Sarge

Gameplay Mod Awards


(Programming note: after years of languishing as a second class citizen, the gameplay mod award has been pluralized and expanded to its own dedicated page. Let it never be said Doomworld doesn't care about mods!)

Doom Delta - DrPyspy

Doom Delta With all of the power that Decorate and ACS bring, and now with the advent of the new and interesting ZScript, a lot of mods are constantly trying to out-wow each other in effects and over-the-top spectacle. Every year, we see more gameplay mods with more cool stuff, with more particles, with more fancy eye-candy. New sprites for weapons and enemies! Loud sound effects! Alt-fires! Tertiary fires! If I pack even more features into my gameplay mod, it'll be even cooler and better, right? Let me tell you about my map enhancement script.

Meanwhile, the most impressive thing about Doom Delta is that... well, at first glance, it isn't. Hundreds of gameplay mod projects have included the Doom alpha rifle/bayonet and Unmaker as weapons, and it doesn't even play THAT different from loading up normal Doom! Well, yes, it's true. Hundreds of gameplay mod projects have included the Doom alpha/rifle bayonet. Not as many have weapon sounds from the same stock library as the Doom sounds, edited to have the same bitrate and crispiness, and eject out the alpha shell casings on the HUD layer a la Duke Nukem 3D. And therein lies the difference with Doom Delta--Dr. Pyspy has put forth an amazing amount of work in making this project be truly authentic to the era.

The developmental history of Doom has been incredibly well-storied, and there have been many avenues where making a different decision on a matter would have resulted in a wildly different game. Doom Delta is a "What if?" version taking a glance at these different paths, merging together cut content from the Doom alphas/betas and specifications from the Doom Bible to piece together a Doom that was released in an alternate dimension. The Doom 0.3 Alpha helmet hud is recreated here to full glorious effect (complete with heart rate monitor and on-screen automap), and mingles alongside the playable quartet of characters from the Doom Bible, the Christmas BFG from the press release beta, and more. Nearly every notable bit of tech, scrapped sprite, or difference in Doom's early history has been acknowledged in some way and merged seamlessly into the traditional Doom gameplay; even with the Lost Souls using ranged attacks, the imps throwing plasma, score items strewn throughout the maps, and the introduction of the Dark Claw and Unmaker, it still feels 100% like... some strange version of Doom.

In an age where people are constantly trying to outdo each other in spectacle, it says a lot to make something that "feels" simple. In this way, Doom Delta ends up being the gameplay mod equivalent of the DTWID/D2TWID projects--it may not be the flashiest or most attention-grabbing project out there, but for people who genuinely love Doom and the history behind it, it's probably one of the finest.

-TerminusEst13

Final Doomer - Sgt. Shivers & Yholl et al

Final Doomer "What mapset should I play this mod with?"

Gameplay mods are a little bit symbiotic in nature, in that they really shine the best when combined with maps. You could very easily just take one out to the backyard of Entryway and IDKFA to shoot the weapons at a wall, but that's not fun. Simply put, to properly appreciate a good gameplay mod, you need a good mapset to gun through it with. Here's where things get a little prickly, unfortunately, because you can only play through Scythe 2 so many times--and if you try anything new, there's a high chance that the playstyle won't mesh and things break!

Final Doomer handily sidesteps this by creating weaponsets around specific mapsets: TNT Evilution, Plutonia, Ancient Aliens, Back to Saturn X, and Japanese Community Project. While a lot of people have proposed the concept of making mapsets specifically for certain gameplay mods (which has some not-insignificant hurdles!), the closest vice-versa to this until now has been WildWeasel's Nazis!'s complimentary nature to Epic and Epic 2. With Final Doomer, however, each class's loadouts are tailored specifically towards both the playstyle and aesthetics prevelant in each mapset. What mapset do you play it with? You already know right out of the gate.

The Plutonia weaponset is less sci-fi and more industrial to match the crude-bricks-and-jungle urban theme of the megawad, while providing a bit more of a punch to match the maps' higher challenge. The JPCP loadout is a uniquely cyberpunk-anime set, with functions that emphasize swapping quickly from weapon to weapon to compliment each other, matching the hodgepodge nature of the community project with the variety of different encounter types in there. Most important, however, is that even with the different loadouts focusing on different things, the individual weapons are all unique and fun to use. The Illuminator in the Ancient Aliens set is as lethal as it is beautiful, and the simple cocking action of the Back to Saturn X Pulse Rifle adds a lot more weight to the weapon. Every weapon has a purpose, a specific situation, and a place to shine.

It's difficult to make even just one set of weapons where each gun is distinct in purpose and feel, but Final Doomer manages it AND gets a variety of others in one hefty package. It's a big ol' 18-wheeler full of content that provides a new reason to go through some very good mapsets once again, and guarantees to be a fun companion on some others as well.

- TerminusEst13

High Noon Drifter - TerminusEst13

High Noon Drifter Howdy partners, Scuba Steve here to spin yarns about one helluva Doom mod. Folks call her "High Noon Drifter" and I reckon many ya'll have played this here project. HND's a complete thematic overhaul of every aspect of the player, transforming the classic Doomguy into a spaghetti western cowboy hellbent on destroying the hordes of demonic forces using a plethora of (mostly) era-appropriate weapons, as well as dark ritual magic.

Listen here buckaroos: I ain't blowin smoke up yer keester when I says that High Noon Drifter is highly customizable, and can be played with any other set 'o maps and alongside any enemy or gore mods to create one hell of an experience. While it's exceedingly fun to play it with other western-themed addons like Fistful of Doom, you don't need a bootleg copy of Raynor's Tale to enjoy High Noon Drifter; play through the entirety of Episode 1 and you can still enjoy the progression of weapons, powerups, and monster difficulty as the original maps intended. Dystopia 3? HND gives it a bit of that "Space Cowboy" Galaxy Rangers feel. There's also something completely cathartic about transforming into a twelve-foot-tall demon and slaughtering varmints, but mayhap I best let this creepy desert hermit what wandered in off'n the prairie a few weeks back bend yer ear a bit about that with some fancy talk:

Combining brazenly powerful 19th/20 c. firearms with a touch of the eldritch at the upper end of the weapon roster (and some snazzy but mostly intuitive restyling of classic powerups to boot), HND's armory would readily appeal to Samuel Browning and Aleister Crowley alike. Combat in HND riffs imaginatively on the core Doom concept of an agile protag with a straightforward-yet-efficient arsenal, introducing even more brutally efficient weapons, but tempering their intoxicating power with extra usability quirks, making the game's balance easy to get into but difficult to master.

While playing HND, every shot fired and every spell cast carries a great sense of visceral feedback that quickly becomes addictive, in part a function of the lovingly crafted art and other assets, and more broadly of the project's laser-focus on gunfeel, making it a rare undertaking in the mod landscape; many gameplay mods aim for a many-layered, holistic reinvention of the game and its systems, while HND has poured a like amount of effort into the minutiae of gunslinging.

Deliberately aiming and firing Corzo's signature Thunderhawk revolver delivers highly accurate but relatively slow-firing shots, while clicking the trigger rapidly sees him fan the hammer with his palm, unleashing a hail of lead which shreds enemies at close range. Each of the main weapons has similar nuances, some intuitive and some a little more arcane, ranging from a sawn-off which kicks like a mule to a summoned sub-character which plays totally differently from Corzo in its own right, but all are formidable and useful in a wide variety of situations given the right technique, belying TerminusEst13's assertion that this is a "simple" mod. Indeed, beneath the surface, HND is full of little wrinkles and bits of polish which instill the game with a great deal of gritty joie de vivre (try tossing Corzo's hat into the midst of a bunch of lost souls, and watch what happens), something which every fan of Doom's fast action would be well-served in taking for a test drive.

Hoooo-wee, what a mouthful, eh? Tell you what, all this here talk about High Noon Drifter has me fixin' to play a little Doom before I hit the hay. Reckon there ain't too many gameplay projects as cohesive as this here wad, so you'd best mosey on over to the /idgames Archive and give it a try, partner. Three flippers, two snorkels, and a whole hill-a-beans (three Broken Butterflies, two Holy Winchesters, and one Lich-y triggerfinger!).

- Scuba Steve / Demon of the Well

2017 Cacowards


Espi Award for Lifetime Achievement

Top Ten - Page 1

  • lilith.pk3
  • Shadows of the Nightmare Realm
  • No End in Sight

Top Ten - Page 2

  • Dead.air
  • Brigandine
  • Counterattack

Top Ten - Page 3

  • Legacy of Heroes
  • Saturnine Chapel
  • Stardate 20X7
  • Void and Rainbow

Multiplayer Awards

  • Pyrrhic
  • Progressive Duel 2

Gameplay Mod Awards

  • Doom Delta
  • Final Doomer
  • High Noon Drifter

Other Awards

  • Codeaward
  • Mordeth Award
  • Mockaward
  • Mapper of the Year

 


NEAT STUFF SAFARI


Every year, there's always a giant menagerie of people releasing bigger and more impressive projects, but there's also a whole bunch of little tiny modlets and patches people make. While often not flashy or in-depth enough to win an award or get honorable mention, many times they still tweak gameplay just enough to make things... neat. 2017 is no exception, featuring a wide array of stocking stuffer mods just in time for the festive season.

Kanalang is a interesting way to work around the lack of support for non-roman characters in Doom. By replacing individual letter graphics with different Japanese characters, our friends across the ocean and aspiring weebs can chat together. Neat!

floaters.wad is a simple concept: All monsters spawn on the ceiling, all monsters can fly. This radically changes the dynamic of maps right away, and if you play on a source port with freelook every map becomes skeet shooting!

Long-time community member Quasar painstakingly translated the Jaguar Doom source code back into a PC-friendly format to release Calico, the first ever Jaguar Doom source port, and one of the few ports ever to actually qualify for the name under the usual software definition of "port".

Idle Doom is a Cookie Clicker-style idle game, taking the waiting gameplay and making it about killing demons instead of gathering grandmothers.

Linguica's Antrywey is a small vanilla Doom WAD that... isn't even a WAD but is actually a savegame?

Low-Res Doom, Voxel Chibi Doom, PC Speaker Simulation, 8-bit blood, and 8-bit Music all combine together to create a unique look for Doom. While plenty of jokes have been made about the indie faux-retro art style, it does have a charm to it.

Csonicgo's DMXOPL meticulously tweaks the OPL3 instruments to make FM synthesis better match the classic Roland Sound Canvas, specifically designed for Doom's DMX sound library. Hisymak's GENMIDI is a similar project that edits the GENMIDI lump to improve instruments which need improvement, and leave unchanged the instruments which are iconic to DMX and Doom MIDIs overall.


MOST PROMISING NEWCOMERS


There's no other way to put it, the Doom community is an unending river. Every time someone leaves or moves on, we've got someone new with bright eyes, new ideas, fresh plans, interesting mods. It's like a miniature circle of life, really.

anotak took everyone by surprise, shocking everybody with a one-two punch. The magnificence that was lilith.pk3 is already well-documented, but then following up right afterwards with a fork of DoomBuilder, called DoomBuilder X? Whatever is planned in the future will be great.

Captain J isn't technically a newcomer to the community, in that he's been an active cheerleader and a healthy art contributor to many projects. Until now, however, he's never had a project to call his own--Netronian Chaos is his very first mod, and it's a truly stellar gameplay mod with charming art. Keep up the great work!

Despite being primarily anonymous, /vr/ has started forming some notable names and creators--floatRand in particular got heads turning with Disjunction, a fantastic mapset with just enough slaughter elements to be truly punishing. We're all looking forward to what his next project is.

Forli slipped under a lot of people's radars, with an untitled 12-map project coming out in December of last year, when everyone was in the Cacoward mood and skipping over everything. But his next project, Oscillation, yanked the rug out from everyone by cleanly alternating between exploration-focused maps and run-and-gun maps. Whatever he does next is going to be truly unique.

With the advent of Doom 2016 and the new Wolfensteins, the community is only going to grow bigger and bigger. While these may be our MOST promising newcomers, everyone new to the community is promising, and we look forward to what all our new blood will put out.