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GoatMasoN

New to mapping

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Posted (edited)

I decided to take a shot at mapping recently and realized I have no clue where to begin. Any suggestions on how to start a project? What's the method you use? Do you go in with a plan, start with a blank map and go from there on the spot, maybe both? Just trying to find my muse is all. Any suggestions?

Edited by GoatMasoN : Tired as hell and managed to post this without actually putting anything in it except the subject. Then realized I'm too tired to post all about what I first intended and asked another question I had.

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Posted (edited)

Wow calm down buddy , it's to early for projects. I will give you advice on how to make things easier , ya know things i learned . For start you need to know what engine you will be using , Boom , Zdoom or Gzdoom . Personaly i think you should start with gzdoom because it has many features and it's updated frequently (while Boom is dead) . But having many features doesn't mean you should put all of them in , cuz sometimes that makes the map look ugly. Anyway Here is how to start a map , first focus on only 1 map , but make it short and sweet , and make 1 short after another. Afcourse by the time you finished your first level , you already will know how to expand your levels (making them longer and complex) Personally i made things (by things i mean layouts n rooms) while i go and it works for me. But some mappers sketch their layouts before they make them so it is for you to decide how you choose to doit.There is also many formats you can use in gz doom like UDMF or Hexen. I use UDMF. Anyway you will need the Doom2 Iwad if you want to make maps so locate it in your Doom 2 folder where ever that is.About publishing a wad/map there is many ways to doit. Dropbox for example just slide the wad file click share link , n everyone who clicked the link can download it and play it. Same on google drive too i think. Here is the link to the engines  , choose witch one you like! https://zdoom.org/downloads and this is how to download gzdoom (and start it. if you are intrested  And also for the gzdoom builder . Now i know you see all this info and get scared , but don't it's really simple and easy if you put your head into it. And if you want tips on Map design here is chubz video  .Anyway now to tell how i do maps , if you are going to make a map make sure is playable and finishable. No one likes invisble or stealth Enemies NEVER put them . Don't make my mistake.Now the type of level . What will it it be Key card collecting or swtich hunts or bouth? Cuz they all work. Anyway sorry to bombard you with so much text. Long story short if you are going to make a first map make it short and sweet but not too short. 

 

 

 

Edited by Finnthemapmaker

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Posted (edited)

1. Decide which port to use (should probably start with boom before toying with more advanced stuff). 

 

2. Learn basic texturing (this is arguably even more important for a beginner than learning layouting since bad texturing is a hallmark of beginner levels).

 

3. Learn how Doom Builder's units/grid system works and learn to make it into a habit of not making rooms/walls/objects/etc arbitrary sizes. Instead always make the size/length of everything the correct amount so that textures fit correctly. For example if you want to use a wall texture that is 128 units long then the length of the wall should scale something like this: 128, 256, 384, 512 etc. Don't just make it some random number or the textures won't align/fit properly.

 

4. Don't make the room levels out in such a way as to make it difficult or annoying to create sectors for lightning afterward.

 

5. Don't place hitscan enemies where you can't see them. Actually, don't place projectile enemies in general where you can't see them. Nobody likes getting killed by something that they can't even see. Ditto for arch-viles.

 

6. Don't give the player so much ammo he doesn't need to strategize.

 

7. Don't make the map super long (I know this one is somewhat subjective but I just don't like spending an hour on the same map. It also massively increases the odds that you will get lost).

 

8. Always make it obvious what your switches do. Don't just make a switch open some random door or area somewhere that the player doesn't even know about.

 

9. Don't make player progression dependent on finding secret areas.

 

10. Make sure that traps can be countered even on the first try so that gameplay doesn't boil down to trial and error.

 

11. While non-linear maps are fine, it's not a good idea to make it overly maze like.

 

Hope that helps :)

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My recommendation is to learn the basics of Doom Builder: drawing sectors, changing heights, textures, flats, placing things, assigning tags and actions, etc. The very basic fundamental building blocks of a level.

 

Then just sit down, draw some simple shapes, connect them together in different ways, place some monsters and weapons, and run around in it to see if it feels good. Do this a few times, and change geometry and monster placements as you go until you're happy. Start from a simple place and figure out how to just make your level fun to run around in. It doesn't matter if it's *good* (completely subjective) or not, just go by your own standard. That is how you will discover your muse. Each time you sit down to map, you'll see more than you did before.

 

Good luck on your mapping journey!

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I think you guys just gave me the best load of advice I could ask for. Thanks a lot. My port of choice is GZDoom and I'd love to make some maps utilizing the features available. But I'll start with Boom just for the simplicity and work my way up. And looks like I'm going to get in front of Doom Builder or GZDoom builder (I downloaded both) and start learning the ropes. I'll utilize everything said here and see where it takes me. You guys rock, thank you.

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1 minute ago, GoatMasoN said:

I think you guys just gave me the best load of advice I could ask for. Thanks a lot. My port of choice is GZDoom and I'd love to make some maps utilizing the features available. But I'll start with Boom just for the simplicity and work my way up. And looks like I'm going to get in front of Doom Builder or GZDoom builder (I downloaded both) and start learning the ropes. I'll utilize everything said here and see where it takes me. You guys rock, thank you.

 

Make sure you have the bugfree version of gzdoom builder which has some extra features and fixes.

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If you're brand new I'd suggest starting with Boom and just making whatever. Freestyle and draw shit out and see what comes out. I wouldn't try to make your first maps too big, just playable. The first hurdle is becoming proficient in using GZDBBF (GZDoomBuilder Bugfix). Once you don't struggle with the mechanics of building a map it becomes infinitely easier to be creative.

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Don't start with a square! It's very easy to fall into that trap of making square rooms connected by corridors with no height variation...Don't rely on the ol' "I designed my map for x mod" just because it could fill in "gameplay" that stems from that mod. Try and make something that you might find fun though! As others have said too, it's a good idea to start with BOOM format because it gives you plenty to toy with but enough limitations to stop you being TOO ambitious with features you haven't the need to toy with. Getting gameplay is a big step coupled with interesting rooms~

...and don't leave STARTAN everywhere...AND UNPEG YOUR DOORTRAKS. :)

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I'm thinking about making something using an almost ancient Rome feel to it. I'm basically going to start with a main area, some marble archways and walls (like a temple or something). Then just see what goes on from there. It'll be smaller, just enough to allow some architectural experimentation and toss in some simple functions (locked door, switches, a lift or two, etc). I'll use Boom first for sure. I looked at the UMDF stuff and man that looks great. Can't wait to get to that stuff. And I'm going to make sure my copy of GZDoom Builder is the bug free one. And for sure, the idea of Boom keeping overambition at bay is probably the best thing for me to do. And 100% agreed on the avoiding of bland squares lol. 

 

 

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My sincerest advice is: Go map and enjoy what you're drawing and add all what they said above.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, GoatMasoN said:

I think you guys just gave me the best load of advice I could ask for. Thanks a lot. My port of choice is GZDoom and I'd love to make some maps utilizing the features available. But I'll start with Boom just for the simplicity and work my way up. And looks like I'm going to get in front of Doom Builder or GZDoom builder (I downloaded both) and start learning the ropes. I'll utilize everything said here and see where it takes me. You guys rock, thank you.

Generally speaking, I'd avoid "mapping by the numbers" if it isn't what you want out of your map. Any "tip" like "make your traps such and such, and "make your geometry like this and that", and "use secrets like so and so", are all simply another individual's preferences, nothing more, and that "advice" should be treated as such. If your map is fun to play, it doesn't matter if a trap kills people on their first run, because people will enjoy it regardless. If your map requires secrets to complete, but you make the hunt for secrets fun and interesting, people will like your map regardless. Never mind that you can't please everybody anyway, so don't even bother trying.

 

I suppose the best advice I can give you is not getting yourself talked into the mindset that players are customers whose requests a mapper must fulfill. Your purpose as a mapper isn't pleasing as large an audience as possible, your purpose as a mapper is making your idea of what's a fun map a reality, and every other "benchmark" is much, much less important. What matters in the end isn't what your ideas are and which supposed "norms" they adhere to, but how well you have executed the concept you had in mind, and that comes with experience.

Having said that, it's a general rule of thumb that starting with single map releases usually is a pretty solid way to go. Not only will you get your projects done faster, but you will also receive feedback at a faster rate, meaning quicker improvement for you personally.

 

For every trope that somebody deems "wrong" there's another mapper out there who spun that shit into gold. Mapping is about being creative, and thinking there's any such thing as a norm in the first place simply gets in the way of being creative. So, when it comes to having ideas, pull out all the stops and do what you think is fun. When it comes to getting started with mapping, don't get overambitious and you'll be fine.

By the way, as for sizing up geometry to make textures fit better... that's nonsense anyway because the moment you use a diagonal linedef the "math" doesn't add up anymore anyway, which is why mappers usually have a few tricks up their sleeves to work around texture alignment issues. When you get there and you feel like you can't work out a solution, people here are usually happy to help and offer a solution. So don't let texture size get in the way of your ideas either.

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31 minutes ago, Fuzzball said:

Don't start with a square! It's very easy to fall into that trap of making square rooms connected by corridors with no height variation...Don't rely on the ol' "I designed my map for x mod" just because it could fill in "gameplay" that stems from that mod. Try and make something that you might find fun though! As others have said too, it's a good idea to start with BOOM format because it gives you plenty to toy with but enough limitations to stop you being TOO ambitious with features you haven't the need to toy with. Getting gameplay is a big step coupled with interesting rooms~

...and don't leave STARTAN everywhere...AND UNPEG YOUR DOORTRAKS. :)

Hey now, my first map was a bunch of squares... in fact it was 1Squares.wad modified...

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14 hours ago, GoatMasoN said:

I decided to take a shot at mapping recently and realized I have no clue where to begin. Any suggestions on how to start a project? What's the method you use? Do you go in with a plan, start with a blank map and go from there on the spot, maybe both? Just trying to find my muse is all. Any suggestions?

 

Everyone works differently so there's no right or wrong approach starting out new. That said, I can share with you how I started my first map and what made sense to me:

 

1. I was co-oping 1Squares.WAD and thought it should have more items and monsters. So I used Doom Builder to do it. I think this is a great way to approach it as a newbie because you already have a working level, and don't have to worry about considering like a dozen different components to get it to work properly. Tweaking one thing at a time makes it easy to find out what's wrong when things don't work.

 

2. Once I was comfortable with the basic things like changing monsters and items, I looked to add an extra wall here and there, eventually a new room altogether. The process of adding new features I learned snowballed until the level became something else altogether, and ~200 days later I released my first WAD.

 

So what worked for me was to tweak existing maps that I like, until I found my muse.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/19/2019 at 12:58 PM, Finnthemapmaker said:

Wow calm down buddy , it's to early for projects. I will give you advice on how to make things easier , ya know things i learned . For start you need to know what engine you will be using , Boom , Zdoom or Gzdoom . Personaly i think you should start with gzdoom because it has many features and it's updated frequently (while Boom is dead) . But having many features doesn't mean you should put all of them in , cuz sometimes that makes the map look ugly. Anyway Here is how to start a map , first focus on only 1 map , but make it short and sweet , and make 1 short after another. Afcourse by the time you finished your first level , you already will know how to expand your levels (making them longer and complex) Personally i made things (by things i mean layouts n rooms) while i go and it works for me. But some mappers sketch their layouts before they make them so it is for you to decide how you choose to doit.There is also many formats you can use in gz doom like UDMF or Hexen. I use UDMF. Anyway you will need the Doom2 Iwad if you want to make maps so locate it in your Doom 2 folder where ever that is.About publishing a wad/map there is many ways to doit. Dropbox for example just slide the wad file click share link , n everyone who clicked the link can download it and play it. Same on google drive too i think. Here is the link to the engines  , choose witch one you like! https://zdoom.org/downloads and this is how to download gzdoom (and start it. if you are intrested  And also for the gzdoom builder . Now i know you see all this info and get scared , but don't it's really simple and easy if you put your head into it. And if you want tips on Map design here is chubz video  .Anyway now to tell how i do maps , if you are going to make a map make sure is playable and finishable. No one likes invisble or stealth Enemies NEVER put them . Don't make my mistake.Now the type of level . What will it it be Key card collecting or swtich hunts or bouth? Cuz they all work. Anyway sorry to bombard you with so much text. Long story short if you are going to make a first map make it short and sweet but not too short. 

 

 

 

I will have to disagree on starting with gzdoom, it does have most of the features but if someone is just practicing for the first time I think it's more useful to start with simple doom 2 maps, that way when people do want to move on to other formats they will also have an easier time understamding how all these different formats work. That seems to be were most beginner are stuck with.

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I've found that making (and not finishing) lots of maps has been a good way to learn. If I get stuck or frustrated I just save and start a new map. Make some rooms, try something new, learn a thing or two. I then go back to the past map and implement my new ideas. This also gives me plenty of material to work with later. It also has taught me not to get very attached to a particular level and keeps my outlook fresh.

I'd start with the Boom, Doom, or Doom 2 format and not mess with scripting too much. Just get familiar with the basics of making Doom levels, the basic effects you can apply to sectors, and learn things like making doors & teleporters. Then when you get better move onto formats like UDMF and start learning a bit of ACS. Maybe put out a level or two for the community.

Using Doomworld, engaging with the community, and playing maps is going to be one of the best ways to learn and stay motivated. Playing other people's maps and reading critiques given will certainly give you ideas and further insight.

My final recommendation, this goes for learning anything, avoid the Dunning-Kruger effect and stay humble. There's always going to be people who know more than you and people who may know less than you that know things you don't. Try to learn something from anyone even if they don't seem like they have much to offer.

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