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noisebloom

Bloody Knuckles - My first map

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Posted (edited)

Hey guys - looking for feedback on the initial rev of my first map. I'm planning on potentially doing a 5 or 6 map episode (tentatively titled QwikDoom), with each map having a unique mechanic/twist to spice things up a bit. Most of these maps will be on the short side (i.e. "Qwik").

 

Imprisoned in hell for an eternity, doubting it could get any worse. Unfortunately, a demon prankster named Qwik takes it upon himself to make things much more complicated.
 

  • Tested in GZDoom
  • Freelook, jumping, crouching allowed/optional
  • Doom II IWAD
  • MAP01 only
  • All difficulties implemented

 

Revision History:

 

v1.3 - 7/16/19 - Shortened intermission lines, replaced plasma gun with chaingun
v1.2 - 7/15/19 - Fixed HOM bug with basement lift, removed Secret sector for plasma gun

v1.1 - 7/14/19 - Moved teleporter in final room into separate sector

v1.0 - 7/14/19 - Initial post

 

screenshot1.png.4132496b09fde14ba282fe4add57afbe.png

 

Screenshot_Doom_20190714_105658.png.4c8876f53415cb7c0a61c580a16b883c.png

 

Screenshot_Doom_20190714_110022.png.2e652ba75b85cc86beec7221e441f952.png

 

Bloody Knuckles v1.3BDNUCKS.zip

 

I would appreciate any feedback on gameplay, texturing, layout, etc. Thanks!

Edited by noisebloom

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I've completed your map in 4.19 minutes, with 98% kills, 80% items and 66% secrets.

 

The map was a short hellish cave, not so hard but with a good gimmick of teleports that opens doors that is a bit strange at the beginning but it is enjoyable and very clear in the rest of the map.

 

But starting with the visuals:

you tried to play with the room's geometry but the level of detail is very low. You can try to place some wall decoration, maybe different height on the same wall, something to brake the linear design of an empty room (even some pillars that are half in a wall and half not are great to give variety to a room) or maybe some ceiling decoration (having that we are on a cave maybe you can damage your ceiling to show the sky, give the impression of a bigger space and at the same time create a good light point to add light variety to your room). The hub room (the one with the lava on the floor) is a good example. We have doors on the walls to break the design and lava on the floor (this lava has to come from somewhere, maybe another idea for a decoration).

You also played with light level, and this is a good thing for a first map. Your torches were emitting light, so you seem to understand how does light work in doom (you still have to work with light that fades the further it go from its source, however).

The first lift (the one behind the door opened by the teleport under the imp) has no lower texture so it generates an hall of mirror if you look at it before he raises again

 

Thing placement:

There were a lot of ambushes, from more than one direction and this is always a good thing for the gameplay. Ammo and health balance was ok, nothing to say here. 

The pain elemental room was a good room with some potential that was not used in the correct way. The room has a lot of cover, so a fight with the elementals inside of it would have be interesting (a kind of hide and seek), but, having that I wasn't locked inside that room I simply waited for them to come in the corridor and then I killed them.

 

General design:

this is exactly the kind of layout that I like. A single path that loops around a central area multiple times, with new zones that open up every time. Good work. However I don't understand why the plasma rifle is a secret...it really isn't.

 

Overall a nice first map, with a good layout but with a lot of mistakes on the visual side, there is really space to improve. Nice work however

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and my usual technical nitpick: split your final text lines in half. vanilla intermission texts were made for 320x200, and while almost nobody plays in 320x200 now (and your map is clearly for modern sourceports), keeping intermission text lines short is still a good thing. they're also easier to read when they're short too.

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@Simomarchi Thank you for the detailed feedback; that gives me a lot to work towards.

 

I've known there were "problems" with the pain elemental room, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. You've elucidated things a bit more. That will probably be my focus for the next rev of this map.

 

The plasma gun: originally, it wasn't a secret, but I suspected that many people may miss it. If that's not the case, I'll probably remove the Secret action from that sector.

 

@ketmar - Thanks for the info!

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Really enjoyable and engaging. Had on my toes from start to finish and every encounter felt meaningful. Ambushes are fair and give you enough time to react and ammo/health is thight enough just to keep you alive and fighting. Layout is intuitive and well interconnected.


I have not much to add to what @Simomarchi already said.

   Regarding the geometry, I think you could easily improve the visual appeal just by playing around with the ceiling height a little more, it felt a bit flat all throughout.
   As much as I love the plasma rifle and it was a life saving on my first playthrough, I think it's a little OP for UV, it completely annihilates within seconds the 2 Revenants and the Baron in the last room once you know it's comming, leaving just the Cacos to be dealth with. I would switch it for the chaingun, at least in UV.

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@Iacobus - I appreciate the feedback and glad you enjoyed the map. The visual stuff is definitely my main area of improvement.

 

Here's my dilemma with the plasma gun: originally, it was a chaingun, but you may have observed that there's a chaingunner behind a backpack in a window of the northwest corner of the lava room. A passage basically opens up to let you get up there and grab the backpack, and you can kill the chaingunner before he even gets to the window. 

 

Because of this secret, two chain guns seemed redundant... Any suggestions? I guess I could also replace the cell pack with some charges to give less plasma ammo. I'm hesitant to replace the plasma gun with a chainsaw, because people who miss the chaingun/backpack secret won't have a fast-firing option.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, noisebloom said:

@Iacobus - I appreciate the feedback and glad you enjoyed the map. The visual stuff is definitely my main area of improvement.

 

Here's my dilemma with the plasma gun: originally, it was a chaingun, but you may have observed that there's a chaingunner behind a backpack in a window of the northwest corner of the lava room. A passage basically opens up to let you get up there and grab the backpack, and you can kill the chaingunner before he even gets to the window. 

 

Because of this secret, two chain guns seemed redundant... Any suggestions? I guess I could also replace the cell pack with some charges to give less plasma ammo. I'm hesitant to replace the plasma gun with a chainsaw, because people who miss the chaingun/backpack secret won't have a fast-firing option.

 

Visually, the map feels cohesive and moody, the brightness levels help bringing together all the texture variation, the walls have nice varied shapes, it's just the ceiling that needs a little more love. I think it's harder to come up with something simple and effective and you're definitely on the right track here.

 

Oh, I missed the chaingun secret both times, that changes things a little bit. If anything I would make the Plasma Rifle 
more secretive (maybe hidden in the room with the Hell Knights?) and the Chaingun secret more obvious, but there's really 
nothing wrong with it the way it is. The map has a good balance, it was more an observation/feedback on the last room.

 

It might be on my end, but I found a HOM in this wooden lift, playing again and trying to find the early Chaingun. I'm using the last version of GZDoom.

 

Spoiler

Screenshot_Doom_20190714_230533_1.jpg.229fdb38ac8a6beb7bb5e67c8ff93864.jpg

 

Edited by Iacobus

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11 hours ago, noisebloom said:

dilemma with the plasma gun

You can also simply add more revenants and another baron in the last room. 4 revenants that come from two different directions aren't stunned and killed so easily with the plasma, because you can't shoot at all of them at the same time so you can't stun everything.

That room requires more enemies.

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3 hours ago, Simomarchi said:

You can also simply add more revenants and another baron in the last room. 4 revenants that come from two different directions aren't stunned and killed so easily with the plasma, because you can't shoot at all of them at the same time so you can't stun everything.

That room requires more enemies.

 

Yeah, I'll definitely need to reevaluate, but I agree in general. Thanks for the advice again! 

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Just went through the map. Very impressed. Great use of a simple layout by looping the player through it via different means each time. Ammo and health balance was quite good, not always an easy thing to nail. The visual detail could be better, sure, but a more minimal design that's clean and tidy is a lot better than an over-decorated mess. Enemy variety was solid, could add a few more for some extra challenge, though. The plasma rifle is rather easy to find and it makes some otherwise tense situations a little too easy.

 

Overall, stellar job. I can't wait to play more levels in the same vein. I hope you update this thread in the future!

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@DecoyZulu - Glad you liked it!

 

I'll be putting out a v1.2 soon that fixes the plasma gun imbalance and the HOM lift bug. 

 

The visual overhaul and enemy balance will be deferred to v2.0, which I may opt to release along with the full episode, conservatively in late 2020. It's possible that I'd release it standalone, but not sure at this point.

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Maybe I'm just braindead, but I personally didn't find the plasma gun. I'm still a bit new to playing in UV (been playing HMP until about a week back), so this one took me a few tries. I wanted to no-save it, but I kept getting taken down in the last room. Overall, this is a nice, short, challenging affair. I personally didn't mind the geometry all that much, although I agree a bit more filigree could only help it. I liked the looping-back-to-hub nature, and each encounter felt purposeful. I'll be using this as a vague measuring stick for my own first map - you've already inspired me to tighten up an encounter or two.

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I personally enjoy watching people play my maps because I tend to learn a lot from the way people approach various encounters. So I decided to video my blind playthrough.

 

 

Visually nothing stood out as bad for me - Rooms seemed to mesh together well with no texture misalignments or the like that I could see (But you can also see how frenetic I play so don't take that as gospel). Bit of height variation, change of lights, etc, all good. I'm a big fan of looping maps, so I liked that as well.

 

In terms of monster placement, I found most of it a little easy - I got caught by the chaingunners at the end, but most of the encounters gave me way too much cover. Pain Elementals are also a monster that is difficult to use well - There was no sense of urgency and I could just duck and shoot the first one. Second one was a bit deeper, but still not enough to activate the other monsters. Might have been better to take the others off ambush in that room so I couldn't just take everything apart one by one. I did like the cacodemons encounter; getting pushed back into that main room, and then taking fire from chaingunners above. You can probably see the camera swivel as I go "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?"

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@Noah Eadie - It's refreshing to have the opinion of someone who is more of an HMP player. I'm actually in a similar boat, having played Doom I and II back in the day, but being more of a newbie to a lot of the other popular WADs out there. Flattering to hear that I was actually an inspiration of some kind...

 

@Magicana - I really appreciate the playthrough. I'm actually a fan of the stuff you've put out so far (I probably should be more active about commenting on WADs I play), so pretty stoked that you played it. Yeah, the pattern I'm getting with feedback is the pain elemental room needs a lot of work. I have some ideas for v2.0, but I'm tempted to give this map a rest (as far as major changes/revs) and come back to it once I've had some more experience.

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Nice stuff here.  I liked the game play and going back to the start a couple of times.  I enjoyed the look and feel of the level.  Monster placement was fine and health and ammo weren't bad.  Look forward to more in the future.

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I just uploaded v1.2 of the map. I basically just fixed the HOM bug and removed the "Secret" sector for the plasma gun.

 

I may revisit this map soon to fix the weapon balance and enemy placement/quantity, but I may also defer that work until later. The visual changes will definitely occur much later, but I definitely think it could use a little bit of a makeover overall. Some of the choices I make with regard to difficulty will probably be affected by the context of the map within the episode, so some rumination is necessary...

 

The good news is I'll be working on another map while I hang this one out to dry for a bit. :) I'm pleased overall, and I think it fits into the vision I have for the episode.

 

Thanks again to everyone who played my first map; I was not expecting so many responses!

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Rumination is important. I learned that from writing. Y'gotta sit on things for a bit before you can look at them more objectively.

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I ended up going ahead and swapping out the plasma gun for a chaingun (the other secret is now essentially just the ammo backpack in the window, though you will technically pick up the chaingunner's weapon as well), as well as chopping the intermission text to accommodate lower resolutions. You can download the new v1.3 in the original post.

 

The weapon swap makes ammo a bit tighter; you may have to use your knuckles a bit more if you aren't careful. ;)

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2 hours ago, Suitepee said:

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/457022637

 

I play this at 2:07:27 into this playtest livestream.

 

Thank you for the playthrough!

 

Questions:

 

1. To everyone: I'm getting what I think is mixed feedback on the chaingun behind the red key in the caco room. Originally, this was marked a secret - kind of a gimme secret (like Scythe kinda does), but I got feedback that it really shouldn't be a secret. Multiple people, @Suitepee included, missed it altogether. Do you guys think I should put it in the center of the room, mark it back as a secret, or keep it as is?

 

2. @Suitepee - you mentioned that the looping layout was unrefined. What about it did you feel like was unrefined, and what could I do to improve that?

 

Thanks again for everyone's feedback. I've been working on a second map, as I think a breadth of maps may give me more newbie experience than focusing on a map that I may one day decide is a lost cause, but assuming I still enjoy this one, I'll be revisiting and improving it.

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9 hours ago, noisebloom said:

2. @Suitepee - you mentioned that the looping layout was unrefined. What about it did you feel like was unrefined, and what could I do to improve that?

 

I was originally referring to a comment made by Shavnny who pointed this out, to which I agreed with them.

 

While there was nothing wrong with your map looping back to the start twice as it does in this case, it could be done in a more natural and refined manner in the future. I had to really think on this one (since I don't really map for Doom and thus am not as well informed as others who have mapped a lot), so I managed to find an example of a loop being done in a more 'refined' (and less obvious) manner with something I recently revisited.

 

This is how your map does the looping:

 

image.png.1040e298280ee9f3ba7ca5e25d5a475f.png

 

And this is from Lunatic map 2 by skillsaw:

 

image.png.4a4072ef32f4c2049614c81cf2bbe7fc.png

 

In general, mappers tend to disguise their loops and make them more subtle. You won't tend to see a lot of maps with looping like yours, but more like skillsaw's where the looping blends into the level design. I may not have done these diagrams well, but perhaps try playing Lunatic map 2 for yourself and see how the loop plays out.

 

Hope this helps. I had to spend a good bit of time this morning on this!

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1 hour ago, Suitepee said:

Hope this helps. I had to spend a good bit of time this morning on this!

 

Yup - thank you and I very much appreciate you taking the time! 

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