a "Deluxe Edition" of the Master Levels for Doom II
NOTE: Absolutely no retail game content is included in this compilation. To play, you will need to own Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and Master Levels for Doom II, combine them all with WadSmoosh, and run with the advanced source port GZDoom. The included readme explains how.
ALSO NOTE: This is a compilation of other peoples' fine work - distributed with the permission of the surviving authors - and I'm merely the curator, so all payments have been disabled.
In 1995 id Software was busy building Quake, and riding high from the success of Doom and Doom II: Hell on Earth, and more generally from Doom as a cultural phenomenon with millions of players and thousands of people creating their own add-ons with freely available tools. But id saw the sales of products like D!ZONE - unauthorized retail CD-ROM compilations of user-created levels, from which they (much less the levels' creators) didn't see a cent in royalties - as an act of bad faith. So they decided to, in John Romero's words, "give them a run for their money". id's Shawn Green reached out to a few notable community level designers and arranged to have them contribute never-before-released maps to a new, official compilation, to be sold at retail as "Master Levels for Doom II". The compilation was released on December 26th, 1995.
Nearly all of the designers who contributed to Master Levels soon went on to have some sort of career in games: Sverre André Kvernmo and John W. "Dr Sleep" Anderson ended up working together a few years later on Daikatana at Romero's Ion Storm studio, Chris Klie became a level designer at LucasArts, Jim Flynn played a key role on TeamTNT as a developer for the watershed source port Boom, Tom Mustaine later co-founded Dallas area game studio Ritual Entertainment, and Tim Willits went on to become no less than studio director of id Software until 2019.
There's more to this story, however, and what I found after a bit of research is that most of the designers submitted more levels than just the 21 that made it into the compilation, and three designers' submissions in particular were part of larger series, the rest of which did see free public release. I played these extra levels and found them interesting in their own right. They helped form a more complete picture of what these designers, and the Doom mapping community in general circa 1995, were up to.
And so I realized that here were the makings of something akin to a "deluxe edition" re-release of some classic rock album, with outtakes, demos, alternate versions, etc alongside the better known originals. And I realized that the all-in-one experience provided by my retail WAD merging tool, WadSmoosh, was an ideal way to sew all this material together into a cohesive and easy-to-play package.
Works of the Masters, then, is a 5-episode compilation of 42 levels total showcasing each designer's work in their fullest context, with the permission of the surviving authors to redistribute in this format. As mentioned above, you'll need to own the associated retail Doom games to play, and you'll need to combine their content with WadSmoosh, and run masters.pk3 as you would any other Doom addon.
To be clear, all the non-retail levels in Works of the Masters are available individually on the idgames archive; what this mod does is bring them together and put them into a deliberate sequence that was absent from the original Master Levels release (being just a folder containing WAD files).
Some additional material is included with the compilation: the original README files for the freely released levels, and a readme by me which includes this writeup, instructions on how to play, some thoughts on each episode, and some reference links for further reading.