Friday, January 19, 2018

AfterDoom 2: Deep Space Pirsuit (ADSP.WAD)

Virgil released a number of PWADs as part of his "appetizer" series (Black and White, Dark Castle, Ash to Ash) while trying to talk up his big project, the main course. As far as I can tell, though, Vick never actually finished it; fair Euterpe withdrew her favor and all we have left is the 2001 pre-release of AfterDoom 2: Deep Space Pirsuit. ([sic].) While the teaser only includes thirteen Doom II levels out of the planned thirty-two, I think that I have a pretty good feeling of how the finished ASDP would play out. Oh dear goodness do I know what the rest was going to be like.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Void and Rainbow (RAINBOW*.PK3)

by "Serious_MOod"

Serious_MOod started an authorial career on the unassuming, orthogonal Dark Side of Deimos in 2013. While S_M's following releases weren't staunchly traditional, neither were they wildly divergent from the typical Doom experience, especially when you consider that the alpha textures utilized in Beta Labs and BLABS2 have become a recognized theme in its own right. Color me surprised, among other things, with Void and Rainbow. It's a single level release for GZDoom published in 2017, featuring running and jumping and fighting and humping. Well, mostly the middle two, plus a healthy dash of Roy G. Biv.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Beta Labs 2 (BLABS2.WAD)

There's always been some level of interest in Doom's pre-release history and it's reponsible for a fair bit of inspiration for projects in the community. The successful ones borrow the assets and then make regular maps in their own particular idioms (Favillesco, Alpha Accident) while the failures try to fulfill the promise of Tom Hall's Doom Bible. If you're not going to catch a fish, though, you might as well not catch a big fish. Serious_MOod helmed a release from the former category, 2015's Beta Labs, and recently followed it up with the similarly-titled sequel, BLABS2, in 2017. It's a five-level minisode for limit-removing ports, spanning E1M1 through E1M5, concluding on an end credits map in E1M6.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Day of Chains (DAYCHAIN.WAD)

by "Serious_MOod"

One might think that the community has moved from the original since the release of Doom II, but plenty of members continue to carry a torch for simpler gameplay rendered in an episodic structure. Serious_MOod is one such individual and while S_M's works appear to be slightly canted toward Alpha-inspired episodes (Beta Labs before this and BLABS2 after) he or she actually started out with an E2-derived delectation (Dark Side of Deimos) back in 2013. The Day of Chains, released in late 2016 for limit-removing ports, is a similarly inspired instance though it actually occupies E1M1 with a little buffer / holding pen map in E1M2 in order for the experience to remain on the palette rather than being immediately cleansed by some rambunctious Romero rivalry.

Friday, December 22, 2017


by "Serious_MOod"

My impression of Serious_MOod was that of an author who favored the original trilogy. S_M had two episodes to his / her name, a Shores of Hell replacement titled Dark Side of Deimos and an alpha-inspired outing with fellow Russian Chaingunner called Beta Labs. Most of the RDC crew have dabbled in one of their many Doom II community megaWADs, often derived from speedmapping contests, but MOod has yet to grace one of their rosters. As a result, the existence of BID II came as a surprise. Released in 2016 for Boom-compatible ports, it's essentially a MAP01 replacement for Doom II plus a little buffer scene in MAP02 to keep you from rolling into American McGee's Starbase.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Ash to Ash (ASH2ASH.WAD)

by Vick "Virgil the Doom Poet" Bobkov

Virgil was one of many authors active during Doom's source port boom, starting out publishing stuff in 2000 but kicking off 2001, which dates the bulk of his material, with Ash to Ash. Later on he would contribute a level to Paul Corfiatis's 2002: A Doom Odyssey and worm his way into a Plutonia 2 map credit. ASH2ASH is a MAP01 replacement espousing the Plutonia theme for Boom-compatible source ports and plays decently in ZDoom with one major exception that didn't hurt my feelings. Suffice it to say, I'd already had my fill of grueling, Hellish ambushes and one broken slaughterfest came as quite a relief.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dark Castle (DARK_C.WAD)

Vick Bobkov aka Virgil the Doom Poet has two major claims to fame. He was a single level contributor to Paul Corfiatis's 2002: A Doom Odyssey and managed to worm his way into the Plutonia 2 project during its early stages. Vick got his start in the source port era and while his first release, Black and White, makes no mention of other executables, Dark Castle targets the Boom engine and more generally limit-removing source ports. Virgil's most active year was 2001, but this three-level minisode also referred to the author as an appetizer was published in 2000. Dark Castle is definitely an accurate title, but as they say, the devil is in the details.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Question and Answer: Advice On Describing Maps

I would like to ask... As a person who wrote hundreds and hundreds of map descriptions, do you have any advice on how to make one's writing more interesting and varied? For example, do you sometimes struggle to come up with something new to say that you haven't already said about many other wads before? Maybe at times you feel like you're repeating similar sentences. After all, lots of wads kind of imitate each other and I think it's not always easy to find enough unique moments to comment on. How do you deal with that?

There are, I think, two aspects of this question. The first is about making your compositions more alluring to other people and the second is your own engagement in the act of composing map descriptions. For the former, I don't have a good way to measure how engrossed readers are with this blog as it relates to the quality of my writing. The vast majority of the people commenting are authors thanking me for reviews and players offering their own experiences. The only major negative feedback I've ever received - with one exception that I'll get to in a minute - comes either from people who hate a PWAD given a good review (e.g. Erkattäññe) or those who take issue with negative opinions about a beloved release (e.g. Hellbound). The only real way for me to gauge raw interest is based on web traffic statistics but even then I'm ignorant of the why.