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Dubbag

Pistol Start Questionare

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My WAD contains a 10 map set based on a continuous play theme. I feel as though people don't like that. I get that continuous can make you feel over-powered when entering a specific challenge in proceeding levels. But might be considering re-formatting my game play for Pistol Start. However that would pretty much mean dedicating the day to deleting all ammo and weapons and even redesigning certain map sections. I can't bring myself to change my map layouts I love them too much but the ammo I can do. I understand that nothing worth doing is easy, but is it worth doing?

 

Questions

-Pistol Start or Continuous?And Why

-Is a continuous based episode a no go for you?

-Do you agree that a continuous play through method could unbalance certain game play challenges. eg. Having a BFG from the last map and the next one opening with being surrounded by hell knights. Facing away from you of course. This doesn't actually happen in the map set, its just and example I made up.

 

Edited by Dubbagdarrel

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- I only pistol start when things get too easy, so it isn't my preferred gameplay style. I like being a bit OP sometimes and preserve my items and weapons :p .

- No preference.

- Definitely, and those are some of the only instances when I do pistol start, if it breaks the balance completely I'll bite the bullet.

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-I don't personally pistol start. As far as whether the map should be based on pistol starting I'm not 100% on that. 

-No, it isn't.

-I don't like being surrounded with 100 monsters so I would say the map is unbalanced for other reasons.

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- I like to pistol start when maps are made for it because i feel i get the whole experience

- continuous is ok, but please mention it somewhere

- continuous can unbalance stuff for sure

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3 hours ago, Asking4Id said:

-I don't like being surrounded with 100 monsters so I would say the map is unbalanced for other reasons.

just so you know, that doesn't happen in the map set it was just an example I made up.

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1) It really depends, if the maps flow from one to another so as to form a seamless story then absolutely continuous.

2) See above.

3) Of course it can, but that is very okay with me. I am not playing DooM for the challenge.

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There was a pistol start vs continuous poll recently, and continuous polled pretty well so I wouldn’t worry. Just make sure to state in your WAD notes that it is for continuous-play only

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My opinion is go with whichever approach is more inline with your vision for the set. Catering to what you think (or hope) people will want isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's worth remembering that just about everything related to Doom has two opposing camps, so you'll never please everyone. And you shouldn't try to. If your set is designed around continuous play, and you put your passion and effort into making that a fun experience, then I don't think there will be a problem. 

 

If you really want to go down the rabbit hole of pistol start vs. continuous play, there's already a few threads you can read through (and likely dozens more if you keep going back through the pages of a "pistol start" search queue").

 

 

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That topic sounds too familiar... Happy groundhog day ;-)) (Didn't somebody start a poll about that recently?)

I don't see much point in pistol starts in a wad that represents an episode, a story or whatever concept behind it. What for? If I play Doom, Doom 2, TNT and all other episodes, I always play the whole fuckin' thing from map 01 to the end. And I do carry over my status, weapons, ammo and so on. Pistol starts each map makes me feel I'm playing an arcade game. I need that feel of progression, discovery and improvement during gameplay. 

An exception could be a twist in the plot- you lose some or even all of your weapons because you fell down somewhere, got knocked out by sth., robbed or whatever story explanation there is and suddenly you have to pistol start again. 

 

 

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You can always claim to be both continuous and pistol start friendly if you just have a shotgun and box of shells near-ish to the start of each map. People with a devotion to pistol starts tend to be good at managing their resources, but this will benefit them, and those playing continuous with a buttload of ammo are unlikely to notice anyway. Unless you have super strict enemy encounters in mind, I think this should do the trick pretty nicely.

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- I'm not too partial to pistol starting, mostly because it doesn't make sense to me. Like, did doomguy just toss his guns in the trash between maps, or? I am however totally cool with when mappers force the player to pistol start via something like a death exit like in Scythe 2 or Estranged. I do pistol start on occasion for the sake of challenge, though.

- Absolutely not.

- Oh sure, but I can't say I'd mind feeling a little op. It gives me a sense of progression.

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59 minutes ago, Dubbagdarrel said:

-Pistol Start or Continuous?And Why

I prefer pistol start wads, mostly because I haven't really seen a "continuous only" done all that well. It inevitably leads to Super Doomguy, in my opinion, and negatively affects my mentality while playing. However, I will do what is "intended." If nothing is stated, I will pistol start.

 

1 hour ago, Dubbagdarrel said:

-Is a continuous based episode a no go for you?

No.

 

1 hour ago, Dubbagdarrel said:

-Do you agree that a continuous play through method could unbalance certain game play challenges?

Definitely. The problem is that you simply cannot know with any degree of reliability what the player will carry over (short of stacking exit rooms with supplies, but to me that's not any less immersion breaking than death exits or typing idclev/suiciding at the beginning of a new level). So how are you going to balance the map? Based on best case finish of previous map? Based on worst case finish of previous map? Somewhere in between? Or are you gonna make every level Map 30 style (put a megasphere and every weapon + max ammo from the previous map(s) at the start of every map)? It seems like whatever you do is something of a compromise.

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I usually do pistol start, but I have no problem with continuous play. Usually if something is divided into small episodes (Scythe 2, Valiant, Eviternity, etc.), I do play them continuously, just feels right for that kind of thing imo. As long as you clearly mention that the mapset is designed for continuous play, I see nothing wrong with that. If you really wanna balance for both continuous and pistol start, I'd point you to Valiant for an idea of how to do it, mainly through slowly introducing the new weapons and enemies, and keeping it that way (once the plasma rifle is introduced, put it on all future maps). Of course, that had the advantage of multiple episodes, so you can re-introduce things as desired. Basically, the key thing is be aware of what weapons a continuous player might have, and ensure a pistol starter can get access to those weapons, or ensure that having, say, a BFG, doesn't completely break the entire map's challenge.

That being said, there is one extremely easy way to balance a map for both continuous and pistol start:

Spoiler

put a death exit and the end of every map. That's how Toilet of the Gods was "balanced" for both :P

 

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Pistol start in megawads where I want to play specific levels, but if I'm playing through something I haven't played before or replaying a certain episode or something, I don't mind continuous at all.

 

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I always pistol start, but really have no problem playing a wad continuous. I agree with HAK when he talked about continuous wads being balanced poorly. I think the main issue is: How the heck do you even test a continuous wad properly? I'm incredibly anal with ammo supply in my maps and it seems to me that in order to get the balancing right for continuous, you have to pretty much play the whole wad. Unless someone tests it this way, everytime I see someone say their wad is continuous, I just think "How balanced can it be?" Unless they play through the entire wad in every testing session, it's likely that they just slapped down as much ammo and resources as they thought was needed and called it a day because they didn't feel like testing the balance. Now I could be wrong about this, but I feel like balancing for continuous would be too much guesswork.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you're super picky about the resources in your map, it's just easier to make a pistol start wad, for testing purposes, and I don't mind playing continuous when it's asked for. I will always play a wad the way the author intends it to be played.

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3 hours ago, Arbys550 said:

How the heck do you even test a continuous wad properly?

heres what I do, painstakingly play the entire episode through everytime you complete a new map. Maybe even before it's done.

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It is possible to make something that is designed for continuous AND pistol start.  ALL maps SHOULD be able to be beaten from a pistol start, but you can still balance the overall wad for continuous play (Ancient ALiens did a very good job at this).  Jut to note, if you make something that has maps that can't be beaten from a pistol start, you are going to have a lot of players who outright won't play your wad.

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As someone who is also thinking more about continuous balance in my future projects, one way to equalize the experience is providing pistol starters with equipment continuous players would have at the start of the map. For instance, if the player acquires the Shotgun, SSG, and Chaingun in map01, map02 would start with those weapons (and a basic armour) on the ground for the player to grab right away. The same is done for subsequent maps that add new weapons. This way, the main difference between pistol starting and continuous is that pistol players have to be more careful with ammo management, but the core gameplay remains very similar. Likewise, excluding backpacks is a good way to keep continuous players from hoarding too much ammunition. I believe BTSX E2 had the first backpack appear around map14/15 for that very reason. And unless your maps fall into large-scale slaughter situations, the player doesn't really need the backpack - it's largely a matter of convenience.

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If your maps work nicely from pistol start, then they also work at least okay-ish for continuous. More often than not, it's good enough to give players a weapon when a fight requires it, or handing out additional ammo where it is required. Deleting all ammo supplies and then re-doing the entire distribution from scratch seems backwards to me.

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3 hours ago, Dubbagdarrel said:

My WAD contains a 10 map set based on a continuous play theme. I feel as though people don't like that.

 

Don't worry about what other people like. Make what you want--if it's continuous, make it continuous. Regardless of whether you think that no one likes it, I am sure that is not the case.

 

 

3 hours ago, Dubbagdarrel said:

Questions

-Pistol Start or Continuous?And Why

-Is a continuous based episode a no go for you?

-Do you agree that a continuous play through method could unbalance certain game play challenges. eg. Having a BFG from the last map and the next one opening with being surrounded by hell knights. Facing away from you of course. This doesn't actually happen in the map set, its just and example I made up.

 

  1. I prefer continuous for multi-map sets with a consistent theme or narrative sense. It makes more sense to me. And yes, you can make the argument that it makes it easier, but that doesn't bother me. Retaining your weapons and ammo from previous maps is essentially your reward for not dying.
  2. Absolutely not. I will play a continuous mapset. And if people want to play all the maps from pistol start, then they will do that, regardless of how you design the maps. You can watch plenty of people on stream pistol starting every map in megawads.
  3. It is possible that continuous play could unbalance the gameplay in places, but, as I said, that is your reward for not dying. There's nothing to say that a map has to be as easy to finish from pistol start as it would be continuous. You should make it possible to finish your map from pistol start, but there's nothing to say it can't be orders of magnitude more difficult. Ultimately, if you find your gameplay being unbalanced by continuous play, then it's your job as the mapper to try to mitigate by how you supply weapons and ammo.

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If it's already designed for continuous play, then stick with it. It still needs to be playable from pistol-start (otherwise a player could get stuck in a dead end without reloading), but you can retrofit it to accomodate pistol-starting without compromising the main intended design.

 

Basically: if the player is expected/required to have some level of firepower at a given point in the map, then make sure a pistol-starter can obtain it somehow prior to that point. For example, if the first fight is too tough for pistol-start, then make sure the player can pick up a SG or CG or something to get started with. If the big brawl at the end of the map is designed with RL in mind, then provide a RL somewhere in the map. For continuous players, this is simply ammo; but for pistol-starters, it provides much-needed momentum. Late in the mapset, you'll probably be providing SG/CG/SSG early on (because a continuous player already has a lot of momentum for the pistol-starter to catch up to), although you can take the opportunity to be creative with how they're obtained. Also, Green armor can level the playing field a bit: it won't help a continuous player much (and might even be a drawback if they already have Blue-level protection) but will help a pistol-starter a lot.

 

9 hours ago, Dubbagdarrel said:

eg. Having a BFG from the last map and the next one opening with being surrounded by hell knights. Facing away from you of course.

So in this situation, what I'd suggest is putting a SSG and Green Armor next to the player, and some shell ammo and stimpacks strewn around the room. A tough fight, but manageable. The continuous player, by virtue of having provably completed the maps prior to this, has the privilege of BFGing them down; but the pistol-starter gets the challenge they'd like without being locked out.

 

Probably the simplest way to test for this: play them pistol-start yourself and see how well they work. If there's a problem, don't scale back enemies to compensate (which compromises the existing continuous-play balance); scale up the player's capabilities.

 

The goal isn't to make pistol-starting as easy as continuous play. People who prefer PS tend to enjoy the extra challenge, people who die and respawn (rather than reload) are duly punished for it, and people who skip/warp ahead don't need to be accomodated anyway. PS being more difficult is natural and expected; it just needs to be doable.

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-I prefer pistol start because a YouTuber inspired me.

-I would try to do that episode with pistol start but if it turns out to be impossible with that gamestyle I can change that style for the map.

-I agree with it.

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Quote

-It depends

-I'm fine with it. In fact, I want to see a Doom mapset designed around that philosophy.

-It depends, again, on the mapper's scope. But it is, in most cases, since most WADs are pistol start-friendly.

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I feel if you want to make it continious, make some "Catch up mechanics" in the level.. A place the player can easily escape to and reach a cache of weapons of some sort

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Nowadays I almost do only pistol starts but I don't see anything wrong with making a campaign balanced for a continuous play. Plus almost all the maps and wads are designed with pistol starts in mind, so you can create something a bit more unique ;) and like others already said if someone wants to do pistol starts they will do it anyway. Maybe specify it in the text file what is the intended playstyle.

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I pretty much only play continuous as I love playing mapsets that are designed in way such that even when you have found all weapons over the course of several maps, the following maps aren't rendered trivial by the fact you have a full arsenal.

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I for sure prefer continuous play, but the majority of wads made are on the side of "pistol start compatible".  What I like about it is you have to factor managing your resources not just for the current level but putting yourself in the best position for the next level (including health & armor stats along with weapons).  It really gives the feeling that you are playing through an episode, versus pistol starts feeling like playing a collection of disjointed isolated levels one after another.  And that "pistol start compatible" aspect throws a wrench in things because you're guaranteed to never actually have an issue with resources.  There can be a lot of resource management built into a Doom Episode with continuous play you just have to not conscientiously make every level pistol-start compatible.

 

Bottom line really is, some people prefer pistol-only starts, some people prefer continuous play, and it's ok if a wad is built with every level pistol-start compatible, and it's ok if another wad is not.

 

It is similar to should the level be exploration-based or should it be a slaughter-map?  It's ok to make a creation favoring one style over the other.  I would say, build the type of levels that you personally want to enjoy - it's one of the most fun parts of the doom community, experiencing through wads what other people like in their gameplay.

Edited by adamadam

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