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Breezeep

Do's and Don't's when making your first WAD

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Posted (edited)

I have a don't that concerns mapping in general, so also your first wad

 

Don't publish too many screens of your WIP wad and show some only when you have finished or almost your map. You can publish screens if you want to have advices. Indeed, I don't think it's a good idea to show screens with unfinished areas. Improve your map as much as possible before showing it.

 

This is a rule I now apply.

 

Don't use too many textures and try combining two or three dominant colours instead.

 

Try to get out of your comfort zone by doing various room shapes instead of square rooms linked with corridors.

 

If you make a wad with several levels , always test each map on pistol start.

 

 

Edited by Roofi

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3 hours ago, Roofi said:

 

 

Try to get out of your comfort zone by doing various room shapes instead of square rooms linked with corridors.

 

I'm not sure that we can have a comfort zone on your first map. On the contrary, we’re not sure what we’re doing is right. IMHO, a comfort zone is established after the completion of some maps.

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DO NOT SPEND A MERE WEEK ON YOUR MAP. I made that mistake, and I regret it. I thought that if I spent enough time on one particular map (without many breaks), I could get make more progress in a shorter amount of time. Speaking of which...

DO NOT RUSH YOURSELF. I made that mistake, and I regret it. I thought that if I spent a large amount of time making a map (without many breaks), I could get the map done in 7 days. Speaking of which...

DO NOT KEEP GOING IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NEED A BREAK. I made that mistake, and I regret it. I thought that if I didn't take too many breaks, I could get the map done in a short amount of time.

 

All 3 of those mistakes I made (and many more), is what led to my map becoming a failure. And I never made a map again, which is probably for the best considering my current mentality.

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  • If you're going to add music, please use a smaller music format such as .XM, .IT, MIDI or MUS! You don't know how annoying it is for some people to see a 20 MB download to see it's a 150 KB map and a 19 MB MP3/OGG music track bloating the WAD file.

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Request External Play-testing Before Public Release: Even seasoned map creators can get tripped up by fundamental errors (e.g., non-repeating switch when a repeating switch is necessary, areas where the player can unintentionally get stuck with no way out, missing upper/lower textures in obscure areas, inescapable traps, insufficient supplies, etc.) Play-testing one's own map, where the map creator knows the intended progression and doesn't deviate, could result in missing some deficiencies. An external play-tester doing a proper walk-through will test the key breaking points of the map, and then some.

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Posted (edited)

Here's another one: don't release your first map. Don't even release your tenth map. They will be very bad, unless you're like talented top 0.5% and drop Deus Vult on your first try, which you won't, because you aren't. Wait until you've made a lot and have something that looks at least presentable- then seek community feedback. This is a mistake I made many times and I probably was complicit in ruining a few community projects with my abhorrent maps as a result. Don't end up looking like a lazy troll mapper, like I did.

 

Play lots of megawads by skilled, veteran mappers, such as Back to Saturn X, Ancient Aliens, Valiant, Eviternity and Scythe 2, and study what they do to make the maps look and play great. Go through the maps in -nomonsters and observe the architecture, or open them up in GZDoom Builder.

 

Also, whatever map format you use, test in the most primitive port which supports that format. If you're mapping for limit-removing, test in Crispy. If you're making Boom maps, test in PrBoom. If you're making vanilla maps, test in Chocolate or better yet, DOS DOOM2.EXE. And as others said, start in vanilla, or limit-removing if you're brave. Boom is OK but that's pushing it. Don't even think about ZDoom until you're a pro.

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5 hours ago, TheMightyHeracross said:

Here's another one: don't release your first map.

I'm with @Misty on this. Provided that a first-time mapper pays attention to the various points made on this thread, and feels s/he has put in a sufficient amount of thought and effort into producing the map, I believe the work ought to be released. This will allow feedback from the community at large, and give a mapper enthusiasm and confidence.

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Do it to have fun, learn and have fun learning

 

Don't stress over the end result of said fun and learning

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1 hour ago, traversd said:

Do it to have fun, learn and have fun learning

+inf. just never forget that mapping is not something you have to do, it is something you're doing for fun. if it isn't fun anymore -- take a break.

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Controversial here, and already more or less said, but:

 

  • Publish a map

Get some feed back on that "trash" map you were thinking about throwing away. When you learn from your mistakes, and make legendary 32-map megawads later on, nobody is going to care that you uploaded a 6-square room map years ago. Popping your cherry and getting a map out there will relieve a lot of anxiety you might have, and will allow other Doomers to find things you're doing wrong you might not have even realized.

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Here's my biggest Don't when making your first maps

Don't get discouraged

When making your first map, many newbies expect to make an instantly good map, while some people may come up with a legit good first attempt, if your first mapping attempts aren't as good as you expected, that's good, you can always improve over it in the next, if you notice some mistakes on your maps, instead of going "Oh man, i shouldn't done X or Y" try making it "I'm gonna avoid doing X or Y". Learning what makes a good map takes some time but it also makes a fun experience

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All mappers here started making unfinished maps in order to gain experience. That's the key to publish and release a map in a community project or as a standalone map. Also, as many said here, posting images of your map or, post what you have done for the map as a wad to get feedback, is also ideal to improve yourself to polish and make more consistent maps, as long as you have an open mind and share opinions or ideas. Overthinking will lead to a lot of doubts and that can end to scrap all of your work.

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On 7/10/2019 at 11:37 PM, Breezeep said:

Use a simple map format

Yeah...always start from the very basics. Then step up when you grasped the format fully and know the pros and cons.

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  • Don't call your thread as "My first WAD". Call it "[Nickname]'s First Wad" at least.

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On 7/13/2019 at 3:28 AM, TheMightyHeracross said:

don't release your first map.

 


I 100% disagree with this.

How else will you know if you're on the right track? How else would you get feedback from other players about whether you're onto something cool? Feedback and constructive criticism is important, especially until you develop your own mapping style.

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On 7/12/2019 at 6:28 PM, TheMightyHeracross said:

Here's another one: don't release your first map. Don't even release your tenth map.

i've made like 694201337 maps and hvent released a single one

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Spoiler

lucky me: i don't even have my first map anymore. so i can release anything now.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/11/2019 at 6:37 AM, Breezeep said:

I doubt anyone has made a thread discussing this topic, but I guess I'll have a go at it:

 

  • Start small - Don't get overambitious with your first effort. You don't need to make a 32 level megawad right off the bat. Instead, focus on a single map, or maybe a 6 level mapset if you want to. I should also add that your maps don't have to be huge monoliths or whatnot. Small levels in the vein of Erik Alm's Scythe are worth looking at.

 

I can't stress this enough. My first WAD consisted of two huge, hour-long maps and a small boss map. I had no idea what I was doing, it took me years to finish it and although I think I did a good to great job I am frankly embarrased at how long it took me. I did learn a lot and I am a much better mapper because of this WAD but I'm not sure I got enough out of it for the time invested.

 

The longer the map is the harder it is to balance and it is much much easier to get stuck and oh did I get stuck.

 

Make something small but good instead.

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On 7/14/2019 at 3:01 AM, Bridgeburner56 said:

Do:
- Have fun

 

Do not:
- Not have fun

This is the only advice that I can get behind. Nobody has to make maps for anyone else. If they want to start with a massive, overly ambitious map that only works in one particular source port, then that's fine as long as they had fun making the map. The other advice here is fine but only if the mapper is looking for validation from others.

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Personally, I'd recommend experimenting. Play with the line and sector actions, follow tutorials online if you're struggling with how to do something or check/ask on here. People complain when somebody releases a map that has been using ZDoom features in a clearly enthusiastic or experimental fashion, but that's how mappers learn, and it's often a lot of fun to see how things work. Size, complexity, source port and theme are entirely up to you. If you want to be a UDMF mapper playing with 3D floors and scripting, you can get straight into that. It's just the learning curve may be a bit steeper. There's plenty of resources and examples to get you on your way.

 

I would encourage the mapper to finish their first WAD, even if they then delete it or hide it on their hard drive forever, because once you've made one, the second will feel much more manageable.

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