Monday, September 10, 2018

Rest In Peace, John W. Anderson

If you haven't already heard the news then I regret to inform you that Dr. Sleep (John W. Anderson) died in April of 2018 of pneumonia. Anderson didn't make a great many levels compared to his fellow Master Levels for Doom II authors but his dedication to detailing as it pertains to texture alignment and lightcasting solidified him as one of the early cornerstones of PWAD design. While he had numerous other accomplishments during his lifetime of 61 years (including design credits for Blood, Unreal, Kingpin, and Daikatana), he had quite a few that are specific to Doom.

  • John was responsible for the Inferno series of single map releases. While most of them ultimately became part of commercial products, the freely-available ones (Dante's Gate and Crossing Acheron) were acknowledged early on as outstanding examples of PWADs so much that the latter became immortalized as one of Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 1994. These works were an early influence on many authors including in my own personal experience Malcolm Sailor and Paul Corfiatis.
  • Because of the quality of the first two levels, five of the rest - Virgil's Lead, Minos' Judgement, Nessus, Geryon, and Vesperas - became part of the Master Levels for Doom II project. Their appearance helped to cement the gothic brick and metal style but the more subtle influence is the proliferation of his simple, starry night sky in other user-created PWADs. These levels were also included in the Playstation's Final Doom, forming a significant portion of the initial impression and no doubt leaving an impact on people whose Playstation console experience remains definitive.
  • The last of the Inferno levels, CHIRON, managed to make its way into The Ultimate Doom as a part of its additional fourth episode, Thy Flesh Consumed ("And Hell Followed"), and is thus likely the most widely-played of his output.
  • John's least-known level - apart from the never-realized Lethe, which would have concluded the Inferno series - is almost certainly a Heretic level titled Recant.

More information is available on the DoomWiki if you're interested in reading more about this early pillar of the community. As for myself, it's sad to know that two of the six Master Levels authors are gone, both within a month of each other, but I'm glad that his family stopped by to let the community know of his passing.

1 comment:

  1. What!? Ohh no :( It truely saddens me to hear this. Rest in peace, sir. We'll remember you always.