Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Revolution! (TVR.WAD)


Thomas van der Velden began his shrewdly successful community career with Revolution!, a Doom II megaWAD released in 2001. The enterprising Netherlander would go on to produce his own idTech-based game, Harmony; contribute to the first, third, and elven CCHESTs; and serve as a major and minor player in Plutonia 2 as well as the PRCP, respectively. His most recent work? Only a brand new map secreted away in the Revolution! MIDI Pack, a project headed by community superstar Jimmy in an attempt to close the stock music gap in the original release... but that is a tale for another time.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mortiser 4: Chemical Plant (SWMORT4.WAD)

MORTISER 4
CHEMICAL PLANT
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Woodsy's greatest lasting legacy will almost certainly be Plutonia 2, even if it took a more Slavic turn in order to take it to release. After that, probably the Freedoom soundtrack debacle, which seems less surprising now since I've read the liner notes for Omega Facility. But then there's the Mortiser series, whose resource pack - MORTRES.WAD - was pillaged for at least eleven other PWADs on the archives. Sure, it's actually Nick Baker's work, but Sam compiled this particular selection and properly credited it. Chemical Plant is the fourth level in the set and occupies the MAP04 slot. While it was released in 2002 during the source Boom, it should be playable in any port like most of Woodman's works.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

00_e2m8 (00_E2M8.WAD)

00_E2M8
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Sam all but disowned his original Testament of Judgement demo - TOJ_15B - but apparently saw fit to release this thing in mid 2001. 00_E2M8 is purportedly his first original map and it definitely looks like the sort of product someone might have as the initial, awkward forays in an editor. As an E2M8 replacement it stands in for the original Cyberdemon showdown. "Tower of Babel" was an effective boss map in its simplicity and while it's not an awful idea to try to riff on the concept it just invites comparison to something that's already been enshrined in the memories of many players.

Friday, April 6, 2018

All Screenshots Have Been Backfilled

I believe that every screenshot and image that is on this blog has been backfilled. If you find something that hasn't been, let me know. There should be no IMGUR links remaining. What I have going on isn't the greatest solution but given my limited expertise, it's working for now.

My long-term, pie in the sky goal would be to set up my own domain - as supported by Blogger - and then use the domain hosting to quietly migrate screenshots, but it's a scary thought because I've never done something like it before and I don't know what the best host would be to use for such an enormously image-heavy website like mine.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Lava City Outskirts (SWLAVCIT.WAD)

LAVA CITY OUTSKIRTS
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Before the current crop of speedmapping sessions - Abyssal and others - there was the Doomworld Speedmapping events with a 100 minute time limit. And while SW wasn't in all or even most of them, the first compilation got him in such a spirit that he made his own take on the theme of the initiating jam - "lava city" - as a sort of practice level. Thus became Lava City Outskirts, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II released mid-2001. There is no story or setup beyond the author's notes on the map's creation.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mortiser 3: Supply/Shipping Depot (SWMORT3.WAD)

MORTISER 3
SUPPLY/SHIPPING DEPOT
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


2001 was a very busy year for Woodsy, probably the busiest of his career as he wrangled submissions to several ongoing projects, managed at least two of his own, and found some time to crack out a few maps on the side. Speedmaps, mind you; it doesn't look like Sam was big on anything that took longer than a day's work. Supply/Shipping Depot is the third level in the Mortiser series, a small group of maps. They are tied together mainly by their resource pack, MORTRES. SWMORT3 follows the same progression as the previous two levels and as a result occupies the MAP03 slot. You'll need to play it in a limit-removing source port if you want to avoid the mentioned HOM effects.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Omega Facility (SWOMEGA.WAD)

OMEGA FACILITY
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


The early 2000s had a lot of crazy stuff going on at the same time and Sam Woodman had at least one finger in each of them. Alien Vendetta, Hell Revealed II, Plutonia 2, 2002: A Doom Odyssey... Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that he had something kicking around in Millennium too. There's even his One Week Mapping Contest where he played the part of the "organizer". In between all of the submissions, projects, and his Mortiser series he still cranked out the occasional level. This one is Omega Facility, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II released in early 2001. It's a medium-size techbase level consisting of roughly equal parts brick and metal. I thought that it was station in space at first but there's definitely a green grass yard.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Mortiser 2: Ice Station Alpha (SWMORT2.WAD)

MORTISER 2
ICE STATION ALPHA
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman
and Mattias Berggren


Sammy boy may not have been the most prolific author during the source port boom but he had a lot of irons in the fire. A lot of his levels made it into Hell Revealed II and he headed the Plutonia 2 project for the first half of its development, for better or worse. Woodman also submitted two levels to Alien Vendetta. One of them was folded into Vincent Catalaá's "Demonic Hordes", replacing some sort of lead labyrinth. The other either already was Mortiser 2 or became it in 2001 after being cut from the project, judging by the .TXT for SWOCKHAM. Like the rest of the series, you'll need MORTRES.WAD. One big difference - it's a joint venture with Mattias Berggren, also of AV fame! SWMORT2 replaces MAP02 of Doom II so it looks like Sam intended to string them together one way or another.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ockham Complex (SWOCKHAM.WAD)

OCKHAM COMPLEX
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Woodsy spent the year 2000 throwing his weight behind a lot of different projects. The only one that really panned out was Plutonia 2, just not with him at the helm. Ockham Complex, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, begins 2001 without a continuation of any of the previous material. Sam does mention the hotly anticipated Mortiser 2, but it's in reference to another classic megaWAD: Alien Vendetta. I guess he was waiting to see whether or not Anders and co. were going to accept or reject it and made SWOCKHAM in the meantime. Woodman did get one map into the illustrious AV - but you already knew that, didn't you?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Ballistics (SWBLSTCS.WAD)

BALLISTICS
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Where Ice Station Alpha got cut out of Alien Vendetta and remained so, Ballistics was removed from Hell Revealed II... only for it to return for the final release. That's why it initially made its way to the archive as a solo publication; Sam has an aside in the .TXT for an Andy, presumably one Olivera, talking about a few changes he made since it was excised. I don't know the full story of how it found its way back into the project but according to Woodman it was removed to make way for another level of his own construction. Given HR2's troubled development history, I assume that some of the levels just didn't come through in one way or another and SWBLSTCS felt like a reasonable alternative.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Mortiser 1: Lookout Base (SWMORT1.WAD)

MORTISER 1
LOOKOUT BASE
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


It took awhile, including three wildly ambitious beginnings, but Sam eventually hit his stride with this MAP01 replacement in late 2000. The Mortiser series constitutes his largest, independent body of work and spans five levels from 2000 to 2003. The biggest thing tying these maps together is the Mortiser resource WAD, a collection of works from Nick Baker also serving as the basis of the theme for the apparently-still-in-progress Testament of Judgement. The Doomwiki informs me that ToJ eventually turned into Plutonia 2, but in September 2000 the difficulty design doc for PL2 explicitly labels it as such while the text file for MORTRES (timestamped on 10/31/2000... though the .WAD itself is stamped in THE FUTURE on 02/20/2018) continues to talk about ToJ as its own project-to-come. Maybe someone with access to the earliest dev materials can explicitly link the two.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

maintenance mode IV

CURRENT STATUS: 98.5% complete, backfilled through August 2011

Whoa hey it's been awhile! I've published 34 reviews since I made the last maintenance mode post and crossed the 600 review threshold. Right now I'm in "not quite maintenance mode" status because I am sitting on a huge pile of reviews for Sam Woodman levels. You can expect to see single level reviews posted every five days with anything much bigger arriving once a week unless my buffer gets outrageously large. That's not going to happen anytime soon, though, because I am going to be working my ass off from the end of March to partway through May. So thank goodness for a ton of buffer.

Screenshots have been backfilled all the way through February of 2012 as well as April, May, and June of 2011. As of right now, I'm more than 85% done. Considering that the vast majority of the reviews from 2011 come from a monograph on the Master Levels for Doom II, it shouldn't take long once I really get into it.

I'm still doing review "tune-ups" but as mentioned these are from a copy-editor's perspective and don't eat into the actual reviews because I'm in no state or place to play Doom when I'm performing them.

I am still working toward the Top 2001 WADs, but I also had a lot of fun playing some chronic entries in "underrated" lists (and making fake TITLEPICs for them). My immediate end goal is to make it to 2002: A Doom Odyssey, with the itinerary looking something like this:

Revolution! MIDI Pack
Codename HYENA: Killermachine
the original release of Phobia
Flay the Obscene 3
CH Retro Episode
Rip It, Tear It, Smash It
some stuff that Paul will probably laugh at when he sees it getting reviewed
Brotherhood of Ruin
...maybe 10 Sectors part 2?
2002: A Doom Odyssey

Ah, yes, reviewing the MIDI pack. I feel partly like I'm putting myself out here but I cut my teeth on describing music by writing mini-reviews for "synthwave" albums on Bandcamp so I'm probably better off than I think as long as someone doesn't try to dunk on me for the wrong terminology.

Expect any and all deviations.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Dataville (DATAVILL.WAD)

DATAVILLE
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Dataville isn't the third iteration of the Testament of Judgement project but it is a likewise hilarious demonstration of his boundless enthusiasm. In mid-2000, the flavor of Sam's month was Hacx to the tune of a prospective new series entitled "Alternative HacX". With Nostromo's design documents in hand, Woodman was committed to building a new set of levels per the original plans. Dataville is the first and only fruit yielded by the Banjo-strumming author. It was designed for the original release but works absolutely fine with the 1.2 IWAD published back in 2010, which is what I used. The most important things to know are that it has to be played in some sort of limit-removing port and occupies MAP19.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Testament of Judgement I v0.2c (demo) (TOJ_E1M1.WAD)

TESTAMENT OF JUDGEMENT I
v0.2c
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Take two. Or not, since this one's for the original. SW put out a promotional release of his Testament of Judgement project in 1999, then for Doom II. By 2000 he had switched gears, going back from Boom to the original executable and more or less disowning TOJ_15B. While still a single map replacement, this time E1M1, Sam included quite a few custom resources including a level title graphic. He certainly seemed committed! Alas; time makes fools of us all. Sam had more luck with his Mortiser series and shepherding the Plutonia 2 project through its early days, among other things.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Testament of Judgement 1.5 promotional release (TOJ_15B.WAD)

TESTAMENT OF JUDGEMENT
1.5 PROMOTIONAL RELEASE
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Ol' Sam had a long and checkered history in the Doom community with a number of small solo releases as well as major contributions to Hell Revealed II and Plutonia 2 (in fact starting the latter) and even smaller footprints on 2002: A Doom Odyssey and Alien Vendetta. While his legacy has been tainted by his music submissions to the FreeDoom project, I can't deny his importance as a vanilla proponent during Doom's source port boom. Sam had not one but two stabs at kicking off his authorial career with a one man megaWAD. Both were titled Testament of Judgement and neither really made it past the first map. The Doom II version, called the "1.5 Promotional Release", found its way to the archives in 1999. MAP01 is entitled "Spaceport" in the included BEX patch. There's a MAP02 replacement, too, but it's actually a deathmatch level, I suppose patterned after The Darkening E1 or E2 (though the finished product as advertised was to be a single-player adventure).

Monday, February 12, 2018

Triple-Play (3X-PLAY.WAD)

TRIPLE-PLAY
OR, PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH :)
by Bill McClendon


Bill McClendon's main claim to fame was as one of the authors of The Unofficial WAD Designers' Handbook which offered lots of great information for prospective authors looking to dip their toes in the Doom pool. While BM would eventually go on to contribute to Requiem as well as STRAIN (the latter also sporting his partner in crime, Ron Allen) he was initially unwilling to reveal his works for the judgment of his contemporaries. His main concern was the thought of being held to a higher standard due to his hand in assembling the guide, which among other things contains a list of typical errors including
Texture Misalignment
This is the single most common error made by level authors. Although it has been mentioned several times in this document, properly aligned textures are an absolute must. Enough said. (The Unofficial WAD Designers' Handbook, Release 2.1 by Ron Allen and Bill McClendon)
That's painting a big target on your back for someone to post a "Gotcha!" Thankfully, Bill got over his fear of retaliatory nit-picking and presented his first official release, Triple-Play, for Doom II in mid 1995. It's a MAP01 replacement like so many others and the author recommends using IDMUS 18 to invoke "Waiting For Romero to Play" as the intended, complementary soundtrack.

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Lost Seraphim (SERAPH.WAD)


Virgil started out making vanilla Doom maps including his passion project, AfterDoom 2, but he was also quick to experiment using feature-rich source ports. This started out with Boom in 2000 but accelerated to ZDoom for 2001's Lost Seraphim. SERAPH is a four-level minisode for Doom II and has some unfortunate realities resulting from the differences between the port it was ostensibly released for - v1.22 - and the inexorable progress of development. It's a shame because there are some pretty cool ideas in Lost Seraphim that contribute to an interesting early ZDoom era experience and the problems render it relatively inaccessible. Above and beyond the usual issues associated with Vick's level design, that is.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

3-Tech (VRGL_3T.WAD)

3-TECH
by Vick "Virgil the Doom Poet" Bobkov


Ol' Maligheri wasn't much of a community project guy beyond his work with Plutonia 2, but he did try to get in on a few contests during his active period. One of these was 10 Sectors, where Vick had the faint distinction of being picked for the top 32 leftovers collection, 10 Sectors 2. The other considerably less popular contest nonetheless had him rubbing elbows with Erik Alm and Doug Merrill and might also have been the genesis of his Sam Woodman bromance. Though The Metabolist ultimately collected the results as the One Week Mapping Contest collection in 2001, Virgil saw fit to publish his one entry on its own during the same year. The fancifully-titled 3-Tech is a MAP01 replacement for Boom-compatible source ports.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Marine Army 1 (M_ARMY1.WAD)

MARINE ARMY 1
by Vick "Virgil the Doom Poet" Bobkov


When I downloaded this, there were a few givens. It had a huge warning label at the top of the accompanying file specifying, among other thing, that M_ARMY1 (a MAP01 replacement released in 2001) was designed for ZDoom and had neither solo or multi-player functions. The author attempted to shroud it under the cloak of experimentation and even went so far as to command a lack of criticism. All this, and for what? A "nice surprise?" The /idgames comments were characteristically descriptive and the information offered by Virgil himself was coy, to say the least. My imagination conjured the image of some sort of scripted ZDoom event not unlike the opening of Doom 64 where a complement of marines takes on some of Hell's finest.

Friday, January 19, 2018

AfterDoom 2: Deep Space Pirsuit (ADSP.WAD)


Virgil released a number of PWADs as part of his "appetizer" series (Black and White, Dark Castle, Ash to Ash) while trying to talk up his big project, the main course. As far as I can tell, though, Vick never actually finished it; fair Euterpe withdrew her favor and all we have left is the 2001 pre-release of AfterDoom 2: Deep Space Pirsuit. ([sic].) While the teaser only includes thirteen Doom II levels out of the planned thirty-two, I think that I have a pretty good feeling of how the finished ASDP would play out. Oh dear goodness do I know what the rest was going to be like.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Void and Rainbow (RAINBOW*.PK3)

VOID AND RAINBOW
by "Serious_MOod"


Serious_MOod started an authorial career on the unassuming, orthogonal Dark Side of Deimos in 2013. While S_M's following releases weren't staunchly traditional, neither were they wildly divergent from the typical Doom experience, especially when you consider that the alpha textures utilized in Beta Labs and BLABS2 have become a recognized theme in its own right. Color me surprised, among other things, with Void and Rainbow. It's a single level release for GZDoom published in 2017, featuring running and jumping and fighting and humping. Well, mostly the middle two, plus a healthy dash of Roy G. Biv.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Beta Labs 2 (BLABS2.WAD)


There's always been some level of interest in Doom's pre-release history and it's reponsible for a fair bit of inspiration for projects in the community. The successful ones borrow the assets and then make regular maps in their own particular idioms (Favillesco, Alpha Accident) while the failures try to fulfill the promise of Tom Hall's Doom Bible. If you're not going to catch a fish, though, you might as well not catch a big fish. Serious_MOod helmed a release from the former category, 2015's Beta Labs, and recently followed it up with the similarly-titled sequel, BLABS2, in 2017. It's a five-level minisode for limit-removing ports, spanning E1M1 through E1M5, concluding on an end credits map in E1M6.