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Finnthemapmaker

How can you make a long level/Wad fun

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How long we talking here? I don't necessarily know the answer, but below are a few maps I've played somewhat recently in the 60-90 minute range that came to my mind right away:

 

UAC Invasion: The Supply Depot by @DooMknight

Bury My Heart Knee Deep by @Ryath

Travelling to the Moon by @Yugiboy85

The above's sequel Man on the Moon

Good Morning Phobos by @sincity2100 (it's a megawad; Map 29 is the long map I'm thinking of.)

 

Perhaps you can find some answers by playing these. I suppose the short answer is variety and engagement. It also seems that large maps require more non-linearity than shorter maps; otherwise they run the risk of feeling like multiple levels simply shoved into one map slot.

 

It's also good to have a bit of a gimmick to sorta brand the map, perhaps a partial conversion with weapons and/or monsters, but then again, of the maps I listed above, only one really deviates at all from "conventional" gameplay.

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3 hours ago, HAK3180 said:

How long we talking here? I don't necessarily know the answer, but below are a few maps I've played somewhat recently in the 60-90 minute range that came to my mind right away:

 

UAC Invasion: The Supply Depot by @DooMknight

Bury My Heart Knee Deep by @Ryath

Travelling to the Moon by @Yugiboy85

The above's sequel Man on the Moon

Good Morning Phobos by @sincity2100 (it's a megawad; Map 29 is the long map I'm thinking of.)

 

Perhaps you can find some answers by playing these. I suppose the short answer is variety and engagement. It also seems that large maps require more non-linearity than shorter maps; otherwise they run the risk of feeling like multiple levels simply shoved into one map slot.

 

It's also good to have a bit of a gimmick to sorta brand the map, perhaps a partial conversion with weapons and/or monsters, but then again, of the maps I listed above, only one really deviates at all from "conventional" gameplay.

It's hard to make the level not look like few levels fused into one when you are trying to add different themes to keep the level more fun,spicy and interesting for the player.  It would be boring if you only see Hell castles every 5 secs. Even if they are breath taking it will be not that interesting after the 6th time.

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Use triggers to change the map over time. The ability to raise and lower walls to varying heights makes for quite a bit of flexibility. The map I'm working on simply makes obstructing crates disappear when a player has reached a certain, albeit arbitrary, point in progress. It would be no major issue to change the direction of a hallway that on a map, appears to be a multi-directional intersection, or to reveal a recessed door that was previously a flat wall.

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With these kind of levels, I try to think the whole level as some sort of "journey" or "history" being told while the player goes through it. I mean, not in the lore or cinematic way, but in how you, as a mapper, conduces the player and manage the map's pacing.  For example, unless you go all-slaughter, you will have to space up some of the main setpieces of the map to give space for the player to breath with some light incidental fights. This doesn't mean that you have to start the level always slow and go spicing up little by little (using the pistol fighting imps and humans, then shotgun, then chaingun, etc), this trope is very common and many players are really exhausted of it, believe me, so I would recommend to avoid it. Actually, if you give some early high tiers enemies and weapons to the player people will enjoy better haha

 

Anyway, if you are up to create a large map, you have first to think in one central concept, and then several smaller ones. How you want your map to be? A hellish castle isolated in an island isolated by a sea of blood? A huge and corrupted E1-style techbase with a large central atrium with some nasty demoniac ritual? Or maybe a City that was flooded by lava in the middle of the night with many destroyed building along with hellish structures? You might also even think in a more abstract way, such as the 'O' of the destruction of Doom 2 or some sort of huge surreal library hiding many horrors.

 

Then pick that main concept and focus on its main elements. For example, think of the Hellish castle example. You might want to have a castle area, maybe some outdoor, mountains, caves. You might want to have 2 islands with two different castles, or maybe more, and from there start thinking of some cool setpieces you can create with these concepts. I highly recommend drawing some sketches on paper so you can get a better view of what you want to create, although I believe there are many excellent mappers who don't do this, still I think it helps me a lot.

 

With some sketches done, you will want to connect these main areas and think about how you want to introduce these elements. Think of revealing in a cool way, some sort of eye-candy, or even showing the key's/exit/locked doors earlier to tell the player earlier what is his goal, so he gets oriented early and knows what he needs to do to progress in the map. Add some incidental and light fights to keep him engaged while he finds his way to the main setpiece or if you want him to breathe a bit after an intense fight.

 

After that, I don't think there's much difference from smaller maps. I believe, though, that longer maps must have a reason to be that large though, so you'll probably have to think bigger about concepts.

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