Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dark Castle (DARK_C.WAD)

Vick Bobkov aka Virgil the Doom Poet has two major claims to fame. He was a single level contributor to Paul Corfiatis's 2002: A Doom Odyssey and managed to worm his way into the Plutonia 2 project during its early stages. Vick got his start in the source port era and while his first release, Black and White, makes no mention of other executables, Dark Castle targets the Boom engine and more generally limit-removing source ports. Virgil's most active year was 2001, but this three-level minisode also referred to the author as an appetizer was published in 2000. Dark Castle is definitely an accurate title, but as they say, the devil is in the details.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Question and Answer: Advice On Describing Maps

I would like to ask... As a person who wrote hundreds and hundreds of map descriptions, do you have any advice on how to make one's writing more interesting and varied? For example, do you sometimes struggle to come up with something new to say that you haven't already said about many other wads before? Maybe at times you feel like you're repeating similar sentences. After all, lots of wads kind of imitate each other and I think it's not always easy to find enough unique moments to comment on. How do you deal with that?

There are, I think, two aspects of this question. The first is about making your compositions more alluring to other people and the second is your own engagement in the act of composing map descriptions. For the former, I don't have a good way to measure how engrossed readers are with this blog as it relates to the quality of my writing. The vast majority of the people commenting are authors thanking me for reviews and players offering their own experiences. The only major negative feedback I've ever received - with one exception that I'll get to in a minute - comes either from people who hate a PWAD given a good review (e.g. Erkattäññe) or those who take issue with negative opinions about a beloved release (e.g. Hellbound). The only real way for me to gauge raw interest is based on web traffic statistics but even then I'm ignorant of the why.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Black and White (BW.WAD)

by Vick "Virgil the Doom Poet" Bobkov

The ol' Virge got his start back in the year 2000 during the source port boom before having a fairly active 2001. His main claim to fame is probably contributing a level to 2002: A Doom Odyssey but there was also that one time where he "punched up" some of the levels for Plutonia 2 back when Sam Woodman ran the show and one of them made it into the final product after some tender love and care from Thomas van der Velden. Black and White, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, was his first release but it didn't find its way to the /idgames archives. It would have gone down with Geocities had a kind soul not scraped it from the cold bosom of the internet. BW is apparently vanilla-compatible but I've been informed that the markers for its two flats need to be fixed.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Templum Dormiens Dei (TEMPLMDD.WAD)

by "Stormwalker"

While Heretic gets considerably less love than Doom or Doom II, there exist a number of authors still carrying a torch for its dark fantasy action. Stormwalker, who also goes by Vordakk, is one such individual and while he hadn't done anything Corvus-related since 2011 that year saw two releases, an episode titled Call of the Apostate and a one-off adventure named Dark Deity's Bastion. Templum Dormiens Dei, a single E1M1 replacement for Heretic published in late 2016, is a sequel to the latter. TEMPLMDD requires a source port from the ZDoom family (specifically, version 2.8.1) as it uses a few features including DECORATE monsters and some nominal room-over-room geometry.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


by Joe Pallai

Before he went on to contribute to community darlings 2002: A Doom Odyssey and Plutonia 2, Joe Pallai had every intention of making a one man megaWAD. PUREDOOM was to be its name and it probably would have been regarded as a classic release or at the very least enshrined by word of mouth in the perennial underrated lists that continue to crop up. He only ever finished four of the levels, though, three of which saw an official release. The Gate, a single map replacement for the MAP08 slot published in 2000, was the first of the mapset to be uploaded to the archives to be followed by Entryway (MAP01) and then Crossfire (MAP04).

Monday, November 20, 2017

Crossfire (CROSFIRE.WAD)

by Joe Pallai

PUREDOOM was going to be a Doom II megaWAD released piecemeal by the author, Joe Pallai. Only three of the levels were actually uploaded to the /idgames archives with a fourth submitted to the initial draft of the Plutonia 2 project. Crossfire was the last of these maps to be published but it is the intermediate one in terms of the intended running order, the MAP04 to Entryway's MAP01 and The Gate's MAP08. As was the case with the others it saw itself uploaded in 2000, laying the ground for a select pedigree that gave way to a distinguished issue including 2002: A Doom Odyssey, End Game, and the aforementioned sequel to The Plutonia Experiment.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


by Joe Pallai

Joe Pallai hasn't been one of the community's more prolific authors but he's enjoyed a fairly prestigious career during the source port boom as a contributor to 2002: A Doom Odyssey and the lesser-known Endgame as well as part of the original Plutonia 2 development team. Joe started out making his one-man megaWAD, PUREDOOM, and releasing the levels as they were finished. From what I can tell he completed four of them, with three making it to the archive and one languishing in obscurity as one of the cut Plutonia 2 levels. Entryway is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II released in 2000 and I assume that it would have been the first level of the finished megaWAD.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Squares (1SQUARES.WAD)

by Costa Lappas

Squares, a single level released for Doom II in 1995, has earned a place in community history for two reasons. It was one of the earliest slaughtermaps in a sense that's distinct from levels containing slaughter-like encounters (i.e. the teleport ambush featured in "Suburbs") while connoting some sort of challenge. It's also one of the pillars upon which Huy Pham's Deus Vult was built, a fact that's more obvious in the release of the alternate / early version Deus Vult Zero. In the .TXT, author Costa Lappas advertised it as "extremely hard if not impossible to complete on the hard level". A quick look at the DooMed Speed Demo Archives shows at least seven players to have successfully cut their teeth on 1SQUARES while playing on Ultra-Violence and one finishing the map on Nightmare, so it's certainly not insurmountable.