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WalterAB

Looking for feedback on my first maps.

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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone!

This is my first time interacting with the Doom community, even though I have been playing the game for the past 20 years. I have recently gotten into mapping, and I decided to share my first test maps, to get some feedback and hopefully improve my skills.

 

These are my first maps ever, I have never even opened a level editor before. I looked up some basic tutorials (which I'm sure will show in the first map XD), and then tried to figure out the rest. That being said, I guess that it is bound to contain some noobie mistakes throughout these levels, so I'd be glad to have them pointed out.

Any feedback is welcome, even if it's just "this sucks. you suck". I can take it ;)

 

Anyway, here's some basic info.

Game: The Ultimate Doom
Levels: E1M1 and E1M2

Software used: Doom Builder 2.1.1.1553
Compatibilty: Tested with Zandronum and Gzdoom. As far as mods goes, should be compatible with most of them, since it's all vanilla stuff. I've tested with Brutal Doom, Project Brutality, WW2 Nazis! and Juvenile Power Fantasy.
 

Here's some screenshots:
 

 

And here's the download link:

https://mega.nz/#!ugQlCTzJ!ze0fgWlDlL12JLJkJPFgjQV9Jx0CXPpNnFWDb4c4o3E

Edited by WalterAB

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May i ask why you didn't put the levels in one wad only? I heard you can use SLADE for this, though i'm not experienced myself so you should consult tutorials on SLADE :P

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I am sorta familiar with slade, yeah. But I just realised I can very easily compile them together in one wad using Doom Builder itself. I guess because I worked on them separately, I just didn't think to add them together. I kept 'em in the "skins" folder of Zandronum, so they played as if they were one wad anyway, but I guess it is more convenient to have them merged. I updated the link in the post with a version containing both levels in one wad. Thanks for pointing that out!

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Posted (edited)

I see your maps... rich in lighting, design, secrets, gameplay reminds me first doom. Enjoyed.

Edited by SilverMiner

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Solid start here. I hope you keep mapping. You pay attention to details, which is good - some nice lighting, some solid layouts, interactive spaces, a few good barrel situations, some nice secrets, etc.

 

The combat is rather Doom 1. Most of the danger is due to volume of hitscanners, so something to work on, especially if you should ever map for Doom 2, would be traps and dynamic encounters. You come into a room with four scattered sergeants - that's a threat, even if you have a plasma gun. But you come into a room with four scattered hell knights, that's probably not much of a threat if there's any decent amount of space. So basically, interesting monster encounters are not always simple to design. Again, this was pretty well done for Doom 1.

 

Visually, you have a ton of right angles. It really doesn't look that bad because it's not like it's perfect rectangles everywhere, but don't be afraid to alter the geometry a bit, even in spaces that are supposed to be man-made. 

Some of the lighting doesn't really make sense (not that it always does in Doom). In one place, for example, there's a lamp right beside a crate, yet there's a shadow on the lamp side of that same crate. You might consider more frequent use of overhead light textures to make shadowing less of a pain. Ceilings can also end up looking a bit odd with so much shadowing.

You have lots of long flat walls with just one texture. Think about breaking those up with upper and lower variation (small sectors against wall with floor height same as floor, ceiling height, roughly half the height of the room's ceiling, like left side of second room in your M2) and little seams here and there (shawn, support, doorstop, etc.) as well as making smoother texture transitions. It often does not look great to change a texture on a right angle without a small "transition texture." Splitting lines is your friend.

 

So yeah, if there are three main aspects of mapping: layout/flow, combat, and aesthetic, that's their order from best to worst right now in my opinion. 

Overall, great start. Definitely some interesting and creative ideas in here.

 

If you'd like more pointed commentary, you can post future efforts in this thread and I'll do a video.

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Posted (edited)

Heh, sorry for not getting back on level feedback, but i think @HAK3180 already covered a lot. Check thes thread for more ways to improve your design, as you definetly have some interesting ideas.

 

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First, welcome to mapping. Second, thank you for following the guidelines for posting maps (screenshots, iwad, what you tested with, etc.). You'd be amazed how many new mappers don't do that (and get called out for it). It's nice to actually be able to congratulate a first-time mapper for doing it, for a change.

 

Third, I think HAK3180 covered things pretty well, so I don't have much to add. I will preface this by saying that I haven't actually been able to play the maps; I only looked at the screenshots you posted. However, from them, I think that there are times where the shadows look artificial. By that, I mean that the darkness in the shadow is absolute. It looks almost too dark. The most obvious examples are in the 1st and 4th screenshots. Shadowing is important and the fact that you're paying attention to it is good, but I think it doesn't look right with the stark contrast between the light and dark.

 

  1. Also, to elaborate on the point regarding encounters: large rooms without some sort of "artificial" limit (such as a damaging floor) rarely work for creating dramatic encounters. The ways that larger rooms do work is in a few different ways.
  2. You could pack the room full of enemies, which would limit your mobility and force you to fight more monsters. As long as you can't camp outside the door to the room (i.e., open the door, shoot a few enemies, retreat before the door closes, repeat), this can increase the stress level. Depending on the type of weaponry you have, this could either be "fun" or "grindy." Someone far more versed in slaughter-y type encounters could tell you better than me.
  3. You could put a smaller number of hitscanners in the room, but space them out. If you put a lot of cover (like the pillars in screenshot 1), this type of encounter will likely become a sort of "take a shot, take cover, repeat" encounter, which you may like or may not.
  4. Put a larger enemy in the larger room. Put a cyberdemon or spider mastermind in a larger room (but not too large) and they're instantly more of a threat simply because they can inflict a lot of damage and their size effectively limits your mobility. At that point, lack of cover becomes extremely deadly.
  5. Use teleport traps and monster closets (both vanilla compatible) to create different waves of encounters that come from different directions. For example, put a few sergeants on the other side of the room and, as you move toward them, have a monster closet full of demons open beside you or behind you. This will create a different level of tension because now you have to switch your focus between mutually exclusive directions and you can't really ignore either one.

 

There are variations on these depending on whether you're using the bestiary from Doom 1 or Doom 2, but the principles apply to both.

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Thank you all so much for the feedback! You have all been insanely helpful!

Thanks @HAK3180 and @Pegleg for all the pointers, especially about combat! Designing fun and interesting encounters really is a challenge of its own, and I really appreciate all the tips. I shall keep them in mind for my next project (which is already in progress).

About the lightning, yes I kind of obsess over it, as I'm sure you guys noticed lol. I like creating sort of "vertical" shadows, because I think it enhances the atmosphere of the levels. I also believe I've discovered a solution for the ceilings, as they do look weird in a lot of rooms. Anyways, thanks for the tips in this category as well, they were very helpful.


Also, thank you @Catpho for the thread recommendation, I will definitely check it out.

Thank you all for the warm welcome into the community! I'm glad to be sharing this stuff, and I will definitely do more!

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https://www.twitch.tv/videos/268129212 (2nd one played, about 10-15 minutes in)

 

Some decent stuff on show here for a first-time mapper. I sense you focused on lighting quite a bit; some of it was good, some of it was kind of awful. Gameplay was good, captured the E1 feel nicely.

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I just saw your video @Suitepee , thank you very much for recording it! It is very nice to see someone else playing through my map, gives me so much insight!

 

About the 25 health pickup in a narrow walkway thing, I totally see how that was a bad design choice. Thank you for pointing it. Also about the lightning, I do like playing around with it a lot to try and create atmosphere, but I see the results being mixed. I'm still doing them on my new map, but maybe less over the top. Oh, and less completely dark areas too, I guess they're kind of annoying.

 

Thanks for all the feedback, and for streaming my maps for other people to see.

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