.: December 15, 2010

I'm back in the saddle. Yee-haw! Yessirree Bob. It's a horse in every barn and a gun in every holster. (Or is it a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot? This sort of thing always gets me confused.) Ahem! Anyway, let's get back to trying to make sense of things, shall we? My excitement stems from the fact that despite the wretched weather in the US, and despite an up-tick in my job-related travel, I have done a considerable amount of work on The Phobos Directive. Maps04 & 06 are now almost 100% complete, Map06 has been expanded, and I've done some additional graphics work for the game.

On an unrelated subject, I had made a post on the ZDooM forums asking for nominations for the Zpectre awards for excellence in ZDooM, but I seemingly misjudged the level of interest on those forums. Therefore, I've decided to move forward with this endeavor on my own. I will be sending out personal requests for judges, and I may end up doing all of the writing. However, I would still like to hear what others feel about deserving ZDooM wads. To any of you reading this, I ask to please send your nominations along with reasons for your nomination to my email address (gurkha_boy AT yahoo.com) or post on those forums. I will use my characteristic caustic wit and tongue-in-cheek "humor" to scribe the awards.

.: November 30, 2010

Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana. Ah, the verbal dexterity of Groucho Marx. Anyhoo, it's been a month since my last update; hence this obligatory post. That's not to say I have nothing to report. On the contrary, despite being on the road for work and for leisure (it was the Thanksgiving holiday last week after all), I have managed to put a bit of time into DooM editing. Specifically, I have been putting the final touches on Six Ways to Die/Palais des Cauchemars. I need to test the game internally, seek beta testers, and then finalize and publish the maps. So hang on to yer butts.

.: October 29, 2010

For the skeptics out there, here's proof that I've been gainfully engaged in development for The Phobos Directive:

[Pictures Moved Here.]

For those of you that are here for more than shiny pics, here is a summary of the project:

1. It is a 9-map Episode 1 replacement hub for GZDooM.
2. It is based on the 9-map Phobos Revisited for DooM 1, and is mission-driven.
3. Each map has a "core" area that is based on the respective maps of Phobos Revisited, but also includes new, industrial-type areas to explore.
4. To make the game less repetitive and more challenging, gameplay will not be restricted to Episode I weapons & enemies.
5. It has many new graphics (most of which are modified DooM graphics to retain the DooM E1 atmosphere) and new skies (twilight, nightfall, daylight).
6. It features an inventory system and new powerups.
7. It will feature new music.
8. The project is about 40% complete.

.: September 22, 2010

Because of the amount of time I spent in understanding the rules for DECORATE definitions, and in creating my custom items, I decided to write up a tutorial on how to create selected types of powerups in ZDooM that can be stored in an inventory and moved from one map to another within a hub.

.: September 21, 2010

I have been making progress by leaps and strides on The Phobos Directive. All the mapping on Map E1M1 is complete; mapping and logic for Maps E1M3 and E1M5 are complete. The biggest change from Phobos Revisited (aside from the logic, gameplay, and (G)ZDooM features) is the introduction of a portable inventory. It turns out that not all powerups and items can be carried from one map to another in a hub. I had already put the logic into place for maps E1M3 and E1M5, which required carrying an item from E1M3 to E1M5, and rather than reworking the logic I decided to create a custom inventory item. One thing led to another, and I decided to create custom inventory items for health, armor, and other powerups. The items are distinct but graphically similar to the DooM originals, which is in keeping with the theme of the mod - you'll know you're playing DooM Episode I, but the game is just slightly different looking. Incidentally, I have created a host of custom textures & flats that use the stock textures as the base but added some "enhancements". Stay tuned for pics.

.: August 31, 2010

I'm just squeaking in my update before it becomes September. (Well, at the time of this writing (2:20 pm EDT) it's actually already September in Japan.) Summer has been good to me, despite my frequent business travel. But the two of you are not here to browse a slide show of my summer pics, so I'll get right down to brass tacks (whatever that means). After putting in most of the game-play elements, I took a break from Six Ways to Die/Palais des Cauchemars. I've resurrected a long-dormant project of mine, which I first announced in 2007. It's known as The Phobos Directive, and it's now for GZDooM. I'm almost done with all the mapping on Map E1M1, which is basically a map from scratch. And while the basic map layout in the rest of the maps will not change much from Phobos Revisited, the logic and gameplay will be completely different, and of course it will have (G)ZDooM features. Screenies soon.

I have also resurrected an E1M6 map that I started many, many years ago but on which I never got around to making much progress. It will be for any limit-removing port. I'm also eyeing a final map in my Wicked Series, whose maps require no source port. But let me not bite off more than I can chew.

.: July 7, 2010

Despite travel to as far-flung places as Calgary (Canada) and Washington, DC, I've pretty much completed all mapping on Six Ways to Die/Palais des Cauchemars, and have begun putting in the gameplay elements. For the two of you that are visiting here for the first time, it is a 2-map wad for GZDooM that is playable as a stand-alone game as well as an add-on to Paranoid.

Here are some screenshots to convince you that I've indeed been working on this mod, and that I haven't just been jerking your chain.

[Pictures Moved Here.]

.: June 17, 2010

I haven't had too much free time lately, what with job-related travel and deadlines, and visiting family. Still, I've managed to squeeze in some time for DooM. I've been play-testing Stronghold, which is a magnificently constructed and brilliantly conceived mod for DooM. Look for it at your nearby DooM retailer soon.

I've also managed to eke out a little progress on Six Ways to Die, and I've been having a lot of fun with 3D architecture for the sake of 3D architecture. For those of you that have played Paranoid, it would be fairly obvious that the 3D architecture there was almost entirely functional - i.e., it served a clear purpose. In Six Ways to Die, while there are many instances of functional 3D architecture, I have also been using it for decorative purposes. At any rate, I am close to wrapping up the mapping on Map32 (mapping and some gameplay are already complete on Map31).

While looking at my list of released projects, one thing I realized is that I have released only 8 maps in my Wicked series. This screams out for a ninth wad in the series, don't you think? Heh. We'll see.

.: May 25, 2010

In my free time, and in response to a question on the ZDooM forums, I threw together a tutorial on how to create hub structures in ZDooM. As one or two of you may know, I have dabbled quite a bit with hub-structures in my wads, including:

    Paranoid (8 maps in a hub) - this one has a map that can be entered from 4 different points from 3 other maps.
    Eternal DooM IV: Return From Oblivion (3 maps in a hub) - this one is particularly "complex" as each map has two exit points, each one going to a different map in the hub. This (together with appropriate scripting for weapons & enemy spawning) allows the hub to be played in several different ways for a different gameplay experience each time.
    Temple of the Ancients (5 maps in a hub)
    Paranoia (5 maps in a hub)
    The Darkest Hour (7 maps in a hub)
    Dawn: A Prelude (5 maps in a hub)

.: May 18, 2010

I've been working quietly behind the scenes on my second GZDooM map in the 2-map pack with Paranoid weapons but DooM enemies. It currently has a working title of Palais des Cauchemars, which is Français for Palace of Nightmares. Before you think I've gone all high-falootin' I just wanted to say this is simply a nod to our French-speaking brethren all around the world. The map is (I'm guessing) about 40% to 50% complete, but I may take a break from it to complete the gameplay elements of first map (Six Ways to Die) and send it to the Team for testing. I'll put up some screenshots soon.

Some more reviews of Paranoid have been coming in. As with most things, there are two sides to the coin. One commenter said: "Paranoid is without a doubt the technically best TC ever made for a Doom engine ..." but went on to say: ".... but it's so far removed from what makes Doom good that it completely lost its charme (sic) for me." Another person wrote: "Architecture is impressive...." and then continued: "... but repetitive." A third reviewer stated: "The technical aspects and the little attention to details are impressive and even groundbreaking.... " but "... the clash of styles (models and sprite rips especially), repetitive architecture, uninteresting battles, and pacing just bring it down a lot." So, to summarize: the game was technically & architecturally excellent, but fell short in the gameplay department. But don't let these comments deter you from trying out the game yourself (if you haven't done so already).

.: April 27, 2010

Well, it turns out that far more people than I expected downloaded Paranoid - just under 400 people, as of this past weekend. There hasn't been much feedback, however, which is probably a good thing. Meanwhile, I have completed the mapping for "Six Ways to Die", and have begun putting in the gameplay elements. But the bigger news is that I have decided to make it a 2-map pack, the second map being the famed "super-secret" level. I'm setting up the map I just completed so that if the player finds all the secrets, then access to the super-secret level becomes accessible. What this means, of course, is that "Six Ways to Die" will not be available to the public any time soon. I am toying with the idea of making the second map with both DooM & Paranoid enemies, with some in-fighting. Of course, the version that can be played without Paranoid won't have this aspect.

.: April 20, 2010

Did you miss me? No? Well, I didn't miss you either. So there. But all petulance aside, I've been taking a much-deserved break from DooM editing in general and Paranoid in particular. It's difficult to gauge how the game was received. There were some comments on the ZDooM & DRDTeam forums, but by and large the playing public has remained silent. Moreover, it's likely that the formidable system requirements kept many people away, while GZDooM itself deterred others. At any rate, my own measure of success is based not so much on the opinions of others (although I do welcome them) but on my own internal metrics. For my part, I am extremely satisfied with the way the game turned out, and I believe it has fulfilled the vision of the Team.

I mentioned that I had taken a break from DooM editing. While it is true that I have not spent every spare waking moment on the game (like I was doing before its release), I have been plugging away at "Six Ways to Die", which goes into the Map31 slot of Paranoid. I will also be releasing it as a stand-alone map for GZDooM, and as it consists entirely of stock DooM2 textures & enemies, it will work just fine independently. I have almost completed all the mapping, and will soon start putting in the enemies, etc. I would like the Team to test the map before its release, so the schedule is up in the air right now.

Also, in the past I may have hinted at an expansion pack for Paranoid. Indeed, I had already formulated the concept for the pack and had started working on one of the maps a few months ago ("When Hell Freezes Over"). The Team has been having discussions on the new weapons and enemies, and development ought to resume soon. Meanwhile, I have volunteered as a play-tester for Stronghold, a single-player defend-the-flag themed project. So far I am extremely impressed by the concept and execution of that game. I'm also looking to use GZDooM for my long-Dormant "Phobos Revisited", which I had started for ZDooM some years ago. I'm also eyeing a "Deimos Revisited" project for vanilla DooM. So, as you can see, DooM and I don't look like we'll be going our separate ways any time soon.

In related/unrelated news, I bought and installed a new graphics card. It is PALIT NE5T240SFHD01 Geforce GT 240 Sonic OverClocking Edition 1GB GDDR5. It makes games blazingly fast, and finally allows me to see the brightmaps and other GLDEF goodies in Paranoid.

.: March 31, 2010

The fat lady has finally delivered her aria. Paranoid is ready for download, and by the skin of my teeth. The Team had set a release deadline of March 31, and I got done uploading the package 5 minutes ago (which would make it 2015 hrs, USA time). There were so many changes coming in that even after the third round of play-testing we had to do another round yesterday, then two more rounds today. This has to be my all-time record for number of beta versions (6 in all). And lugging around an 80 MB file is no joke. But all levity aside, I'm very pleased with the product, but even more pleased that it's finally done. My time can finally be my own for a while.

I made some more progress on Map31, "Six Ways to Die", but alas it was not ready by the time of Paranoid's release. I will put it together, have it tested, and let you all have it just as soon as it's good to go. You're going to be busy with the main game, anyway. At least for a few hours.

Oh? You're still here? Ah, yes; I quite forgot. You need the details for the download. Well, head on over to DRDTeam's site and download away. (In case you didn't know, DRDTeam is not only my host for DooM Nexus, but is also hosting The Persecution Complex, the team that produced Paranoid.

.: March 26, 2010

Well, my friends, Paranoid is complete. After round two of play-testing there was a laundry list of additional fixes and enhancements, and that's what I've been busy with the past couple of weeks. However, because of the number of changes, we have decided to go through a third round of play-testing to make sure nothing that was previously working is now broken because of a fix or enhancement. So right now the game is in the hands of the rest of the Team, and (provided no major problem is discovered) ought to be released soon. Stay tuned.

I have made some progress on Map31, "Six Ways to Die", and I'm confident it will be ready by the time of Paranoid's release.

.: March 14, 2010

Has it been only a month since I last updated? It seems like an aeon, so much has happened. For starters, Paranoid is now an 8-map hub. Even with all the fixes Eruanna did, Map04 was still lagging, so I split it into 2 maps. And meanwhile, I started a new map named "Six Ways to Die", which will go into the Map31 slot. It is intended as a stand-alone GZDooM map that only uses stock DooM2 textures and enemies, which I will release separately too. In the Paranoid version there will be weapons from the game, and in the DooM2 version there'll be DooM2 weapons. I have also added a new area to Map02 that emulates Gordon Freeman's hallucinogenic "trip" to Xen when the resonance cascade happens.

Beyond the mapping there has been a boat-load of other stuff that's been happening. For one thing, the game now has brightmaps. [For those of you wondering what they are, brightmaps are a GZDooM feature that allows textures with lights in them, such as LCD, LED, etc., to glow just from the lit areas of the textures.] Enjay spent quite a bit of time and brightmapped over 200 textures and flats. There are a few new models too, including of a transport truck, a sport utility vehicle, and a damaged SUV.

DBThanatos has been busy too. He has created a new end-game boss, which is a tougher Gargantua variant with additional attack modes. He's also tweaked the HeadCrabs so that they drown in deep water and float to the surface before bobbing a little. He's also fixed some bugs that were prevalent with some of the enemies. Meanwhile, David Ferstat has done an alternative voice recording for the player's "Handler". I much prefer his version to my own, and I believe we'll end up using that one.

Gameplay is changing a little. A couple of the play-testers felt that the difficulty level towards the end of the game dropped off, and there was too much ammo. I'm working on those issues now. In addition, there were a myriad other minor issues that we needed to resolve, and we're getting close to completion. However, because of the large number of changes we're making, we all feel that the game needs to be play-tested again. I'm hoping to complete everything at my end and send the play-testers an updated version in a couple of days. Let's see when we can get the whole thing done.

.: February 19, 2010

Paranoid went to the play-testers on Monday, and feedback has started coming in. So far the comments have been mostly cosmetic in nature, but there was a serious issue with lag on one of the maps, being caused by the size of the map and the number of special effects. Eruanna seems to have taken care of it with a new ZDooM special, which of course means that a new ZDooM will need to be published. Just today we welcomed a new play-tester to our Team - Morpheus, a well-respected member of the ZDooM community, offered his services and we accepted. That brings us to 5 beta-testers. A little skewed, don't you think, considering that there are only 4 developers on the Team?

Last week, while finalizing the game for beta-testing, I realized that the Administrator (Dr. Zimmerman) needed voice acting too. I went ahead and did it, and I think it came out fine. Meanwhile, Enjay came up with a fine set of models for the scientists, Barney, and the tram with a Barney & player for the TITLEMAP. He even threw in a model of Otis, the fat security guard in Blue Shift (?), and a hi-res version of the HEV suit. All of this means you will have more eye candy in the game.

I have made some progress on Map08, which I've tentatively named "When Hell Freezes Over" (you can probably see where I'm going with the map), and which will probably be moved to another map slot. This is primarily because I've already starting crystallizing ideas for an expansion pack that continues the player's adventures, and the current Map08 will be part of it but a little later. Therefore, the Map08 slot will be needed for the first map in the expansion pack. I also have started developing a theme & layout for a DooM-style map that uses weapons from Paranoid against DooM enemies. This will be one of the stand-alone maps I was talking about before. Arrivederci!

.: February 06, 2010

All I can do with Paranoid has been done. There are a few aspects that need polishing, but I need the input of the specialists on the Team. I think that this bad boy will be going to the play-testers tomorrow. In terms of new stuff, there are a couple of items to report. First, unfortunately, other members of the team were tied up, and couldn't complete the voice acting in time. I decided to give it a try myself, and ended up doing the voices for the Controller during the opening briefing, the Controller's in-game messages for each map, and Sgt. Harrison on Map05. I'm reasonably pleased with them, and they may stay in the game. Second, I have started Map08, as a stand-alone map (i.e., not in the 7-map hub). I will work on it while the game is being play-tested, and may include a ninth map, if time permits.

.: January 11, 2010

Well, well, well. Here we are in a new year, and the memories of champagne at midnight on New Year's Eve are slowly receding (if they have not faded altogether). I had an enjoyable winter break, thank you for asking. Actually, it was a boat-load of work because of a house full of guests who stayed for 10 days. But it was fun and there was much laughter and revelry. Of course, as a result my work on Paranoid had virtually ground to a standstill. In the past 10 days, however, much progress has been made. I'm done with mapping & effects for the TITLEMAP, special effects for all the maps (steam, sparks, waterfalls, bubbles, flames), and cut scenes for Maps03 and 07. In addition, I've set up all the music, I've put in a bunch of new sounds, and am working on implementing the hint/messaging system (for which Nigel 'Enjay' Rowand is primarily responsible for development). Also, DB 'Deathbringer' Thanatos has put in the scientist behavior into Map01, which I need to tweak and finalize. Nash sent word that he will be done with the voice acting soon. So, all-in-all it appears that we proceed apace. I'm hoping that the play-testers will get a fully functional build in January. 2010, I mean.

.: Acknowledgements

I would be remiss if I did not thank my kind host Eruanna (formerly SoulPriestess) for the use of her web space. Please visit her site, which has more DooM-related stuff than you can shake a stick at. [Let me re-phrase for those English Grammar purists who cringe when a sentence ends in a preposition - Please visit her site, which has more DooM-related stuff than at which you can shake a stick. Heh.]

I'd also like to thank StevesTemplates for the web design you see before you. Feel free to visit that site to get ideas for your own web pages or to download a template or two.

.: News Archives

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