Here’s my last-minute yearly update post!
Hey everybody! It’s that very belated time of the year again where I blather on about how I’ve neglected the site and then post some screenshots . I hope everyone has had an enjoyable holiday season considering how awful this year has been. But the site is still here, and celebrated its 12th birthday in October! As always, I gotta say a big thank you to Wartorn for hosting the site for so long
Before we dig into things, I just wanna note a few site updates. The Supplice page now goes to the game’s Twitter account, and there’s also a link to it in the sidebar. I’ve updated the Vela Pax page with new info (keep reading for that stuff). The Back to Saturn X Episode 1 and Episode 2 pages have been updated with the recent release of E2 and the add-on releases for the 2019 Doom re-release. The Design page reflects all of these updates.
So yea, I didn’t get around to making more blog posts over the course of this year. Honestly it was low-priority for me considering how busy I’ve been. And unless I’m outputting a lot of work worthy of showing off, small update posts seem to be more trouble than they’re worth.
That’s not to say I haven’t been working on things. In fact the latter-half of this year has been quite the whirlwind of activity for me. Most of it has been behind-the-scenes stuff, which I’ll talk a bit about. But I’ve done some mapping work too, and soon I’ll be doing way more mapping work. If things so well, 2021 will probably be a busy year for me in terms of mapping output.
To start off, I’m actually gonna talk about Vela Pax a bit. The project has been on hiatus for a few years now, and I’m sure someone out there is wondering what’s up with it. I think the last time I seriously worked on the project was back in the Summer of 2016, which is quite a long time ago. Unfortunately I was going through growing pains with the project at the time as I was deeply unsatisfied with the finished maps. This was a product of the project’s long development cycle as I had changed my style a lot, and my bar for quality was a lot higher. I spent close to a year just updating those 3 maps without even doing work on the latest map. After that I started messing around with some sprite replacements; the last thing I worked on were some item and weapon sprite replacements. But I hit a roadblock with it, and decided to focus on other projects, hoping that I would be able to come back to it with more motivation at a later date.
Since then, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I’m gonna do with Vela Pax once I get the time to work on it again. And I’ve decided that the only way I’m gonna be happy with it is to restart it from the ground-up. I know some folks actually enjoy the currently finished maps, so those will be saved as a “legacy” release, probably as a separate wad. But everything else map-wise is going to be remade.
My initial idea is to keep some aspects of the old maps around. So certain layouts or set-pieces might be lifted from the old maps and worked into the new ones. The general theming of each map will also likely stay intact as well. So MAP01 will still be the Earth base, MAP04 will still be a lava-drenched hell, and so on. What’s gonna change though is…well, pretty much everything else. I’m gonna draft the bare layouts first before I touch any sort of detailing (which will help a ton). Map sizes might shrink a bit, but I’m definitely going to go big again; they’ll be bigger than Counterattack maps for sure. And I’m going to focus more on interesting map dynamics and traps/puzzles/set-pieces/etc. One problem I have with the old maps are how bland and grindy the moment-to-moment gameplay can be. It’s a lot of run-n-gun with the occasional trap, which usually consists of “you are trapped in this room and must survive until the timer expires”. I’m also not happy with how the layouts flow in the old maps, and this is a symptom of how I used to make maps years ago. Instead of blocking out the initial layout, I would make the map all in one go – layout + detail + gameplay. I recorded this time-lapse video of MAP01 where I was working on a small portion of it, and you can sorta see what I mean. And then there’s the detailing and visual designs to think about. It’s the least important aspect of the project, of course, but its probably the better aspect of the old maps. That being said, I still don’t like the old detail work on the whole, particularly when it comes to the main shapes and overall architecture (though the newer additions are decent).
Apart from the maps, I’m still going to keep the same general aspects of the project intact. I’m gonna stick with vanilla and vanilla-edited textures, use the same (or similar) skies, use the same music, and keep most of the graphic replacements around. Something that I planned were slightly enhanced weapons, which was one reason why I made new weapon sprites. Each weapon will be slightly upgraded from its vanilla counterpart, and some of these have been seen in the latest beta build. Having the enhanced weapons finished before I remake the maps will hopefully mean better gameplay on the whole.
One final thing that I was considering was switching the project to the Eternity Engine. It would be a fairly big change considering the extra editing features I would have access to. But it would probably slow down my workflow a bit. I love Eternity and I’ve been wanting to make something for it for a long time now. We’ll see what happens when the time comes.
So there ya go, those are my future plans for Vela Pax. Now I don’t know when those plans will be put into action…probably not anytime soon. But once I get a chance to restart the project, hopefully I can keep my motivation high and power through it.
I’ll leave you guys with the few screenshots of the new Plasma and BFG sprites I made (with the unfinished MAP04 in the background).
For those of you not in the know, we recently made the decision to turn Supplice into a fully-fledged, stand-alone commercial game. The team and I made this decision a few months ago after observing the success of other retro-inspired FPSs. A lot of us have wanted to do make our own game for a while now (*cough* retrograde *cough*) and we felt like it was a “now or never” thing. So this is what I’ve been hard a work on for the past few months (and beyond if you wanna count the old Doom TC project )
Most of the updates have been trickled through our Twitter and Facebook pages, so please go give those a follow if you’re interested in seeing more. The project pages at Doomworld and ZDoom still exist, but they are out of date.
I’m gonna be light on the details for now since we’re still figuring things out. And I don’t want to spoil anything either, of course . The general gist of the new game is to create something that is very much influenced by Doom and other 90s FPS games. Obviously we’re still using the GZDoom engine, and we’re trying to make use the features it provides. This includes everything from the maps, weapons, monsters, graphics, music, and so on. I’ve been slowly learning how to do things like 3D floors and stacked sectors, along with reacquainting myself with scripting and UDMF’s mapping features. I guess the best way to summarize it is to say that Supplice will be a modernized 90s FPS, if that makes any sense at all. It’s inspired by Doom and similar games, but its going to look and play way more advanced than that.
After we made the decision to go stand-alone, the biggest hurdle we had to overcome was trying to come up with a new premise. We didn’t want to toss out everything we had made over the almost 10 years the project has been in progress. The trick was to try and save as much of the content as possible by merging it with the new concept. So lately a lot of my time has been spent working on the design doc doing just that. We settled on a concept fairly quickly, and I spent a lot of time fleshing out ideas with the rest of the team. We’re in a pretty good place now and I’m excited to see our ideas come to life.
As I said before, I’m slowly learning the ins and outs of UDMF. Making maps is somewhat difficult considering the monsters and many other gameplay aspects don’t really exist right now. So I’ve been going back to some of my old DM maps and updating them, making use of some advanced features. Stacked sectors has been the biggest eye-opener for me; it immediately breaks through Doom’s main obstacle of “floor over floor” architecture, and opens up a whole extra layer of gameplay and visuals.
Here’s a sampling of screenshots, including some updates to the singleplayer maps along with some DM maps.
I’m definitely going to be doing more mapping in the future, though its likely to be relegated to set-pieces and tests until we’ve finished up more of the gameplay elements. And I’ve still got a lot to learn with UDMF and the other advanced mapping features.
It’s going to be interesting seeing how things go from here on out. We’ve got our work cut out for us, and its going to take quite a while before we have anything close to finished. Thankfully we’ll be able to save probably 90% of the work done so far.
I can’t really go into more details right now since we’re still figuring things out. But the plan is to sell the game on PC. Beyond that is unknown territory; we’ll see what happens. I’m pretty confident we’ll make something that the Doom community will enjoy at least. And so far its been very exciting working with everyone on the team. We’ve been able to make amazing progress in a short amount of time. There will be more updates to come, so keep your eyes peeled!
Last but not least, Back to Saturn X Episode 2 was finally released in August! And on top of that, both E1 and E2 were made official add-ons for Doom’s recent re-release on modern hardware. So please do check those out! One day Episode 3 will be finished…probably
That about wraps out the yearly update post. With Supplice being at the forefront of my creative output, maybe I’ll actually make a few update posts concerning it from time to time. I’m not gonna promise anything though so don’t get your hopes up
Thanks for reading and stay safe out there!