I think got some of what Antroid said, although I can't find a passage I would like to quote. There is probably something significant in that, but I don't know what ...
Classic Doom vrs Realism vrs features ..
It seems there are two groups here that should not be in the same room together, one sees Doom as its own Genre, and want to support it in the way COS-PLAY imitates its comic. The other takes longer to describe.
I compare the vanilla Doom experience against the alternative of the time, setting up plastic soldiers, a hex board war game, or D&D.
Doom gave a real-time experience. The Doom maps could have been better, and they ignored some aspects I find important, but they had time constraints, and they had to release.
The way that the Doom maps could have been better is the same improvements that drove Boom, and some of the modern levels. Better simulation of things like water and light, and less like an abstract
lazer-tag room (one reason I never bothered with lazer-tag).
Some people like the people interaction of lazer-tag style gaming, but I am one that would prefer an interesting room, without or without the opponents. These two groups will never agree on what are the best maps.
I make a big distinction between these modern mapping styles.
- Ornamentation style
- Realistic, as in trying to approximate some real-world behavior (which is really beyond the Doom engine, and Doom guy capabilities)
(such as a swinging door, or a file cabinet that opens).
- Realistic, as avoiding contradictions to the expected behavior of recognized things like rivers, ponds, machines, lights, (such as not being able to walk through trees, or walls, and not walking on water)(which requires giving up the design element that leads to the conflict).
A good map for me requires that I be able to recognize things.
The lowest, narrow corridor would be a sewer. To be recognizable it might have a curb/gutter, should be low and cramped, and would not be well lit. If I enter a room of machines I should be able to guess the room function. Some pipes could be leading to a vat, or it could be a really big pump. The mechanical box hanging from the ceiling probably is cooling. The big three phase switch texture on the wall is an electrical panel. Streams of water/nukage should be recognizably going from somewhere to somewhere. I figure it out because it may give a clue to the game play. In many cases the exploration of the mechanics is more interesting than shooting critters.
So many levels would not even offer the barest of recognizable elements, being just rooms to chase each other within. Random connections between the rooms offer no logic. A player that seeks to understand the level, instead of just run amok, does not get satisfaction from such levels. Walking corridors that are decorated but have gutters is just confusing, and gets more confusing if they just lead to ambiguous rooms.
It being that the original Doom levels were rather abstract, it has led to many PWAD. Many PWAD mappers are doing the same thing that previously was done with the toy soldiers on the bed, only better.
Some of the modern style decorations I find superfluous.
- An elaborate gutter in every corridor, or is it curbing.
- Decorative panels on the wall would be proper in a villa or palace, but what are they doing in mech bases.
- Nukage/blood seen flowing along channels in the corridors so often, with no reason or purpose.
- Corridors with bumps across the floor, it is either a corridor (needs a flat floor), or it is something else (needs a purpose).
- Blinking room lights with no purpose other than to annoy, one particular example had a whole maze blinking like some carnival fun-house.
- Many columns should have a plinth. But a full Roman decorated mausoleum style dropped into a map as a show-off piece, often did not support any level map storyline.
Sometimes there is an intended connection to the story, or atmosphere, but it cannot be recognized by most players.
This is a sign that the decoration drove the map design most, and the mapper was unable to give up decorating to improve the play or rescue the immersion. I cannot give up blaming the ornate decoration style of mapping for causing this.
I have a two year old saved game of Diablo. I want to finish it (for some reason), but cannot get up the will to deal with the utter repetition and really slow progress in the game story.
Even the original levels of Doom are still better.
Last edited by wesleyjohnson on 12-30-13 at 21:23