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Antnee

Mappers: What are some things that you'd like to incorporate more of in your designs, but find yourself struggling with?

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I've found myself wondering about this lately- for example, my maps tend to be segmented and somewhat linear, and I wish I was better at making things more open and less hand-holdy.  As I try to build maps that are more open, I keep relapsing into the same pattern of thought and I'm not sure how to break that cycle.

 

So what are some things that you'd like to do better with your maps, and what's holding you back?

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Good hub designs.  I'm moderately satisfied with the stuff I come up with in my Heretic maps but whenever I dust off my Hexen project I have trouble figuring out any way to use the hub system more interestingly than "a bunch of self-contained maps that can be played in varying orders" without falling to the other side of "a mess of pointless crossovers and backtrackings that are there just because".

 

I think part of it is that it requires more planning ahead to pull off well, which I'm kind of bad at.

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For me its Detailing that does not look like its made from the 90s.

 

I look at how the BTSX team and Ribbiks detail their maps and say to my self "How do you guys come up with this?"

I opened their maps in Doom Builder Countless times and cant figure out how detailing works.

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This is sort of a slant answer, since it involves process more than design, but one of these days I really want to give an earnest try at thingplacing each area as I make them rather than wait until the end (and then never get around to doing it). Though to the Xaserbrain, that feels a bit like saying "one of these days I should walk into a meat grinder; it'll be healthy." :P

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I struggle with texture choice and design consistency. I'm always trying to pull off slick and stylish structures but feel like I'm missing the touch needed to combine them into a whole. Maybe I haven't experimented enough or my process is buttbackards.

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I wish I could make architecture with more consistency and have more creativity regarding layouts, so my maps would feel more different from each other. I also wish I could map faster. Even small maps I take several days to finish, especially with monster placement + testing.

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I am just two maps into my mapping hobby, but I wish I would consider gameplay more. I tend to create rooms first, get swept away by shapes, connections and - of course - detailing, with the end result, that I can barely implement gameplay at the end, because there are just too many damn sectors. For my next WAD I really, really, want to try to think about gameplay first and then edit it into a coherent tech base / hell castle / maybe something else, if I feel like it.

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Bigger set pieces.

 

I can make a great map, its when I try to incorporate a larger set piece, usually a huge outdoors area, where I end up dissatisfied with just about every design I try. It always ends up feeling barren so I start to overly detail areas that really don't need it and my time should be spent elsewhere.

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I cannot create big arenas or sections and be satisfied with the results, I never like making big open areas because I get too caught up on the small things and spend way too long on them and I also have no idea on how to balance gameplay for them.

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I struggle with non-linearity but I try my damndest to put one or two alternate routes around the map. A lot of my early maps were pretty linear, if you check my profile's "About" page, many early 2000s maps suffer deeply. Another is not turning the map into a heavily populated map without going into slaughter territory, tho the only one that really borders it was the map "Edgy".

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I'd like to be playing around with angles and non-orthogonal shapes more, and work on my texturing.

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8 hours ago, jazzmaster9 said:

For me its Detailing that does not look like its made from the 90s.

 

I look at how the BTSX team and Ribbiks detail their maps and say to my self "How do you guys come up with this?"

I opened their maps in Doom Builder Countless times and cant figure out how detailing works.

 

Learning how to detail well is hard. And it gets even harder for later Id games like Quake or Doom 3.

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Non-linearity that's better than a hub area with independent branching paths. Like when the whole map feels connected in an organic, fun to explore way.

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Can I say something that I'd like to do less of? I find myself being overly reliant on simple lowering floors in encounters and revealing new areas, and I'd like to use some more interesting methods of progression and fight reveals.

 

Also, I'd like to actually make more maps these days. I'm with you on that, Pavera!

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Hmm, a couple of things:

-large open areas. I tend to make all my hallways and rooms rather cramped. That doesn't make for very good run-n'-gun gameplay.

-Properly aligned textures. My mapping speed drops 400% when I have to be thoughtful of texture use/alignment. Something I'm working on though.

-Flowing details. Most of my details are separated and multiple pieces of detail usually don't have anything that ties them together. Not sure if I can explain it properly. It's especially difficult for me to do a detail that spans multiple rooms.

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Whenever I get around to mapping again, I want to work on a few things:

  • More geometrically interesting layouts. A lot of stuff I make could still be easily simplified into pure orthogonal lines if you screw with it a bit.
  • Large areas. I'm not sure at all how these really work so I should really try making a few to figure it out.
  • Better detailing. I hate detailing, I hate texture selection, I hate decoration, but I really want to get better at it if I want to create good things.

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I need to work on my mapping blocks. Often times I will start mapping only for all my motivation and inspiration to fizzle out as soon as I have something that vaguely resembles a work-in-progress map. Thankfully this hasn't prevented me from completing that many maps for community projects, though I haven't participated in that many community projects yet.

 

I also need to work on less linear map design. A map I've made for the yet to be released Nova III probably would have benefited greatly if I had the confidence to attempt non-linearity, but I didn't think I could pull it off so I opted to make a map that that slowly opens up around a central area as you progress.

 

And ceiling/floor decoration. I think I'm pretty good with wall decor, but I have yet to figure out a good way to approach decorating the floors and ceilings.

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I'd like to incorporate more abstract shapes into layouts in the vein of TimeofDeath/Xaser style maps, i think that approach can create a lot of interesting architecture. However any efforts at trying that style so far have proven to be tricky trying to find the right 'balance' between an abstract structure and just a garbled mess, haha. I'm not even sure how to approach it outside of a load of trial and error.

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I struggle a lot with aesthetics- detailing especially, and just making decent architecture. 

Also, breaking out of the block of "I need to make everything super colorful in order to make it look interesting." Mostly, I think I just really need to develop a sense of style, though color has tended to define what my maps have been thus far. My Near Death Experiences map using Cry of Fear textures has been an exercise in doing everything in mapping I usually don't do, so maybe that will help along with that process.

I too, would like to learn how to make better, more open areas without necessarily feeling the need to fill them with monsters, rather abstract shapes and details.

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- Slopes. I always have to think very hard to find some use for them.

- Caves that look good.

- Difficult yet enjoyable encounters. I succeed in making them from time to time, but I feel like some of my maps lean in the direction of ''style over substance'' too hard, and are just nice to look at, but not that nice to play.

- Complex layouts. I managed to break my habit of making linear maps already, but I have yet to make a truly grand, and complicated structure, that could be played in many different ways, but wouldn't make the player feel lost. This is probably gonna be the most difficult one to achieve.

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26 minutes ago, Marlamir said:

Definitely layout. No matter how hard i try my layout always suck.

 

The question is, do they actually suck, or do you just think they suck?

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Do you have a link to any of your maps? :-)

I want to try them out. Maybe they're not so bad as you think.

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On 11/10/2018 at 4:39 AM, whirledtsar said:

Non-linearity that's better than a hub area with independent branching paths. Like when the whole map feels connected in an organic, fun to explore way.

But then people complain that it's a "maze".

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