STARCOVE A TRIBUTE TO
by Michael Jan "valkiriforce" Krizik
Ty Halderman passed away in 2015. He remains an Essential Pillar of the Community for a variety of reasons, the most prominent in my mind functioning as the steward of the /idgames archive for nearly twenty years; the only reason he stopped was because his terminal illness dealt him such a blow that he could not even tell the Doom community why their regularly scheduled updates had ceased. It was no surprise to see Doom authors gathering together in an attempt to pay tribute to the man, many of whom gathered under the banner of Christian Hansen's THT: Threnody (Ty Halderman Tribute) project. Classic megaWAD officiando valkiriforce had a slightly different idea, likely because Threnody was a Boom-comptabile release and Krizik is more of a Chocolate kind of guy.
valkiriforce was one of 2011's biggest darlings, churning out map after map of vanilla Doom II goodness, but tapering off in 2012, with an apparent last gasp in 2013 with what appeared to be a sort of rarities collection. 40oz made a huge splash in 2010 with UAC Ultra but took several sabbaticals from the community related to the development of Doom the Way id Did and the hotly anticipated UAC Ultra 2. You can only resist the siren song of Doom for so long, though, and both authors are back in 2016. Though they've had their own solo stuff, they brought their heads together for Absolute Dishonor, an eight-map episode for vanilla Doom II.
40oz had a dream, a dream of making a megaWAD with a dystopian Cyberpunk theme that leveraged the gimmick of collaboration. It was a great idea, and Vail obviously had his expectations dialed back early since he was looking to compile sixteen levels. However, while bromancing levels worked pretty well for his and Super Jamie's UAC Ultra, I feel that the vast majority of Doom authors are more inclined to tag-team megaWADs a la Speed of Doom than trust their artistry to a complete stranger. I can only assume that this issue was compounded by people perhaps taking up slots and then having others too skittish to follow. The end result is that Mutiny took longer than 40oz really expected, releasing more than a year later in 2016. It's still pretty fuckin' cool, though.
Another year, another Eternal mapset. Some times, Russia's favorite son loves to push Doom's boundaries, like the visionary Voodoo Guns. At other times, he's content to pay tribute to the golden age of the community, as was the case with last year's ICAR2015, a loveletter to Icarus: Alien Vanguard. END POINT, released in 2016, seems to pull inspiration from the classics though not from any particular PWAD. As enigmatic as Eternal is, he's pretty good about pointing out his authorial allusions. It's got its own complementary texture set and features seven levels of hard-hitting Doom II action.
Most of what I know about Wraith came from a megaWAD I haven't played yet but know due to its subject matter: Wonderful Doom, a loving tribute to the UltimateDoom, which many have enjoyed with others slagging it for its... thorough level of devotion. Enter Alpha Accident, another megaWAD for the original Doom that's been in development for... quite some time. I remember playing the crazy demo level, but I've also had the opportunity to play each level as it's been completed, and as of 2016 the first episode is complete. It's basically source port agnostic, especially thanks to some extra work from some helpful forums goers, but is limit-removing due to the dreaded visplane overlord (plus some levels break game saves).
Angry Saint's Doom debut was as a participant in Tormentor's Doomja Vu contest. Black Magnetic was an interesting, complex techbase as far as its twisted and winding layout intersected with Saint's use of 3D floors. Asylum, released in 2016, dials the choice of engine all the way back to vanilla (or, as the text file advertises, Chocolate Doom), but the author continues to evade the familiar ideas of Doom, this time experimenting with textures originally created by an individual using the handle DethteX and then converted to a set by ZDoom whizzard Rick Clark, THE ULTIMATE DOOMER. The level shares the same name as the texture pack. Like so many single level releases, it's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II.
About a year ago, I think, I was treated to some really cool screenshots from a secret skillsaw project, coming strong even after he had released Valiant in 2015. The color scheme was incredibly unique, looking somewhere between a coastal sunset and a Lisa Frank trapper keeper and using a lot of... alien imagery. It wasn't originally to be a full megaWAD, but I guess a bunch of people couldn't wait to play around with the texture set. Thanks to skillsaw and friends, we now have Ancient Aliens. Released in 2016, it's a Boom-compatible megaWAD with some ZDoom / Eternity extras that only serve to enhance the experience.
After an enormous outpouring of material in 2011, valkiriforce's enthusiasm seemed to taper off, apparently ending in 2013 with the release of PULSE, sort of a rarities collection of rejects and stuff he had laying around from various efforts. They always come back, though, and while the majority of 2016's Vispire may be rooted in a collection of speedmapping sessions in 2013, the rest comes from a few sporadic bursts in 2015 and 2016. Altogether, it's a new 17-level megaWAD for Doom II, though I've gotta warn you if you're expecting something like Doom Core or Reverie. Vispire has a style all its own.