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Pechudin

How to make fun Ultimate DooM maps?

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    So, I just made my first map and wished to continue mapping for the Ultimate DooM, as I quite like the textures and the feel of the original IWAD, especially the E2. That being said, how do you make the encounters difficult beyond the 'room clearing' that the IWAD often devolves into? How do you make the limited enemy roster work with the maps?

    From what I have seen (from Sigil or Base Ganymede), the approaches often boil down to either:

    1) No ammo and health

    2) No space

, number 2 especially since with the majority of the roster being simple projectile-throwers ample space deletes any kind of difficulty. What are your thoughts, how to make fun, engaging and non-tedious encounters in Ultimate DooM? Environmental hazards? Puzzles? Cacoswarms? Being forced to run around to collect meagre shell rations, evading enemies?

    I think I have got the aestethics bit down, no problems there.

 

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Interesting question. I tried to mix projectile monsters with hitscan monsters, which in theory should increase difficulty. But in practice in my maps this often leads to a lot of infighting and the difficulty is thus not higher.

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Posted (edited)

1. Don't abuse meat-walls (cacos, barons).

 

Also note that while Sigil maps are tight on ammo, you can 100% clean all levels from pistol start by utilising infighting and telefragging cyberdemons (which is possible in all maps that seemingly don't have enough resourses to kill them normally).

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Rathori said:

1. Don't abuse meat-walls (cacos, barons).

 

Also note that while Sigil maps are tight on ammo, you can 100% clean all levels from pistol start by utilising infighting and telefragging cyberdemons (which is possible in all maps that seemingly don't have enough resourses to kill them normally).

  

    Absolutely, gone are the days where shotgunning barons in wide hallways was considered difficult or fun! When I use them, I usually use them as meat-doors, basically to block the player or sometimes to infight when not enough ammo is given.

 

25 minutes ago, Loomis said:

Interesting question. I tried to mix projectile monsters with hitscan monsters, which in theory should increase difficulty. But in practice in my maps this often leads to a lot of infighting and the difficulty is thus not higher.

 

    That's an idea, to give the player less than enough ammo and force infighting as a mechanic. Come to think of it, was this not showcased as early as 1993 in E2M9?

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1 hour ago, Pechudin said:

That's an idea, to give the player less than enough ammo and force infighting as a mechanic. Come to think of it, was this not showcased as early as 1993 in E2M9?

I guess additional ways to kill enemies such as barrels and crushers would be nice too for that scenario. When it comes to ways of killing enemies in ammo-starvation situation, the more the merrier :P

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Posted (edited)

I also love E2. I much prefer the visuals in UD, feels like Doom2 forgot half of the palette. But for sure the limited variety of opposition demands ingenuity when setting up encounters.

 

Environmental hazards are an excellent shout. E2M4, Deimos Lab's slime for example makes you take a lot of exploration risk/reward calculations.  Also, having the player have to fight on walkways across damaging sectors is a great way to put pressure on the player's dexterity without having to throw tons of monsters at them or confine them in tiny spaces. IMO this is slightly underused throughout the IWAD levels, although the best parts of E4 draw much of their difficulty from this.

 

Another thing that E4 has some good examples of is multidirectional combat. E.g. the plasma trap in E4M2 combines this AND movement limitation due to damaging sectors to great effect.

 

I agree on the don't abuse meatwalls suggestion except that I'd qualify it with "... as long as the chaingun is the upper extent of the player's arsenal."

 

Something that I feel Doom1 does better than Doom2, although I could be wrong, is use of roaming monsters. In Doom2, the levels tend to either be more linear or so open that this is less of a factor. Whereas in E1M9 or E2M2 for example, I'd regularly get ambushed by wandering enemies.

 

 

I don't know if you want to keep it completely vanilla, but if I was making an Ultimate Doom episode, I would perhaps ditch the spider mastermind. If you're targeting Doom 1.9 I think you can use Doom2 code pointers in Dehacked -- opening up the trickier homing missile or mancubi attacks. But even a much more conservative change of replacing the spider mastermind with the hell knight ( I mean, you're not even introducing any really new graphics in that case) would make the roster function much better.

Edited by holaareola

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Posted (edited)

My thought on this which I've put to work in my most recent map are:

Make space a commodity. You dont have to make a tight map just use monsters that will fight for the space the player wants.

Also learn the different niches of the doom 1 cast; they're not actually all imps, big imps, and floaty imps! Fun as it is to joke about.

Likewise and following from that are how you build/shape rooms, (rooms should be fun to run around in both without and with monsters) where you place resources, (they should go in a place you want the player to want to get to) environmental hazards to help shape things and create spaces that are mostly safe, but risky.

Build for spectacle as much as you build for challenge. As you said the d1 cast is limited, so don't spend an entire wad hammering the same approaches into players, those bits of spectacle both give something to break the monotony and can present a situational challenge you can then use through a good setup or clever mechanics. On this note as well, using different types of setups can be useful, lock-ins and one-way paths as obvious examples.

And following all of this, give the player some power weapons. Most encounters will have teeth and relevancy for less than 30 seconds, so give players a means to clean things up quickly. Personally I love rockets for this purpose, (as well as synergizing with making space a commodity) though plasma and bfg setups can work and be a lot of fun too. If an encounter is trivialized by adding a power weapon it was probably trivial in the first place. (obviously not always true but as a rule of thumb it stands) To this degree, always abuse meatwalls when they suit your purpose; just give a means to kill them quickly when they are not relevant.

As far as multidirectional setups go, at some point you've played doom enough to get a 6th sense to know when projectiles are coming at your back. I love multidirectional stuff but do keep in mind that all of these can be fundamentally stopped in their tracks by a player slowly listing lazily to the left.

 

These are some of my thoughts; there are a lot of good points to be made about creating maps for doom 1 (with its limited roster) so it will be interesting to see what other mappers have to say on it.

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No End in Sight showed us that there are forms of making challenging and fun maps on UDoom (e1m9: quarantine silos is a good example). UDoom challenge comes by placement and density, in the example i named, there are a lot of hitscanners and throwers in balconies while you are facing meat walls at the same time, with just the chaingun and the shotgun, moving around safe and hazardous floor all the time in somewhat limited space.

Sames apply to original e4m2: Perfect Hatred.

Its tricky but possible. And surely it demands a lot of playtesting to balance it.

Now i think of this, it would be interesting to make an UDoom equivalent of Plutonia.

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Double Impact: https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom/Ports/d-f/dbimpact

Draft Excluder: https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom/Ports/d-f/draftex

Lunar Catastrophe: https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom/Ports/megawads/lunar

 

Here's some good Ultimate Doom wads I've played over the years that offer a fun Doom 1 experience in different ways. Might be worth playing through these to get some ideas.

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Give the player a chaingun and some green armour, have plenty of zombiemen and shotgun guys. Also, damaging floors and the odd crusher.

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5 hours ago, Pechudin said:

    1) No ammo and health

 

 

Uhmm...no. That's VERY easy to do poorly and devolve in ridiculous "misery" gameplay, where you crouch behind corners waiting for demons to come by and get a few free punches in, before DARING to use ONE of your PRECIOUS bullets to finish them off, only to cry BLACK, BITTER COLD TEARS of REGRET afterwards (you could have spared that last bullet too, after all, Shame on you.).

 

A common error is to give too much of one type of ammo and not enough of another. E.g. the Great Bicycle Mystery was infamous for being stingy, of all things, with shotgun ammo in the first 3-4 maps (without giving you a chaingun, mind you) and later on with rocket ammo, in a situation where Plasma and BFG weren't much help.

 

Forcing the player to trade ammo for health or viceversa also sucks, IMO.

 

If anything, not giving the player anything more powerful than e.g. a shotgun for a good portion of the map, denying them of armor, rather than health and then pitting them in close-quarter ambushes helps turning the game into more of a survival/tactical shooter. You'll be surprised how badly you can be torn up even by a single imp getting one-two lucky shots in.

 

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Posted (edited)

    One thing I found fun in my first map was RL + close quarters with Barons and Cacos, I suppose there is a balance at play, where you take, in this example, space, and give ammunition.

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Play stuff like Return to Hadron, Thy Flesh turned into a draft-excluder, NEIS, Double Impact, and Shotgun Symphony and really grok what they are doing.

 

I'd say good UDoom maps are even more likely than good Doom 2 maps to take something that you wouldn't think of as good if you simply read a description of it and make it work, so I think pure theorizing is risky. You have to play maps and build intuition. 

 

Cannonball's maps in particular have a lot that are the exact opposite of some of the suggestions so far, yet work very well.

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