Saturday, August 31, 2019

Doom the Way id Did: The Lost Episodes (DTWID-LE.WAD)

Doom the Way id Did generated a ton of buzz in the community, who turned out to craft approximately 100 submissions. The only event that I know to have surpassed it - as far as single-player levels go - is the 10 Sectors contest. It has also enjoyed a number of spinoffs during its lifespan, including the long-lived but recently finalized Ultimate DTWiD. It's crazy to think that a handful of levels went on to form the foundation of No End In Sight, something like an 850% increase in volume. All of Callum Guy Oliver's entries were gathered together in their own package, PhobosDeimos Anomaly, in a posthumous tribute. A few even saw solo releases. The lion's share of the "rejects" were published as a gargantuan collection dubbed The Lost Episodes. DTWID-LE saw a beta release in 2012 but thereafter entered a drawn-out polishing phase where a few new maps were made or substantially changed. It didn't see its first iteration on /idgames until 2016.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Congestion Control (CCT.WAD)

by Karthik Abhiram Krishna

It was interesting to follow KA's authorial career because it was like watching him fuck off in the editor in real time. It wasn't hard to believe that Karthik would get his act together and increase his level of skill to the point where I could see his PWADs standing alongside Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 2002. But it was starting to look like he was going to have to take a few massive steps if he was to make it there from Out of Phase. Congestion Control is the sweet memory which got him an entry in the Top 100. Like OPHASE, it's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II that features a dance mix MIDI. It's a technical leap forward, though, building off of the complexity initially seen in The Other Side of Phobos.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Sacrifice (Doom Tutorial) (SACRIF.ZIP)

by John "Gestalt666" Bye

I made some assumptions on Bye's back catalog based on the way in which they were uploaded to the archive but I've come to find out that Sacrifice was actually his first published level. In 1996 he converted it to a Doom II map and then offered it up to the community along with a slightly worked-over version as a sort of Goofus / Gallant pairing. His intent was to illustrate some freshman foibles in order for beginners to have a better idea on how to handle part of PWADcraft's essential window dressing. This is the equivalent of polishing a turd due to the source material but John does show in a few instances that a bare minimum of work can breathe a bit of life into stale scenes.

The Subway (C4SUBWAY.WAD)

by John "Gestalt666" Bye

When Bye released The Park in mid-'96 his Cygnus IV episode was just beginning. The author had despaired of the amount of effort that he had poured into Magnum Opus and was focusing on shorter levels. With the publishing of The Subway a few months afterward, though, his work was nearly complete; the original version would release later in September. This single map offering was a primer for the sort of level design that prospective players could expect from the entire adventure. It's a MAP09 replacement for Doom II and if you've already played CYGNUS20 then you can check out because, much like PARK, C4SUBWAY is functionally identical to the finished product. It has the same backing track, too, so you don't even get that novelty.

The Park (PARK.WAD)

by John J. "Spook" Bye

Bye released a handful of small, single releases before declaring his Magnum Opus, after which he vowed to stick to less time-consuming level design. The result of this three-month creative streak would outpace his previous levels in just about every aspect and result in his most accomplished solo work - Cygnus IV. Two of its maps actually saw additional publication in 1996 - apart from the not-quite-megaWAD. The Park is the first of them, being the opening level of the episode. It's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II. Spoiler alert: if you've already played the entire fourteen-level publication then this offers absolutely no mechanical differences.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Hell's Arena (HELLARNA.WAD)

by Simon "Volte-Face" Broadhead

V-F was a contributor to a few community projects - most notably CCHEST and its sequel - and has more submissions to these than solo releases. This may be part of the reason that he never achieved the same level of renown as some of his peers. Broadhead was no older than thirteen when he started mapping, kicked around for a few years, and then disappeared after Exquisite Corpse. As far as I know his debut work was a lackluster submission to Doom Center's E1 Contest (E1M7). Hell's Arena is the first of his two individual releases and is a MAP01 replacement, published in 2001. Simon suggests that this will work with the vanilla executable but recommends using a limit-removing port. I failed to see any reason why it wouldn't work inside the Doom II executable... but I played it ZDoom so I don't know for sure.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

One-Week Megawad (ONEWEEK.WAD)

Sam Woodman was bitten by the bug. Inspired by the Quake community, Doomworld was hosting Speedmapping Sessions on a weekly basis. Another site, Doom Center, kicked off a week in tribute to Knee Deep in the Dead. The intrigue was amplified with a contest where authors had a fortnight to craft an E1-themed level, to be judged by John Romero. Metabolist ultimately settled on hosting ten consecutive invitationals. The turnout was... less than spectacular as far as numbers go. He received an average of 1.5 submissions per event. The eleven that Sam did not reject were collected and compiled into the One-Week MegaWAD. Released in 2001, this Doom II episode is generally limit-removing but ought to be played in a Boom-compatible port due to MAP10 at the very least.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Catacombs (AP_009.WAD)

by Alex Parsons

AP_009 is the ninth entry in the World's End series and is the last to feature in sequential order. Alex never released parts 010-012, instead skipping ahead to 012 and 013 (Installation A and B). We also know that Parsons considered his two Community Chest submissions, "Ground Floor" (MAP03) and "Mandrel" (MAP11), as 015 and 016, respectively. Like the rest, The Catacombs is a Doom II MAP01 replacement for limit-removing ports. It was released in 2002 but has a couple of interesting deviations. The most obvious is that it draws direct inspiration from American McGee's level of the same name. It's the first time for the author to reference any sort of influence. He also explicitly suggests that players use idmus to play something other than D_RUNNIN. Specifically, MAP22's "The David D. Taylor Blues".

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Relive X2 (RELIVEX2.WAD)

Memfis loves classic PWADs. If they're relatively obscure, then even better. Shamus Young made a couple of things that he really enjoyed though the Doom City tribute wouldn't come until 2013 as a part of his Kuchitsu. RELIVEX2 is his little love letter to Phobos - Relive the Nightmare, a Doom II episode that drew inspiration from the names of Knee Deep in the Dead's maps. This couplet - originally released in 2012 - is a limit-removing minisode which occupies MAP01 and MAP02. It doesn't require Shamus's PWAD as a resource since it incorporated all of the relevant assets. The author forgot something along the way, though, because MAP02 references textures which aren't included.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Abyssal Speedmapping Session 6 (ABYSPED6.WAD)

The Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions have been going relatively strong since 2013. These events get a group of community members together to create maps based around a choice of themes with two hours for the raw sector work and fifteen each for texturing and polishing. Unless you go by Alfonzo, in which case you use a third hour so often that it gets named after you. The sixth occurrence happened in May of 2014 and resulted in eleven Doom II levels for play in a Boom-compatible source port. Two other maps were made during the allotted time - one by scifista42 and another by Doomkid - but the organizer did not include them in the final package.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Other Side of Phobos (OSP.WAD)

by Karthik Abhiram Krishna

K.A. had a lengthy span of small solo releases. His most active period spanned 2001-2003 during the slow burn following the source port boom. Karthik's main claim to fame is 2002's Congestion Control, which found a coveted spot in Doomworld's Top 100 WADs of All Time retrospective. I would not have guessed this while playing most of his pre-CCT material, though. The good news is that 2002's OSP is a giant leap forward in terms of level design. This makes the transition from rough and semi-competent to award winner a little less jarring. The Other Side of Phobos is an E1M1 replacement for the original Doom.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Magnum Opus (MAGNUMOP.WAD)

by John "Spook" Bye

It's interesting that Bye felt comfortable using this title since he would go on to craft the Cygnus IV episode / megaWAD and then tag team The Talosian Incident with Malcolm Sailor. Not to forget his two submissions to The Darkening E1, of course. Magnum Opus occurs relatively early in his career history. This MAP01 replacement for Doom II was released in 1996 and marks an important turning point that points the way toward his future productions. First, John tries his hand at crafting his own soundtrack and delivers a simple and moody piece. Second, the author was apparently dissatisfied with the amount of time spent making the level. He vowed to spend his future on less "huge" levels, possibly creating a series composed of smaller ones.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Max Saga: The Doom Dragon (MAX2.WAD)


Impie is now best-known for his impressive portfolio of mods and TCs but his career circa 2014 had him playing around with standard Doom II gameplay. The plots still drew on other properties, of course. They just didn't mess around with "advanced" engine features. Three of these releases ended up as part of Strange Aeons's fifth episode and this one is no different, appearing there as "The Vaults of Zin" (E5M3). The Doom Dragon is unique because it is actually an E1M1 replacement for Heretic, of all things. As far as I know, any limit-removing port that supports it ought to be able to play MAX2. If not, well, then I can personally vouch for ZDoom.