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Q1SP: Amphitheater Of Abaddon
Hi everybody!

Below you can download my third map, which is supposed to follow the Subterrestrial Hangar in my unfinished episode. Until the episode's finished, I keep releasing the individual levels as standalone packages.

Screenshots (actually from a beta version, but still relevant enough):

Download link:
Looks Nice 
Still rocking the oldskool vibe, I see. Screenshot #1 strongly reminds me of Castle of the Damned (E1M2). DL'ed.

Will the episode take some criticisms into account or will you just rebalance the monsters and items? 
Damn, I was hoping to test this out a little more but it sounded like you got some good feedbrack from jcr. I got a little sidetracked with some other maps after all the honey-style suggestions but I'll go ahead and give this one another run. I have yet to complete the quad path and I haven't attempted the right path, so that should be fun. Congratulations on the release. 
Mugwump And Poorchop 
Mugwump: If it reminds you of E1M2, then I can pat myself on the back for having done my homework. B) In retrospect, though, I've been feeling the first room might resemble the first room of E1M2 already a bit too much! :D

Even though this is the final release of the standalone version, criticism's greatly appreciated. I've already got a bunch of stuff for the Subterrestrial Hangar that I've thought about implementing for the episode release; mostly visual cues for better guiding the player towards the right direction, but there's also a gameplay-affecting change that I'd like to try out.

And of course, once all the maps have been completed, keeping the balance throughout the episode may require further adjustment in some/all of the maps.

Poorchop: Yeah, my trigger-finger to release the map was starting to itch quite a bit. xD I did wonder if my decision would bite me in the ankle, though; especially since I still hadn't received Drew's demo on the quad path and I wasn't sure if you were going to play it. But in the end I thought that I'd get another chance to improve the map for the episode release. Thanks again for beta testing; you were a great help! :) 
I just checked out the ring of shadows pathway and to my surprise, it was actually a lot of fun. It's definitely the sort of pathway that is best suited after a regular or a quad run, once you have learned the layout of the map. There was a lot of tension wondering whether or not I'd be able to find the next ring without being spotted. I made it quite far but unfortunately curiosity got the best of me at one point and a slight delay caused the ring to expire in one of the worst locations. I still made it out alive with plenty of health though.

No secrets found - I didn't bother spending much time looking for any of them since I was under pressure to keep from being spotted. Good stuff. I'm almost wondering if you should strip the player of all weapons sans axe in order to make it even more butt clenching. 
I took a bit more time on this run. Here's a middle path demo, skill 2. Knowing the map layout helped me, no doubt. But I at least wanted to get 100% kills this time. I enjoyed it! 
Poorchop And JCR 
Poorchop: Wow, that's good news! :D I was wondering if people were going to be bored with the ring of shadows path, but instead I was glad to find out people having fun with it! It's impossible to find all the secrets on the ring path, actually, so good thing you didn't spend too much time looking for them. ;D

JCR: A fun and thrilling demo once again. A couple of times I was wondering if you were going to survive or not. Glad you had fun; thanks for playing! :) 
Attempt Of Abandon

Not really playable for me by normal skill setting standards. The medieval style and the grander designs, stretched textures aside, were nice tho. 
Okay that is a bit harsh. I admit I was playing badly earlier on and took too much damage. But it still seemed pretty unbalanced after the GK door, including the death traps with Shamblers. I might retry at some point. 
I Played Through The Middle Path Yesterday 
This is a pretty good map, significantly longer than the first one. Skill 2 is quite tough but still manageable, provided that I proceed with extreme caution, except that I wouldn't have minded getting some more ammo (I found myself with only the axe left on a few occasions), and especially a GL to deal with the zombie crowd below. I had to ruin my kill ratio by rushing past them, hoping that they wouldn't pin me against a wall, which of course they did more than once! :(

The architecture is nice, more complex than E1M2 while retaining that oldschool vibe. I dig the giant sort of "wedding cake" building guarding the SK door.

Still no demo, sorry. I'll record some for the other paths, now that I know how to record a demo after death & reload. 
Shambler And Mugwump 
Yeah, the difficulty and lack of ammo were brought up during beta testing, and I did add a total of 40 shells to the map, allowing the player to finish the map with more shells than what he starts out with, even without secrets and the grenade launcher. Granted, due to the way the ammo's dispersed throughout the map, shortages may occur. I'd like to know the points where you ran out of ammo, for possible further balancing for the final episode release.

I did write in the readme that due to the map's difficulty players might actually want to play the map on a lower difficulty than usual. So even if the map is kind of up there in the "difficulty calibration curve", the player has at least been informed about it.

Some comments on your Twitch stream:

- I set the r_wateralpha key to 1 on the worldspawn to better hide things that should not be seen, so that's the way it's meant to be played.

- You liked the halos around the torches. It was executed by using delay 2 lighting and that combined with the yellowish light against the yellowish brick gives off the effect. I'm quite pleased myself, too, with how it turned out.

- I guess the ogre grenade tower part is kind of repetitive, but it was even worse before, when on each of the four floors the monster combo would be the same (1 death knight + 1 knight). In this final version the death knight was replaced with two knights in the two topmost floors to break the bullet sponge tedium a bit.

I guess why the tower turned out the way it did was so that the "cool ogre grenade gimmick" wouldn't be too short-lived. I also wanted to create this scenario where rushing/panicky players who leave the death knights behind will be faced with them flinging their fire from below while at the same time having to dodge the ogre's grenades from above.

- Funny you should bring up the monster-closetiness at that one point when the fiend attacks you from behind. That closet was brought up in beta feedback too, and I tried to fix it in a way, that the player would have more time to react to the fiend shrieks and be spared from being damaged. And based on your Twitch stream, seems like it worked this time.

And about it being monster-closety, I'd like to call it a "nod to id level design". ;) Some might argue I went overboard with the closets; maybe... It's up to the player to decide.

- OTP commented about the industrial metal floors in the GK room. I was originally kind of hesitant to use the texture myself, too, but I discovered that the texture was in fact used in a similar wizard map in the final room of E1M3. The texture's even called wizmet1_8. So that gave me the okay to use the texture. And in the end, I think it looks quite nice. 
I'd like to know the points where you ran out of ammo
Can't remember. I'm gonna have to play it again and record a demo, this time. I hope there's no rush though, 'cause I have a shit-ton of other maps to catch up on.

I did write in the readme that due to the map's difficulty players might actually want to play the map on a lower difficulty than usual.
Didn't read the readme (I know, my bad). I always play skill 2, the way id intended, and my reference for difficulty is their original maps, so in this regard the map is not up there in the "difficulty calibration curve" (that's curious for someone who's bent on following the id way in other matters). If players want a tougher challenge, there's Nightmare. 
It seems I didn't write that quite clearly enough, sorry. What I meant with it was that the map is harder than id maps in corresponding difficulty levels. Maybe I'll have to decrease the difficulty for the final release.

And don't worry about playing the map, no rush. ;) 
The difficulty level was fair at skill 2. id1 is way too easy on skill 2. That was also a problem in Doom, hence why they added Nightmare.

I don't mind user maps being really challenging at skill 2. The problem comes when they cross the line into becoming BS, such as putting you in unavoidable situations where huge damage is guaranteed. My biggest gripe was ogres assaulting you on lifts, from which there was no escape, but that was fixed so the map feels very fair now. 
So I Tried To Play The Quad & Stealth Paths... 
I'm a skill 2 player so I first tried the quad route on skill 2. It was a horrific experience: the game kept on ass-raping me with a baseball bat covered in shattered glass and dipped in hot tabasco sauce! I then tried skill 1 but even though it was slightly less brutal, I simply couldn't make it through and eventually gave up, exasperated. Did you even playtest the thing before unleashing it on us unsuspecting players?

I then tried stealth skill 2 a few times and even though it was obviously already more designed for humans, there always was a point when I ran out of RoS and every monster around became aggroed. Having already been fed up by my attempts at the quad route, I didn't insist much. I'll come back to it later.

If the sadist in you fancies watching me suffer, here are some demos (protocol 666)... 
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