Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ockham Complex (SWOCKHAM.WAD)

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)

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)

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: 91% complete, backfilled through October 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)

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)

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)

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)

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.