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Xaser
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Antroid said:
I explicitly wasn't presenting them as a "unviersal truth", but okay. It's obviously a matter of individual perception, to me those two examples you give are exactly as I described. I think I even whined about that in BTSX at some point. I feel that the line between abstract enough visuals and abstract layouts painted with elaborate visuals was very much crossed in both.

Ah, all right then -- I think this boils down to a difference in opinion, so all is well there.


Da Werecat said:

Yeah, about that. I played your old demo recently and, frankly, wasn't very pleased. I guess I expected something similar to commercial Build games with their simple yet effective geometry. Instead, I got this:

[Hacx Screenshot from "Valley of the Dead"]

Which is neither simple nor effective. I really hope that you tweaked the lighting since then. And did something about crampedness. I like the shots in your post.


The map in question from the screenshot is a rather "old" map, by current standards, now that you point it out. It's a 2.0 exclusive map, but it was one of the earliest done and it predates all of the texture rework and map revamping that's gone on since then (i.e. 90% of the total work :P). Suffice to say it does need a pass to bring it up to standards, though one thing that has been done is new art for the torches, so they don't look like absolute shit now. :P

I apologize for the thread hijacking, but since we're on the topic, I'd be totally thrilled to hear more thoughts+rants+opinions on anything Hacx, as part of the reason so many rough spots exist in the so-called "finished" maps are because the project as a whole has gotten very little feedback thus far. Hell, this is probably the first I've heard from anyone on that particular map (aside from the mapper himself), and more feedback like that would definitely help the process along, even at its early state. We've got a dev forum ripe for the using, though posting in Hacx's thread on Doomworld would work just as well.

All right, thread-Hacxing over. Carry on. :P

Old Post 12-29-13 22:53 #
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Antroid
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dew said:

Either tunnel vision is your superpower, or you've never played a McGee map. That guy revelled in fancy architecture, pointless detail and eye-catching effects. You sweep "OG Dooms" as something monolithic, easily described with a few labels that would somehow elevate them above filthy PWADs. Doom is not consistent enough, so your poetic unfocused rambling doesn't really cut it at a site where everyone is an experts.



I see how much of "an experts" you are if you think that McGee ever did anything comparable to the stuff people have been pulling in pwads even in vanilla-compatible levels. Either way, it's pretty apparent that you aren't even slightly trying to understand where I'm coming from seeing as you completely misinterpret everything I say, seemingly on purpose, so I think it'd be best for everyone if you stopped being a dickhead about someone else's opinion just because you don't understand it. It's pointless for me to try and explain it further and you can't say anything meaningful either apparently.

Old Post 12-29-13 23:08 #
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dew
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Backseat moderation is not the best course of action. Also I never compared McGee's '94 efforts to every vanilla PWAD out there, but there's an endless list of custom maps you could fit between "Petersen-degree detail" and "McGee-degree detail", so the clean abstract looks of original Doom is quite a vague term. I'll go ahead and call the starting room of map22 overdetailed (at least comparatively speaking).

I also don't believe in the uncanny valley effect. It's supposed to kick in when something closely mimics reality, but the small differences just punctuate the fakeness. When something is an abstract nondescript structure, detail does no difference. And when I see Scythe's little church and graveyard, Doomgypt pyramids or ksutra's mock furniture, it just warms my dickhead heart.

Old Post 12-30-13 00:03 #
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RjY
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I also prefer maps that "look like Doom" in some hard-to-define sense and I think modern mapping has strayed a long way from it. I think there are such things as "too much" detail (filigrees of thousands of tiny linedefs, "sector soup") and "too many" new textures (as though Doomguy and his foes have been transported to some alien universe where they don't really fit in).

Old Post 12-30-13 09:59 #
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Gez
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RjY said:
(as though Doomguy and his foes have been transported to some alien universe where they don't really fit in)

Since the story is based on warped realities and interdimensional invasions, it's not a problem! :p

Old Post 12-30-13 10:02 #
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Phobus
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As this topic is pure opinion I'll stick mine in:

For me, "the essence of Doom" is a nonlinear map with a combination of organically free roaming monsters and set piece encounters. See something like E1M7 or E2M2 for a pretty fine example of this in the game itself and my own Claws of the Enraged Beast (quicky4.wad or ph_quik4.zip) for my idea of a modern take on this. Levels are built with a theme (starbase, hell, city, etc.) but designed around gameplay encounters, exploration, puzzles and cool ideas (like writing your forum handle in 40 foot letters using a perspective illusion :p)


In my mind, the modern maps that make use of decoration (be it sector, texture or thing) to create a realistic sense of place are focusing heavily on theme and often forgetting level design. This leads to maps that look good and play like modern games, but using the mechanics and balance of a fast paced arcade experience from 18-20 years ago. This can work, but often we end up with pretty rigid, mostly linear environments, heavily scripted and set encounters. In short, unimaginative and inflexible. This doesn't necessarily mean it won't be entertaining for a first run or not fun (I love the Serious Sam games, but they fit this "modern Doom" description) and it can involve some great ideas, spectacle and scenarios (CoD throwing in snowmobile chases and the like, for example) but the replayability and diversity of experience is usually gone straight away. Everybody has to play it the right way to get through and there's very little to surprise you or do differently on a second run.


I guess it's the difference between providing a lot of potential for players to have a great time and trying to ensure that the one thing they do is the best you can give them. Modern Doom and game design in general leans heavily towards the latter; I'm perhaps more fond of the former. I hope that shows through a lot of my recent work (particularly limit removing and vanilla stuff, as that's where I really focused on it).

Old Post 12-30-13 10:13 #
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Avoozl
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But it is possible to have both, full detail doesn't always mean low level design as long as the creator knows what they're doing.

Old Post 12-30-13 10:53 #
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purist
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Although there is too much subjectivity to establish anything near a consensus or productive discussion, I do see something in the sentiment of the OP. Something Doom-like is lost in PWADs. The fact that the TWID megawads were both received as both accurate AND refreshing by both players and contributing designers is testement to this.

Two points I would make on this though:

1. This isn't a necessarily modern phenomenom. 90's PWAD authors were just as keen to add their own personality or new features as we are now. It's not as visibly noticeable due to the progress in editing tools and source ports but gameplay-wise most works do not seek to emulate id design (compare Evilution and Plutonia to Doom or Doom 2).

2. Deviating from source is not a bad thing. There's room for all types and as long as people still make the occasional PWAD that is reminiscent of the original gameplay style then nothing is lost and all are catered for.

Old Post 12-30-13 11:02 #
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Gez
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Slavish adherence to form is the express way to complete and utter stagnation. If there weren't ports with raised limits and added features, if there weren't mappers with different approaches trying to achieve something new with the medium, Doom would have died long ago.

Living things change over time, it's how you can tell they're alive. When they stop doing that, they die, and the only change they still undergo is decay. Saying modern mapping is not Doom anymore is like looking at someone, comparing them to their baby picture, and telling them they are not themselves anymore.

Old Post 12-30-13 11:34 #
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Phml
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I played KoTOR for the first time a few months back, vanilla version, no mods. Was my experience any worse because the game as I played it has had no patches, no changes for the last few years? Nope.

I also replayed FEAR 1 this year, which is a thing I do on a yearly basis. Did it "decay" any because the game was the same as the last time I played it? Nope.

Games, or works of art for that matter, can only truly decay if your appreciation of them are based on superficial, ephemeral things. Which doesn't necessarily mean *you* are vain; for example, it's not hard to see how a stand-up comedian making topical jokes could seem irrelevant in a matter of months. But even then, being even a little knowledgeable about the context can turn that around. You can still chuckle at a joke about people who are now dead if you knew about these people, you can still appreciate the gfx technology in an old game if you remember how other games of the time used to look like.

Nothing wrong with "dead" art. They're not living things to start with. If you achieve something great, it doesn't need to evolve to stay relevant to someone.

Especially as *you* should be evolving. As a teen, like most french kids my age I was supposed to read Hugo, Zola, and so on at school. Like most french kids my age I took one look at those books, thought it was dreadfully boring nonsense and went for the cliffsnotes instead. Fifteen years later I eventually looked up all these authors again and found most of what they wrote fascinating. Still no v2.0 in sight for any of these books, not even a patch in the time period ranging from teenage-me to adult-me, and yet the stories and characters are so developed everything still applies, despite every detail being different two centuries down the line.

It's great Doom has a thriving community and endless ways for people to customize their experience. It's a boon, it's a plus. Not a requirement to avoid annihilation; to say otherwise is egocentric. Most of us wouldn't be here if only vanilla Doom existed (and that's if "here", Doomworld, even existed in that scenario; doubtful) but we're a drop in the water compared to all people who played Doom ever, and all people who will play Doom in the future.

Last edited by Phml on 12-30-13 at 12:58

Old Post 12-30-13 12:51 #
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Gez
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Of course Hugo's or Zola's books are still good.

But if there was someone saying "modern writing isn't writing anymore" because today's writers do not write like Hugo and Zola did, I'd laugh in their face too.


Replaying vanilla Doom or KOTOR or whatever is not on-topic. This thread title isn't about "Modern-day Doom replaying style = not Doom anymore" (though I'm pretty sure many people out there would be likely to create such a thread).

And anyway, if Doom was one of these games that people go "that was a good game, I like to replay through it every few years, it's still great!" it would be dead. Doom is alive because it keeps getting new (community-made) content. A game that doesn't keep getting new content is a museum piece; you might still like it but you're not expecting anything new from it.

Old Post 12-30-13 12:58 #
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Phml
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But if there was someone saying "modern writing isn't writing anymore" because today's writers do not write like Hugo and Zola did, I'd laugh in their face too.


"modern-day Doom mapping style = not Doom anymore" <=> "modern-day Hugo (or Zola) writing style = not Hugo (or Zola) anymore" ; either argument seems reasonable to me (not saying I agree with either, but I can see the logic).

"modern writing isn't writing anymore because today's writers do not write like Hugo and Zola did" <=> "modern mapping isn't mapping anymore because today's mappers do not map like Romero and Petersen did" ; either argument sounds laughable.

Writing vs writing doesn't work as an analogy of Doom mapping vs Doom. Writing is the same thing, the means you use to convey your art. Doom mapping is the means (technically this is just mapping, it happens to be mapping for Doom), but Doom is the entire game, the result of a number of specific design choices using the above tech.

I guess Doom is Les Miserables actually, if we compare mapping to writing. But it's also a book written in pencil, so you can erase chapters, or append new ones if you'd like. I guess the issue is whether you see Doom, the essence of Doom or whatever as the words already written or as the pencil and paper. IMHO given the context of his OP and all it makes sense to assume the discussion is around the former interpretation. Sure, the latter is just as justifiable, Doom being a specific piece of software it'd be a specific kind of pencil, specific paper that would allow specific results, and it can be arguably defined by its wholesome potential more than by one part of its original design, but at this point we're left nitpicking about terminology rather than the actual topic.


A game that doesn't keep getting new content is a museum piece; you might still like it but you're not expecting anything new from it.


Whatevs, mister perfect. :) *I* am not, so I get new things out of replaying dead games for a variety of reasons. Being unobservant and missing content. Variations of gameplay. Plain forgetting stuff and seeing it as new again. Having a different state of mind and experiencing things in a new light as a result. The list goes on.

Last edited by Phml on 12-30-13 at 13:43

Old Post 12-30-13 13:11 #
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Demonologist
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I absolutely agree with Gez here, he pretty much elaborates my own thoughts.
Sorry Phml.

Old Post 12-30-13 15:50 #
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Antroid
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dew said:
Also I never compared McGee's '94 efforts to every vanilla PWAD out there, but there's an endless list of custom maps you could fit between "Petersen-degree detail" and "McGee-degree detail", so the clean abstract looks of original Doom is quite a vague term.

Well obviously. I don't see your initial point of bringing McGee up then, I don't think I ever said that all PWADs are overdetailed compared to doom. Of course there's levels out there with the visual style close to the original Dooms, and I usually like them too. Sure it's vague, this stuff is all matters of perception and I can't really begin to try and form a firm outline of what fits and what doesn't. I can only express my feelings about any individual area of a map (whether it feels Doomy to me or not), or I can try to understand what usually influences those feelings. That is a thankless undertaking to be sure but it's still always interesting to me to analyze what features and aspects of level design make me (and other people, but that's harder to do) feel a certain way. I guess it doesn't make for the most coherent posts ever, oh well.


Also, on the topic of Doom staying alive due to new content and whatnot. New content doesn't necessarily mean exclusively everchanging and everevolving styles, to the point where it is "not doom anymore". Sure, that's out there for the many people who enjoy it, but some people also enjoy classical-style levels and just want "more of the same". New content of the same style is still new content. I couldn't speculate about what would've happened to the community if everyone was like that, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with individuals not caring about any sort of innovation in Doom mapping. Certainly not enough to justify being hostile or dismissive towards that outlook. I could also make fun of people who want their doom to constantly change, claiming that they don't know anything apart from Doom or don't have computers good enough for other games so they want to make doom into things it isn't because they can't imagine another way to play something new (as I always said, I play doom to play doom, if I want to play something that isn't doom I'll go play some other game). But I'm not gonna, because that's as idiotic as calling people who only like one specific slice of the Doom community's creativity "cavemen" or something like that. There's so many classic-style projects being worked on and enjoyed, you can't honestly say they have no place and not look like a dunce. I'm with Phml on this one, predictably.

Old Post 12-30-13 16:16 #
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kmxexii
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I couldn't care less if no one tried to emulate the styles of the original Doom levels. I don't think Romero, Hall, Petersen and McGee (and uh Green I guess) are untouchable, not to put words in anyone's mouth. When id published Doom, they certainly captured an aesthetic that people have gone back to again and again, in map / encounter design. This feel must have informed practically every PWAD constructed since then, since Doom / Doom II were more or less the gateway to Doom modding in the first place. I'm sure outliers exist, just like music has The Shaggs. I'm more interested, though, in the variance of user maps than whether or not they successfully emulate Doominess, whatever that means to you.

Old Post 12-30-13 17:33 #
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Graf Zahl
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In general, I think one can say that people who complain about this do not care about variety - they just want more of the same and more of the same.

Old Post 12-30-13 17:57 #
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40oz
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A lot of the design philosiphy that I used for creating UAC Ultra 2 Episode 1 was taken directly and exclusively from Doom 1 and Doom 2, excepting a few 1994 PWADs. The primitive traps, the scattered placement of the monsters, etc. were part of the strategy to combine the essence of Doom with a unusually strange and modern-looking aesthetic.

At the time I was finishing it I was exceptionally pleased with how well it was turning out and "feeling" like Doom to me. When it was released, the feedback wasn't as great as I expected. People downloaded it with different expectations and what seemed like perfection to me was sloppy and nonsensical to them. I don't intend to change it but I am taking a more modernized approach to some of the other episode.

I agree entirely that a lot of mapper's styles these days are highly antagonistic to the original IWADs. Puzzle solving, non-orthogonal shaped rooms, non-linear layouts, stairbuilding, platform jumping, catwalks, crushers and high-contrast lighting are extremely rare these days. Not to say that modern maps are lacking without them, but they are things that I genuinely miss sometimes when playing through a newer megawad or highly reviewed short episode.

I'm a bit bothered with some of the highly praised wads having highly scripted gameplay, and completely orthogonal areas such that you're only moving on the map in cardinal directions. It doesn't feel as inventive and unique and more importantly, makes the player feel less in control of the game and his/her surroundings.

Old Post 12-30-13 18:19 #
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GoatLord
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I'm pretty open-minded with maps, though I draw the lines at either extreme. Maps that are overly detailed--not necessarily realistic or based on real locations--can get cramped and often feel gratuitous in their decadence. At the same time, if there just isn't enough going on, or the same few textures are used too frequently, it can reduce the game to blandness.

On the whole, the best maps either evoke a surreal/abstract response that lets my imagination fill in the blanks, or has a very specific aesthetic that is exciting because it shares a certain familiarity with reality. Some can even combine the two, like the City of the Damned series or Claustrophobia.

Old Post 12-30-13 18:48 #
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wesleyjohnson
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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

Old Post 12-30-13 20:57 #
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