Thursday, October 8, 2015

Abyssal Speedmapping Session 2 (ABYSPED2.WAD)

The Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions are an institute founded by Doomworld Forum superstar Obsidian, though it has its foundations in one of Doom's smaller communities, The Abyss. The goal is to get a bunch of folks together making a speedmap in the same timeframe with two hours for the main work, fifteen minutes of texture / music selection, and then fifteen minutes of bugfixing. A common Skype call only serves to add to the feeling of community involvement. The initial showing wasn't that big, fielding a paltry four entries. The crowd almost doubles here, though, with the addition of a handful of community staples.

The themes of this outing were "Textures from the Hell category", "Textures from the Outdoors category", and "Textures from the Wood category". The net result is a decent mix of theme combinations with a vaguely E4 bent due to the prevalence of wood as a foundation texture, though Osiris, Obsidian, and Jimmy all went for more naturalistic settings. It's a pretty solid collection of maps and I would say that they're pretty similar in terms of difficulty. There's one huge misstep if you want to kill all of the enemies in MAP02 - a claustrophobic Cyberdemon dance if ever there was one - but it's the only truly frustrating moment in this set.

I'm pretty leery of speedmaps, but Obsidian seems to have plotted out a sweet spot in terms of the convergence of time spent vs. playability to give us something like a mini-pack of mini-maps for people that enjoy stuff like Demonfear and Scythe. I'm looking forward to the rest of these speedmapping sessions.


by assorted authors

The Tale of Sir OutdoorsMAP01
by Osiris Kalev
A short, slow-paced outdoor level. Well, I say slow-paced, but that's because you're mostly restricted to the shotgun and chaingun, with a secret rocket launcher helping out with some of the larger toughs. The only really hard part, besides getting your health chipped away by hitscanners, is dealing with the demons in the dark, but Kalev throws some softballs in enemy placement so you don't have to strain too much.

MAP02Verdant Cathedral
by "Obsidian"
This belt-fed plasma level moves at a pretty good clip... until its final moments. The pair of pain elementals is easy to dispatch, and while the commandos that teleport in after the first arch-vile may sneak up on you the first time around, they're easily handled. The Cyberdemon, though, is a pain, who must be sniped at with the plasma gun, now your biggest handicap. The biggest tip I can offer - if you have to start running, you're going to get burned.

by James Cresswell aka "Phobus"
A fast, action-packed level rendered in wood. Like "Verdant Cathedral", the plasma rifle figures prominently. On the other hand, Phobus gives you way more room with which you can handle the obligatory Cyberdemon. All of the real threat comes from shotgun snipers firing through cracks on the upper floor and the pincer attack in the sloped hallway immediately after the big Cyberdemon fight, but the latter - and the rest of the level - can be plowed through with your abundant ammo stores.

by "RocknRoll420"
A pretty cool, sloppy wood level that's pretty punchy with its monster placement. There's a natural flow once you hit the arch-vile cages to move toward the rocket launcher, after which you can take your time ousting the monsters on the east side. The weight of the enemies guarding the exit is a bit of a surprise at first, but you have more than enough rockets to slaughter them all. Nice obstacle course.

Moth Monsterman, No!MAP05
by Augustus Knezevich aka "Alfonzo"
More fun with wood. Alfonzo has a more exacting balance with weapons and ammunition; aspects like the outdoor BFG area and the rocket launcher speak to a level design that forces you to run to find a decent weapon, waking up enemies along the way, and then later dispatching them all. For instance, the two Hell knights guarding the rocket launcher can be left alone until you've handled all the nastier moving parts, like the several arch-viles and... uh, the BFG area, which has a Cyberdemon in one corner and three pain elementals in the other, with a rad suit for an encounter timer. Try not to get hung up on those lost souls!

MAP06Alfonzo's Romerian Romp Through the Caves of Jongoloth
by Richard Frei aka "Tarnsman"
This is a very cool level based on overgrown battlements that is a bit rough to start. I realized that standing and fighting the shotgun guys was a poor hold point and rushed forward, to be rewarded with goodies like the plasma rifle and super shotgun. It's a pretty punchy level but most of the difficulty is in not squandering the health afforded to you. The granite caverns full of lost souls and some arch-viles may trip you up, but it's fun slamming Hell's sorcerers with rockets in a straightforward fight for once. Just an awesome, action-packed morsel.

Firing John Romero Into Tarnsman's AssMAP07
by James Paddock aka "Jimmy"
A more naturalistic Hellscape from Jimmy. It's got a nice, open layout, and I like the (mostly) easygoing feeling, You can play around with the berserk pack, but most players will be more comfortable luring the Hell knights out and stealing the combat shotgun, It looks like someone ran out of time in the exit room, though, feeling like a sucker punch straight out of 1994. I guess it's easy enough to back off the bridge and just shell the arch-viles from the blood sluice. The only other standout encounter to me is the Spiderdemon, mostly for how open its encounter space is.



  1. Ah, the days where I was rubbish at speedmapping.Hopefully you'll review the later ones in the future, I'm much more proud of that work. :)

    1. Also huh, I forgot about this account. Neat.

    2. I'll eventually tackle the other stuff, I'm just super swamped trying to cover 2015 at the moment, stupid megawads