Map09 (Continuous) – Machine Gun Etiquette by Steve Duff – Kills – 99, Items – 77, Secret – 100. Time 26:08. End Health 137, Armor 140. Death Count - 1
Map09 (Pistol Start) – Machine Gun Etiquette by Steve Duff – Kills – 101, Items – 92, Secret – 100. Time 30:51. End Health 200, Armor 200. Death Count - 7
As I said before, Splatterhouse was an aberration, Machine Gun Etiquette is really what I’m all about as a mapper. The design ethic is simple – the player will be under fire from their first step to their last. That fire will vary in intensity, but the design goal is to kill the player in three different places in the map, and to do it fair and square with straight-ahead run ‘n gun action and lots of monster closets. Teleport traps are somewhat uncommon in my maps. Comparing the death counts between Splatterhouse and Machine Gun Etiquette, the older map is a success and the newer map is a failure, at least by that standard. As I was recently discussing with the esteemed cannonball, the target audience of my maps is me. I love the hitscanner game. Not so fond of the heavy monster game. And I like to get killed. ;)
Hurricyclone asked about the backstory behind the title. The easiest explanation is this; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AGPgT1BhkU
Ah, the joys of oldschool punk!
Machine Gun Etiquette is probably the third map I ever worked on, and Map27 is the second, and just wait until you see that one. :D If you look at MGE in an editor, it’s very peculiar, because I pursued a “fill in the entire blockmap” approach to design. I’m not positive about why I did this, aside from the typical lack of experience issue, but I’m willing to bet the blockmap exactly filled Hellmaker’s window and that I didn’t scroll the map in any direction. ;D This approach had two unfortunate effects. First, after designing the big outdoor area, I had no room left for cool side areas, and as a result, as both Hurricyclone and DoTW noted, once you get past the marble columns room, the gameplay takes a nosedive. I tried to fortify it by throwing in heavy monsters, lots of HKs, Revvies and such, but too much of that fighting was all ahead of the player and thus a relatively simple affair assuming you have enough ammo. The second unfortunate effect, and one I couldn’t have cared less about back in the day, is that it’s really hard to revise this thing, because in many cases the walls in different areas are separated by 4 – 8 units of empty space. Without a lot of line dragging and room resizing, you can’t add wall detail, so I concentrated on gradient lighting, the occasional sunken floor with a different texture, and Support3 structural beams. That, along with eliminating the many and often hideous violations of – say it, Capellan! – the Floor Texture Rule, plus some saner texturing, really worked wonders. One thing I did in the outdoor area was take advantage of how Marbface doesn’t always tile, so I could put them up as banners held between Support3 columns, which had the unhappy side effect of giving the player 24 units of cover. Oh well.
Highlights of the map for me:
The Start. I just love it. Take a normal step towards that shotgun and you get fired on by Sergeants. You can’t imagine the infantile glee that gives me. ;D Then, when you kill the first Chaingunner, if you go right inside his room, the monster closet opening to your left can distract you just enough for the cruelly placed Chaingunner in the blue key room to blast you to death from behind. Oh, such larks!
The Flower Trap. This is where you get the rocket launcher. If you look at it in an editor, and use a lot of imagination, the central area with the RL could be the floral axis, and all the side rooms could be petals. Bottom line, this is specifically designed to kill keyboard players with my miserable skillset. On my pistol-start playthrough, I got killed 4 times in a row at this trap, which is a Variation On A Theme by Antoni Chan. It uses the simple trick that players who don’t yet have the RL have to leap to get it, and their momentum – except for those damnable mouse players!!!! ;D – carries them across to the next platform, where suddenly a door they triggered opens in front, 2 Sergeants blast them, and from the sides, Chaingunners open fire. The only weapon in the player’s hands is the RL, and the hope is that sheer panic causes the player to press their fire key, whereupon they die in a glorious “Good at Doom!” moment. Dobu said this map has the feel of being designed by a jagoff, and I stand proudly before you today to announce that I am, indeed, your friendly neighborhood jagoff. ;D
Assuming you survive, either because you already have the RL, or you switch weapons fast enough to kill the Sergeants, the trap becomes the gift that keeps on giving because more side doors open right alongside you, and more Sergeants and Chaingunners open fire in a really up close and personal way. On one of my attempts, 4 Chaingunners were blasting away at me, and for the 2 seconds of life I had remaining, the sound of the sheer volume of their fire was able to induce that wonderful “Holy shit!” panic I love so much in Doom. And if you survive and kill those, there’s still more of these bastards, shooting at you from different angles as they emerge from behind doors or shoot at you from across the nukage pool. Whee!!!!!!
To answer a DoTW question, the reason the side rooms were marked secret, instead of, more logically, the RL platform itself, was to encourage players to keep exploring to find the boxes of rockets in the back rooms.
To answer a comment from Dobu, the “hallway of misaligned textures” was actually deliberate offsets, using ideas from the IWADs, and there was a method behind the madness. The three vertically offset textures, in order, was a downward offset to show a spot where a lift would lower, and two upward offsets to show where secret doors would rise. Watching the demos, it’s clear that the downward offset was a bad idea, because players immediately pressed it, and when nothing happened, they tended to not press the others. It’s also clear that having a lift separate from the RL platform gave mousers a way to beat the trap. Memfis beat it brilliantly on his very first try. DoTW used it to time his activation of the trap and get his weapons ready. Weeeeellllllll, there won’t be any more of that nonsense in the revision! The RL platform will also be the lift, but if you fall, your odds of survival are . . . not good. And I am happy that I got Alfonzo, and that Memfis died many times here, but that he survived to win against all those Chaingunners on –fast is just amazing. And I really really hope I killed Capellan here at least once. Inquiring minds want to know. ;) I’m also mortified that Cannonball failed to find it.
My final comment on The Flower Trap addresses a question from Dobu about why the player encounters a Medikit and Green Armor after getting the Zerk and Green Armor just before. It’s because playtesting revealed that many things can happen in the Hell Knight room and the hitscanner room, among them getting hit in the back by a Revvie rocket. I wanted the player to have max health and armor before they tried The Flower Trap. Go in there at 45% and you have to be really good to survive.
The Outside Area. This is my favorite part of the map. It has a lot of height variation, and monsters not only fire at you from all directions but from above, on your plane, and below you. You really have to keep on your toes and do a lot of turning, hiding and corner abuse to win. My only death on continuous play happened under the Chaingunner shack near the big gallows. I got a little overconfident, lost way too much health, and was taken out by a roving Imp.
There is a good jagoff move in here where I make it seem like you have to jump into the nukage to activate the pressure plate, and lower the guardshack lift to reach the other side, when instead, if you peek around the corner of the Chaingunner platform, there’s a very narrow walkway that can take you there. If you see that, you won’t get blasted by the Sergeants above. Then again, leaping around the place from the central guardshack is another source of infantile glee for me, it’s just better to do that after everything in there is dead.
Dobu mentioned the giant hitscanner “Gotcha” trap on the upper side area, after the Lost Soul room. I admit, I laughed out loud the first time Memfis triggered it and leaped off the platform. Yes, that’s a jagoff move, but I direct your attention to IWAD Map09, The Pit, by everyone’s favorite axe-murderer, Sandy Petersen, and the really, really horrifying yellow key trap, where grabbing the key triggers 2 monster closets with 8 Sergeants, and where going for the two rockets opens a big monster closet behind you with, on UV, 13 Chaingunners and 5 Lost Souls. I’m a pussycat by comparison, and my trap is easily defeated if you have a chaingun. ;)
And now, for the more unfortunate parts . . .
The mandatory secret door, which I’ve mentioned fairly often, is a gameplay no-no of such magnitude that it is the main reason I decided to do Realm of Intensified Chaos. Yes, revise all the maps just to atone for this one mega-mistake.
The texturing. I laughed out loud when Tarnsman, upon seeing the Hell Knight/Revvie corridor after the marble columns room, said, “It’s really hard to misuse SP_Rock1, unless you do this.” Ah, that’s the kind of zinger I live for, and he’s totally right, of course. I thought the map was mostly dandy until it started going pear-shaped at this point.
There is much, much work left to do on this revision, and watching the demos, maybe I’ll blow out the map at the SP_Rock1 corridor, just get rid of it and make a new section leading to the lift downstairs.
Anyway, I’ve babbled a bit too much already. Thanks again everyone for the demos and comments! And DoTW, I will look into those Nazi reskinnings, though at present the Wolfies have been replaced by Chaingunners.
Last edited by SteveD on 07-09-13 at 21:52