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What makes a good gameplay mod?

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I was wondering if the community could help me out with this small question. The question is, like what the title says: What makes a good gameplay mod?

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Q: "What makes a good gameplay mod?" 
A: "It's fun to play."


I know that sounds obvious, but it really is the thing a lot of gameplay mods forget to think about.

Before you add 35 different guns to shoot your arsenal of 850 randomised monsters that feed into your vast XP levelling system etc etc, ask yourself "how does this make the game more fun to play". Chances are some features / concepts just don't add any value to the mod and should perhaps be put to the side or worked on until they become fun.


The main goal though is that YOU, the developer, have fun making the mod; and that's why a lot of "bad" gameplay mods exist, because the authors made something for themselves, players be damned, and that's absolutely fine too.

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For me, a part of what makes something fun is balance. Weapons don't have to all be exactly as strong as one another (that would be boring), but each one should be viable, perhaps other than the starting weapon if you want to emulate Doom's "weak until you've found something" model. Having weapons that become 100% useless once something else that trumps it is found always stinks.


Additionally, weapons that look nice and sound nice are always better. Bad sound can totally ruin an awesome gun, even if the gun is effective, it simply doesn't feel satisfying to fire if the sound is too quiet, overly loud, distorted, poorly cropped, etc. Angled weapons and centered weapons are both fine in my opinion, but make sure that the perspective is correct. I've seen many ruined over the years because they were facing at a bad angle, either looking like they're aiming too far down or off to the side or something.


If it ticks all those boxes, it's going to be a fine weapon mod. In terms of enemies, as long as it's not "kills you the instant you see it" levels of cheap, I personally am super lenient.

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Every player WILL have different opinions. Some will say a map is far too easy, others think it's brutal AF.


Personally I say balance the easier difficulties (ITYTD/HNTR) For the more casual player, HMP For the average DooM player and UV/NM For the hardcore players.



A few tips I recommend are:

1: NEVER SPAM 1 TYPE OF ENEMY. It can get really boring seeing just archviles or just revenants or just imps all over the map. Try to keep variety in mind. You don't need every level to utilise every enemy but don't stick to 1 or 2 enemies (especially past the first 2 levels).


2: Add extra ammo, health and armour. You don't need the entire US stock pile of ammo for every map but you shouldn't give the player 1 clip per level either. Try to strike a balance of generous and stingy.


3: Don't be scared to experiment. It can be fun seeing wacky, silly moments in mods. Even better if you can find a new, unique way (or an under-used method) to do a puzzle element for a wad.


4: High-Tier enemies with Low-Tier weaponry. There's a reason the rocket launcher, BFG and plasma rifle (And for DooM 2, suepr shotty) were added.




These are just 5 little tid-bits to help people understand how to improve their mapping style. :)

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I think there are a few key points that contribute to making a good gameplay mod: Premise, how it plays, and if it's balanced.


  1. Premise
    • A gameplay mod should serve a distinct purpose. What are you trying to achieve? What gameplay style are you going for? What makes your gameplay mod unique and interesting? The player has to be able to immediately recognize how it's supposed to work and what makes it interesting.
  2. How it Plays
    • A gameplay mod should not only look unique but also play uniquely. The more features that you provide to the player that make it different than standard Doom, while making them intuitive to use for the player, the better. Most of all, it should feel satisfying and fun to play.
  3. Balance
    • Any good mod thrives because it's balanced. It's fun and all to have a ton of weapons and options for play, but it loses it's staying power if the player is given no challenge and is able to breeze through any obstacle with no risk. Make sure the player still has a chance of dying.

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Though I'm not a modder at all, my experience playing hundreds of mods, from gameplay-changing to total conversions, I could say a bit about this...


First: If the Mod is meant to be 'balanced' and not over-powered like HXRTC or Russian Overkill, when you are making weapons don't just drop 30 random guns into them.

On first place, give them corresponding balance. You don't want it to get boring after a few levels because it will be too easy due to the firepower of them.

On second place, before making a gun think: "What will weapon affect on the gameplay sense?" "Does it have a special or unique function which helps the player, and it's different from the rest of the arsenal?"


Second: Give enemies variety.

As the user above, Dynamite, said. Don't spam a single type of enemy.

Instead of placing much more Revenants than Imps, Zombiemans, etc... Make it equal! Also you can add more monsters to give less predicability to maps. Just as how RGH or HXRTC has hundreds of enemies, you could add unique ones that will counterattack your weapons and powerups.


Third: It's not just a Gameplay mod, some unique mechanics and easy-to-understand for the player will help you! (Or that's what I think)


I hope this helps.

If anyone more experienced on this can fix me, I'll be glad.


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