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May 21, 2023 6:00 PM   Subscribe

"On March 3, a largely unknown creator named Steve ‘Veddge’ Nelson shared an unassuming-sounding mod on the Doomworld forums. He claims this is an enhanced version of a 15-year-old "my own house but full of demons" map file (who hasn’t tried to make one of those?) left behind by a recently deceased friend. Tragic, but curious."

Inspired by Danielewski's "House Of Leaves", with a nod to the Backrooms and pushing the engine in ways not previously believed possible, you'll need a copy of Doom 2, the GZDoom engine and the right files from Veddge's GDrive to play what might be the best and most elaborate art-mod game of the last few years.
posted by mhoye (30 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
I watched this earlier today and it was really clever and fascinating. Glad it got posted here!
posted by hippybear at 6:04 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]

Damn I was putting together a post on this with some "wtf is Doom then?" context. I'll just share: The levels of Doom this evokes and uses like a rich brush and the technical realities of BSP that make this possible conspire to make the whole House of Leaves vibe align delightfully.

I always wondered about how one might film HoL and this might actually be the way to do it - come from the side where you can't see it until it's too late. Use the self referring structures to echo a story instead of trying to tell it outright.

Although I don't usually love playthrough videos, this one does a great job of letting the work speak for itself while saving me the tedium of falling off a platform for the millionth time.
posted by abulafa at 6:24 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]

Thought about watching it, then saw it was extremely long. Suddenly interested again!
posted by Going To Maine at 6:35 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]

Haha the whole first run I was wondering if it was a House of Leaves thing and then saw the "Navidson Realty" sign and was like a-ha! and now I'm here noticing that was already established in the rest of the post I didn't read yet. This was really cool, glad to watch this play-through and man what a great and strange place for this conceptual game. I hope Danielewski hears of this, really illustrates some of the hoor of the book in a post-modern videogamey way to compliment the book. Really fucking impressive, very cool.
posted by GoblinHoney at 6:55 PM on May 21

This map is a work of art.
posted by neonamber at 9:10 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]

I hope Danielewski hears of this, really illustrates some of the hoor of the book in a post-modern videogamey way to compliment the book.

No worries, he knows.
posted by juv3nal at 9:28 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]

Holy shit.
posted by fleacircus at 2:50 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]

I got all the way through the first playthrough and was loving it. Then the narrator opened the Journal doc and it was so obviously ChatGPT that my immersion broke so hard my head spun.
posted by sixswitch at 3:04 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]

To be clear, I jumped right back in, and I’m still watching and loving this. It’s absolutely over the top and delightful.
posted by sixswitch at 3:24 AM on May 22

Watching play through brought back many memories. Remember when all anyone on Usenet was asking about was when is Doom coming out. Remember Smashing Pumpkins into Small Piles of Putrid Debris. Remember running the finger command to get the latest updates to dot plan files.
posted by interogative mood at 6:01 AM on May 22

There are a few playthroughs of this now but I found this one to be the most enjoyable in terms of "someone who knows Doom being freaked out" and being a very irreverent take compared to the gravity of the mod.
posted by charred husk at 6:45 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]

Remember running the finger command to get the latest updates to dot plan files.

I never did that myself, but remember anxiously reading .plan file updates on gaming news sites of the early Quake era like BluesNews, ShackNews, and maybe PlanetQuake (if I remember the name correctly).

Not that I've looked that hard, but I've never seen anyone draw a line between contemporary twitter (and the like) and .plan updates, but in my mind twitter has always felt like the natural evolution of .plan files.
posted by msbrauer at 7:31 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]

I've been thinking about this since I watched it and I have to say... it's truly amazing and wonderful that someone can create something in their own spare time for a decades-old video game that is so captivating that it's driven Tears Of The Kingdom content out of my YouTube suggestions for the time being. People are really taken with this little mod file, and I think it's wonderful to see this kind of creativity getting so much traction.
posted by hippybear at 8:49 AM on May 22

That was crazy. And impressive as hell. Has anyone tried breaking it down to see just how the creator finagled all the “impossible” mappings out of the game engine? Like rooms above rooms? The author of the video freaks-out a bit over this early on, but never really mentions it again.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:41 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]

Thorzdad, you can find an extensive dissection of it here. At the end it notes that "This map makes extensive use of silent teleports and GZDoom lineportals, allowing for seamless transitions between different areas and giving the illusion of non-Euclidian geometry. There are multiple permutations of essentially every area in the map to allow for subtle changes in layout and enemy placement, all of these designed to disorient and unnerve the player." There's around twenty different copies of the main house visible in the full map, for instance.

It's also starting out by staying within the limits of Original Doom, then slowly adding in features enabled by the more modern Doom engine it actually uses.

(Obviously all of those links are spoilers if you want to try playing it, but if you're in the comments here you've probably already played it, or have decided not to.)
posted by egypturnash at 10:57 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]

Here's a super-thorough explanation of how it all works: Part one, two, three.
posted by rifflesby at 12:35 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]

I'm glad someone made a video on this. I would never have gotten most of it.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:41 PM on May 22

I haven't watched any playthroughs of MyHouse.pk3, but I did play through it a couple weeks ago, getting to an ending, though I'm sure there's quite a bit that I missed. I intend to go through it again at some point. It's very evocative. I want to give it at least one more pass before watching someone else unearth all of its secrets.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:51 PM on May 22

Here's a super-thorough explanation of how it all works: Part one yt , two yt , three yt .

This is some truly serious galaxy brain thinking about how to use these engines. Thanks for posting this! I love watching how people can be clever in unexpected ways within predefined rules, and this is really all about that.

It's also like having Penn explain a magic trick to you, so if you want to retain the magic, stay far away.
posted by hippybear at 1:21 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]

It is interesting, however, that those "how the game works" videos entirely leave out a giant section of the game and any of the endings.
posted by hippybear at 3:44 PM on May 22

The endings are in Part 3.
posted by rifflesby at 4:04 PM on May 22

I don't remember seeing him discussing the gas station or the fire in the woods or the seashores, two of them, in that third video, but I will watch again.
posted by hippybear at 4:18 PM on May 22

yeah just skimming through it, he reaches the first beach at about 6:30 and the second one around 10:30
posted by rifflesby at 4:22 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]

This is an incredible work. The writing is very bad, but the overall effect is astonishing.
posted by that's candlepin at 12:45 PM on May 23

Looking at that map egypturnash linked, figuring out which map is what, is so cool. I guess the big dungeon-level looking map east of center, west of the two circles, is the Navidson passageway maze, based on the one room with the dividing wall down the middle that I saw after skipping most of that part of the video because it was too dark to see anything.

It's interesting to me how this updates the "horror" of Doom, itself kind of retro demons-and-gore imho, to the more modern (but still pretty rote) liminal space stuff which is itself, I think, like a living nostalgia for web 1.0 creepypasta. The updated technology of GZDoom being used to update the soul of Doom.
posted by fleacircus at 12:59 PM on May 23

I'm excited to dive into this when I have some time. Just scanning thru it, it looks wild. And I love some house of leaves.
posted by es_de_bah at 4:14 PM on May 23

And I love some house of leaves.

I made a house of leaves post here recently, and talked then about how I wanted to try another read through of the book.

I have not yet gathered that much ambition.
posted by hippybear at 4:45 PM on May 23

I made a house of leaves post here recently, and talked then about how I wanted to try another read through of the book.

I have not yet gathered that much ambition.

If you were looking for something lighter that kind of hits some similar notes, I can recommend The Raw Shark Texts. Tilda Swinton did a trailer for it.
posted by juv3nal at 7:02 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]

I was just handed The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway by my husbear with a recommendation, something he basically never does. So that will be the next book I read. But I will make a note of that shark text book. Thanks!
posted by hippybear at 7:31 PM on May 23

Here's a sub 7 minute speedrun that gets to the good (secret unlocked) ending.
posted by juv3nal at 4:15 PM on May 26

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