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MetalDoomGuy

so my buddy made his first doom wad

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Not bad for a first try, but there are some problems:

 

1) Never start with enemies who are aware of you. Especially if your back is turned to them.

2) Too many enemies early on and for the arsenal available.

3) A Baron of Hell? Demote that to a Hell Knight.

 

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It would be nice to get more information about this map and screenshots. Refer to this thread:
 

 

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I know it's a first effort and I know nothing about your friend, so I'm sorry if I come off a bit harsh.

  • Very short, linear design. You can run to the exit in under 20 seconds (I got 21, but I'm sure someone could beat that).
  • Enemy placement is thoughtless and boring.
  • Little thought given into thing placement. Items are strewn about, rocket launcher is basically useless since it's at the end of the level.
  • Poor texture choice, mismatched textures, complete lack of texture alignment, doors not unpegged, complete lack of height variation, complete lack of light variation, etc., etc., etc.,
  • Heavily reminiscent of shovelware levels from 1995. Anyone with editor experience could make this within five minutes.

Overall, the level gets a No/10. I wouldn't even really call this a first level but more of a "Let's screw with an editor for the first time." I don't want to discourage your friend from creating more stuff, that's not what I'm after. I would however encourage your friend to try again and put some real effort into making something passable, something to really call a first level, since this just isn't it.

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A lot of the basics have already been discussed, so I'll explore a little deeper.

Also since you didn't specify what port to use, I defaulted to ZDoom 2.8.1, which turned out to be the right thing to do, since I see flats on the walls and wall textures on the floor, which bothers me to no end.

 

4 hours ago, LadyVader1138 said:

1) Never start with enemies who are aware of you. Especially if your back is turned to them.

First, I have to disagree with this. I think hot starts are very good things, they get the player moving and acting immediately by thrusting them into the action immediately. Most people playing this wad have probably been playing for long enough that the hot start in this map is essentially trivial. It's different if the player is expected to learn the ropes first (such as getting acquainted with new and required mechanics in a ZDoom TC), but this is a map made for Doom II, so a hot start is fine.

 

Also about the start, I personally clear out an area before moving on to another, so I didn't know about the shotgun behind the door immediately ahead until everything in the room was killed already. I think it might be for the best to remove that closet entirely, face the player in the other direction, and put the shotgun directly in front of them.

 

The monsters in the first room are fine, in my opinion. Even the chaingunners and cacodemon weren't terribly dangerous to me, and it was interesting enough to fight the chaingunners with the pistol in order to take their chainguns to fight the cacodemon with.

 

The next room starts off with three cacodemons, and without an SSG, launcher, plasma, or BFG available, I just ran around them, and made them infight with the baron. The fight doesn't have much going on, nothing is a real threat with how much space there is to move, so it becomes a bit grindy.

 

The real problems I have with this map, however, come with the doors and the rooms behind them.

First, both doors are textured the same, but one can't be opened by using it directly. I would suggest using another texture for that door and using it a little earlier to condition the player to "this texture means this door doesn't open" and keeping the other door its texture.

The switch behind the openable door isn't really a switch. It's only recognizable as a switch because it looks very similar to the actual SW1GARG texture.

The rocket launcher being here is weird to me, as it would've been very useful before with some more ammo dealing with the previous fight, but giblets are good, so I don't mind it much.

The exit switch isn't recognizable to me as a switch at all, partly because it doesn't use a switch texture like before, but also because it doesn't use a texture that could be mistaken for a switch. It's also unmarked, which is an issue that pales in comparison to the switch texture choice.

 

There's a lot of potential here, I can see that much, so tell your friend to check out the editing tutorials on Doom Wiki and keep these design rules in mind when making a map:

Quote

John Romero's design rules

When designing levels for Doom, John Romero came up with several rules, among them:

  1. Always changing floor height when I wanted to change floor textures.
  2. Using special border textures between different wall segments and doorways.
  3. Being strict about texture alignment.
  4. Conscious use of contrast everywhere in a level between light and dark areas, cramped and open areas.
  5. Making sure that if a player could see outside that they should be able to somehow get there.
  6. Being strict about designing several secret areas on every level.
  7. Making my levels flow so the player will revisit areas several times so they will better understand the 3D space of the level.
  8. Creating easily recognizable landmarks in several places for easier navigation.

Now parts of these don't actually show up in Romero's maps (texture alignment :P), but these are very good rules to follow when map making, and you'll go far if you hold to these rules.

Take a look at other maps, look at them in the editor, see how they work, play, and flow, and try to incorporate these ideas into your own maps.

For a few rules of my own, I can offer these:

Quote
  1. Don't have long stretches of walking without combat to break it up. Holding W (or T in my case) and nothing else isn't very fun gameplay 98% of the time.
  2. Think about the map as a deathmatch map. Where can players go? How can they get from here to there as quickly as possible?
  3. Use height variance liberally. Doom is not Wolf 3D, it has a Z-axis. Use it.
  4. Think about your "tier" of available weaponry and plan monsters accordingly. Rockets are good against groups of crunchy monsters like zombies and imps, but also against meaty monsters like cacos and barons. Conversely, the single shotgun is good against zombies and imps almost exclusively and can be grindy against anything else.
  5. Repopulate the area if the player has to back track. This falls under 1.
  6. Large scenic areas are good, but they will be better if the player has a lot of monsters to kill in them, it doesn't matter if it's zombiemen and imps to obliterate with the rocket launcher or an army of revs and knights backed up by an armada of cacodemons, it matters that the area takes advantage of its scale in a fun way.
  7. Don't just throw your weapons about willy-nilly. Some maps don't work as well with a specific power weapon. Some maps are claustrophobic and have very tight fights. The rocket launcher as a power weapon is often a solid choice for these, because it offsets its power with potential danger in close quarters. Conversely, the plasma rifle and BFG can function as "get out of jail free" cards, as they have no such drawbacks, only the pause before or after firing. On the other hand, large maps will work wonders with the rocket launcher and BFG, but the BFG, as everyone knows, can trivialize fights, so the plasma rifle may be more proper as a power weapon for a map.

I'll also link a useful video that, while not discussing Doom (it discusses Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2), it does discuss good multiplayer game design, and good game design can lead to good map design.

Spoiler

Timestamped to get to the point.

 

Hope that helps, and keep mapping!

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7 hours ago, LadyVader1138 said:

Not bad for a first try, but there are some problems:

 

1) Never start with enemies who are aware of you. Especially if your back is turned to them.

2) Too many enemies early on and for the arsenal available.

3) A Baron of Hell? Demote that to a Hell Knight.

 

None of this advice is as objective as you’re making it out to be.

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30 minutes ago, Nirvana said:

None of this advice is as objective as you’re making it out to be.

Yeah I was like "but that's exactly what makes a map good to me?"

 

Keeping personal pet peeves in check when advising is hard, I'll give that.

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I will say this, originally in the rocket room, he wanted to have 3 archviles, and I explained why that was a bad choice

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