Stellar Void WAD – Part 5

If you have just stumbled across this post, I recommend starting with part 1.

I already had the idea that the player would teleport from the sacrifice room down to the Lunar Palace and decided I wanted a repeating dream sequence when traveling between spaces. There are a few levels in Ultimate Doom that use the FireBlue textures and I decided to throw then into this space. I use some of the less flexible fire textures in Solar Sacrifice but I wanted to cover my bases. Same with the skull floor, just a texture that was too noisy to really integrate into regular levels.

The three transition dream levels

I cleaned this up a bit inside the final wad file, removing the enemies from versions that didn’t need combat.

I still need to fill out 2 levels for a full episode so I set myself to making a boss map, starting from the new version of Stellar Void. The player starts off in what was the sacrifice room but now it looks normal, just a well lit cargo space. The center of the star would lead to the same switch but rather than raising the floor it would open up the whole star, revealing a big mob fight.

First version of boss map

I put two corpses in the center of the star where the first two enemies are to hint that all this might be in the mind of the player character. Doing some quick tests on the fight I got the balance to be challenging but possible. Up until this point there wasn’t a BFG outside of a secret so placing it here gave the level a new element. To bring back in the dream element from the transition maps I added that in, this time letting the player actually get to the switch. By this point I was going pretty fast, trying to get everything together.

Final layout of the boss map

The final thing I did was add a little jail for the player to be trapped in at the end to this version of the map.

The brig

This became the basis for the true ending map and was added into the original Stellar Void map so that room was always present. I wanted the final text to trigger shortly after you entered the brig without player action but that wasn’t possible using the existing scripting so instead there the lowering platform as a timer.

With all the parts finally I assembled the whole thing together and discovered that the player would transition into maps with very low health from the level end damage floors in the dreams. To fix this in vanilla I just put supercharge powerups right at the start of Lunar Palace and Solar Sacrifice. If you just skip to those levels you’ll be a bit overpowered but it was the only thing I could think up without locking myself to ZDoom.

Thank you for following along, I hope this record of my process is useful. It was a great learning experience and really got me thinking about level design in a way I hadn’t in a long time. There are no cutscenes or scripted events in Doom. The player always has control! The palette of possible events is narrow and yet still expressive. With some Dehacked magic I can probably get my whole experience working on vanilla Doom. I have ideas for some more maps, but for right now I have to take a break. There are Psychonauts levels to finish still.

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