Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
hardcore_gamer

Is Doom 3's level design bad?

Recommended Posts

Been studying Doom 3's level design for a while and while I always knew the game was less open compared to the original I am still shock at how much of the game consists of almost nothing but corridors. Like, at least 90% of the areas are either corridors or very small rooms. This makes me wonder.....is Doom 3's level design actually bad? I do think the level design is very visually pleasing but it would seem that there is basically zero variation in the design. Then again the fact that I only started thinking about this after I started studying the design suggests that perhaps this did not matter?

Share this post


Link to post

No. Might not be great, but I wouldn't say bad. I mean there are some open areas and gimmicky sections. But The real problem is that there are so many redundancies in the game, especially in its fear factor. And a lot of the game is strolling through an area while listening to audio logs where the monster spawn once you activate some trigger. But hey, at least it has id gun play.

Share this post


Link to post

Doom 3's levels work within Doom 3. You can't really apply classic Doom concepts of mapping to judge Doom 3's levels because the core game is too different. Also, the small rooms and hallways are in part a product of the engine, and its technical limitations at the time, and having more open areas with the same level of detailing and higher monster counts would have made it unplayable on 2004 PCs. The game was demanding enough at the time already.

Share this post


Link to post
7 minutes ago, Spectre01 said:

Doom 3's levels work within Doom 3. You can't really apply classic Doom concepts of mapping to judge Doom 3's levels because the core game is too different. Also, the small rooms and hallways are in part a product of the engine, and its technical limitations at the time, and having more open areas with the same level of detailing and higher monster counts would have made it unplayable on 2004 PCs. The game was demanding enough at the time already.

 

Tbh this just highlights the weakness of Id Tech 4. Yes the lightning was awesome at the time and it still holds up to be honest, but it came at the expense of the levels looking almost entirely identical in terms of layout. Like, you are literally just going from corridor to corridor for almost the entire game. Even the hell levels are basically corridors. It means that there is almost zero variation to the combat as well.

Share this post


Link to post

Quake 4 actually did some interesting stuff with the same engine. The indoor aesthetics resembled Doom 3 quite a bit but there were also some large and open outdoor locations and the combat had more variety.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

I personally feel that Doom 3's design is unbelievably straightforward, with very few maps giving you the option to pick a route (Alpha Sector 4 technically has this, but it's more of a "choose-a-route-and-then-stick-to-it" gimmick). Add on the fact that most levels are the same grey techbase, and after a while it becomes quite dull.

 

When it comes to the monsters, Imps are WAY too common and some monsters are used depressingly little (the Mancubus appears a whopping total of 10 times [in 2 levels] out of TWENTY SEVEN levels), so the gameplay becomes repetitive and boring. Once you get past Communications, the "scary" pacing gives way to more action, especially with the introduction of the Revenant, so the action picks up, but it's still nothing special. Ammo is literally everywhere, so you'll NEVER be in a situation where you'll be in need of it, which makes almost the entire game easy.

 

This is why I think the Hell level is the best; the somewhat limited ammo makes it interesting, and the monster usage is actually pretty good.

 

Also, some of the later levels are only tough because of bullshit gimmicks (Caverns Area 1 has the falling panels, for example, and Area 2's beginning is a very cramped room with an AV and 2 Hell Knights).

 

Overall, I'd say that Doom 3 has very mediocre design. Bad? Not entirely (I'd say RoE has bad design), but it's a massive disappointment.

 

Just my two cents.

Edited by Poncho1

Share this post


Link to post

It's not bad but it's not great, which is exactly what the problem is.

Share this post


Link to post

I think maybe they blew their load on tech base stuff, switched over to building Hell, and called it a day. Cause tech, and Hell were brilliant. I really missed the marble/temple stuff, cavey stuff, and the more abstract feel of the originals. Ironically, you have to try A LOT harder to make abstract look good as the render quality goes up :)

 

I mean, look at the massive detail in the first couple of levels: The intricate pipes and wires, grates and little nooks and crannies - it's amazing. I might be a rare breed, but I had fun just moving slowly, staring at everything...

 

I always assumed that the cramped style was done to keep the frame rate up, which is probably somewhat true. Also true is that they could have backed off the hyper-detail in places, trading it in for larger, more open sections. As mentioned above, Quake 4 did some of this.

 

I think they ran out of some metric: time, money, media space, maybe. But, it's always time and money.

Share this post


Link to post

Doom3 is just very prone to giving a sense of monotony, and the level design certainly is instrumental there. It is a corridor and corner camp fest with the occasional jump scare. As soon as you have been past the jump scares once there isn't much left anymore besides perhaps some visual stuff, and even the vistas of Doom3 aren't so impressive to me that I feel like I need to go back and have a look at anything in particular. Seeing it once was good enough for me when it came out.

For my tastes it's way too much techbase, too little hell-ish stuff, and the entire game's design is much too "conservative" in my point of view. Levels in that game rarely offer interesting highlights, combat, exploration let alone "motor skills", and the few highlights that are there come across like good ideas that had their balls cut off in the name of broad appeal, if they ever had a pair to begin with. I get that broad appeal is important when there's money involved, for the record, but I think if the game was somewhere between what it ended up being and Doom'16, I'd be singing a very different tune right now.

Share this post


Link to post

It's not as bad as much as it is bland tbh.

 

The levels of D3 feel generic and boring most of the time since you spend 90% of the game running from one corridor to another, or from a room to another room. The levels are otherwise well designed with great attention to detail and atmosphere plus immersion, but it's kinda going to waste due to the lack of variety.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

I think it's perfect. The pacing, lighting and overall atmosphere is more than one could ask for. The consistent theme only helps with the immersion from my experience. Its traps are very smart and can catch me off guard even when I know they're there. I don't find the "jump scares" cheap for there's always a build up for them (unless it's an Imp behind the door ready to jump on you. But I love the scare it gives me).

Share this post


Link to post

Bad, no. Boring, at times. This is often why "video game level" and "real world environment" were totally different aesthetics. They tried to make a believable research facility so you get areas of boring design as a result with little of Doom's freedom to do whatever it wanted. Doom II's Earth levels don't resemble Earth locations at all but they were fun to play.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×