Source Port: Boom and derivatives
Download: Final Release
It was Saturday, October 23rd, 2010. Having lately played through quite a few great megawads (but not without lots of cheating – I’m a horrible player), I suddenly felt the urge to do one of my own, except maybe a set of 10-11 smallish maps, which would in theory (and hopefully in practice, too), help get my single-player mapping up to speed. It was not an entirely unreachable goal – it would definitely take me a great deal of time and effort, but one-man megawads seem to be among the best or at least the most memorable: Scythe, Scythe 2, Vile Flesh, Doom 2: Reloaded, and the more recent Reverie.
Up until that point, I’d only released small duel and deathmatch maps for Skulltag (which got… mostly good reactions from the community at the time, I guess), so I was no stranger to mapping for Doom – although, I’d released practically zero single-player maps, on account of (a) having very little experience overall – some of my earlier attempts were aborted a quarter of the way through, or just too terrible for even an ironic “hey look at how bad this is” release, and (b) my lack of patience for doing more complicated layouts. My mapping skills in general, and my personal discipline in the process itself, were in serious need of a little brush-up if I were to feel confident in calling myself a mapper.
I started planning my megawad, and introduced the idea to my good buddy Mechadon. He approved wholeheartedly, and volunteered his advice for when I stumbled over the various limitations of mapping for classic Doom.
My initial sights were not all that high. The working title for the project was Generix – which would, my intention was, completely reflect the nature of the maps. My original specification for the project’s maps was “Small, easy, modest, probably not very memorable“. This turned out to be a massively inaccurate descriptor for the final product of Jenesis, at least in my view.
With some time off school during half-term break, I took some old layouts of mine that needed finishing and bloody well finished them, created new maps entirely from scratch, planning them out on paper beforehand if I deemed it necessary, and speedmapped like a demon.
It wasn’t an easy process – mapping in the format for classic Doom sourceports was something I was not accustomed to, and the initial week of mapping for the project saw me bursting into fits of confusion and rage at the new limitations I had presented myself with. But before too long (ie. October 31st), I had eleven maps in good, working condition.
This small mapset, upon its final release (after many a gruelling testing/bugfixing session), saw a good share of praise from the community. Feeling like I was onto something, I decided that I’d definitely go for the full 32-level “megawad”. From there the project developed, escalating in scale and overall quality as my mapping prowess steadily grew. I was picking up steam fast. Each new map I made was an effort to outdo my previous attempt. My own standards increased dramatically, and before I was halfway through the project, I’d already decided on which of the previous maps were my least favorites, and needed thorough makeovers.
I’d finally gotten into a groove. I finally had a way to unleash some of my dormant creativity on the community for the first time in years. And in the cases where I speedmapped, imposing a timelimit on myself actually encouraged me to do it fast, and do it well.
That’s not to say that I had suddenly become a human dynamo and Jenesis was without its share of inactive periods. I went months at a time without daring to look at the project. The motivation to keep it afloat fluctuated wildly, and the introduction of all sorts of inescapable commitments, real-life or otherwise, threatened to halt its progress completely.
I released the final project just before my family and I began the long move to Australia, on the 28th of November, 2011. Just over a year of development had finally yielded a megawad’s worth of content. A piece of work that completely replaced that of the original id Software mapping team, creating an entirely new gameplay experience.
I consider Jenesis to be my magnum opus, and for my first foray into classic Doom mapping, it doesn’t feel like I did that bad of a job. Granted, there are parts of it that, to this day, make my inner critic scream in anguish, but they’re overshadowed by the sense of achievement that finally releasing this thing wrought.
And then, come Doom’s 18th birthday in December 2011, I won a Cacoward.
Jenesis: A Retrospective
Starting October 1st, 2012, the Doomworld Megawad Club started a playthrough of the WAD. As they played in their traditional fashion of one level per day, I dropped some director’s commentaries on each one. You can read each level’s entry in the entire retrospective below. They showcase me at my most critical and self-deprecating, so tread with caution. 😛