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Level Design Tips for Newbies?

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Hello Doomworld users. I've been using Doom Builder 2 for a few years now but have never gotten very far to completion on any level-creating endevours (the closest I've gotten is completing 2 maps for a planned 9-map episode). Although I'm fluent in the program, I still feel my level design and experience with demon encounters, flow, and general quality hasn't gone up very much. Having played some amazing WADs (particularly BTSX-E1), I realized how many creators there are out there who are able to create such amazing levels.


So, I ask you, what are some level design tips for Doom that you you have for me and others who want to improve their work? It can be anywhere from 1 sentence to a multi-paragraph guide; thanks!

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No real substitute for the hard and scary path: make some stuff and post it here for other people to play and listen to their feedback.

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On 1/30/2020 at 3:45 PM, RetroNova10 said:

... what are some level design tips for Doom ...

Here are a couple of very basic tutorials, primarily aimed at those new to DooM modding:


Basics of Design and Gameplay

What Makes a Good Map?


Also, Joel Murdoch had written an excellent essay on what makes a good map, but the link to the essay returns a 404 Page Not Found type message. I'll see if I can poke around to see if I have that essay in my archives.


Joel Murdoch's Essay on What Makes a Good Map

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I think first of all choose the map's sky.

Then, think about what do you want to see in a hypothetically completed map. Then go try to do the map like you seen it in your mind.

Fix all texture misaligns

Use support2 and 3 textures to mark the joints done with different textures

Think about balance between items and monsters

Make secrets


Some of my maps are based on Minecraft ones (Building something in Minecraft really helps me to build something in Doom when I'm burnt out)

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If you have a big imagination, it can help you to build new ideas and make some kind of 'brainstorm' to organize yourself better and see what's the best option for a map, making a small backstory for it also works as a point of reference, basically a 'start line' in order to build your map from the ground.


For example if I were to write "You are a Marine who went with his bunny to the shop to buy bunny food, but in that moment a portal of hell appeared and took your buddy.", from that you can make a map where you have to go through hell to rescue your fluffy buddy and buy his food for a happy end.

Natural layouts are the hardest, but urban ones are kind of easier as you have defined shapes, you can make tall squares for buildings, have 3 rectangles between them for the street and sidewalk, etc.


I kind of do this in a more ""advanced"" way, which ends up on 'interesting' or open layouts with a monster placement that depends on the player's hypothetical progression.

As @SilverMiner mentioned, you can think on how you want your map to be like when it's completed, both in Sectors Mode and 3D Mode, think on a objective and a obstacle that are not just demons like lava, acid, etc.


This is the basic stuff for now, but you can send me a reply and I will tell you any other advice I can give you, like how to make those layouts be interesting, the monster placement, etc.

Good luck and specially, have fun!

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