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valkiriforce
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To put it simply, my philosophy of map making revolves around that of the IWAD standard. If it looks like something that could have been released under the "ID Software" label, then I'm all for it. It's not so much a "Doom The Way Id Did" point of view, but rather a point of detail that neither reaches to one extreme or the other. I like to consider the IWADs themselves a good example of this (especially Final Doom) being that they didn't look overly detailed but they weren't entirely bare either. It was just right and captured what I believe to be the Doom-aesthetic. It's like brand new IWADs are being released from time to time when I play a vanilla megawad that looks good and still manages to work within the original exe. It's also more accessible to players who wish to play it in the source port of their choice.

Another strong part about it for me is the layout; I think this was best represented in Reverie. You can see how differently shaped each level was; and I wanted it to look so in such a way that simply by looking at the map it would not only make you want to play the map to see what it really looked like, but it would also inspire the player. An example of how Cleimos 2 inspired me which I have mentioned before is that a map that looks like this inspired me to make a map like this. Especially since I have a tendency to look at the layout of maps before I actually play them so I can guess what they may look like when I play them. Most often I am wrong and it looks different, but it inspires me to make the map I thought it was going to be. This is what motivated the speed behind Doom Core, Reverie, and Eternally Yours more than anything else.

Basically, I see Doom as it's own aesthetic. It doesn't have to be realistic, it just has to be Doom.

So what are your philosophies behind map making? It interests me in hearing what other people have to say about their view of the mapping process as I have discussed this with some people over private messages before.

Old Post 11-23-12 23:26 #
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schwerpunk
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valkiriforce said:
Basically, I see Doom as it's own aesthetic. It doesn't have to be realistic, it just has to be Doom.

I can agree to this. Although I don't think I'm as much of a traditionalist when it comes to the aesthetic. I don't mind someone going in a weird, even abstract direction, as long as it's consistent and interesting.

Where I do agree with you is on realism. One of the reasons I think that attempts at realism in WADs fail to impress me is that after a certain point, adding too much detail to a level makes it look over-saturated (at least within the confines of the usual source-ports). I actually like somewhat plain levels, broken up with slightly more detailed architecture here-and-there. I feel it has a greater impact if the level around is going for a more uncomplicated look.

Old Post 11-23-12 23:55 #
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ComicMischief
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schwerpunk said:
I actually like somewhat plain levels, broken up with slightly more detailed architecture here-and-there. I feel it has a greater impact if the level around is going for a more uncomplicated look.


Seconded on this. I'd rather a level have good, solid structures than appear to be built from to-scale LEGO bricks. It can be nice to see a few clever details here-and-there, but when EVERYTHING has a seam, and a rim etc. it can get a little fussy on the eye.

I'm of the opinion that if it looks good at 640x480 then it looks good. If your detailed environs are only really visible at some wicked-high resolution, it's too much.

Old Post 11-24-12 00:01 #
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CorSair
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I have a small conflict with the way Doom engine works in map, due to limitations to 3D, compared to, say... Quake 3. Yes, you can almost create anything cool with the NetRadiant, but on the other hand... I like Doom mapping, because it has its challenges. And yet, you can create awesome maps. Few that came instantly to my mind are Deus Vult 2, Hell Ground and most recent I played, Putrifier. So limited, yet, you can make look it like... Bleh, no word to describe. Someone insert the word. :P

And overall for reason why I like to map, be it Doom Builder or Radiant, is because I want to create stuff for other to enjoy, and to increase my skills or learn something new. If I learn new tricks, and people give constructive criticism how I could improve or what to fix, and maybe even one word of praise, then there is nothing more to ask for. I would be more than content. If people don't like it, and I can't fix errors in my creation, it would shake my world down a bit... The feeling of being useless... Probably most hated thing I don't want to fill me in.

Old Post 11-24-12 00:14 #
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darkreaver
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Philosophy you say? Hmmm....not quite sure what to reply here.

When I`m making maps, I always make sure to have equal amounts of detailing all around the level, so quite opposite of what schwepunk said. If one area has less detail than another, I feel it`s unfinished. This of course, as most things, has exceptions.

I also usually aim for a mix between old school and new school feel. Well, I suck at making old school stuff, so I guess my style is kind of new school after all. I`ve made one vanilla map so far in my career, and while it was cool making it (mostly because it`s for an awesome project), I must admit it sucked having to block certain views because of visplane owerflow and stuff. And that brings me to my next point:

I`m a huge fan of cool and/or epic views. Every area and angle in a map should be screenshot-worthy :P And that brings me to my next point:

I try to make sure the player can see "the whole map" "all the time". Instead of making a room in the void, then connect it with another room, and so on and on and on, I like to make maps inside a huge sector and as far as possible have an open outside area (does not have to be accessable) that surrounds the entire map. Makes for a much better "sense of place" imo.

Last point: While I HATE realism in Doom (I mean stuff like cars, tanks, subways...), "believable" architecture is something I really strive for. I don`t know how to explain, but Scythe 2 is a prime example.
I`m also a huge fan of "weird places". Darkwaves maps in Speed of Doom are very good examples of this. When a map is named "Administration Centre" or "Storage Basement" and contains computers and chairs and...strage basements with...crates, I`M OUT!

I guess I derailed and/or simply answered something the OP didnt even ask for here...but whatever :P

Old Post 11-24-12 01:46 #
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CorSair
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darkreaver said:
I guess I derailed and/or simply answered something the OP didnt even ask for here...but whatever :P

Don't worry, I think this is quite broad subject to discuss of styles and our ways to do maps.


darkreaver said:
When I`m making maps, I always make sure to have equal amounts of detailing all around the level, so quite opposite of what schwepunk said. If one area has less detail than another, I feel it`s unfinished. This of course, as most things, has exceptions.

I have always this kind problem. Area might look it is all done, but there's still something amiss... And you spend the time looking proper way to add stuff, something that would fit well the room. That always happens to me. :P

Old Post 11-24-12 10:19 #
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purist
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Here's a link to my basic philosophy, which has remains pretty much unchanged as it deals with doom mapping on a pretty fundamental level:

http://www.doomworld.com/vb/showthr...7078#post737078

Lately, I've been trying to develop a more intricate philosphy in preperation of my second attempt to make a megawad. Here's some things I've been considering so far:

  • Map within vanilla limits.
  • Use broadstrokes in architecture to give a chunkier, more solid feel to levels.
  • Give levels strong thematic identities, let the player feel as though he can get to know the place.
  • Kenetic mapping. Make large parts of the maps move apart, by raising/lowering floors or opening up walls. Give the impression the level is alive.
  • Rely more on texture usage and lighting than detailing to increase immersion.
  • Source good custom textures and music.
  • Use less monsters, particulary higher tier monsters which will be saved for more ceremonious occasions.
  • Try to create scenarios were these rarely used monsters are feared by the player again.
  • Make the player work harder for items I normally give for free such as green armour, SSG, medikits, shell boxes etc. I want finding these items to feel like a mini victory or secondary objective.
  • Counter by using bonuses and the smaller ammo items more regulary.
  • Include optional areas, secondary routes and large secret areas.
  • Generally provide more secrets, 10 to a map ideally.
  • Limit confined areas to better accomodate speedrunning, deathmatch and co-op - and generally consider these players as a higher priority than I used to.
  • Have a leap of faith that people will play the levels more than once.


[slightly offtopic]I had a few more radical ideas like adding recoloured monsters (recolouring monsters green, then using the dehacked palette swap) to fill the gaps I feel Doom II has in it's beastiary and replacing items with collectable artifacts that do nothing except allow you to say you've found them all (similar to Chaos Emeralds in Sonic I suppose). However, I read that you cannot replace sprites in vanilla Doom so that but the kibosh on that idea[/slightly offtopic]

Old Post 11-24-12 11:08 #
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schwerpunk
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Nice list, Purist. I can agree to almost all of that (minus vanilla, because I'm a UDMF-whore).

Regarding secrets: I generally try to design my maps so that I can beat them on HMP, but that they're nigh impossible to beat on UV without finding at least a few secrets. Also, the secrets should reward paying attention to the logic of the map's layout.

I.e. "That wall just opened up to a monster-closet, and this wall here looks kind of like it. Maybe it opens up, too!"

Also, I am not above making really easy-to-find secrets into traps. >:D

Old Post 11-24-12 16:34 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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I definitely agree with Doom having its own aesthetic. I try to match it in my wads, a lot of vanilla stuff "gets" it but plenty doesn't - it's not limitations alone. The more detailed stuff being released has more in common with Quake 2's aesthetic to me than Doom. I find it ugly compared to the clean approach of the iwads. Except for TNT, of course.

Old Post 11-24-12 19:03 #
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Egregor
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purist said:
[slightly offtopic]I had a few more radical ideas like adding recoloured monsters (recolouring monsters green, then using the dehacked palette swap) to fill the gaps I feel Doom II has in it's beastiary and replacing items with collectable artifacts that do nothing except allow you to say you've found them all (similar to Chaos Emeralds in Sonic I suppose). However, I read that you cannot replace sprites in vanilla Doom so that but the kibosh on that idea[/slightly offtopic]


purist, you are in a unique situation where you can use the invisibility sphere as that collectable artifact, and it *slightly* helps the player too. you could make that be your thing, where every level has like 3 invisibilities hidden, and the player knew that when they found one it was hidden like THAT because you are the mapper.

Old Post 11-25-12 10:25 #
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purist
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That's not a bad idea. I could remove the 'item' flag from everything except the blur sphere in Dehacked and change the item text on the intermission to say "Blur Artifacts". I suppose I could even extend this to all sphere artifacts.

Old Post 11-25-12 13:29 #
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Phobus
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My aim when mapping has shifted quite a bit over time, but I think the current goal is a combination of all of my past singular goals. The rough listing of which is as follows:

1) To get my ideas down into a playable form (I try to be creative and unique with what I do)
2) To make maps that can require some thought (this one doesn't get used as much, but tends to influence puzzles when they do crop up)
3) To make fights that are fun and intelligent (I generally like to have a constant resistance in the form of monsters everywhere, with certain areas fortified or set up to be approached in a certain way)
4) To make interesting and unusual usage of the resources I have available (unlikely texture combinations, well-used monsters, thought out weapon usage/limits)
5) To make areas that are fun to explore (non-linear, with interesting views and scenes and plenty of secrets and bonuses)
6) To actually finish stuff (reign in ambition, try to keep myself interested in what I'm doing)

That's chronological, since day one of my modding experience. The most recent one is definitely the hardest to keep with, as every now and then I find myself having to just cancel everything, having had enough of Doom modding for the time being and needing a clean break from all the various things I'm mired in. The ideas tend to get recycled and streamlined by that process, so I don't consider it a bad thing.

My current aesthetic ideal varies by project - sometimes I want a high level of visual fidelity, other times its a vanilla map. My first choice of source port is ZDoom (now UDMF format, used to be Doom in HeXen) so I naturally tend to ignore limits and like to mix bigger open areas with tighter corridors. Plenty of love for the z-axis, jumping usually turns up somewhere and I pay attention to crouching too - either blocking it off, deactivating it or actively using it for claustrophobic encounters (I even made a monster specifically for tense vent crawling).


In all Doom for me is effectively a scratch pad. If I've got ideas I want to implement relatively quickly in a game world, they're going in Doom. I try to map to have things that are ideal for me and are beatable by others, although the ego does take over every now and then and I hope for critical acclaim :P

A good example of this "scratch pad" mentality will be Phobus Doom E1, if ever I get it out, where every level was me taking on a specific challenge (1 monster; 1024; mixing deep water sections with usual game play; etc.)

Old Post 11-26-12 11:11 #
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