With a Thousand Cacodemons gunned down in a firestorm of buckshot and plasma, the Vinesauce DOOM contest is finally over.
I've received a tonne of amazing submissions. Ranging from Newbies giving it a first time crack & Veterans, entering with surgical precision. The maps have been everything from old school UAC bases, humorous self aware parodies, unexpected new school submissions & levels that shake up what you'd expect DOOM to be.
It's been an honour to be graced by so many fantastic entries. It was my first time running a big competition & I have learnt a thing or Two for next years contest.
This year my mods & I, employed a very loose "anything goes" attitude regarding length & themes. The challenge being that I intended on playing all 150 levels to completion resulting in 6-7hr long streams.
Choosing a Winner wasn't easy, I narrowed it down to 3 important values, fun, design & a desire for replayability.
Even levels from inexperienced map creators had a fun charm. Every entry deserves to be a winner here, because of the amount of work and energy that was put into this.
But, picking a winning level will be based on the above 3 values.
I cannot stress enough how much fun I had and hopefully you either as a viewer or a map maker enjoyed yourself too. You made this happen, not me.
I'd like to give a special Thanks to my mods Zombiecupcake (Gonzo) & WeirdnessUnfolds (Simon) who went above and beyond to manage the competition with me. Thanks you guys, & my mod team.
Stormcatcher77 - Path Over The Abyss
Stormcatchers's hellishly green marble entry is truly something to behold. From the malevolent marble citadel's haunting look, to the eerie leaps of faith across platforms, that with a slight misstep will drop you into a black void of death, this map truly looks and feels great.
Path Over The Abyss showcases GZDoom's engine capabilities without choking the player in custom assets, or without making Doom's core gameplay into something that feels foreign. Toxic clouds and demonic slabs of rock give you a familiar but fresh feeling. This level truly shows how important good lighting, atmosphere and "tone" is.
Stormcatcher77 excels at giving the player a big evil map full of fantastic attention to detail and a good sense of progression that will leave you wanting more of this hellish tomb of death.
Unfortunately I had a few run ins with this level due to a older/newer incompatibility with the version running DOOM, but it hardly matters because this level felt like a treat to return to later in the competition.
Xaseracheron - Dead Air
Xaseracheron is no stranger to pushing DOOM to its limits. Dead Air is a visual and audiotory overload of fun and excitement. This level will kick your senses into gear with its extraordinary looking design and monsters.
Dead Air is a blast to play, it grabs you right away and throws you into the lion's den full of new enemies, weapons and a level design that will blow your mind. Xaseracheron rewards the player with a new toy to play with, once a section on the map is beaten. You don't know what's next throughout this experience, it's a bag of candy that never seems to end.
Custom assets don't necessarily mean a better level, but Dead Air's appeal is just how intense the game is. However, even though Dead Air is a other worldly experience compared to vanilla Doom it never loses focus on what made Doom so good. Shooting waves of enemies feels fantastic with a unexpected arsenal, but Dead Air also lets the player breathe, strategise and recompose himself before entering the next area full of whatever nightmarish reality Xaseracheron's creativity conjured up.
Rayziiksenpai - DistroCenter
After Xaseracheron's crazy entry this wasn't easy to do. Xaseracheron truly delivered something amazing, some of the most intense Doom gameplay I've played. But Rayziiksenpai's level stood out just a bit more for me. Distrocenter tied together old and new into a fun package that as of writing I have a hankering to go back and replay right now. Damn this level is good.
It's hard pin pointing exactly what made this level such a fantastic wad to go through. I guess the best answer is just to simply experience it yourself, to get what I mean. Ray tied together the best of Doom's classic flickering UAC hallways with a new school delight that I rarely get a chance to experience.
Distrocenter feels like playing an entire episode of DOOM, but without the gruelling task of actually doing so. Rayziiksenpai delivers a level that gives the absolute best of vanilla assets baked in with custom. The custom stuff never feels show ‘offy, it simply is an extension on something we're all familiar with, and boy does it do it well. Ray knows what makes DOOM so good and goes in for the kill, a chemical base full of technology being overtaken by a hostile hellish force, and the solution is you, alone. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it, but boy do you have a fun time doing it.
DistroCenter adds an additional layer to the level by letting Doomguy express himself in little monologues, and having the level spout information about whatever control panel has shut off its laser grid to allow further exploration and progression. You know a level is good when you stop thinking about what's custom and what isn't. You simply sit back, and let the level take you for ride and (in this case) a lesson in excellent mapmaking.
Subtlety is Rayziiksenpai key to victory here. The level is fun and filled with fantastic aesthetics & level of detail, steam randomly bursts out of pipes, lights spout out a cybernetic glow from various spots and the level, overall just make sense. Crates, barrels and a sewer system all make up the facility, unlike DOOM's original WAD designs which was sometimes a bit jumbled to feel like an actual facility this place actually feels legit.
DistroCenter is my pick for the number One spot, it hits off everything so well, that if I ever wanted to create additional levels for doom, this is the model example of how to do it right.