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bLOCKbOYgAMES

Question regarding SIGIL's potential influence on Doom map design

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My guess is, that it'll definitely influence mapping. WADs of greater notion, like Sigil, have always been inspiration for mappers (at least to some extent). For example Plutonia Experiment: This WAD laid some groundworks for how a map should work. I've played it for the first time only recently and already recognized some references to it, map structure- and gameplay-wise. Maybe they were intended, maybe not ... I don't know.

 

I think we'll see some works inspired by Sigil or similar to it's play style in the future.

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4 hours ago, bLOCKbOYgAMES said:

Modern Doom mapping seems to have an ethos that if the player dies, it is not in an 'unfair' way.

1) The player has enough firepower to deal with the situation

2) Ambushes and encounters are telegraphed somewhat (or when they happen, there is enough reaction time to give the player time to respond.)

3)When an encounter happens, that there is enough space to move around and avoid damage.

4)The player can see what is going on and where the damage is likely to come from and plan appropriate responses

I've seen plenty maps that do not adhere to these "standards", including maps that clearly belong in the era of "modern mapping". Speed of Doom as an old example of that era was infamous for insta-popping monsters on players, cyberdemons included.

 

4 hours ago, bLOCKbOYgAMES said:

1)The player did not always have enough firepower to deal with every situation (Though possibly this was just me sucking at ammo conservation and finding secrets etc etc)

2)Ambushes often came without warning, and could be savage and almost instantaneous, giving the player little time to react. (The exit room to E5M1 for example)

3)There is often little space to move.

4)Pitch darkness. Nuff said.

None of these "tropes" are exclusive to Sigil, and Romero isn't the one who "invented them", either. Plenty of challenge maps and even slaughter maps play with these tropes every so often, darkness perhaps not as much, but it's still part of what people do.

 

If anything, Sigil does a good job of coming with its own "subset" of mechanics, most notably the eyes and the "exit switches", and in so doing it invokes the feeling of being a self-contained small "universe" with its own rules.

Sigil also puts a very heavy focus on secrets, the gap between how Sigil's maps play with and without knowing the secrets for example is huge. Sigil can be sluggish and annoying, if you didn't get whatever secret weapon/ammo is stashed away somewhere. In many modern maps secrets are less impactful wrt how the maps play, imo. Sure, there are exceptions where secrets are "pseudo-mandatory" because they give you an invuln or a megasphere prior to an extremely hard fight, but those maps are relatively rare in the grand scheme of things.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, rdwpa said:

 

These are really broad, and all feature quite prominently in various sects of mapping ideology -- Marcaek, Alfonzo, Dobu, Ribbiks, etc. And there has certainly been a fair share of "dark, brutal survival horror" over the years, pretty scary stuff: Dimension of the Boomed, Nihility, dead.wire, stuff by Lainos, etc.

 

Will SIGIL be influential on its own terms? Maybe. But with those four selected, there is a definite risk in seeing illusory trends. The things SIGIL does that are unique to it are, imo... different than what is described here. 

I agree that there is plenty of modern maps and mappers that do the dark brutal survival thing, and do it well. But in general, the overall trend is towards more open, fairer maps. Perhaps you could even argue that this is true of video games in general! I agree that the trends could be seen as illusory if taken on a smaller context. But to me at least, these trends are very evident if taken across Doom mapping as a whole across the years. My intent was not to imply that Sigil did these things exclusively, but is Sigil influential enough to cause a general trend towards these things in the wider mapping community?

 

 

7 hours ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

I've seen plenty maps that do not adhere to these "standards", including maps that clearly belong in the era of "modern mapping". Speed of Doom as an old example of that era was infamous for insta-popping monsters on players, cyberdemons included.

 

None of these "tropes" are exclusive to Sigil, and Romero isn't the one who "invented them", either. Plenty of challenge maps and even slaughter maps play with these tropes every so often, darkness perhaps not as much, but it's still part of what people do.

 

I agree that plenty of maps do not adhere to these implied standards that I have listed. And I also agree that Romero didn't invent or use these tropes uniquely. I was wanting to address the general universal trend away from the things Sigil did, and avoid looking at individual mapsets that buck the trend, of which there are plenty. I was asking will Sigil influence a trend towards these factors, even though Sigil neither created them nor used them uniquely.

 

Speed of Doom is a great mapset incidentally. I died so so many times.

 

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7 hours ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

If anything, Sigil does a good job of coming with its own "subset" of mechanics, most notably the eyes and the "exit switches", and in so doing it invokes the feeling of being a self-contained small "universe" with its own rules.


Sigil also puts a very heavy focus on secrets, the gap between how Sigil's maps play with and without knowing the secrets for example is huge. Sigil can be sluggish and annoying, if you didn't get whatever secret weapon/ammo is stashed away somewhere. In many modern maps secrets are less impactful wrt how the maps play, imo. Sure, there are exceptions where secrets are "pseudo-mandatory" because they give you an invuln or a megasphere prior to an extremely hard fight, but those maps are relatively rare in the grand scheme of things.

 

Good points. Agreed.

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While community wads have massive and great architecture in them, gunplay became one dimensional in the last decade or so. Wads usually reinvent the wheel in the early maps, they are pretending you haven't played Doom yet, and quickly become open slaughter later on. Sigil was a breath of fresh air with its approach, and I appreciate Romero for this. He has always been a leader, not a follower.

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Just wanna drop it in here that the 'evil eye' gimmick essentially standardising the visual vocabulary for shootable switches is rad as fuck and I'll be ripping it off utilising the thing in my own maps.

 

But then, I think the same thing of the Plutonia exit teleporters... ;)

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2 hours ago, Doomkid said:

Sure we can whip out the ol' #NotAll hashtag and find spots in modern mapsets or even whole modern wads featuring mapping/combat/mood/texturing that share commonalities with those found in SIGIL, but it is very clear that the overall movement towards spaciousness, grandness, beauty and "fairness" is very much a thing that's been happening slowly but very surely since the turn of the century. It's disingenuous to look at modern works like Ancient Aliens, Sunlust, Eviternity etc and claim that the various mapping tropes and general approach hasn't changed since Memento Mori, Fava Beans, Icarus and so forth. It's actually quite a striking difference. Unless there's a bunch of gameplay modifiers, Doom maps are Doom maps, sure - but we have definitely seen some general changes in what tropes mappers employ and when, how they use them, how often they use them, etc.

Let's not forget that the majority of PWADs are made with the Doom2 roster in mind, which lends itself much more towards bigger spaces than the extremely limited and borderline onedimensional Doom1-roster does. You can't really make Doom1 maps "interesting" in this day and age unless you keep players on a short leash wrt resources, limit the real estate they have to work with, and employ environmental hazards liberally... At least not if you don't want to spam large amounts of stuff.

 

Basically, Romero was simply smart enough to build environments which are suitable for the monsters in question, which is something I think good mappers do to some extent anyway, because if you don't you just end up with a shooting gallery (yes, I know, a shooting gallery is precisely what some people want, but that's irrelevant for this discussion). Having said that, I refuse to consider Romero an "innovator" or "leader" on the sole basis that he knows it takes difficult terrain and other restrictions to make otherwise harmless monsters threatening, that's gameplay 101, and not something I'd put Romero on a pedestal for (there are actual reasons to do that, but understanding the Doom1 roster ain't it).
 

As for ambushes and "fairness", yeah I dunno... I find the current "hivemind-idea" of "fairness" questionable at the best of times, because more often than not something that somebody can't do first try is quickly dismissed as "unfair" by virtue of not having been simple enough to just wing it straight away. Everything's "unfair" if you happen to ask the right person :P

I agree though, Sigil may spark a few ideas in the heads of some mappers, but a long lasting "paradigm shift"? I don't believe so.

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20 hours ago, bLOCKbOYgAMES said:

Now SIGIL seemed to buck this trend somewhat:

1)The player did not always have enough firepower to deal with every situation (Though possibly this was just me sucking at ammo conservation and finding secrets etc etc)

2)Ambushes often came without warning, and could be savage and almost instantaneous, giving the player little time to react. (The exit room to E5M1 for example)

3)There is often little space to move.

4)Pitch darkness. Nuff said. 

As far as I can guess average player usually has all of these things located in a "crap that make wad/level horrible" list.

 

Sure, there certainly will be people who will like to recapture the charm they've found in Sigil in their own maps, but I don't believe tropes and scenarios that usually make player bitch about them rather than praise the author for them would magically become A-OK just because Romero did it.

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Pitch darkness is inventended by Romero, see e1m2 scary maze :). On Sigil he tooks a new route for what concerning gameplay perhaps an evolution of his e4 maps (more ammo starvation and akward environment)

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7 hours ago, Doomkid said:

Anyway, I'll wrap this essay up: Having been made by Romero and played by many thousands of Doomers at this point, SIGIL is likely to influence a few mappers here and there. Will that be something that has a noticeable impact on mapping from here on out though? Probably not. Do I think SIGIL is cool? Heck yes. A lot of players have problems with it though, not just the difficulty but in some instances the aesthetic and overall composition of the map layouts. Good enough that people generally liked it and were just flat out happy to see Romero return, but not revolutionary (or accessible) enough to make a big or lasting splash in the realm of Doom mapping. That's just my 2c.

 

Couldn't have said it better myself.

 

4 hours ago, Maximum Matt said:

Nope, it didn't influence my upcoming wad Zigil at all

I laughed more than I probably should have.

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Posted (edited)

I never saw anything like Sigil before. I don't know if it will influence modern mapping as a whole, but if so, I think it will be a good thing.

Modern maps are consistent in quality but also very samey - an arena-based layout with no doors and plenty of space to navigate. Sigil brought back some experimentalism and a risky attitude that I usually notice in older wads. That's a good thing in my opinion.

Edited by Noiser

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22 hours ago, bLOCKbOYgAMES said:

Now SIGIL seemed to buck this trend somewhat:

1)The player did not always have enough firepower to deal with every situation (Though possibly this was just me sucking at ammo conservation and finding secrets etc etc)

Just say something about this. Sigil gives me an impression that if you're not good at punching Barons, you may feel a little bit tedious about the maps. Looking at my own playthrough here, I have plenty of ammo in the later maps (I played continuously). The final rooms of the maps mostly contain a Baron and something else. Basically in my mind is that make them infight and I'll do some punching by the way. However, if you need to shotgun or rocket a Baron to death every single time, it does cost a lot of time and ammo.

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The HP of the barons is the only real issue in Sigil. Hell knights would work much better in most of those cases. OTOH continuous players find the rocket launcher in map3, there are more in map4 and map5, so shotgunning these culprits mostly happen in the first few levels.

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