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OrbitalSpaceGarbage

Avoiding the "Room - Corridor - Room" Loop?

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Posted (edited)

G'day, long time lurker first-time poster.

I've been working with Doom Builder and various other tools for a while now. I have a good grasp (at least theoretically) about how to work with Dooms core gameplay concepts and how to create good gameplay flow. 

Apart from in one really important area – connecting it all together. 

 

I frequently find myself falling into a room to a corridor to a room loop that is just tedious as all hell. So how do I get around this? I want to be creating more natural spaces that don't feel like a "game" or a "slog" and that are less linear.

So, Doom World, any tips?

Edited by OrbitalSpaceGarbage

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Not the master of mapping, but you can try using teleporters or connect both room (must be of different heights) with lift or stairs

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Posted (edited)

Try to think in concepts before creating a map, and don't be afraid to copy existing ones and adding your own twist.

 

Yesterday I found myself drawing (in the paper, not in Doom Builder) some sort of small initial map for a hell-oriented episode. The first thing that came into my mind is that I wanted the level to be easy (but use some mid-tiers enemies) and short, with some sort of centreal open-sky hub where the player would go through the building contourning that area.

 

Then I thought, what would be a cool way to start the episode? Then I thought that there could be a sort of hellish-tree which several dead hanging bodies and the player would be one that was able to escape. But with some specific elements, you can use the rule of three, where an element (in this case, the tree) can be repeated with small twists, and I decided to add another tree in the open hub area and one in a third area of the map.

 

With the layout done, I'm ready to open Doom Builder and start building the actual thing :P

 

It's cool to think at some templates that helps you giving a start point, with linear x non-linear maps, city based map, some sort of structural element predominance - for example, Doom II: Map 14 - small stone buildings cornered by water and bridges). It's first more of a creative process than actually doing anything in DB.

 

Edited by Deadwing

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Fundamentally, you will never avoid this as it's pretty much integral to the structure of a map, unless everything you make is a giant Sandybox. Not recommended for every map.

The trick is in how you obscure one or the other. A corridor can very easily be a raised ledge around a previous 'room', or intersect a room as a series of raised plinths for dat DOOM platforming. Your call. But managing the broader strokes, a more top-down 'big picture' approach to a map (instead of thinking of 'rooms', think of 'locations' and ways in which they are connected to the other locations of your map) will aid this no end.

And, if in doubt, use DOOM Builder's 'make sector' mode on an enclosed 'void' space to make it a navigable area; then decide how you're going to make that work whilst still maintaining the map progression you were working on; alternate routes, etc.

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You can connect all the rooms directly without corridors and even without doors, making use of stairs or elevators for height variation, you can use rooms inside rooms too or corridors that run encircling some side of a room, see the shotgun room at e1m2, a corridor and a room inside the bigger entrance section. I like corridors also, you can use them in different ways, like a whole section of corridors, splitting into various paths for exploration.

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Hubs are used to connect together different areas without just creating a linear corridor. Here is the automap from one of Doom 64's levels. Notice how the areas within the white lines are used to bridge together various other areas without being a corridor.

 

pHnVe1c.png

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Posted (edited)

 

2 hours ago, Jayextee said:

Fundamentally, you will never avoid this as it's pretty much integral to the structure of a map, unless everything you make is a giant Sandybox. Not recommended for every map.

The trick is in how you obscure one or the other. A corridor can very easily be a raised ledge around a previous 'room', or intersect a room as a series of raised plinths for dat DOOM platforming. Your call. But managing the broader strokes, a more top-down 'big picture' approach to a map (instead of thinking of 'rooms', think of 'locations' and ways in which they are connected to the other locations of your map) will aid this no end.

And, if in doubt, use DOOM Builder's 'make sector' mode on an enclosed 'void' space to make it a navigable area; then decide how you're going to make that work whilst still maintaining the map progression you were working on; alternate routes, etc.

 

Never thought about it in this way; that corridors don't have to be just interconnecting hallways. Instead, they can be anyway that you get between two more open spaces that aren't directly connected. Opens up a lot of brain thoughts.

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This isn't a problem that necessarily needs "fixing" as long as you try to make the hallways feel like their own rooms most of the time. I always ask myself "what is the purpose of this room?" and "is there anything I can do to make it more fun?" Also, trying to tie your map together via multiple routes of traversal (like multiple entrances to the same room) really cuts down on making the map feel amateurish, and the best way to get better at that is to study more nonlinear maps, as well as speedmap more often.

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Lots of great notes here and someone may have said this, but just about anything can be a room, from a STARTAN box to a large outdoor area with cliffs, crates, rivers or pools of nukage, etc. I've made some maps that, at the end of the day, really are just series of rooms and hallways, but I've almost never been called out on it because rooms either have an abstract shape or a piece or visual interest, or a fun battle happening inside. Really, as long as you're keeping the player entertained, that's the biggest point of all.

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This thread has been a lot of help, I'm now about halfway through a rough plan for my first full level in a long time. It's pretty simple, a simple outdoor area, a raised courtyard and a small base – but without these tips, the level would have just gone in a straight line!

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6 hours ago, Doomkid said:

Lots of great notes here and someone may have said this, but just about anything can be a room, from a STARTAN box to a large outdoor area with cliffs, crates, rivers or pools of nukage, etc. I've made some maps that, at the end of the day, really are just series of rooms and hallways, but I've almost never been called out on it because rooms either have an abstract shape or a piece or visual interest, or a fun battle happening inside. Really, as long as you're keeping the player entertained, that's the biggest point of all.

Absolutely this. People only notice hallways if there's nothing interesting to look at or do. Change the floor height. Make it a weird shape. Add a lift. Etc.

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34 minutes ago, Super Mighty G said:

People only notice hallways if there's nothing interesting to look at or do.

 

Regarding this, I have a 'soft' rule personally (soft as in, it's difficult to adhere to 100% of the time, so as close to that as possible is desired) -- every 'room' must have some kind of gameplay function.

 

This doesn't mean a combat situation per se, interconnectivity is a function. An escape avenue is a function. A dead end is a function; providing there's a reason for it to exist (and 'a cache of stimpacks' will do, quite often). I don't ever want a player to be wandering around a part of the map without either doing something or being shown something; because conveying information, from designer to player, is every bit as important as the combat and puzzles.

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1 hour ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

Connected with corridors? :P

Slaughter corridors.

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Here's a little "mapping drill" I mentioned on the 40Oz podcast that is good for fighting this tendency:

 

Make a map with four large rooms with the rule for yourself that every room has to connect to every other room in at least 2 places, and those places have to be at different heights.  This will get you used to thinking about making geometry that wraps around itself nicely and flows better than RCR.

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