Friday, March 23, 2018

Omega Facility (SWOMEGA.WAD)

by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman

The early 2000s had a lot of crazy stuff going on at the same time and Sam Woodman had at least one finger in each of them. Alien Vendetta, Hell Revealed II, Plutonia 2, 2002: A Doom Odyssey... Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that he had something kicking around in Millennium too. There's even his One Week Mapping Contest where he played the part of the "organizer". In between all of the submissions, projects, and his Mortiser series he still cranked out the occasional level. This one is Omega Facility, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II released in early 2001. It's a medium-size techbase level consisting of roughly equal parts brick and metal. I thought that it was station in space at first but there's definitely a green grass yard.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Mortiser 2: Ice Station Alpha (SWMORT2.WAD)

by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman
and Mattias Berggren

Sammy boy may not have been the most prolific author during the source port boom but he had a lot of irons in the fire. A lot of his levels made it into Hell Revealed II and he headed the Plutonia 2 project for the first half of its development, for better or worse. Woodman also submitted two levels to Alien Vendetta. One of them was folded into Vincent Catalaá's "Demonic Hordes", replacing some sort of lead labyrinth. The other either already was Mortiser 2 or became it in 2001 after being cut from the project, judging by the .TXT for SWOCKHAM. Like the rest of the series, you'll need MORTRES.WAD. One big difference - it's a joint venture with Mattias Berggren, also of AV fame! SWMORT2 replaces MAP02 of Doom II so it looks like Sam intended to string them together one way or another.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ockham Complex (SWOCKHAM.WAD)

by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman

Woodsy spent the year 2000 throwing his weight behind a lot of different projects. The only one that really panned out was Plutonia 2, just not with him at the helm. Ockham Complex, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, begins 2001 without a continuation of any of the previous material. Sam does mention the hotly anticipated Mortiser 2, but it's in reference to another classic megaWAD: Alien Vendetta. I guess he was waiting to see whether or not Anders and co. were going to accept or reject it and made SWOCKHAM in the meantime. Woodman did get one map into the illustrious AV - but you already knew that, didn't you?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Ballistics (SWBLSTCS.WAD)

by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman

Where Ice Station Alpha got cut out of Alien Vendetta and remained so, Ballistics was removed from Hell Revealed II... only for it to return for the final release. That's why it initially made its way to the archive as a solo publication; Sam has an aside in the .TXT for an Andy, presumably one Olivera, talking about a few changes he made since it was excised. I don't know the full story of how it found its way back into the project but according to Woodman it was removed to make way for another level of his own construction. Given HR2's troubled development history, I assume that some of the levels just didn't come through in one way or another and SWBLSTCS felt like a reasonable alternative.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Mortiser 1: Lookout Base (SWMORT1.WAD)

by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman

It took awhile, including three wildly ambitious beginnings, but Sam eventually hit his stride with this MAP01 replacement in late 2000. The Mortiser series constitutes his largest, independent body of work and spans five levels from 2000 to 2003. The biggest thing tying these maps together is the Mortiser resource WAD, a collection of works from Nick Baker also serving as the basis of the theme for the apparently-still-in-progress Testament of Judgement. The Doomwiki informs me that ToJ eventually turned into Plutonia 2, but in September 2000 the difficulty design doc for PL2 explicitly labels it as such while the text file for MORTRES (timestamped on 10/31/2000... though the .WAD itself is stamped in THE FUTURE on 02/20/2018) continues to talk about ToJ as its own project-to-come. Maybe someone with access to the earliest dev materials can explicitly link the two.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

maintenance mode IV

CURRENT STATUS: 91% complete, backfilled through October 2011

Whoa hey it's been awhile! I've published 34 reviews since I made the last maintenance mode post and crossed the 600 review threshold. Right now I'm in "not quite maintenance mode" status because I am sitting on a huge pile of reviews for Sam Woodman levels. You can expect to see single level reviews posted every five days with anything much bigger arriving once a week unless my buffer gets outrageously large. That's not going to happen anytime soon, though, because I am going to be working my ass off from the end of March to partway through May. So thank goodness for a ton of buffer.

Screenshots have been backfilled all the way through February of 2012 as well as April, May, and June of 2011. As of right now, I'm more than 85% done. Considering that the vast majority of the reviews from 2011 come from a monograph on the Master Levels for Doom II, it shouldn't take long once I really get into it.

I'm still doing review "tune-ups" but as mentioned these are from a copy-editor's perspective and don't eat into the actual reviews because I'm in no state or place to play Doom when I'm performing them.

I am still working toward the Top 2001 WADs, but I also had a lot of fun playing some chronic entries in "underrated" lists (and making fake TITLEPICs for them). My immediate end goal is to make it to 2002: A Doom Odyssey, with the itinerary looking something like this:

Revolution! MIDI Pack
Codename HYENA: Killermachine
the original release of Phobia
Flay the Obscene 3
CH Retro Episode
Rip It, Tear It, Smash It
some stuff that Paul will probably laugh at when he sees it getting reviewed
Brotherhood of Ruin
...maybe 10 Sectors part 2?
2002: A Doom Odyssey

Ah, yes, reviewing the MIDI pack. I feel partly like I'm putting myself out here but I cut my teeth on describing music by writing mini-reviews for "synthwave" albums on Bandcamp so I'm probably better off than I think as long as someone doesn't try to dunk on me for the wrong terminology.

Expect any and all deviations.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Dataville (DATAVILL.WAD)

by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman

Dataville isn't the third iteration of the Testament of Judgement project but it is a likewise hilarious demonstration of his boundless enthusiasm. In mid-2000, the flavor of Sam's month was Hacx to the tune of a prospective new series entitled "Alternative HacX". With Nostromo's design documents in hand, Woodman was committed to building a new set of levels per the original plans. Dataville is the first and only fruit yielded by the Banjo-strumming author. It was designed for the original release but works absolutely fine with the 1.2 IWAD published back in 2010, which is what I used. The most important things to know are that it has to be played in some sort of limit-removing port and occupies MAP19.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Testament of Judgement I v0.2c (demo) (TOJ_E1M1.WAD)

by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman

Take two. Or not, since this one's for the original. SW put out a promotional release of his Testament of Judgement project in 1999, then for Doom II. By 2000 he had switched gears, going back from Boom to the original executable and more or less disowning TOJ_15B. While still a single map replacement, this time E1M1, Sam included quite a few custom resources including a level title graphic. He certainly seemed committed! Alas; time makes fools of us all. Sam had more luck with his Mortiser series and shepherding the Plutonia 2 project through its early days, among other things.