Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Doom Community

Okay, so we've got classic Doom up and running on our computers with a flashy open-GL sourceport. We can play Ultimate Doom, Doom II, The Plutonia Experiment, TNT: Evilution and maybe even the famous Master Levels. Heck, we can even play Heretic and Hexen if we want. But are we satisfied with that?

Nope. We want to play new maps we've never seen before. We want new challenges for our favorite Space Marine. This is where the Doom community becomes an integral part of our playing experience.

Where to get new maps to play? The best place to start in my opinion is the id games database hosted by Doomworld. Since the mid-1990s Doomers have been creating their own maps, some quite prolifically so, and most of them can still be found here in the archives. There are even two maps in there with my name on them (but nobody really liked them). You can search the archives by navigating the directory file structure by hand, by using the search function if you know the name of a specific file, the title of a set of maps or their authors, or you can even get ambitious like me and use an FTP client like FileZilla to download the entire archive to your computer. In bygone days that last option would have sounded quite insane, but by today's standards it actually is quite do-able. On my hard-drive the game Oblivion (with a few mods) is taking up almost 40 GB while my copy of the id Games archives is only occupying about 6 GB. Pretty impressive in a way when you consider that the archives contain thousands of custom-made maps and other resources. There's also an FTP mirror in and a website called DoomWAD Station that still displays the claim that it's an up-to-date copy of the archives, though I'm not entirely certain that's totally true today (because when I was making my maps I contacted the site proprieter and in an e-mail he told me he really doesn't review new maps any more).

Some of the WADs you'll find in the archives are in my opinion excellent and deserve to be in some sort of hall of fame, others are average fun to play but not breathtaking works, and there are also some that are below-average and can be overlooked. Which are which? Well, I'm not going to get into all of that just yet; the important point of this particular post is just to make sure that newcomers know where to get some new maps to keep their Dooming experience alive.

"New maps? But Herculine... didn't you say all this stuff is from the '90s?"

Yes, but there is actually still a substantial gaming community supporting Doom and a lot of fans are still producing and updating editing tools and making their own maps (more about those tools in later posts). To find new stuff being made a good place to look is in the Doomworld Forums  Newstuff Chronicles or in the forum thread simply titled: WADs & Mods. There you can learn more about the latest community releases or new works-in-progress.

Speaking of works-in-progress, I don't want to mention only Doomworld and the id Games Archive here, though it's probably the most popular and extensive source of custom Doom content. There is also a web page titled simply enough WIP: WADs In Progress. Many authors post here screenshots and status updates of their current projects. Since I prefer GZ Doom, I also occasionally visit the ZDoom Forums and the DRD Team / GZ Doom Forums where I can get updates not only on the sourceports themselves but also info for projects designed specifically for them. And so as not to hurt anyone's feelings I'll also mention the New Doom Forums, though much of the information found here is specific to JDoom, the sourceport now called Doomsday.

And when all else fails, one can simply Google "Doom", "WADs" or something of the like and still come up with a long list of sites to check out.

Okay, so no pretty screenshots this post, but as always I've hopefully provided enough information and helpful links here that newcomers to the game could easily start finding their way around. It's only general information of course, but perhaps in the next post I'll start discussing some more specific WAD and MegaWAD titles. Until then, happy Dooming!

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