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Finnthemapmaker

Enemy encounters

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This is a quite wide question, because you can do it in many many different effective ways.

 

If you want to do a sort of IWADish incidental combat, I would recommend focusing on low hp monsters (imps, former humans, sergents and chaingunners) and placing them in strategic points, such as a sniper point or in places where it can't be initially spotted (aka you open a door and there's a group of enemies <- avoid this, plz).

 

Try to look at your layout and try to guess how the player will react, especially what are going to be his safe spote. If you can't find anything interesting, don't be afraid to change your layout so you can make a more interesting encounter.

 

Avoid at any means battles where the player can solve it by simply staying in one place the whole encounter. Also be very careful in using enemies with higher hp (pink demons onwards) or larger groups of low hp foes: If the player takes too much time to take them down and he is in a safe spot, it will be inevitably a boring fight. For me, a good encounters means the players is always moving, quickly taking down foes and is aware of the map's layout, always avoiding getting ambushed.

 

For easy and fun fights, giving an early chaingun and/or a rocket launcher will make lots of players happy too haha

Edited by Deadwing

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I just started with this stuff, but I think its good to think of enemies as having friends. Certain enemies just belong together. Shotguns just separate friends.

 

infantry dudes go together. But since you have the chaingun, pairs of revenants make for savage encounters afterwards.

pinkies travel in packs or hide in bathrooms. Lost Souls like the great outdoors or claustrophobic air vents.

Mancubii hang around big doors that require keys.

Imps are like the rabid dogs of hell. they should only be used for emotional affect.

The robot spider behaves like a robot chicken so use accordingly.

Oh, and the Cyberdemon is the boss guy, so ya know, use him as a boss.

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On Adam Neely's excellent youtube channel, he once advised people getting into music composition/songwriting to always ask themselves one question: "Do I like this?". This is the One Rule to which all others are strictly secondary. The same applies to level design.

 

Do whatever, play it, then ask yourself, "Do I like this?". Then make something else, play it, and ask that question again. Repeat for every map you make. Trying to adhere to Correct Doom Level Design Theory all the time will lead to you making maps that look like Esselfortium or Skillsaw maps with all the soul and fun sucked out of them. Play through mapsets you are familiar with, and pay attention to architecture, encounter setups, recurring themes or motifs, etc. "Forlorn Fortress" from Eternal Doom and "Resistance is Futile" from Hell Revealed are both esteemed, iconic Doom levels from 1997 but are diametrically opposed in terms of design philosophy. Either map could be "right" or "wrong" or a mixture of both according to a certain mapper's approach to level design. Play some of "the classics" with an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out. Which ones? I'unno. Pick a few. If you keep sweating the details you'll just be a chronic procrastinator like me with my Wolf3D project I should have finished over a year ago!

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@Finnthemapmaker

Welcome to Doomworld! Enjoy your stay.

 

For monster usage, in general (including your question), I cannot recommend highly enough that you refer to the following essay:

 

Without knowing more details about the difficulty level you're aiming for, it's hard to give you accurate suggestions. You could have a base-themed map that would be appropriate as one of the early maps, or a base-themed map that would be appropriate as one of the ending maps. The monsters you would use would be different in each case. So, take these as general suggestions only.

 

I agree with Deadwing that movement is key to a good encounter. Not every arena should be massive and allow to freely roam, but neither should you have too many claustrophobic rooms. You should provide the player some means to dodge and avoid attacks (space for dodging projectile attacks or cover for hitscan attacks).

 

Also, make sure that the player can't just simply camp somewhere and defeat the monsters. In case that term isn't clear to you, it means being able to sit somewhere and periodically take shots at monsters and then retreat to safety. An example would be a room full of monsters where you open a door, run in, take a few shots, run out before the door closes, and then just repeat until every enemy is dead. That doesn't make for terribly fun Doom gameplay.

 

I think that the player should always be in some degree of peril. Do I mean that your entire map should be geared to keep the player at 10% health and armor the whole time? No. However, the player should always be in some amount of danger (if only a very small amount). For example, if you put demons on the other side of some feature that they can't cross (deep pit, narrow bridge, etc.), then they can't hurt the player and are sitting ducks for you to shoot. Even lower-tier enemies can be dangerous if used properly; have them approach from multiple angles at the same time, so the player has to move and turn to focus on one chunk of enemies at a time. If you just put a horde of enemies directly in front of the player, it's easy enough just to shoot in one direction and hit multiple targets (especially with the SSG).

 

If I were to suggest some ideas for a general distribution of enemies for a low-level base-themed map, I would suggest including set pieces like this (vanilla-esque, you can do other things with Boom, ZDoom, and UDMF, obviously):

  • Open with some zombiemen and a sergeant (or a shotgun)
  • Proceed to a room with zombiemen to either side and imps in front of you.
  • Proceed to another area with elevated sergeants at 90-180 degrees from each other and a series of imps. Open a monster closet to reveal a chaingunner, either to the side of the player or behind the player.
  • Proceed to another relatively narrow area with a horde of demons. As you're mowing them down with the chaingun you just got, open closets on either side to reveal imps and/or sergeants.
  • Open up to a large outdoor area with turreted mancubi. Put a rocket launcher somewhere in the area, so the player can get it and rain rockets on the mancubi if they choose to.

Good luck! Have fun!

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I wanna make an addition to those suggestions. Don't hold yourself back. If you think this specific part of the map would be more fun with say, a SSG or RL, you might as well give the player these, and not only a Shotgun or Chaingun, that can feel like peashooters when you present the player with a crowd of enemies. Alien Vendetta MAP04 is a good example of a SSG-focused map with some tight/small rooms filled with enemies.

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23 hours ago, Juza said:

I wanna make an addition to those suggestions. Don't hold yourself back. If you think this specific part of the map would be more fun with say, a SSG or RL, you might as well give the player these, and not only a Shotgun or Chaingun, that can feel like peashooters when you present the player with a crowd of enemies. Alien Vendetta MAP04 is a good example of a SSG-focused map with some tight/small rooms filled with enemies.

But what if the group of enemies are weak? Even if they are alot. Example 7 sergants it is way more fun to gun them down with the chaingun then make the Entire level boring with SSG. I get that is a very meaty and good weapon to use but it makes most fights boring. It is better for the player to have decent weapons and fun fights.  Good weapons like BFG or SSG ruins the fight. To me having a chaingun and normal shotgun with decent amount of ammo and health is better then just giving away Free death toys. My map is tight so that would just mean destroying everyone in a tight place. Thanks for the suggestion , and thanks to the other people here aswell . I started testing my maps and i had fun balancing battles ! I may use your idea in my next Wad ( When i am done doing the one i am working on)

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Maybe you should try giving the player both the SSG and Chaingun and he'll use whatever he finds more fun. 

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Every weapon has its own advantages and disadvantages when fighting enemies the trick is to make enemy encounters that are based around switching to the perfect weapons for the situation so for example when hitscanners are sniping at you and demons are charging at you you first use the chaingun to stunlock and kill the hitscannera and then the ssg or a berserk punch to finish the demons of this way it adds a bit more tactics in combat that just basic enemy prioritization and positioning and stuff

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