Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fed Up

Could someone please explain to me how is it that a mod uploaded just a few days ago gets moved straight to the DoomWorld Archives Front Page and yet my mod still can't get recognized in the latest files section?

On second thought, nevermind; I think I'm gonna play Morrowind for a while...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Partially Irrelevant Ranting

Non-Doomers often ask us why we still love this game that's quite nearly two decades old. It doesn't even contain 3D models!

Today I was reminded of one such reason.

The few of you who read the blog here regularly also know of my minor works, mainly companion system add-on characters, for the Gamebryo games by Bethesda such as Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. Today I was following the comments thread for the NCCS companion system and the course of one player's attempt to get the mod (and apparently the rest of his game) working properly. As I kept tabs on that situation several bits of information I have learned over the past couple of years suddenly coalesced to become an epiphany of sorts and urged me to write this post, to voice my agreement with a suspicion that my friend and fellow modder Nos has been voicing for quite some time now.

Why the hell must new games be so damned difficult to get running properly? Do the developers do this intentionally, perhaps for job security since they will need to produce several updates to fix the bugs that they've left in the initial releases of their games? This wouldn't be so suspicious except that it seems to apply to every PC video game released over the past decade, thus making the conspiracy quite obvious to me.

Furthermore, what the hell is up with Windows 7 and Vista? I have yet to come across a new game that is totally compatible with what I am led to believe are the most popular and most commonly used operating systems for home computers. New games must be installed to subversive alternate HD locations other than where their installers would like to automatically put them so they can not only hopefully stay hidden from UAC and whatever other ridiculously anal security programs are automatically viewing the game as a threat, but also to retain the ability to successfully utilize even the simplest of mods. Most of the time the covert operations involved in getting games to run on Windows 7 are more complex and time-consuming than the games themselves.

And don't even get me started on DRM and fucking Steam...

So I ask you, my dear readers and fellow gamers and modders, what ever happened to the good ol' days of Windows XP and the Doom Collector's Edition, the days when I could drop the CD into the drive and in just a minute or two the entire game would be installed, after which a single click of an icon would launch my favorite game and I could play it for hours or even days without a single crash or any other ridiculous issue to hinder my enjoyment of it?

At some point I must've blinked or something, because now everything is different. Now games are a major pain in the ass more often than they are actually enjoyable.

My point quite simply is this: even when using an advanced OpenGL sourceport like GZDoom, the classic Doom games are still among the few on my computer that will run with but a click of an icon, load immediately and run indefinitely until I choose to exit the program. No need for a degree in computer programming to install it, no need to spend the next two years downloading updates that are supposed to make it work properly.

But its simplicity and reliable stability are just two of the reasons why I still love this enduring classic...

...but I'll save the others for other posts...

Sunday, June 19, 2011


For folks who have followed the evolution of my Doom Upgrade Mod and furthermore actually downloaded it and tried it (I know there's at least one of you) and are likely waiting for me to flake out and release yet another version of it, I'd just like to offer this bit of reassurance: I've just finished playing through the 50+ maps of the TAB series (reviewed in a previous post) with the mod and have found no further issues with it. It has performed rather well and I'm still quite satisfied with it. As those of you who do any modding surely know, there's really no substitute for actual in-game testing; so far I feel that the mod is passing the test.

Just for the record, all the download links in the blog sidebar, including (somewhat to my surprise) the DoomWorld link, are for the current finished version of the mod. If during the course of this project you've lost track of which of my many versions of the thing you actually have, I recommend downloading from one of those links just to be sure. The mod has yet to appear in the "Latest Files" category on the Archives Front Page so nobody over there has really noticed the mod yet, thus feedback on the project has been rather limited. I'm eager to find out what others will think of the thing, given my past experiences with the DoomWorld community.

In the meantime, I think it's time to tackle my collection of the Master Levels with my little randomizer mod. Thus far it has made the average map on the Ultra-Violence difficulty setting more challenging but by no means impossible (my version of the Devastator is rather handy at times), so it will be interesting to see what the mod does to the difficulty of maps created by these famous authors.

Also perhaps worthy of note would be the fact that over the last few days I've actually had DoomBuilder running and drawn up a room or two from scratch, just to see if I remembered how. (That's right, DoomWorld: FROM SCRATCH. Believe it!) Playing the game and putting together the mod for some reason got my creative energies running in that direction. Will I draw up an entire playable map? I really can't say at the moment. But, though so far the untitled map only consists of two rooms, two secrets and about six monsters, for some reason I like the way the thing is looking and just might continue to draw up a new room here and there when I'm bored or need a break from other pursuits.

So anyway, that's what I've been up to. Stay tuned to the blog for more Doom info and reviews; I've still got nearly 20 years of Doom to cover!

Friday, June 17, 2011

To G Or Not To G?

This afternoon as I was playing through some maps using my Doom Upgrade with my favorite sourceport, GZDoom, I found myself in an area that was full of not only stationary light sources such as torches but also a large number of projectile-throwing enemies. As sometimes happens on my rig in such situations, even without the OpenGL settings at their maximum, I experienced a bit of framerate stutter. Nothing crippling, mind you, but noticeable enough that a thought or two occurred to me...

Computer specs these days are so varied that almost no two rigs are the same, especially so if you've assembled your own as I have. Furthermore, some folks might only have a laptop, a device I admittedly know little about compared to a desktop rig though I have heard that gaming on them can often be a challenge due to their various specs. Upon having this thought I also realized that in regard to my little randomizer mod I've neglected to clearly mention a detail that could be quite important to some folks...

Around here I'm generally singing the praises of GZDoom because it's my favorite, and in the documentation for my randomizer mod I state that it's intended for use with GZDoom. This is because the mod contains GL definitions for most of the new monsters and their attacks, as well as for the inanimate light fixtures and power-ups it adds to the game. What I've neglected to tell you all is that the mod doesn't have to be used exclusively with GZDoom...

GZDoom is an OpenGL upgrade of another sourceport, ZDoom. The two are practically identical with the exception of course of GZDoom's OpenGL lighting and texture rendering capabilities. Being as such, my little randomizer works just as well with ZDoom as it does with its offspring; the executable simply ignores the GLDefs and loads everything else quite normally. The only differences obviously are that there are no 3D lighting effects and textures will look a lot more like vanilla Doom.

I realize of course that if the OpenGL stuff does indeed cause performance issues there's always the alternative of staying with GZDoom and simply switching off the OpenGL stuff altogether. Still I thought I should make mention of ZDoom and of my mod's compatibility with it because one of my goals with my little blog here is to provide information and playing options, so hopefully this info will be useful to some folks. And of course having another sourceport on hand can be useful in other ways, because you never know when you're going to happen upon that one map or mod that will work with one but not the other.

That's really all I've got for now. Until next time, always be sure to keep your chainsaw well-lubricated with demon blood!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Tip Of The Hat

Here at the blog I occasionally review a set of classic Doom maps that I've found to my liking and share them in the hope that others will find them enjoyable as well. Having many hobbies, I don't get to do this as often as I'd like and recently I even got distracted from sharing the works of others as I found myself immersed in a Doom project of my own.

As you might guess, my little blog here is not the only one dedicated to this great game and the community-created add-ons for it; the newest, perhaps, but hardly the only one. I recently discovered another blog by KMX E XII entitled quite simply and appropriately DOOMED. There you will find many detailed reviews of classic Doom MegaWADs and map sets complete with screenshots as well as links to all sorts of sourceports, info and other assorted goodies that are must-haves for us Doomers.

Sure, there are probably thousands of websites and blogs dedicated to Doom that have been created since 1993, many of which have long-since ceased to be maintained by their creators; I intend to share them with you as well as I discover ones that I consider to be sparkling gems among the plethora. But DOOMED is much like my own little blog here in that its author is still active and posting new reviews quite frequently, and I'm not too proud to admit that I think he's doing a better job of it than I am at the moment. Thus I wanted to take a moment to give the Blogger equivalent of a tip of the hat to KMX E XII and his blog here.

So, if you're looking for a set of maps to play and want informative reviews rather than randomly picking files from the Archives, check out KMX E XII's DOOMED and chances are you'll find something to fit your tastes. And if you're a frequent Doom player and a blogger, I highly recommend adding his page to the list of blogs you follow. I have.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Final Polishing

Those of you who have followed the evolution of this project from its conception will likely find this difficult -- if not impossible -- to believe...

...but I think this may very well be the final version of my Doom Upgrade mod.

These same members of my reading audience will most likely be disappointed -- but likely not surprised -- to hear that saved games using any previous versions most definitely will not work with this version. Sorry about that, but while many of the changes I've made since the last version were minor and regarding OpenGL lighting issues there were also a few major changes that simply made it unavoidable.

The biggest noticeable change making it so incompatible with its predecessors is the loss of a few weapons. Don't worry; I've kept the best ones. But let's face it: there were just too many plasma-type guns and half of them were kind of useless. I could have increased the damage done by said weapons or their firing rates, but still it just seemed like there were too many of them. The weapons which have been dropped are the Repeater, Pulse Rifle, Plasma Beam, Electro-Plasma Gun and the Freezer Plasma Gun. Likewise, any Zombie Soldiers armed with those weapons have also been removed. One might ask why I've dropped these and kept the Karasawa; the answer is simple: after playing through dozens of maps with these weapons, the ones I've dropped never felt useful regardless of the situation but the Karasawa can actually be used to shoot around corners so that makes it useful. And besides, the weapon roster was simply beginning to feel cumbersome. If any of the removed weapons happened to be your favorites, sorry about that. Maybe you still have the voodoo doll you made...

However, I've also improved one of the weapons that I've left in the mod. It seemed rather odd to me that, while the smallest energy cell you can pick up in the game holds 20 plasma charges, the Rail Gun needed to be reloaded after every four shots despite the fact that each shot had only consumed one charge. So I changed it. Now it only needs to be reloaded every 20 shots, but it still fires at the same speed with the same damage so there's still a reason to go looking for the Zombie with the Sonic Railgun. But then, most of the other guns in the game don't even require reloading so there's not much I can say for continuity or realism anyway.

The next change in order of its gameplay impact would be the newest monsters to join the mod...

...oh, wait... wrong screenshot...

Just a few more of these guys which I previously mentioned having added to provide the Spider Masterminds with some much-needed backup. It wasn't easy to take screenshots of this guy because most of the time I was too busy trying to dodge the flames...

At least one other creature in my opinion was in desperate need of an upgrade in order to fit in with the rest of the pack. The Fusion Spider has these neat pinkish projectiles that it fires out in a wide spread, but they just float through the air so slowly the creature ended up being not much of a challenge at all. So I sped up the projectiles just a touch to help make it seem more like a monster rather than a light fixture.

Speaking of light fixtures, it didn't take long for me to become frustrated by Railgun beams nailing me from out of total darkness and thus to realize that I had forgotten to attach some sort of lighting effect to my Railgun Sentries. I've fixed that as well this time around, giving them a nice red glow that of course goes out once they're destroyed.

Though I might have tweaked the HP and attack damage for another monster or two here and there, the remaining changes were mostly along the same lines as these lighting effects. I've corrected a few errors in the GL Defs that had caused some projectiles to be missing their lighting effects altogether. Yet perhaps the most noticeable addition of OpenGL lighting effects can be seen in the shadow or spectre creatures. I stumbled upon an unused effect in GZDoom's GL Defs pk3 that gives these creatures an aura of negative lighting, making it look like their very evilness is simply consuming all the light around them, even once they are dead. I think it's an extremely cool effect so I applied it to several creatures where it seemed appropriate. For the most part this should not have a major effect on performance.

And simply because I fully expect that at some point some moron is going to come out of the woodwork and say that my mod is nothing more than a lot of cut-pasting of other people's work, I've created my eighth original monster. I proudly present:


Speaking of performance and of creatures, the Rictus variant of the Lost Soul continued to frustrate me so I've removed him. As I mentioned in a previous post, he tends to get himself stuck in solid objects frequently enough that it's a problem and I've not figured out how to fix that. Sure, he looks cool with all his flames, but he's not a very challenging enemy if he's constantly reduced to nothing more than a light fixture. But fear not, I've replaced him with another similar Lost Soul variant that should work just as well and has fewer fancy effects to get in his way.

And just one last word about lighting and color. One of the things I did with this version was to better organize my DECORATE scripts simply to make it easier for me to find things. Somewhere during this process this has caused a few of the monster projectiles to change colors somehow. They still have the same attributes such as behavior, speed and damage; they've just changed colors. I didn't modify those scripts -- I simply re-organized them -- so the only plausible explanation that I can think of for this is that GZDoom scripts are much like the scripts and plugins that we are familiar with from other games in that whatever gets loaded last will override anything loaded before it if it modifies the same thing. Since the actual stats of the projectiles do not appear to have changed I'm not going to attempt to fix it at the moment because doing so would mean yet again sifting through 28679 lines of code and to be honest I'm tired of looking at that code at the moment and just want to get on with enjoying playing with the darn thing. Besides, the mod and all its new content makes Doom a much more colorful place now, so it's also likely that not many people other than myself will notice the changes anyway.

EDIT: 12 Hours Later...

Strike that. After having slept on it I realized that the mysteriously changing projectile colors can be attributed yet again to more sprites having similar names. I've gone through them all and renamed the sprites where necessary, so this should all be fixed now.

If anybody ever does come along and try to say I didn't put any work into this mod, they can just kiss my ass.

I understand now why Snarboo's mod only contained a handful of creatures; getting them all to work together properly has required a lot of trial-and-error troubleshooting.


As always, here are the most recent download links from MegaUpload:


Without Music: 31 MB

With PSX Music: 369 MB

So that's that and what's done is done. Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that you'll all agree with me that the latest changes I've made are for the better...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An Imp and a Revenant walk into a bar...

Arachnotron Bartender: "Howdy! What'll you boys be drinkin' this evenin'?"

Imp: (Looks around the bar.) "What's that Archvile over there having? That looks good."

Arachnotron Bartender: "That's a Hades Cocktail. I doubt that you boys can afford one of those. They cost twenty-five human souls for just one shot. That's why only the big boys can afford the hard stuff."

Revenant: "To Hell with that!" (Snickers at his own pun.) "Give us two of those. Just put them on my TAB."

Okay, I really have no clue why Michael Contorno named his series of maps the way that he did, nor do I know why his last name is spelled "Cortorno" on seven of the maps. Perhaps the TAB series is named after the diet soda from the 1980's and perhaps he was having trouble spelling his own name because he was hopped up on too much of said soda. I truly don't have a clue.

Regardless of their untold origins, the TAB collection in its entirety consists of 51 maps designed for Doom II. Many of them have received a lot of harsh criticism from the Doom community but, as regular readers of this blog might already know, I rarely think like the majority and I tend to judge things created for my favorite game with little concern for what others might have said about them.

The most frequent complaint I've read concerning Contorno's works is that they contain misaligned textures. For those of you not familiar with the Doom community, suffice it to say that these folks keep their sphincters tightly clenched over misaligned textures. Personally, I'm able to look beyond such things if a map seems well-designed and was challenging and fun to play. The only times misaligned textures really bother me is if an entire map seems to have them and it's just confusing to look at and it makes me keep trying to open every section of wall looking for secret doorways.

This first screenshot is an example of a misaligned texture from one of Contorno's maps. Sure, it's obviously misaligned and could have been easily fixed with one of today's editing tools (these maps were released in 1997), but for me it doesn't detract anything from the gameplay of the map itself. This second screenshot is another prime example of improper, lazy texture alignment. But wait just a darn minute... isn't that the first map of the Raven Series by Theresa Chasar and Tim Willits? You know... Tim Willits, the guy id Software later hired to work on their retail releases. Huh... if it's good enough for an id employee, why ain't it good enough for us amateurs?

Contorno also had a tendency to neglect to peg (or un-peg) textures on moving things like lifts and doors. (For those of you not conversant in Doom editing jargon, that just means that if something moves up and down the texture moves with it, actually making it look like it's moving.) But enough about that; I just wanted this to be near the beginning of the post because, as I said, today's Doomers seem to keep their little panties in a knot over such things but I can overlook them as long as it's not confusing visually.

With prolific mappers (i.e. anyone who has created more than a dozen maps) another flaw that can often be seen is redundancy or lack of originality. I don't really see that in Contorno's maps. Since there are over 50 of them you might expect at least a few of them to look very similar, but I've played them all and never felt like I was playing the same map twice; they have never felt tedious or boring to me. Thus I really don't mind playing through them again to do this review... though this time around I'm playing on Ultra-Violence and using my upgrade mod.

A good example of a unique map design found in the TAB series is TAB27, a map that's designed to resemble some sort of off-world mining facility. About half-way through the map the player must venture outside the facility where the radioactive, airless atmosphere can become quite hazardous. As a would-be mapper myself, I know Contorno achieved this effect with a simple sector tag that one would apply to one of the common liquid floors in the game, but he did so without using the liquid floor textures and thus uses a simple effect to make us feel like we just stepped outside some base station on an inhospitable alien world.

Overall, Contorno's TAB series has a traditional Doom II feeling to it with an average to moderately difficult challenge level. If you're looking for something new but don't wan't insane "OMG! There's 100 Arch-viles!" maps then these fit the bill perfectly. If you play through the first 30 maps consecutively as I do (I use a MAPINFO lump and play all 51 as a megaWAD), the first few levels can seem a bit tough until you've accumulated some weapons and ammo, but none of the maps are impossible and once you've made some progress you should start having more fun if you weren't already.

The first 30 TAB maps were all originally released individually to the Archives, though at some point someone has merged them into a megaWAD and uploaded it HERE. The remaining maps can be found in TAB: The Movie, TAB: The Sequel, TAB III, TAB IV and two additional single releases, A Little Shooting Practice and STEPS. These last two maps (the only ones out of the entire bunch that had individual names) are a bit more difficult, being somewhat arena-style maps with crazy hordes of monsters. When playing through the entire series I save these two for last and think of them as boss levels.

In short, these maps are all good enough that they are a permanent part of my Doom collection (and I'm not one who is easily impressed) and I have no doubt that I'll be coming back someday to play them again. I recommend them to anyone looking to expand their collection of good playable Doom II map sets, and likewise I recommend that when browsing the DoomWorld/id Games Archives you don't believe everything that's in the anonymous comments and instead try maps for yourself and form your own opinion.

As always, I hope my little reviews here will enlighten players to something enjoyable that they otherwise might have missed. Until next time, keep shooting!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I know, I know... go ahead and get out that nekomimi voodoo doll you made like three updates ago...

I suppose I should learn to be more like our friend Nos: working on these projects in secret, only vaguely whispering of them to my most trusted colleagues until the work is completed and then possibly sharing them with the ungrateful public. But noooo... not me. I get all excited and jump up shouting: "Look at what I can do!"

But since I'm only aware of less than half a dozen people who have ever actually looked at my blog, and any forum posts I've made about this project have been totally ignored, I suppose I shouldn't worry so much about the world thinking I'm insane...

I previously mentioned that I was pretty much satisfied with the Doom Upgrade mod as it was, and that was 99% true. But there were two creatures that as I've played through the Plutonia Experiment have continued to annoy me... the Hades Sphere and the Core Tentacle. They didn't annoy me because of their behavior; that seemed quite befitting of the instances in which they were used. What annoyed me was their appearances and sound effects. Visually neither creature seemed to fit the environment in my opinion, and they both made these lame squishy sounds that, if done correctly could have made them rather creepy but instead to me they just sounded very cartoonish. So I went in and changed them. The results were better than I had hoped for...

Now that's what I would expect to see rising up from the remains of a charred black skeletal creature, not some big red squishy blob. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that; originally I had described the Death Incarnate as being perpetually self-resurrecting, but I finally figured out which weapon will put him down for the count. Good thing I just happened to include that weapon in the mod...

So this of course led to a flood of new ideas. There were several creatures from the Realm667 Beastiary that I had previously avoided including in the mod because they either did not seem to work well as standalone creatures or they spawned creatures that I was not happy with. Having just figured out that I could easily change that now, I suddenly found myself on a roll...

Two such creatures were the Shadow Beast and the Phantom. Each of these monsters, either in the form of projectile attacks or at the time of death, spawned what were supposed to be wraiths but instead to me looked like those cut-outs you put on a stick and hold in front of a candle at Halloween to make ghost shadows on the walls. Now you might say: "But Herculine, the whole game is based upon sprites; everything looks that way." Well, that may be partially true, but in most cases the creatures at least have enough frames of animation to make that bearable. But in the case of these wraiths, there just wasn't enough animation and they looked really poor in my opinion. So I replaced them.

On the Beastiary webpage right next to the Shadow Beast is a smaller creature simply called Shadow. As I looked at the page I thought that it would be appropriate if when the big Shadow Beast died one or more of these smaller Shadows would pop out. So I made it happen.

The case of the Phantom was slightly different since he used the Wraiths as projectile attacks, but still once I got on a roll it was actually a simple matter to replace them with something more appropriate as well.

This led me to rethink two other Heretic-style (or was it Hexen?) creatures I had not previously used: the Lava Demon and the Fallen. Again, as standalone enemies I had felt that they just weren't quite up to par with the rest of the monsters that I was adding to the game, but having the Fallen spawning from the remains of the defeated Lava Demon seemed to fit the bill much better.

The Hell Warrior was a Hell Knight variation that I had included in the mod because I was impressed with the way his creators had taken the time to create sprites that as he dies make it look like his shield is actually rolling away from his body. His overall challenge rating, however, seemed somewhat lacking to me. But I'm modifying creatures and their attacks now, so there must be something appropriate that can be added to this monster. So, how about having him throw magically-animated scimitars at us?

I also replaced the previously-mentioned Core Tentacle with a more fitting creature simply called Nightmare, but taking a screenshot of him didn't work out too well since he's dark, translucent and doesn't like to become visible for very long unless he's attacking, much like the other ZDoom Stealth Creatures.

Speaking of Spectre-like creatures...

There were two more small flying Lost Soul-type creatures that I wanted to find a way to use: the Drone and the Guardian Cube. I also noticed while looking at my list of random spawners that the Pain Elementals were seriously outnumbered in terms of variety by the other creatures in the game. Also, there really weren't any Stealth or Spectre versions of these guys. So I made those as well, one version using the Drones as projectiles and the other using the Guardian Cubes.

Like the default game's Lost Souls, most of these smaller spawning creatures do only minor damage and can be taken out fairly easily with just a shot or two from the rifle or shotguns... but as you can see in the above screenshot, they are also like the Lost Souls in the fact that, if you're not careful and don't destroy their spawners fairly quickly, you could end up finding yourself drowning in a sea of the ankle-biters.

While looking over my list of random spawners I also noted that, while I had a healthy variety of CyberDemon variants, the Spider Mastermind was kind of poorly represented. That's partly because there just aren't many good Spider Mastermind variants available. However, I decided to attempt to increase that variety anyway by including in the mod some other boss-type creatures that are more like the CyberDemon than the Spider Mastermind but yet have their own kind of species and appearance.

Now, I haven't actually encountered these guys outside of my little testing arena yet, but from the looks of things they should be quite challenging.

Oh, and just for those of you who like to keep track of such things, the DECORATE LUMP is now up to 29173 lines of code. I honestly have no idea if there is a line limit, but if there is I'm likely to find out if I continue to add stuff.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to. As usual, here are the download links to the latest versions of the mod, and the links in the blog sidebar will be updated as well.


Without Music: 31 MB

With PSX Music: 368 MB

If you're in the middle of playing a megaWAD with one of the many previous versions of my upgrade, there's a 50/50 chance that you could overwrite the mod and have no problems with your saved games or you could get the game to crash. It's not the adding of the new monsters that causes this but rather the removal of monsters. Thus if you saved your game in a map where a Hades Sphere or Core Tentacle had spawned, with this new version that save will crash the game. But if you saved in a map where those monsters had not been present, you could continue on with the new version like nothing ever happened. I got lucky and was still able to finish the last five levels of Plutonia, so it could happen. Either way, making backups is always recommended.

Another note about saved games: I noticed this morning that suddenly the MegaMap power-up was not working properly for me. It was revealing the entire map just like the default computer map, which it's supposed to do, but it wasn't showing the positions of the monsters and items the way it's supposed to. This was very puzzling to me because in every incarnation of the mod the item has been exactly the same and I've never altered the code in any way. I was on the verge of starting to pull my own hair out trying to determine what had gone wrong when I decided to start a new game and use the console to give myself the item and, lo and behold, it was working properly. I honestly have no clue what had caused the problem in that saved game, but apparently it was just some random glitch. So if you notice this same issue in your game, it's just one of those things and is not a permanent problem.

So, do I plan on adding more stuff after this? No, not really. But I still never figured out how to keep DoomGuy from picking up certain items when he doesn't really need them, so who knows? Maybe someday I'll find solutions to those problems and release a fixed version. Otherwise, I'm pretty satisfied with my work and have no plans to add anything else. I know, I know... that's what I said last time, and probably several times before that...

I've played completely through Doom II, TNT and Plutonia with various versions of the mod now, so I suppose to be thorough I should probably run back through Ultimate Doom with the mod as well. But aside from those Chaingunner sprites I had forgotten, I really don't see how there could be any issues with that game that I wouldn't have seen in the others. And besides, Ultimate Doom only uses half of the monsters anyway, so I really couldn't be thorough.

Maybe it's time I tried the mod out with the Master Levels on Ultra-Violence? I've played through the original 21 maps on UV without any enhancements, but I've only played the other maps by those authors (which I've reviewed in an earlier post) on the default difficulty. Some of those should be rather interesting on UV with all these new monsters...

A quick update:

My new floaty skullkeys could have some unexpected glitches on rare occasions. On Raven Map04 the red skullkey is found in an alcove where the ceiling immediately begins to crush you when you enter to pick up the key. Well, when that ceiling started to move it somehow made the key drop almost completely into the floor and while I could still see a bit of it I couldn't pick it up. Fortunately I'm using the Ultimate DooMer's autosave mod set to 60-second intervals so I just reloaded a save, waited for the key to be at the apex of its little floaty animation and then ran in there and collected it with no issues. This is probably just a glitch with the openGL engine and likely won't happen very often, but still I thought I should mention it. Nobody's perfect...

Also, speaking of openGL glitches...

I've noticed on numerous occasions now that the Rictus variation of the Lost Soul often gets its animation frame stuck in floors or walls, likely something to do with the fiery lighting effects involved. I don't want to remove the creature from the mod since he's pretty nifty and I'm going to look into some way to fix him, but at the moment I'm not sure if there's anything I can do for him...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Final Draft?

"We can only hope..."

Who the heck knows? Not me, apparently...

Now, before you all start throwing darts at my picture, let me explain...

I honestly had not intended to do any more editing to my Doom Upgrade, but while I was just playing around with attempting to produce a simple little visual effect I made an embarrassing discovery:

All this time I've been testing the mod with Doom II, TNT and Plutonia; it's designed to work with Ultimate Doom as well, but really should not need extensive testing there since only half the monsters appear in the original game and my random spawners will never spawn a Doom II monster in any of their places. But I forgot one minor detail...

The above statement holds true in most cases, but in the random spawners for the Zombie and Shotgun Zombie I also included a chance that a Chaingunner Zombie would appear, just to keep things interesting. Well, guess what I forgot?

Since the default Chaingunner Zombie was never a part of the original Doom games his sprites are not included in that IWAD, which means that when my mod spawns a Chaingunner Zombie while you're playing Ultimate Doom he's totally invisible, even after he dies, except for his dropped weapon which will pop up. DOH!

I've fixed that now by including the Chaingunner Zombie's sprites in my WAD.

Let that be a lesson to you kids: stay away from the drugs. Even when you get older and don't do them anymore you'll still have days where you can't remember your own phone number.

But it's probably a good thing that I went back in and did some more editing, because I finally figured out how to get the Armor Shards to work beyond 200 and all the way up to 300. I still can't seem to keep DoomGuy from picking them up like an idiot when he doesn't need them, but I'll take what I can get since it's at least an improvement over the previous version.

Now it was apparent that I was going to need to release this update publicly, so I went ahead and threw in the little visual effect I mentioned earlier as well. Now all the skull keys are "floaty" like the rest of my alien artifacts. I couldn't let the key cards be left out, so I gave them all the animations from Knee-Deep In ZDoom. That actually required a bit of work for such minor cosmetic effects, but since I was editing again anyway I decided I should include it.

Something else I had noticed was that Captain Toenail's fancy Tech Barrels didn't have any GLDefs (lighting effects), so I went ahead and created one of my own. Again just a minor cosmetic effect, but it becomes more obvious when these barrels are in darker environments.

Oh, and did I mention that the default Cyberdemon is more deadly now with Seeker Missiles?

So anyway, here are the download links for yet another version:


Without Music: 26 MB

With PSX Music: 364 MB


As with the last version, you should be able to replace it with this new version and continue uninterrupted with any map series you were playing without having to start over... but there's a catch...

Since I fooled around with the keys (I actually had to rename every key and redefine every locked door in the entire game) this could create a problem if you start from a game save that was made mid-level (i.e. keys not working to let you finish the level). I'm not entirely certain that this would be the case, but just to be safe I recommend using my tried-and-true method of starting from a save that you've made just before exiting a map. The next map will load with all the new data and everything will be fine. I've already done this myself and it worked perfectly; I really didn't want to have to start Plutonia all over.

On that note I should probably also mention that I haven't tested this with every one of the thousands of custom maps out there, so there's a slim chance that there could be issues somewhere and obviously my mod will have conflicts with something that replaces the default keys like KDiZD. Apart from that, like everything else in my mod they are designed to work with any "vanilla" map and likewise any custom map that doesn't redefine things that my mod redefines.

Whew! It certainly has been a learning experience. Hopefully I'll be able to finish Plutonia without discovering any other issues (or getting any more bright ideas) and this will be the last update. But then, I've said that before...

Until next time, enjoy! (I hope...)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I wonder...

You know, Heretic is almost exactly the same thing as Doom...

Just kidding. Heretic uses an entirely different color palette and there's inventory items; it would be an awful lot of work...

...but it could be done...