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MetalDoomGuy

Map making block

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hey guys, im new to doomworld, and semi new to Doom builder, I have a map I'm making but i currently have BuildersBlock, how do you guys get ideas and concepts for your maps? cause I got nothin'.

 

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Dragonfly of course mentioned the most important things already.

 

Sometimes I just spam random Linedefs and see what shapes I come up with. But yeah, it‘s still hard to come up with stuff, though. Don‘t be afraid to re-do areas, if you have the feeling, that they don‘t really work out. If you have problems „continuing“ your map, try to connect some rooms and see how that will look. Divide them by height or barriers later on.

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Not fully sure if this helps but, try building maps with limited flats/textures/enemies/etc. Get creative with self-imposed limitations. I'm right now attempting to make a full DooM episode with only former Humans, Sargents, Imps and both Pinky types.

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Posted (edited)

One of the options is to decide in what area your map will be located, what key moments and secrets will be there. Follow visual sketches in the head.

I did create some of my maps at random - I just sketched various geometric shapes, and it worked out pretty well.

Moreover, the mapper's block may disappear when you have already successfully created several maps. But this is a kind of vicious circle, although you can get out of it.

And also lmp demos can help you if other players play and record your maps. This way you can see the strengths and weaknesses of the map.

In conclusion I can say - not every person has the talent for mapping.

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i can't finish my maps unless they're about something

i bin so many layouts that I made just by drawing shapes in an uninspired manner

 

on the other hand you can turn any small scrap of map into a whole level by adding a bunch of teleporting monsters :B if yr stuck expanding the thing try making it more encounter dense while that aspect of your imagination recharges

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Yakfak raises a great point - one worth expanding on.

 

The way you approach mapping will also help you to keep the flow going. There's a few ways I've tried mapping:

  • Layout first
    • Make a map with no consideration for texturing, just focus on the core architectural aspects of the map, the way the player moves around, etc. Come back later and make it look good, then come back again and add monsters etc. Even though I personally don't work this way, many well known mappers work like this.
  • Gameplay first
    • It's like layout first, but everything you do is about how it plays, build the encounters into the map before you worry about the visuals.
  • Detail First
    • Build the map's layout in parts, making each room look perfect before you move on to the next. Probably the worst way to work in terms of having a 'fun level', but it works for some people.
  • Balanced Building
    • This is how I work. - I make a room, I add the monsters, I make it look "mostly done" then move on to the next area. As yakfak said, this gives me more time to imagine a good layout as I work, and also helps me design encounters later in the level as the gameplay in the leadup to it will already be balanced, I'd know roughly what stack of ammo/health the player will have, etc. One thing this method helps me with a lot is good, creative secret areas, too.
  • Co-op mapping
    • Find a mapping buddy and play map-tennis. You make a part, be it a room or whatever, then send the WAD to your mapping buddy - they then add what they want. It could be detail to your room(s), new areas, change the way a battle works etc. Keep bouncing back and forth until the map's done. I recommend saving this method until you feel confident in your ability to map (and to map relatively quickly so the 'buddy' doesn't get bored waiting weeks for you to pass it back.)

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Posted (edited)

Take a look at what you have, is it good?, bad?, One of the problems i've encountered when facing mappers block is that sometimes i build areas that really don't work nor i'm satisfied with, and at that point it's hard to advance. Don't be afraid of deleting an area thats giving you trouble to build a different one. Try improvising a room, think about how your map is gonna flow so that there's a general idea about the map.

 

My biggest advice for mappers block, it's taking a small break before returning with a clearer mind. One of the worst things you can do if you're stuck at mapping is forcing yourself to finish it when you aren't inspired. If making a map starts feeling like a chore because of that, your map will quality will decrease. 

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Everyone will go trough this once in a while, i just had one in early september. It's quite unpleasant when this happen but i allways looking at this as information that my brain is tired and exhausted and need a break. What work best for me is that i just turn off computer and go outside to have fun with friends(give my brain a break). This is for me best method, give my brain complete break from "digital things" once in a while.

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Try and draw out a segment of a map (or an entire map) and see what you can do with the drawing in your editor.

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Posted (edited)

get a notebook and some colored pencils or pens (i prefer pens, but whichever is more fun to use)

 

grab one of the pens, start writing words as they come to your mind trying to think of doom maps or mapping. how does doom mapping feel? how do good doom maps make you feel? what are demons like? what are their buildings like? what are any buildings like? what is hell? what's the last cool combat part in a wad you played? what other game did you play that has an idea that could translate into doom? what was the last cool building you saw? think about spaces you've encountered in games or the real world that were fun to navigate. remember visuals in movies or art that made you feel a certain way. think about how want your player to feel.

 

don't restrict yourself, don't hold yourself back and think "this might be a bad idea" or "this is unrelated". free yourself from any anxieties about what it is or who will see it. don't try to erase anything or scratch anything out. just keep going. don't worry about grammar or correctness. a lot of times we have plenty of ideas, we're just holding ourselves back. the mostly empty doom builder screen is psychologically unhelpful for this.

 

do the same thing for shapes as they enter your mind; think of real buildings, think of imagined shapes that could never be a building. sketch little pieces of them, but don't commit to a big layout diagram yet.

 

think about a map you played, and an idea it used for combat, and combine that with an idea from another map for navigation/progression.

 

the physicality of the pen and the permanence of it is important. there's been real psychological research into this stuff that i'm too lazy to dig up right now.

 

edit:

if you're stuck on ideas for connecting spaces and keep making small areas like i used to be:

 

i forced myself to speedmap, and make several maps in an hour or so each. i forced myself to map even if i had "no ideas".

all the results were crap, but before i had all sorts of weird mental hangups about how to connect rooms and stuff that would make me just sit there and stare at doom builder after i drew my first room. speedmapping said "you have to complete this" so it made me discard those hangups.

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@MetalDoomGuy

Welcome to Doomworld! Enjoy your time here.

 

Mapper's block is a real thing and it can be a real bear to overcome. When you are really at the point when you are just sitting there at the screen with one hand on your mouse and drumming with the fingers of your other hand and nothing is happening--the best advice is what DMPhobos and Marlamir already said: take a break. Shut off the editor, move away from your computer, and go do something else. That "something else" is up to you: watch TV, read a book, go for a walk, meet up with friends, take a nap, whatever as long as it gets your mind off mapping.

 

If you're not having fun, you should probably step away. Doom mapping is not a job. It's not something you do because you have to, it's something you do because you want to. So, if it's at the point where you're just making yourself miserable, then go do something else, whatever that something else happens to be.

 

But let's say you're not there yet. You're not completely stuck or completely miserable. What then? Well, you can always follow the advice of "do something else." Clearing your head can do wonders. But what if you want to try to push through and make a map? What then? Dragonfly, yakfak, and anotak had some good points. These are my thoughts to add to their thoughts.

 

You can always start simple. Studies have been done showing that if people have too many choices, they will tend to become paralyzed with their options and will end up choosing nothing. (Back in the 1980's, in the US, Prego, the sauce company, found that their sales went up when they reduced their sauce options from 20 or 30 to 3. People weren't buying because they couldn't choose, when the extraneous options were removed, they were able to make a choice.)

 

How does this relate to Doom? Simple, you have flexibility and choices. There are thousands of texture packs and custom monsters to choose from. You can make tech bases, cities, hellscapes, churches, abandoned industrial plants, mining facilities on asteroids, and so on. You can do slaughter wads or puzzle maps and everything in between.

 

So, keep it simple. Trim down your options. Use stock textures and stock monsters. Pick a theme and design a map that meets that theme. The themes wouldn't have to be complicated (you can look at the speedmapping sessions for ideas of possible themes). Here are some examples:

  • Between 5 and 10 rooms. No damaging floors. Hitscanners only.
  • Marble textures. Each room must have a damaging floor. Projectile monsters only.
  • Doom 1 monsters only.
  • Rocket launcher only.
  • Height differences between levels within the map must be at least 64 units. Floating enemies only.

Keep it simple. Don't be too ambitious. Set a time limit for yourself (this is where speedmapping can come in handy.) Even if you don't want to speedmap a whole level, you can speedmap a section of that level.

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My 2 cents:

 

Take a step back from the lines and sectors. A map isn't just lines and sectors, after all. It's a place! A place you are building from scratch! You're telling a story, visually. Think a places you'd like to explore. Eventually, you're going to build this place. So, some examples:

 

  • A cave with an underground river.
  • A small village, with an entrance on the side of a mountain.
  • A castle with towers, and a dungeon.
  • A moon base, in a crater.
  • A temple of stone or marble, with an alter.
  • A dusty town, with shops and houses.

I tend to prefer a bit a realism, so I think in terms of actual places, with different types of buildings/rooms/structures. But, you can also go abstract. If you decide abstract, instead of realistic looking places, concentrate on choreographing fights. In other words, think about attack angles through windows, and columns to provide cover. Think about ledges where monsters might attack from. Think about what each monster can do, and build the terrain to support their movement capabilities and their attacks.

 

A combination of both concepts can provide for a very fun map. There are a lot of good ideas in this thread. I especially like the idea about imposing limitations. One big cause of mapper's block is the vast number of tools available to the modern mapper. For even just a part of your map, try to create an artifical limitation on yourself. Some examples:

  • Only use red and black for a particular section
  • Sectors may be no bigger than 128x128
  • In this area give nothing without a fight

Imposing limitations forces you to shift your focus towards getting through the limitation, vs. having an infinite toolset. It can really spark creativity. It doesn't ahve to be map-wide, either. By doing different limitations in different sections, you can end up with a diverse map with lots of different interesting areas.

 

Final word of advice: Get some sleep, and try again. Sleep deprivation kills the imagination. Good luck!

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UPDATE: Ive gone for an abandon storage facility with acid as its power ( i dunno how I'll incorporate that put its working so far... I think)

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Posted (edited)

- play other GAMES from different genres and your pool will be unlimited.

*If you wonder, can an RPG genre game fit into an FPS game? yes, if you use your creative mind and "Port it" correctly to fit.

You can take a section (Not whole map, but a small part of it), change it, tweak it , make it fit doom's gameplay.

Even an adventure game and point and click games can give you some map-related ideas.

 

- Watch movies, you can "Steal" a set/stage from a movie and fit it into doom as well.

 

_____________________________________________________________________

 

To simplify what @Dragonfly said further, let's split into two, there is a RIGHT WAY and WRONG WAY but both are tools.

 

1.)To start with the big picture (Big shape) and fill in the blanks (Details / sub-shapes) in between.

2.)To start small with small sub-sections and to expand on it to a big picture (From details to a whole level).

 

The Second method is flawed by design. The reason is the same reason of drawing in perspective, If you won't put your measurements first, You will run into SCALING issues, Like drawing a person without proportions , You start with the head, its 100% to scale, You get to the arms, they are going to be 30% bigger or smaller due to lack of measurements, by the time you reach the legs, they will be 200% bigger / smaller than their ideal proportion.

 

The same thing goes with a map when you start with details, You won't have proper measurements, you will run into problems of BIG CORRIDORS and small rooms, or one room that is x5 bigger than the other (Unplanned for, not by design but a side-effect), You may say, Well, its only creative to have asymmetry and lack of proportions, But wait until you will have to fill it with "things", Then it will be all over the place.

 

(I could be wrong, while i highlight creativity, my mindset is EXTREMELY technical), i don't see a "Lonely tree in the forest to the side of a snowy mountain), i see geometrical shapes.

Edited by d-Illasera

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