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Fat Reward & Ticket Home

A Doom Farewell

For over 20 years I am actively and creatively part of the community. For over two decades I (wasted) spent a lot of time into modding, put a lot of dedication into creating mods, wrote a lot of posts in the ZDoom forums (mostly asking for help, currently a total of 13339 entries - ugh). When is the right moment to end something? When you feel exhausted - or stop when it's best just as people say? I asked myself the same question for several times now and I came to the conclusion that - at least this time not connected to any kind of drama, so decisions are less emotionally heated - I can answer this question with one single word: now. 

In the upcoming weeks, I will share my memories and experiences with you, how I did get into modding, into gaming. I will tell you stories about friends, stories about family, stories about competitors. And I will share a few "behind the scenes" informations about my releases from the past and maybe also some notes about my current projects and my future plans. I can't promise you a good writing style and proper english, but I can promise you: It's worth reading. So have fun, and enjoy this little retrospective, this little autobiography.

Chapter 1: Only wieners have two ends

Chapter 1: Only wieners have two ends

If you have watched the aftermath after the Soccer World Championship 2014 in Brasil, you might have seen that Philipp Lahm, our captain, has retired from his duty after winning the contest with the german soccer team. He said that he has achieved all he ever wanted - I actually think he simply wanted to remember himself as world champion instead of seeing him getting worse and silently disappearing from the theater. "Stop it before it starts getting worse because it can't get better". When there is one essential thing that I have learned while developing Blade of Agony, then it's the right time now to end my active part as a developer in the community. So this is it, my long farewall - and this time for real and with a good feeling.

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Chapter 2: A youth dedicated to DOS gaming

Chapter 2: A youth dedicated to DOS gaming

I grew up in times where gaming studios and publishers like Apogee, Epic Megagames and 3D Realms were at the peak of success. There was no way you could get around titles like Monster Bash, Civilization or Wolfenstein 3D because actually everyone was playing them - at least kids like me who where lucky enough to have a personal computer at home, which wasn't a usual thing in the early 90's.

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Chapter 3: Doom Scareware

Chapter 3: Doom Scareware

It was in December 1993 when I played Doom the very first time. For people who are used to hyper-realistic graphics like Call of Duty WWII or Far Cry 6, Doom's pixelated 2.5D visuals might not be the most thrilling and exciting visual. But for me at the age of 9, Doom was the most scary thing I have ever seen in my whole live.

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Chapter 4: Do(om) it yourself

Chapter 4: Do(om) it yourself

From 1994 on, a huge interest in mapping evolved and people produced numerous quality and not-so-quality material - WAD-CD-ROMs from this era proof that id software's decision to make Doom modable was a clever good choice to increase the game's popularity and is still responsible for the ongoing success of Doom. It still took me about 4 more years to discover the potential when I bought one of these discs (it was called "Boom - Levels und Addons") in our local computer store - fun fact: Doom was on the index in Germany, addon discs were not.

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Chapter 5: Sourcewhat? Sourceports!

Chapter 5: Sourcewhat? Sourceports!

It was the summer of '69 1998, my friend Acidflash31 called me at home (yes, no mobile phones in the late 90's, so he had to do the casual parent-gate procedure: "Hello, this is Boris, is Daniel at home?") and he was totally excited and talking as on steroids: "Dude, I found something! Doom! With better resolution! For Windows! And you even can play it in Splitscreen on one computer!" At first I thought he was kidding me, so I had no expectations when I took my bike and drove the 5 kilometers from home to my friend's flat. Good lord, the surprise was overwhelming.

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Chapter 6: Tormenting and torturing through time

Chapter 6: Tormenting and torturing through time

One week of sleepless nights, one week of mapping like crazy. Newdoom's Wad in a week contest has awakened unknown abilities in myself. Failure was not an option. With enough effort and dedication, I thought that I should be able to win that thing. A few days, sleepless nights and cups of coffee later the results were up and I got my reward: A white t-shirt with a Doom logo on it, the prize for the first place. But it wasn't for the physical object, it was more for the acceptance that I earned with this release. The map was well-received in the community and a game-changer for my mind. I felt like with enough sweat and more than just one week, everything I imagined could be turned into an entertaining piece of data.

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Chapter 7: Knee-Deep in Ambivalence

Chapter 7: Knee-Deep in Ambivalence

Over 13 years have passed now since the release of Knee-Deep in ZDoom. Looking back and having the same experience that I have now, I would have done a few things in a different way. But as it is with decisions in general, I tend to not regret any of them. Making a decision involves considering every relevant factor in this particular moment. You can't know every aspect of its consequences but you try to make a reasonable choice according to the circumstances. And that's why every decision is right in the first place - you simply do not know any better. Only when some time has passed you can tell if it was either a good decision or a bad one.

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Chapter 8: The thin line between success and failure

Chapter 8: The thin line between success and failure

By the end of the 2000's, two larger-scale projects have been in the pipeline: On the one hand there was Stronghold - On the Edge of Chaos, a mod introducing a completely new game-mode with a huge set of maps and original assets and on the other hand The Shores of ZDoom, the successor to Knee-Deep in ZDoom. Both projects had high ambitions and a unique vision, powered by a line-up of people you could only drool over as project leader. There were have been differences as well. The community's expectations towards one of the project was insanely high, for the other one, well... there were no expectations at all, so there wasn't either a pressure to succed. What was the most influencal reason for one project's upset and the other one vanishing in the shadows of vaporware?

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Chapter 9: Blade of Agony, my free skate

Chapter 9: Blade of Agony, my free skate

Operation: Arctic Wolf, Astrostein or Eisenmann, the collection of Laz Rojas' WolfenDoom releases is almost endless. I was always a big fan of Wolfenstein 3D's background story: An allied spy trying to escape from a nazi fortress during World War II is a great scenario, but the implementation could have been more immersive. You can't blame id on that, considering the game's release date. Therefore Laz' inofficial sequels combining this setting with the idTech1 engine was a revelation back then. I can't remember when I lost hope for Operation Rheingold Episode 3 ever to be released, but in fact I do remember that I never stopped dreaming about creating my own WolfenDoom operations.

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Chapter 10: Every end bears a new beginning

Chapter 10: Every end bears a new beginning

For two decades I was actively working on mods as part of the Doom community. I experienced drama and happyness, as a spectator and as an affected. I worked on projects that had success and I spearheaded projects that failed. With the release of Blade of Agony now, I think I reached my personal peak of a long ascension. Right now, I can enjoy the view from this unique perspective. And after a while it's time to get back, settle myself to the ground and then get used to be part of the game as a player, as a consumer, as a guide.

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Projects I loved

  • Doom: The Golden Souls
  • Cringe
  • Action Doom
  • Operation: Rheingold
  • Temple of the Lizard Men
  • Shadow of the Wool-Ball
  • Darkest Hour
  • Batman Doom
  • KZDoom
  • Doom: The Golden Souls

    ...can be considered as the perfect mix between everyone's favorite plumper and everyone's most-loved spacemarine. Batandy has achieved a memorable and brilliant mashup and it is one of the few projects that I played from the beginning to the end. Glad to know that there are sequels around, that I still need to enjoy.

    /idgames

  • Cringe

    ...was one of the first graphics mod wads that I ever got my hands on from a compilation cd-rom called Boom - Waffen und Levels. Despite the edits' quality it opened my eyes about the possibilities: Any single graphic is exchangable. Thanks to Mark Klem for this revelation!

    /idgames

  • Action Doom

    ...is one of the most popular mods of the early 2000's and it hasn't lost its excitement up to now. I can remember myself admiring Scuba Steve for what he was capable of doing: A brilliant one-man-show of mapping, spriting, modding and advertising (which inspired me for KDiZD, but that's a different story). I summon you, Steve, what about a remaster for GZDoom?

    /idgames

  • Operation: Rheingold

    ...to make things short: Without Laz Rojas and Operation: Rheingold there wouldn't be a Blade of Agony. I was fascinated by the spiritual successor of Wolfenstein 3D and I am still pretty sad, that it all ended after chapte 2. On the other hand, maybe it was for the better - it motivated me to do it myself.

    /idgames

  • Temple of the Lizard Men

    ...had that special Unreal feeling (not only because of the music) and I really loved playing it, a nice adaption and a well-done mod from Alando that I played from the beginning to the end. There has been a remake release a few weeks ago that I fully recommend, it's really worth playing.

    /idgames

  • Shadow of the Wool-Ball

    ...can be considered as one of the best total conversions ever - or actually a complete new retro game. MSPaintRocks has created a beautiful setting, adorable characters and a villain, that you want to kill and hug at the same time. Classic Wolfenstein 3D feeling with a twist, a blast from the past in modern times.

    /idgames

  • Darkest Hour

    ...if you are a big Star Wars fan as I am, you can't get around Rex' Darkest Hour mod. For me it feels like a spiritual successor to Lucas Arts' Darkest Hour and I loved every minute of it. Unfortunately it didn't age well so if you read this Rex, please release a remastered version of it, that makes the cutscenes skippable and working on modern GZDoom versions. *hint* *hint*
    *

    /idgames

  • Batman Doom

    ...from Ace Team was the very first total conversion that I played and today it's still one of the biggest milestones in Doom history. If you haven't played Batman Doom yet, I recommend Ozymandias reborn edition by the way if you are into these crazy modern GZDoom features.

    /idgames

  • KZDoom

    ...from Kurt Kessler has been the first ZDoom map that I have ever played and wasy responsible for my decision to mod for that sourceport. The whole series was a showcase for latest features and had this nice mix between Doom and Quake 2. Little trivia: There was an unfinished TZDoom from me that got lost during a hardware crash.

    /idgames

Doomer's I want to thank

  • AFADoomer
  • Blue Shadow
  • Cutmanmike
  • DoomJedi
  • DoomJuan
  • Doomkid
  • Enjay
  • esselfortium
  • Graf Zahl
  • Nash
  • NMN
  • Ozymandias81
  • Rachael
  • Redneckerz
  • Vader
  • Xaser
  • AFADoomer

    ...as he just came at the right moment, when Blade of Agony stagnated and we were in the need of a programmer, enthusiast and visionary, who dedicated all of his knowledge to the largest-scale project that I have ever worked on. It wouldn't be the same without your help.

  • Blue Shadow

    ...for (sometimes single-handedly) running the Realm667 Repositories during my absence, that is still continuing. Thanks a lot for keeping the place organized and alive, the community and everyone using content from the rep owes you a lot.

  • Cutmanmike

    ...for being a honorable community guide but furthermore for his mod creations that pushed the borders. Ghouls Forest and Mega Man Deathmatch are essential parts of my personal Doom Hall of Fame, thank you so much for these!

  • DoomJedi

    ...as he was one of my teammates working with me on Blade of Agony since 2015 - a real enrichment when it comes to dedication for classic sprite artwork and an revelation when it comes to effectivity. Thanks for pointing me towards solutions for my handheld emulation device.

  • DoomJuan

    ...he was able to drive me mad sometimes, but he is a damn fine guy and I am glad that he joined Blade of Agony for his fantastic visions, his dedication and historical knowledge and all the time, he was working on the maps (which was less than talking about that he is going to map, but either way, it was fine as is).

  • Doomkid

    ...even though he might be surprised to read his name here, I consider Doomkid to be one of the biggest influencers and a great gain to the community. In my eyes, he is a very decent guy and he made big footprints in the sands of Doom history. Thanks for your dedication man!

  • Enjay

    ...as I never considered teacher's to be cool - until I met you. For me you are the community's gentleman: Always polite, always supportive, always good manners - and for being older than me, you Doom dinosaur.

  • esselfortium

    ...for being my nemesis - in a good way though. Our personal feud has pushed me to my limits and made me work harder on each new project I have worked on. It's the kind of rivalry and competition, communities need to improve.

  • Graf Zahl

    ...not only for your dedication and endurance with my number 1 sourceport, but also with me when it comes to technical pms - only a handful of people know: Without you, Ultimate Torment & Torture would have never happened.

  • Nash

    ...for proving numerous kinds to be one of the most decent and generous people in the community and for also being one of the most creative and talented ones. Nash has a big influence to any mod out there, not only when it comes to blood mods.

  • NMN

    ...for being such a talented Jack of all trades. I had the opportunity to work with him during the development of KDiZD, and he always found the right words when it came to disputes, and he always knew what to do when we ended up in dead ends.

  • Ozymandias81

    ...as he was one of my teammates working with me on Blade of Agony since 2015 - a very long time where you not only share inspiration and dedication for a project but also personal experiences and memories. Thanks for being such a good friend.

  • Rachael

    ...not only for being one of the statutory women in the community but also for her sense of justice and the way she leads the ZDoom community. We had our disputes but we also solved each discussion and got along with each other. Thanks for being such a good lead Rachael.

  • Redneckerz

    ...for being my right hand at the Realm667 news landing page and also for being such a kind person and a talented writer - not only when it comes to news but also when it comes to endlessly long personal messages over at the ZDoom forums.

  • Vader

    ...german Doomers can be considered as little vegetation, so on the one hand, thanks for being a compatriot, and on the other hand for being such a kind and talented person, who created architecture that always pushed me to improve my work.

  • Xaser

    ...for being - Xaser. If you are part of the community for such a long time, he has crossed your ways more than a single time. Without him, this place would be less interesting. He has done so much for every one of us and I am glad having had the opportunity to work with him more than just once. Thanks for being such a good companion!

and some more, I must not miss

wildweasel, Gez, Captain J, NeuralStunner, TheDarkArchon, Amuscaria, Ghastly, Phobus, CaptainToenail, Bouncy, Nightmare, Zippy, Laz Rojas,  Doom_Dude, Ed the Bat, scalliano, Kirby, icytux, Remmirath, AgentME, zrrion the insect, MaxED, The Ultimate Doomer, Apothem, Janitor, Scuba Steve, Hirogen2, Xim, Ichor, Woolie Wool, Alando1, Kristian Nebula, neoworm, Dragonfly, solarsnowfall, ReX, Batandy, jazzmaster9 and everyone else, I forgot (shame on me, if you don't find your name here)