[WIP] The Marked - Archvile gameplay mod

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[WIP] The Marked - Archvile gameplay mod

Postby JPL » Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:16 pm

Hi folks. I've been distracting myself from my main project tinkering with a new mod idea lately. Here's a download link for a rough prototype version with placeholder visuals:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2u2grxd0t9ase ... 1.zip?dl=0

The readme included in that ZIP explains it pretty well:

In "The Marked" you play as a fallen Arch-Vile, cast out of Hell by a power struggle and stripped of your powers.

You're completely without any direct attack capability, but as one of Hell's former generals you can manipulate and command its minions, gradually reclaiming its armies for yourself.

Designed to work with any vanilla Doom level. Play through Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, and Final Doom's campaigns for a parallel story chronicling your quest for revenge.


Abilities - each # key selects:

(1) Wraithform: Become temporarily spectral, allowing you to move through enemies and objects. Good for when you're boxed in or a monster is blocking a tight corridor. Charge (shown in purple on HUD) refills slowly.

(2) Reflect: Project a shield that reflects enemy projectiles back at them. Charge (shown in red on the HUD) refills slowly.

(3) Enrage (red): Any monster hit by this projectile will attack its closest comrade. The same monster can't be Enraged twice.

(4) Distract (green): Projectile creates a phantom image of the hated Hellwalker that all nearby enemies will attack immediately. Dissipates after a short time.

(5) Raise (gold): Your old familiar resurrect ability, restored. Raise fallen monsters to fight for you.

(6) Bind (blue): Holds a monster in place for a short time and prevent it from attacking. Bound enemies still take damage.

You start with Wraithform, Reflect, and Enrage; the other three abilities must be found in the world.


Prototype caveats:

This is a VERY rough build with placeholder visuals and many bugs, offered mainly for concept and design feedback. See my TODO list inside the PK3 for the current roadmap.

This requires a relatively current build of ZDoom/GZDoom.

The floating skull indicators that show up on any monster who's Enraged, Bound, or Risen all show up at the same height, which means for taller monsters like Revenants they'll be partly submerged in their bodies.

I haven't done a custom HUD yet so you'll want to use the "Alternate HUD" to see your mana counts for the 4 abilities that require it.

Yesterday I streamed some gameplay and discussion of this prototype. It's long and rambly, and I talk with some of the stream viewers about various design topics. At around 19:28 in I jump into MAP16 which is a bit more chaotic and interesting than the first few maps. At 47:41 I show my solution for beating MAP30. At 49:20 I talk about the story concept.

I'm posting this here now because the idea is still forming and I wanted to see what you experienced Doomers thought of it. Right now it feels fun to me in a way that's very different from vanilla Doom's gun-tastic glory (or any of dozens of amazing weapon/gameplay mods out there), but I'm biased.

I think it's probably cool enough to dress up with proper art, sound, HUD, etc, once the design is finalized. If any kickass sprite or audio artists are interested in providing assets, let me know.

Thanks to #zdoom IRC for help and teaching on many DECORATE matters. Thanks to Kinsie and various Realm667 mods for examples of how to do various things.

Here's my current list of "design ideas to consider":
  • monster summoning - would feel hella cool, how to give that ability without it becoming too OP and/or complicated?
    • "grab" friendly monster pokemon-style, despawns it (probably trigger its death script), becomes an inventory item you can re-deploy into the world elsewhere (even on another level)
  • keep players from turtling or crawling through levels in a boring conservative way
    • raised monsters become hostile again after a while?
  • does weapon/ammo paradigm suck for this? maybe make all abilities cooldown-based instead of ammo-based?
    • downside: even less incentive to find secrets / caches

Feedback on these or anything else is welcome!
Last edited by JPL on Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [WIP] The Marked - Archvile gameplay mod

Postby simpletonnn » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:21 pm

any screenshots?
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Re: [WIP] The Marked - Archvile gameplay mod

Postby Prologue-9 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 5:55 am

Giving this ago now, I'll edit my post with thoughts in the morning.

[EDIT] So, ran a few levels from NRFTL with this, played UV. There are some solid ideas here, but I feel like the gameplay's just too slow to remain engaging for long, at least for my tastes. Which is fine, I mean you're supposed to take on a more tactical style playing this, but I guess it's just not my cup of tea.
Last edited by Prologue-9 on Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [WIP] The Marked - Archvile gameplay mod

Postby Tapwave » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:13 am

simpletonnn wrote:any screenshots?

Better yet, he has a stream that's about a hour long, linked in his post!
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Re: [WIP] The Marked - Archvile gameplay mod

Postby JPL » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:43 pm

I'm setting this project aside for now, but I've identified a few things to work on when I get the itch again:

All the ZScript stuff that's coming will make it a LOT easier to implement various things I want to do with this mod, so I'm going to hold off until that's solid.

One pretty annoying issue is that resurrected minions can get "target fixation" making them useless in fights. MAP15 for example, I have a small army of troopers outside in the starting area, and they've all decided that a specific shotgunner in the building high above is their target, so they just mill around at the base of that building looking for a line of fire that never opens. I can probably partial-fix this by making Decoy retarget friendly as well as enemy hostility, but the case where a player realizes this is happening and uses Decoy to fix it still feels like a design failure. Maybe minions should just re-evaluate their targets every 30 seconds or so.

One of the biggest issues I have with the gameplay right now is the downtime... waiting for friendly monsters to come around to finishing an enemy off, etc. Regular Doom's pacing is easier to think about because running in and blasting is almost always the best option. And once you're stuck in, things get more exciting until you reach the mopping up stage. In this mod, you have a spike of panic at first (which is cool!) as you enter a new area and try to get some infighting going, and then start focusing on specific problems, and then there's some time when you're not under much threat but you have to manage your resurrected minions to make sure they mop up.

I think I was originally assuming this mod would be about always being vulnerable, sprinting for the exit because you can't afford to hang around, and leaving chaos in your wake. The Resurrect power really lets you raise an army though, which slows you down and makes you think more about fully exploring a given level. I've played through most of Doom 1 and 2 with the current version and after mastering the powers, I definitely fell into the play style of cleaning levels out, just because I could, leaving behind squads of resurrected minions. This isn't inherently bad; it definitely fulfills that story idea of feeling like a betrayed general taking back your army.

Two ways I could fix this:

1. Limit Resurrect so you basically never have that "safe" feeling of being surrounded by bodyguards. Making res'd minions die after 30-60 seconds no matter what would definitely do this. Also maybe making res'd minions not leave corpses (eg they dissolve, turn into ghosts or something) so you only get one res per monster.

2. Add a Possess ability or replace Enrage with same. This would let you puppet any (vanilla?) monster around from first person (via MorphPlayer, probably), leaving your own body vulnerable. This would be a ton of work but with obvious coolness benefits, and it feels in the spirit of the idea. It'd need to be limited and balanced in some way obviously; maybe you only get a certain amount of time to possess, or you de-possess after taking enough damage/dying. Plus being able to eg possess a Cacodemon and float around lobbing fireballs at things... surely there's a mod that's done this before right? Link me if you know of one.

#1 basically tries to eliminate the downtime, #2 makes it more interesting. They aren't mutually exclusive; I could limit Resurrect AND add Possess.

Anyways, that's what I've been thinking about for this lately. If anyone has played the prototype build linked in the OP feedback is welcome!
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