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Decay

Multiplayer Mapping: thoughts on designing fun /"successful" maps

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Soaking in this post requires more than one cup of coffee so I'm not finished yet but just wanted to say: damn son

 

Gonna be one of those cornerstone posts where we reference for years and make noobs feel bad for necrobumping it

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Thanks! Yea it is a big post, but I feel like it only begins to scratch the surface, which is why I reserved that second post in case I feel like going further into the ideas, or at least do some specifics (using more map examples, pictures/gifs etc)

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I like this post!

 

I particularly like how you tried to reign in the more abstract facets of map design and player perceptions~

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Put a pin in it!

 

edit: Decay, would you mind spoilering that first paragraph? I just don’t want people to be distracted by the prologue, but of course I don’t think you should remove it either. You know how ADD Doomers are...

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the literal first paragraph? or the first main section?

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Everything before “welcome to the world”. Us multiplayer knuckle-draggers don’t cope well with prose!

 

Maybe a thread title that’s ever-so-slightly clearer in terms of representing what the actual contents of the thread are would be a worthwhile change. I don’t mean to nitpick, it’s a great thread, I just want to hammer out any potential ‘points of confusion’.

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Done. To be fair, the real knuckle draggers won't make it through the whole post at all though, regardless if that's spoilered or not.

 

Also addressed your topic issue

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Sorry for going off-topic here, but I have to ask:

How in the world did you get that OP up and running without anything "blowing up"? I tried pumping out a >6k words OP yesterday, screenshots and sample maps included, and none of the text, or any of the formatting actually made it through when I launched that sucker.

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Maybe it was the screenshots and sample maps? This post is only 5453 words long also, I don't know what the upper limit is.

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This is an excellent post! Good to read deeper philosophy of level making. The distinction between a duel map and a Deathmatch map also deserves attention. My opinion is that doom’s weapon balance is perfect in duel. But of course that also demands that the level design is made with that unique set of weapons of doom in mind. 

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Doom's weapon "balance" is absolutely not perfect by any stretch, any competent player will tell you that. In fact I'd argue that the weapon imbalance in made more stark in high level 1v1 but maybe someone like @dew or @DevastatioN would have more to say about that.

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Imbalance creates chaos, and arguably, fun

 

Dont know how many people remember the Halflife mod Natural Selection, but in early versions the Alien team had a vast number of advantages over the Human team. It would lead to long, 1-3 hour stalemates, but it was extremely fun to use skill and knowledge to try to overcome the imbalance, and satisfying when you were successful at it. Now, NS2 is pretty tightly balanced, and very beautiful, but ultimately kindof a boring game.

 

Also Quake's gameplay loop has a huge following, though I cant stand it. I'm referring to the item-denial and powerup-rotation that skilled players use to utterly crush 90% of players in flawless wins.

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What I meant with balance; each weapon has a function under the circumstances. Opposite to fps’ers where weapons are simply superseded by better weapons regardless of circumstances, fe quake 1. So in matches between 2 good players in good maps different weapons are used and there is no one-sided play. 

 

Doom has a unique set of weapons, I think no one would deny that. The super shotgun, the most satisfying weapon to frag someone with no matter what game you compare it with. And the BFG of course, together the 2 most prolific examples. Talking about the weapon balance needs to treat the BFG. This weapon is unique in the FPS world because it has almost no comparison. You shoot before you see someone. It all comes down to anticipating where your adversary is, and lesser to the aiming part. That feature of the weapon gives the play a huge tactical element. This tactical play idea is defeated however in matches with a lot of players at once, since movement of other players is inherently more unpredictable and then the BFG becomes too powerful to rack up huge numbers of frags easily. It has its own crazy type of fun, playing Brit maps with 6 players or more and spamming the BFG to death. 
But I like that tactical element to the game, the challenge to be constantly aware of the whereabouts of the opponent and trying to use that.

 

Back to the art of mapping. What I consider the pinnacle of doom play is where the action is fast, there is constant movement and tactical play. A game where only one weapon is really used offers less opportunity and less tactical element. In doom each weapon has a purpose under the circumstances. So good mapping is necessarily an interplay with the weaponset. fe enough hiding space for BFG, just large enough open space to reward distance battle with shotgun or chaingun, etc. 
 

The quake style play as referred to above, also has tactical play with the territory/ item domination as mentioned above. But a different kind. Emulating this in doom is making doom more quake and less doom. 
It’s a matter what you’re after in the end.

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I agree with the general gist of what you’re saying Matty, every weapon (well, aside from the saw) has at least one circumstance in which it will be useful. It can be made better though - giving both the Chaingun and the Single barrel a minor buff really does make an already good balance great. Speeding up the balls of plasma and rockets (ever so slightly) makes it even better, since both of those guns become useless in wide areas in their vanilla state.

 

Considering that Doom 2 completely pioneered Deathmatch with literally nothing else to take notes from, they did a fantastic job keeping things reasonably balanced, arguably more than most games that have come since. Not perfect but damn close to it.

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