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LucidLocomotive

Does Final Doom feel more like it was designed with weapon carry-over in mind? Have Team TNT or the Casalis ever said anything about it?

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I know for me, Doom II feels like it was designed more for pistol-starting each level, since most levels have a chainsaw, and almost all of the weapons. I remember reading about how one of the developers said how Doom 1 was too easy because the levels were not designed accounting for weapons and stats from previous levels carried over, and how the levels were all designed and playtested with pistol-start in mind. I was just wondering what you thought of this, and also whether you think the episodes of Final Doom feel this way too. I like to have the complete experience and I can’t tell sometimes if I am cheating or cheapening the experience by starting off with my super shotgun. 

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Having played through all of the levels of Ultimate Doom/ Doom II/ Final Doom without doing pistol starts before I discovered Doomworld and learned about such a thing, I wouldn't say you're "cheating" at all. You can't cheat with a feature that was realeased in the final game (something automatically toggled to "On" by default settings), unless you're very specifically exploiting a glitch. Does it make some encounters easier? Sure. But if you're running around using your rocket launcher and plasma gun willy-nilly, you're probably going to make everything that isn't a slaughtermap a little easier, to be fair. Does it cheapen the experience? That is perhaps more subjective, I would say. I've played some maps that felt like they were very clearly designed for pistol-start, such as BTSX, and playing continuous for my first playthrough, I could see exactly how the map was designed for a pistol-start progression. But did this mean I didn't appreciate the level for its architecture, its progression of combat, or its creative detailing? No, it was still a good map, the experience was just different from not using the pistol start to play it.

That's how I feel about it, at least.

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All original levels for all expansions were optimized for pistol-starts. Three main reasons:

1. When the player dies, they respawn without any of their obtained gear -- so they only have 50 bullets, 100 hp and 0 armor.

2. So you can play a specific level optimally, without the need to play starting from the beginning.

3. Authors would playtest their levels starting with the default gear; playing from level 1 just to reach the current level you're working on, to check if ammo and health are optimal, every time, would unnecessarily eat too much time, and be way too annoying.

I'd bet it's not an exaggeration to say that, even for most community-made levels, this was the same case. I have yet to play a wad that does not allow for pistol-starts in any of its levels. There is the exception of 1 or 2 levels in a few 90s megawads such as Memento Mori II and STRAIN.

 

So as someone who's played all of Plutonia through pistol-starts, I can say I did not feel like I lacked any weapons or gear due to 'greediness' of the level designers at any section of any level.

If you choose to play continuously, it's definitely not cheating, though. Same with saving and loading.

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All the IWADs supported both styles of play. Even Plutonia, which emphasizes how the levels play as standalone challenges, still included design decisions that catered to Continuous players. In particular, the Arch-Vile maze in MAP11 concludes by rewarding players who survived it with the final weapon for their arsenal. That's a pointless gesture to Pistol-Starters since the map is already over at that point, but it shows that the Casalis had both styles of play in mind when putting the megawad together.

 

Personally, I tend to always play on Continuous when trying a mapset for the first time; I save a Pistol Start playthrough for if I feel like taking a second trip through the set with a higher difficulty. I can understand why some people start in that mode: being forced to use the exact loadout that the designer intended (rather than bringing in a backpack full of cells) means that you get to experience a wider variety of combat setups.

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Pistol starting is another way to play the game, it adds replayability, if you ever felt Doom 2 was too easy in continuous play, then pistol starting is going to add a layer of challenge, you must scramble for weapons, use ammo wisely, some maps don't even have SSGs.

I like to pistol start when I die, to add a sense of danger to death, so if I die at the end of the map, I don't get too frustrated, because with pistol starts, some maps play more differently and I don't have to do the exact thing again with the same weapons.

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There is a difference between a map being designed specifically with pistol start and designed to be beatable with Pistol Start

 

Doom was designed, as a whole, for continuous play but the maps still need to be beatable with pistol start.

When you die in Doom you loose ALL your weapons that isn't a pistol. this is the reason why weapons like the chainsaw appear more than once in the entire game.

If Doom 1,2 and Final Doom were designed specifically from pistol start then they would have designed the engine so that the weapons reset after each level exit, which it doesnt.

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i believe that continuous play works as "character level up" in rpgs, but without the actual levels. ;-) the further you go, the more powerful your character is. if you don't like it, you always can die and restart the map with your pistol.

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I would say that yes, especially Plutonia.

 

Final Doom feels a lot more balanced if you choose to go through it continuous compared to UD or Doom 2, both of which get trivialized by this approach to gameplay. TNT not so much, apart from a few levels such as Mt. Pain, but still playing a bit nicer than the original games if going through it continuous. Continuous is usually my approach to gameplay as well, I usually only pistol start when things get too easy - which, in the case of modern wads, is almost never the case - or I finish the level with such low health that it just isn't worth the struggle in the upcoming level so I'd rather just go back to square one and try again.

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20 hours ago, head_cannon said:

In particular, the Arch-Vile maze in MAP11 concludes by rewarding players who survived it with the final weapon for their arsenal. That's a pointless gesture to Pistol-Starters since the map is already over at that point

It can be kinda fun to see how many arch-viles you can kill in that teleporter using the BFG.

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It's possibly notable that Dario Casali released a full set of UV demos on each level from a pistol start. His accompanying text-file is worth reading for several reasons.

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5 minutes ago, Grazza said:

It's possibly notable that Dario Casali released a full set of UV demos on each level from a pistol start. His accompanying text-file is worth reading for several reasons.

Wow, id took their names out of the credits? That is weird and messed up if true 

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5 hours ago, LucidLocomotive said:

Wow, id took their names out of the credits? That is weird and messed up if true 

Likely because the Casalis were also part of TeamTNT at that time (wiki source) and were asked to created Plutonia Experiment after id tried their 8-map demo.

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Not sure I understand the claims. The credit screens (displayed after the first demo) only mention id employees in my copy of Final Doom, however the ENDOOM screen clearly credits the Casali brothers for Plutonia and all of TeamTNT for 'Evilution'.

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