So a while back, I was asked by Mike Mancuso to contribute to this project he was starting - a mapset for Doom featuring all new textures, themed in such a way to evoke feelings of another planet, inhabited by humans for mining purposes or something.
You know what? I'm sure that there's a wonderful story, given what Mike is putting together with everybody's contributions, but I don't really know exactly what it is. You get to kill a bunch of demons and stuff with lots of really interesting architecture and scenery and music, so it should be really great, anyway.
The mapset, for a while, was called "Mystery Project" to the outside world, but it was eventually called "Back to Saturn X," which is named after a song by Indie Rock group Guided by Voices. Each map in Back to Saturn X is named after a Guided by Voices song, and over the course of making my map, I eventually called it "A Blue Shadow", due to the large body of water that is ever-present in the map, following (or shadowing) the player as he moves through the ruins of an unknown, ancient civilization. Though, I guess technically it isn't a Guided by Voices song, since it was written by a spinoff group, the Keene Brothers, but it fits.
Believe it or not, all of the maps in Back to Saturn X are for Vanilla Doom 2. That's right - flaws and all. It definitely made designing a map interesting, since you weren't really afforded a lot of leeway in terms of geometric complexity, even though the texture set practically begged to be used to paint amazingly detailed landscapes. Lots of mappers were opting to use a base or tech theme, whereas I went for a more gothic, natural theme. There were definitely a lot of options with the art assets provided.
Since I wasn't able to use a more advanced engine, I had to craft a map that made the graphics themselves the detailing, without adding too much geometry. In order for me to give off the feeling that these were explored by expedition teams, I left some marine corpses scattered here and there and some tech lights to give the impression that humans had been there and found interesting things. The entire map serves as a path that links one tech base to another, so just in case there was a narrative in mind, I felt that I had to make an excuse for the change in scenery.
A musician named John "PRIMEVAL" Weekley, a frequent contributor to various Doom comunity projects, provided the music for the map. It's an aggressive rock track with hints of tribal instruments that I feel really contribute to the map's overall attitude and feel.
The project should be finished this year if everything goes according to plan. I just wanted to show off what I did ahead of time, since Mike spilled the details on it months ago.
At the moment, I'm working on a "Secret Santa" type of project for Doomworld, headed by Brian "Snakes" Knox, an upcoming mapper that already shows tons of promise. All members of the project are given another mapper in the project to imitate, and then they have to make a map in that mapper's style. Should be fun. I got a mapper whose previous work, based on his style, should prove to take me out of my comfort zone a bit, so we'll see how that goes. I'll publish a post-mortem of my "Secret Santa" map when it is finished, as we are all required to do.
Stay posted, and Happy Dooming!