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spd7693

Super Shotgun At The Start

Question

I don't know if this topic fits better in for Doom General, but I'd like to ask some of you folks a little thing. The mods are allowed to move it if needed. 

 

A few posts here were talking about the so-called "true pistol starts". What does it mean? A start where you have no weapon in the starting location and you have to fight your way to get the first one except the pistol. A lot of times I also include levels where the only way to get a shotgun is to kill a shotgunner and the only way to get a chaingun is to kill a chaingunner. I decided to implement this in a few maps I make as well. Map 15 - The Monastery of the ones I've created has a similar way to start, yet still you can make shotgunners infight to get a shotgun. But the first serious weapon - the SSG is at least two rooms away from the start. 

 

So, in the new map I'm making I don't feel the lack of the SSG, but I think for a lot of you the start would be a hassle if you don't know where it is. Considering the lots of fights with hitscanners, cacodemons and revenants you might need to face and soon maybe even hell knights. I'm in a very early phase of creation. I also would rather have had the SSG and I know "doable" doesn't mean "enjoyable." 

 

In this case I wonder if I should place the SSG in the starting room. So I want to ask you - when would you prefer to put this weapon in the starting room and when would you make the player look for it? I'm really curious what you like doing when creating maps. 

 

Oh, BTW, I'd prefer if you talk about heavier and harder maps, the calibre of Tombstone at least. If the difficulty scratches Alien Vendetta, maybe even better. 

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A "true pistol start" means starting with 100% health, 0% armor, the pistol (only), and 50 bullets--the state you would be in if you started the game on that level (through idclev or -warp on the command line), or if you died and had to restart the level.

 

All maps should be beatable from a pistol start. Bear in mind that such a statement doesn't mean the map is about as easy to beat from pistol start as on continuous play. On the contrary, it can be very, very difficult to beat from pistol start (even if the map is rather easy playing continuously), just not impossible.

 

Some players consider pistol starting to be the best way to play a map because then you get to experience the author's "true" intention for the map. As I've said before, I disagree with this interpretation, but there are mapsets that are very well balanced for pistol starts, but can become unbalanced playing continuously. Although I didn't personally experience it that way, I have read some people say that Flashback to Hell is extremely well-balanced for pistol starts, but it is easy to become overpowered early if playing continuously.

 

There are two approaches to weapon placement for pistol starts. The first is "force the player to play through part of the map and then reward them with the shotgun." This works if the player can reasonably get to the place they can get the shotgun with only the pistol. The second approach is "give the player the weapon in the opening room (as with Map 21 of Doom 2) or within sight of the opening room (like in E2M1 of Doom). If you place the SSG in the starting room, it signals to the player that the difficulty that you anticipate them facing is high and you wouldn't expect for them to have fun, or even survive, without the additional firepower. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but Simomarchi is right, if you have to provide the player a lot of firepower right at the beginning of every map, it would be best to advise the player that your map is balanced for continuous playing, not for pistol starts. That being said, doing this every now and then is OK.

 

It's also an idea to switch up the weapons on different difficulties. So, maybe ITYTD and HNTR start you with a shotgun to help you deal with the sergeants and imps on the other side of the door, while HMP makes you fight the sergeants and cacos to get a shotgun, while UV and NM starts you with a SSG, because it's hell knights and revenants on the other side of the door.

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The most logical place to put your guns in is right before they are needed. I also don't feel pistol is that fun to use and that's why I try to put shotgun near the start.

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The general idea behind most weapon placement is to avoid boring fights. If I have to fight two hell knights with a regular shotgun nothing is wrong, but if I have to go through two rooms full of revenants and mid-tier monsters the situation is different. 

Slowing down the gameplay (by not giving the player strong enough weapons to fight the enemies) is not a good way to create difficulty. An hell knight will always be a relatively harmless enemy, but fighting him with a SSG is quicker and more fun (and you can place more of them in order to create a fair challenge).

What I'm trying to say is that there are situations where the player will probably take no damage, regardless of how much time he spends to kill the enemy, so the power of the weapon used is not so much influent, and to avoid boredom you can simply provide a sufficient strong weapon (like the SSG).

 

On the other hand, sometimes you can force the player to fight a monster with weaker than expected weapons as a form of challenge (like an archvile and 4 demons with a chaingun). When the player beats the challenge, however, there is no reason to continue on the same line. He has shown you that he can beat an enemy with a weak weapon, now reward him with a decent one.

 

If you plan to create a megawad that has to be completely pistol-started maybe the best idea is to start every map in a softer way and then gradually raise the difficulty as the map progresses (with later maps becoming harder in a faster way, and with stronger monsters of course). If you find yourself in a situation where you have to put a BFG, a RL and a SSG right in front of the player at the start of every map, maybe it is a better idea to simply state that your wad is not meant to be pistol-started so that your players can save at the beginning of every level.

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That's what I am thinking. But I remember that not all maps gave me weapons at the start. Especially in the iWads. But they don't have the difficulty of Alien Vendetta for instance. For now my only way of looking at possible starts is testing. All I do is give access to weapons when they might be needed or when I think the player has enough arsenal and I can delay the grab of a weapon. My idea is that the player fights their way through to important stuff and later may deal with traps. But I don't want the fights to be boring either. 

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17 minutes ago, Pegleg said:

Some players consider pistol starting to be the best way to play a map because then you get to experience the author's "true" intention for the map. As I've said before, I disagree with this interpretation, but there are mapsets that are very well balanced for pistol starts, but can become unbalanced playing continuously. Although I didn't personally experience it that way, I have read some people say that Flashback to Hell is extremely well-balanced for pistol starts, but it is easy to become overpowered early if playing continuously.

 

 

This is my way of thinking. That's why I'm always considering placing the weapons late, but for that you also need to nerf the ammo a bit in the earlier levels. This part of wad balance is maybe the most difficult of all, because you have to be perfect. There is no other way. And yes, I switch up weapons. Sometimes on easier difficulties I give the rocket launcher earlier or in my latest map the player starts with the SSG in the starting room on HNTR and HMP. On UV though I want to nerf him a bit except the high number of monsters. For now my idea - since the map is non-linear - is to make the player choose a start and place one weapon in one direction in close proximity to the starting room and another in the other direction still in close proximity to the starting room. This may make even less impact on a continuous run. In the end I also will check how much ammo I actually give the player. And since the map is numbered 29, it's expected to be epic and highly difficult, right? 

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I tried pistol start when Civvie mentioned it. I'v been playing Doom so many years and never tried this before even in the original Doom, as I would always finish a level and continue with the weapons I already collected. The idea is as a player to warp to a level with IDCLEV for example and then you start with the pistol only, so it becomes more challenging and interesting to grab some useful weapons while the later levels are more deadly even from the start sometimes. I also tried to play like this without saving (I normally am a filthy save-spammer) and start posting some on Doom 1/2 on my channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPvZl8_iGRU&list=PLNtRAkY-UxAw-AxrvJKzTUW8QJxwVHNeq&index=4 (will do TNT and Plutonia later, now I am playing Eternal Doom but this one without pistol start).

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1 hour ago, spd7693 said:

since the map is numbered 29, it's expected to be epic and highly difficult, right?

 

Generally speaking, Map 29 should be one of two things (assuming Map 30 is your final map):
Epic and highly difficult
A breather before an epic and highly difficult Map 30

 

Regardless, no one would bat an eyelash if Map 29 were highly difficult.

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In the mod I'm currently creating, I've only put weapons directly at the start of each map (mainly the standard Shotgun and a Chaingun) if you're playing on the 'Nightmare!' difficulty. On 'Ultra-Violence' and easier difficulties, I've done it so you have to find the weapons or pick them up from dead enemies. 

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2 hours ago, Pegleg said:

A "true pistol start"

 

What would be a "none-true" pistol start?  I've not heard that specific terminology before.

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18 minutes ago, Bauul said:

 

What would be a "none-true" pistol start?  I've not heard that specific terminology before.

 

I was copying the phrase from the OP. Perhaps one of the people that posted the terminology "true pistol start" somewhere on DW could explain it. Personally, I've never used the term "true pistol start" before my post earlier today.

 

But let's suppose there is a distinction between "true" and "non-true" pistol starts. Perhaps a "true" pistol start is the kind that comes from warping to the specific level in question (as you sometimes see streamers do), while a "non-true" pistol start is the pistol start that comes from dying during the map? That's the only distinction I can come up. They could even be reversed ("true" being caused by dying, "non-true" being related to you manually doing something). Ultimately, it would be semantics.

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1 hour ago, Bauul said:

What would be a "none-true" pistol start?  I've not heard that specific terminology before.

 

7 hours ago, spd7693 said:

A few posts here were talking about the so-called "true pistol starts". What does it mean? A start where you have no weapon in the starting location and you have to fight your way to get the first one except the pistol.

 

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Yeah, that term was first used by dark pulse, and it was nonsensical back then already. Players have no control over what mappers put at the start of the map, so when you start a map with 100% health, 50 bullets, and a pistol - and only those things - it's as "true" as pistol starting can get. Any notions of having to use the pistol for some arbitrary amount of time are best dismissed on sight due to being idiosyncratic in nature.

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https://www.doomworld.com/forum/topic/110887-pistol-starts-vs-continuous-play-which-do-you-prefer/?tab=comments#comment-2056995

 

Seems like I may have not understood you that well when I read it the first time, but anyways. Yeah, I reread it now, my bad. Thanks for mentioning it. But that's what forums are for, right? 

 

Spoiler

May have not read the comment correctly, because I was on heavy medication that day. I had suffered an overwhelming distress and depression attack. 

 

And yeah, if I'd make the player use the pistol, definitely I wouldn't do it for more than one kill and would either put the SG/SSG at the start or would put a shotgunner in the first room from the beginning on. And this time I'm strict about that, because who will want to kill a chaingunner with the pistol? The question is how much of the map can be handled with the single-barrel shotgun and the chaingun. If too much of a hassle, maybe it's better to give the SSG at the very beginning. 

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Posted (edited)

Here is an example of DECORATE code from HacX (can't find the appropriate one from Doom):

Spoiler

ACTOR HacxPlayer : PlayerPawn //I guess it should be "ACTOR PlayerPawn : PlayerPawn" for original Doom
{
	Speed 1
	Health 100
	Radius 16
	Height 56
	Mass 100
	PainChance 255
	Player.ColorRange 112, 127
	Player.DisplayName "Hacker"
	Player.CrouchSprite "PLYC"
	player.startitem "HacxPistol"
	player.startitem "HacxRounds", 50
	player.startitem "HacxKick", 1
	
	Player.Weaponslot 1, HacxKick, HacxReznator
	Player.Weaponslot 2, HacxPistol
	Player.Weaponslot 3, HacxTazer, HacxCryogun
	Player.Weaponslot 4, HacxUzi
	Player.Weaponslot 5, HacxPhotonZooka
	Player.Weaponslot 6, HacxAntigun
	Player.Weaponslot 7, HacxNuker
	
	States
	{
	Spawn:
		PLAY A -1
		Loop
	See:
		PLAY ABCD 4 
		Loop
	Missile:
		PLAY E 12 
		Goto Spawn
	Melee:
		PLAY F 6 BRIGHT
		Goto Missile
	Pain:
		PLAY G 4 
		PLAY G 4 A_Pain
		Goto Spawn
	Death:
		PLAY H 5 A_PlayerSkinCheck("AltSkinDeath")
		PLAY I 5 A_PlayerScream
		PLAY J 5 A_NoBlocking
		PLAY K 5
		PLAY L -1
		Stop
	XDeath:
		PLAY M 4 A_PlayerSkinCheck("AltSkinXDeath")
		PLAY N 4 A_XScream
		PLAY O 4 A_NoBlocking
		PLAY PQRSTUV 4
		PLAY W -1
		Stop
	AltSkinDeath:
		PLAY H 6
		PLAY I 6 A_PlayerScream
		PLAY JK 6
		PLAY L 6 A_NoBlocking
		PLAY MNO 6
		PLAY P -1
		Stop
	AltSkinXDeath:
		PLAY Q 5 A_PlayerScream
		PLAY R 0 A_NoBlocking
		PLAY R 5 A_SkullPop
		PLAY STUVWX 5
		PLAY Y -1
		Stop
	}
}

 

 

You should change these strings or add new strings according to desired equipment. Pick original names, not the once that contain "Hacx" in them. It should look like that:

 

Spoiler

    player.startitem "Pistol"
    player.startitem "Clip", 50    //50 - quantity of ammo
    player.startitem "Fist", 1   //don't know why we should put "1" here

    player.startitem "SuperShotgun"

    player.startitem "Shell", 20    //20 - quantity of shell ammo

 

Edited by Dimon12321

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I'm not using scripts, because I'm mapping in Vanilla/Crispy. I also am reluctant to use dehaked stuff. So I don't know what you wanted to say here. I was just discussing if to give the player weapons to start with or not. Not if I can make the player spawn with the SSG in their hands. 

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