Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Will She Ever Stop?

Sure. But as I mentioned in a recent post, there was still something slightly not right in my upgrade mod. As I said in that same post, I'm also a bit of a perfectionist; I take pride in my mods and if I'm going to share one with the public it's going to work right and not make me look foolish, dammit!

The problems that were nagging at me were that the Hellstorm Archon's death animation didn't seem to be "wrapping up" properly and also that it seemed like I had never seen the Belphegor despite the fact that I was certain I had added him to the spawning list properly.

As it turns out, these problems were one in the same. Though I had already renamed a shitload of sprites in an attempt to prevent this sort of thing from happening, I had overlooked one such issue: these two monsters had sprites with the same names. I had actually encountered the Belphegor several times while playing but didn't even realize it because both monsters are of the "Baron" variety, use similar sounds and attacks and the Belphegor's sprites were being overridden by the Hellstorm Archon's sprites. The only thing that tipped me off to the problem was that faulty death animation, which was being caused by the Belphegor using the Archon's death sprites.

Well, the issue is fixed now. I sincerely hope that I haven't missed anything else, but who knows? I'm still playing through Plutonia with the mod and am keeping my eyes peeled for issues.

As always, the DL links in the blog sidebar will be for the latest versions:


Without Music

With PSX Music

Unlike with previous updates, those of you currently playing with the mod (I know there's at least one of you) should be able to overwrite the old file with the new one and continue playing without having to start over. Nothing has been removed or added this time around so the game should still think you're using the same file. As I recommend with anything to do with computers, however, you should probably first make a backup of the old file someplace just to be safe.

As for everything else in the mod, I'm still quite satisfied with it. I really see no reason to add any new monsters or weapons; each class of monsters has approximately ten different variations (give or take one or two) and each type of weapon (except the melee weapons) has no less than two different versions. The only other minor change I've made in this version is how much ammo the Devastator consumes. Originally it only used a single charge, but that seemed too low considering the damage it does so I increased it to five. That still seems kind of low, but I wanted to maintain balance without getting too far away from the original intentions of the Devastator's creator despite the fact that the original Devastator wasn't even an energy weapon (I changed it to make it match the Devastator Zombies). Despite the still arguably low ammo consumption, hopefully an even balance will still be maintained by the fact that the weapon is among the rare ones that are only dropped by randomly-spawning enemies (I'm half-way through Plutonia and I still haven't been able to pick one up).

Oh, and as surprising as this may sound, DoomWorld actually did replace the old version of the mod in the Archives with the newer version. In the blog sidebar it will continue to be labeled as the old version simply because, while it is a newer version containing my UltraSphere, Railgun Sentry bots and the like, it does not contain the two small changes mentioned in this post. I'm not going to send yet another version to them; I'll just let the most recent versions remain exclusive downloads here as sort of a perk for folks who actually visit the blog and let me know what they think of the mod.

So there you have it. Until next time, watch out for those invisible monsters!

I'm Confused

Followers of my little blog here might notice that a recent post and any associated DL links regarding a WAD file of new alternate music for the classic Doom games is now missing. That's because I was issued a DMCA takedown.

Apparently, when you have a web-page with a bunch of music that can be downloaded for free and call it royalty-free music, what this means is that it's not free and nobody else can use it.

Here's the gist of it:

Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. As a result, we have reset the post(s) to "draft" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again.

A bit of background: the DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. If you believe you have the rights to post the content at issue here, you can file a counter-claim. For more information on our DMCA policy, including how to file a counter-claim, please see

The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at http://www.chillingeffects.org. We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). You can search for the DMCA notice associated with the removal of your content by going to the Chilling Effects search page at http://www.chillingeffects.org/search.cgi, and entering in the URL of the blog post that was removed. If it is brought to our attention that you have republished the post without removing the content/link in question, then we will delete your post and count it as a violation on your account. Repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account including deleting your blog and/or terminating your account. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel.


The Blogger Team

Affected URLs:


Now, while this e-mail says I'm supposed to be able to search for the actual complaint that was made against my little blog here by going to the linked site and entering the URL of my offending blog post in a search, I was unable to locate said complaint after attempting to do so several times in several different ways.


I publicly apologize to whomever I've offended for whatever it is I did wrong even though it makes absolutely no sense to me and I promise not to post said offending materials again. Thank you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

So Far, So Good...

Just a quick note for anyone interested...

I've just finished playing through the entirety of TNT: Evilution on Ultra-Violence with the current version of my upgrade mod. There were times when my skills were put to the test but nothing was ever impossible, so it seems that I've achieved my goal with the project. (The Devastator and the Seeker Bazooka are both very handy... once you learn to use them without blowing your own ass off...)

Being the creator of the mod and a bit of a perfectionist I couldn't help but notice a couple of very minor issues that I wish I would have caught before making another release, but nothing major enough that a new version is warranted just yet. In fact, these things likely won't even be noticed by anyone who doesn't know the inner workings of these things, so I'm not going to name them here and if nobody ever comments on them I'm not going to worry about them.

Overall the mod is working great and is great fun to use; I'm very pleased with how it has turned out. If others enjoy it as much as I am then the work definitely will have been worthwhile.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


"Get the torches and the pitchforks! Drive the crazy witch out of the village!!"

Use my name as a curse if you will, or make an effigy of me and stick pins in it...

...but there were a few things about the previous "final version" of the mod that I simply was not satisfied with, so I continued to work on it.

In the end it's probably for the best. Along the way I discovered that there were still a lot of sprites that used the same naming convention, which explains why some of the monsters looked exactly like others. I've re-named over 100 more sprites, so hopefully that's all sorted out now.

The biggest flaw that needed to be corrected concerned my random spawners for health and ammo. I played through the entirety of Doom II with the previous "final version" and, on the surface, everything seemed to be working properly. But it bothered me that it seemed a bit too easy, even though I was playing on the Ultra-Violence difficulty setting. I realized that the entire time I was playing through the IWAD I had never seen any of the smaller ammo and health drops, only the bigger ones. Upon closer investigation I discovered that I had made a fundamental error that had a major impact on the gameplay balance that I had been working so carefully to maintain.

When trying to figure out how to increase DoomGuy's ammo carrying capacity I had been told that it was a bad idea to re-name the ammo types, something to do with "actor properties inheritance"... or at least that was the way I understood it at the time. Apparently it was either explained to me incorrectly or not in enough detail or I simply misunderstood. I'll not bore you with all the finer technical details; the short story is that in my first versions I had it right, I changed it and did it wrong in the last version but now I've changed it back to the right way in this version. All the ammo and health spawners are working exactly as I had intended them to now, and DoomGuy's ammo carrying capacity is still increased.

It has also been discussed here that it really sucks when you inadvertently pick up a SoulSphere when you don't need it, more so now that DoomGuy's health has the potential to reach a maximum of 300%. I've remedied this issue, though I was unable to do so by simply modifying the default power-up. Instead I scripted an entirely new item, but don't worry... it still uses the same sprites, has the same name and does the same thing; while playing, the only way you will notice it's any different is that now it won't be picked up automatically if DoomGuy's health is above 200%.

I want to achieve this same effect with the MegaSphere, but I just can't seem to figure it out. Something about the fact that it contains both an armor and a health increase makes it so that the game can't know whether or not or when you're really in need of it. Or at least that's the way it seems to me. Or maybe it's just something that I'm not understanding about the properties of armor in general, because I've also been unsuccessful in my attempts to get the ArmorShards to be of any benefit beyond 200% or to keep DoomGuy from picking them up if he's already got 200% armor. But at least these items are working exactly the way they're supposed to by default, so I suppose I shouldn't be complaining.

However, while trying to sort out these issues, I did manage to create an all-new original item exclusive to my mod! I proudly present:


Like the MegaSphere, the UltraSphere increases both health and armor... but it does so to the 300% maximum! Unfortunately, also as with the MegaSphere, I can't figure out how to keep it from being picked up if it's not needed... but those are the breaks, I suppose. At least having this new item appear now and again might help ease the pain of it a little. And though it was only a minor cosmetic issue, while working on this I also figured out how to fix the floor-clipping issues of the invulnerability sphere which occurred when I made all the alien artifact spheres in the game "floaty". So even though I haven't been able to do every little thing that I wanted, in the process of trying I discovered new things and how to fix some of the other smaller issues.

Though hardly as major as the above issues, I wasn't truly satisfied with the Tesla Coil. I love the concept of the monster: a stationary item that somewhat resembles one of the default inanimate fixtures until it takes you by surprise with an attack. Well, the Tesla Coil can't really take you by surprise since its loud buzzing can be heard from the moment you enter a new map where it's present. Furthermore, I placed it in a spawn to replace the default light fixture of the same height, so when it spawns in corners the big sphere at the top of it clips into the walls. I also wasn't happy with its attack animation; it's just like the railgun's attack animation but is white, so it has a tendency to look like soap bubbles.

Having successfully created the UltraSphere, I decided I would take a shot at the Tesla Coil as well. The result was an entirely new creature: the Railgun Sentry!

There are actually three versions of my Railgun Sentry, a tall one which can randomly appear in the place of the tall tech lamp and two shorter versions which can randomly appear of course instead of the normal and "small column" tech lamps. They don't make any sounds until they become active after having "seen" our favorite space marine, so they could potentially take one by surprise. They also use the attack animation of the normal railgun so it looks more like a laser shooting out. For the sake of continuity and cosmetics, I later replaced the sprites of the inanimate floor lights as well, but you'll still be able to tell the difference; the lights have a cool blue color while the Railgun Sentries have a red light, will beep at you and of course shoot at you.

So I'm editing sprites and creating creatures now; why stop with just one or two?

When I originally began this project I had the idea to do something similar with the Evil Eye, but at that time I had not yet learned how. There was a creature on the Realm667 Beastiary called Baphomet's Eyes but they were not stationary, instead flying around with Kamikaze attacks like the Lost Souls and thus not fitting exactly what I had in mind at that time. But after creating the Railgun Sentries, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

There are now two new versions of the Evil Eye that will attack DoomGuy: a red one that spits fire and exploding flying Evil Eyes and a green one that spits poisonous clouds as well as flying Evil Eyes that will explode in toxic green clouds. Both will laugh at you mockingly... though I'm not going to try to explain how an eye can laugh...

Since I was doing some editing of my own, I also made the toxic and lava floors just a tad brighter, but hopefully not over-done:

Also, I think the Wolfenstein levels look much better my way:

And, speaking of the Wolfenstein levels, I replaced Commander Keen's sprites and sound effects as well.

...oh, and in this version I've added another new weapon and over 30 new monsters...

The MegaUpload links in the blog's sidebar are for this current (I don't dare use the "f"-word) version, but the link to DoomWorld (for now) is still for the previous version. Unlike a modding site like the TES Nexus, where one can easily edit, update or even remove one's submitted content, apparently with DoomWorld once something is submitted to the Archives it is irrevocably there for the rest of all eternity. When people started making accusations about my submitted maps, I sent an e-mail to Ty Halderman himself asking him to remove the files from the Archives, to which he claimed he would. That was at least a year ago, and yet the files are still there...

Anyway, here are the links to the latest downloads. If I can get the new version to replace the old one on DoomWorld I will do so, but I'm not going to loose any sleep over it...


Without Music 26 MB

With Music 363 MB

As with previous versions, this one likely won't work with any other saved games, so if you're currently playing through a major set of maps with the older version then you might want to just store this one somewhere until you're ready for it.

I'm not going to paste in a copy of the readme again; you guys have read it at least twice now and anyone who hasn't can scroll down the blog page. However, I suppose I should reiterate what I've said in previous posts: this is a randomizer. While I've gone to certain lengths to ensure that only certain classes of enemies spawn where they're supposed to with a certain frequency, randomness is difficult to control (and doing so would kinda defeat the whole purpose of the mod). I bring this up because I just finished a map that had a lot of the zombie soldiers in it by default and with the randomizer at one point I got rushed by about a dozen zombies all with chainsaws. I've set up the Chainsaw Zombie to spawn only 20% of the time, so the mob was obviously simply the result of the random roll of the dice that might never happen again and certainly not again in that same spot.


In a nutshell, this is a new version with several flaws fixed, a few pending minor issues of personal preference that I might change later if I ever figure out how... and a big chunk of new content that wasn't in the previous version.

Until next time, ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


"Final release? Yeah, we've heard that one before..."

No... really. This is it. Just to prove it, I've uploaded it to the DoomWorld id Games Archives where it should appear in the next batch of "latest files" and become a permanent part of Doom history. Until then, it can be downloaded through the following links, which also will be a permanent part of the blog's sidebar:




I've decided to release two separate versions because everyone's tastes in game music varies and also because some people might simply want the smaller file. Only the version without the music has been uploaded to the Archives; this should circumvent any copyright concerns regarding the Aubrey Hodges PSX music, plus I had a difficult enough time getting the smaller of the two files to go through the FTP anyway.

If you've downloaded a previous version of the mod, you'll want to delete that and get one of the final versions. Several new weapons and monsters have been added and several bugs regarding sprites with similar or even identical names have been fixed. I never figured out how to get the Armor Shards to be of benefit above 200% or how to prevent the Soulsphere from being picked up when it's not needed, but everything else seems to be working perfectly so I'm calling it a done deal.

Also, if you have a previous version your old game saves will most likely not work with the new final versions. Sorry about that, but there's really no way to get around it.

It should also be noted that the mod will not work with any previously saved "vanilla" games. My mod replaces ALL the default weapons except for the fists and the pistol, so if you load a previously saved game your weapons won't be in your inventory!


Herculine's Doom Upgrade is a mod for GZDoom that uses custom spawners to randomize monsters and items. Many new ones are added and have been carefully selected and placed to present new and unexpected challenges while attempting to maintain a semblance of the original difficulty intended by any given map's author as well as to maintain the original atmosphere of the games. New weapons have also been added in an attempt to maintain these balances but also have been chosen to fit the original atmosphere.

Here are a few of the new things you can expect to see:

These aren't just recolored versions of the original monsters. I've carefully chosen the new creatures on the basis that they not only fit the original atmosphere of the game, but also that they possess some new attacks and unique behaviors that add fresh and unexpected challenges to the game. It should also be noted that I've done my best to preserve our ability to use the tried-and-true trick of getting those big bad-ass monsters to kill each other for us. Each class of monsters has been assigned a species type that should* keep them from attacking other monsters of the same species and yet still allow infighting to occur between monsters from different classes. *(I say should because this is supposed to work in theory, but I have observed an instance or two where the monsters just didn't seem to care.)

As a result of randomizing monster and item spawns, difficulty can potentially be erratic. Overall difficulty is usually slightly higher. If you're having too tough a time of it, you can try restarting the level to get a different set of random spawns. However, I've modified a few things in an attempt to prevent the average map from becoming impossible when using my mod. As mentioned in the previous post, one of these modifications was an increase to DoomGuy's ammo carrying capacity. I've also added some new and interesting power-ups (like the ability to freeze time for a few seconds) that should help even the odds even if you're not a Doom veteran, but like everything else I've chosen for this mod I've done so with the intention of making our Doom experience more enjoyable rather than ridiculously unbalanced.

The new weapons also have all been chosen with balance in mind. Some weapons, like the Necrovision MG40 (an uber-chaingun) might at first seem like they give you an unfair advantage (it fires so rapidly you could cut grass with it and it similarly cuts down some of the toughest of the new demons) but once you note how rapidly they consume ammo or, in the case of some of the energy weapons, that they can have a backlash that makes them almost suicidal to use, you'll tend to save these big guns for only the more desperate emergencies. Some of these weapons also have the potential to be rare since they are only dropped by randomly-spawning enemies.

This mod likely will not work with any mod that replaces the existing monsters, weapons or items. This mod will work with any Doom IWAD and should work with most custom megaWADs and levels, but may not work with heavily scripted ones.


The various contributors to Realm667's Beastiary, Armory, Item Store and Prop Stop. This mod is in no way an attempt to take credit for anyone else's excellent work. A full list of credits can be found in texts both included separately with this WAD and also integrated into the WAD itself.

Snarboo for his randomizer which inspired me and taught me how to do this.

Graf Zahl and the DRD Team for GZDoom.

Aubrey Hodges for the best Doom music ever. Elbryan42 and Doom Depot for the music WAD.

Everyone who follows the blog here and has supported this project. THANK YOU!

UPDATE: 05-21-2011

After proudly posting that this would be the final ever release of the mod, I've played through the entirety of Doom II on Ultra-Violence with it and did not notice any issues... except for two little things:

I never saw any stimpacks or the green armor vest. Not once. I was always getting the new medipack and the ArmorSphere instead.

Being a sort-of hard-core Doomer who generally makes things more difficult on myself rather than easier, these issues nagged at me and as I was playing I was continually trying to adjust the spawn rates of these items, but with no apparent effect. This puzzled me because I had gone so far as to make it so that the items should only have had a 1-in-10 chance of spawning something different.

Finally I realized that the problem was in that I had given the stimpack a chance of spawning a medikit and that the medikit spawns were then automatically producing the new medipacks. Even so, according to the math there still should have been some spawns of the lesser items rather than nothing but the more powerful items. Apparently the spawn spawning a spawn confuses the game engine somehow, and no level of tweaking the spawn ratios will fix it.

The only solution I could come up with was to totally eliminate any randomness for the stimpacks and green armor. However, I'm not going to upload a new version of the mod containing these changes because it's not likely that most people are going to complain about too much health lying around, and also because a new version would invalidate the saved games using previous versions since two spawners have been totally eliminated from the list.

If anyone who has been using the mod truly wants the new version in which these changes have been made, contact me and I'll be glad to send you a copy. Besides, who knows? Maybe I'll find some other new things to add to the game and at some point release a newer version anyway...

Monday, May 16, 2011


That's right... I'm not even going to dare say it's finished; look at where that's gotten me in the past...

However, I will say that I've accomplished a couple of my goals today... with a little help.

StimPacks and SuperStims now appear to be working exactly the way I want them to, taking into account that with the LifeSphere power-up it's now possible to have 300 health.

Unfortunately, my attempts to do the same with the ArmorShards just don't seem to be working though I have no idea why since they should be able to use exactly the same code. Furthermore, at the moment they don't seem to be working at all. Thus I'm not releasing another version until I get that detail ironed out.

As can be seen in the screenshots here, I've also succeeded in (within reason) increasing DoomGuy's ammo carrying capacity. My thanks to NeuralStunner at the ZDoom Forums for pointing me toward the easy way to accomplish this after I'd wracked my brain over it for most of the day.

The original caps were:

Pre-backpack                                                        Post-backpack

Bullets               200                                               400
Shells                100                                               200
Rockets            50                                                 100
Cells                 300                                               600

My new caps are:

Pre-backpack                                                        Post-backpack

Bullets               300                                               600
Shells                150                                               300
Rockets            75                                                 150
Cells                 450                                               900

These felt like the natural and reasonable progression to me, rather than simply doubling the default post-backpack limits which I felt would have been superfluous. If one would be able to gather and not expend 800 bullets, 400 shells, 200 rockets and 1200 cells in any given map then in my opinion the map's designer has made it too easy.

Which brings me to my next discovery of the day...
While my randomizers should generally make most maps slightly more difficult, there will of course always be exceptions. The checks and balances I've set in place to help keep more difficult maps from becoming impossible to complete have one major drawback: they can potentially make maps that are already easy into maps that are ridiculously easy. As you can see from my health and armor scores in these screenshots, while playing through the first map of the Raven series by Tim Wilits and Theresa Chasar on the default difficulty I really had no trouble keeping my marine healthy. But as I mentioned in my review of these maps, in this one in particular the authors placed like a dozen sets of armor throughout the level. I can't be responsible for authors who have designed their maps for beginners, nor can I be responsible for authors who make maps with 500 CyberDemons. My mod is designed to work well with the average map, and that's really all I can do.

I'd still like to figure out how to keep us from picking up and consequently wasting the SoulSphere if our health is already 200 (or more), but so far my attempts at that have not been successful and I won't let that stop me from making a final release if I can't figure it out. But I do really need to get those ArmorShards working, so that's where progress is standing still at the moment.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

FINISHED! (I think...)


Unless something unexpected comes up (which when modding for any game could very well happen) this should be the final version of my randomizer mod.

Here's the MegaUpload DL link:

Herculine's Doom Upgrade

Mod Description:

Herculine's Doom Upgrade is a mod for GZDoom that uses custom spawners to randomize monsters and items. Many new ones are added and have been carefully selected and placed to present new and unexpected challenges while attempting to maintain a semblance of the original difficulty intended by any given map's author as well as to maintain the original atmosphere of the games. New weapons have also been added in an attempt to maintain these balances but also have been chosen to fit the original atmosphere.
As a result of randomizing monster and item spawns, difficulty can potentially be erratic. Overall difficulty is usually slightly higher. If you're having too tough a time of it, you can try restarting the level to get a different set of random spawns.
This mod likely will not work with any mod that replaces the existing monsters, weapons or items. This mod will work with any Doom IWAD and should work with most custom megaWADs and levels, but may not work with heavily scripted ones.

Additional Credits to: 
The various contributors to Realm667's Beastiary, Armory, Item Store and Prop Stop. This mod is in no way an attempt to take credit for anyone else's excellent work. A full list of credits can be found in texts both included separately with this WAD and also imbedded in the WAD itself.

Snarboo for his randomizer which inspired me and taught me how to do this.

Aubrey Hodges for the best Doom music ever. Elbryan42 and DoomDepot for the music WAD.

All my blog readers who have helped with testing and shown encouragement and support.

Everyone responsible for creating GZDoom and keeping it up to date.

"For the record..."

I'm not trying to hide from DoomWorld here. I've tried virtually all day to upload this to the Archives with FileZilla and have repeatedly failed. I even tried to e-mail the file directly to Ty Halderman himself but apparently that is not allowed either.

Later I'll make posts in both the DoomWorld Forums and the DRD / GZDoom Forums to give the mod wider exposure to the Doom community and all my fans therein.

I hope this mod is enjoyed by many. Please come back and let me know what you think of it.


Murphy's Law

Almost immediately after making this post and posting links in the above-mentioned forums I was playing through a map and noticed a minor bug or two that I'd missed.

The sawed-off appears to be missing its pick-up sound effect and the armor shards don't seem to be working quite right. That's not really so minor, but I should be able to fix it.

Apparently I also need to tweak the health bonus pickups. Currently if you have 300 health and touch one, it will knock you back down to 200. I should be able to fix this as well, but it's currently taking a bit of experimentation.

Monday, May 9, 2011

More Testing And Tweaking

I've just put the finishing touches on what I believe might be the final version of the randomizer mod, but I'm still going to test it some more before I etch anything in stone.

As stated in the previous post, I've fixed the conflict between the two Terrors without having to remove either one from the mod. I've also removed a couple of monsters that seemed redundant; I'm trying to use only new monsters that actually have something unique in their behavior and attacks instead of simply recolored versions of the old ones. But I've also added a couple of new ones, including the Tesla Coil. I've moved the Void Imp and Phase Imp to the same rank as the Revenants because their marine-seeking projectiles and shifting to and from visibility makes them fit that difficulty level more so than that of the other Imps. Also in the interest of keeping things balanced rather than insanely difficult, I tweaked some of the spawn ratios of the new power-ups so hopefully they will be seen more often.

I'm not going to post any screenshots or make any official announcements until I feel I've thoroughly tested this, however the updated version can be downloaded here:

Herculines Doom Upgrade

One final note for tonight: if you (and you know who you are) have been using the previous version of the mod and want to update to this one, you might want to make a backup of the file first. There's a 50/50 chance that you could either start in the middle of a game after overwriting the file with the new one and everything will be fine OR one of the monsters that I've since removed might have spawned in the level you're playing and thus the game won't allow you to load your saved game. Sorry about that, but such is the nature of experimentation and testing I'm afraid.


I don't want my name to become synonymous with various profanity, so please keep in mind that it is in fact a RANDOMIZER.

I just spent about an hour trying to get myself out of a pretty desperate situation in one of Gene Bird's maps called WASTE PROCESSING (if I recall correctly, the map was included in one of the famous COMMUNITY CHEST megaWADs). One of the creatures I've included in the mod is called Death Incarnate; it's a variation of the Revenant that attacks with virtually unavoidable laser beams. It can be taken down with two or three blasts from the Super Shotgun, but about every 60 seconds after that it resurrects itself. One Death Incarnate is pretty easy to handle; just lure it back to some earlier part of the map, kill it there and maybe it won't be able to find its way back to you. Another trick is to get it to die in a doorway so that when the door closes it turns the corpse to goo that can't self-resurrect. Anyway, in the map I mentioned there were like a dozen or more of these bastards spread throughout the level, and at one point I found myself with just 1% health with these self-resurrecting monsters stalking me. I was able to eventually finish the map, but whew...

So once I had cleared the map, I decided I'd best open my mod with an editor and change the frequency with which these things would spawn. This works on a 10 to 1 ratio, i.e. if I give a creature a value of 1 it should only appear 10% of the time. Turns out I had already set the Death Incarnate to 1 before I had ever loaded the map. The value can't be set any lower.

So what this all means is that on some maps you may get a good roll of the dice while on others you may very well get screwed. But then that's really part of the fun of this mod, I think, and the whole point of it.

I recommend using the autosaver mod I mentioned a while back, and if you're playing a megaWAD or one of the IWADs save before you hit the switch or whatever at the end of one map so that if the randomizer totally screws you on the next map you can come back and reload it and get a different roll of the dice. I'm doing the best I can to balance the ratios in the mod, but still randomness can be a bitch...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Testing... Testing... 1... 2... 3...

After my last post about GZDoom randomizer mods I became determined to figure out how to make one of my own.

After about two days of intensive study and work (my GF working 12-hour shifts really helped) I think I've finally finished one that I'm happy with and am about to begin intensive testing on my own. Now the question remains:

Anyone else up for testing?

The Beta/Alpha test version can be DLed here:

Herculine's Doom Upgrade


Don't be intimidated by the previous post; I've put a great deal of effort into trying to make it balanced, including the additions of some new power-ups, while still keeping it challenging.


With my add-on I've played through four maps from Gene Bird's "Blind Alley" series (which I'll post a review of later) and so far it seems that my efforts to make things more challenging and yet balanced have been fairly successful.

However, I have found a flaw. Two items, an alternative to the Lost Soul called The Terror and one of the new power-ups called the Terror Sphere, were using sprites with similar names so that in the game The Terror ended up looking like a Terror Sphere flying around. I've already fixed this so the issue will not be present in the final version of the mod.

Friday, May 6, 2011

More Than I Can Chew?

I'm not going to say that I'm an expert Doom player; no, I have my good and bad days like everyone else. But when it comes to "vanilla" Doom and the original IWADs, I can tend to get bored just like anyone else. Some gamers have told me that Doom is too repetitive for their liking, and in the case of maps I've already played through several times I have to agree. Without cheating, I can generally complete the average Doom map with health, armor and ammo all maxed, or at least very close. Sometimes when playing on the default difficulty settings I feel a bit like Neo in The Matrix; the enemy projectiles seem to move so slowly that I just casually step out of the way and keep firing. It's because of this that I rarely play the original id releases these days; I'm experienced enough that I simply need something more challenging.

Being a modder as well as a player who loves the game, I'm always looking for ways to mod the game to make it even more enjoyable. Thus I started investigating how to add new and more challenging enemies to the game to help keep it interesting.

As its name implies, Snarboo's Doom Monster Randomizer for GZDoom adds unpredictability to those classic Doom maps we've all by now memorized inside and out. Yet it doesn't just shuffle around the existing enemies; it also adds to the game some rather interesting new variations of those monsters taken from the Realm667 Beastiary. I've tried similar randomizers by other authors, as well as the resources from ScoreDoom and SkullTag, but in the end I don't like them because they're way too "over-the-top". What I mean by this is that they add things that IMHO don't feel like they belong in Doom, like flying spell-casting wizards from Heretic or Hexen or just silly things that simply annoy me like the zombie soldier who zips around on a Segway scooter and tries to run over you with it. Many players will disagree with me and rave about how great these other add-ons are, and that's fine if that's what you like. I simply prefer to have new content added without making it feel like I'm playing a total conversion of the game.

I'm not going to describe here every monster included in Snarboo's mod, but I do want to mention some of the most noteworthy ones that have prompted me to choose it over other similar add-ons. Overall they tend to make any given map more difficult than it's author perhaps intended, but in the cases of maps I've memorized and become bored with that's really the whole point. These aren't just recolored or semi-transparent versions of the default monsters; they have new, unique and deadlier attacks that definitely increase the challenge level of even the tamest levels. I should also mention that, like the following image of the Flesh Wizard, my screenshots here really do not do the new creatures justice. Seeing them in action and actually trying to fight them is where they are truly the most impressive. Besides, anybody who loves Doom already knows that it's all about the gameplay experience, not eye-candy.

The Flesh Wizard mutters something unintelligible and zips around so quickly that you'll only have a split-second to target him; he becomes invisible while doing so and reappears just long enough to throw a fireball at you and then takes off again.

Soul Harvester Imps throw flaming skull projectiles that, like the missiles of the famous Revenants, will follow you around corners quite persistently, though they can be eluded. Stone Demons (not pictured here) explode when they die, causing you extra damage while the little pieces of them bouncing around will also inflict damage. Cyberbarons have rocket-launcher arms like their big brother the Cyberdemon. The Tortured Soul is a version of the Pain Elemental that, rather than Lost Souls, spits at you a lingering toxic green cloud and when he is killed more of this green gunk will spew forth to damage you if you're not careful. I could go on, but surely you're getting the idea; new versions of the monsters with new deadlier attacks.

So, why did I title this post the way that I have?
After recently sharing Snarboo's mod with one of my avid readers, I decided to crack it open with an editor to see if I could make heads or tails of its inner workings; I am a modder, after all. Well, while I don't understand enough of it yet to draw up something similar of my own from scratch, I did manage to figure out how to change the frequency of the spawns and even how to replace some of the monsters and add new ones as well. So I popped on over to the Realm667 Beastiary to see what Snarboo had left out of his little collection. That's where I may have "bitten off more than I can chew", as they say.

To make a long story short, now I've got in my game monsters with projectile attacks two or three times faster than the normal attacks, soldiers with super shotguns that will blast a sizable hole in me if they catch me off-guard, jumping Demons and Demons with projectile attacks, self-resurrecting Revenants with laser attacks, semi-invisible Cacodemons with me-seeking projectiles, things that throw meteors or shower flaming spheres down upon me... again, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Snarboo's mod was a good start by itself, but now my game has suddenly gone from predictable to hard-core almost over-night.

Now I'm no longer finishing levels with full health and maxed ammo; now I end each level wondering if I've got enough stuff left to be able to survive starting the next level. Now I find myself peering timidly around dark corners, praying that there will be a medkit or some ammo there, or in the very least one of the default monsters I'll be able to handle without getting reamed. I wanted more challenge and unpredictability... but maybe I should have been more careful what I had wished for...

So, if you're one of those players who enjoys Doom but has found that it has lost some of its thrill, do yourself a favor and grab Snarboo's Doom Monster Randomizer. And if you're inclined to be like me and want to try to make your own monster randomizer, visit the Realm667 Beastiary where they have a wide variety of new monsters in both the Doom and the Heretic and Hexen styles. I think I've found enough variety there to keep myself Dooming for quite a while longer.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Very Nice Thing To Have

One type of mod I've become accustomed to using in the Bethesda games I play (since they own the Doom franchise now, I suppose I should say the other Bethesda games) is anything that enables game saves to be created automatically in adjustable intervals. I hate my game immersion being broken by thoughts like: "Oh, wait... I'm about to open an unfamiliar door. I should probably save here..."

But such convenience mods also have a major drawback: once I become accustomed to using them in one game then while playing other games I am constantly forgetting to save my progress. Such was the case when I recently returned to Doom.

But there's hope for people like me, thanks to Stephen Clark aka The Ultimate DooMer and his autosaver mod designed for use with ZDoom and GZDoom. With this mod in play, once you begin a new WAD all you must do is enter a one-time console command and for the remainder of that map or set of maps your progress will automatically be saved at whatever interval you've specified. Like the title of the post says, this is a very nice thing to have because you never know what might happen in Doom. I keep my auto-saver set at a 60 second interval because those nasty little surprises can tend to happen rather quickly.

Now, if you're one of those hardcore Doomers who believes that levels must be cleared without saving your progress ever, then obviously this is not the mod for you. Pistol-starters, however, might find this quite useful since starting a particularly intense map with just the revolver can be quite an ordeal and require quite a bit of luck.

My observant readers may have noticed in screenshots in previous posts a tiny purple number can be seen in the upper left-hand corner of my screen while I'm playing. That's the auto-saver timer counting down to the next save. Aside from this tiny number and a message that will be briefly displayed when the actual save is made, once the auto-saver is running you won't even know it's there. Though I should note that, in huge maps with hundreds of monsters and GL lighting effects, the auto-saver can cause a split-second framerate stutter when the actual save is recorded. This could become a detrimental issue on PCs with slower processors, insufficient RAM or sub-standard video hardware, but in this day and age it's likely safe to assume that most of my regular readers will not have any problems with this.

So, in closing, let me give a huge THANK YOU to The Ultimate DooMer for sharing this auto-saver mod with us. It works like a charm, and is a must-have for absent-minded players like me who can tend to get so "into it" that game saves don't enter my mind until after that unexpected Arch-Vile has toasted me...