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Bushpig2dope

UPDATED - Bushpig's 2 Dope Challenge - Looking for opinions on my WAD

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Posted (edited)

Hey all, I've been on and off making this small, relatively simple map for a while now and am currently happy to get some thoughts on it. It was originally designed to be an extremely difficult challenge map  I suppose, but after having some mates play test it I decided to scrap the insane difficulty and make it more accessible and enjoyable. Upon uploading this map to Doomworld for the first time I took all the criticism into account and again have re-designed the map so to speak. 3 Iterations of the one map and I'm sure this one is the most solid yet. Any more critiques are appreciated, good and bad. Tell me what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong and I'll be happy.

One criticism I had received was to lose the catwalk around the nukage, or make it wider. I have decided to leave it as is, unchanged. The reason for this is I feel it really distinguishes my map, it's a major feature, a major aesthetic. To remove it would be to remove some of the maps core gameplay. The catwalk is easily navigated and is actually quite difficult to fall off and it's not like you're a sitting duck on it, there's corners, a passage and a door that can easily be accessed on this catwalk to avoid danger. 

Anyway, the map is for Doom 2 and tested on GZDoom. Freelook is recommended though really not necessary. Jumping + crouching are not allowed. It'll probably take you roughly 10 - 15 minutes to complete this on a deathless run. This map is designed to be played on UV, I think you'll be fine :)
 

Oh and the MIDI is by Nabernizer, a re-creation of Doom 2016s track "BFG Division". Thanks @Nabernizer, awesome track!
Cheers!

--UPDATED--
Download - http://www.mediafire.com/file/byby8c7d1yoahnk/2dopechallengev2.wad

Changelog: 
Featuring more enemies, less pointless Barons, a harder(?) boss fight and begone to that terrible brown outside wall!
An overall more difficult map

Bugs:
Scripting may break when using mods like Smooth Doom or Brutal Doom
Once the acid has turned to blood and raised, the metal texture above it also lifts, resulting in a funky look

Screenshots - (Still an accurate depiction apart from the outside brown wall now being stone.

Spoiler

Screenshot_Doom_20171111_201842.png.8b6094a6562847b8446d48385e0d79ec.pngScreenshot_Doom_20171111_201804.png.af3f22d6f47035482d4b7a5d81e37d36.pngScreenshot_Doom_20171111_201748.png.34d672e95527e983dac98fcb3ed805cf.png

 

Edited by Bushpig2dope

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Tried it, it feels like you've made it hard at the expense of fun. The biggest problem is how much of the map takes place on 64-wide catwalks and tunnels, that's not really enough for any enjoyable maneuver. Look back at E4M1 Hell Revealed, the walkways you'll probably fight on were still 96 or 128 wide. In almost every connecting or optional area I'd make things bigger.

 

The other big problem is that a lot of encounters are just 'gotchas' with no telegraphing. Combined with little health, it means you probably die once, then figure out the 'correct' strategy. The teleport into demons is a big one, where if you have berserk fist out you're golden, if you have anything else you either take damage or waste ammo you can't afford to lose. The other two are the sarges that pour out in the Cacodemon room (hope you have your chaingun out) and the chaingun itself (trying to save the berserk as a medikit? Too bad, you lose!).

 

I do like the yellow key room and the control room area on the far side of the base - those are tight, but not unreasonable, and really do capture the fun challenge of a Hell Revealed style map.

 

Two other detailed critiques. First, I really dislike the Baron outside because it's a simple time-waster. The catwalk is too long and thin to dodge reasonably if it shoots twice, so you really need to go back right to bait it away, then see if it's taking a long or a short route back to right in front of you. The curved corner is also a bit too thin here, making it very easy to fall in the slime as you turn if you instinctively shift a bit to dodge shot one. Second, I'd like to see one of the panels in the yellow key computer room open the door there for a mini secret. You already used that door texture once, and it's consistent with a random computer panel activating the other secret. It would make the whole Baron presiding over grunts pay off - it's a cool concept, but feels too much like a dead end.

 

Nice job texturing, feels very classic techbase and the big pump/crusher thing outside is a neat visual detail.

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1 hour ago, zodiac said:

Tried it, it feels like you've made it hard at the expense of fun. The biggest problem is how much of the map takes place on 64-wide catwalks and tunnels, that's not really enough for any enjoyable maneuver. Look back at E4M1 Hell Revealed, the walkways you'll probably fight on were still 96 or 128 wide. In almost every connecting or optional area I'd make things bigger.

 

I did always consider changing this, but ultimately went for visual aesthetics over actual gameplay, which in hindsight is pretty dumb of me, this criticism is perfectly justified. Stretching the catwalks out a bit wouldn't really sacrifice the visuals either I suppose. Noted!
 

1 hour ago, zodiac said:

The other big problem is that a lot of encounters are just 'gotchas' with no telegraphing. Combined with little health, it means you probably die once, then figure out the 'correct' strategy. The teleport into demons is a big one, where if you have berserk fist out you're golden, if you have anything else you either take damage or waste ammo you can't afford to lose. The other two are the sarges that pour out in the Cacodemon room (hope you have your chaingun out) and the chaingun itself (trying to save the berserk as a medikit? Too bad, you lose!).

I get this, and its true. I suppose its left-overs of this "challenge" I originally conceived and ultimately never changed. The map was meant to be fast paced, intense and designed to never let the player feel safe. I figured this would create a sense of achievement upon completion, maybe I should have just left this as an "unfair" challenge map instead of trying to convert it to something it was never meant to be.

 

1 hour ago, zodiac said:

Two other detailed critiques. First, I really dislike the Baron outside because it's a simple time-waster. The catwalk is too long and thin to dodge reasonably if it shoots twice, so you really need to go back right to bait it away, then see if it's taking a long or a short route back to right in front of you. The curved corner is also a bit too thin here, making it very easy to fall in the slime as you turn if you instinctively shift a bit to dodge shot one. Second, I'd like to see one of the panels in the yellow key computer room open the door there for a mini secret. You already used that door texture once, and it's consistent with a random computer panel activating the other secret. It would make the whole Baron presiding over grunts pay off - it's a cool concept, but feels too much like a dead end.

 

The Baron outside is a funny one. When teleported in it likes to wander around, sometimes making a scare as you run around the corner and sometimes blocking the catwalk, creating a boring painful fight. Fair point. Yeah I suppose the yellow key room is a bit of a dead end. A secret would certainly bring more life to it. 
 

1 hour ago, zodiac said:

I do like the yellow key room and the control room area on the far side of the base - those are tight, but not unreasonable, and really do capture the fun challenge of a Hell Revealed style map.

 

Nice job texturing, feels very classic techbase and the big pump/crusher thing outside is a neat visual detail.

Thanks! Above all I think I learnt the most out of creating a visually pleasing, coherent design. The gameplay may be lacking but atleast now I'm confident in my texturing and architecture and will definitely take into note of larger fighting areas and less finicky points of play. I have another WAD up my sleeve and will take all these criticisms into account. This is the first WAD I've ever actually finished so its a learning experience.

Curious, did you beat the Cyber at the end?

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Keep at it, you definitely have the core of a cool idea here. If your next map idea is more interesting, go for it, but I'd say this one merits some time tweaking it. A cool idea I sometimes use is to set a speedmapping session just to test new play layouts and not worry about the visuals.

 

As for the Cyb, I cheesed it - after very nearly dying to the Baron in the 'Good Work' control room, I noticed that the little 8-high 'lip' of the slime/blood area blocks its shots, so I could literally sit at the doorway shooting it dead. One more reason to playtest layout, but on this map there's really no way it a lone Cyb can be a challenge:

  • If you jump in the blood pool and it doesn't hurt, there's plenty of room to circle strafe it. We've all beaten tower of Babel. If the blood hurts you, then I was right to cheese it ;).
  • If you moved it up to the courtyard between the yellow door and the good work room, the metal divider pipe will similarly block its shots but not your guns
  • Anywhere else is too small to do anything with it

That being said, that last Baron is a worthy finisher on its own and I'd be happy if it ended there. If you really wanted a Cyb, I'd say an easy fix is to reverse the order: give out the rocket instead of a rad suit after the last baron, then warp into a radsuit vs. the Cyb in front plus maybe half as many demons. Now, you're timed by the suit and lose space to the demons, so it feels hard but fair, adrenaline pumping in a good way. You'd probably want a medikit in the corner so you can risk splash damage if your suit runs out too early.

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8 hours ago, zodiac said:

Keep at it, you definitely have the core of a cool idea here. If your next map idea is more interesting, go for it, but I'd say this one merits some time tweaking it. A cool idea I sometimes use is to set a speedmapping session just to test new play layouts and not worry about the visuals.

 

As for the Cyb, I cheesed it - after very nearly dying to the Baron in the 'Good Work' control room, I noticed that the little 8-high 'lip' of the slime/blood area blocks its shots, so I could literally sit at the doorway shooting it dead. One more reason to playtest layout, but on this map there's really no way it a lone Cyb can be a challenge:

  • If you jump in the blood pool and it doesn't hurt, there's plenty of room to circle strafe it. We've all beaten tower of Babel. If the blood hurts you, then I was right to cheese it ;).
  • If you moved it up to the courtyard between the yellow door and the good work room, the metal divider pipe will similarly block its shots but not your guns
  • Anywhere else is too small to do anything with it

That being said, that last Baron is a worthy finisher on its own and I'd be happy if it ended there. If you really wanted a Cyb, I'd say an easy fix is to reverse the order: give out the rocket instead of a rad suit after the last baron, then warp into a radsuit vs. the Cyb in front plus maybe half as many demons. Now, you're timed by the suit and lose space to the demons, so it feels hard but fair, adrenaline pumping in a good way. You'd probably want a medikit in the corner so you can risk splash damage if your suit runs out too early.

Yeah I now realise that Cyber fight is completely screwed. I'm going to release a new and improved version with less pointless Barons and just more meat on the bone really. I appreciate your honesty, means a lot. You've helped a newbie mapper out heaps :)

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I have provided a new download link and edited the description with new information regarding the updated version of my map, hope to hear some critiques!
Thanks! 

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Posted (edited)

So first I will say that the Baron -> Archvile change outside was great, the attack animation is long enough to duck in the door where you now get the red key, so it's 'think fast' instead of pray. That alone makes things a lot more enjoyable, and the revenant placements were good additions.

 

On the other hand the finale isn't really harder, you can still corner dance near the door against the spider. If you want a tense fight, you'd have to force the player outside, but also think hard about the arena/boss combo. If you have a spider in the slime you'll need cover there, because if the player can get behind the pump they'll chill there, so it's easier to repeat the demon fight, just with some cover. Alternately, a slime fight vs. a Cyber plus revenants is good fun - if you're on a timer thanks to the rad suit, you can resort to the 'Homing Rocket Express' to get extra damage on the Cyb.

 

Just in terms of optimal play, the map rewards door camping - most rooms are easier to solve by sitting outside of them and killing the threats. In the yellow key room especially, you can either take a lot of damage since you lack a chaingun, or you can dash outside, kill them at the door, and then grab the berserk after absorbing 1-2 hits. Likewise with the thin approach, it's really not practical to fight the outdoor archvile near the pump instead of at the door to the RK area. You can, but since it will res more monsters that way it's not in your best interest, and there's too many guys inside the YK door just to skip past it.

 

A few detailed critiques that stick out on replay:

  • There should be more of a landing outside the red key door, so you can flee the room quicker if you're baiting enemies. Also, I *really* dislike the techno-pillars there, they block the natural 'dodge on ledge' too often.
  • I'd prefer a Sarge instead of  a former human outside the red key room for consistency and a bit of ammo before you've built up a stock. Meanwhile I had a ton of everything later on, so if you want tension, strip some of the rest later.
  • Still think the corner between first coming outside and the area where the red key is is a bit too narrow
  • After having tried several strategies against the demons in the slime, I'm sorry to say that backing into the corner near the space door and killing 1-2 at a time with berserk is the best strategy, but boring. You can circle the crowd, but there's a few too many to reliable kill by circling them quickly - a few that take 3 punches instead of the average 2 and you have to back away + loop to not get cornered in a bad spot. Alternately, giving the rocket launcher before this (but still with the limited rockets) would give more choice to manage it.
  • The archvile in the little closet gets stuck on the door too much to be a threat -  a wider door would help. The Baron across from it could use a blinking light or something so you can see it sometimes and aim better, again because you don't have rockets. It's not a threat unless the archvile can force you into the slime anyways.
  • Except for the Baron down the elevator from the closet archvile, I'd replace other barons with hell knights - 1 in the cage, 1 in the Yellow Key room, and 2 in the SSG room. Didn't say it before because you'd stuck to Doom 1 monsters, but now that the cat's out of the bag, why not.

 

To end, I want to say three things. First, I think improving some of the key encounters will need map geometry changes more than enemy mix. The specters in the slime near the archvile closet, for example, will never be a threat because you can raise the platform without exposing yourself for long, and the area is so narrow you can punch them out one at a time. If there were no closet corner at all, just a wall switch, you could warp a threat behind you and there'd be a choice of through the specters fast, or back to the room where you'll need to deal with the warper plus risk the specters spilling into the big room.

 

Second, if you have a firm idea of the second map, it may be more worthwhile to just rework the finale and release this. Things like the revenants and the instant pop-up imps already add some fun and challenge to earlier segments, so just go out with a bang and release. Personally, going to another map can give me fresh ideas for an old one.

 

Last, I forgot to mention, but in ZDoom there's a Hall of Mirrors on the new green wall. I think GZDoom automatically fixes this kind of HOM, so if you use that you might not experience it.Bug.png.cbf780d2df049d70de4e204c8995ac9e.png

 

Edited by zodiac : added concluding thoughts + bug image

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On 5/10/2018 at 10:11 AM, zodiac said:

 

 

Thanks, I think you're right. Its time to move on to another map. I personally am happy with my map but all your critiques are fair for sure. Thanks for all the tips, I'll chuck this up in the archives 

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