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GripZ

To the people out there who like maze levels/maze sections.

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Why?

specifically
what do you find fun about backtracking, finding dead ends and overall getting lost?

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Posted (edited)

I think it can be fun if you like to explore or solve riddles. I like it sometimes (when it's not very hard).

Also, literal mazes like the computer area in E1M2 can be good to create atmosphere or horror-like scenarios. Mazes can be very scary. Plutonia have this map, Hunted, that is not very impressive by today standards, but probably made some people wet his pants in the nineties:
 

 

Edited by Noiser

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Posted (edited)

If we are going for a flat maze you just have to stick to the wall on your right or on your left the whole time. Not that you ever need that in the IWADs because they are all baby mazes.

 

Edit: I dislike mazes by the way. But there are people who enjoy mazes in general, not just in Doom. To each their own.

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It depends on the maze itself, I would say. If it's one of the lazy "My first WAD, I made a maze, lulz" kind of things, then I really don't think anybody enjoys these. But if it's a maze like the library section in Maskim Xul for example, then it's clear why people like them. If they are well designed they trap you, but at the same time give you the feeling, that there is a way out and it's up to you to find the right path / combination / whatever. I guess what people like the most in that context is the "sense of accomplishment" if you managed to navigate out of a difficult area.

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I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of mazes but I also don’t mind them if there’s fun combat inside. Something about wall humping in a dark labyrinth to find a secret passageway reminds me of Indiana Jones and I love that feeling. It’s gotta be fair and contained in a fun map though - a maze with no height variation textured entirely in STARTAN3 with nothing but imps is probably going to be really boring, unless there’s some kind of twist.

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4 hours ago, elend said:

It depends on the maze itself, I would say. If it's one of the lazy "My first WAD, I made a maze, lulz" kind of things, then I really don't think anybody enjoys these. But if it's a maze like the library section in Maskim Xul for example, then it's clear why people like them. If they are well designed they trap you, but at the same time give you the feeling, that there is a way out and it's up to you to find the right path / combination / whatever. I guess what people like the most in that context is the "sense of accomplishment" if you managed to navigate out of a difficult area.

 

I agree with this for the most part. Not all mazes are created equal. Most Wolfenstein 3D levels are mazes because of the game's limitations but I love it because there were often clever level cues to keep you from being completely lost if you paid attention, however I really dislike the FormGen made mission packs for Spear of Destiny which have completely nonsensical labyrinths that just aren't any fun.

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Posted (edited)

It very much depends on how well executed is the maze/puzzley nature of the map.

 

If the map/wad gives you audio/visual clues when you press a switch and that unlocks something somewhere it can actually be quite fun and rewarding to finish them, but the moment you end up running from one side of the map to the other in hopes of finding something, somewhere, that actually changed, or you even have to shoot or press on unmarked walls or whatever to find progress, then that's pure bad design in all its splendor. A good puzzle map/wad, or maze, should require the player to be observant more than anything, not them doing random things and run around the map like an idiot and still not find the way.

 

I'm more of a combat type of guy but I can enjoy these kinds of maps/wads when they're well made. I've had plenty of fun with wads like Adonis for instance. DVII also had a few interesting and creative puzzles, particularly on The Unholy Cathedral and its library.

Edited by seed

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The only mazes I found neat in older FPS are the grass mazes from Blood. Not too big, mostly for decoration, beautifully covered in snow and full of atmosphere. The Plutonia maze mentioned above was the level I probably hated the most out of the whole megawad. Even all the Revenant/Chaingunner death squads in Final Doom weren't as annoying as this one obtuse map. Ended up dispatching all the archies pretty quickly and found myself wandering blindly and setting off frustrating door opening triggers for far too long. BigMacDavis' walkthrough was the only reason I didn't just noclip/level skip after a while.

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3 hours ago, isocosa said:

The worst kind of a maze is the one that you can't see on an automap.

THIS. ALL OF THE THIS.

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On 6/4/2019 at 1:47 PM, isocosa said:

The worst kind of a maze is the one that you can't see on an automap.

 

I FREAKIN' HATE THOSE!

 

There was a section in the original Cheogsh (custom Doom 2 wad) that did that and it was really annoying.

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There was a maze level in I believe E6 of the original Wolfenstein 3D that I fucking HATED! Keep in mind that game has no map. 

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On 6/4/2019 at 9:46 AM, LadyVader1138 said:

A well executed maze can be fun. A poorly executed maze is E2M6. Screw you, Petersen.

 

You considered that map a maze?  You'd shit diamond coated bricks then if you played the map I mentioned in my post above! 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/4/2019 at 12:49 AM, GripZ said:

Why?

specifically
what do you find fun about backtracking, finding dead ends and overall getting lost?

Backtracking is an art.  It can be done in terrible ways (Sewers) where all  you are doing is retreading old ground, but at it's finest, backtracking through a section should be a whole new experience.  For example, hitting a switch at that dead end can adjust all sorts of walls, at it's most basic sending new enemies at you in encounters specially tailored to how that hall looks in reverse, or it could open hidden closets with secrets.

The best backtracking shouldn't feel like backtracking.  You walk back a little bit to find your path completely blocked, but there's an opening nearby.  Take that, and it can weave back and forth through that hall with all the now-shuttered doors, so in effect you've got two paths contained in the space of one.  Your return to the main "landmark" of the arena would then have new things revealed.

Oh, and I absolutely love solving puzzles.  Being stuck for a while trying to figure out well-placed hints is very enjoyable to me.  "Well placed" is the key.  The puzzle has to be solvable without brute force interacting with every single wall in the room. Ideally, there would be a clue in the design to let you know that there is a secret around there somewhere.  Being unsure if you're even intended to be stuck is a mark of bad puzzle design. A good way to do this is to draw the eye to a certain area where the puzzle begins, and to make sure at least one element of the puzzle is visible from that vantage point so curiosity draws the player to it.

Edited by Dark Jaguar

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IMO the initial post is mixing up two things that have little in common.

 

Mazy levels are not necessarily full of backtracking and backtacking does not necessitate a mazy level - so my opinions about these things are very different.

 

I am not a fan of mazes because they rarely provide interesting gameplay. Mazes do not result in backtracking but in aimlessly running around to find the next clue to continue progression. Plutonia's Hunted is a good example of this - there's only a few key sections where you can do something but it can become a chore to get to these sections, thanks to how the doors work. Plutonia 2's 'hommage' to this is even worse - it doesn't look like a maze but it posseses all the hallmarks of a maze level as listed above, so a lot of the gameplay is just running around looking for clues.

 

Backtracking, on the other hand, means to get more life out of the level by arranging its sections so that some parts of the map need to be revisited multiple times, either to get to that locked door you have seen on the other end of the explored area or to pick something up you couldn't reach before. This is often involved with unleashing more monsters to keep the game interesting. A good example of a map that contains a lot of backtracking without devolving into a maze is Doom's E1M7 where you have to cross certain sections multiple times to get everything that's needed.

Backtracking can become tedious if the sections that need to be backtracked are too long or contain annoying obstacles, e.g. if that corridior with the crushers in E2M2 had to be passed repeatedly to complete the level, I'd consider that bad design.

 

However, if a map combines mazes with backtracking, the result will inevitably be a turd. The worst in this regard I remember are some maps in Cleimos 2, which not only require lots of backtracking but backtracking through mazes. Such maps are definitely not fun, because instead of getting through the annoying maze only once you have to traverse it multiple times.

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On 6/4/2019 at 7:47 PM, isocosa said:

The worst kind of a maze is the one that you can't see on an automap.

freedoom e1m8

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On 6/4/2019 at 12:47 PM, isocosa said:

The worst kind of a maze is the one that you can't see on an automap.

I think the only real use for "locations you can't see on the automap" are locations the player is never meant to visit (spawning pits for monsters to teleport in from or mutiplayer-only sections), or if it's truly part of the design of a puzzle, like a wall you can walk through but if automap could show it, it would "fill in" that section of the map and give the game away.

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39 minutes ago, cambreaKer said:

freedoom e1m8

 

The worst I have seen was in Cheogsh. The one section (yes, a maze) in the entire map that REALLY needed the automap had it set to hidden to make it as hard to navigate as imaginable. Some mappers unfortunately never learn how not to annoy their customers. :(

 

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25 minutes ago, Graf Zahl said:

 Some mappers unfortunately never learn how not to annoy their customers. :(

 

 

It's a free market my dude

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this message sent from the airport the OP has been stranded in for four days

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, yakfak said:

this message sent from the airport the OP has been stranded in for four days

lmao

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If done correctly, I think mazes can be really fun. The key being to avoiding the pitfalls of dragging them out too much, having some traps/puzzles that can help pad out the length and give it more substance than hunting a bunch of switches in dead ends, and giving the actual maze a good aesthetic and level of detail.

And of course avoid making the maze not only invisible on auto maps, but also pitch black and filled with damaging floors/inescapable kill pits (Im looking at you, secret maze in Hell Revealed Map 29...)

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On 6/4/2019 at 11:46 AM, LadyVader1138 said:

A well executed maze can be fun. A well executed maze is E2M6. I love you, Petersen.

 

On 6/4/2019 at 12:47 PM, isocosa said:

The best kind of a maze is the one that you can't see on an automap.

Excellent posts!

 

But seriously, Doom shares enough lineage with first-person dungeon crawlers that a bit of that kind of switch-huntery can be a great addition.  Some of Eternal's big-ass maps, such as Frozen Time or about half of Hell Ground, or for examples from other authors, something like MoHu or Bloody Steel, are super-compelling and scratch itches that no five-minute flow-fest ever will.

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Posted (edited)

As someone who has slogged through most of Maximum Doom, I feel I am somewhat of an authority on the subject of mazes.  

If we are talking about a 'mazey level', ie. one with multiple paths, different areas, nonlinear flow, disorienting etc., they can be fun or frustrating, depending on the level of craftsmanship and the feeling of progression.  If, however, we are strictly talking about 'mazes', as in a bunch of right-angled narrow corridors with no strafing room, all the same wall and floor texture, no height variation, and filled with dead ends, they can go FUCK themselves and so can the author of the map.  

Goddamn I hate mazes.  

Edited by Maximum Matt

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IMO, if you want an example on how to do a good 'maze', Plutonia 2's Map 11 is the first one off the top of my head. Even then, as with any other aspect of Doom Mapping, how much a player is going to enjoy it will ultimately end up with how much tolerance they have and how well they can navigate the level, all being on a case by case basis. Kinda like how switch hunting or slaughter maps can be a love it or hate it deal regardless of how well or how much is put into them.

Personally as someone who doesn't mind, and can probably enjoy to boot, the tight and claustrophobic kinds of mazes a map author should try to not make any kind of maze bigger than Plutonia's 'Hunted' if they don't want to completely turn off a large portion of players.

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