If you’ve been in the Doom community for any length of time, then you have probably heard of Dylan “Toke” McIntosh. If so, then you are probably also aware that he was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 23. He was a respected member of the Doom community and his death was a horrible event.
Before his death, he was interested in contributing some deathmatch maps to the FreeDM project. He sent a set of 21 deathmatch maps made specifically for 1v1 games to fraggle, who was compiling the FreeDM maps at the time. They were created with layout and gameplay in mind and they had no detailing work done. However after his passing, fraggle decided to start a community project with the maps to honor Toke’s memory. The project started in August of 2006.
It is now October 2008 and the project still is not finished. I found out about this tribute wad about a week ago via this blog entry by Naked Snake. I was really disappointed to see that over 2 years have went by and the community still hasn’t finished this tribute wad. So I decided to put some of my personal projects and school work aside to work on some of the unfinished maps. Be sure to check out the “Toke It Up!” page for info on the project (I’m going to be adding the link to my list of Doom links soon).
The first map I worked on was Map03. Out of the three maps that weren’t done yet, this map had the most appealing layout to me. It played very well for 1v1 and the layout was very aesthetically appealing to me. It’s also wondrous to me that the item placements are very sparse yet it is more than enough to fulfill the gameplay needs. The bare-bones layout gave me lots of inspiration for detail and texture work. However I forgot something; the maps need to be Vanilla compatible. Let me say something about mapping for Vanilla compatibility from a guy who loves decorating; I have a new-found respect for Vanilla mappers. Sure I was wholly aware of Vanilla’s rendering limits when I started the map, but it became apparent to me that reaching those thresholds happens a lot faster than you might think. I probably finished almost all of the decorations with what I thought would be Vanilla compatible before I actually tested the map in Chocolate Doom. I am certain that I removed 60% of said decorations after totally destroying the drawseg and visplane limits You learn to optimize lines pretty quickly as well as removing unnecessary, repeatable decorations. At the time I was very frustrated with trying to make the map Vanilla compatible. But after finishing my second map, I rather enjoyed the limitation. It forced me to be a little more liberal yet creative with my decoration and texturing, and I really liked how the map came out on the other end of Doom Builder.
I was artistically pumped after finishing the first map, so I decided to do another one. This time I chose Map11 after I tinkered around with Map05 (which was a really simple map). The layout of this map is also very nice and it’s a little more open than Map03’s layout. I already had my texture theme in mind before I even started the map and I also tried my best to keep in mind Vanilla Doom’s rendering limits during production. It wasn’t hard for me to incorporate my theme into my texturing and detail work and before long I had something looking great. Esselfortium said it reminded him of Scythe 2…I suppose it does in some aspects. Anyways I was extremely happy with how the map came out. Thankfully I only had a handful of areas that were going over the drawseg/visplane limits and I was able to fix those very easily. I may do one more decor job (Map05 might be a bit tough to do since it’s pretty basic in terms of layout and it’s really wide-open).
I can only hope my work has enhanced Toke’s maps and not destroyed them. Unfortunately for me I didn’t get a chance to meet him in the community before his death; I’ve only played his past works. His oldschool mapping definitely could have helped me out when I first started mapping. They are about gameplay and fun coming first and not about grotesque amounts of decoration. That’s definitely a concept lot’s of Doom mapper’s today could learn from, myself included. I’m am unsure exactly how maps maps are truly open to work on; there are some maps that have been claimed but they have not been finished. I didn’t know Toke at all yet I took the time to help out. I encourage anyone who is reading this that knows how to map to please contribute your skills to this project and FINALLY FINISH IT UP. It should not take more than 2 years for the Doom Community to detail 21 small, vanilla compatible deathmatch maps. Especially when it’s being done in the memory of someone who was respected and beloved by the Doom community.
Check out the Toke It Up! page under the Design tab for more screenshots and information on the project.