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Andy Johnsen

Multiplayer Cooperative mode pet peeves

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Having played Doom regularly on multiplayer cooperative mode for near 25 years, I figured it might be time to do a post on a few elements of annoyance that were prevalent back then, but seem to still prosper just fine in many modern maps.

These were certainly even more common issues in the nineties, but  they are still very much evident in modern maps, in all probability still because most mappers don't have the incentive, the interest or the testing environment needed to consider them. 

All of these pet peeve issues have relatively easy fixes. Please consider them friendly and trite reminders if you're knee deep in a mapping project at the moment, and want to make old crusty cooperative mode cats happy:

- Paths / traps that are blocked by features that only trigger once. The most common issue in a Doom map on multiplayer is the kind of feature that work just fine on singleplayer, but leave you unable to pass a certain blockade upon respawning. These are found in almost every megawad out there, one would find a surprising short list of full 32 map sets where several of the maps do not require a restart upon death. 

The easy fix to this is to have either a shortcut implementation at the start area, or simply allow the blockade to be lowered again at the site. I can see why this was easy to forget in the early days, but that it should still be as prevalent in modern maps is weird considering how accessible multiplayer is now.


- Keyed doors that are not stay open. Beyond the aesthetics and gameplay consideration there is very little reason to allow a keyed door to close again. In almost every scenario it would be vastly preferable to always use "stay open" on a keyed door, especially in a lengthy map. The repetitive hunt for already used keys becomes a huge chore and a harsh progression killer in way too many maps. 

If one do not want the door to be permanently stay open for whatever reason, the easy fix is to implement shortcuts at the start area, or have the keys lower / spawn at start once picked up. 


- Similar to the above issue; having to hunt for weapons in already explored areas before you can resume map progression.

Again the simple fix is to make the weapons available at spawn once they are discovered. If one combine this with lowering teleporters to shortcut past lengthy distances, the multiplayer flow really comes alive. Tracking for five minutes through empty corridors, or climbing the same ledge sequence repeatedly and what not, is the bane of many multiplayer sessions.


- Avoid flooding spawn starts / teleport landings with monsters. The chore of spawning into a boiling pot of revenants and barons when basically weaponless is a good way to deplete the fun. Usually some architectural tact can be applied to avoid this scenario. Similar consideration should be used if you allow monsters to flood below a drop, where you get a "clog" if death appears once the monsters have gathered at said spot (only an issue if you play with vanilla settings / infinitely tall actors, but easy enough to avoid).


- Bio-Suits that become pivotal to get past hurt floor areas, or deplete you to unfair levels repeatedly when expired. 

Similar to the paths being blocked off or lowered because of traps and what not, this pesky "required" Bio-Suit, health boost or invulnerability variant completely breaks a map in multiplayer if death occur.


- Lifts / moving floors that only carry one player. Some of these must be allowed for architectural freedom, but the need to make every lift in a lengthy map just wide enough to carry one player becomes a bit of a slog. One cannot accommodate for 15 players at a time, but at the minimum allowing for two players in a lift / moving floor sector, would be an improvement.


- Stacked ammo, or items placed in front of doors or paths where you cannot avoid picking them up. We sinned with this in Alien Vendetta as well, so this is a lesson learned in-house. Very annoying, especially on multiplayer where you wanna be able to share the goods.

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