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Wraith777

Level Progress Diagrams – PDF POSTER READY

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Wow, this is fantastic.  Nice work, it must've taken some effort to assemble all of those charts.

 

Perchance, did you get the idea from Boss Keys?  The analysis reminds me a heck of a lot of that series.

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4 hours ago, AlexMax said:

Perchance, did you get the idea from Boss Keys?  The analysis reminds me a heck of a lot of that series.

 

Actually no, but the scientific approach to such analysis is similar anyway for anything)

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This is great stuff! I've found that often when approaching a map, I myself will draw what basically amounts to your simplified diagrams here to plan.

Although we differ a little bit on the classification re: linear/non-linear (and it's not a bad thing). Personally, I only class a map (or even general game level, this stuff isn't DOOM-specific, and can be applied elsewhere in game design) as 'non-linear' per se if it isn't in fact a 'multi-linear' fork where paths don't cross or intersect (I've made a couple maps do this).

Again, nice work here. Not a stupid idea at all IMO.

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Thank you very much for this - I think it's going to make me analyse my own levels some more. I've recently been making collector style maps; it would seem. Noticing that E1M1 has an entirely secret-only alternate path is something I should do in a map or two of mine. It's an often overlooked concept, despite it being in what is arguably the most iconic Doom map of all time!

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Posted (edited)

Cool :D

 

I've kinda been doing something like this for my next mapset, since I want to each map to feel more unique, but my classification is much more basic haha It has been working so far, though.

 

I've been classifying my levels as:

- indoor (classic doom I style),

- city/village style (doom 2 eII)

- courtyard/hub (one big central area)

- outdoor (a set of open areas connected to each other)

- boss arena (shorter level with one central arena with a very difficult fight).

 

Then, for linearity, I go:

- adventure (you barely revisit old areas)

- linear (the level interconnects with itself, but it's always one path)

- guided non-linearity (one or two main branches, but mostly the experience for the player will be the same regardless the path)

- key hunt (the collector one)

- basic non-linear (aka you can go anywhere, the experience changes according with the path)

- star-model non-linearity (from a central point you can go to several peripheral areas, which are also connected with each-other - similar to non-linear, but with always this structure)

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11 hours ago, Jayextee said:

Although we differ a little bit on the classification re: linear/non-linear (and it's not a bad thing). Personally, I only class a map (or even general game level, this stuff isn't DOOM-specific, and can be applied elsewhere in game design) as 'non-linear' per se if it isn't in fact a 'multi-linear' fork where paths don't cross or intersect (I've made a couple maps do this).

I'm having similar thoughts about 'collector' type: on one hand, technically it counts as nonlinear, because you can perform actions in any order to proceed further on the same map. On other hand, strictly collector-type map simply falls apart and may count as multiple separate levels. That's why there are actually no pure collector levels in original games: this is simply a bad designer choice. The only exception is E2M6, but it still has a clearly formed beginning and later a large 'hub' for paths to 3 keys. It's just that oversimplified LPD doesn't show those details and it becomes a typical collector type.

Don't forget that there is a possibility to build a collector without crosses or intersections, for example a player can see and shoot enemies from a window/ledge/fence that belong to parallel path, or can activate some triggers that influence gameplay on other branches.

 

10 hours ago, Dragonfly said:

Thank you very much for this - I think it's going to make me analyse my own levels some more. I've recently been making collector style maps; it would seem. Noticing that E1M1 has an entirely secret-only alternate path is something I should do in a map or two of mine. It's an often overlooked concept, despite it being in what is arguably the most iconic Doom map of all time!

Yes, it's actually a good idea for a basic self analysis. I've tried to make it for Alpha Accident, it's just that maps are so much complicated there regarding exactly nonlinearity (which was one of the main purposes of this wad). It shows that I really like key optional/interdependent grid/sandbox collectors :)

By the way, E1M6 is indeed a true indoor sandbox

5ae8c9709e503_AALPdiagrams.PNG.0a6b69d277d64214c165099a943396c2.PNG

Still, this may be AA's problem: sometimes you need a straight and defined gameplay, to see a clear picture of level, which can be provided by linear map. But here every next map throws player into a grid or even a sandbox, and this can get tiresome for a lot of people. That's why levels in Episodes 2 and 3 should be more diverse in terms of level progress: even if there are no strict linear maps (which i actually don't like to build), there should be more fork maps and at least a few generally linear maps.

 

9 hours ago, Deadwing said:

I've kinda been doing something like this for my next mapset, since I want to each map to feel more unique, but my classification is much more basic haha It has been working so far, though.

In general, I classify levels by multiple basic criteria, which are considerably interconnected:
1) appearance (indoor/outdoor)

2) style (techbase/city/antic/horror/hell/nature/alien etc and their combinations or aggregates)

3) architecture (orthogonal/classic/amorphous)

4) layout (centralized/distributed)

5) realism (realistic/pseudo-realistic/abstract)

6) gameplay type (adventure/classic/slaughter)

7) level progress (linear/nonlinear)

8) size

9) length

10) difficulty

Well, those last three are purely subjective and may be thrown away most of the times)

 

Regarding players backtrack: I think it should to be shown on detailed(full) LPDs (because it just disappears after LPD is simplified, which is done for all maps shown in by me here)

 

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Posted (edited)

Interesting dissection. This got me thinking about discussions we used to have in different studios & fora around the time of the first-person shooter taking off commerically, in the wake of Doom. A recurring theme was do's and do-not's. Interconnectivity was early on noted as something desirable that made a level's progression potentially more interesting than linear "rail-shooter" action, straight corridor-shooting or cheesy mazes. As a product of these discussions I some time during the late 90's drew the following sketch to illustrate a type of playflow one might aim for in the maps we were making at the time. Often technical limitations then would prevent one from achieveing as much interconnectivity as one might like, and I don't think I ever needed to show to anyone this to explain how to map, most mappers working then already had a pretty good idea of where they wanted to take things, but I drew it out after-the-fact as the result of some discussion or other. Don't know exactly how relative this sketch is to your map-type breakdown, or where it would fit in, but the subject made me think of it, so here it is:

 

- "key events" could be anything that makes a previously uinavailable area available, be it a key, raise/lower switch or ability upgrade.

- "locks" would be the location blocking access to the next area

 

mapman.jpg.0e3629fe905322ce858d7ada0d19ec57.jpg

 

...that's my meager contribution to an interesting debate anyway. =)

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So which of these do I carve into a fencepost to warn the other hobos in the area that the man in the house there has a mean dog?

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Posted (edited)

This is such an interesting point of view by classifying all maps by a diagram. Hell, this should be a sort of model to follow...

Edited by leodoom85 : doh

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I thought that most of the Doom maps let you go where you want in order to get to the exit. And the "corridor to the exit" is formed by yourself.

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27 minutes ago, Gordon Grand said:

I thought that most of the Doom maps let you go where you want in order to get to the exit. And the "corridor to the exit" is formed by yourself.

To a degree. There is never a situation on any map where Doom will stop you from going down a particular path and will tell you to return to the battlefield or something like that. You can wander around levels as much as you want, that is true. In E2M1, you can go through the left door or the right door to get to the red key and you can wander around outside as much as you want (at least until you reach the wall). But once you have the red key, there's essentially only 1 way to go. In Map01, you can go into blue room with the zombiemen if you want or you can go outside through the secret door if you want, but not doing either of them doesn't affect your overall path to the exit. You still have to walk down the hall and to the exit door, thus making it linear (overall). E1M1 is linear, too, prior to v. 1.9.

 

So, this diagramming essentially boils down the overall structure of the map to reflect the overall things you have to do.

 

Consider this example, suppose you have a starting room that leads a corridor with six doors. The corridor also ends at another small room with an exit switch. There are windows next to six doors looking out into other playable areas. The playable areas on the other side of each door cover an area equal to one of the larger iwad levels and they're all interconnected through corridors, teleporters, etc. However, you don't have to visit any of them to exit the level. According to the logic laid out in the OP, such a level would be linear. But you would still be free to wander around and explore, it just wouldn't have an essential effect on the progression of the level.

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2 minutes ago, Pegleg said:

To a degree. There is never a situation on any map where Doom will stop you from going down a particular path and will tell you to return to the battlefield or something like that. You can wander around levels as much as you want, that is true. In E2M1, you can go through the left door or the right door to get to the red key and you can wander around outside as much as you want (at least until you reach the wall). But once you have the red key, there's essentially only 1 way to go. In Map01, you can go into blue room with the zombiemen if you want or you can go outside through the secret door if you want, but not doing either of them doesn't affect your overall path to the exit. You still have to walk down the hall and to the exit door, thus making it linear (overall). E1M1 is linear, too, prior to v. 1.9.

 

So, this diagramming essentially boils down the overall structure of the map to reflect the overall things you have to do.

 

Consider this example, suppose you have a starting room that leads a corridor with six doors. The corridor also ends at another small room with an exit switch. There are windows next to six doors looking out into other playable areas. The playable areas on the other side of each door cover an area equal to one of the larger iwad levels and they're all interconnected through corridors, teleporters, etc. However, you don't have to visit any of them to exit the level. According to the logic laid out in the OP, such a level would be linear. But you would still be free to wander around and explore, it just wouldn't have an essential effect on the progression of the level.

I still I have a "non-linear" feeling in Doom maps. They are different from COD maps, which are really "corridor-like".

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15 minutes ago, Gordon Grand said:

I still I have a "non-linear" feeling in Doom maps. They are different from COD maps, which are really "corridor-like".

I agree with you completely, Doom maps are very different from COD (or a lot of other shooters) maps, which basically do force you to go a particular way, regardless of the actual detail and scenery. Doom allows you to explore.

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19 hours ago, Soundblock said:

Don't know exactly how relative this sketch is to your map-type breakdown, or where it would fit in, but the subject made me think of it, so here it is:

 

- "key events" could be anything that makes a previously unavailable area available, be it a key, raise/lower switch or ability upgrade.

- "locks" would be the location blocking access to the next area

 

Same thing here, I just forgot to mention that key points are divided into key and locked areas (colors red-yellow-blue are conditional here and can be applied to switch-door pairs also), you can see both on all LPD's I've shown here.

 

 

6 hours ago, Gordon Grand said:

I still I have a "non-linear" feeling in Doom maps. They are different from COD maps, which are really "corridor-like".

 

And that's exactly what was intended to be shown here also: linear maps in DooM are not equal to those found in plenty of guide rail shooters. E2M1, E2M3 or E2M7 provide so much freedom for exploration that players actually loose any care about their overall linearity. A ride with plenty of good options is a good linearity, and the one with good alternatives - a good nonlinearity.

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Very fascinating! You've put many hours into this, obviously. Which brings me to another interesting point. Automatic level generators like Oblige perform an internal version of this type of data, out of necessity. All generated maps must be complete-able, so you must be able to, say, find the red key outside of the red room, for example.

 

Furthermore, the smart bot engines, like AutoDoom, use A* pathfinding, and floodfill algorithms to understand Doom map navigation, and "i before e, except after c" rules.

 

What I'm getting at is, maybe, it just might be possible to combine these technologies with your level classification and chart-making capabilities, to create a system that could generate LPD's auto-magically, which would thrill me to death. It's an incredibly descriptive level classification method that fits in a small space, can be drawn beautifully, and requires no words (except for chart labels). Doom engines might even be able to draw them like they draw the automap.

 

@Wraith777Do you think it could be possible? How difficult was it to determine the proper classification for the IWAD's maps? How long did it take? And, do you think an exact criteria could be defined for each decision that goes into the making of the final chart? Is some of it subjective and based a bit on educated opinion, or can it be made into an exact science? (Sorry for all the questions...it's an awesome topic!)

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Huh. I interpreted nonlinear maps as having multiple pathways, some you would have to traverse, others you wouldn't, to reach the exit.

Conversely, I thought of E1M1, for example, as being linear, given there are only two ways to go, and one through a secret, no less, to the same endgoal. No branches, just two different hallways.

 

This changed my thought process, because I really like nonlinear maps.

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This is outstanding work Wraith777.    It really is a fascinating take on Doom mapping and I look forward to more.   

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Excellent job. Can't wait until the Plutonia one because I'm personally more familiar with that than TNT.

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4 hours ago, Wraith777 said:

Ok, it's time for something fresh here. Let's take a look at... TNT Evilution!
It wasn't easy to track down player progression because TNT's map are larger and more complex than D1/D2 ones, also I barely remembered them so I had to replay it (a good reason, by the way).

302586363_TNTLPdiagrams.PNG.d657e14c048b3d7bcb1f1d540101c7b7.PNG

So, in the end it was somewhat unexpected to me that a lot of maps here are completely linear:

Map01: linear

Map02: linear

Map03: nonlinear

Map04: nonlinear

Map05: linear

Map06: linear

Map07: linear

Map08: linear

Map09: linear

Map10: linear

Map11: nonlinear

Map12: nonlinear

Map13: nonlinear

Map14: linear

Map15: nonlinear

Map16: linear

Map17: nonlinear

Map18: nonlinear

Map19: linear

Map20: linear

Map21: linear

Map22: nonlinear

Map23: nonlinear

Map24: linear

Map25: nonlinear

Map26: linear

Map27: linear

Map28: nonlinear

Map29: linear

Map30: linear

Map31: linear

Map32: linear

 

Next stop: Plutonia.

Hmm, very interesting plotting you've done here!

 

But i have to ask why do you class a map like Map17 as nonlinear, but then say a map like map 20 is linear? Am I missing something or?

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18 hours ago, Bob9001 said:

Hmm, very interesting plotting you've done here!

 

But i have to ask why do you class a map like Map17 as nonlinear, but then say a map like map 20 is linear? Am I missing something or?


Well, let's just analyze them. Red digits represent players progression stages. green lines - main path, magenta lines - alternative path, cyan lines - optional.

 

TNT MAP17
map17.png.a1c6e6db10b91ca125696299e72a808a.png

1a or 1b - enter the building thru 2 different doors.

2a or 2b - collect yellow key either going thru south-east corridor or north passage.

3a or 3b - enter nukage pool thru left or right door.

4a or 4b - exit nukage pool thru one of 2 doors and proceed to main lobby thru south or north passage

5 - go thru blue access door and collect red key

6 - open red access bars and exit level

As you can see here, alternative cover relatively significant portion of map areas, forming large forks, so overall this map is Nonlinear(Type I).

TNT MAP17

map20.png.d89614d4586ccf58c198dc30ad632148.png

1 - go thru the only door to the right

2 - after long pathway you collect red key and either
3a - just backtrack to red door or
3b - go to teleport which takes you to the start of the level /although this is truly alternative way it doesn't provide anything new, being simply a time saver
4 - proceed thru the caves and take blue key (at this point there's a high waterfall forming one-way path)

5 - go to the circular cave and open blue door

6 - open passage and take yellow key

7 - return to area near red key placement and open yellow door

8 - pass thru water channel either from left or right and open blue door (which seems to have no sense at this point)

9 - go thru teleport to the right and jump from the cliff. here you have and option to use another teleport but it's pointless

10 - go to hidden lift, where you can save little bit time by using secret teleport

11 - go thru canyon perimeter and finally teleport to the exit

In this level all the alternatives are insignificant, don't add anything to experience, so they may be easily neglected. That's why, in my opinion (and based on LPD analysis, of course), this map is completely Linear.

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And here it is: Plutonia experiment

This time everything was more obvious for me, because I remember it much better.

158262025_PlutoniaLPdiagrams.PNG.dec13f4260348386e9e0de3ad287f298.PNG

Map01: linear

Map02: linear

Map03: nonlinear

Map04: linear

Map05: linear

Map06: linear

Map07: linear

Map08: linear

Map09: linear

Map10: linear

Map11: nonlinear

Map12: nonlinear

Map13: linear

Map14: nonlinear

Map15: linear

Map16: nonlinear

Map17: linear

Map18: nonlinear

Map19: linear

Map20: linear

Map21: linear

Map22: nonlinear

Map23: nonlinear

Map24: linear

Map25: linear

Map26: nonlinear

Map27: linear

Map28: nonlinear

Map29: nonlinear

Map30: linear

Map31: linear

Map32: nonlinear

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That graph makes me think about some YouTube videos on game design I watched somewhat recently: the Boss Keys series by Mark Brown uses some really cool graphs for the dungeons of Zelda, which he refined as the series went on. 

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On 11/6/2018 at 3:28 PM, Wraith777 said:

And here it is: Plutonia experiment

 

It would be great if you could aggregate all these into poster format; they look compact enough that I assume you could fit all four IWADs on one poster print.

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