Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

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Dead Reckoner
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Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dead Reckoner » Wed May 22, 2019 5:12 pm

We had this discussion before on The Postmortem, but the release of source ports in the past few years has brought back a lot of what ifs.

This is mostly brainstorming about monsters because their behavior feels broken and incomplete, especially that of bosses, who are useless at close range and overpowered at a distance with their projectile attacks. This means that aside from very rare situational encounters, the only challenge in Blood once the player becomes familiar with the monsters' attack patterns comes from cultists (or the occasional aquatic gill beast ambush). Combat against monsters becomes a grindfest, and this detracts from from an otherwise fluid and exciting game. See how E2M5 plays, an amazing map but with a complete absence of cultists, which is essential to its atmosphere.

A lot of suggestions will be extrapolated from unused resources and developer notes so as to be within the dark god’s intent. There’s a treasure trove of content that was left unfinished or didn’t make it at all into the final product.

General:
- Footstep sounds for enemies, a dimension which Blood's audio lacks. Something feels amiss when a huge monster runs toward the player from behind in complete silence. Even better if the sound effects varied depending on the type of surface they’re walking on, like when Caleb lands on different types of ground from a jump. Notes from BLOODSFX.DOC in the alpha files show that this was originally planned, among other sound effects that aren't in the game:
Spoiler!
Gargoyle
Wings flapping (called repeatedly by sequence engine)
Dive (wind moving through extended wings)
Claw Attack
Paralyzing Blast Attack
Sound of paralyzing blast moving through air (crackling energy)
Angry Screech
Damage Screech
Death Screech

Axe Zombie
Shuffling/dragging footsteps generic (manually loopable)
Axe attack (swiping sound)
Moan
Death moan
Recoil Moan

Fat Zombie
Shuffling/dragging footsteps (SAME AS AXE ZOMBIE)
Butcher knife attack (SAME AS AXE ZOMBIE)
Moan
Death moan
Recoil Moan

Phantasm
Scythe swipe attack (May use same as axe/knife attack of zombies)
Ecto blast attack
Crackling energy of ecto ball missile (looped)
Hissing screech (ref. Lost Souls movement in DOOM)
Moan (ref. zombies in Arena: The Elder Scrolls)

Beast/Player
Morphing flesh sound
Claws ripping through flesh
Claws scraping on stone
Rage Scream

GillBeast
watery footsteps (above water)
chomp attack
swim underwater (SAME AS PLAYER)
sonic growl
underwater chomp attack
Eel summons sonic shriek

Eel
sonic shriek (whale or porpoise)
underwater chomp attack

Bat
Sonic shriek
Wings flapping

Rat
Eek!
Skittering feet

Spider
Spider’s chitter (okay, spiders don’t really make noise...improvise)
Hiss noise (ref. spiders in Arena: The Elder Scrolls)

Hell Hound
Chomp Attack
Short fire breath attack
Baying
Yipe!

Pod
Pod opening (ref. eggs in Aliens)
Pod death - moaning, gurgling whine (ref. Cacodemon death in DOOM)
Pod Tentacle
Tentacle whip/swiping at player

Hand
Hand running, a fleshy skittering noise

Cerberus
Biting attack (Maybe same as Hell Hound but played louder?)
Fire breathing attack (Maybe same as Hell Hound but played louder?)
Hell Hound Summons - special baying
- Vision cones for enemies, so idle enemies don’t immediately react if the player looks at them from behind.
- Underwater gore effects. Dead bodies plummeting to the bottom underwater as if through thin air is a bit hard on immersion. Would be better if they floated instead, same for blood splatters.
- Option for enemies to react to the sound of gunfire, like in Doom. Would give Caleb the opportunity to hug corners for a change rather than the cultists.
- Ability to set up patrol routes for enemies, opening new potential uses for proximity and remote detonators that often just sit in the player's inventory.
- Visible HUD timer for power-ups. Visual effect for invulnerability.
- Prevent the player from toggling the diving suit, but make it last much longer.
- Bullet trail effects like in Shadow Warrior

Individual enemies:
Gargoyle
1) Add the unused soaring animation for when it flies great distances.
gargoyle (1).jpg
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2) Bring back the awakening animation
gargoyle (2).jpg
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3) Give it a different attack mode, perhaps something “hit and run” with the gargoyle diving at the player and taking claw swipes. Injuring the gargoyle enough or setting it on fire could disable this behavior and bring it back to the one we’re familiar with, bone throwing included. A flying version of the fiend from Quake.
4) Electrocution state, for which sprites are included in Blood’s art files:
gargoyle (3).jpg
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Gill beast
1) Add the missing death animation and complete the gib effects. Can’t think of anything else, the gill beast is powerful enough in its own underwater element and weak on land, as it’s supposed to be.
gill (1).jpg
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2) Electrocution:
gill (2).jpg
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Hellhound
1) Implement the unused sounds for its fire breath and bite attacks.
2) Make it jump forward for a bite because the current bite attack hardly has a chance of ever getting the player.

Phantasm
1) Give the ranged skull attack a homing ability because it’s far too easy to evade.
2) Have the phantasm thrust or charge forward when within a certain melee range so it won’t be so easy to escape by taking a simple step backward. Maybe reduce the high damage to compensate for the greater likelihood of being hit.
4) Make it vulnerable to more weapons, like the tesla cannon, which could even be given the special ability to harm the phantasm in its ethereal form. Ghosts are supposed to be vulnerable to electricity (Ghostbusters).
5) Electrocution state for the above. I once accidentally managed to make it enter the electrocution state with the shotgun via that bug that prevailed in v1.00, so it must already be implemented to some extent.
6) Roaming sound. Blood’s files do contain an unused evil chuckle as the roam file for the phantasm, but it might not fit. In any case, something to replace the constant, annoying loop of its sight sound would be great.

Zombie
1) Remove the exploit that enables the player to escape a mob of zombies by crouching under them.

Bloated butcher
1) The first step to making the fat zombie a threat rather than just a big target to pump with ammo is to improve the puke attack. It would be more effective if it arced and produced splash damage, just like the chrysalid pod's projectile. Interestingly, I later found out that developer notes from Blood alluded to exactly this:
Jay: The Fat Zombie should be able to take about the same amount of damage as
the Axe Zombie, but since he is so slow we should give him a distance attack.
I think the puke idea is cool, but he should projectile puke in a limited arc
with a max range (like the tnt sticks but with maybe a little less range). It
would be cool if the puke smoked when it hit whatever it's target is (or even
just the ground). I like the idea of him throwing off a hellhand every now
and then.
Smoking once it hits the ground sounds good too. It should also do fire damage instead of kinetic damage.
2) Remove melee attack and just have him keep puking when in melee range
3) Add the unused sound for the thrown cleaver attack. Either make it fly faster or add a weak homing ability. Strangely enough, it deals spirit damage instead of kinetic damage as one would presume, but better it be kept that way since there aren’t enough attacks in the game for that fancy spirit armor you found in a secret to absorb.
4) An occasional throwing of a hellhand as suggested in the notes might be interesting, turn it into the ultimate Swiss army zombie.
5) Use the alpha burning death, this type of combustion fits the butcher better than turning into another running flamedude with flailing arms.
ss+(2019-05-22+at+11.45.15).jpg
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6) For well done and extra crispy difficulties, maybe give the butcher akimbo cleavers for double the throwing rate.

Spider
1) Web-descending state, like in the help screen animation:
Spoiler!
ss+(2019-05-22+at+12.00.04).jpg
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2) Ability to crawl on walls and ceilings so they would be something more than a more annoying version of the rats.
3) Make explosives more effective against them, maybe by increasing their mass so they won’t get scattered so easily by an explosion without taking much damage.
4) Combine the jumping ability and bite attack
6) Yellow-green blood, like in Shial’s cutscene.

Hands
1) Like the spider, ability to climb along walls and ceilings. But it’s less important than for the spider since it’s unique enough. The official manual even makes mention of this ability:
“These spider-like menaces would love nothing more than to get their fingers around your throat and squeeze. Watch for them scuttling along walls and ceilings. The last thing you need is a handshake from one of these fiends.”
2) Add the unused “gimme your soul” roaming sound.
3) Make it play the unused pain sound if a player successfully manages to escape its chokehold.

Bone eel
1) Fix the way they bone eels off themselves so easily by following the player out of the water.
2) There’s a complex, unused animation for the bone eel jumping in and out of the water. This could serve as a useful warning for bone eel infested waters. It also suggests that their instant death on air exposure was not intentional.
ss+(2019-05-22+at+12.11.44).png
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3) Add roaming sound

Rat
1) Add the unused roaming sound

Bat
1) Add the unused roaming sound

Cabal
1) Unique graphics for all the variants instead of just cheap-looking recolors
Jay: I don't think we should go overboard with the pallette look-ups here.
I've always kind of thought games that used Pallette look-ups for new
characters were kind of cheap. We don't really do that since our pallette
look-ups are mainly to distinguish a slightly different version of an already
existing character, but I think we can still take it too far.
2) Reduce accuracy for both fanatics and cultists in exchange for shifting some of the balance of power towards the monsters.
3) Might be a long shot, but having fanatics lay down suppressive fire and cultists try to flush the player out by throwing dynamite at the last seen position.
4) A way to stop cultists camped on ledges and other strategic positions from just walking off the edge and plummet to their deaths or simply wandering off elsewhere once the player gets out of sight.
5) Something should be done about cultists/fanatics becoming unstoppable killing machines once they fall underwater. Simplest solution might be to give them an oxygen meter of their own and have them take drowning damage once it expires. Or something more complicated, seeking an exit from the underwater sector? At the very least, their accuracy underwater could be severely nerfed if neither of the above are viable.

Finally, to the bosses—the worst offenders, being useless ammo sponges in melee range and overpowered at a distance. The only choices left to the player are to either exploit their poorly implemented melee attacks or getting annihilated if choosing to fight them fairly.

Stone gargoyle
1) Same flying animation addition outlined above for the gargoyle
2) Like for the flesh gargoyle, a “hit and run” attack style for certain times. Maybe strafing like an attack plane and firing its eye beams while passing over the player.
3) Remove the melee attack that allows the player to trick it so easily
4) Reduce the insane damage dealt by the eye beams.
5) Add a smaller variant with less hitpoints. Would definitely be more fun to battle and could be added more regularly to maps as a stronger gargoyle variant. Reduce size to half and hitpoints by 75%.
6) Add unused roaming sound

Shial
1) Same abilities as the spiders above.
2) Ranged web attack that ensnares players and stop them in their tracks. Would require tapping the use key to escape, like with the hellhand.
3) Venomous melee attack, combined with a jumping motion and for feasting on the player while they’re trapped. Same for the "black spider" not used in the vanilla maps.
4) Less health, or making her more susceptible to explosives.

Cerberus
1) Remove both the melee attack and the weaker flame attack.
2) Add delay for napalm breath to make it less overpowered.
3) Add roaming sound to replace looping sight sound.

Beast
1) Like the other bosses, overpowered ranged attack and useless melee attack. It acts like a tougher version of the arch-vile from Doom, except the arch-vile has a long channeling animation that must be performed before unleashing the damage. For the beast, it’s almost instantaneous and nigh impossible to escape. The only choice is to attack it up close and personal, where its attacks are pathetic as you’re moving and not blasting it too far away. The ranged attack should have a prolonged delay and appropriate animation before its performed, like the arch-vile.
2) Remove melee attack
3) Reduce hitpoints

Tchernobog
1) Special attack that exemplifies his role as the devourer of souls. Shooting some kind of tether at Caleb that pulls his soul out, resulting in instant death if he successfully drags the soul to himself. The "soul" could be represented by a blue, transparent version of Caleb or a glowing sphere.
2) Another special attack that temporarily teleports both the player and Tchernobog into a pocket dimension with E4M7 textures where the latter has a greater advantage.

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Fil » Thu May 23, 2019 12:41 pm

I'm all for reinstating unused content. Obviously all those ought to remain optional.

Changing enemy behaviour is trickier though. It might change certain gameplay events, especially in user maps.

A few things I'd like to add:

Bloodlust/Beast mode:
There's been enough talk about it, and we all know what it's supposed to do. You can't go unused content without looking at this one. The Beta has sprites for the Caleb-to-Beast transition, so I reckon we were pretty close to having it at a time. At the very least, it was still the idea to use it after they came up with Caleb. They're bit cruder than the cultist to beast transition though.

Napalm Launcher:
The altfire is a bit drastic, and can generate and out of sprite resource crash.

Life Leech:
The sentry mode is kind of cool and different, but I miss the overkill altfire animation Blood had in earlier versions. Also, I hate it when sprites go unused.

Cultist/Chosen Mode:
This has been on my mind for a long time. Play as a cultist.
- I think it would be hilarious to start episodes with 'Crudux Cruo' instead of 'I'm gonna paint the town red'
- use Cultist taunts, could be great fun in multiplayer
- Most, if not all of the art and sound is there, obviously
- Could be easy to go full Alpha mode, with the single stick dynamite, older shotgun and ofcourse, Beast mode

There's also a lot of interesting unused stuff like Ravenflight, the Spear gun, the shadowgun, etc. I'd love to see those ideas reinstated in some form. I remember Dimebogs C2G demo had a really interesting and working shadowgun at one point.

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dimebog » Thu May 23, 2019 12:56 pm

We actually had all animated sprites for a speargun that rotates like a Gatling gun when mounting a new spear, made using a faithful 3D recreation of the original Tesla shaped weapon but with a twist. The model and animation frames were unfortunately lost on a defective HDD. They looked amazing and were ready to implement. I wonder if Daedolon still has a backup of the model or at least the frames.

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Fil » Thu May 23, 2019 1:04 pm

Slightly less important, but I've already searched for the project files for the Shadow Gun particle. If I still have it, I can't open it anymore due to the file being too old.

That said, I'm sure I could do it a million times better these days 8-)

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dimebog » Thu May 23, 2019 1:06 pm

The shadowgun design is a little out there, using purple shades that are nowhere to be found in the BLOOD palette. So, perhaps a more traditional implementation of that would be good.

Ravenflight, Featherfall and shrink/grow mushrooms would be an interesting addition.

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dimebog » Thu May 23, 2019 2:10 pm

A powerup that temporarily lets you shoot fireballs from your pitchfork as alt fire, as seen in BLOOD Alpha, could also be somewhat interesting.

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dead Reckoner » Thu May 23, 2019 2:59 pm

Weapons

Pitchfork:
Not sure if this would be well-balanced, but there was talk in the notes of turning it into a powered weapon.
Jay: What if we gave it some kind of power up that electrified it. When it hit
someone arcs of electricity would course around the opponent, damaging them and
temporarily freezing them in place.

Terry-This is a cool idea. It could be as if you had a device that charges
you, but the pitchfork acts as a lightning rod, attracting the energy to the
tindels. Although you couldn't shoot the arc out, it's range could be extended
and it be very dangerous. The victim would have a hard time getting out of the
shock, kinda like DOOM's chainsaw.
I was thinking, rather than act like a chainsaw, the pitchfork can get a "charge" every time it hits an enemy. After ten charges are acquired, they can be spent on an electric power attack activated by pressing the alt-fire.

Flare gun:
- Add a burning sound to a flare if it sticks to an enemy, just like in Blood 2. This way it would be easier to tell if one successfully hit an enemy. Smoke effects might be nice too.

Napalm launcher:
- Overpowered for the amount of ammo the pick-ups provide; obsoletes the TNT in most situations. The rocket launcher in most games like Doom is much less powerful and only gives a fraction of the ammo. Either half the amount of ammo given by weapon pick-ups and gasoline cans, or make each shot consume double the ammo.

Spray can:
- Only useful for butchers and groups of zombies. If the butcher becomes as unapproachable as described above, it would make the spray can even less useful. The flame cone could be widened at the expense of damage output, making it easier to hit smaller enemies and turning it into a designated pest control weapon. Could also make the flames more "bouncy" making it ideal for flushing out enemies camped in tight corners.

Tesla cannon:
- Add an electric muzzle flash to the sterile firing animation
- New death type for enemies? Either black, ashen corpses or simply add a temporary smoking effect to corpses of enemies slain by the tesla cannon.
- More flashy projectiles to better fit its power output - glow, trails, etc.

Life leech:
- Not very useful in single-player at all, powerhouse in multiplayer. Giving the player more control over the speed and duration of fireball volleys might increase its situational usefulness. Adding small explosions to fireball impacts would make it more better for crowds of zombies etc.
- Replace the clunky sentry mode added by Plasma Pak with a crowd-controlling shockwave, like Blood 2's life leech. As a substitute for the current alt-fire: some kind of autoturret or tesla coil inventory item.
- Previously it did actually leech life from enemies, but there must have been a good reason it was removed. Possibly balancing for multiplayer which doesn't necessarily translate to single player? If this ability were brought back, it would have to be at the expense of the ability to use one's own health as ammo.
Fil wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 12:41 pm
Life Leech:
The sentry mode is kind of cool and different, but I miss the overkill altfire animation Blood had in earlier versions. Also, I hate it when sprites go unused.
Do you remember how this alt-fire behaved? Not sure if my memory serves me right, but all I remember from pressing alt-fire in pre-plasma Blood was triggering the primary fire.
Fil wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 12:41 pm
Cultist/Chosen Mode:
This has been on my mind for a long time. Play as a cultist.
- I think it would be hilarious to start episodes with 'Crudux Cruo' instead of 'I'm gonna paint the town red'
- use Cultist taunts, could be great fun in multiplayer
- Most, if not all of the art and sound is there, obviously
- Could be easy to go full Alpha mode, with the single stick dynamite, older shotgun and ofcourse, Beast mode
Multiplayer skins would be a big improvement in terms of being able to tell players apart and adding something to the mix other than Caleb clones with different pants. Cultists of course come to mind first, having complete sounds, crouch and swimming sprites, etc. Only minor concern might be the different proportions affecting hitboxes. The Chosen could be brought back as multiplayer skins using Caleb as a base. For purists, there should be a menu option to hide non-Caleb skins.

The alpha had a smoother beast transition for the cultist:
ss+(2019-05-23+at+11.02.17).jpg
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Compare to:
ss+(2019-05-23+at+11.01.13).jpg
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While we're on the topic of power-ups, I was wondering what the shadow cloak was supposed to do. My first guess would be an analog the blur sphere from Doom, interfering with enemy aim. In Doom, this is helpful against hitscan enemies and not so much against projectile enemies since it makes them unpredictable.

A working doppelganger/holoduke could have its uses as well. The current featherfall is utilized often in the newer versions of Death Wish, but all it seems to do is remove falling damage. I read somewhere that it was supposed to slow down the fall as well?

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dimebog » Thu May 23, 2019 3:11 pm

Would be interesting if Voodoo Doll alt fire spell instead turned all enemies on screen against each other instantly, regardless of type. Or some other item "Orb of Discord".

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dimebog » Fri May 24, 2019 9:15 am

Fil wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 12:41 pm
I remember Dimebogs C2G demo had a really interesting and working shadowgun at one point.
I will record footage of that if I can get it up and running, just to show off the cool effect.

In the meantime, I found this screenshot of the Speargun weapon, next to the retail Tesla, for comparison:

speargun.png
speargun.png (12.67 KiB) Viewed 534 times

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dead Reckoner » Sat May 25, 2019 2:52 am

That looks very well done. First outside weapon art I've ever seen that fits Blood's graphical style. Was it going impale cultists against walls?

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dimebog » Sat May 25, 2019 7:00 am

Dead Reckoner wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 2:52 am
That looks very well done. First outside weapon art I've ever seen that fits Blood's graphical style. Was it going impale cultists against walls?
Yes. :lol:

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dead Reckoner » Wed May 29, 2019 2:55 am

More items:

- Lighter version of super armor pick-up that gives 100 stackable points to each type of armor. Super armor can be overkill with its 200 values, especially in multiplayer where entire maps tend to revolve around control of it. It's also cleaner than putting two basic armors together. The ward from Blood 2 could be a base for its design, to continue that scarab motif.
ward.jpg
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- Something to indicate that an enemy player is wearing armor. If a player wearing body armor is shot, there could be regular sparks alongside blood splatters when they get shot with kinetic weapons, green sparks for players wearing spirit armor absorbing spirit damage, flame sparks for fire armor, etc. This happens when shooting the stone gargoyles with the shotgun or tommy gun. Interestingly, the sparks only show up if one shoots from a far enough distance:
cheoghsparky.png
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cheoghbloody.png
cheoghbloody.png (647.77 KiB) Viewed 463 times
- "Haste" power-up that doubles the firing rate of weapons and/or player speed. Double weapon speed would be more flexible than akimbo which can actually be a hindrance at times. This was brought up during Blood's development, too:
Jay: The Guns Akimbo Power-up could be used to increase most of the weapons
rate of fire instead of just giving you an extra shotgun to play around with,
or we could create a new power up to do this. (increasing the rate of fire for
weapons is one of the most popular modifications created by Dehacked for Doom,
why not give the players what they want within the game itself. I think a cool
effect like that can throw realism out the door and the player will still love
you for it. I would.) I would like to see the dual shotgun power-up not be
such a short-lived thing. It is just too cool. I think we should consider
this as an actual weapon option and not just a temporary power up.

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dzierzan » Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:22 pm

Everything mentioned here sounds more less like a mod I'd love to make for either BloodGDX or NBlood. Basically Blood Enhanced where it could more less resemble either Smooth Doom (or its Duke Nukem counterpart) or even Brutal Doom (but without ton of useless features).

This is why I am currently making cultists with proper weapons or even making custom new death animations.

Maxi Clouds' Re-Blood mod for Doom resembles the idea, but since this is the mod for Doom, it is kinda out of touch for me.

hehe, I'd name such mod "Blood: Spill More"

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Re: Overhauling Blood and adding missing features

Post by Dead Reckoner » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:36 pm

Dzierzan wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:22 pm
Everything mentioned here sounds more less like a mod I'd love to make for either BloodGDX or NBlood. Basically Blood Enhanced where it could more less resemble either Smooth Doom (or its Duke Nukem counterpart) or even Brutal Doom (but without ton of useless features).

This is why I am currently making cultists with proper weapons or even making custom new death animations.

Maxi Clouds' Re-Blood mod for Doom resembles the idea, but since this is the mod for Doom, it is kinda out of touch for me.

hehe, I'd name such mod "Blood: Spill More"
That's the best way to go about it - a modular add-on that has options to toggle only the cosmetic/audio features with or without the gameplay. One example of something that may "break" is how removing the stone gargoyle's broken melee attack would make it nigh-impossible to pitchfork, in turn making maps like Altar of Stone unbeatable with an extra crispy pitchfork start without further adjustments to the map. The best way to put an overhaul to use would have maps specially tailored for it.

To add to the OP, I should have payed more attention to the humble bat. I always viewed bats as "background fauna" rather than enemies proper since they manage to scratch the player only on very rare occasions. This might not be intentional since the manual makes them out to be a bigger concern than they are in the game. The bats tend to circle above the player and try to attack without being able to descend, hitting nothing but upper portions of walls. This reminds me of how the larger flying enemies in Blood don't have a good relationship with the air either, being stuck flying in circles a lot of the time and their inability to hit a crouching player. The bat would have made an interesting swarming enemy otherwise.

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