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EngineerKappa

Getting Lost in Doom

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For a while, I've noticed that when I play most of the custom WADs here, I get stuck wandering around. Often I'll be running in circles for a while before I accidentally stumble into the next part of the map.

 

People love these types of WADs, so I'm leaning more toward it being me just being bad than anything wrong with the map. Lately I've been trying the automap markers for key doors, but that often doesn't help for switches or lifts that I might've missed running through. The automap in general tends to be somewhat useless for navigating large custom maps with loads of sectors and distant lines of sight.

 

This isn't an issue for most of the official games since I've gotten used to those layouts, but it's something I've noticed with most community made WADs. (Though Doom 64 also has some more obtuse maps in it too.)

 

tldr; I'm a dummy and bad at navigating. How do I get better at finding my way around?

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Posted (edited)

EDIT: Nevermind, you already do that :P how about "show trigger lines" (am_showtriggerlines 1 or 2 in the console) in gzdoom?

Edited by Xyzzy01

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Honestly sometimes bad Level design can make it confusing. But also it always keeps a sense of exploration, and discovery. There is console command iddt to help. Also the Map setting in GZDoom have hotkeys you can assign to zoom in the map and get a feel of what's around you. Hope that helped. :^)  As for trigger lines idk... just google it

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I appreciate the help, but using console commands or iddt sounds more like cheating to me. I don't think that's what the mappers intended.

 

I'm just trying to think of ways I can get better at internalizing the map layout into my own memory.

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Posted (edited)

Interesting question. Maybe this is due to your sense of space, maybe to bad map design or maybe to the way you play. I wonder if you have any videos of you playing a map you've never seen before.

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I get lost quite a bunch as well. I was thinking that this is maybe due to the fact, that I like to orient myself on the right. Means, whenever I enter a room, I tend to check out the right part first. That‘s okay for a Wolfenstein like maze, but in a very interconnected Doom map it can quickly get you stuck somewhere. What helped me a bit was trying to a) go left xD and b) navigate more by really looking at the surroundings and architecture. Especially after you killed all the enemies since that‘s when you have time to actually check out your area. 

 

Yet, I still happen to miss the odd switch or narrow gap where I was supposed to squeeze through. Sometimes I even don‘t realize that I have to „Doom jump“ a certain part.

 

Also, the automap almost never helps me, except to find the colored doors again. But everything else is just visul gibberish to me. ;/

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I guess there aren't that many ways to overcome this besides experience. Pwads often contain more complicated designs compared to official games, and frequently uses the engine in many new ways, so it takes time to get used to. Once you know all the tricks, it ain't so bad.

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I'm always surprised at how bad at navigation a lot of players seem to be. I rarely find myself wandering around even a large map with no idea what to do or where to go, because I can read an automap just fine and remember landmarks and things. I guess that could just be experience.

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5 hours ago, EngineerKappa said:

People love these types of WADs, so I'm leaning more toward it being me just being bad than anything wrong with the map. Lately I've been trying the automap markers for key doors, but that often doesn't help for switches or lifts that I might've missed running through.

You are likely to come across all types of ways people can imagine how progression can work in a map. Sometimes people go for "weird" progression on purpose, other times it's a side effect of how a map has been planned and wasn't really a "direct" design decision. There should still be plenty maps around where progression is less "cryptic".

 

I think an entry barrier can be how different map formats work. When you're coming fresh from the iWADs (original Doom2 for example), you are pretty much guaranteed to come across modern maps which are able to do things that classic doom wasn't able to pull off. Might take some getting used to, but nothing to be concerned about, imo.

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It's definitely dependent on the map. Some maps are good at showing you doors you need to return to later and keeping switches within earshot of the lifts they lower. 

 

Other maps can be tricky with one-way passages, teleporters, and switches that aren't quite obvious what they've actually done until you find a new wave of monsters nearby. More dense and detailed maps with windows can also appear misleading if you start running into dead ends.

 

I might have to study a layout before I go to another room or something like that, just to be safe.

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There certainly is an element of „holding the player by his hands and guiding him“ in some maps. I tend to like those maps very much because I rarely get lost in them. No matter how confusing and contrived the layout may look. „Monster Hunter Ltd. Part 1 and 2“ would be such an example. Either I was lucky and accidentally followed the critical path or the maps were just veeery cleverly designed, in a way, that I was never far from the next important switch, or that the next progression was quite obvious.

 

Doom 64, well... not so much. I was hunting for progression in almost every stage. And if it takes one about 20 minutes just to progress to the next room, that really takes out the „oompf“ of a map and makes me want to throw everything into the trash. The Map. GzDoom. My Computer. My life. 

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Shameless self-promotion (sorry)

 

Spoiler

Hellscape Navigator is designed to help with exactly this problem. It's still WIP, but most of the features already work.

 

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There isn't really a way around it, sometimes you get lucky and find the correct paths.. Others well you and me know what happens. Even worse if the automap is hidden or a horrid mess. I don't need to see where you placed detail sectors especially for lights mapper! 

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10 hours ago, m8f said:

Shameless self-promotion (sorry)

 

  Hide contents

Hellscape Navigator is designed to help with exactly this problem. It's still WIP, but most of the features already work.

 

Haha wow, I have to check this out. Incredible!

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On 10/1/2018 at 9:36 AM, EngineerKappa said:

but using console commands or iddt sounds more like cheating to me. I don't think that's what the mappers intended.

 

I still play with trigger lines enabled. It's also a setting in the automap options. I don't think there is any shame in using it, in the end modding is about playing how you want to, and enabling trigger lines eliminates all the frustrating situations where you went past a switch (because you're blind, it blended in, or blood decals are all over it) and run through the entire level looking for that one switch you missed.  

 

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I think it really depends on the map you're playing, some maps do a good job at guiding the player with some clues (eg: pickups and monsters placed nearby Points of interest), I found the automap to be useless for the most part.

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An optional key-door compass on the top of the screen like in some modern games would be a sensible thing to have in this age where many maps are huge but good flow isn't always guaranteed. It could certainly help confusing maps to play better which wouldn't be a bad thing at all.

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I think it would help if map designers would put the automap at the start of the map and not in a secret that makes you collect 3 keys.

Why the hell would I want an automap at the end? For other secrets ? Usually I can't even find the missing secrets using the automap.

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Personally I don't like running around, searching for switches or for keycards, it just annoys me since I run around the map for 5 minutes trying to see where I'm supposed to go and it ends up being in some extremely odd area which is barely seeable most of the time. One megawad I really enjoyed playing through was zone300, mostly because it's very linear in a good sense, since it was easy to figure out where the secrets are and where you're supposed to go.

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