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Doom Mapping Eras

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Doom mapping has seen many changes over the years. If you had to classify the many years of Doom map design/creation into eras how would you split it, why, and what would you call them?


Here's my attempt:

1994-95 - Early: 1994 wads, novice mappers

1996-98 - Vintage: A lot of the big 90s megawads during this period

1999-2001 - The Boom Era: Boom released

2002-11 - Classic: Post AV, high-detail era

2012-Present - Modern: CC4 texture pack released


^This is probably completely wrong 

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I would describe the earliest era as 128x128 corridors everywhere with misaligned textures and random angles, based on my experience with a DooM WAD CD I bought back in like 1996.

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I think between 2002-11 era there were some sort of zdoom focus before people started focusing on MBF or lower ports again? Also, currently, there's a trend for introducing few new enemies (and weapons) but only enough to spice up the gameplay instead of going all out like in the zdoom era. Im not sure tbh, though.

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I would characterize the last ~3 years as "maps with 1.. maaaaybe 2 color tones"


edit: by Woden's beard is that lagartha?

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We're actually in the golden age of mapping now. I never thought the golden age would be 25 years after Doom's release. I remember when I stumbled upon Doomworld website shortly after it's inception back in 2000 and already thought back then that Doom was in decline (I mean, it had to be, the game was six years old! Yet, here we are, the community is thriving and as vibrant as ever, and there are more impressive, quality mods being released now than ever in the history of the game. It's really quite extraordinary. Hell, even the original creator of the game is releasing a megawad as a member of the community! Doom just won't die.

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29 minutes ago, Hellbent said:

We're actually in the golden age of mapping now. I never thought the golden age would be 25 years after Doom's release.

I tend to agree. There was a lull for me post-Scythe 2, and I thought everything that could be done was done. I had no idea.


On topic, I think this timeline strikes me as more or less correct. All it lacks is the details in-between (Erik Alm's influence for one), and branches (the vanilla revival around PL2, or the crowd behind a metric ton of Boom format maps after SoD and Sunder). I wonder if anyone has the patience to make that.


Edit: I guess there was a time a bit after Alien Vendetta when ZDoom's scripting and format were taking all of the Doom communities by storm, and everybody thought classic mapping was done for. But I wasn't there to tell.

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Experts are saying my brain used this information somehow.

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2 minutes ago, Linguica said:



That's an excellent summary!  Is there more to that article from where that came from?


It definitely does feel like we went through a patch of exploring the boundaries of where source-ports could take us, perhaps culminating in something like Knee-Deep In ZDoom, which felt as much like a technology demonstration as a mapset.  But after that, people began to feel like further boundary-pushing got too far away from what Doom really was, and it feels like most subsequent projects that seek first and foremost to be Doom mapsets have retreated from the frontier of technological innovation.

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