Saturday, September 29, 2018

Doom 2 Minor Sprite Fixing Project (SPRFIX19.ZIP)

by "Revenant100"

id kickstarted a legendary legacy of user-created content, all built on a set of rock solid assets. Plenty of people not satisfied with Doom's lo-res aesthetic have tried their hand at trying to re-make the textures and sprites to something more pleasing to them, with the latter typically resulting in unintentionally hilarious 3D models or painstakingly smudged upscales. I initially thought the original look to be pixel perfect but over the years I've noticed a handful of imperfections only to simply accept them as the quirks of doing business. Enter the Doom 2 Minor Sprite Fixing Project, a deep dive of the base resources. Revenant100 corrects these very issues as well as a host of things that casual - perhaps MOST - players have probably never noticed.

We're talking about stuff like erroneous transparent pixels and other generally inconspicuous single-point items. The biggest of the sprite issues that I noticed during my prior playthroughs was the chaingunner jittering while infighting. This apparently has to do with id using some sort of automatic sprite centering tool since it also affects the flamboyant attacks of the revenant and arch-vile. The corrected frames look kind of weird since I'm so used to the somewhat cartoonish movement of the originals but I didn't see them during the pace of normal combat since they're really only noticeable while witnessing infighting.

The most significant alterations come in two parts. I'll cover the contentious one first in order to end the review on a more upbeat note. One of the inconsistencies that Revenant100 picked out was the front-facing sprites for the lost soul, which were introduced in Doom v1.666. The author attempted to smooth over the incongruities by... reinstating the original v1.2 sprites, most prominently featuring separate brow ridges and a single, hollow nasal cavity without the visible perpendicular plate and vomer. This may come as a shock to Doom vets and was argued to death in the mod's development thread. Suffice it to say if you prefer the originals then you'll have to delete Revenant100's from the PWAD.

On the other hand, non-mirrored rotations for some monsters have been included thanks mostly to John Romero's beta resource dumps. This eliminates the instantaneous ambidexterity that bothered some of the more observant players and affects the zombiman, shotgun guy, imp, Baron of Hell, and SS Nazi. This is a similarly disturbing stylistic change but a lot easier to assimilate into your brain once you realize what's going on. Of course, you may not have noticed until someone points it out to you, kind of like most of the things in this mod. I certainly didn't.

SPRFIX comes in flavors for Doom II as well as the original but it also includes special, independant DeHackEd tweaks that alter actual game behavior. These are still aesthetic fixes; they boil down to two monsters (arachnotron and Spiderdemon) going fullbright before they apparently would, three enemies (zombiman, chaingunner, and Cyberdemon) not lighting up when they logically should; and eliminating the super shotgun's split-second muzzle flash hangover. I can't say that I ever actually noticed the last effect but I've relied on the Mastermind's premature lighting to warn me when to take cover on several occasions. You might get more mileage out of the commando and Cybie fixes, though.

I've played Doom and its sequel on and off again since its original release but either failed to pick up on most of these things or just accepted them as part of the experience and then forgot. By my guess, you'd have to be excruciatingly familiar with the assets to recognize many of these things but my years of gameplay may have conditioned me to simply ignore them. Revenant100 contends that the changes must be seen in motion but I would not have been able to pick up on stuff like garbage pixels or the mysterious changing shades on the Barons' and Hell Knights' hooves. The full rotation sprites were and will continue to be the biggest draws for me.

To that end, I've used the artist's own visual demonstrations to portray the effects of this mod since it does a much better job of explaining its changes than any screenshot I would take. If you're interested in checking it out, then be aware that the Doom 2 Minor Sprite Fixing Project doesn't play well with a few major releases, particularly the ones including whole sprite sheets as a consequence of extensive pallette changes. Revenant100 has made some compatibility patches for PWADs like Back to Saturn X and Ancient Aliens, so check out its threads in either the Doomworld or ZDoom forums; it's still being sporadically updated.



  1. The latest version of Back to Saturn X E1 already includes these changes. Except for the lost soul, of course.

  2. You'll never know you needed this until you have tried this. Simple but cool as heck.

    1. Yep, this is my one and only autoload for GZDoom.