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PhantomTMac
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I have no clue what happened. When I was still getting used to map making, I had tons of ideas and no two rooms were alike. Each place was exciting and interesting to look at, but I have completely run dry in the realm of creativity.

Seriously, I have to strain myself to come up with an interesting concept, and even when I think something might look cool, it's extremely dull and boring. While my mind used to come up with abstract and interesting ideas, lately it's completely stopped working.

Here's some of the issues I'm having:

1. For some reason I feel that EVERY room must be a perfectly symmetrical polygon. In other words, all of my room shapes are either squares, hexagons, octagons, and rectangles.

2. I try too hard to make things look realistic. Doom maps are typically absurd compared to real world locations, but I can't seem to escape creating buildings that are as boring as a business high-rise in a large city.

3. I seem to think every area needs to be set off by a door. No two rooms seem to ever be connected by an open hallway or some other means than a door. This means that the player must go from one door to another again and again, while only taking a few steps.

4. I place very few monsters. For some reason my mind thinks it needs to place monsters in a specific way and that no monster should be placed in the middle of a room without having a special way of presenting itself. In other words, there are only like 50 enemies for every medium sized map (if even).

5. I'm impatient. I seem to rush when I make a wad because I just want to get it done. I don't take the time to make a good looking map, because I don't feel like putting too much time in one area.

6. I only see the big picture, but not the smaller details that make it up. I get an idea of what I want the place to look like, but I don't give the area the proper decor to actually feel like the specified area.

7. It's all been done. It's hard to be creative when just about every idea has already been done by someone else in some way.

8. My maps are all way too linear. I never seem to make rooms that don't have an important purpose, nor do I ever seem to make the player go back and forth in a level. Also, each room usually only has two doors. One for where you came in, and one for where you need to go.

9. Lastly, I seem to get bored way too easily. Drawing out a map isn't really as fun as playing one, so I tend to lose interest while creating maps, even though I thoroughly enjoy map making.

I don't know, guys. Honestly, I don't even feel like I'll ever finish a wad that I'm truly satisfied with. My own wads tend to get boring for me to play, and I can't seem to find the mentality to make something fun and exciting. The only problem is, I don't want to give up Doom building. It's one of my favorite pastimes, even if it does stress me out.

Any thoughts?

Old Post 10-22-12 02:07 #
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Pottus
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I think this statement sums up your problem....

"I don't know, guys. Honestly, I don't even feel like I'll ever finish a wad that I'm truly satisfied with. My own wads tend to get boring for me to play, and I can't seem to find the mentality to make something fun and exciting. The only problem is, I don't want to give up Doom building. It's one of my favorite pastimes, even if it does stress me out."

Particularly the part about never being satisfied here is the catch with that it takes building a lot of maps before you start creating stuff your satisfied with your focus is completely wrong you need only focus on finishing a MAP!!!!

Satisfaction in your work will come eventually through trial and error but without building many maps even shit ones you'll never have any sense of what works and what doesn't work for you. At the same time your building your skills you'll eventually get to the point where you don't even need creativity or motivation to make a map because you develop enough techniques you can just pick and choose what techniques you want and do them blind folded.

Old Post 10-22-12 02:15 #
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PhantomTMac
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Pottus said:
Satisfaction in your work will come eventually through trial and error but without building many maps even shit ones you'll never have any sense of what works and what doesn't work for you. At the same time your building your skills you'll eventually get to the point where you don't even need creativity or motivation to make a map because you develop enough techniques you can just pick and choose what techniques you want and do them blind folded.


Problem is, I've learned just about everything there is to know about mapping. I've been making maps for a few years now and have practiced everything I could think of, so it's not really a matter of me still having to build my skills. I think it's BECAUSE I know everything that I don't have anything else to learn, meaning I'm not open to trying out anything new. :/ Besides, I've finished maps, just not entire wads that I'd be willing to share.

Old Post 10-22-12 02:21 #
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Pottus
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I don't know about that I'm still learning new stuff all the time I really don't think there is an end to what can be learned.

Old Post 10-22-12 03:01 #
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PhantomTMac
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Pottus said:
I don't know about that I'm still learning new stuff all the time I really don't think there is an end to what can be learned.


I was being a tad bit generic. I'm saying, there's really no commands or effects that I haven't learned yet. Technique can always be learned, but you can only learn as much as a program can offer.

Old Post 10-22-12 03:03 #
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Pottus
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See now were getting somewhere here :)

Old Post 10-22-12 03:05 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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Go down your list of points and make a map that breaks every one of them. Killing off 1-4 especially will make your maps far more interesting.

Old Post 10-22-12 03:06 #
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PhantomTMac
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Pottus said:
See now were getting somewhere here :)


Yeah, I guess we are. Mainly, I've just been trying to play some popular wads to give myself an idea of what makes a wad fun. My main source of inspiration is probably Community Chest 4, but the problem is, like mentioned before, I don't want to directly copy anything. Did I mention my maps are also very flat? They tend to feel like Wolfenstein 3D maps rather than Doom, because I can't seem to get the concept of height. Haha...

Old Post 10-22-12 03:08 #
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Eregore
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Your becoming obsessive compulsive. Pottus said it pretty well. Focus on what your aiming to do if spontaneity is proving to be unsuccessful. Pick a general theme or layout and make a goal of succeeding in finishing that project before moving on to the next. Not only are you practicing mapping, your practicing breaking the bad habits you've created. Be satisfied with the imperfections of completed levels as your finishing them, learn from your mistakes, and move on.

If your really out of creativity take another look at the maps most inspiring to you and make some map 'remixes', just to get your inspiration back. Hope that helps!

Old Post 10-22-12 03:09 #
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BloodyAcid
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Try building more dark cave areas - they force you to create rooms that aren't orthogonal. Sure, you can still force it, but knowing it's nature might help.

Old Post 10-22-12 03:09 #
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PhantomTMac
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Eregore said:
Your becoming obsessive compulsive. Pottus said it pretty well. Focus on what your aiming to do if spontaneity is proving to be unsuccessful. Pick a general theme or layout and make a goal of succeeding in finishing that project before moving on to the next. Not only are you practicing mapping, your practicing breaking the bad habits you've created. Be satisfied with the imperfections of completed levels as your finishing them, learn from your mistakes, and move on.

If your really out of creativity take another look at the maps most inspiring to you and make some map 'remixes', just to get your inspiration back. Hope that helps!



I definitely do feel like I've become rather OCD when it comes to mapping. Which is really weird being that I have a totally different "defect". Ahem, anyways... I wish I could take the time to think it all through, but even my mental images follow the bullet points I listed. And it's not just map making, either. I used to write books all the time, most of which I read to my friends (they think my books are interesting), but I haven't written a book in almost a year now, because I lost all my ideas there, as well. Same goes for my drawings and videos (I do a commentary based walkthrough of GEX - Enter the Gecko for the N64). My entire mind has shut down.

Old Post 10-22-12 03:13 #
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PhantomTMac
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BloodyAcid said:
Try building more dark cave areas - they force you to create rooms that aren't orthogonal. Sure, you can still force it, but knowing it's nature might help.


Ironically, caves were usually easy for me to make, because of exactly what you said about not knowing their true nature. However, that means I'd have to try to incorporate a cave into whatever theme my map is going for.

Old Post 10-22-12 03:18 #
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40oz
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trying to simulate realism can really bog down on your creativity. It's not very inventive if you just get to create things you've seen before or things that are easy to visualize in your head. Sometimes it helps break the monotony of a "realistic" level by just drawing a shape for a room with no intention of knowing what it would look like in Doom's 2.5D universe. Or just doing something weird like a room shaped like a star or one with an absurdly high ceiling to help yourself break out of a barrier of strict mapping rules.

Old Post 10-22-12 03:33 #
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PhantomTMac
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40oz said:
trying to simulate realism can really bog down on your creativity. It's not very inventive if you just get to create things you've seen before or things that are easy to visualize in your head. Sometimes it helps break the monotony of a "realistic" level by just drawing a shape for a room with no intention of knowing what it would look like in Doom's 2.5D universe. Or just doing something weird like a room shaped like a star or one with an absurdly high ceiling to help yourself break out of a barrier of strict mapping rules.


VERY good information. Thanks.

Old Post 10-22-12 03:35 #
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Harmata
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I seem to think every area needs to be set off by a door, it needs to place monsters in a specific way and that no monster should be placed in the middle of a room without having a special way of presenting itself

Ummm, dude, i'm pretty sure you can fix these problems by simply not, well doing them. You want to place a door, but you know it's wrong? Gee, then don't place it. Put only one monster into the room? Well, put three more. Control yourself, duh.

I'm impatient. I seem to rush when I make a wad because I just want to get it done. It's all been done. It's hard to be creative when just about every idea has already been done by someone else in some way.

If you are making a map only to be able to say that you've done it, or to impress someone with your "creativity", you will only be satisfied when someone will notice and comment your work.

I only see the big picture, but not the smaller details that make it up.

That's because of rushing, see above.

Linearity

Mapping without planning tends to go that way, because simple shapes are very easy to make. Try designing your maps on paper or in image editor before even placing a single vertex.

Lastly, I seem to get bored way too easily. Drawing out a map isn't really as fun as playing one, so I tend to lose interest while creating maps, even though I thoroughly enjoy map making.

I think that you don't know what you are expecting from level making. I think that you don't like mapping itself (working in level editor), but something else still keeps you "in business".

Related problems:
*fatigue
*puberty
*real life problems
*uncomfortable work place.

Old Post 10-22-12 08:16 #
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Alwaysdoomed
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Try playing other wads to get insperation!! Also dont try to build stuff to realistic because lets face it, life is boring!!

Old Post 10-22-12 09:10 #
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grouchbag
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Try using Oblige for some ideas? At least they are random.Also I agree with the other guy.Play other wads.Besides,I really liked your Doom City wad,and wish you the best of luck.I can't make maps myself,even with oblige.The last time I tried,it sucked worse than a few recent maps.

Old Post 10-22-12 09:37 #
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darkreaver
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grouchbag said:
Try using Oblige for some ideas?


No.

Old Post 10-22-12 09:43 #
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Phobus
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So you've highlighted all of the problems that you have identified with your own mapping, making it very obvious what needs to change in order to improve it and then ask us what to do? You already know! :P

Old Post 10-22-12 10:01 #
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PhantomTMac
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Phobus said:
So you've highlighted all of the problems that you have identified with your own mapping, making it very obvious what needs to change in order to improve it and then ask us what to do? You already know! :P


Haha, I know. I was just wondering if anyone else had gone through the same situation and had handled it a different way.

Old Post 10-22-12 16:47 #
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PhantomTMac
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Alwaysdoomed said:
Try playing other wads to get insperation!! Also dont try to build stuff to realistic because lets face it, life is boring!!


Too true... Life IS boring.

Old Post 10-22-12 16:49 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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PhantomTMac said:


Haha, I know. I was just wondering if anyone else had gone through the same situation and had handled it a different way.


I used to spend way too much time on each room of my map and neglect the whole. I might map out two rooms and detail them up to my standards and have no idea where to go from there. My suggestion: Try speed mapping. Don't worry about joining one of the speed mapping sessions; set aside two hours of a weekend or whenever you have the time and just map. Don't worry about textures, don't worry about detail; just focus on layout and gameplay, only filling in things like sector heights and properties if you need those to have an affect on your gameplay (which you should, because flat maps are boring). Once your two hours are up, if you've made something fun, start texturing and detailing it, if not, salvage what you can from it for your next map.

Designing around monster encounters isn't bad at all, either. The most memorable parts of maps are "that one area with the arch-vile" and things like that; we tend to forget the hordes of imps and demons we passed to get to that area. You mention not having enough monsters, so pad the encounters out with some fodder if you must, but the best designed maps are the ones where every monster has a purpose. It sounds like you've already got that down, you just need to make your layouts complement them more.

Old Post 10-22-12 17:36 #
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Memfis
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Dragonsbrethren said:
I might map out two rooms and detail them up to my standards and have no idea where to go from there.

My whole mapping experience in one sentence...

Old Post 10-22-12 17:49 #
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Phobus
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PhantomTMac said:


Haha, I know. I was just wondering if anyone else had gone through the same situation and had handled it a different way.


I've been dissatisfied with my mapping before and now I'm just kind of not interested in doing it. I usually find a clean break (dump all current projects) and a fresh start on something different (so creative or at least not the same as what you got stuck on), but unambitious (so you'll actually get it done) to be the real solution. For some reason it doesn't work without the complete break though, as the previous unfinished stuff kind of haunts the back of my mind if it's still there.

Old Post 10-22-12 18:41 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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Memfis said:

My whole mapping experience in one sentence...


It was DTWID that finally got me to change. I really wanted to have one of my maps included in that, but I never finished anything I started. I blamed being busy, which was true to an extent, but I had months to finish a map and never did. Looking back, what little stuff I had was too much of an homage for the project anyway, but I'm still disappointed with myself that I didn't contribute anything.

Sometimes I wonder if the speed mapping approach I'm using now is a quantity over quality mentality, but the fact is that I'm actually getting maps into a releasable state now. Prior to last year I had nothing in the archive at all.

Old Post 10-22-12 19:30 #
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Cacowad
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F*CK LOGIC!

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-image...om201210221.png

made anything that come into your mind! as other have said, don't care too much of the details, take care of them after you did the main flow. i haven't released nothing since i started mapping in DB, and surely i am not an expert in that kind of thing, but may i give you another tip? read books, listen to any kind of music you like, watch and play anything may stimulate you; personally i listen to a lot of different kind of music and i listen at it a lot of time, even while i am writing that thing, and i find it really stimulating. give voice to your impressions in your work; really, i sucks in detailing maps and i find it really boring, so i do it only to explain what i have in mind (and to give them some feeling when played).

TL;DR : don't be bound by reality, use it only to reach your objectives.

Old Post 10-22-12 22:31 #
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PhantomTMac
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Memfis said:

My whole mapping experience in one sentence...



And you wonder why some of my maps tend to be so dull...

Old Post 10-22-12 22:55 #
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MSPaintR0cks
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Maybe this has already been said, but to me it just seems that you try to make everything you do perfect. And trying to make every detail perfect is very stressfull and leads to results you will never be satisfied with.
Actually, maps that have little quirks or "errors" here and there even make a maps kind of memorable for me and help them to have that wonderful early 90s-vibe that I adore so much.

It may be something different, but when I started to play guitar and a friend of mine wanted to hear something, I of course wanted to give him the best listenable result in that moment, which lead to my hands becoming all strained and stiff, which of course lead to many mistakes during my playing. ;)

Trying to make something perfect AND being satisfied with it is pretty much impossible.

When I do maps, I set myself pretty low expectations. Hey, that area I made over there looks a little empty? WHO CARES, the only one who will be bothered by that is me. The normal player will in most cases not even notice or care about it that much.

Old Post 10-23-12 14:55 #
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gemini09
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Problem number one, is that apparently it's not fun for you.

If you sit and think that "this" has to be perfect, and "that" has to be perfect, then you're just sitting there with a bunch of problems.

Not even the best place on Earth, or not even the perfect woman, is perfect.

The important thing, is that it's fun for you.

If you have a clear vision, and you sit down to work towards it, it will be tons of fun.

If you lack the technical skills and mapping experience, it will be difficult, and the fun might begin to slip away.

Everybody can envision something within their scope of talent or mapping experience. So, all that remains is to work towards it.

--
I've had a project in the works since 2009. It's still only 40% complete. It came to a halt, and mapping has for about 80% of its life, has been unfocused - I was just sitting by the map editor, mapping nonsense - I was actually just wasting time, because there was no focus.

I signed up for another project, as a fun side-mission for myself. I started on something, and found myself in the same path as my original project - mapping was meaningless, and the progress I made, didn't have much focus behind it.

I scrapped what I started, and decided to FIND something interesting and fun, to get me excited. I did (pink sky, Halo 1-like landscapes and buildings), and the progress went through the roof.

---> It's not perfect, but it's the best that _I_ can do. <---

you will need to accept that as a fact, and do your best from there.

It's okay to WANT to be able to make a map like how the GothicDM team did back then, but it's not realistic.

Do your own thing, and be satisfied with it.

If you give up, then it's possibly not just with mapping that you give up. If it is, the maybe you need more experience -- which can't be rushed, either...

In any case.. good luck :) and have fun :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD :((((( :ooooooooo :)

Old Post 10-23-12 21:20 #
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Pottus
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gemini09 said:


Not even the best place on Earth, or not even the perfect woman, is perfect.




The only perfection in nature is imperfection.

Old Post 10-23-12 21:56 #
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