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Gojimike

Tips for making my first Map

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Hi, I've been a fan of Doom and the modding scene for some years and I've had attempts at making a first map at quite a few occasions. However I always end up stopping due to fear of not making something exactly good or just having no idea where the map should go next or what objects or enemies to add, etc.

 

Any tips on how to make a first map without getting carried a way with such worries or feeling so creatively blocked?

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Don't let your fear of not making a good map on your first try prevent you from enjoying one of the most rewarding aspects of this hobby.   Nobody is a mapping god right away, nobody.   They've either thrown away several hundred sectors of incomplete works; or they've released a marginal couple of maps before listening to feedback (or getting feedback to listen to).  

 

Find some smaller sized maps that you enjoy playing and look at the start and exit positions and the distance between them; then on your map place your start and ending rooms roughly the same distance apart and figure out a cool way to connect the two areas.  Make a handful of smaller maps until you are comfortable with tackling a larger map.   Keep a running list of things you want to try in the editor/map.  Write down any ideas for traps, encounters, or rooms this way you have something on paper you can go back to when you hit a creative block.   Hit the forums up for advice as you need it.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I ain't no Doom mapper, but here's a few potential pointers:

  • Don't use STARTAN for texturing everywhere. Learn some good texture variation as soon as possible.
  • Gameplay first, detailing later. The latter is more easily fixed than the former.
  • Don't overuse Barons. (especially in Doom 1)
  • A lone Cyberdemon/Spider Mastermind is not necessarily a threat. Feel free to give them some company sometimes.
  • Make something that you would want to play.
  • You see something you like in another Doom wad? Feel free to use the same idea if it suits you, and maybe put your own spin on it; Doom mappers have been borrowing ideas off each other for years. This is a good thing.
  • If you're going to delve into GZDoom, please for the love of god don't go crazy on the detailing and fancy features right away! A fancy looking GZDoom map can quickly lose its luster if the gameplay sucks.
  • Make sure the player knows where to go on your map, especially with switches. Good maps tend to clearly show the player what each switch does, whether visually and/or with good sound cues.
  • Custom music can help. D_RUNNIN loses its charm after a while.
  • If you're going to use custom monsters (i.e. Realm 667 stuff), make sure you know the gameplay-related reason as to why you're using them. Don't just stick them in there "just because" you feel like having 10+ different custom monsters roaming around.
  • Sign up for Joy of Mapping 7. (when it's announced)

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Think of some of your favourite maps. Then open them up in the editor and study the shit out of them, to try and understand key factors they possess, like the how you progress through the map, how different areas within the map interact with each other, the playing space offered, and how enemies are presented to you whilst you are playing. Studying other maps is your absolute best way to learn new things early on. Perhaps pick like 5 maps you really love, this should give you quite a good baseline. Understand how large playing spaces and architecture are in terms of map units, this will help you greatly in scaling your map the way you want to. Try to have a clear objective of what you want the map to be rather than trying to throw in absolutely every single idea you have (a common theme in newer mappers' works). You can easily spread ideas out over a number of maps.

 

My best outright advice is that no map will ever be perfect no matter how hard you try, and that is fine. The more maps you make the better you will get at making them because you will be able to understand your influences more clearly with time.

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just do it! and give it to us. we will tear it apart anyway. ;-)

 

otherwise -- just make something you will like to play. many 1994-style maps with little details and simple architecture are still fun to play, for example. just build a basic layout, place some monsters and check if it makes some interesting fights. even dull rectangular room can be made interesting to fight in, if you will, for example, put some pillars with chaingunners there, add some stairs leading to health that will open some monster closets, and so on.

 

play the maps you like, see how authors made interesting fights, and don't be afraid to steal the things you like. ;-) it is ok if your first maps will resemble other maps you like.

 

also, don't be afraid of making "abstract" maps, the only rule in the book says: "if it is fun, it is good!" that is, even if nobody in their sane mind will build something like your map in real life, it doesn't matter -- as long as it is fun to play. so if you don't know how your map should go next, you may try to build a totally disconnected map section, and then connect it to already built ones with some hallways, and even with more rooms. the result may not be an architectural masterpiece, but you can always overdetail it later. ;-)

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Gojimike said:

Hi, I've been a fan of Doom and the modding scene for some years and I've had attempts at making a first map at quite a few occasions. However I always end up stopping due to fear of not making something exactly good or just having no idea where the map should go next or what objects or enemies to add, etc.

 

Any tips on how to make a first map without getting carried a way with such worries or feeling so creatively blocked?

Have a really good idea in your head what you would think would look cool & be fun to play.  If you don't really have a solid idea for what to put in then your going to be filled with that wary feeling of not good enough.

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