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BobbyZoolhead

Management Appraisal (my first level)

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Random thoughts as they occur to me as I play:

  • I played on Crispy Doom
  • I like D_Runnin and have no problem typing idmus or listening to my own, but it seems to me that some will take you more seriously if you change the music. 
  • I liked the first room - no monsters, nice detail even though it's mostly grey
  • The brick flat on top of stair rail seems out of place. There's also one sector there that has a wood flat instead.
  • Perhaps think about making some of the little alcoves impassable. It won't hurt the play of the map at all and may make overall movement a little more elegant.
  • In my opinion, most doors should just stay open once opened. I'm thinking of the shotgun room with imps in particular. It ruins the flow/rhythm a bit to have it keep opening and closing.
  • The combat started fairly dull, but I appreciated the sergeants and imps coming for me after getting the shotgun
  • The first commandos may require a bigger platform (Definitely use square thing icons in Doom Builder, if you aren't already)
  • A single demon (or spectre) in a narrow hallway is very Doom-esque, but I don't think people really appreciate that any more. It's grindy.
  • Another nice trap after hitting the switch said spectre was guarding though
  • Pretty significant backtrack after that. This is another OG Doom trope that hasn't aged well, I'm afraid. If you're gonna do it, consider repopulating the backtracked areas with new monsters.
  • In the room with crates, an imp is stuck and a stimpack is floating in midair. If you want a map to be vanilla compatible, you ought to test in Chocolate Doom. The different ports sometimes handle this kind of thing differently; I'm sure it looks fine in GZDoom. Again, square thing icons may help.
  • There are vertical and horizontal misalignments in the room with crates. The GRAY texture does not complete a full circuit, so it should just be a matter of A and shift+A.
  • I like the blocked off doors
  • Nice lost soul trap. At first glance it looks like a poor setup where you just shoot monsters in a room from the doorway. But then you get spooked.
  • I didn't really mind it because there were lots of shells, but people do not want to fight two hell knights and a pain elemental with just the shotgun. Unless I missed an earlier weapon.
  • The STONE texture around the switch whence the above monsters came is misaligned. I think lower and upper unpegged ought to do it.
  • Another big backtrack to use the blue key
  • Once in the blue door room, you actually do open a door and then just shoot the monsters in the room from the doorway. Only this time, there's no lost soul trap.
  • I couldn't figure out what was up with the lifts, so I cheated my way up. Not sure if this works as intended in vanilla.
  • The monsters on the pillars refused to alert. Not sure what you've got rigged there.
  • Finished 100/100/50 (box of shells)
  • I think the textures complement each other very well in this map. Nice visuals throughout with consistent detailing.
  • Very noticeable attention to lighting
  • Combat was serviceable, above average even for a first effort, but did have some awkward moments of spacing and ammo/weapon balance  
  • I think what this map lacked most was interconnection. Every room was pretty much a discrete space - no windows, no multiple paths, etc. You can kinda tell from the automap that each room connects to exactly one room. If not, then one of them was locked. That was partially responsible for the long backtracks. Even if the map is linear, which this was, allow more sight lines to areas you will visit later, like in the blue room where you had to lower the bars, but there was already a commando over there shooting at you.
  • It's a good first effort, for sure. Welcome to Doomworld. I hope to see more maps.

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@HAK3180 Thanks for the comprehensive feedback - some good advice there! Glad you (mostly) enjoyed it.

 

Didn't know about the square things icons, so will do that. The (left) lift worked in GzDoom and cnDoom, so not sure why it doesn't in Crispy? Will try and do some bug fixes.

 

I'm keeping the hell knights + pain elemental though. Lure them out, run round behind and let the knights do the hard work :)

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MngApp-AC.lmp

An FDA for your map. Recorded in PRBoom+ 2.5.1.5, complevel 2.

I have to address something first:

1 hour ago, HAK3180 said:
  • I couldn't figure out what was up with the lifts, so I cheated my way up. Not sure if this works as intended in vanilla.

Did not have any problems with any lifts.

 

The layout is, well, boring, in my opinion. Every area is distinct from all the others, separated by doors that don't really do much.

Backtracking is something you'll see in the IWADs, but most times, it wasn't actually mandatory to backtrack. In many cases, you got to a room, got the key or switch or whatever you needed, and there was another way out, even if it was a secret way (which it often was).

Take this layout of E1M6 (taken from Doom Wiki):
1239px-E1M6_map.png

Only two major rooms here have one path in and out, and these are used as trap rooms, and one is the exit. The others have two ways in and out.

There are doors here, primarily used to gate progression, but in some cases as traps or just to distinguish one area from another and keep monsters in a given area "penned in" until the player explores the area.

The tight, compressed feel of the layout is good, in my opinion, but it could do with a setup like this, which makes movement feel less stiff.

 

The gameplay itself relies almost exclusively on the single shotgun, which is fine in this case, where most of the monsters are zombies and imps.

Backtracking isn't bad in itself, even if it's mandatory (though it tends to be better received if it isn't), but holding W (or T, in my case) and not doing any fighting isn't particularly interesting. The backtracks we do have aren't significant, so it's not a big offender (you can get away with it in this circumstance by virtue of the backtrack taking maybe 20 seconds).

I would recommend adding another weapon (or making the chaingun available earlier) so the gameplay doesn't feel so stale (though I don't very much like using the single shotgun, so this really comes down to personal preference).

Something that is of note is a majority of the combat takes place in doorways, which is a bit of a problem.

Fortunately, you have mixed it up some, with the knight/PE fight, and the trap with the skulls coming behind the player, and I would suggest doing that some more.

 

The textures and aesthetic design is solid. I don't know if it runs in vanilla, but I expect it can.

 

For more direct suggestions on what I think you should do, I can offer quite a few.

Spoiler

Let's take a look at the layout.

Management-Appraisal-2019-04.wad_MAP01.p

Firstly, I would suggest pulling some rooms closer together so they inhabit that void space.

Then, knock down some walls, tear out some of the doors, add in some windows so you can see where you're going next, or came in from, and weld these rooms together a bit.

This will also help the gameplay by making door camping either impossible (no doors) or less likely to happen (fewer doors), and give the monsters and the player a bit more freedom of movement.

A rocket launcher might do some good. Claustrophobic maps with a handful of rockets make its use viable in certain situations, but maintain the air of danger that you want. There is consistently enough space to use one, but not so much that it's thoughtless and essentially free.

Optional nonsecret areas are something I would add. These add some depth to a map without overtaking it completely.

Areas for monsters to move and attack from above are good, in my opinion. They make the area feel a bit more expansive, and add a gameplay element to them.

 

Overall, it's a solid map.

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Okay, the problem is that you have line action 1 on the front of the elevator (linedef 1922). So if you press use on that before hitting the switch, it creates the problem I was having. Just remove the action from that line.

 

Also, the elevator door starts open but is closable. It's possible to see it being opened, so linedef 1908 should have an upper texture on the front side. Or just remove the line action 1 from that line as well, which is what I would do.

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@Aquila Chrysaetos @HAK3180 This is all super helpful, much appreciated. Have dealt with the bugs / doors closing / misaligned textures etc but can't work out why the monsters on the pillars at the end won't alert unless you shoot them? I've tried replacing them and making the pillars wider, but that didn't work - any ideas?

 

Will post up the revised version when I've solved that. Probably won't do any major restructuring though, will just take your pointers on flow and layout for my next map.

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The best thing to do for them would be to make the pillars 64x64 boxes, so the monsters will be able to walk around on them.

The reason they don't do anything is because part of their hitbox overlaps a sector that's more than 24 units below their feet, so they get stuck. This is the same reason monsters can have difficulty moving on stairs if the steps are narrow and/or steep.

A solution would be to either put them on the floor or make the pillars at least 48x48, preferably 64x64, or to lower the pillars so they're only 24 or 16 units off the floor and the monsters can walk off of them.

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@Aquila Chrysaetos @HAK3180 Now updated with your suggestions. Plays a bit better now, so thanks for all the good advice. Now on to Map 2....

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I really enjoyed this level actually. It looks super good for a first time WAD!

 

Playthrough:

 

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Hey dudes! Glad you like the level - was a bit of a learning exercise as I went, so definitely got some major improvements for map 2 (which is about 75% done now)

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