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AD_79

Pushing yourself as a mapper - how necessary is it?

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Good topic :)

 

I think when we're all old and looking back on our lives what's gonna matter the most is that we had fun in the process. If seeking to be on the cutting edge or to be prolific is what is fun to somebody, then they may look back on a life filled with long periods of inactivity, even if wished to be otherwise at the time, as being good. However, if that is not one's goal then it is good to reevaluate priorities regularly to reflect what one values most, and if the fun of the journey is more valuable than the destinations, then it may be beneficial to just make stuff and have fun with it. 

 

Also agreed with nih; ultimately you just have to figure out what makes mapping worth your time and what's fun to you.

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There is an absolutely depressing number of artists who keep making the same book/movie/song/drawing with slight changes. I think that's undeniably the worst thing that can happen to a creative person. I'm not sure if you can even call their stuff art. It's more like manufacturing.

 

Some of them kind of have an excuse since they are making money with this stuff and they just don't have the courage to take risks. But that doesn't apply to Doom mappers.

 

There is hardly anything more rewarding and important in life than forcing yourself to do difficult things and growing in the process. Reserve comfortable activities for times when you're really feeling down and you just need a reminder that you're actually capable of achieving something.

 

ARTISTS MUST SUFFER!

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As someone who nearly burnt themselves out this year with TRYING to make TM0D episode 3 (which became the Season 1 Finale... twice... and now is just on hiatus) I know the feeling of worrying about being too consistent and not feeling like you're giving it your all. I think I might have found what caused me to resent making my custom DooM "series"... over-pushing and over ambition. I tired adding 3D models, portals, voxels, custom huds, 3D weaponry, "cutscenes", etc... Rather than spacing them out, I tried gunning for all of them too quickly and ended up hating what work I had done.

 

Thankfully, with me doing projects like XUMP and my DooM 1 Remake, this break has helped clear my mind a bit more.

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I have a huge number of references to draw inspiration from. I actually have a folder with thousands of screenshots from Doom 3 and RoE, because I love the theme of that game's level design so much. I actually played through all of Doom 3 and RoE and took screenshots of almost every single room, no joke. I am currently doing the same for Quake 4. Might do something similar with Half-life later and possibly even some sci movies such as Aliens and Event Horizon.

 

And even professional artists do this as well. Do you think they just make everything up completely from scratch? No. They use references from movies, games, other art etc.

 

 I tired adding 3D models, portals, voxels, custom huds, 3D weaponry

 

Picks?

 

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Sure, here's just a few from my (probably) canceled TMoD EP 3: (Sorry if this is considered advertising (eventhough the project fell through))

Spoiler

 

Screenshot_Doom_20180813_161123.png.543a9fee5e0f1009b94b8f2f3adb278e.png

 

Screenshot_Doom_20180708_214401.png.b750603d0143e007a4e789b1f15fe75e.png

 

Screenshot_Doom_20180716_004124.png.2ea98b818f6d60c6853c15fbacbd00d9.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ah, that's why i cannot have more lovely techbases: everyone is trying to "push themselves further"! drop that, draw more simple techbases for me to play!

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^ That's admittedly part of my problem. You already have so many techbases to play, do you not? Part of me wonders why you would need even more on top of that, and as a result I find it hard to have interest in making more to add to the pile.

 

There's been some interesting and thoughtful responses here so far, I appreciate the discussion. I totally agree that it is a hobby and that in theory it should just be for fun. At the same time though, it's tough for me to not take it so seriously, as I strive to deliver the best efforts I can, heh. That being said, lightening up a little and just being satisfied with making things is something I should perhaps try out :P

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there are never enough techbases! no, really, i am absolutely serious: i LOVE simple techbase maps. rendition of believable hell is out of limits of the doom engine anyway, but techbases looks very natural. they probably not that fun to draw, but i find them very fun to play.

 

i just wrote my reply to drop you a note that there are still people which loves Good Old Maps, without modern gigantomania, or excessive detailing, or bizarre themes, or... maybe we aren't many, but we're still here! those simple nice levels is what i love DooM for. it may be not clear if my previous comment is sarcastic or not, so no: it is not sarcastic in any way. give me more techbases! ;-)

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Maybe you just need serious break to refill your creativity? Mapping should be fun, not feel as everyday job. I think, you should consider that after you're done with your main maps in projects. You can push yourself how much you want, but if you're drained mentally, nothing you can much do besides resting. 

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I don't think one should always be exploring new territory, if you're good at something then keep doing it. There's also that annoying thing with exploration where you strike gold, but then blow past it for the sake of more exploration (see Bob Dylan, Madonna, Bjork, etc.)

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The only thing that keeps me going when it comes to mapping is the satisfaction when I finally find out how to do [...] in GZDoom builder. My creativity has been slow as molasses.

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If you're motivated by creativity then I find motivation can dry up with repetition as you said.

 

I prefer to think of it as exploring rather than pushing. I like to find new things to explore. Sometimes a familiar place is nice too.

 

So I wouldn't get caught up in always exploring or always revisiting. There is a time when you will be most creative in both.

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Personally, I know I can't sit and wait around for someone to come up with a wonderful spiritual successor to the Memento Moris, so I have to make something old-schoolish once in a while to keep my saddened heart in check every time I have to acknowledge such maps don't have as much of a place as they used to these days. So I'd say it helps to get an idea of what you feel like playing or what you wish would exist. I love the old-school megawads, so I made Reverie. A short TNT episode featuring other people's maps sounds like a fun idea, so I started TNT: Resistance. I missed visiting Oceanside, so I made that wad, and so on...

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On 10/27/2018 at 4:36 PM, AD_79 said:

So I've been thinking recently about the reasons why my mapping/motivation has dried up so drastically over the course of the past few years. Some are quite personal and I won't get into them, but the one I'd like to discuss is as follows: I've been constantly feeling the need to push myself further and further.

 

Is this an absolutely necessary thing in your eyes? I've developed this mindset where I don't want people to feel like they've played my stuff before, as in, I don't want to keep making the same sort of things over and over. I want to be constantly trying new and exciting things. Problem is, after a while it starts to feel really tough to do so, at least for me. However, letting myself settle into a comfortable groove where I just make the same kind of thing constantly is the last thing I want to do. So I'm curious about your thoughts on the matter. Is it ok to simply "make maps" without always placing pressure on yourself to try new things? Is it acceptable if people have "seen it before"? Is this even an issue to be worrying about in the first place?

Everyone has their signature style, like everyone has their own signature. Pushing yourself *is* part of your style, isn't it?

 

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that mapping might be more difficult for you, because you have learned to not cut corners, and you've learned what works and what doesn't, so you are more cautious now, and, more specifically, you now take the time to build things properly. Instead of seeing a room, you now see entire encounters, and that takes more time and effort to pull off.

 

I've made a lot of assumptions here, but I can relate, in a way: I find programming to be slower these days...but I write better code with fewer bugs, and fewer surprises.

 

Also, I wouldn't worry so much about trying to avoid self-plagiarism. Can you really rip yourself off? If what you keep making is fun, what more do you want? Keep making fun! There are enough choices of WADs out there, that no one is going to become bored with one particular mapper's style. Personally, if I like someone's particular style, I want more of that style! And, if I can temporarily worn out on it, I'll go play something else, temporarily. But, I'll be back for more!

 

Don't fix what ain't broke!

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My instant response to this thread title is "It's not necessary at all."

 

Having read through the thread, I still think that. I try and push myself, which leads to not mapping much. It's only when there's little pressure that I can really free wheel and get stuff done. The number of "big" projects that I've dumped in favour of hammering out something quick in 2-12 hours is a bit worrying, so I tried to stop doing it. As a result, I've barely been much of a mapper for the last four years. I think ever since I was tipped for potentially achieving a cacoward years back, I've always wanted to be good enough to do it and, ironically, can't put out anything big.

 

Best thing to do is enjoy your hobby. The rest of life will be heaping pressure and expectations on you anyway. If I could just keep refining whatever it is I'm good at by making more and more of it in a casual style, I'll eventually have achieved the same result over time that I might by pushing myself really hard on one project anyway.

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noticed that when I mess around with a quick map I create something relatively fluent and doom-like, maybe not the best map ever but just a fun map with a keycard and a few encounters and etc, while when I try to do something new I spend like four months constantly adding shadow sectors to a totally unnavigable map and then sabotage it with a joke encounter. no moral

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Yeah, at least for me trying new things are important. I mean, it doesn't need to be something new for the community, but at least something new for me.

 

In my last project (exomoon), I've tried to make every map more unique, since there were some levels in my previous project that was a bit too much of the same. Even then, the main complaint about exomoon that I got was that every level was too much like each other (or monotony), which was quite disappointing for me (aside from failing to capture people's attention) because I tried to make each map really different from each other and people still got the repetitive feeling lol. Still, in the process, I felt like learning lots of things that I didn't care much before, such as improving the pacing, navigability (something I didn't care at all in moonblood, for example), give more identity for the map, using key points, small gimmicks and playing with concepts and different styles.

 

Still, most important, when I'm mapping, I try to create something that I feel like playing. With Moonblood I just wanted to create a "Doom 2" version of what I would like to play. In my next project, I want to create short maps that feel a lot like playing Plutonia. Neither of these is remotely new for the community, and I'm sure lots of people will just play my next project and find them boring and repetitive. But even if it fails I will end creating something that I quite enjoy for myself, and which is new for me (even though the community has already played the thing 1000 times).

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From my POV, pushing myself comes less from a need to do more unique, or interesting ideas, but rather; in quality, It's particularly evident to me (as well as anyone who has been in the know) that RN started off as a LQ generic doom level remake set of underdetailed, mind boggling LQ aesthetic, and in general poor design, contrast to the current design of aesthetic, effective use of colour theory, and the need to balance detail with the theme of utilitarian design and utilitarian aesthetics with gameplay and flow. Notably as well my original draw of inspiration came directly from my rather small frame of inspiration, the original doom, and notably Tom Hall's unfinished work, to the Alien series, Dead Space, Doom 3, DUSK, Half-Life, etc; if it's dark, sci-fi, is a product with excellent inspirational qualities, or is an excellent example in utilitarian level design that works effectively with gameplay it's inspired RN in one way or another.

Another issue for me is that I believe in polish, if an area doesn't feel, look or sound right, I polish it up, and rework until I'm satisfied, sadly this comes at the cost of standards changing overtime for me, which means I keep going back and changing stuff in RN's E1M1, even though I know I should move on.
 

Alright this is getting out of hand (that and I'm wearing out a semi-contextual subject that's overstayed it's welcome a bit) but the point I'm trying to make (and TL:DR)

Push yourself in quality, and standard, ideas can work, be fresh, and be great, proving your willing to continually grow, and hone your skills in your mapping, you've just got to execute it right, maybe do some research. If Gothic Castles, and Doom II Techbase circlejerk maps are no longer tickling your fancy, make something fresh to you, and your skills.

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Not sure why people find it so hard to make maps. I mean granted detailing can be complicated to learn, but just creating layouts isn't so difficult. At the end of the day you are just creating a series of rooms and areas that are interconnected via various couplers and corridors.

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10 hours ago, hardcore_gamer said:

Not sure why people find it so hard to make maps. I mean granted detailing can be complicated to learn, but just creating layouts isn't so difficult. At the end of the day you are just creating a series of rooms and areas that are interconnected via various couplers and corridors.

Sure, I can do 10 square sectors and 10 rectangles for doors...in like, 2 minutes?...quite easy eh?

Well, no matter the time that you take to make a map....if it's done correctly, plays and feels great then you made a nice map.

And also, consider that some mappers are more experienced than others and they have their mapping time "optimized".

 

AH, one more thing. Real life can drain your mapping inspiration like a black hole.

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It's easy to make bad maps. Everyone starts with the classic rooms linked with corridors with doors in between but that is dull af to play. Good layouts are complicated to create even if they are not super detailed. They require planning, fore thought and reworking. 

 

I'm not saying that this is necessarily a 'good' layout but easy it is not 

Palace_of_the_black_singularity_at_2018_10.29_21-32-25.766_R3039.jpg.f5b06d6118943a9f097928ed0b1a9667.jpg

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10 hours ago, hardcore_gamer said:

Not sure why people find it so hard to make maps. I mean granted detailing can be complicated to learn, but just creating layouts isn't so difficult. At the end of the day you are just creating a series of rooms and areas that are interconnected via various couplers and corridors.

Layout:

magnolia_at_2018.10.30_19-13-20.478_R278

 

Versus detail:

magnolia_at_2018.10.30_19-13-32.339_R278

Doesn't look like a series of rooms and areas connected by couplers and corridors. It's clearly a single mass, one area, that has its own layout style.

Build this, then tell us "layout isn't difficult."

This is what you can do by pushing the envelope.

Credits to Ribbiks for the example map, of course.

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If a map doesn't hold any novelty for me, I can't engage my enthusiasm for it, there has to be a sense of doing something I haven't done before, even if the map's quite simple. After over a decade away from Doom I had a lot of energy going into my return effort, but in order to finish the last project I worked on I had to regurgitate some "hallmark stuff to my style", and in retrospect I'm none too happy with having done that, it left me feeling like I was out of ideas. Glad I got the project out the door though, even if it took the help of these crutches from days of yore. I've barely put a room together since, kinda burnt out on it, think I need another decade to refuel or something. The whole contemporary meta's kinda getting away from me, but that's less of a concern. If I get a feel for a new map, I'll most likely get to work on it, but I probably need to get last release at a far enough distance that even worrying about finding that feeling isn't part of my thoughtset anymore. Where I'm closest to finding some inspiration atm is by finishing up the monster sprites already started over the last few years, and make a map for the beasties that may come out of it - which is a lot of work. Comfortably numb in respect to my own efforts I guess, but I love seeing what other people are coming up with, so the gamespace itself still holds a lot of fascination.

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On ‎10‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 4:36 PM, AD_79 said:

So I've been thinking recently about the reasons why my mapping/motivation has dried up so drastically over the course of the past few years. Some are quite personal and I won't get into them, but the one I'd like to discuss is as follows: I've been constantly feeling the need to push myself further and further.

I re-read your post. Let me ask you this (a rhetorical question):

 

There's healthy self-pushing, and there's unhealthy self-pushing. One is for bettering yourself. The other could be a range of things, most not so good: anger, guilt, frustration, loathing, self-punishment.

 

The question is: Does this really have anything to do with Doom? What drives the desire to push?

 

Don't fix it if it ain't broke. But, if it is, work on the cause, not the symptoms.

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I'm gonna be plainly honest. The "SUFFER FOR YOUR ART" stuff is most definitely not a necessity, nor should it be seen as a prerequisite to make anything that you want to make. I do think it's good for an artist of any kind to push themselves and try to be as creative as they can possibly be if they want to get better, but that itself isn't really a necessity either, in my opinion. If a person is comfortable making only one specific kind of map, it's just as valid as someone who wants to always make something they haven't made before. The most important aspect is enjoyment and personal value.

When I see someone say that artists need to suffer for their work, I can't help but think of all of the painters, musicians, and other folks of the same ilk that have ended up seriously jaded and have even taken their own lives because they believed that they could never be worth more than they own value they've subscribed to their art. It's also important to note that these are mostly people who have made careers off of their work. Doom mapping is, for anyone who doesn't work at id software, a hobby and a labor of love. I don't think it should be something you should endanger your health or sanity for at all. Chances are that that person is going to put a decent amount of effort into making a map as it is, but why do they need to suffer for it? Most hobbies are for enjoyment, and personally, if I didn't enjoy mapping, I wouldn't do it in the first place. I never felt like I needed to force myself to do it so I could make a map that a bunch of strangers may or may not enjoy, but then again, that's just me.

As NIH said above, assessing exactly why you are making maps in the first place would be a good place to start before you ask yourself whether or not it is important that you push yourself. I mean, it's perfectly valid to make maps just because you want other people to enjoy them. I'd be lying if I said that wasn't in my mind as I'm creating something. That isn't going to be the reason everyone does it, though. Maybe it helps you take your mind off of things. Maybe you DO wanna hone your skills and become a better mapper. Maybe you just like doing it for the sake of doing it. Every reason is 100% valid. I think, however, that the crux of all these reasons is personal enjoyment and accomplishment. You are never obligated to map, so why else would you be doing it if you didn't want to in some way? 

To segue back to the main question of this thread: Is pushing yourself necessary to be a mapper? Objectively, no, but again; all of that is up to you. If you feel like you need to try and up the ante, by all means you are welcome to. If not, no worries. We all have our own ways.

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