[DONE!] Doom: The Lost Episode

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[DONE!] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby Xaser » Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:04 pm

{ Doom: The Lost Episode }-
--The semi-official 5th chapter in The Ultimate Doom--

Current Release: v1.0 Final, 01-15-09

CREDITS:
.....iD - DooM Alpha maps
.....Midway - PSXDoom-exclusive maps
.....Wills - Secondary mapping (E5M3)
.....Skunk - Artist (intermap)
.....Kaiser - PSXDoom Map conversion
.....deathz0r - Alpha Map conversion
.....Nuxius - PSXDoom consultant, major feedback!
.....Chris Nielson - PSXDoom TC, for inspiration
.....Raz - PSX Supershotgun remake

________________________________________________________________________

Well, here's something unexpected.

This idea came to me after a runthrough of Chris Nielson's PSXDoom TC. It was interesting to see how the Doom levels changed, but even more interesting than that were the game's new levels. I was actually quite surprised at the quality of the extra maps, yet sadly, even today they remain almost a PSX-exclusive. Though Kaiser's excellent Consoledoom.wad did a good job at porting said maps, most oldschool Doomers are quite unfamiliar with names like "Twilight Descends" and "The Marshes". It would be a shame to see the final few official Doom maps recieve so little attention. Why not do something about this?

Thus, I introduced the Lost Episode project. The aim of this venture was to collect these relatively-unknown maps and release them as a 5th episode for Ultimate Doom, a semi-official "missionpack" to the game. My intention was to construct this wad in such a way that every Doomer can enjoy these maps as if they were part of the Ultimate Doom itself. As odd as it may sound from me, that Zen guy, I wanted this set to remain as "classic" as possible, meaning no new weapons or enemies, no ACS, and no uber-detail. I wanted this set to truly *feel* like it came from iD, since in a way, it does.

After months of work and more months of idling, the final version is finished. It's been a blast working on it. Thank you all for your support, feedback, and all-out insane enthusiasm at such an odd release. I hope the final wad lives up to everyone's expectations. It may not be iD, but we tried our hardest. ;P

The new maps include:

-5 PSX-Exclusive maps: "The Mansion", "Twilight Descends", "Threshold of Pain", "The Marshes", and "Redemption Denied".
-2 PSX 'remakes': "Spawning Vats" was modified to the point of unrecognizability, and "Hell Keep" was a new map altogether.
-2 scrapped Doom Alpha maps, one modified out the wazoo and one 'finished and extended', essentially.

Other interesting additions include an intermission map, provided by Skunk. Doom 1's intermission screens always impressed me, and somehow the simple addition of this makes E5 feel even closer to Doom than before. Maybe it's just me, but it really gives the episode some character.

Even having noted my intentions for keeping things as true-to-iD as possible, a certain few maps (the Alpha ones in particular) were in need of major modifications and touch-ups. However, I hated to leave my 'fingerprints' all over the place, so I kept things simple: "neo-classic" style as I call it. It's a *tad* more advanced than iD's original maps (and surreal to boot) but think about it: not only would the quality standards have increased if iD decided to do an Episode 5, but they'd have to come up with a unique, unifying theme. Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself: "What would Hall or Romero Do?"

As for music, aside from a few recycled vanilla tunes, I utilized a couple of Bobby Prince's unused DooM midis as well as a couple of his from different games. I'm quite satisfied with the soundtrack, finally. I wanted them to feel like they were *meant* for Doom, not just tacked on. Even the Slayer cover seems to go well with its map. EIther that or I'm crazy.

I'm sure at least one of you fellows is curious about the map lineup, so here we go:
________________________________________________________________________

THE MAPS:

E5M1 - "Logos Anomaly"
ImageImage
Source: DooM Alpha 0.5, E1M1

When I first nabbed the Doom Alpha (0.5), I was quite amazed at the first level, at least for the simple fact that it never made it into the real game (fresh meat!). Of course, by our less-naïve eyes today, it was very bland in terms of "architexture" (new catchphrase). I've taken the liberty to to freshen it up a bit (with a few new textures to add character) and lengthen it a little -- though M1s are intentionally short anyhow (20 second par here), there's a huge network of secrets to keep it interesting. The first level of an episode should set the style and standard for the rest, and I'd hate to leave classic Doomers with a bad impression right off the bat!

About the name: in ancient Greece, the Greek word "Logos" was used to refer to the "force" that binds everything together... the fabric of reality if you will. Thus, the map's title is not only a play on "Phobos Anomaly" but also representative of the setting I tried to achieve: completely surreal. "Logos Anomaly": an unknown in space-time.

-Music: A Bobby Prince midi from Demonstar. Though questionably legal [see E5M7 below], I'd recieved complaints about the original music and somehow I find this one fit better anyway. I like it, at least.

Trivia: I originally had "Hell Gate" (the 6th and final original PSXDoom map) in this slot, but in all truth, I didn't like it at all. Too square, monotonous in texturing, and bloody hell, where's the "gate"? I'd expect a level named "Hell Gate" to look quite impressive, but it simply didn't do either the name or the game jusice. Sorry, PSX-ers. ;P


E5M2 - "The Infernal Palace"
ImageImage
Source: PSXDoom, former "Hell Keep" remake

The story behind this map is quite Interesting... why didn't they Keep the original Hell Keep? For whatever reason, the PSX's remake actually originates from the Jaguar version of Doom. Though it wasn't a bad map, the difficulty was a bit off and its super-square style needed a bit of improvement. I've added a new start room to set the mood as well as improved the general "architexture" (there's that word again...) of the inner regions. The map now looks and plays great without looking too far removed from its predecessor, I hope.

-Music: Another non-Doom midi? BLASPHEMY! Bobby Prince, still, this one from Xenophage: Alien Bloodsport. Surely that game obscure enough to warrant the rip, right? ;P


E5M3 - "Ominous Lair"
ImageImage
Source: PSXDoom, former "Spawning Vats" remix - based on original but barely recognizable

Funny how changing a few textures around can change the look of a map so much. This map looks, plays, and feels just close enough to cause a strange feeling of deja vu yet different enough to not be a rip-off at all. ;P

Major, insane thanks to Wills -- I was bloody clueless on how to finish the map, and he volunteered to take a stab at changing a few things around. He did, and *wham*, problem solved! The map feels almost completely new now, and his additions provided the 'spark' needed for me to wrap up the map into this neat little package.

Of all the maps in this set, this one contains the most additions over the original map. Though E5M1 and E5M4 look nothing like their alpha counterparts, at least their structure is the same. Let's hope we didn't deviate *too* much on the classic factor here -- 'tis meant to be a 5th episode, after all.

-Music: E2M6. That's right, not E2M7. M6 fits better and there's no sense in making its origins too obvious, now!


E5M4 - "Caroll Street Station"
ImageImage
Source: DooM Alpha 0.4, E1M11

"Devoid of Real Levelness. Forget all you have seen!"
--iD Software, on Doom 0.4's discarded E1M11 map.

Well. It wass unfinished, dull, and untextured. Yet, it was an unused alpha map that deserved to see the day at least for this fact. Thus, it fells on us to "re-void" it, so to speak. And void, we did...

Of all maps in the set, this is the one I've poured the most work into. Once a bare maze of hallways, now this eerie sprawling station will twist your perception of reality as well as leave you confused like no other when you finally face your opposition... or lack thereof? Gameplay is different here, and wound up working well in the end. Give this map a whirl as soon as you can -- if there's just one in the set that makes Lost Episode worth playing, this is it!

And what's with the name? It's a somewhat-silly reference to Marathon: Infinity, but there actually *is* a train and some tracks in this level -- some very important tracks, I might add. Also, a billion AWESOME points (two billion actually for the "Eat the Path" reference) go to Kinsie for being the first to recognizing the name's origin before I went ahead and spoiled it all. ;P

-Music: E2M4. It's dark, ominous, and eerily quiet... fitting.


E5M5 - "The Mansion"
ImageImage
Source: PSXDoom, original level

Although this map is certainly new, I'd say it would have stood proudly shoulder-to-shoulder with the cast of Doom 2. It deserves praise at least for being the most detailed "official" Doom map I've ever seen (check the ceiling). Alongside some neat traps and puzzles, this map also houses the Super Shotgun, an old favorite from Doom 2. Strange it is, being added to a Doom 1 episode, but the entire project's "transition" style would render it a shame not to add it. Overall, a very solid map, this one is.

Thanks to Nuxius's kind guidance (couldn't have done it alone!), the secret exit works more or less as intended now. PSX diehards might cringe at this one, but the exit here leads to "The Marshes" instead of the one in Twilight. Progression just seems to work better, we (Nuxius and I) think.

For the PSX-Doom whiz out there: Yes, this map's position is strange and contradictory. In the PSX version, "The Mansion" was a secret map. It does have some rather "unique" properties that most secret maps tend to show (strange puzzles with teleporters and the like), but I find the map itself comparable in style to the likes of, say, E2M5. It fits as a good mid-episode map, and progression doesn't matter much in DooM anyhow, does it?

-Music: One of Bobby Prince's unused Doom midis, actually an older rendition of MAP07's music that is almost a direct cover of Slayer's "South of Heaven." I actually like this version better, and considering how Doom2-ish "The Mansion" seems, it fits perfectly. Call me crazy if you must.


E5M6 - "Twilight Descends"
ImageImage
Source: PSXDoom, original level

My personal favorite of the PSXDoom set, this map plays solidly from start to finish and doesn't look half-bad either. If I didn't know better, I could be easily fooled into thinking it's one of the original iD levels. ;P

For those familiar with this level, you'll notice two changes: The outside areas are darker (to fit the title!) and the alternate exit has been removed in favor of a much different kind of secret.

-Music: A classic: E1M6. I think it fits quite well, though I'm still open to suggestions.


E5M7 - "Threshold of Pain"
ImageImage
Source: PSXDoom, original level

So, I said before I wasn't going to change anything about this map... well, I did and didn't break that promise. ;P

Before, it played fine from start to finish, and though some areas were kinda monotonous in terms of texture, its design was interesting enough to merit praise. Still, after a few requests I went and added a few simple-yet-noticeable architectural improvements, as well as a more fitting end. I also revamped the difficulty quite a bit, as the penultimate map should be. As it stands, this solid map has become even... uh, solider. Not bad!

-Music: another non-Doom Bobby Prince song, from the game Demonstar. It fits the map *perfectly* despite the fact it comes from another, non-Doom game. Amazing how that works.


E5M8 - "Redemption Denied"
ImageImage
Source: PSXDoom, original level

Any hardcore PSX-Doomer reading this right now is probably groaning at this choice. Sadly, the original version of this map was rather lackluster and not a fitting map at all for a "grand finale". Never fear, PSX fans! The monotony is no more.

The main arena itself has been spiced up by extreme amounts (inspired by Jim Flynn's metamorphic style, with some neat architexture, of course... I think it's about time to retire that stupid word now) and although you need to blast a Mastermind to win the map in the end, the gameplay now revolves around something much, much more interesting than a pair of Spideys. ;)

Enjoy, grab yer rocket launcher, and blast away! Finally, this map has been dealt justice -- I think it stands as a rather fitting finale now. ;P

-Music: an unused Bobby Prince midi from the unreleased DooM collection. It fits quite well.

E5M9 - "The Marshes"
ImageImage
Source: PSXDoom, original level

Aaah... *this* one was the map that truly had me amazed at PSXDoom's line-up. Somehow it felt otherworldly yet perfectly fitting to Doom's atmosphere. Just watch out, PSX-ers... you might find the swamplands just a *tiny* bit tougher than before. ;P

Many PSX-fans out there may be pondering my strange choice for the secret map. This at least begs the question, "why not Club Doom?" Although that map was certainly secret-class, it seemed to me as nothing much more than a "novelty" map that's good for a laugh or two. "The Marshes", on the other hand, has such a strange "quiet" feeling that it seemed like a shoe-in for the secret map. After all, it features a Cyberdemon fight and as a whole reminds me of a good "bonus-ish" map of sorts. Plus, it's short and sweet, like any good secret should be.

-Music: Doom2's Map26 music ("Message to the Archvile"). It actually seems to fit the map, in a way.
________________________________________________________________________

THE LAST WORD:

I appreciate everyone's feedback and support, specifically Grimm with his refreshingly-critical views on some of the maps. Since this add-on's goal was to truly feel like part of DooM itself, I didn't want my own opinions of this "one-man project" to hinder the outcome. A few of them may seem a little "Xasered-up" at times, but as a whole you guys have all helped these maps feel truly classic. Kudos!

A bit strange, in this day and age, that we return to the roots of DooM in such a manner. Irony, ahoy!

That is all I have to say. Now, enjoy the wad if you haven't already! Grab a shotgun, grab a friend, and grab the edge of your seat because you're in for one hell of a ride.

You WILL have fun. You WILL be DooMed.

Prepare for Evil Unleashed.
Last edited by Xaser on Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:16 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby BouncyTEM » Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:08 pm

*insert image about "Bouncy's Sign of approval here.*
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby XutaWoo » Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:51 pm

...

Althought I stopped playing at E5M4 due to missing textures...

Spoiler:
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby Xaser » Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:59 pm

Thanks so far! Still, I'm only the 'messenger' here, in a sense... :P

@Xuta: Ick, yeah... E5M4 doesn't have an exit yet, even. E5M5 works quite well from a pistol start though, so just warp there and continue on. Though, the secret exit sorta isn't finished... at the end of M5, warp to M9 if you feel like.


EDIT: While I'm thinking about it, there's a few more missing things in this release... I could use a better sky instead of the ripped one from Doom2, and for some reason I forgot to add the neat little hanging chain decoration from PSXDoom ("The Marshes", for one, is supposed to have a huge mess of 'em, but somehow I forgot to add it... :P )
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby Kinsie » Sat Feb 16, 2008 7:15 am

Xaser wrote:E5M4 - "Caroll Street Station" , 10%

And what's with the name? Well, it's very much subject to change but for now it's a reference to a certain old game. Anyone who happens to recognize it wins a billion AWESOME points.
If you change this map's name, may I suggest "Eat the Path"? ;)
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby Cutmanmike » Sat Feb 16, 2008 7:18 am

The marshes was my favourite level. Me and my buddy linked up two psx's to play on that level day after day :P
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby Wills » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:45 am

I've played through the maps and I'll say they're pretty darn good - I never really knew what I was missing out on. :P

It seems like a lot of the stuff you have to do is grunt work. I'd be happy to help with anything for this project.
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby DoomKn1ght » Sat Feb 16, 2008 10:42 am

Where can I get the alpha doom conversion?
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby Remmirath » Sat Feb 16, 2008 3:15 pm

Played until E5M3, but for now, maps are good and they are simple, just like old-school Doom. Keep it up, Xaser!
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby Ryan Cordell » Sat Feb 16, 2008 3:20 pm

I think I'll wait until this is done though. :P
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby chronoteeth » Sat Feb 16, 2008 3:46 pm

Whats this? Basic maps without fanciness or custom weapons we've came to expect from xaser?

AGHAST.
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby Kinsie » Sat Feb 16, 2008 7:33 pm

DoomKn1ght wrote:Where can I get the alpha doom conversion?
From Deathz0r's site
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby Xaser » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:02 pm

@Kinsie: *two* billion AWESOME points, just for that. :P *munches on some half-eaten double helixes*

Thanks for the comments so far! Still, keep in mind that I *didn't* make the maps, so... hehe. I don't want any false credits floating around or anything. :P

So, I'm about to tackle E5M2, since it'll be easy yet satisfying. Does anyone have any comments about the music on this one (or any of the new tunes, for that matter)? I'm still debating these choices...
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby Sodaholic » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:07 pm

Xaser wrote:.....??? - PSX Supershotgun remake -- Who did this, exactly?


Raz did.
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Re: [WIP] Doom: The Lost Episode

Postby phi108 » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:44 pm

Regarding Marathon, anyone know of a good way to play it nowadays? I tried the Aleph One source port, but it isn't as good as ZDoom. I can't really play the original game since I don't have a mac. I fear ZDoom and descendents have made it so that all other old games won't feel smooth and fun to play anymore. (I also found a Descent GL port that I didn't like. I probably didn't configure the settings enough...)

Back to this project,
It is a good shrubbery. I like the laurels particularly.
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