- Project Name: Doom 64 for Doom II
- Game: Doom II
- Engine Needed: Vanilla
- Game Type: Singleplayer/COOP
- # of Maps: 33
- # Contributed: 21
- Status: Released
- Release Date: 08/04/18
Doom 64 for Doom II is a community project that started back in May 2013 by Doomworld user Death Egg. The original idea was to recreate/re-imagine Doom 64’s maps in vanilla Doom II with mappers using creative ways to get around the limitations imposed by the vanilla mapping format. The maps were to be restricted to stock assets (with a few exceptions liked “fixed” textures and new skies). The goal is to have the project be a little bit of Doom II mixed with Doom 64, all running within the original vanilla specifications.
Death Egg eventually handed off the original project’s leadership to another user named BaronOfStuff. Some nice progress was being made, albeit slowly, until BaronOfStuff disappeared from the community. The project was in a semi-zombie state with contributors and other people bumping the thread every so often. I had expressed interest in the project on a couple of occasions, but I only had time to contribute some new sky textures early on. After it looked like the project was going to die, Death Egg stepped back in and gave me control.
I reorganized the project’s assets and created a new project thread on February 14th, 2017. After taking control, I kept the main goals of the project intact but with some minor additions. We added some new monsters – the Nightmare Imp, the Motherdemon, and a special Nightmare Cacodemon that shows up in COOP games and in a secret map. My sky textures were updated by Da Werecat and we added some new variants. I made a bunch of new graphic replacements including two new status bars and a slew of other things. A new soundtrack was something that I really wanted, initially as dark and moody ambient midi. But after some time passed, we decided to go with more of a mix of upbeat tracks mixed with darker, slower stuff (many of which were pulled from Doom and Doom II). There were also some extra features added for enhanced ports such as animated skies, updated monster behavior, some Quality-of-Life changed, and so on. COOP was also something that I felt was really important, especially since the original Doom 64 didn’t feature it. So a lot of testing and work went into making sure the maps were COOP friendly.
The project ended up taking much longer to finish than I anticipated when I took over the leadership role. I partially blame myself for underestimating the amount of work that needed to be done (and how much of it I was going to have to do myself). The plan was to just be in a leadership capacity in order to keep the project from dying; I had only planned on organizing the project, compiling the resources and main wad, and doing some light mapping and graphic work. However I ended up having to do a ton of mapping work, mostly in the form of updating, cleaning up, or finishing maps from other authors. During lulls where there wasn’t any mapping work I could do, I decided to make some graphic replacements. Cage also graciously volunteered his time and talents to make a brand-new sprite set for the Motherdemon, which was a big deal and a huge time sink. Testing and bug fixing also took a very long time, which in hindsight I should have planned for given the nature of vanilla compatibility and the size of the project, especially when it came to making sure everything worked properly across a bunch of different ports.
We finally released D64D2 on August 4th 2018. It was an enjoyable experience even though it was a lot of work. Seeing how each map was translated over to work in the original engine was a treat, and I had a blast figuring out how to convert things over on the maps that I worked on. As a fan of Doom 64, I think many of the maps in this are on par or better than many of the maps in the original game. It seems like Doom 64 is a mixed bag for many people, and I can see why after digging into its maps so thoroughly during this project. It has a heavy focus on puzzles and traps, sometimes questionably designed. We had to ride a fine line when converting these maps over; I tried my best to improve on some of the design decisions that I thought weren’t that great, without destroying the original’s intent. I think if you really enjoy Doom 64, faults and all, then you’ll want to give this a spin.