (same effects as Soul Sphere)
  • Flight, invulnerability, dog mode, invisibility, large health potions and Life Sphere are instant use power ups (Map, backpack, torch, tome of power are unaffected)
  • New graphics for Flight and Invulnerability power-ups (all instant use power-ups are now held in orbs/spheres)
  • Only one torch, tome of power, or boots power-up can be held at any time. Up to 20 flechettes can be held.

Monsters

  • All non-boss enemies from Heretic can now be resurrected
  • All non-boss enemies from Heretic except the Weredragon have had their HP reduced by 10%-25%
  • The Weredragon’s attack now takes an two extra tics (reducing attack speed by 20%)
  • Replaced ImpLeader and MummyLeader with Black Imp and Hobgoblin (same concept, new graphics and sounds)
  • The Iron Lich no longer summons tornedos but gains a spirit summoning attack.
  • New Monster: Cultist (weak human, fires projectiles and drops wand ammo)
  • New Monster: Knight Archer (slightly less weak human, fires projectiles and drops crossbow ammo)
  • New Monster: Bloodclaw (stronger and faster version of the Saberclaw)
  • New Monster: Demon Prince (acts similar to a Cyberdemon)
  • New Monster: Tall Man (fast stealth monster, fires rapid fire projectiles and occasionally resurrects monsters)
  • New Monster: Bloodied Lich (resurrects enemies and performs an Arch-Vile attack; has less HP than an Arch-Vile but releases a hostile ghost on death)
  • Added Reiver from Hexen (slightly modified, no vampiric melee attack)
  • Added Wendigo from Hexen
  • Added Ettin from Hexen
  • Added Chaos Serpent from Hexen (10% size increase and slight increase in HP)
  • Added Slaughtaur from Hexen (more aggressive AI, lower HP and significantly reduced shield time)
  • Blood Claw, Reiver, Ettin, Chaos Serpent, and Slaughtaur can be resurrected (but not Tall Man, Bloodied Lich or Demon Prince)
  • Added pigs and chickens as NPCs. They don’t do anything.
  • Monsters no longer drop items except for the Cultist and Knight enemies.

Maps

  • There is currently one map (E1M1) but the plan is to release 20 maps in four or five mini-episodes set in new locations.

Everyone Loves Flying Stealth Archviles

Last year I made a Lovecraftian Doom mod to help me figure out how mods are made, and one thing I did then was turn Realm 667′s Flesh Wizard into an alternative Archvile.

I’ve now combined some of that Decorate code with Hexenmapper’s raisable Heretic monsters and made a very fast monster with a decent amount of hit points that resurrects fallen foes, turns invisible, and throws out low damage fireballs. He also has a high pain chance.

In the test encounter he wasn’t able to escape concentrated fire from a rapid fire weapon, but he’s much harder to catch in an open arena with other monsters around. He’s scary but not very dangerous by himself.

So let me know what you think about the FLYING STEALTH ARCHVILE

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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FRAG: First Draft of New Rulebook

Below are screengrabs showing a first pass at my next rulebook FRAG. FRAG is a simple d6 based wargame where squads of FPS heroes fight hordes of monsters.  The artwork is just stuff found online and added to look pretty for my gaming group, so I’ll be looking for commissioned pieces of art closer to final release.

Current armies are: Space Marines, Hell, and the Old Ones. The Old One list is only half-done, and the list is already so huge it’ll probably end up pruned or split off.

Work on the system is ongoing. Future updates will add The Order (Heretic/Hexen) and the SS Paranormal Division. I also want to make a list of themed NPC-type characters who live on the worlds each faction visits, like cops/guards/WW2 GIs, etc.