The Blue Spot
I've been fascinated with Doom, not since the beginning, but somewhere after in the late nineties. So I began to design levels for the game. About the same time as I'd begun doing so, I also started to play deathmatch mode to blow off steam. Eventually, I shelved all of my ongoing Doom single-player map projects and instead concentrated on deathmatch play maps of my own. I'm not against the use of monsters in this mode of play however. Sometimes I play sans with my friends. At other times, I enjoy the pure chaos that hordes of monsters can inject into deathmatch. It must've been all those quarters I dumped into Robotron:2084 arcade cabinets in the early eighties.
However, this section, The Blue Spot, is not about me. In this part of my website I've decided to write about the work of other deathmatch wad authors/designers I admire. As I find more maps, I'll more than likely add more content to this living page. So at any given point in time, this page should never be considered complete. If I don't mention some awesome deathmatch map you think is awesome, write your congressman or senator to open an inquiry into my horrible behavior. Furthermore, in no way am I ranking any of the map levels by the order I choose to write about them here. Simply put, my tastes of gameplay style vary and may like one motif one day and another the next. All of the author/designer's works represented here have influenced my own work in many ways.
I suppose a good beginning would be what I consider to be some older school maps which have stood the test of time for so very long. Many are still being actively hosted on public game servers today! I have a certain appreciation for classics though I also like the advanced capabilities of newer source ports as well as the many custom textures and flats used in newer-style maps.
My introduction to some of the classics begins with the zdmappack1.wad file which was once included with the ZDaemon source-port. The first map that was addictive to me is map13 in this wad; it is map11 of dweller2.wad. The map has a few texture deficiencies I would love to fix but am prohibited from doing so by the author known as The Dweller in the Cellar. What this map does have is some of the most fun gameplay from the old school days! The balance of it is nearly impossible to replicate. Height differences in mostly tighter spaces coupled with really good weapon and deathmatch start locations make this map a must play where you're constantly turning around to see who's there. Multiple teleporters keep you on your toes and provide plenty of "Crazy Ivan" opportunities.
I also like map02 and map09 from dweller2.wad. I'm not a fan of map06 only because I prefer the level as it was laid out in dweller1.wad which I'd originally been playing as map04 in the mega2.wad compilation. I'm a big fan of this original layout: this level is fun as hell!
Moving on through the zdmappack1.wad file, I found Lee Szymanski's xfire3 and xfire6 maps (zdmappack1's map24 and map22 repectively) to be quite enjoyable. Lee had done a level in the Alien Vendetta single-player megawad file (map06) and its overall architecture and texturing is quite similiar to xfire3, a really decently fun level to play. Xfire6, on the other hand, is flat-out mayhem by comparison and I totally recommend this map if you can muster up three or more friends to play against you. Both maps provide plenty of real estate in direct contrast to the Dweller maps I just spoke about. Sometimes it's good to alternate between the smaller and larger maps when playing deathmatch.
Lee's deathmatch mapping skills continue in a compilation called darken2.wad where he is responsible for authoring map20: "Annihilator". Credit for the much more modern texturing is given to Derek "Afterglow" Mac Donald. Lee doesn't stop there; he adds a 25th level to Darkening 2 in the form of an additional file, leedm5.wad, "Sure Shot", which features a rocket-only variation on game play (skill mode 1).
Somewhere in time, I bought and played Final Doom. This introduced me to the work of TeamTNT. This was probably about the same time I was starting to play more deathmatch mode. After downloading TNT Grievance and TNT Pursuit, I began to appreciate the work of Richard Jaspars b.k.a. Styx. His maps are well balanced and include "Chaos", map16 of TNT Pursuit, "Acid Lab", map09 of TNT Grievance as well as both "Fest of the Dead", map10 and "The Dark Zone", map04 of the dmc2.wad. The latter of which features some of the best deathmatching music ever. All four of these classics feature gameplay which produces a sense of immediacy to your movement. Fest of the Dead still gets plenty of play time on public servers like Dweller 2 map11 does.
I used to play a bit on the UniDoom series of maps. Looking at the wads now, I don't think I was on udm1.wad at all. The maps in udm2.wad look very familiar though. I think the first time I'd logged on a server with this wad file running it was on map12, the Super Mario Bros. map. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing so hard. I thought the design and texturing of map04, Fortress of the Damned was really excellent work. I remember when udm3.wad came out because of the alteration to the blues used in the Doom color palette. This wad file had a bunch of rocking maps! I liked map06, Kokkenballz, map10, which strangely enough has the name "Map01" ~ whatever THAT means... , and my favorite of the wad was map08, Sky Fortress, which I still to this day play against a friend.
TLSD2004 map12: Toxin Refinery
So, not long after starting to use ZDaemon, I found The Last Strike Deathmatch series wad files. I didn't know about tlsdm2.wad itself until many years later but at the time, both tlsd2003.wad and tlsd2004.wad were getting some heavy playtime. Want to deathmatch? Go where the players are! Although I liked the 2003 incarnation, I absolutely loved the 2004 issue. So many good deathmatch times were had! About this time, I began rating maps I played in my head. When a map I liked came up, I was like ~ "Oh good! I like this one!!". What I found was that more often than not, the credit plate in the level kept saying the same thing: "Map by Chrono". In fact, I didn't know at the time that Chrono was a person... I was kindof new to this, y'know! Therefore, my favorite maps in the TLSDM series are Powerhouse (map01) of tlsd2003.wad, Brick Compound (map01), Tech Center (map04), The Void (map10), Siberian Outpost (map09) and Toxin Refinery (map12) of tlsd2004.wad. Originally, I would've said that The Void was my most favorite because of the springboards and the "How the hell did he do that?" factors but over time and a crapload of play with so many different opponents over the last ten years, my absolute favorite of these is Siberian Outpost. When I began to seriously create my own maps, I tried to emulate Chrono's style in my maps. I failed... miserably!
Onslaught map07: Deserted Base
My next deathmatch wad of choice is onslaught.wad. Hobomaster22 and g0dcells are absolute fricking geniuses! Maps I like from this wad are Execution (map02), Cleaning Complex (map06), Deserted Base (map07) and Bloody Computer Zone (map09). The last two listed here are just so good! I've not played the hell out of Onslaught 2 yet except for g0dcell's Rusted Judas (map11) which is another craft of sorcery.
Through ZDaemon, I also discovered a Spanish set of maps. These were made by ABC Clan. The first release I encountered was abcdmv1.wad. Of these maps, I liked Haunt of Morrison (map04), Exidium Spaceship (map09) and "???" (map14). Later on, I found a remake of this wad file which isn't a file full of completely new maps like The Last Strike DM series or the Onslaughts. Rather, it has included the 15 maps of abcdmv1.wad plus 15 more. This is the abcdmv3.wad map pack. And of those new maps, my favorites are Encerrona (map20), Bajo Tierra (map27), Laboratorios ABC (map28) and Batalla Final (map30). I don't know which of the ABC Clan members made which maps because they're not individually credited in the accompanying text file.
asdfjkl6 map02: ASDF Square
The first time I played asdfjkl6.wad, I thought it was a joke wad. Well, I guess it sortof is. See, I'd landed in the deathmatch just in time for the monopoly screen with the awful music. But damn the work that went into this file is really amazing! I don't know who "a_pair_of_shoes" is, also a joke I presume. My favorite maps from this file are ASDF Maze (map13) and ASDF Square (map02), gotta love maps where one is punished for trying to grab the BFG!
A single map wad file which taught me about doing vertical texture offsets is Arnaud Florian's datadyne2.wad. This is a really fun map to play and reminds me a bit of asdfjkl6's map02.
Aftermath map05: Shadows of Iscariot
I also get into some newer maps. Aftermath Oldschool Duel by Ian "Fragmare" McPherson, amath.wad, is relatively recent. The opening map Seismic Lab is fun to play and great to look at. I love the Quake-y hues chosen which offset nicely with the nukage/slime flats and textures. Singe (map04) is like something new out of Dwango! Lots of fun. Death's Door (map10) reminds me of Heretic. Whereas Nuclear Meltdown is an awesome tech-y themed piece. My favorite map of the bunch though is Shadows of Iscariot (map05). And YES, I've playtested the hell out of it with some friends; it's right up there with Dweller 2 Map 11 or Styx' Fest of the Dead.
FraDM map07: Research Station
Another relatively recent file I like a pair of levels from is fradm1_.wad. The two maps I feel strongly about are Adoration (map02) and Research Station (map07). Aside from being really fun to play, both of these levels have had excellent work done with their design and custom texturing. It's truly art. Other maps in the wad also look great but just don't have the awesome gameplay of these two levels.
The Blue Spot: