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Maes
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Here is a list of my favourite slaughter map tactics, in order to conserve ammo, make them easier or simply have fun by twisting the game. Some of them are also applicable to "frugal" ammo-tight maps, like Jodwin's ;-)


  • Abuse infighting whenever you can, even if it's an imp vs a demon or a zombieman vs a cacodemon. Obviously, it works best in the presence of powerful, rapid-firing monsters like mancubi, arachnotrons and even massed barons/cacos and chaingunners, although they are more risky. A single arachnotron can be goaded to take down even several barons of hell, if positioned favourably, and mancubi can really fuck up large arenas.
  • Spider masterminds/cyberdemons make a joke out of any fight they're thrown in, as they will disrupt it and pretty much make an enemy out of every monster present there. The only risk is that, especially with Cyberdemons, they usually can survive almost everything you throw at them due to splash damage, and then you will be left alone with them (although weakened). Spider Masterminds make for far worse infighters in open arenas where powerful melee monsters can close the distance, and then you'll have the opposite problem: weaker monsters will have been weeded out, and tougher ones (usually of a single kind) will all turn their attention to you.
  • Ring-o-rosing/merry-go-rounding: if pitted against overwhelming odds in big, open arenas filled with revenants firing at you from all angles and other monsters pouring in and where even slowing down to aim at something is insta-suicide, the best thing is keeping running around in circles until the baddies disrupt themselves enough with infighting to allow you to focus on a more precise attack. Of course this only works if there are several kinds of monsters that can infight.
  • Alcoving/snaking: hide, take cover, hide in holes, nooks and crannies and let the baddies duke it out. If you manage to find a safe spot such as an alcove/foxhole you can defend and/or monsters cannot creep in, you can pretty much hold off entire armies. Sometimes it's the only viable thing to do until the baddies thin out their ranks by themselves.
  • Revenant bottlenecking: a "dynamic" variation of the above, if sieged by revenants you can fend them off (or at least stall them) if you find an alcove deep enough to stay within the "no missile attack" distance of sieging revenants, farther than their melee range, and be narrow enough for them NOT to be able to walk in and close the melee distance (e.g. the alcove in the Great Bicycle Mystery MAP15). This way, revenants will soon crowd outside of it but their numbers and attraction towards their target (YOU) will keep them in a "stalemated" position: the one(s) closer to you won't fire at you (unless you go within melee range or move farther beyond the "no missile" range, and those farther away will fire uselessly at the backs of the frontal one. You can stay like this almost indefinitively, at least until other monsters drop in and infighting disrupts the equilibrium.
  • Pillaring: hiding between pillars as much as possible and disrupting Archvile LOS attacks. You can even pull this off with 1-px wide pillars, and to a lesser degree you can disrupt Spiderdemon attacks.
  • Archvile feud: try getting archviles to infight with powerful monsters e.g. cyberdemons on high ledges which are too much of a chose to take down individually, and let them do their job with their fire summoning attacks. The only risk is when other monsters can hit the Archvile too, disrupting its "feud" vs the intended indirect target.
  • Abuse non-passable linedefs. Sometimes, they are just there, either by design or by mistake (plenty of examples in the Great Bicycle Mystery). These can be useful to leave crowded fights behind you and watch them "solve" themselves, or to retire in safe alcoves where monsters crowd outside and duke it out among themselves.
  • Abuse lost-soul/pain elemental infighting: these can be extremely ammo-wasteful but also extremely disrupting for other monsters. I generally prefer fleeing crowded rooms with PEs and Lost Souls, only appearing briefly enough to force some of them to attack and provoke others so they start bumping themselves. Works best with impassable linedefs or alcoving.
  • Use tysoning/chainsawing whenever possible. E.g. round corners, vs single zombies, demons, imps etc. even single mancubi and arachnotrons can be chainsawed with little fear of retaliation. Also, sometimes you can abuse small opening such as windows, fences, bars etc. to land free punches/chainsaw attacks to the monsters on the other side. Each hit landed this way is a saved ammo unit. Just be careful for retaliation (even through bars), and keep in mind whether you're more health-challenged than ammo-challenged. Usually on maps that have plenty of health but scarce ammo it pays to do isolated "close combat".


So, what are some of yours?

Last edited by Maes on 08-22-10 at 12:31

Old Post 08-22-10 12:24 #
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Phml
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Picking the BFG and firmly pressing Mouse1.

Old Post 08-22-10 12:35 #
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Jodwin
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Shoot at the enemies until they die, rather than wasting half your ammo on walls.

Old Post 08-22-10 12:52 #
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Maes
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Phml said:
Picking the BFG and firmly pressing Mouse1.


Trick interview question #1: BFG ammo runs out. What do you do?


Jodwin said:
Shoot at the enemies until they die, rather than wasting half your ammo on walls.


Trick interview question #2: Ammo has been "balanced" with no margin for error. What do you do?

Old Post 08-22-10 13:03 #
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Phml
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I go get more.

Old Post 08-22-10 13:24 #
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Maes
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Phml said:
I go get more.


Trick interview question #3: there ain't no more. What do you do?

Old Post 08-22-10 13:38 #
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#1:- Mass circle strafing + revenant missiles = Giga-missile with enough power to obliterate most any monster slash group of monsters.

#2:- Detonating rockets at the ideal point of impact relative to its area of effect. For example: striking an Arachnotron full on provides less damage to the baddies behind it, perhaps none, compared to striking it from the side, closer to the masses.

#3:- Maybe this is just me, but..: Detonating the BFG blast at a wall or baddie (preferably baddie) behind the masses, allowing the ones at the front to soak up all the rays, as opposed to just detonating it upon the frontmost baddie. I tend to do this a lot where weaker monsters are up front, and stronger ones are at the back (Revvies and Barons, i.e.).


Maes said:
Trick interview question #1: BFG ammo runs out. What do you do?

Get more! Slaughter maps usually have cellpacks in excess. Alternatively pull out rocket launcher / SSG... however:

Trick interview question #2: Ammo has been "balanced" with no margin for error. What do you do?

Berserk, engage in any of the foremost mentioned infighting tactics, or run!

Old Post 08-22-10 13:38 #
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Maes
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st.alfonzo said:

Get more! Slaughter maps usually have cellpacks in excess. Alternatively pull out rocket launcher / SSG... however:
...
Berserk, engage in any of the foremost mentioned infighting tactics, or run!



The Great Bicycle mystery is a good example of a slaughter mapset with scarce ammo, at least if you play single player (then again, you don't actually need to kill everything in most of its maps, but just manage to stay alive long enough or solve certain puzzles). MAP15 has "plenty" of BFG cells which however are in no way adequate to kill all 600 monsters of that map by yourself. Compare this with e.g. HR where yeah, you have hordes but almost never run out of ammo, and you get a berserk pack on every map.

I recall it only has berserk packs in maybe 2 of its 15 maps, and most others are marginally balanced if you decide to take down all the monsters yourself. I found myself scrounging for ammo and abusing infighting just so that I could have enough ammo to snipe off the final bunches of unreachable archviles on many of its maps, and that was still after a fuckton of infighting.

Old Post 08-22-10 13:42 #
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Gez
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Maes said:
So, what are some of yours?


That was quite an exhaustive list. There's not that much to add.

Other than barrelling. I love using barrels tactically so that several monsters can be killed with a single shotgun shell, or better yet, make them blow themselves up. E1M2 features several good opportunities for barrelling, especially in the starting room and in the server maze.

Likewise, if the map allows it, luring monster beneath crushers is a safe and efficient tactic. E2M2, as well as several of Heretic's maps (E1M7 and E4M3 notably), are particularly appropriate for that.

Playing the door game can be a good way to thin massive herds of monsters. You need a door (preferably, but not necessarily, a locked one because then only you can trigger it.) Open it and immediately close it. Monsters will start their attack sequence when it opens and they get line of sight to you, but they won't be able to pass because it lowers too soon, and their attacks and projectiles won't connect either. You can use the sound of fireballs splashing to know when it's safe to open/close again. Doing this in quick succession allows to maximize infighting, though hitscanners may be able to hit your ankles. Versus tall monsters who have a rather slow attack sequence (don't try with cyberdemons, but barons are fair game), you can open it just enough to fire a (super)shotgun blast at them, then close again.

Mods with custom content (especially ZDoom mods with all the crazy stuff DECORATE lets one do) may provide additional tactics as well, which can be interesting sometimes. The recently-released Stronghold is basically an exercise in finding new ways to kill as many monsters as fast as possible using as few ammo as possible.

Old Post 08-22-10 13:51 #
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Maes said:
Trick interview question #3: there ain't no more. What do you do?

The map in question is not a slaughter map and should've been played differently from the start.

Old Post 08-22-10 14:26 #
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Jodwin
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Maes said:
Trick interview question #2: Ammo has been "balanced" with no margin for error. What do you do?

Then I play better than a certain Greek with shitty aim does.

Old Post 08-22-10 15:04 #
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st.alfonzo said:
#1:- Mass circle strafing + revenant missiles = Giga-missile with enough power to obliterate most any monster slash group of monsters.
Nope; all those accumulated missiles will hit the same single monster, even if he dies early, due to the death frames during which the monster remains solid.

Old Post 08-22-10 15:25 #
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Spleen
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I focus more on defensive maneuvers.

Prefiring - If you know hitscanners are right around the corner, shoot at them before you even see them. This is helpful against shotgunners in fast mode.

Projectile Awareness - Focus completely on surrounding projectiles, and strafe out of the way very slightly right before they hit. Tapping instead of holding the strafe keys may help since you'll have more room to maneuver that way. Also, running backwards may sometimes help since it reduces the speed of the projectile relative to your speed and gives you more time to dodge. This is how I dodge Cyberdemon rockets and weave in between Arachnotron shots.

Mancubus Dodging and Stunning - Keep shooting a Mancubus with a shotgun or chaingun, then strafe left every time it shoots, since it always shoots to your right the first time. It should be in pain often enough not to shoot twice in a row. However, this doesn't work for multiple mancubi at close range.

Archvile Distraction - I can't pull this off very well yet, but in theory you can use other monsters to distract archviles right before their flame explodes instead of hiding behind walls, since they don't have aggro thresholds.

Dodging Revenant Rockets - With revenant rockets, I find it more helpful to strafe and go forward instead of simply strafing. They tend to have a harder time looping around and hitting me that way, it seems, and end up having to make a huge arc which can end up hitting something. This is especially helpful when your back is to a wall, since it hits the wall.

Demon Dancing - Instead of just standing in one spot when fighting a demon close range, move right next to it and back away again right as it starts its attack animation. You can even punch them to death without getting bitten this way. It's also helpful for monsters like revenants when they are very close range and you don't have weapons that stun effectively, since it melees more often when it's closer, but you can get unlucky and it can still shoot a missile.

Pain Elemental Line of Sight - If a pain elemental isn't angry at other monsters, you can make it summon lost souls less often by hiding behind walls or pillars except when you shoot at it. It won't summon them if it's angry at you and doesn't see you!


I'm not a Doom expert by any means but I recently managed to beat Sunder map01, so I'm not a complete noob either. :)

Last edited by Spleen on 08-22-10 at 15:54

Old Post 08-22-10 15:30 #
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Phml
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Trick interview question #3: there ain't no more. What do you do?


I think I played The Great Bicycle Mystery a grand total of twenty minutes. This should answer that question.

Old Post 08-22-10 15:39 #
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Maes
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printz said:
Nope; all those accumulated missiles will hit the same single monster, even if he dies early, due to the death frames during which the monster remains solid.


Exactly in which source port does this happen? With what settings? AFAIK from the moment the death sequence has begun, a monster is entirely clippable by projectyles (and this is also the reason why you can't have shotgun/SSG gibbing).

@Jodwin: let's not flatter ourselves. We both know you didn't rebalance you-know-what just to please me.


Phml said:
I think I played The Great Bicycle Mystery a grand total of twenty minutes. This should answer that question.


I too used to think lowly of it, but I gave it a go and finished it in 2-3 sessions during 2 days. It's not a bad mapset, quite the opposite, nor impossible, but it's WAY too easy to run out of ammo on a lot of maps, and even if they are not mindless slaughter, the quantities of monsters you'll have to face and the weapons you're given make it almost so...and you REALLY need a good stack of ammo to clear ledges from massed archviles in order to exit a level, in many cases. Also, some levels abound in one type of ammo while denying you of others (shells/bullets seem to alternate).

Other tricks:

Chaingun "sharpshooting": by tapping the button instead of holding it down, you get two hits 100% on target. This seems to do more damage on the long run, and also results in a faster shooting rate (?) if you can keep up. Also helps conserve ammo (Jodwin approved 100%! <3).

Pistol "sniping": the poor man's version of chaingun sharpshooting, used when every bullet matters and/or you want to finish off distant monsters with the minimum possibe amoung of bullets, if you can micromanage (also 100% Jodwin approved! <3)

Shotgun "sniping": again, when you have to pelt swarms of distant monsters but more powerful weapons are not likely to be at your disposal at the end of the level, and you can't cope with the waste of the SSG over long ranges.

Decoration abuse: in some source ports, decoration will block non-hitscan projectyles unless specifically set not to. This includes blocking rockets and all types of fireballs but letting bullets through, which can make for some real cheese (it might be outright cheating in some settings).

Barrel "pushing": not purely a slaughter map tactic, but sometimes you can clear a passage between barrel obstructions by punching (WITHOUT berserk!) or shooting them with the pistol exactly once (or twice, if you feel daring) without making any of them explode, and thus leave barrels in their place for e.g. when the room will receive more monsters.

Plasma vs BFG: sometimes you need to stay exposed for FAR too long to ensure that the big fireball connects and tracers all spread in the right general direction. E.g. BFGing a group of distant archviles. Even if undoubtedly th BFG gives FAR more bang for the buck for 40 cells than the PL, in that situation you'll have to move out of the way well before the big ball connects and tracers are generated, thus doing max 800 damage on a single target. In this situation, it may pay to use the cells on the PL instead: at least you can hit more than one target and move out of the way before exposing yourself too much.

Last edited by Maes on 08-22-10 at 16:01

Old Post 08-22-10 15:43 #
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Phml
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Exactly in which source port does this happen? With what settings? AFAIK from the moment the death sequence has begun, a monster is entirely clippable by projectyles (and this is also the reason why you can't have shotgun/SSG gibbing).


Also the reason why fighting multiple cybies can be dangerous, kill one with a close BFG hit and the rocket from the next one behind will hit your face.

As for Bicycle Mystery, to be fair, lack of ammo never came into me not liking it, I gave up before I could have noticed that. Might give it another go now that you mention it.

Edit : nah, five minutes were enough to remind me of the numerous things I didn't like in this wad. Just not my thing.

Last edited by Phml on 08-22-10 at 16:22

Old Post 08-22-10 16:17 #
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Maes
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Phml said:
As for Bicycle Mystery, to be fair, lack of ammo never came into me not liking it, I gave up before I could have noticed that. Might give it another go now that you mention it.


It becomes noticeable after Map 4, really. Until that point, your biggest "problem" is that you'll have to make do with just the shotty and chaingun and the occasional berserk pack, and at first you'll have more ammo lying around than you can carry (but you will need most of it).

Old Post 08-22-10 16:24 #
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Gez
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Maes said:
Exactly in which source port does this happen? With what settings? AFAIK from the moment the death sequence has begun, a monster is entirely clippable by projectyles (and this is also the reason why you can't have shotgun/SSG gibbing).

The monster becomes clippable by projectiles once it reaches the state in which there is the A_Fall() instruction.

This tends to be in the third or fourth death state, with a first (extreme) death state free of codepointers, and a second that calls A_(X)Scream(). You can look at the big-ass table of states in info.c for further info.

For the player, it's in DIE3 (20 tics after death) or XDIE3 (10 tics); for the former human it's also DIE3 and XDIE3 (10 tics in both cases); shotgun sergeant likewise (10 tics again), arch-vile too (14 tics for it); the revenant falls in DIE4 (21 tics); the mancubus in DIE3 (12 tics); the chaingun commando in DIE3/XDIE3 like all zombies (10 tics); the imp in DIE4 (22 tics) and XDIE4 (15 tics); the pinky demon in DIE4 (20 tics); the cacodemon in DIE5 (an impressive 32 tics!); the baron and the knight in DIE4 (24 tics); the lost soul in DIE4 as well (18 tics); the spiderdemon however is in a hurry, going down as soon as DIE2 (still 20 tics anyway!); the arachnotron likewise in DIE2 (20 tics too); the cyberdemon as late as DIE6 (50 tics, more than one second, our record-holder); and finally the SS guy with (X)DIE3 (10 tics) like the zombies.

In addition to them, there are two mobjs who call A_Fall() indirectly. The pain elemental calls it in A_PainDie() which is called in DIE5 (32 tics), like the cacodemon. Commander Keen calls it in A_KeenDie() which is called in what would be DIE11 if id software was consistent in its naming conventions (after 60 tics), making him remain an obstacle even longer than the cyberdemon.

Old Post 08-22-10 16:51 #
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Maes
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How come this behavior and its implications, if of any practical consequence, have never been heard of before?

Maybe death sprites have a height of zero or some other behavior that nullifies this scenario? Can you provide a demo/test map where this is most obvious/verifiable? Does this apply equally to hitscan and projectyle attacks or only walking (e.g. trying to move forward while mowing down zombies with a cg)

Old Post 08-22-10 17:33 #
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Maes said:


Trick interview question #3: there ain't no more. What do you do?



Quit.

Old Post 08-22-10 17:59 #
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Gez
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Maes said:
How come this behavior and its implications, if of any practical consequence, have never been heard of before?

It had never been relevant before in a conversation you've read?


Maes said:
Maybe death sprites have a height of zero or some other behavior that nullifies this scenario? Can you provide a demo/test map where this is most obvious/verifiable?

Too lazy for that, but you could just change the duration of the first death state to something like 350 tics so that the effect becomes really obvious.


Maes said:
Does this apply equally to hitscan and projectyle attacks or only walking (e.g. trying to move forward while mowing down zombies with a cg)

This only affects the MF_SOLID flag (just look at A_Fall()). Which enables collisions.

However, the P_KillMobj() function, which is what puts them in the death state to begin with, clears their MF_SHOOTABLE flag. Which means that in between the moment they die and the moment they call A_Fall(), they become akin to a tree or a pillar with skull: they block movement for players and monsters, but not for projectiles above their height (see PIT_CheckThing(), in particular the block that's below the "missiles can hit other things" comment). And their height is halved by P_KillMobj() as well. So unless you setup a map so that projectiles would arrive at the dying monster's feet, they'd pass through freely.

Old Post 08-22-10 18:38 #
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Maes said:


Trick interview question #3: there ain't no more. What do you do?

idkfa

Old Post 08-22-10 18:49 #
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Maes
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I'm trying to remember but I can't really attribute any missed hits to dying monsters...does this limitation block hitscan too?

I think it's beyond question that SG/SSG are obviously unaffected by this behavior (if it actually occurs), so it might only affect THING type projectyles and monsters.

Still...I can't remember a single instance of a fireball or missile being blocked by a dying monster in all those years of Dooming. Your code analysis suggests that it should be possible, but probably there are other conditions as well that prevent it from being easily observable.

Old Post 08-22-10 18:57 #
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Gez
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Maes said:
I'm trying to remember but I can't really attribute any missed hits to dying monsters...does this limitation block hitscan too?

Nope. Since the MF_SHOOTABLE flag is cleared when they die, it means they're completely ignored by further hitscan computations.

Old Post 08-22-10 19:33 #
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One of the tactics I use in classic Doom is to never stop moving and avoid Blursphere/partial invisibility like the plague.

If anything it makes me harder to hit, but it doesn't really do much to save ammo. Accuracy is really your only friend at that point.

And I also exploit monster infighting and barrels as much as possible, especially when outnumbered.

Old Post 08-22-10 21:20 #
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Can't add much here, other than:

1) If it's there, it doesn't mean you have to kill it. Sure, you're the only space marine that has more balls than blood cells, but sometimes running and never going back to fight is a great idea.

2) Punching the air to piss off everything up ahead, so you can use it to infight is a fun trick.

Old Post 08-22-10 22:06 #
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eargosedown said:
2) Punching the air to piss off everything up ahead, so you can use it to infight is a fun trick.


Or the exact opposite, NOT firing in rooms or areas where that would cause an inrush of wakeable monsters. I used this trick to achieve my long days "silent pacifist" speedrun, where I did wake up monsters only by my presence but never even punched the air. This allowed me to keep them in formations/still when too much moving about would be disruptive, and caused the final batch of monsters NOT to teleport in, leaving somewhat more of a breathing room.

Old Post 08-22-10 23:25 #
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