Foursite: A Doom level 12 years in the making


As a lifelong Doom fan, I still never cease to be impressed by the modding scene that is still going strong despite being old enough to drink now. Well color me impressed again because a modder named Ben Mansell has just released a mod called Foursite which is the product of 300 hours of development over the course of a year. However the original idea dates back to 2003 as told by Mansell to EuroGamer.

“I originally doodled the design for the map (four wedge shaped quadrants around a central corridor) during an accounting lecture at university in about 2003, back when Doom 3 was new and it came with a map editor,” Mansell said. “I never did make the map (I was never good enough or had the time), but the general idea hung around at the back of my brain. When I decided to make a Doom map, it seemed like the only option of what to make. It ended up being so big because it just felt like it had to to live up to the idea I’d been carrying around for so many years.”

The mod functions as one giant level that contains four levels-within-a-level that are connected by a central hub. The four levels each have a different look and feel to them along with different enemy types. They also have a “boss room” with very hazardous obstacles in which the player has to acquire a key. Once a key has been acquired from each of the four areas, a door to the final boss can be unlocked.

The level has a lot of subtlety and complexity to its design despite its simple concepts. As told by Mansell to EuroGamer:

“A recent trend in Doom mapping, as computers get ever more powerful, is to create so-called ‘Slaughtermaps’, where it’s the player and a thousand enemies in a single room. It’s a perfectly legitimate style of play, but I always enjoyed the more environmental elements of the original games: the complex levels, the non-linear progress, the environmental storytelling,” Mansell told me over Skype. “So I tried to build a map that didn’t just rely on shooting enemies for the enjoyment.”

“I think the ideas I’m most proud of are the environmental ones: for example at the end of the first quarter there’s a room where you have to run across platforms while Mancubi shoot at you. That’s the kind of environmental puzzle you don’t get in that many modern Doom maps. The very last room too (forgive the spoiler!) has you dodging between moving platforms trying to keep out of sight of a final boss that never stops shooting you. It’s entirely a timing based puzzle, and feels quite different to a lot of what else is out there.”

In an answer to why Doom is still going strong with its modding community, Mansell told EuroGamer:

“I think Doom still has a bigger modding and mapping community than even something like Quake. Partly because it’s a simpler game, so is easier to play around with, but also I think the core gameplay has that kind of arcade simplicity that doesn’t really get old.”

You can’t say it any better than that. You can get Foursite at ModDB. It does require the DOOM2.WAD file and it would be recommended to use the engine GZDoom or Zandronum. If you want, you can have a look at Mansell run through it himself here.

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