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ASaltShaker

Techfacility.wad -- My first wad. [WIP]

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Posted (edited)

Hi! I'm new to this forum, so sorry for any mistakes.

Anyway, I've created my first attempt at a level, and I wanna make more. Although I would like to ask for some criticism on my MAP01. Should not take more than a minute or two.

I've tested compatibility with only GZDoom. Not sure with other sourceports/vanilla. It has no custom stuff other than the levels.


Link: http://www.mediafire.com/file/sws639sjf48kg9r/Techfacility.wad

Edited by ASaltShaker

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Reminds me of my first map, only better, with more action with complexity. It's a bit too simple to really say anything though. I guess the easiest things to criticize would be linearity and very basic monster placement (they never attack from more than one direction so it's not particularly fun to fight them). Also, any reason why you made some stairs block the player?

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Oh! I accidentally made some linedefs on the stairs impassable. Gonna fix that once I get working on MAP02. Anyway, I am not very good at monster placement, so I guess I need to spend more time on that. Any tips about it?

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Well, it's difficult to place monsters well when the areas are just simple flat rectangles and circles. If you make your combat zones more complex, they will give you more ideas. If you look at e.g. Map11 of Doom 2 you will see that it has catwalks, pits, cages, stairs, windows, etc. All these structures offer an opportunity to do something fun and different. Try to make sure that all of your rooms have some interesting features like that. Give the player some pillars to hide from the enemies, force him to avoid lava rivers while dodging the attacks, surprise him with a closing door that prevents him from retreating, and so on.

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Welcome to the forum and happy mapping to you. Memfis has some good advice for you. I'll add that the map could use some lighting variation.

 

And yes, the map is one oval and a bunch of rectangles. Simple geometry is not not always the end of the world, but in this case it's pretty flat, pretty empty, and rather linear. One other thing: water texture should probably not be damaging in most cases unless you have a good reason, such as it's actually the ocean and it "drowns" you if you stay in it too long. 

 

But the map functions properly, so kudos for that.

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Welcome to mapping and to Doomworld. I think this map is a rather good effort for a first map. Keep it up!

 

Also, I agree that Memfis gave you solid advice. These are my comments, to add to what Memfis and HAK said.

 

Here are the things I liked about the map:

  • Overall, the map is pretty simple and straightforward, but I think it has clean lines (partially due to the simple geometry). Odd shapes don't always work, and if someone just includes a lot of odd shapes just to do it, the result can be worse than if you just stick to simple shapes.
  • I liked how the blue key doorframe was actually stuck out a little bit into the room. That was a nice touch.
  • I actually thought that the level had a decent number of monsters for its size.
  • The textures were generally well-aligned and worked well together.
  • I like that the hell knight was directly in the way of the exit switch, so you had to deal with it (whether you killed it or lured it out of the way in a pacifist run, you had to make an effort).
  • The doortrak textures were all unpegged, which new mappers (and more experienced mappers, too) seem to sometimes forget. So, kudos for not missing that small detail.

Here are the neutral aspects of the map:

  • The doors are a little wide (32 units thick, I think), which some people don't like, but's there's really nothing wrong with.
  • There was usually enough room to maneuver to avoid damage (assuming one is good at that sort of thing, which is not a strong skill of mine). I say this is neutral because you only cut down on the available room if you want to increase the threat level, and maybe that wasn't your objective. And some people really like having enough room to maneuver.

Here are the things I think can be improved:

  • Most of the monsters were readily obvious as soon as a player walked into a particular room. When I say that, I mean that none of the monsters were hiding, waiting for the player, inside a monster closet, etc. They were all basically in front of the player and you saw them as soon as you entered a room.
  • The invisible hell knight was interesting, but it was basically right there when you entered the room. You could have moved it off to the side and made it more of a threat, I think. Or made the hell knight guard in front of the exit switch, the invisible one.
  • All the monsters in an area became active as soon as you fired your gun. I think you could've used the ambush flag on some of the monsters in some of the rooms. I think the ambush flag would've worked particularly well in the first large room with the sergeant, so he would stay lying in wait while the others wandered around.
  • The switch in the room with the four imps on boxes was a different texture than the surrounding walls. It was gray while the other walls were green. An abrupt change like that looks a little strange without some sort of transition texture. I think there was a switch that is the same base texture as the surrounding walls, too. If you absolutely wanted to use the gray switch, either transition to it, or put it in a little alcove.

With regard to monster placement, you need to think about two things: how the monsters act and how dangerous do you want them to be? These are generalizations, but (for the Doom 2 bestiary, but applies generally, I think):

  • Hitscanners (zombiemen, sergeants, chaingunners, spider mastermind) are called that because you can't dodge their projectiles. If you're in range and they start shooting at you, they're likely to hit you. So if you can't eliminate them quickly, or you don't know they're there, they can be troublesome (especially chaingunners). If you put one or two at a time in the middle of a room with plenty of room for you to move around, they're more of just a nuisance.
  • Enemies that shoot projectiles that you can dodge (imps, cacodemons, revenants, mancubi, archviles, hell knights, barons, cyberdemons) are less difficult to manage if there's plenty of room for you to move around and avoid their projectiles or if there's adequate cover. Revenants are a special case since some of their projectiles are homing missiles. If you put them in cramped quarters, they instantly become more of a threat. A single hell knight in a wide open room is not that big of deal. A single hell knight in a 64-72 unit wide hallway, particularly if you cut off means of retreat, is much more of a threat.
  • Enemies with only a melee attack (demons, specters, lost souls) work well if you put them in groups or they sneak up on the player. Obviously, if you put a specter in a dark room, that adds to the threat. But if you put a herd of these together that can surround the player, that's dangerous. If you put them in a trap (like a monster closet) that opens after the player has passed it, that can be dangerous. If you put one or two of these enemies alone in a large area, they're not that threatening.
  • Pain elementals are in a category all their own. They don't attack the player, per se, but they do generate lost souls. Pain elementals work best when there are other monsters to distract the player or when there are multiple pain elementals for the player to deal with. Either way, you have to dispatch the pain elementals quickly or they will belch lost souls at you, which in sufficient quantities can be deadly. Put a single pain elemental in a room and it's much less of a threat.
  • How you combine different types of monsters can affect things, too. For example, putting turreted hitscanners in the same area as a group of projectile shooters and then having a group of biting enemies come in (such as through a trap), will play completely differently than turreted projectile shooters and a group of biting enemies with no hitscanners.

Try out different scenarios with monster placement and see how they go. Play other levels to see how those mappers arranged their encounters. Assembling good encounters is difficult, but as you gain more experience, you'll get better at it. (That is true about everything related to mapping, really.)

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As I was writing my previous post, it occurred to me that there is an entire Doomworld tutorial regarding monster placement, with input from some of the heavy hitters of the Doom mapping community. I suggest you check it out, because it goes into far more detail than I could.

 

 

Also, you may have already seen these, but Linguica put together an entire series on Vanilla level editing. This is the first part of a thirteen part series.

 

 

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Had a bit more time today, so I just recently finished MAP02! I updated the link in the main post. I got the idea of teleporting around from HR MAP15. This thing only has like 3 active teleporters so I don't know if that really adds much to the level.

Anyway, this level should be a bit longer, so there might be some things to criticize.

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Yes, this is much better feature-wise. There are pits to watch out for, monsters shooting from far away, etc. The teleporter system is interesting too, however a possible problem is that it makes the whole level seem disjointed. If you look at the Hell Revealed map you mentioned, all teleport destinations are neatly connected, and even the circular arena (which technically exists in a separate place) gives the impression that the rest of the level lies right behind these brown walls. It's important to have some coherence in your levels, you don't want the player to feel like they're going through a collection of random rooms that have nothing to do with each other.

 

I think you went too far with the room sizes this time. There is so much free space that the areas seem a little too empty. Also keep in mind that the more space the player has, the easier it is for them to avoid the monsters. As a result, the pinky demons in the central hub are not really dangerous as they can be ignored rather safely. Anyway, I'd say that getting the dimensions right is one of the trickiest parts of mapping and I still occasionally struggle with it, so I can't criticize you too much here.

 

Some monster placement is odd. Why is the revenant in the exit room facing a wall? It just looks funny. The demons in the zigzag bridge area are also kinda silly as they have troubles navigating that bridge and can't reach the player in time.

 

It appears that you don't know how to create solid walls. Instead you're using these cardboard walls which don't really work since projectiles just fly right through them. Creating solid walls is easy: one way to do it is to draw a sector inside of another sector, point at it and press "delete" (assuming you're working in Doom Builder). Try it!

 

Anyway, this is already a good step up, so keep going! I think now it's time for you to experiment with sector brightness levels. Currently all of your rooms are uniform in brightness, which gives them a very lifeless look. The best way to create interesting looking areas is to combine dark and bright sectors (while more or less following the laws of physics if possible). Look at this area from Doom 2 Map26. It's not particularly complex, but the contrasting lighting gives it a lot of character. Now let's look at the same place with lighting disabled. Look how boring it became! That's because without lighting variation there is no sense of depth.

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19 hours ago, Memfis said:

Some monster placement is odd. Why is the revenant in the exit room facing a wall? It just looks funny. The demons in the zigzag bridge area are also kinda silly as they have troubles navigating that bridge and can't reach the player in time.

 

It appears that you don't know how to create solid walls. Instead you're using these cardboard walls which don't really work since projectiles just fly right through them. Creating solid walls is easy: one way to do it is to draw a sector inside of another sector, point at it and press "delete" (assuming you're working in Doom Builder). Try it!

When I first started mapping (~23ish years ago), I had problems with solid walls, too. I distinctly remember drawing interior walls that were just single lines. When I wanted a door, I just changed the texture on that section of wall to the door texture. It made navigating easier, since you didn't actually have to open the door--you could just walk through it (or walk through the wall itself). Of course, it wasn't right, and I soon learned the proper way, which is actually much better, for a number of reasons (windows, height differences, pillars to use for cover, etc.). And you already clearly know how to make a functioning door, so you're already a step ahead of where I was when I started.

 

The method memfis suggested to create solid walls is a simple way to go, and it works in Eureka as well as Doom Builder. I would guess it works in just about any level editor. It's also a simple mistake to make--I've found myself drawing the outline of a wall or connecting two areas and forgetting to delete the interior area that should be void. It's immediately obvious when I'm looking out at a sweeping vista from a ledge instead of a wall with a window in it.

 

If the demons are just meant to be a nuisance and not much of a threat on the zig-zag bridge (more or less just an impediment to keep the player from running across it), then just leave them alone. If you want the enemies on the bridge to be more dangerous to the player, my suggestion would be to switch them to hitscanners or something like revenants. Or you could always switch them to lost souls or cacodemons, which would just fly toward you.

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