- Project Name: Back to Saturn X E2: Tower In The Fountain Of Sparks
- Game: Doom II
- Engine Needed: Vanilla
- Game Type: Singleplayer/COOP
- # of Maps: 27
- # Contributed: 2
- Status: Released
- Release Date: 08/14/20
Back to Saturn X is a Vanilla-compatible multi-part ultra-wad™. The map set will consists of three separate episodes, each varying in theme and difficulty. The project is being spearheaded by esselfortium and has numerous, hand-picked contributors from all across the Doom community. The project uses an entirely brand-new texture set created almost entirely by esselfortium; it is not using any stock vanilla texture resources of any kind. There are Doom 64, Quake, Alien Vendetta, and Plutonia influences both in the new texture set and in the style of maps being created. In addition to new maps and new textures, there are also numerous new graphics and new music coming from many skilled members of the community.
Episode 2: Tower in the Fountain of Sparks is the second episode in the BtsX project. The project was released on August 14th 2020. It was also released as an official add-on for the 2019 Doom re-release under the name “Big Towers, Says Xaser”.
I contributed a total of 2 maps for Episode 2 – MAP14: Shocker in Gloomtown and MAP25: Unstable Journey.
Shocker in Gloomtown is the latest map I’ve made for the BtsX project (as of this writing), and its the only one I’ve had a collaborator on. Vader, another contributor for BtsX, partnered up with me to work on Shocker in Gloomtown. I speedmapped a bare layout with general gameplay ideas implemented into it. After that, Vader took that bare map and detailed the entire thing. What came out was a gloomy, castle-ish gothic map. After Vader’s work, I made a bunch more edits and additions to the gameplay, layout, and some detail. The end product is probably my favorite map out of all of the maps I contributed to the project. The map is unique in that you only need 1 of the 3 possible keys to finish the map; it can be any 1 key, not a specific key. Two of the keys are secret keys as well, which allow different passages through the map, some with extra goodies. The map start off nonlinear but eventually focuses down on a single path to the exit. This coupled with the open-ended key logistics, the vertically-emphasized gameplay, and Vader’s awesome detailing made something that I am proud of.
Unstable Journey, on the other hand, is the very first contribution I made to the project. I started working on after esselfortium asked me to join the project. At the time I was hammering away on Vela Pax and pretty much nothing else. So this map ended up becoming what a vanilla-equivalent Vela Pax map might look like. It is an extremely large and non-linear dark gothic map set in some sort of twisted, dark mansion. The theme shifts around a bit as well; the player will traverse through rocky valleys, outdoor courtyards, and firey lava areas. When I set out to make this map, I knew I wanted it to be nonlinear. But in order to keep it from becoming a confusing death maze, I decided to allow the player to choose their destiny from the beginning, and then try to keep them on one track until they reached one of the three keys. All three keys are necessary to open the exit, and the player passes by the exit location at the start of the map, letting them know they need all of the keys to finish. I really struggled with this map thanks to the BLOCKMAP limit. It was a pretty big learning experience for me when it came to mapping within the vanilla limits.