MAP11 - The Garrison
Download Link:
Playable on: MAP11

Originally designed as another Sandy attempt, the layout proved to be much more Romero in nature. Therefore, this is my Romero submission. Meant to loosely resemble an underground metal bunker of sorts, the map is built around a center structure with most of the progression taking place in the areas alongside the main room. As of this upload, no difficulty settings have been implemented, though it is playable from pistol start.

Update 5/7: Changed some item/monster placement. Blue door bars removed. Switch in blue key room now raises far platform, to yellow key door. Minor texture/aesthetic changes.

zodiac wrote on 14-Feb-2013 (05:46)

Seconding essel, great map with a non-obvious blue key switch.  Part of it is that the layout's a bit too open - you don't necessarily have to go and see the blue bars earlier.

Romero would usually use subtle hinting in situations like this, especially when it's really helpful to get the SSG early.  In particular:

+ In map 11 there's really only one path, leading to the Archvile/plasma with a suitably impressive courtyard to lure you in

+ The same trick was used in the granddaddy of all maps, E1M1: the wider passage to your left and the light at the top draws your attention so you get the armor, while the right path is hidden behind a turn so you can focus on the armor path.  I'd say a good 90% of first-time Doomers got the armor because of that.

+ In map15, which in terms of free-roaming this map is closer to, the blue armor and the rocket launcher are both marked by large, eye-catching buildings, so you'll probably go to one of them as your first or second option.

+ Here, it was unclear where to go after getting the shotgun - right/left, and if you go right from the start, up or straight?  Your layout draws the player to the shotgun, then down straight ahead, but after that a cue would be helpful.  If the SSG were visible from the nothern outlook it would give more direction, and more purpose to that spot than just getting an invisibility orb.

Other than that, I do think you give away the automap to easily.  Because of said visual layout, I expect most players will have it from the start of the map onwards.  Still, the map as a whole was excellent, and the southern half in particular was a blast to play.

esselfortium wrote on 13-Feb-2013 (07:33)

I really like this. The layout is an interesting (and authentic-feeling) take on the usual Romero hub style, and the large scale of the scenery works really well for it. The layout's open-ended approach necessitates some exploration to progress, but for the most part doesn't get too confusing. I spent most of the level under attack from all sides -- structurally it's really well-arranged for keeping the player in dangerous situations!

One issue that I ran into while playing was past the blue key door. I pressed the switch past the BK door, but totally forgot about having seen the blue bars in the SSG room earlier, and ended up wandering around the map wondering if the trigger had failed. I might just be an idiot, though. Either way, there are probably some minor adjustments here and there that could make things more straightforward at points. I ended up going around in circles a lot while trying to figure this out, because a lot of areas were connected in such a way that I could see from one to the other but not actually get there.

Beyond that, there are some minor texturing-authenticity-related complaints I have, like the tiled gargface walls which don't work as well in a Romero context as they did in Cul-de-sac's Sandy aesthetic. For Romeroness I'd also swap out some of the fences for MIDGRATE, and the couple of SUPPORT2 supports for SUPPORT3. There are some other texturing-related stuff that would be better hashed out in a live discussion on IRC, but besides that and getting lost around the blue bars I can't think of anything else I didn't love about this! Awesometacular work.