Blight Get There One Day

I am getting closer to release, but something I thought that would not be as hard as it has been is to find people to play it. The DOOM community is all about multi-person projects, and mega-wads that span 32+ maps in DOOM II. And lest we forget they take years to release. I am just a one-man team making 9 maps for the original game. But even then, its getting people interested to play that’s has become the current challenge. I’m pretty proud of my creations, but I have had others share quite the opposite. So while it was a pipe dream to think I could ever gain the half the notoriety of Romero or any of the Doom Community, I’m still pressing on to a release of BLIGHT.

There is one change though that I will make. Given that I’m finding it difficult to get others to even commit to a day or two of playing, I have decided to no have the box set and only release the mega-wad for free sans box set. Yes, trying to right the coattails of SIGIL and its box set release was probably a bit foolish. And while it sounds interesting to me, to even imagine having it printed up for myself, I have to face the facts that its not that interesting for someone with no name in the mapping community releasing a paid version of a free game.

While I expected it during the month of May, that could slip into the month of June. I have done most of the testing, and the few testers I’ve gotten have given me some good criticism and have found some things I didn’t catch. I’ve gone through several revisions and versions with incremental improvements, but have yet to hear of a person completing the grand opus that I have on E7M8. Only I have seen it through to the end. So if you are a fan of DOOM and want to be a beta tester for BLIGHT, by all means, leave a comment below and I will get back to you. 

Who knows, maybe this will be released in a box set, with some special goodies in the future or maybe not. But I can positively assure the community that a box set will not exist at launch, and plans to release one are currently on hold.

Lastly, I can say that BLIGHT will feature 9 single-player maps across an unofficial Episode 7, tying together SIGIL II and DOOM II: Hell of Earth. It will also have 9 deathmatch maps included. What I’m not including is co-op through the main 9 single-player maps. So those who like to fight along side each other, I’m sorry to say that it will not be possible. I do want to meet deadlines, and if I can’t test something myself, I won’t release it. And I have no possible way to test co-op functionality on maps. Due to that reason, I have decided to cut that portion of BLIGHT.

The Blight at the End of the Tunnel

It’s getting closer to release. I still feel like I have mounds of items on my To-Do list for Blight but for the most part, its almost complete and is on schedule for May release. Wikipedia has DOOM II® listed as it’s release was in May, September, and October. Since I wasn’t in the PC scene during that era, I can’t confirm the exact date so the internet has failed me. I guess John Romero’s release of HELLION will let me know that time. In case it was May, I was shooting for that release date. But now I’m unsure. Either way, May is the month I’m shooting for.

I’ve gotten about half of the deathmatch maps created, and all but the last two maps have been populated with ammo, monsters, and power-ups. I’m working on the administrative building right now, and ran into several bugs, and undesired effects. Some I can’t help, but I did fix the errors. This map didn’t have many monsters or ammo at all, but the outside is so populated with monsters that the sounds of the growls are fitting for the name of that map. I will say I did beat it, but I know which weapons works well with monsters, and when you can control them, aren’t overwhelmed, and have the write weapon (despite no ammo), then you can easily cheese your way through the maps. I’m looking at you Berserk Pack. I love that power-up.

Though my skill in DOOM® is not that high, I do feel like I’m pretty good. So it does feel strange when I have secrets and levels that are hard for me to complete on pistol starts in Ultra-Violence mode. I have managed to complete all my maps with all secrets, but a complete play through, I haven’t done yet. And for this last map I don’t have all the secrets. I did populate it with enough to test, and I’m looking at adding more secrets. Much like Romero, I too have target marks to hit. I need ‘X’ number of secrets, Blood Sacrifices have to be apparent, Bone Idols have to be within the affected areas. And I have to make sure all of them actually work. Several are bugged to where you can’t see them at all. I know where they are, and can still interact with the line definition, but the visual representation of what is happening is definitely missing.

My weeks are tied up extensively with other things that naturally pull me away from development, but time permitted, I will always work on this. The biggest hurdle will be the final boss. But I cleared two maps this weekend, and even though next week is booked for me already, I have a good pace.

Burnt out on Blight? Not a Chance!

BLIGHT was a DOOM® mod for a “seventh” episode that was originally supposed to be released along side SIGIL II on December 10th 2023. It turned out that many Doom mods were released the same day, completed by teams of individuals, with names backing them, and John Romero himself putting out SIGIL II. There was no way that Blight was even going to be a blip on the mod radar. Blight is developed by one guy: yours truly. I’ve not reached out for testers yet, or completed the deathmatch maps. I still have to balance the maps and test the maps myself for Ultra-Violence mode. In other words, there is still work to be done. This mod was first started back in September or October, with the assumption that I was able to complete it all with simplicity by December. That was a pipe dream.

So am I burnt out yet on this? Not really. Though, I definitely am feeling tired that I’m still working on it, past my set goal, but I am very happy to see it getting closer to being finished. Essentially, I have some new, at least to me, refreshing ideas I’ve added to this mod. First off, like SIGIL and SIGIL II, I’ve created Blight to be a mod for the original DOOM® game. I do plan to release this before DOOM II® 30th, but I’m wanting it right. So the few original ideas that I have are the types of interactive switches. This game unfortunately is not compatible with vanilla, chocolate, or crispy source ports, but it is Boom compatible, so most source ports are derivatives of Boom. I currently use GZDoom to test and play my maps. Because of this, the switches only work on these source ports. One works much like the Baphomet Eyes that John Romero used in the SIGIL-series, but instead of hiding the switch, I make visible changes to the switches. The exits also require interactions before allowing a player to exit the level, and lastly, I created each maps’ exit on the next maps’ starting location. Each map should be able to be lined up with the next and create a contiguous series of maps, not just a continuous set. I won’t go into too much detail but I do have unique ideas that, at least for me, are new and different. I’ve not played many big newer maps, so maybe this stuff isn’t new at all.

When it comes to mapping experience, as I’ve said before, I’m no John Romero, or [insert name of any well-known mapper]. I do have at least 20+ years of mapping experience. I’ve used UDMF format as well, and have done ACS scripting. Created new graphics, animated textures, sprites. I’ve modified existing new monsters, but never creating my own. I won’t say I’m good, but I’m confident in my style and what I think looks good. There are some good map packs out there, and some great community of mappers, so I hope I can come come close to those with Blight. I’ve working longer hours on this as time gets closer. I have a couple testers in mind that aren’t DOOM® savvy, but are gamers. I do need to find some gamers out there who regularly play the game. I can do UV mode on most maps, but SIGIL was difficult. On top of that, I loathe slaughter maps, so this will not be one of those. I don’t like too much platforming, but I do have some of that as well in the maps. I have some puzzles in the maps as well, and each map is different from the rest in terms of style, gameplay mechanics, and unique features. I hope that comes out well in the end. I expect this to go on for another month at least as I work to playtest the remaining 7 maps. 

And lastly, I had been watching a lot of the Twitch streams of Romero building SIGIL II, which I miss Buckethead over Thorr, but I digress. What I did do was create similar goals in each map. Aside from the secrets, I also decided to add a FIREBLU secret, though a little different than his, and a 30-second door. I didn’t like this being a secret, because it felt a bit like a cheap tactic. You already have the FIREBLU easter egg secret that is required, but the 30-second door will still yield you some goodies if you make it there in time. All in all, I’m excited to complete BLIGHT as its actually my first serious attempt at releasing maps. I’ve made maps in the past just for myself to play, and nobody else. And I would spend hours on these maps only for nobody to see them. This will change as I want to make more of these compilations. My next will be a DOOM II® map pack, and I will include all the maps I’ve done before hand. Stay tuned, as I’m working on this by myself as quickly as possible.