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DoomSpud

Difficulty settings...

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Curious to know what the general consensus is regarding difficulty settings on WADs.

Do players prefer scalable difficulty (ie: I'm Too Young To Die up through to Ultra-Violence / Nightmare) or having the difficulty basically hard-set at Ultra Violence... same amount of monsters / weapons etc. no matter what difficulty you choose?

I don't play on any skill level lower than Ultra-Violence and it's been that way for 20 years so when I map, I tend to build specifically for play on Ultra-Violence at the very least.

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I prefer scalable difficulty; not everyone is or wants to be a "Doom God".  I generally step down 10-20% of the monster count on HMP, and again on HNTR, and often increase the health/armour (and to a lesser extent ammo) as you step down.  Others such as @Steve D use a much more dramatic degree of monster scaling and I think tend not to adjust health or ammo much.

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4 hours ago, Capellan said:

I prefer scalable difficulty; not everyone is or wants to be a "Doom God".


Which is basically what you are on the lower difficulties, a god.

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30 minutes ago, DoomSpud said:


Which is basically what you are on the lower difficulties, a god.

 

1. That's nonsense.

2. If you have already decided how you feel about difficulty settings, why ask the question?

 

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Most if not all modern wads have some kind of difficulty settings implemented. All up to the mapper as far as how much effort they put in to it or what they believe the lower skills should feel like. You can keep it real simple and say for HMP just add more health/powerups/ammo and leave the actual monster placement almost the same. (maybe remove an archvile or main threat monster here and there if it makes an area/encounter unforgiving) for HNTR you can assume the player will not be looking for a challenge or is in general low skilled at doom so removing/replacing more "main threat" monsters is a good idea. But ya all depends on the mapper :p

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41 minutes ago, Capellan said:

 

1. That's nonsense.

2. If you have already decided how you feel about difficulty settings, why ask the question?

 

1. Having the game tipped in favour of the player with extra ammo/health and less enemies to kill you effectively makes you almost unbeatable. Makes the game a breeze.
2. I asked how OTHER people feel about the settings.

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, DoomSpud said:

1. Having the game tipped in favour of the player with extra ammo/health and less enemies to kill you effectively makes you almost unbeatable. Makes the game a breeze.

 

Unless the player is somehow not totally able; dexterity issues, partial sight, and so forth. There are many afflictions that could mean a player won't be able to react as well to threats or as accurately as average, and your ignorance and arrogance in this regard is really off-putting. I don't think I'd ever consider playing one of your maps, personally. Not if they're borne of such a narrow-minded approach and attitude.

 

How I personally feel about difficulty settings; to keep this on-topic; is, well, I like the idea of a 'default' setting that is the recommended play for all -- as an oldschool arcade player, I'm accustomed to not being able to scale things. However, for the reasons I outlined above (accessibility, etc) I think it should be a scalable thing. And if not for those with accessibility needs, sometimes after a stressful day or whatever it's kinda pleasant to just kick back and take it easy. I don't think we're all TURBO TYPE A PERSONALITIES who need everything dialled-up to 11 here.

 

It should go without saying that I also think things should have the option of scaling up as well as down; as per the player's preference; which is to me a good solid argument for considering 'Hurt Me Plenty' to be DOOM's de facto 'normal' setting.

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1 minute ago, DoomSpud said:

1. Having the game tipped in favour of the player with extra ammo/health and less enemies to kill you effectively makes you almost unbeatable. Makes the game a breeze.
2. I asked how OTHER people feel about the settings.

 

1. This is still nonsense.  Restating the same nonsense in slightly more words does not actually give it more meaning.

2. And then you immediately proceeded to say they are having WRONGFun, indicating that you were not in fact interested in their opinion.

 

If you only want to "design for UV" - whatever that actually means, since Doom will let you put 1 monster or a million on any difficulty setting, and one author's HNTR can be harder than another's UV - then that's your prerogative, but it's certainly not the only way to map.

 

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8 minutes ago, Jayextee said:

 

Unless the player is somehow not totally able; dexterity issues, partial sight, and so forth. There are many afflictions that could mean a player won't be able to react as well to threats or as accurately as average, and your ignorance and arrogance in this regard is really off-putting. I don't think I'd ever consider playing one of your maps, personally. Not if they're borne of such a narrow-minded approach and attitude.

 

How I personally feel about difficulty settings; to keep this on-topic; is, well, I like the idea of a 'default' setting that is the recommended play for all -- as an oldschool arcade player, I'm accustomed to not being able to scale things. However, for the reasons I outlined above (accessibility, etc) I think it should be a scalable thing. And if not for those with accessibility needs, sometimes after a stressful day or whatever it's kinda pleasant to just kick back and take it easy. I don't think we're all TURBO TYPE A PERSONALITIES who need everything dialled-up to 11 here.

 

It should go without saying that I also think things should have the option of scaling up as well as down; as per the player's preference; which is to me a good solid argument for considering 'Hurt Me Plenty' to be DOOM's de facto 'normal' setting.


Mate, Im asking this question for a reason okay? Im not being ignorant OR arrogant about this. If I was I would just release my maps as they are right now and not care about any other players out there but Im not, Im actually seeking insight from the community about what is the general preferred approach. Don't go throwing insults mate because I haven't insulted anyone.
 

I've stated that I prefer to play and map for Ultra Violence because it's what Im accustomed to personally. And there is nothing wrong with that. I have my reasons for this and that's fine too. I am however building a WAD that I plan to release and I want to make it available to as many players as I can... which is the whole purpose for me creating this thread. I am open to scaling the difficulty if that's what the majority of players desire... not my personal bag, but I can implement it. I was just seeing if it's a worthwhile thing for other players. Don't go cracking at me over that mate.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Capellan said:

 

2. And then you immediately proceeded to say they are having WRONGFun, indicating that you were not in fact interested in their opinion.

 

Quote me. Please. Dying to read that.

And if you refer to my response to Jayextee:
"I am open to scaling the difficulty if that's what the majority of players desire... not my personal bag, but I can implement it. I was just seeing if it's a worthwhile thing for other players."

So I AM actually interested in their opinions. Thankyou.

Edited by DoomSpud

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4 minutes ago, DoomSpud said:

Quote me. Please. Dying to read that.

 

You have repeatedly dismissed the worth of playing on other difficulty settings, in both this thread and others.  Given that playing on other difficulty settings is pointless in your eyes, designing for them must by extension also be pointless to you.

 

Like, if you say "Strawberry ice cream is shit and only chocolate ice cream is OK", don't try to also tell us "But I think it's okay to make strawberry ice cream, just not to eat it".

 

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1 minute ago, Capellan said:

 

You have repeatedly dismissed the worth of playing on other difficulty settings, in both this thread and others.  Given that playing on other difficulty settings is pointless in your eyes, designing for them must by extension also be pointless to you.

 

Ok, so you can't quote what you claimed I said. Clap clap.

1. Dismissed the worth to ME. After 26 years of playing, I need Ultra-Violence as a bare minimum. Not once did I say the lower difficulties were pointless to anyone else. If I thought they were... why would I bother making a thread and asking for the opinions of others in preparation for implementing them into my WAD?

2. Designing them is not pointless by extension. It only takes a few mouse clicks on various things to make them disappear on lower difficulties. It literally takes seconds. That is a stupid assumption that you have nothing to base it on, especially after I've already stated - and you CAN quote me on this: "I am open to scaling the difficulty if that's what the majority of players desire... not my personal bag, but I can implement it. I was just seeing if it's a worthwhile thing for other players."

You're being a dick mate. I suppose 20 years on the forums earns you the right to be a bully ay?

 

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Posted (edited)

I, for the most part, follow the "1-2-3 rule" when making levels. 1 monster on ITYTD/HNTR equals 2 monsters of the same type (or equivalent, say a larger amount of smaller enemies) on HMP and 3 on UV/NM.

 

As for ammo and health, I balance them for all difficulties so that I have a good amount on HMP, which means for HTYTD/HNTR you've got plenty to go around and for UV/NM you need to be more careful with resource management.

 

If I rely on a solitary custom boss monster (like with the finale of Depths of Insanity), I scale its health (and, in that instance, pain chance too) with each difficulty.

 

These factors combine to make my levels highly adjustable in difficulty, as the step between each difficulty level is rather significant. Consequently, there's a level for everyone.

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1 minute ago, Novaseer said:

I, for the most part, follow the "1-2-3 rule" when making levels. 1 monster on ITYTD/HNTR equals 2 monsters of the same type (or equivalent, say a larger amount of smaller enemies) on HMP and 3 on UV/NM.

 

As for ammo and health, I balance them so that I have a good amount on HMP, which means for HTYTD/HNTR you've got plenty to go around and for UV/NM you need to be more careful with resource management.

 

If I rely on a solitary custom boss monster (like with the finale of Depths of Insanity), I scale its health (and, in that instance, pain chance too) with each difficulty.

 

These factors combine to make my levels highly adjustable in difficulty, as the step between each difficulty level is rather significant. Consequently, there's a level for everyone.


Cheers for the advice. I have heard of the 1-2-3 rule before and some WADs extend it out to 4-5 too to really scale it precisely across all the difficulties.

Some of my maps haven't been populated yet so this could be one good method for those ones. The ones that have been already will probably have to be stripped out and redone depending on how I decide to scale it, but the 1-2-3 could be a good starting point.

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If; despite your bullishness about difficulty settings; you're genuine about advice for implementing different difficulties, I can offer you a small insight into my approach.

I basically design for Hurt-Me-Plenty, to the degree where I can beat the map comfortably. This doesn't mean "beat with my eyes closed", but something I feel like I could just casually beat given that I know the map like the back of my hand.

And then, I play the game of "the mapper giveth, the mapper taketh away". By which I mean, for UV I will unflag some ammo or health pickups, force the player to work with less. It's supposed to be harder, right? I want UV players to really think about their ammo usage, and not get cavalier in a firefight since all that health is precious. And then HNTR (which covers ITYTD by default) I will add some extra; especially before tricky areas. Maybe replace a green armour with a blue, than kinda thing.

Then I'll do the same with enemies; a lot of my encounters have a 'leader of the pack' composition, so I'll unflag this enemy as a rule for HNTR. Probably thin out some groups elsewhere, that kind of thing. UV is a different matter, and will get extra enemies based on me thinking things like "wouldn't is SUCK to have a chaingunner over there right now?" and I'll put that in. As long as I can beat it, it's fair.

Another personal rule of mine as well, for difficulties; secrets. Typically I will offer less in an ammo secret for UV than the other settings (as per the above). But the attitude with them in general is; they must not be necessary for a HMP completion but UV is fine. To elaborate; HMP being the 'normal' setting in my eyes, I'll make sure I can beat my maps with zero secrets. No added benefits, I just use what's there. UV, which to me is a challenge-setting for better players, it doesn't matter. Just 'beatable', whether or not this necessitates finding secret ammo caches or whatever to help this along.

And finally, a neat trick I used for E2M3 of The Becoming was that teleporter destinations can be difficulty-tagged. Put a bunch in different sectors with the same numbered tag, and you can essentially make a difficulty-dependent route-select, kinda. I used it to bring the player closer to the exit on easier settings after all the 'ghosts' were released into the map.

You don't have to employ any of this methodology, but sometimes taking inspiration from a person's own way of working can help.

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I personally think it's better to keep the number of monsters about the same but swap some for lower tiers and bump up the amount of health and ammo.

 

The core game is about shooting things as much on ITYTD as UV, so who'd want a ghost town?

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5 minutes ago, Jayextee said:

If; despite your bullishness about difficulty settings; you're genuine about advice for implementing different difficulties, I can offer you a small insight into my approach.

I basically design for Hurt-Me-Plenty, to the degree where I can beat the map comfortably. This doesn't mean "beat with my eyes closed", but something I feel like I could just casually beat given that I know the map like the back of my hand.

And then, I play the game of "the mapper giveth, the mapper taketh away". By which I mean, for UV I will unflag some ammo or health pickups, force the player to work with less. It's supposed to be harder, right? I want UV players to really think about their ammo usage, and not get cavalier in a firefight since all that health is precious. And then HNTR (which covers ITYTD by default) I will add some extra; especially before tricky areas. Maybe replace a green armour with a blue, than kinda thing.

Then I'll do the same with enemies; a lot of my encounters have a 'leader of the pack' composition, so I'll unflag this enemy as a rule for HNTR. Probably thin out some groups elsewhere, that kind of thing. UV is a different matter, and will get extra enemies based on me thinking things like "wouldn't is SUCK to have a chaingunner over there right now?" and I'll put that in. As long as I can beat it, it's fair.

Another personal rule of mine as well, for difficulties; secrets. Typically I will offer less in an ammo secret for UV than the other settings (as per the above). But the attitude with them in general is; they must not be necessary for a HMP completion but UV is fine. To elaborate; HMP being the 'normal' setting in my eyes, I'll make sure I can beat my maps with zero secrets. No added benefits, I just use what's there. UV, which to me is a challenge-setting for better players, it doesn't matter. Just 'beatable', whether or not this necessitates finding secret ammo caches or whatever to help this along.

And finally, a neat trick I used for E2M3 of The Becoming was that teleporter destinations can be difficulty-tagged. Put a bunch in different sectors with the same numbered tag, and you can essentially make a difficulty-dependent route-select, kinda. I used it to bring the player closer to the exit on easier settings after all the 'ghosts' were released into the map.

You don't have to employ any of this methodology, but sometimes taking inspiration from a person's own way of working can help.


I do appreciate your insight and personal approach. This is what Im genuinely seeking mate, different ways or approaches to scaling it because there is no "standard scale"... and as Ive mentioned before Im primarily UV all the way so difficulty scaling is something I've never worried about in the past but because Im serious about my current mapping efforts enough to actually let other people play them, difficulty scaling has now become a genuine consideration.

The points you make about UV:  "I want UV players to really think about their ammo usage, and not get cavalier in a firefight since all that health is precious." is precisely why I play at UV level as a minimum. I enjoy the higher challenge of less ammo/health availability to higher enemy numbers/ammo consumption. It forces you to employ strategy, cover and smart weapon/ammo use which is the sort of gameplay I enjoy most. I like being on the edge of my seat and the edge of death with 10 Barons coming at me... that's MY Doom... I think that's what I tried to get across previously but got lost in a sea of "lower difficulties are nothing to me" which isn't what I was saying. We all started somewhere and for me, it was I'm Too Young To Die... but that was 1994... so that's where I'm at now. But I know Doom is always gaining new initiates and that is what is the greatest thing about this shit... it's longevity. And that's why I really want to be able to cater to those players and the veterans like yourself and me when I build a map. I apologise if previous messages were misinterpreted or misconstrued, I do genuinely want to hear the opinions of those who will eventually be the audience of my work... so I do appreciate your advice and insight to your approach to this. Peace.

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18 minutes ago, holaareola said:

I personally think it's better to keep the number of monsters about the same but swap some for lower tiers and bump up the amount of health and ammo.

 

The core game is about shooting things as much on ITYTD as UV, so who'd want a ghost town?


Problem with using this approach on my current WAD is because of the locations and themes of the early levels I've limited myself to "human" enemies for the first 3 maps... so zombies, shotgunners, chaingunners, scientists and other marines... throwing cacodemon or a hell knight into those maps early on will break continuity and progression (there's a bit of a narrative in the WAD). Could work for the back end of the WAD though, after most of the monsters have been introduced... will keep that one in mind ;) thankyou.

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I see. Yeah, guess you're kind of limited then. As hitscanners, even the pistol zombies are dangerous if there are enough of them.

 

Sounds good though, I like a mapset with a good sense of progression!

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4 minutes ago, holaareola said:

I see. Yeah, guess you're kind of limited then. As hitscanners, even the pistol zombies are dangerous if there are enough of them.

 

Sounds good though, I like a mapset with a good sense of progression!

 

I have a longstanding love/hate relationship with hitscanners...

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Posted (edited)

Difficulty is pretty personal thing so it is really hard to balance thing for everyone. So here are my personal thoughts:

 

Ammo and health

Ammo and health should be sufficient and count for RNG that Doom has (hitscanners damage, revenant rockets are most common examples, RNG with player weapons like shotguns or firing rockets especially for players who prefer no mouselook and depend on Doom´s autoaim). I like to give player a variety of ammo types and design encounters with that in mind. For example if player has chaingun with 400 ammo, 10 shells and is still firing imp or human enemies with a SSG the whole map, it is their problem that they waste ammunition without any consideration. However, it is good to give player enough of every type of ammo so they can react their way and have SOME spare even if they are not 100% with ammo use. The same goes for health and armor, there is RNG involved and health and armor pickups should be placed with that in mind.

 

Monsters

I generally try to add monsters on UV+ and swap monsters in places especially "human" enemies. On lower difficulties I tend to swap chaingunners for the pistol zombies, lower the amount of shotgun zombies in tight spaces because I feel those are the enemies that are affected by Doom RNG the most.

 

In case of Imps and demons/specters and lost souls I mosly just lower the amount on 1-3 diff. Swap 1 - 2 imps for knights in case of bigger arena or if there is enough cover for player to kite and dodge.

 

In case of higher tear enemies I like to let player fight few tougher enemies with low tier weapons and after that swap some hell knights for barons, if player already has a higher tier weapon like SSG, RL or plasma. In that way game balances itself out by soaking player ammo.

 

I do similiar thing for cacodemons, pain elementals, revenants and in limited degree archviles.

Lowering cacodemons count on 1-3 and swapping some pain elementals on UV+.

Revenants and archviles should always be placed in a space with enough cover and space to dodge. Those can be bigger arenas or more fluid corridors and smaller places.

 

Mancubuses, mancubay... fatties and arachnotrons require quite a lot of space so I generally don´t use them that often, when used I just lower the amount or swap mancubus for a baron on lower difficulties. Same goes for Cyberdemons and masterminds. They need a well constructed arena to be fun to fight, otherwise it is a wasted opportunity IMO. Also I don´t like to fight like 3+ cybies in the same time, some poeple do though.

 

Secrets

Secrets should contain the same items and amount of stuff in every difficulty IMO, because secrets should be optional and not essential. They should help player to beat the map and not trivialize the map the same on every difficulty.

 

Other ideas

Special thing I did for UV+ (and would like to do in future maps) is more rooms on UV+, teleporters that work only on UV+ that teleport player to new places/arenas with more and harder encounters that are empty on lower diffficulties.

Another thing is spawning a lost soul/demon/or revenant near the player when human enemies are killed. It is kinda annoying addmitedly but in same cases may help to keep player alerted especially when they hear the monster teleporting in, just like classic ambushes do.

Edited by Shawny

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Ok... sooooo, if I have a script that spawns monster waves in and I've kinda setup in it's initial form for UV play:

SCRIPT 6 (void) //MONSTERS SPAWN IN - Mapspot 9 is airborne
{
    //WAVE 1 - Imps, Cacodemons, Demons, Mancubi
    Thing_SpawnNoFog (8, 5, 128, 0);
    Thing_SpawnNoFog (9, 19, 128, 0);
    Thing_SpawnNoFog (10, 5, 128, 0);
    Thing_SpawnNoFog (11, 112, 128, 0);
    Delay (35);
    Thing_SpawnNoFog (8, 5, 128, 0);
    Thing_SpawnNoFog (9, 19, 128, 0);
    Thing_SpawnNoFog (10, 5, 128, 0);
    Thing_SpawnNoFog (11, 112, 128, 0);
}

1. Is there a way to modify this script so it executes differently for different difficulties? Like a string that changes specifics? or...
2. Is it better to set the difficulty specifics to the spawn points themselves, spawning different batches of monsters from different points on different difficulty?

ie:   Mapspot 8, 9, 10, 11 set for ITYTD, mapspot 12, 13, 14, 15 set for HNTR etc...

If setting the difficulty specifics to the spawn points is the way to go then in theory the script should still fire everything except the spawns with other difficulty tags which would just be omitted and ignored? Correct? That would allow for ALL difficulties to have their own unique spawn waves and enemy combinations all from 1 big single script?

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^ Nevermind. Worked it out.

Difficulty specific mapspots and script works a charm. 1 script to control 3 separate spawn waves that are completely different across all 5 difficulties. Cha-ching.

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