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obake

Mapping Sadness 2: Accepting Eccentricity

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12 hours ago, obake said:

To start: Balance and gameplay are key! It does not matter how many custom monsters/textures you throw in, if the gameplay is not fun, it is not successful. However, if the gameplay is legitimately fun, then you've done your job.

 

That is true but also vague. And what people find fun differs. A huge essay can be written on the subject, but imo 'balance' ceases to be a driving concept once there are no longer issues that make a map dysfunctional. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that it becomes a detrimental concept after that, if held onto too tightly. 


There's a lot to that, but one thing people often overlook is the value of alternating reward/bounty with famine/oppression in a deliberate way. 

 

12 hours ago, obake said:

The second point: maps that are strange or silly can still look nice. Learn good detailing, and you can make even 'meh' layouts really pop!

 

Imo detailing is the last thing worth learning. If you study the best vanilla stuff, you'll notice that certain fundamentals of design result in attractive scenes even when smaller-scale detail is rare or nonexistent. It's just as true in advanced format stuff. Take away Ancient Aliens's showpieces like the UFOs and occasional outlier maps (like "Culture Shock") and 90% of the artistic appeal comes from texturing, area/scene composition, lighting, tastefully clean transitions, etc. -- not from going crazy with chiseling and insetting and Tormentor's Detail Guide-isms in crude husks. Or look at Stardate 20x7 and Finely Crafted Fetish Film.    

 

The Brigandines and Saturnine Chapels, which bind their identity very tightly to micro-detail, are rare; and even Brigandine would be pretty neat-looking without like three-quarters of that stuff.

 

From what I've seen -- and I'm not going to sugarcoat this because sugarcoating wastes people's time -- you have a lot of room to improve the artistic value of your maps without even changing the detail level much, at all. 

 

12 hours ago, obake said:

The question I have is: how can maps such as the ones I make reach more of an audience? I myself have an answer or two, which will hopefully help other mappers who find their works a bit less-conventional.

 

I feel this is a different question entirely, and the answer is better marketing. Most stuff frankly isn't played that much at all. Even good releases are lucky to hit more than a page or two. People eat up polished megawads, and if you're a famous name you might get a big audience regardless, but beyond that, you need confidence and self-promotion. 

Edited by rdwpa

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15 hours ago, obake said:

earn good detailing, and you can make even 'meh' layouts really pop!

gothic99. ;-)

 

i see it as two things: first, the map should have some memorable places to serve as waypoints for the player. and second, between those waypoints we'll usually have corridors, and those should have something to break their monotonic style, like texture change, small alcove with a lamp, etc. ah, and some contrast lighting.

 

too much details usualy looks like visual noise due to specifics of doom textures, and geometry limitations.

 

so yeah, good detailing is...good. but "good" doesn't mean "alot of it", quite the contrary. real artist can put several small touches, and the thing will shine! ;-)

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I've only played one of your maps (Located in the beta release of a CP, link below) and I quite enjoyed it. I've seen it discussed on here before, but these kinds of maps are very hit and miss - And there is no telling when it's going to be an amazing map and when it's going to be a bad map. Keep doing what you're doing!

 

 

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Thanks so much for the replies, everyone! You are all awesome. :)

 

10 hours ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

Fun is subject to the eye of the beholder, and you can't "force" people to enjoy your maps. It doesn't matter how creative and finely tuned a corridor-fest is, it's still a corridor fest, and many people will tell you to study some skillsaw maps, so you learn how to make better layouts, after they played your map. That's just how it is. Being a niche mapper means by very definition that the majority of people won't like your stuff as much as you yourself do, if at all.

Walter Bergman once said, "Jack-o-lanter puppies want me thank you treasures!" All kidding aside, I hope this thread is helpful to niche mappers.

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On 12/31/2019 at 8:29 PM, Nine Inch Heels said:

The best way to accept "eccentricity" is to not give a damn what people say about your maps. In my case this means for example that complaints about how the platforming is too hard, how health is too tight, how monster XYZ makes something too difficult, etc yadda yadda, are something I can quite often chalk up to "the person complaining isn't part of the target audience for this particular map".

Yeah if there's a reason the map is the way it is then criticism against it is useless. For example let's say you are a very skillful player and want to make a "normal difficulty" map, then if people complain that it is too hard to be a map of "normal difficulty" you should tone it down a notch, but if you want to make it hard for a purpose, people saying it's too hard is useless :/ (or helpful since it tells you that you accomplished your mission)

Imagine someone complaining about a map being a hell map and not a techbase, that's basically it xD

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6 minutes ago, SOSU said:

Imagine someone complaining about a map being a hell map and not a techbase

that's me!

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On 12/30/2019 at 8:38 PM, obake said:

The question I have is: how can maps such as the ones I make reach more of an audience? I myself have an answer or two, which will hopefully help other mappers who find their works a bit less-conventional.

 

To start: Balance and gameplay are key! It does not matter how many custom monsters/textures you throw in, if the gameplay is not fun, it is not successful. However, if the gameplay is legitimately fun, then you've done your job.

 

The second point: maps that are strange or silly can still look nice. Learn good detailing, and you can make even 'meh' layouts really pop!

 

Map quality doesn't really give you an audience, it keeps it. To get it you have put in some work. Have a look at the following posts presenting map sets on this forum:

 

 

They are all polished posts. Not just text, but also title images, header images starting new sections etc. That's what gets the potential player's attention. Of course images aren't enough, you also have to tell the players why they should try your creation. And pleeeease be confident in your description. No "it's a niche map, please try it anyway".

 

Also besides (regularly, to get the hype up) posting screen shots in the forum posts, there are also a bunch of Discord servers where you can show off your work and usually get feedback more directly.

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I'd absolutely consider myself a niche mapper. Trying to make yourself appeal to a broader audience is a lot like a rockband selling out their integrity to sell records to the masses.

 

That said the content of this thread so far has been a great read...

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Honestly just make whatever kind of level you want to make, don't try to force yourself into some specific niche just to try and get more people to play your stuff. Let me ask you this, if you made a level and posted it on here but no one played it, do you think you'd have wasted your time in making that level?

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