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wesleyjohnson
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Continuation of "Fast doors and other Level problems".
Commentary on levels and constructive feedback.
Add your own commentary on whatever level design.
Try not to be offensive, try not to use "You".

I would like to hear from someone testing my MAP09 or MAP13.
I do not have a clue what you think of them (any of the versions).
You may want to go to incoming and get johnson_map09 or johnson_map13.


*** I will always consider it a negative point for a level, if the player has to save game and restore multiple times to get through a overly-tough spot. I do not include saving game as a precaution against doing something stupid, like trying to force your way through an occupied room. I include "learn by dying" as a negative though.
I include as a negative, having to restore the same game 10 times because you keep dying at the same spot. Having to use GOD mode counts the same.

*** It is easy to demonstrate (as a level designer) that you can set traps and kill the player off at will, but not as much fun to play.

*** I prefer great choices, over great threat, as defining great play. This means giving the player a chance to explore the options, finding a way to kill them without taking damage, and especially in having choices in how to attack the problems presented by the level.

*** Speaking for myself, I want to see some of the level before getting killed, get a look at the possibilities for taking cover, and have at least 10 seconds to see the threat (preferably in the distance), before it gets to me and slaughters me. I would like to get a chance to run away and hide. This should apply to all transport destinations too.


*** MAP31 (Wolfenstien castle)
I liked the previous, liked the castle, but mechanisms were broken.
Now the gate works.
I looks like some of the underground structure was meant to do something, but is unfinished.
My best option is to go in using GOD mode.

Currently I am surrounded by I do not know how many revenants, and killed in about 5 seconds, every time. Rough treatment for discovering a secret level.

- Tested at HARD level.
- Too many revenants all at one time, and way to close, for my taste.
- Do not care for being surrounded like that right at the transport-in spot. Seen it too many times in other wads, and never enjoyed the experience.
- The player must have some kind of automatic aim, auto-fire, to even have a chance at surviving this. I do not use such things. I do play through most maps at HARD without saving games.
- The castle could be twice as large, with more internal structure without hurting anything. Castles usually have several sheds, rooms, etc, built along the inside of the main walls (Yea, I have several books on castles). Then the revenants could be in a different room from the transport-in spot.

Old Post 03-05-10 21:19 #
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Catoptromancy
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http://ftpusers.coffeenet.org/~cato...ent/FDMAP31.LMP

Old Post 03-05-10 21:41 #
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wesleyjohnson
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I started this thread as a way to get feedback, especially on my levels.
I know I can play through them at HARD, without saving game, but can most others, or are they too easy ??

Some general points:
1. I expect the author can play their level, that is to be expected. But how does the bulk population of players do at it.

2. It is easy to make a level that the author can play but others cannot. There are no end of wads out there that favor the authors technique, or playing depends on knowing the level well. That is why the author makes such a poor test player.

3. One of my quality measures is that all players, the ones that run around madly, the ones that plot and sneak, the ones that play as fast as possible, and the ones that take their time, have a good time playing every map. I have tested my levels by playing in different styles
(ones I would never use) just to ensure I did not just design it for myself.

Old Post 03-09-10 21:19 #
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wesleyjohnson
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MAP31 Wolfenstien

I am generally against getting into a discussion with authors, as they usually turn heated, especially if the author gets defensive. I have been in code reviews before, on both sides. We don't need that.

I watched the demo. It is not surprising that the author can play the level they designed.

I tried the special technique demonstrated. In 20+ tests, I survived for 10 seconds, max. On average only killed 3 revenants each time and most times only survived long enough to get the ammo. Usually, when I turn around there are 3 revenants that have followed me down the stairs, and usually the third one kills me.
Other times they are waiting for me at the top of the stairs.
The one time I got back up the stairs, some of the revenants were still standing near the wall, which made it impossible to circle them, they just trapped me against the wall.

My port does not behave identically to what happens in the demo.
I use keyboard forward and back, which does not have the high running speed that some other techniques have.
It appears that winning on this level favors a specific port, and taking advantage of some of the characteristics of it.

Old Post 03-09-10 21:37 #
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GhostlyDeath
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wesleyjohnson said:
My port does not behave identically to what happens in the demo.
I use keyboard forward and back, which does not have the high running speed that some other techniques have.
It appears that winning on this level favors a specific port, and taking advantage of some of the characteristics of it.



Which port is yours and which port was the level made for?

Old Post 03-09-10 23:04 #
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wesleyjohnson
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I was running pre-release versions of Legacy 144, I think svn590 through svn612.
I also tried prboom and got almost identical results (different controls so I am slower), but the monsters behaved in the same manner.
I played the demo on prboom. Several times during playback, when the player was circling and got near the stairs the player would instantly jump to the corner and continue circling.
I do not know what port the level was designed on.
I do not have boom202.

Old Post 03-12-10 21:39 #
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wesleyjohnson
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I have submitted latest MAP09 to the incoming site ftp://free.doomers.org/incoming/johnson_10_mar12.zip.

I would like to hear some feedback on the caves in the northwest corner of the map. I tried to make them more realistic of actual caves, as opposed to the usual irregular corridor type cave.
It started as a way to get out that end of the pit.
It provides a back exit out of the area for deathmatch.
I could replace them with more mining tunnels but that seems to be too many mining tunnels and might be boring. But it requires many linedefs and sectors to do reasonable looking caves.

The revenant at the newly connected far east exit of the cave system
now has a tendency to follow the player back into the cave, even though he should not fit. Please check this out. I suppose we can imagine that he is just ducking down to get through that opening, or else we need to shorten the revenant sprite to match the size the doom engine uses. I have tried making the opening smaller, but angled openings require extra room to prevent jamming the player.

Last edited by wesleyjohnson on 03-12-10 at 22:01

Old Post 03-12-10 21:55 #
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Catoptromancy
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Map31 is a secret map so will be harder than other maps. That area is one of the easy places in the map. That is part of the fun of hard maps is figuring out the strategy to beat it. All Freedoom maps are to be boom202 compatible.

Old Post 03-13-10 00:33 #
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wesleyjohnson
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Any interest (or "fun") in beating those revenants in MAP31 gave up and left after the 20th try. There is nothing different that I do that makes any difference. That is why it is no longer "fun". I have no interest in trying to learn to play exactly like the author using boom202, which is the only thing that I can see that would succeed.
Thus, I have given up on playing this level without GOD mode.

Old Post 03-20-10 02:16 #
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Catoptromancy
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http://ftpusers.coffeenet.org/~cato...mos/nomouse.lmp
You could try using no mouse?

Is it too hard in HMP? Maybe your port runs too slow? Standard doom running should be enough.
Dont wake up all the revenants, just grab SSG and go is main trick.

Last edited by Catoptromancy on 03-20-10 at 02:59

Old Post 03-20-10 02:53 #
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wesleyjohnson
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I spotted a HOM on MAP13 (latest johnson upload) in the large green nuke pool, looking right at at outgoing sluce board, just under the fluid surface.
This is my map so I will fix it (when I get to it, not right now).

Old Post 05-25-10 23:01 #
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wesleyjohnson
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Downloaded MAP28 as submitted in the "Map Status and Map Bug Reports" thread, and played it through. I believe that Zok was asking for some feedback

MAP28 JUNE 16, 2010

Looks like alot of work, well laid out, textures align, etc..
I like the attention to detail.

Texture A-VINE2 is not present (linedef 6283,6284,6285) and texture AASTINKY is displayed instead (on Legacy).

At start, looking over walls (shooting at imps) there is HOM over back wall, in east and west direction. All the middle textures are missing, which displays as HOM. To have a sky view without a wall, create a thin sector with the sky height 1 above the floor, middle texture anything but blank, depress the floor if necessary.

At end of level, on platform, looking at the right hand cube on a pedestal, there is HOM on the wall behind it. The cube linedef crosses the wall linedef without a vertex, which is invalid layout.

That grate in the blood (BLUE area) looks strange. Blood is not clear so should not be seeing the lower part of the grate. To cut off display of the bottom of the transparent grate, darken the light level on the far side by 1 or more (a trick to fix unwanted sector combining is to make the sectors have some little difference).

Layout looks nice, but it must be played using the save game.
Booby-trap play, especially in the Blue area.

Damaging sectors are inconsistent, especially in BLUE area. Flats that look like they should be damaging are not, and the blood is damaging in some areas and not others. Cannot avoid running through Blood, but cannot tell if it is going to damage or not, so more learn-by-dying.

The following comments are the personal opinion of wesleyjohnson, and are relative to my personal play preferences. I review the level as it appears the first time played. I view the save game as something you use to continue the game the next day, not as a tool to get through a level. To that end I will re-play a level as if I did not know secrets and traps discovered on previous attempts. Other people will have other opinions.

The first time playing the level it is die, die, die, because of all the traps. The traps got tedious. There is little opportunity for the player to choose how to play it, the traps control everything.

Teleporting two strong monsters immediately next to the player is a
bit much.

Really appreciated having that area up by the yellow button, where the
player could clear out the monsters from long range.

Do not understand, why offer an orb in a crushing room, just to kill the player another way ??
I tried to run out quickly and that does not work either.
There is no way to get it, is there ??
I gave up on trying to get the orb.

Last edited by wesleyjohnson on 06-20-10 at 17:04

Old Post 06-20-10 16:42 #
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wesleyjohnson
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Because of discussion from "Level status and bug reports".

Difficulties in some early maps.
There is a terrific difference between entering one of these maps with
all weapons from a previous level, and having to restart after getting killed where you are naked with a pistol.

** Forced to fight in ditch with damaging slime, with no suit until after killing at least 4 monsters.
I agree, had to replay that part at least 4 to 6 times, every time I play that level. Just plain frantic, "learn by dying" is required.

** Cacodemons early, cornering player.
I have to agree that the Cacodemons are impossible to beat unless you cheat, or have some heavy weapons from a previous level.
The revenant trap is no fun either, they pop up at close range, and it took way too many replays to form a strategy to defeat them without losing too much.

I do note that to some people forming that strategy and being able to defeat them shows that they are experienced and that is the 'fun' part for them, but for me (and I think many others) it is exploring and defeating the level ** without prior playing and re-playing **.

I do replay levels, and I have replayed my MAP13 over 100 times (testing) and it is still fun (and it still kills me repeatedly because I get overconfident and sloppy, and it is unpredictable).

My ideal level not that difficult, but attracts me back because it plays ** DIFFERENTLY ** when replayed. This is my opinion, what is yours ??

Old Post 06-28-10 18:40 #
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Catoptromancy
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The real issue is whether Freedoom should be easy for everyone on -skill 4. Skills 1 through 3 wont be needed. And experienced players can go elsewhere for a challenge.

Earlier in this thread you say my MAP31 fix can only be played with godmode. I posted a demo where I dont even turn, much less use a mouse. I face the direction I spawn and beat the "impossible" area. Very many players know how to circle strafe a bunch of revenants and will find that area quite simple, but they will still need to be alert to beat that area. That is what I find a good challenge.

Instead of claiming a map is impossible without cheating, why not use a lower skill level? The skill levels will eventually be fine tuned so that ALL players can enjoy the game.

Skill levels are not a bad thing, nothing is wrong with playing in -skill 2 or 3. You could test MAP31 in -skill 2 or -skill 3 and comment if it is too easy or too hard.

Last edited by Catoptromancy on 06-29-10 at 02:43

Old Post 06-29-10 02:26 #
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GhostlyDeath
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Catoptromancy said:
The real issue is whether Freedoom should be easy for everyone on -skill 4. Skills 1 through 3 wont be needed. And experienced players can go elsewhere for a challenge.

Earlier in this thread you say my MAP31 fix can only be played with godmode. I posted a demo where I dont even turn, much less use a mouse. I face the direction I spawn and beat the "impossible" area. Very many players know how to circle strafe a bunch of revenants and will find that area quite simple, but they will still need to be alert to beat that area. That is what I find a good challenge.

Instead of claiming a map is impossible without cheating, why not use a lower skill level? The skill levels will eventually be fine tuned so that ALL players can enjoy the game.

Skill levels are not a bad thing, nothing is wrong with playing in -skill 2 or 3.



I want a challenge on skill 4.

Old Post 06-29-10 02:38 #
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Catoptromancy
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GhostlyDeath said:


I want a challenge on skill 4.



A challenge for you could be impossible for other people. Which is why multiple skill levels are implemented.

Old Post 06-29-10 02:45 #
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Jon
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Catoptromancy said:


A challenge for you could be impossible for other people. Which is why multiple skill levels are implemented.



Yes, with skill 4 being the hardest (remembering that skill 5 is a joke). I personally would use skills 1-2 as the easy ones, aim skill 3 at an 'average' FPS player, not a seasoned community person, and make skill 4 the one that a community person will enjoy.

Old Post 06-29-10 10:36 #
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Catoptromancy
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Skill 1 and 5 I feel should not be mapped for or need to be tested. Skill 2 should be easy enough for most anyone, while skill 4 gives experienced players a challenge.

Everyone has their own skill level. Skill level can be adjusted so everyone can have fun.

Some maps right now are not fully finished such as MAP24 or MAP12 and are way too hard for most people. Their monster/item balance will be adjusted.

In slime areas suits can be added in lower skills while in -skill 4 a medkit will do. Suit makes a player not need to rush and a medkit will force player to rush while staying alive, a perfect balance of skill.

Old Post 06-29-10 14:12 #
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Z0k
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lol i think a made a real hell that level. im going to fix those errors. yeah the orb in a crushing room was a booby-trap but i think im going to put another way to get it. and change it to soulsphere cause the invisibility sphere its a power up you must use in monsters big groups.

i was waiting this review since i dont know how harder its the level.. thanks im going to fix those errors (especially flats textures)


now the blood pools are sign of damage sectors. so red rocks flat not are damage one. i think im going to put some of these from start to show the player that floor are safe ones.

i remove barons from the blue area and move the revenants where the barons teleports. and in the area where revenants teleport i put chaingunners so theyre not hard monsters to kill.

in the booby trap zone i remove the doors closing. you have 2 ways to get in the one its taking the invisibility and then go backward and the other one its taking the secret door where the 2 chaingunners come out and i added more ammo, back pack, health in that secret zone and you get teleported in a room behind the invisbility sphere where i put more bonus item like soulsphere and blue armor so if the player find the secre he would get more life and armor. (the zone its easy to see that its secret door)

Here its the fixed map i remove too the hom effect (i hope its ok now)

[EDIT]07/11/2010 Uploaded again the map this time i change the Skills on the things so i remove strong monsters in Easy and Medium Skill and added more health. and radiation suits on the yellow key part. if you have a better skill change for the things do it :) because i know the map and i dont know if the level its hard for other or not. though i play with keyboard too so most of the doom maps dont are hard for me.

http://rapidshare.com/files/406372144/map28.rar <<<< Fixed again

Last edited by Z0k on 07-11-10 at 17:27

Old Post 06-29-10 18:26 #
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240-185
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I tried map12 with lower skills. Which makes me think that "idiot" isn't harsh enough to describe the author of that level.

"You managed to kill this Hell Knight with your 8 shotgun shells? Now try to kill these extra Cacodemons with the same amount of ammo! And now, without a shotgun and another Hell Knight, bitch!"

Plus, I would add a remark. If the map isn't finished, then send it at the end of the episode and make a clear statement that Freedoom is playable until a particular map. That would avoid many users' complaints and they wouldn't have to accidentally discover in the forums that a map is broken indeed!

Old Post 07-01-10 13:49 #
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Jon
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240-185 said:
Plus, I would add a remark. If the map isn't finished, then send it at the end of the episode and make a clear statement that Freedoom is playable until a particular map. That would avoid many users' complaints and they wouldn't have to accidentally discover in the forums that a map is broken indeed!


I disagree with this bit, it sounds like a waste of time. I don't see the point of spending time on a workaround when that same time could be put into balancing.

Old Post 07-01-10 13:52 #
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Catoptromancy
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I have been working on MAP12 for the last few days.

Old Post 07-01-10 16:00 #
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Catoptromancy
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Z0k said:
http://rapidshare.com/files/404115615/map28.rar.html <<<< Fixed again [/B]


There are player blocking hanging bodies in tall sectors. In certain places it may not matter but in very first hall from start there is one. Its high enough that it seems like it should not block. Gameplay wise, its directly in front of a door in the middle of a fairly narrow hall. This constricts movement and cannot be seen by player in space it is blocking.

Check your stout.txt in prboom-plus folder. Prboom-plus even considers them to be a mapping error. They can easily be replaced with similar looking graphics that do not block.

code:
P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at -128,-560 (type=74) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at -288,-640 (type=74) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 36,-640 (type=73) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at -480,-636 (type=76) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 224,-640 (type=75) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 112,-2808 (type=49) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 48,-2940 (type=49) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at -368,-2756 (type=49) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at -316,-2868 (type=49) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at -2088,840 (type=74) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 576,-24 (type=75) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 768,-24 (type=78) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 576,-232 (type=77) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 768,-232 (type=76) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 1688,1004 (type=73) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 2616,-1356 (type=78) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 2684,-1356 (type=77) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 3872,-1248 (type=76) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 3816,1020 (type=76) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 3860,976 (type=52) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 2612,1012 (type=52) P_SpawnMapThing: solid hanging body in tall sector at 2680,1012 (type=52)

Old Post 07-01-10 18:52 #
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Z0k
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oh i forgot to change that hanging body since i dont see in zdoom that problem i think i just removed that body anyways im going to deleted it since nobody can see it until they look up.

http://rapidshare.com/files/404616877/map28.rar.html <<<<< FIXED

also i change the hanging body where the player meet the shotgunners with the imps in that room. because maybe can block player movement if they want strafe.

the other bodies y dont remove it since theyre just in some decoration rooms or in cage.

Old Post 07-03-10 04:51 #
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wesleyjohnson
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Good, could use more feedback. The only way to discover some of these problems is for someone else to test it on another port and report any
problems they get. This is no different that going through a code review and having other programmers comment on every little thing.


About the difficulty thing again.

1. Must recognize that we are creating these levels for others to play, not to torture them, or prove how great we are. If you cannot deal with the feedback you get then this is going to be a very disappointing experience.

2. Players cannot change the difficulty level after they start. We cannot get to map31 and then change it down to level 3. What is considered reasonable for a difficulty level must be consistent across
all of FreeDoom. Each author cannot decide that independently for
their levels because the player cannot change the difficulty level in the middle of a game, just for them.

3. The things that cause a level to be unreasonable, very rarely have anything to do with difficulty level. I have played Doom2 through at level 4, going several maps before having to save game. When I had to save game, it was something that occurred for all difficulty levels. It is the "learn by dying" that forces this, the deliberate traps, secrets that cannot be found, waves of monsters, lack of ammo,
requiring special talents that only special players have, etc..
The special talents required many times are obscure, like being able to time a jump just right to the absolute maximum distance.
The problem is that when it not an optional path in the level, it excludes anyone who cannot do that particular thing.

4. I will always consider being forced to save game and retry something over and over again to be a negative point for a level design.

Last edited by wesleyjohnson on 07-04-10 at 03:36

Old Post 07-04-10 03:22 #
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wesleyjohnson
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Leaving out the suit at level 4 and forcing the player to lose points ?

I must disagree with this particular idea for several reasons, which has to do with much more than just that, so this rambles ....

1) It somewhat works if the player previously played it at a lower level and discovered the traps and how to survive. It is not so great if the player first plays it at level 4 and is flailing about while dying over and over. They are not going to appreciate being killed
in that way (out of their control, not their doing).

2) Some players who only play at level 4, still will want the suit available.
Part of being an experienced player is not being stupid enough to go into a damaging sector without a clear way to limit damage. Being forced to do exactly what you know is wrong is just aggravating.

3) It is not "fun" being forced to play in the one way the level author decided. That is being a puppet.

4) Saying pick a lower difficulty is not workable. The difficultly is selected at game start, several levels will have already been played,
at that difficulty level, and it cannot be changed.

5) I for one, am not going to play a wad at several difficulty levels just to discover which one has the suits at reasonable places.
People are going to decide their opinion about FreeDoom after having played it once. If they find problems with completing levels, they will abandon it, not try other difficulty levels.

6) The suit can be made more tedious to get at the higher difficulties. Then careful players can still get it at the expense of some time and effort and will feel better for having done that. Impatient players can skip the suit, and suffer the consequences, and will probably be proud of themselves for having done that.

Designing the level to exclude one or the other will harm the playing experience for one, with no increase to the joy of the other.

7) What I disagree with is the idea that higher difficulty levels must mean excessive difficulties in the play.

I believe that higher difficulties have a small increase in monster density, and a decrease in supplies to normal levels (not to minimum levels).
I believe that lower difficulties have an excess of supplies because the inexperienced can waste about 2 to 3 times what is normal.

8) Moving supplies to different locations at higher levels, I think is a good idea. That means that replaying a game at a higher difficulty provides more interest.

Old Post 07-04-10 04:23 #
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Catoptromancy
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Exactly which maps and what part of each map? I think you may be playing maps that need skill adjusted. There are many maps that have seen little play testing with comments.

MAP31 really is not that hard and that is the only map you have mentioned here.

Old Post 07-04-10 10:10 #
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wesleyjohnson said:

8) Moving supplies to different locations at higher levels, I think is a good idea. That means that replaying a game at a higher difficulty provides more interest.



wesleyjohnson said:

4) Saying pick a lower difficulty is not workable. The difficultly is selected at game start, several levels will have already been played,
at that difficulty level, and it cannot be changed.



So people can choose a higher skill, but never a lower one? If you are already playing the highest skill(-skill 4) you cant make it any harder.
-skill 5 only speeds up monsters and respawns them, does not move any items at all.

Last edited by Catoptromancy on 07-04-10 at 10:20

Old Post 07-04-10 10:13 #
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GhostlyDeath
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If playing on UV to too hard for you then you should play a lower skill level. And keep doing that until it's easy.

If you don't have the abilities to strafe around enemies, conserve ammo and think, you shouldn't be playing UV anyway.

If a skilled player can beat the level on UV and even on NM then the level is beatable.

Old Post 07-04-10 17:10 #
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240-185
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GhostlyDeath said:
If playing on UV to too hard for you then you should play a lower skill level. And keep doing that until it's easy.

If you don't have the abilities to strafe around enemies, conserve ammo and think, you shouldn't be playing UV anyway.

If a skilled player can beat the level on UV and even on NM then the level is beatable.



I managed to beat Doom I in UV mode.
I'm trying to beat Doom II in UV mode.
I managed to beat Duke Nukem 3D in "Come Get Some" mode, and God knows the monsters were pretty tougher.

FreeDoom, at this very moment, is just a challenge for overskilled players and is very likely to disgust any newcoming players. I dare you to beat MAP12 with only the pistol at start in UV mode. Post the video on Youtube if you did so.


MAP31 really is not that hard and that is the only map you have mentioned here.

Tested it directly in UV mode. I managed to kill some revenants. Cool. I think I get the main problem of FreeDoom: a blatant lack of beta-testers.

Last edited by 240-185 on 07-05-10 at 21:15

Old Post 07-05-10 21:06 #
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