I know I haven't been very specific in my feedback. This is because, if I were to give you honest, genuine advice on the map itself, it would be "nuke it from orbit and start from scratch".
It might sound rude, but to try to put it in perspective, in its current aspect you could recreate this map entirely within half a hour once you got used to the tools; and it's likely you could do a much better job at it too, once you had that experience. So I feel at this point one of the best thing you could do is map, map, map, just to get comfortable and familiar with mapping, and experience other wads, by playing them and by taking a look at them in the editor to understand how it all fits.
Another reason it's hard to get into specifics is that on a personal level I tend to have different opinions on level design than many (especially in the ZDoom community), so I wouldn't want to give you advice that might not necessarily fit your project.
Sticking to the strictly technical stuff is possible, though, so to try to clarify some previous comments:
- the passable grate texture isn't a terribly big deal. I guess I just mentioned it because it added to the general inconclusive feel I got from the map.
- the impassable lines I was thinking of were linedefs 686 and 704 (and corresponding linedefs in other similar structures). It's blocking access to a small wall that is merely 16 pixels higher, you can go from either side but you can't climb on it. It feels weird, as if you wanted to have a window there.
- as for the door textures, it was linedef 809 I had in mind. It stretches all the way to the ceiling and even cuts off midway, making it essentially look like 2 doors and a half on top of each other. Some door textures can get away being used like that, but here it looks fairly jarring.
For more general advice that hopefully isn't too subjective or specific, your sectors look very flat. You've got this outdoor area, and both the sky and the walls are at the same height, consistently. This makes it fairly repetitive and dull to look at, really brings to mind it is a video game level with textures and such. Varying the height of the walls, as well as the sky itself, i.e. with perimeter walls (you can see examples of this in the IWADs) can go a long way towards making your map a convincing environment.
Running the map analysis tool, I've noticed there are several unclosed sectors in your map. This may or may not cause issues - I think ZDoom automatically fixes such errors by rebuilding nodes or somesuch, but it doesn't hurt to fix these yourself. It's often as simple as using the "Make Sector" mode on the offending sectors. Generally speaking, it's a good idea to run the map analysis tool every now and then, provided you're using Doom Builder 2 (and if you're not, give it a go; it's a great map editor, and every mapper should at least try it once).
By opening the wad in Doom Builder 2, I've noticed there are 2 MAP01 entries and one DSPDIETH entry that seems to be an old Map01 draft. Perhaps the 2 MAP01 entries might be why Slade 3 bombs.
I also noticed you're using the ZDoom (Hexen) format. Again, not an expert here, but I believe it's better to use ZDoom (Doom in Hexen) format for a Doom wad. AFAIK you'll retain all the hexen features and you will also be able to use the doom actors directly.
For that matter, unless I'm mistaken, ZDoom (Doom in UDMF) format is a superior format to either choice, letting you do everything those other formats do and more, with much greater flexibility.
Oh! Sorry I forgot to answer about the soundtrack, and a shame too as this was the one thing I could and should have been positive about, heh. It sounded good, looming and ominous. It didn't quite fit the map in my opinion, but that seems like a map issue more than a music one.
Last edited by Phml on Nov 22 2012 at 21:58