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Dr. Sleep

John W. Anderson (aka Dr. Sleep), born on November 7, 1956, was a game designer, level designer, and writer.

He was probably best known in the Doom community for his Inferno series of maps, originally conceived as a full episode replacement of nine "cantos":

  • Dante's Gate and Crossing Acheron were standalone releases. Created in 1994 before sophisticated editing tools were available, they were widely praised by Doomers and, according to Dr. Sleep, led directly to an offer of employment from id Software.
  • The next five levels were included in the Master Levels for Doom II expansion pack.
  • "Chiron" became E4M7: And Hell Followed in The Ultimate Doom.
  • A final installment, "Lethe" (also variously mentioned as "Waters of Lethe"), was still in development as of late 2004 but remains unreleased; the only details released are a few screenshots, and a mention from May of 2004: "I really hope to release it in a few days, finally".

The architecture and storyline of the series was inspired by "Inferno" in the epic poem The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, which describes a descent into hell. Several mappers of later generations, such as Samuel "Kaiser" Villarreal and Paul Corfiatis, have cited Dr. Sleep's unique and attractive aesthetic as a basis for their own designs.

Dr. Sleep has also written a comprehensive Doom Builder guidebook, and maintains the official distribution (though not the code itself) of the venerable editor DETH. His non-Doom projects include Blood (Q Studios), Unreal (Epic MegaGames), Daikatana (Ion Storm), and a definitive bibliography of H.P. Lovecraft.

Dr. Sleep passed away in April 2018 and his death was a cause of pneumonia.


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