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TheCupboard
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How could Doom 2's level design be antiquated? That's absolute trash.

It set the fucking standard for almost all modern pwad designers. In fact, I think many pwads that come out today look antiquated. They are way too linear compared to the iwad maps and they feature dumb gameplay mechanics that get borrowered from "modern" FPSs that are really just regression to stripped down mechanics in order to cater to the average gamer whose IQ is at least a dozen points lower than the average gamer from the 90s.

Doom and Doom 2's level design is far, far from antiquated.

It is light years ahead of most FPS design being put on the market today. Get your heads out of your asses.

Old Post 12-09-12 00:59 #
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Egregor
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I'm just gunna throw out there that the MAIN reason I play DOOM and DONT play other FPSers is because of the 'non-linear' aspect of levels. I dislike linear map design.

Old Post 12-09-12 02:50 #
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TheCupboard
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I can't understand most complaints about map28 or map29. Those are hands down the best hell maps in the iwads. Map28 is rather puzzle-ish but that's just Sandy getting his rocks off because he knew how balls-to-the-wall awesome map28 was with all its brimstone and devilishly fun gameplay. Map29 was Romero's design triumph. Everything about his style matured and peaked at that point.

Old Post 12-09-12 03:21 #
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DoomUK
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TheCupboard said:
It set the fucking standard for almost all modern pwad designers. In fact, I think many pwads that come out today look antiquated. They are way too linear compared to the iwad maps and they feature dumb gameplay mechanics that get borrowered from "modern" FPSs that are really just regression to stripped down mechanics in order to cater to the average gamer whose IQ is at least a dozen points lower than the average gamer from the 90s.

I can't dispute the general lapse in quality of FPSes over the past decade or so, for reasons including but not limited to lazy level design, but since when did Doom become the gaming equivalent of Tool; something which is undoubtedly good, perhaps a superlative, but ultimately amounts to just another FPS which for some reason gives people something to feel smart about just because they enjoy it?

I can't tell how serious you are when you say this, but it's ridiculous to confuse people's taste (however shit it may be) with a lack of intelligence.

Old Post 12-09-12 08:57 #
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printz
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TheCupboard said:
Map29 was Romero's design triumph. Everything about his style matured and peaked at that point.
Uhh, no:
- no official secrets
- cramped layout
- not terribly difficult for being MAP29
- ultralinear gameplay
- not as fiery as MAP28, but more like MAP27
- end Cyberdemon fight which can be ignored by the player panicking and falling through the skygate by accident.

It just feels rushed. I'd much rather call E4M6 as Romero's pinnacle of Doom level design. Several of the errors mentioned above are addressed there.

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Old Post 12-09-12 10:25 #
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cannonball
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Have to agree with Printz here, map29 is a solid map, very good. But Romeros peak was E4m6, rock hard, plenty of secrets and other areas to explore and it looks fantastic for what it is.

Old Post 12-09-12 11:22 #
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mouldy
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Its a harsh truth, but i will admit that some of those old doom maps could be better - this has nothing to do with the modern spoon-fed sensibilities of games in general (which are catering for a much wider audience now) - When doom came out this whole genre was still in its infancy, and they were making up the rules as they went along, you can see this in the weird variety of the maps in doom 2. Its almost like they were saying to people "here's whats possible, now go and build on it", which is what people have done.

But I certainly wouldn't say the basic concept of the game is antiquated, if anything it is distilled. You can replace hunting for door keys with hunting for the special item to give to the guy who will then open the door to let you proceed, its a game mechanic as old as time but is still used today. People don't play games these days, they play stories, and that's what doom is lacking in their eyes. What they dont realise is that you arent told a story in doom, you make the story yourself by the paths that you choose.

Old Post 12-09-12 11:41 #
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DoomUK
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mouldy said:
You can replace hunting for door keys with hunting for the special item to give to the guy who will then open the door to let you proceed, its a game mechanic as old as time but is still used today.

Typical FPSes in this day and age seem to subscribe to one of the following:-

OR:-
  • Sandbox or sandbox-like levels in which you're told what to do and where to go with the assistance of a directional aid of some kind


I'm trying hard to think of a recent FPS where you have to do the hard work yourself and find stuff through exploration (I don't mean Easter Eggs or some such, but things which are critical in letting you progress in the game), but I just can't recall anything. I think I said this in the other thread, and maybe it's more of a personal preference than an objective statement about quality, but half of Doom's appeal for me was spending many hours, collectively, figuring out where to go, as well as uncovering secrets as a by-product of the way the game worked. As you say, Doom's story is wrought by the player themselves, but I think it's also a game where you intrinsically reap the rewards of the effort you put into it.

Old Post 12-09-12 12:54 #
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Phml
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What they dont realise is that you arent told a story in doom, you make the story yourself by the paths that you choose.


Doom E1 always seemed to tell a story to me. Perhaps not in words, but through art direction and level design.

I feel many of the most poignant scenes and settings in visual settings are ones where no word is uttered, because they let your imagination fill the gaps in the best possible way (much like a book does). It takes an exceptional writer to manage to tell a fulfilling fictional story despite giving no leeway for interpretation. By and large, writing in video games is not exceptional.

Old Post 12-09-12 13:20 #
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DoomUK
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Phml said:
Doom E1 always seemed to tell a story to me. Perhaps not in words, but through art direction and level design.

I feel many of the most poignant scenes and settings in visual settings are ones where no word is uttered, because they let your imagination fill the gaps in the best possible way (much like a book does). It takes an exceptional writer to manage to tell a fulfilling fictional story despite giving no leeway for interpretation. By and large, writing in video games is not exceptional.


That's such an excellent way of describing it.

Why are these feelings specific to E1 though?

Old Post 12-09-12 13:27 #
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_bruce_
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Phml is spot on.

Old Post 12-09-12 14:20 #
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Phml
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To me, E1 felt more complete as an experience than the other episodes. There was a clear visual consistency thanks to its limited texture set and the level design being mostly one guy. Music seemed to fit in so perfectly. Discovery, exploration, gloom, exuberance, oppression, action, dread, and finally despair intertwined with resolution; these words could describe the tunes or the layouts equally as well. There was a gradual build up, a progression with ups and downs. The doomguy didn't need to blather about his emotions because you could feel them playing the game, because the game made you feel these emotions and you were the doomguy. That it all culminated in death in a small, dark room just as the battle was over, as if he had no reason to exist anymore beyond accomplishing his purpose, was a fantastic way to top it all off.

Obviously a very subjective and personal way to look at it. E2 and E3, in contrast, just didn't grab me as much - possibly also because the story felt so right starting and ending with E1, acknowledging the canon continuity would have lessened this perfect experience in my eyes.

Old Post 12-09-12 14:22 #
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mouldy
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Phml said:


Doom E1 always seemed to tell a story to me. Perhaps not in words, but through art direction and level design.



This is the best way to tell a story in a game I feel, its something valve seems to appreciate with their games - particularly with half life and left 4 dead (the closest modern equivalent to doom I can think of)

It scares me to see people raving over "trailers" for games these days that show no examples of gameplay whatsoever, just cinematic story telling.

Old Post 12-09-12 15:54 #
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_bruce_
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mouldy said:


This is the best way to tell a story in a game I feel, its something valve seems to appreciate with their games - particularly with half life and left 4 dead (the closest modern equivalent to doom I can think of)

It scares me to see people raving over "trailers" for games these days that show no examples of gameplay whatsoever, just cinematic story telling.



It's become big and corroded - just imagine the hordes of market oriented gaylords fine tuning these entertainment products aka games.
There'll always be a good deal of great games, but this huge steamroller of shallow shit products gives it a bad vibe overall.

Old Post 12-09-12 16:18 #
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40oz
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Yeah sometimes the storytelling becomes a little too much. I've been wanting to play more scary/horror themed games, to feel a little more emotion when playing. A friend of mine gave me a copy of Resident Evil 4, along with the rest of his gamecube games. But just like pretty much all horror games, there's a shit-ton of reading material. Just random books and notes lying around, with pages and pages of uninteresting journals and documents. There was even one letter literally titled "Our Plan" left behind by a group of zombies I killed that told me what they were going to do to take over the world and how they plan to kill me when they get me. That game is also the longest, most tedious and linear game I ever played.

Old Post 12-09-12 16:52 #
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DoomUK
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40oz said:
Yeah sometimes the storytelling becomes a little too much. I've been wanting to play more scary/horror themed games, to feel a little more emotion when playing. A friend of mine gave me a copy of Resident Evil 4, along with the rest of his gamecube games. But just like pretty much all horror games, there's a shit-ton of reading material. Just random books and notes lying around, with pages and pages of uninteresting journals and documents. There was even one letter literally titled "Our Plan" left behind by a group of zombies I killed that told me what they were going to do to take over the world and how they plan to kill me when they get me. That game is also the longest, most tedious and linear game I ever played.

Expository books and notes are common throughout the Resident Evil series and other survival horrors. You don't HAVE to read them in order to enjoy the game (or not enjoy it, in your case), they're just there to provide a little backstory of the worlds and the characters in them. It's unfair to compare it to the abstract nature of Doom.

Old Post 12-09-12 17:07 #
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InsanityBringer
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To be honest, on occasion I'm OK with linear level design, but only when the linearity isn't contrived heavily, especially using invisible barriers. Invisible barriers are ok occasionally, but they're often done in ridiculous ways. In RAGE, when you first enter the dead city to get the defib upgrade, you end up in a freeway tunnel. You cannot escape this tunnel in any means other than a passage off to the side. The exits to the tunnel are blocked with rubble that is sometimes high enough to feasibly block you, and sometimes it's exactly the size that you should be able to jump onto it, and yet for some reason, you can't.

Sometimes, though, contrived barriers don't actually portray a problem, though this depends on the game type. TF2 has many many gates, fences, and other obstacles that should easily be rocket jumped over, but you can't. But you never notice since in TF2 there's usually a ticking timer telling you to get moving to the combat area and there's also constant combat. In contrast, when you load up the TF2 levels into the Source Filmmaker, where there is no gameplay, these things stick out like a sore thumb, and it becomes hard to record on the outskirts of the map. In RAGE, there's much more downtime, more time for you to go exploring, and this is when you start to notice these things.

Levels which convey the impression that you're in a certain environment, and ones that can be explored heavily are the nicest ones in my eyes, though. To be fair also, RAGE did good on the first part, at least in places like the Dead City. If there weren't so many contrived obstacles and invisible barriers, I'd probably like the place a whole hell of a lot more. Doom and Doom II also did good on this account, even if the level design was pretty abstract, though incorporating familiar aspects to give a sense of setting. (ie: computers for Doom 1 techbases, tall buildings packed in a loose manner in a large area for Doom 2 cities, massive caverns as well as open environments for hell)

Also, I personally think things like notes, artifacts, and those things can help certain game designs. Not doom, probably. But they work nicely in some other environments.

Old Post 12-09-12 19:17 #
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Woolie Wool
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DoomUK said:

Typical FPSes in this day and age seem to subscribe to one of the following:-

OR:-
  • Sandbox or sandbox-like levels in which you're told what to do and where to go with the assistance of a directional aid of some kind


I'm trying hard to think of a recent FPS where you have to do the hard work yourself and find stuff through exploration (I don't mean Easter Eggs or some such, but things which are critical in letting you progress in the game), but I just can't recall anything. I think I said this in the other thread, and maybe it's more of a personal preference than an objective statement about quality, but half of Doom's appeal for me was spending many hours, collectively, figuring out where to go, as well as uncovering secrets as a by-product of the way the game worked. As you say, Doom's story is wrought by the player themselves, but I think it's also a game where you intrinsically reap the rewards of the effort you put into it.



I think one reason for the lack of exploration is the relative slowness of modern FPS player characters. Could you imagine exploring a map like Industrial Zone at the speed of a brisk walk? A real person's walk, mind you, not Doomguy's rocket-powered turbo walk.

Old Post 12-10-12 14:40 #
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Maes
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Read between the lines: "it's antiquated" really means "uhhh....you have to draw many abstract lines and shapes in a CAD-like program, handle weird things called 'sectors', 'linedefs' etc. just to make it look halfway recognizable, let alone making stuff happen! I'm not a civil engineer or an architect! I just want to place 1.000.000 trees, plants, pre-made models of cars, rubble etc. on a height-mapped terrain with a spiffy visual editor, throw in some scripts and call it a level!"

Old Post 12-10-12 15:52 #
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Antroid
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Except mapping for doom is like a thousand times easier than for significantly newer games. Doom is so much simpler than everything else it's hilarious. Assuming the mapper aims to achieve a level of quality adequate for the game he's mapping for, of course.

Old Post 12-10-12 16:03 #
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Vermil
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Phml said:
To me, E1 felt more complete as an experience than the other episodes. There was a clear visual consistency thanks to its limited texture set and the level design being mostly one guy. Music seemed to fit in so perfectly. Discovery, exploration, gloom, exuberance, oppression, action, dread, and finally despair intertwined with resolution; these words could describe the tunes or the layouts equally as well. There was a gradual build up, a progression with ups and downs. The doomguy didn't need to blather about his emotions because you could feel them playing the game, because the game made you feel these emotions and you were the doomguy. That it all culminated in death in a small, dark room just as the battle was over, as if he had no reason to exist anymore beyond accomplishing his purpose, was a fantastic way to top it all off.

Obviously a very subjective and personal way to look at it. E2 and E3, in contrast, just didn't grab me as much - possibly also because the story felt so right starting and ending with E1, acknowledging the canon continuity would have lessened this perfect experience in my eyes.



Back then, it seemed developers wanted to make the plots of the shareware episodes/parts of games able to stand as their own stories as well as parts of larger ones.

I mean, Heretic's shareware episode ends with you closing the portal between your world and whereever D'sparils minions come from.

Wolf3D's shareware episode ends up with you escaping the castle.

etc etc

Old Post 12-10-12 16:18 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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Antroid said:
Except mapping for doom is like a thousand times easier than for significantly newer games. Doom is so much simpler than everything else it's hilarious. Assuming the mapper aims to achieve a level of quality adequate for the game he's mapping for, of course.

Maes would sort of have a point if this was the late 90s. Doom is pretty unintuitive compared to mapping for a true 3D engine. Claiming Doom level design is somehow harder than modern game level design is a joke, though.

Old Post 12-10-12 19:13 #
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Antroid
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It's just that what his example is to modern games is roughly what drawing a crude 1-sector arena, leaving the default textures on and throwing a plasmagun and a cyber into it would be to doom. Sure, great effort has to go into making a good looking doom level, but it doesn't even compare to the amount of work needed for modern games. Not to mention the ever-present concerns for good frames per second, which are pretty much nonexistent in doom. And despite what old game fans (myself included) like to imagine, making good and fun gameplay for modern games isn't in any way easier either, however simple the gameplay ends up being.

Old Post 12-10-12 19:36 #
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