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zokum

Was e4m3 actually Shawn Green's first map?

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The wiki article for e4m3 in The Ultimate Doom https://doomwiki.org/wiki/E4M3:_Sever_the_Wicked (Doom) states that this map was Shawn Green's first Doom level. What exactly does this mean, and is there a source to this fact? The Ultimate Doom was released in april 1995 and Doom 2 was released in september 1994, and Shawn Green has a map in this game as well, map25.

Does it mean first doom level as in his first non-doom 2-level?
Since his map25 has no such first-fact and is his single map in the game, did he make more maps for doom 2 that didn't make it, or do we not know?
Is it the first Doom engine game map he made, but it wasn't used in Doom 2?
Is it the first map he ever started making, but didn't it finish till after Doom 2 was out?

The Doom data dump contains two "shawn" maps:


IF e4m3 was a finished map before doom 2 was done. Why did they pick map21 to be in Doom 2 over what became e4m3?


I am just wondering if anyone had any insight into this, and whether the article should mention it wasn't his first released map. The article on the wiki about Green doesn't mention this e4m3 fact either. Although hard to judge, to me map25 seems like a less experienced effort than e4m3. If I were to pick his mapping order, I'd say map25, e4m3 and then e4m8 judging by the complexity and design choices.

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This is a good question, honestly. The source of the note on the wiki comes from Lee Killough's doom pages, specifically this page on design credits. MAP25 is a pretty big deal though, it'd have to be that he did the maps that were done for e4 before map25 (and I'm guessing he doesn't count the shawnmaps in the dump, maybe he thinks they were more just fiddling with the editor rather than a full-on attempt to make maps?) I'm sure you can ask Romero and he can try to clarify, though over two decades of time passing has faded his memory some. That one bit can't have been written more than a few years after Doom's dev though, which is pretty interesting.

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"Amazingly enough, 4-3 was Shawn Green's VERY FIRST MAP! And 4-8 was his second map -- you can definitely see the improvement!"

I find this to conflict with "MAP25 Bloodfalls Shawn Green". It's highly unlikely that map25 was his 3rd or later map. There are four options here.
1. Romero forgot about his map25.
2. E4m3 and e4m8 were made earlier but considered unsuitable for Doom 2.
3. Map25 was not made by Shawn Green.
4. Map25 was overhauled by Shawn Green, but based on another mapper's effort.

In general it seems that the guy who "finished" the map gets the main credit for the mapping effort.

There are also some other inconsistencies:
https://redmars.org/mirrored/www.rome.ro/lee_killough/history/levels.shtml says: "e1m4 Command Contro l Tom & Romero" while https://redmars.org/mirrored/www.rome.ro/lee_killough/history/designer.shtml says "E1M4 Command Control Sandy Petersen".
 

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2 hours ago, InsanityBringer said:

I'm sure you can ask Romero and he can try to clarify, though over two decades of time passing has faded his memory some.

@Romero has remarked that he has an hyperthymesia and can remember details about his own life with amazing clarity (https://venturebeat.com/2013/12/11/after-20-years-doom-co-creator-john-romero-looks-back-on-the-impact-of-a-seminal-game-interview/). So, it wouldn't surprise me if he remembered the details of Shawn Green's involvement.

 

4 minutes ago, zokum said:

1. Romero forgot about his map25.
2. E4m3 and e4m8 were made earlier but considered unsuitable for Doom 2.
3. Map25 was not made by Shawn Green.
4. Map25 was overhauled by Shawn Green, but based on another mapper's effort.

In general it seems that the guy who "finished" the map gets the main credit for the mapping effort.

Point 1 stands in contrast to my first statement about hyperthymesia (and he's said it multiple times in multiple venues). I would tend to side with either Point 4. I don't know why, if the maps were unsuitable for use in Doom 2, they would've suddenly been acceptable for use in Thy Flesh Consumed without modifying them (in which case, I would not consider them to be his first maps anymore).

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, zokum said:

2. E4m3 and e4m8 were made earlier but considered unsuitable for Doom 2.

 

I think that's definitely possible. E4 is a bit of a mishmash, cobbled together from various places and not consistent in style or gameplay. It wouldn't surprise me if a couple of the maps were leftovers from before Doom 2 (even given that a lot of Doom 2 itself is "leftovers from before Doom 2", so you'd think they'd be running low on unused maps at this point...)

 

If E4M8 was made before MAP25, that does make the spiderdemon boss slightly anomalous... presumably if it was an old map the spider was just added last, when it was selected to be in E4. This could also possibly explain why E4M8 is the only doom 1 boss map that plays out like a normal level before the boss fight.

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Actually, I found e4 to much more consistent than Doom 2. E4m1,2,3,5,6,8 clearly feel like the same theme. The outliers are e4m4 which looks like something from Doom 2, e4m7 which was done by an outside contracter and e4m9. E4m9 being a "secret" map doesn't really have to fit in per se, compare it to creations like e3m9 and map31 and map32 in doom 2, it's doing ok. E2m9 is also an odd little stub of a map. Given that E4 was a "free" bonus episode, it's not a bad effort at all.

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I know about Romero's claims of good memory. It is however a bit subjective who "made" a map. Tom Hall obviously laid the groundwork for loads of maps. Sandy could have been gracious towards Green about map25. It could have been somone else's creation finished and overhauled by Green. So Romero might remember the map as someone else's creation, and Sandy as Green's. Many of the maps are created by several people, so assigning one person to each map is not correct.

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E4M8's spiderdemon does have a pretty underwhelming location when you compare it to the other episodes - I remember being surprised when I learnt there was one there on the PC version. Instead of huge grandiose setups, it's just like "hi i'm behind this pillar," so I could believe the theory it was just thrown in to an older map.

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Sandy finished and polished up MAP25 from a rough version Shawn Green had built, so maybe the E4 maps were Shawn's first actual solo maps.

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22 minutes ago, zokum said:

Actually, I found e4 to much more consistent than Doom 2.

 

Heh, I can't argue with that.

 

Quote

Given that E4 was a "free" bonus episode, it's not a bad effort at all.

 

Don't get me wrong, I really like E4. E4M2 and E4M6 are probably my favorite iwad maps. I just think it's a bit of a patchwork in terms of style.

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56 minutes ago, esselfortium said:

Sandy finished and polished up MAP25 from a rough version Shawn Green had built, so maybe the E4 maps were Shawn's first actual solo maps.

That might just be it then. When Sandy did the listing, he credited Shawn Green for doing the bulk of the work. Romero considers e4m3 the first map since it was the first map Shawn made from scratch that got handed to Romero from Shawn Green. Map25 was probably something Sandy delivered to Romero, thus Romero see it as Petersen's map, or a joint effort that Petersen finished and polished.

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1 hour ago, zokum said:

Actually, I found e4 to much more consistent than Doom 2. E4m1,2,3,5,6,8 clearly feel like the same theme.

Well... Doom 2 is supposed to contain multiple episodes, so comparing one episode of Ultimate Doom and the whole Doom 2 seems a little bit unfair to me. In my opinion, E4M4 and E4M7 aren't really out of place because of the mapping style. It's out of place because how Episode 4 is arranged. Probably moving these two maps into some earlier slots would make the episode smoother.

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On 4/8/2018 at 7:40 PM, zokum said:

The wiki article for e4m3 in The Ultimate Doom https://doomwiki.org/wiki/E4M3:_Sever_the_Wicked (Doom) states that this map was Shawn Green's first Doom level. What exactly does this mean, and is there a source to this fact? The Ultimate Doom was released in april 1995 and Doom 2 was released in september 1994, and Shawn Green has a map in this game as well, map25.

Does it mean first doom level as in his first non-doom 2-level?

 

 

Well, an interesting fact: An early version of Doom II, Map 10 was present in the Alphas! And, I imagine each of those guys probably made a few throw-aways while learning to map.

 

I am kind-of amazed when thinking about this: They had to discover what it means to make a map at all. In the beginning, how big is a 64x64 floor tile? I mean, how big does a floor tile 'look', in game? Did they have to make a lot of adjustments to scale factors before it started to feel right? I think that would have been fun.

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Doom 2 has multiple episodes, they were originally named, and each episode has a different sky. This aspect was later toned down, since it made little to no sense with the maps. Play map06,07,08,09. These 4 maps are wildly different in style and there is no cohesion. For another good example, look at map14 sandwiched between 13 and 15. There are loads of weird outliers all over the game. Map24 is nothing like map25. Map17 fits well with map26, but they are in different episodes.

I could probably write many pages about what I think the design behind some of id's game is. Having had a bit of game design at university will afflict the mind with this malady...

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1 minute ago, kb1 said:

Well, an interesting fact: An early version of Doom II, Map 10 was present in the Alphas! And, I imagine each of those guys probably made a few throw-aways while learning to map.

 

I am kind-of amazed when thinking about this: They had to discover what it means to make a map at all. In the beginning, how big is a 64x64 floor tile? I mean, how big does a floor tile 'look', in game? Did they have to make a lot of adjustments to scale factors before it started to feel right? I think that would have been fun.

Actually someone from id, possibly Romero, stated that 1 "unit" in the game has always been about the same across games.

They had experience from Wolfenstein 3D, and they built doom on top of that. The first doom maps in the alphas look like Wolf3d maps. Changing scale was aparently worse in Quake, since changing the scale is a lot more work to do there. Moving vertices in 2d for a doom map isn't that much work. As a result some of the areas in maps in Quake are a bit "off" scale-wise. Sometimes the player feels too small, sometimes too big.

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1 hour ago, zokum said:

As a result some of the areas in maps in Quake are a bit "off" scale-wise. Sometimes the player feels too small, sometimes too big.

I've never personally noticed this but it sounds like it works perfectly for something that's meant to be both Hellish and Lovecraftian.

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I'm not saying Doom 2 is consistent, but saying how do you comparing an 8 mapset to a 30 mapset in the same scale in consistency.

 

Doom 2 is inconsistent indeed. Just as the reason I mentioned about Episode 4. If moving Map14 to an earlier episode, such as around Map01~06, it will be more consistent. Other than thinking about mapping style consistency, some discussion on why ID arranged these maps in this order could be useful, although it feels like no point doing so after 25 something years.

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8 hours ago, GarrettChan said:

I'm not saying Doom 2 is consistent, but saying how do you comparing an 8 mapset to a 30 mapset in the same scale in consistency.

 

Doom 2 is inconsistent indeed. Just as the reason I mentioned about Episode 4. If moving Map14 to an earlier episode, such as around Map01~06, it will be more consistent. Other than thinking about mapping style consistency, some discussion on why ID arranged these maps in this order could be useful, although it feels like no point doing so after 25 something years.

There is still some point in discussing the map order. Someone could make a coop or survival server with the maplist putting the maps in a more logical order, if that logical order was first worked out here.

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Map reordering would be better if put into a separate thread. What I wanted to clear up was the somewhat inconsistent credits and order of creation of the maps in UD and D2. As it stands different sources contradict eachother and there are two different credits listed for e1m4, one from Sandy and one from Romero.

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20 hours ago, zokum said:

Actually someone from id, possibly Romero, stated that 1 "unit" in the game has always been about the same across games.

They had experience from Wolfenstein 3D, and they built doom on top of that. The first doom maps in the alphas look like Wolf3d maps. Changing scale was aparently worse in Quake, since changing the scale is a lot more work to do there. Moving vertices in 2d for a doom map isn't that much work. As a result some of the areas in maps in Quake are a bit "off" scale-wise. Sometimes the player feels too small, sometimes too big.

I was probably a bit too specific. Moreso, I was referring to the process of having a new engine, and having to make new tools, and devise a new way of thinking about mapping, and everything else - it's probably a bit overwhelming, deciding what to build first: You need a map editor to build maps, but you need to build a map to know how you want the editor to work. An iterative process, I suppose.

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On 11/04/2018 at 3:03 AM, kb1 said:

I was probably a bit too specific. Moreso, I was referring to the process of having a new engine, and having to make new tools, and devise a new way of thinking about mapping, and everything else - it's probably a bit overwhelming, deciding what to build first: You need a map editor to build maps, but you need to build a map to know how you want the editor to work. An iterative process, I suppose.

Actually, id has always had fairly decent tools and iterated and reused them. Doomed (the editor) outputs to DWD files, a plain ascii format. This was then transformed via DoomBSP to the final format the engine could currently use. Since the format was plain text, Carmack could make some simple test files in any editor to test DoomBSP and the current engine. The editor and tools matured in tandem. It's been stated that a set of stairs on e2m2 slowed the engine down so much that a better algorithm had to be found.

Getting a basic editor up to such a simple format isn't that much work, with the format being so simple. Making it more feature rich work well with id's mantra of always having shippable code and iterative improvements.

The reject and blockmap are also not really needed for the gameplay to work, they just speed up the engine. By choosing an intermediary text format, changes and updates could be done on both ends of the tool chain, as long as the format didn't change. If I'm not mistaken DWD files start with something along the lines of world server 4 or so, giving and indication of the format.

The same kind of approach was also used for Quake. But this time the BSP tools were available very early, more complex and more robust. This led to all the user-made editors and tools outputting to the plain-text .map-format, since this allowed you to use the robust tool chain id had used: https://quakewiki.org/wiki/Quake_Map_Format

 

It should be noted that the DWD format is really simple and makes writing an editor much easier and being a text format, it can also enable things like version control, diff etc. It does lack support for some of the features writing directly to the wad format enables.

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Fascinating stuff. Still too specific though. I'm imagining how it all might have felt. I know just how awesome it was for me to see my first map in action. There's something very deep and satisfying about drawing lines, setting properties, choosing resources (basically, data entry), and then clicking "Play", and standing in this new area that you just built from scratch. It's kinda amazing! I'm thinking multiply by 10 for those guys. Think about it - they were the first guys to actually see Doom!

 

Anyway, I'm just rambling - carry on.

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