Sunday, September 6, 2015

Abyssal Speedmapping Session 1 (ABYSPED1.WAD)

There are plenty of Doom communities besides Doomworld. One of them used to be NewDoom, which was really before my time. NewDoom eventually went behind an insane paywall, forcing most of its userbase elsewhere or out of the community entirely. I guess some of the folks were already Doomworld pariahs. Anyway, some of the NewDoom users migrated over to The Abyss, which served as the foundation of a new Doom community institution - the Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions (this being the first), named as such because of its outgrowth from the Abyss community, though Obsidian wasn't one of the NewDoom emigrants. The goal is to get people to work together over the course of two hours (plus thirty minutes for music / textures and bugfixing) to make a bunch of speedmaps.

Speedmaps aren't my thing, and I've iterated this elsewhere. I prefer something more meaty to dig my teeth into. They're fine as the Doom equivalent of popcorn, though, and I can see the appeal, since no one is spending days, months, or years to finish their levels; it hones the participants' ability to work quickly within an editor; and it feels more like a fun social event since most if not all of the participants are grouped up on the same Skype conversation. Heck, even the themes are already chosen; on this occasion, authors could pick either "Lava fortress in a hellish canyon", "Techbase heavily warped by Hell's influence", or "Food themed :P". This first outing is split right down the middle, with two for the lava fortress, and two for the Hellish techbase.

As far as bugs go, there's nothing too bad. The ammo balance is pretty tight, which you can get away with in levels this long. The worst thing I can think of is the fact that MAP02 is basically a ZDoom level since there are some hanging corpses in the imp mosh pit blocking your maneuverability, which makes punching the dudes when you run out of ammo just a shade awkward. The rest is billed as limit-removing. I liked "The Tale of Sir Hellalot" the most, since it had a pretty neat adventure feeling and the monster placement seemed a tad more sensible than "Lavafort X"'s arch-vile laden finale. "BIGBRIK" is just really tightly balanced, which makes it memorable, except for the letdown of the finale. "Bloodrocuted" has a decent hook but it's just not as cool to me as Kalev's thing.

If nothing else, the Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions promises a steady stream of mapping morsels to consume between more wholesome fare, and brings the community together two hours at a time. There's plenty of promise in this outing alone; considering the other contributors that have climbed into the ring since this, it'll be interesting to see where all this ASS goes.


by assorted authors

The Tale of Sir HellalotMAP01
by Osiris Kalev
Apart from the weird visual bugs, this is a short little romp through some Hellish landscape before arriving at a fort surrounded by a moat of lava. The best strategy I found was to take your time killing the zombies and imps on the ground floor before rushing up to the drawbridge switch for some extra ammo and then vaulting to the chaingun to give you all the munitions you need to wipe out the mess of monsters. The shotgun guys are the most dangerous things you'll fight, at least until the inner sanctum, where an arch-vile backs a crowd of imps. You'll want to have the northern secret; ammo is pretty tight if you don't do a lot of chainsaw work. A fun diversion.

by "Gifty"
A cramped and violent dark metal level that... gives up at the last second. Gifty does a good job at exploiting the claustrophobia at the onset and the main encounter does a great job at opening up the map while simultaneously introducing a dangerous feature, an arch-vile backed by a pair of revenants, and you with precious little ammo. Figuring out a strategy is paramount before archie saps your ammo stores with an excess of unplanned resurrections; you'll need route that lets you grab the rocket launcher and rockets while not getting caught up on the interdictors, including the lost souls. The end is just a big mosh pit of imps.

by "Obsidian"
A small little techbase annex that's been crammed full of enemies. My first inclination was to NOT engage the cacodemons, which rewarded me with a combat shotgun that lets you save some ammo. Some boring decisions... I wasn't a fan of the red key room carpeted with commandos, just being a relatively bland encounter. I get the zombie troopers, though, since they're an essential shield between you and the arch-viles from the blue key trap. The finale is a fun little clusterfuck; if you go the infighting route, you won't have the BFG until most of the meatshields are dead, but the megasphere gives you plenty of leeway.

MAP04Lavafort X
by Sebastian Graham aka "General Rainbow Bacon"
Exactly what it says, a fort in the middle of a bunch of lava. Graham's gameplay is usually a clusterfuck and this iteration isn't any different, but the opening is a nice bit where you can goad the prowlers into infighting while you pick off the outliers with your berserk fist. The monster placement in the fortress is rather bleh but you'll want to sneak in for the chaingun if nothing else so that you can deal with those ruinous commando snipers on the back side. Past the pain elementals is a huge ledge of monsters best dealt with by rocket suppression, but you'll need to save some explosives for the running of the arch-viles, which comes as a troublesome end-of-level surprise.



  1. Hey, great as always!
    But I'll suggest to correct the download link (you've put kzdoom4 one) to:

    1. sploops! i copied the button from the kzdoom4 article but forgot to change the link.