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TheNoob_Gamer

Pistol starts vs continuous play: which do you prefer?

Which do you prefer?  

148 members have voted

  1. 1. Which do you prefer?

    • Pistol start all the way
    • Continuous for life
    • It depends


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This topic may be duplicated, though the original one might as well be outdated.

When playing a Doom map, you can either choose to play it with the arsenal that is left from the previous map (if there's any) or starting the map with nothing but the fist and the pistol with 50 bullets loaded using the level-selection code

IDCLEV<map number name here>


So which do you prefer, and why?

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Continuous + saves.

 

I usually pistol start if continuous breaks the balance and makes things too easy.

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8 minutes ago, seed said:

Continuous + saves.

 

I usually pistol start if continuous breaks the balance and makes things too easy.

But how do you know in advance that it will/won't break the balance? I always felt continuous play is not appropriate for the wads that balanced for pistol start.

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I like building an arsenal of weapons and ammo and armour etc..... I don't like letting all of that go at the end of a level.

 

Continuous

4

LIFE 

 

 

iu.gif

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17 minutes ago, dmslr said:

But how do you know in advance that it will/won't break the balance? I always felt continuous play is not appropriate for the wads that balanced for pistol start.


on the flipside, there are also many maps out there that are overly ammo starved and thus aren’t balanced for pistol start either

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23 minutes ago, dmslr said:

But how do you know in advance that it will/won't break the balance? I always felt continuous play is not appropriate for the wads that balanced for pistol start.

 

By reaching the point where it gets too easy...

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For casual gameplay - Continious.

 

While doing custom maps - pistol starts.

 

 

 

So, Ỉ̷̺̰̖͙͚̺̙̗̯̀̉̈́́͑͆͗͊̚͘͜Ţ̵̧̜͉͇̗͓̱͙̝̬̥̪̲̂͌̍̓̌̈̈͗̆́̃́̍͜ ̷̛̛̯̗̞̫̬̯̖̙̒͗̉̄̊̄̈́̊̕̕̕͜͜͝D̸͚͔̤̳̭̦͆̃̈́̓̀́̾͌̈́̐̑̄͘̕Ė̵̦͙̼̘̝̱͎͍͙̰͈͎̦̌͗̈̓͐͋͑̐̑͘P̵̧̼̤͎̙͕̑̂̉̒̓̑̀͐̿̚ͅE̶̟̬͔̯͂̎̓̽̾̄̀̏̂͑͒̕̚ͅN̵̛̗͖̉͋̈̍͗̾̽̕͝͠D̴̢̗͚̦̗̼̺̱͕̳̱̱̳̘͍̮̃̆̈́͘͜S̷̛̼̻̰̪͉̐͆̑̒̉́̏̐̓̔̅̀̌̈́̏͝.

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I like what doomwiki says about pistol start:

Quote

Many custom maps are specifically designed to be played from scratch (sometimes even intentionally killing off the player in anticipation), so that the players' initial defenselessness and vulnerability force them to use discretion and evasion tactics while seeking weapons and powerups. This adds a new edge to the gameplay.

But again, who gives a damn? :)

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As a person who has not played too many wads in his lifetime, for the longest time I didn't even know 'pistol start' was a regular thing. I remember seeing it some months ago for the first time and thinking 'oh, this is an interesting approach', then realized quite soon after that it is more like the standard approach. I was somewhat taken aback by this, because to me Doom was always a continuous experience, that some weapons are introduced in one map and can then be used in all the upcoming maps, or perhaps a weapon was introduced in one map as a secret and could then make the next map a bit easier to start. I always liked the sort of games in which I could find some weapons "earlier" than I should have (Quake and Turok come to mind).

 

I was opposed to the idea of doing a mapset with pistol starts, not liking the idea of snubbing out gameplay elements I personally very much enjoyed. However, after playing some mapsets through with said approach and giving more than a few thoughts about the subject, I came to realize that pistol starting is in many ways much more enjoyable - even beyond the fact that I was playing maps that were designed to be more enjoyable pistol starting. While you might lose that "communication" between levels, you can make it up quite well within each map, and the overall increase in control from the mapper's perspective is really beneficial. The challenges that you can make with a "clean start" bring much more fun to the overall gameplay.

 

However, I think story heavy mapsets should still rely on continuous play, because it has that immersion breaking quality - unless you somehow bake it into the storyline. This could easily become very contrived, though, so it should be used with caution.

 

One might argue that it takes a more skilled mapper to design around continuous play, but that's really not it. What happens is an exponential increase in complexity when the differences between playstyles aggregate across multiple levels, ending up in a MAP10 start where you (as a mapper) have no idea what the player has or hasn't got left from the previous maps. You can always balance this with a start where you max out player health and/or armor, or give him the necessary weapons, but this is basically just doing a 'pistol start'. Pistol starting in general just means a fixed start with particular resources, and it just happens to be named after the set you get by default. So at the end of the day I'd say the ability to control the experience better by designing around a pistol start is much more important than losing the few little benefits of continuous play.

 

EDIT: Thought I'd mention that you can of course do death exit resets every 4-6 levels or so, which reduces the complexity of design and can create some interesting scenarios while keeping it under control.

Edited by Aurelius

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55 minutes ago, Aurelius said:

because to me  Doom was always a continuous experience

 

Same. Especially when it comes to wads centered around a specific theme (Ancient Aliens, Avactor).

 

When a megawad serves more as a grab bag of maps built by different mappers, then I guess pistol-starting makes more sense.

 

But at the end of the day, I think the answer is play however you find it more fun :)

EDIT: 
Also, here's an obligatory 'fuck maps that make you around butt-naked with nothing but a zerk and shotgun to your name while pitting sniping trons and mancubi and roaming viles against you'. Doable but just not fun.

Edited by Firedust

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I do what the mapper says to do. Often that's nothing, so pistol start is my default. Sometimes they claim it works for both. In those cases I pistol start. Occasionally I come across a wad that is designed for continuous and not for pistol starting. In those cases I play continuous.

 

 

 

Play how you want, but I guess I would emphasize that your criticism loses value if you specifically go against the intended experience, if one is stated.

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It all depends entirely on what I'm playing, but if I'm trying out a new gameplay mod then continuous is usually the way to go. That way I get more time to experiment with and learn all the new weapons and items I'm being introduced to.

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The thing I like about continuous play is arcade-like gameplay - trying to rush from point A to point B and managing both health and ammo resources. I sometimes rush for the exit with some decent weapons and low health, which at times can feel like a trade-off entering the next map with greater risk but with a better kickstart in weaponry. I typically treat megawads like a long journey from MAP01 to MAP30 so I like to try and see how far I can get without dying, though I typically save at the start of each map as I'm not really a fan of saving halfway through a level. These days however it seems to happen more often given the grandiose map sizes I've encountered that the mere thought of having to restart such a gigantic map is dizzying.

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If I'm playing to just play as much Doom as possible in one sitting; then I'll play continuously.

 

If I'm playing to evaluate a level, then I'll play from however that level starts me off.  

 

It's fun either way, it just depends on what your goal is at the time.

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Continuous for casual play. Pistol Start if I want more challenge. Even when playing continuous a lot of megawads have death exits so it becomes somewhat moot in that case.

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I used to be a continuous player, but I got fed up with having to leave piles and piles of ammo behind so I didn't waste it so I switched to pistol starts and never looked back!

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Continuous is my preference, as it gives a sense of progression and mounting power. A mapper can always enforce pistol starts or episodic breaks through any number of means, if they don't want players carrying weapons through. I don't mind having to pistol start if I die on a map when it's a short one.

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i only pistol start when i replay a wad, never on my first time. unless the readme specifically says its designed for pistol start.

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So as long as it's nowhere said that restarting each map wasn't part of the plan, then pistol starts it is. A while ago, when my preferred choice was "continuous with pistol start mindset ®", I was asked why I didn't simply start the maps from scratch, to which my answer mutated from "because I like to combine the best of both worlds" to "because I don't like the idea of pressing a key to restart a map"', and that was a symptom of monotony, as I wanted to move on from that methodology (which is a 100% valid mode, mind you). But actual pistol starting was nothing hard to get used to, the only real difference is that obligatory ammo at the start covers my necessities, whereas before I needed to skip them or rant about throwing 18 shells to the bin.

 

Sometimes a great grandparent mapset is a worthless headache if not played with carryovers, because times were different, such was the case of "20 days in hell" or "Number one kill the next generation", the first I played on continuous, smart me, the second is often only ass cheap on UV. And these are just examples of the oldest era of mapping, you would not see these devious ideologies nowadays without people putting a cross on them.

 

Also, FYI in many source ports you can bind a key to restart a level, another to skip it, there's no need to type any codes unless of course you want to jump ten maps ahead (;

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I play continuous for full megawad/iwad runs and pistol start for single map runs (those can originate from a megawad/iwad or not).

I never tried doing a full megawad/iwad run with pistol start and I'm not necessarily looking forward to that either.

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If it was balanced for pistol start, then yes. If it was balanced for continuous play, then I'll do that. If it was balanced for both; even better. That's one of the neat things about Doom, generally maps are balanced so you can do a pistol start on each of them and do fine. Might be a bit harder, but it seems like for the most part all weapons are available as pickups in the levels.

 

That always confused me when I first started playing Doom: "Why do they have another double barrel sitting here? Or a chaingun? I already have those. Oh well, free ammo I guess". Wasn't til later on I realized the reason they were put in levels. And pistol starts are fun, but I think it's up to the individual player, generally I do continuous play though if there's multiple levels.

 

Another game that really surprised me in this regard was Dusk; the intruder mode in that game is insanely well balanced. I didn't think it would be until I started on it in earnest, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. It seems like there's always just enough fire power and health to get through a level.

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By virtue of the way the game was designed, Doom encourages an either/or approach. There is no right or wrong answer here. The manual directly encourages frequent saving specifically to avoid pistol starts, but the manual is more of a guideline than a list of rules or something.

 

I personally like the feeling of immersion and payoff from continuous play. You carry your resources over to the next map, but if you have 10 health at the start of the map and get jacked up, you're back up to 100 at the expense of your guns. Brilliant design, imo. Playing it with these rules isn't heresy, it's the way the game was designed. Granted, an "exit map & take away all guns" switch function would have been excellent. The closest thing is hacky voodoo doll scripts - but the lack of a baked-in function for this is more explicit evidence that continuous play was what the devs intended, at least for the iwad campaigns.

 

Part of the joy of the iwads (and of most sets I've played) is that they're all possible from a pistol start, but you have a clear edge if you've managed to survive the whole time. You get "on a roll", by doing well you get to keep your guns, and by fucking up you're penalized with a reset to square 1 in terms of munitions. That's what I mean when I say there's a feeling of payoff from continuous play. It's actually a somewhat common mechanic in games to reward streaks of not-dying with bonuses, I see the whole concept of continuous play as falling under that same category.

 

It's the same way multi-kills in ZDaemon get you way more EXP than tepidly reaching the fraglimit 1 slow frag at a time. If I blow away a wave of 10 people in seconds flat, I get way more points than if I get 10 frags slowly. The game is rewarding me for being on a roll. I love it.

 

I don't think Doom has to be all that hard to be fun. In much the same way that difficulty settings are a great way to ensure that lesser-skilled players get to enjoy turf alongside the Doom pros, so is the option of continuous play. As a side note, I'll never understand the hate for HMP and HNTR. Those options don't remove UV from existence, they just give the player more choices! That's a good thing, imo. I mentioned that I test maps from a pistol start just to make sure they're possible, but forced pistol starts are also a great way to add difficulty to maps that are too easy even on UV.

 

Doom's customizable difficulty is one of it's strongest features. Not only are there 5 difficulty settings to choose from, there are things like -fast, -respawn and pistol starts to help cater the experience to your exact sensibilities. That is fucking god-like levels of brilliance and frankly, the majority of game developers need to take notes.

 

Anyway, on the rare occasion I'm in the mood to put a lot of effort into playing, I usually go for deathmatch. Depending on my opponents, it's more unpredictable and I enjoy that more.

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I play the IWADs or anything 90's continuously since pistol start balance is often questionable at best or completely off at worst. Plus a lot of those maps tend to include resources outside the scope of the level, like cells or rockets in maps excluding those weapons, which signals a continuous intent. Also, just because a map is "beatable" from a pistol start does not mean it provides the most enjoyable experience. A lot of maps are beatable Tyson but that does not make them enjoyable outside of a niche group who like that. Dark Souls is also beatable without leveling your dude or getting hit, but those are self-imposed challenge runs.

 

I pistol start almost all of the more modern releases, with the exception of wads like Hellbound that are more about a cohesive journey and less about individual maps. (And the pistol start balance is questionable at best.) I believe continuous balance should be taken into account, aside from the more "anything goes" community projects where maps are made in a vacuum. For megawads, this can be done in the form of splitting maps into chapters with death exits or making sure you don't slap a Tyson/ammo starvation map right after a level where the player has all the weapons. (i.e. AV map21 does not work if you come out stacked from Misri Halek and should've really had a death exit beforehand.)

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