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Hellbent

School of Doom Design Competition

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Sounds awesome! I love the idea of this! Any idea for a deadline?

 

EDIT: Oh right it hasn't really started yet but I'm excited regardless! Doomy maps are in order!

Edited by SuperCupcakeTactics

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I quite enjoy the idea of this, I like competitive events. The prize pool is an interesting concept for a mapping contests. Good luck setting everything up. Also yeah deadline? Or are you still in the proto stage of setting up.

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Sounds to me like really the whole premise can be summarized to "Make good vanilla maps not based on the iwad". I don't mean to discourage, I'd join such a compo on that premise alone, but I think your dissertation describing what you want actually hinders creativity or is simply confusing (e.g. you want "atmosphere" but then don't want elements that would establish "atmosphere" or "placehood", so what you really seem to mean is "a sparse abstract atmosphere"). The attempt to make some quantified "elegance" metric (vertices:unit-area) is also putting a damper on creativity, it's going to be occupying the mapper's every move when earlier you mentioned gameplay was the thing most essential.

 

imo every criteria should be subjective, and everyone including the judges brings their own definitions of these terms to the table. If these terms are left undefined it'll be a lot more fun to judge what you're really looking for, as the variety of interpretation will be greater

"fun"

"elegant"

"flows well"

"atmospheric"

"abstract"

"original"

 

also doom1 vs 2, dear lord there is only so much you can do with single barrel shotguns and barons... feels like 90% of projects the last 5 years have forsaken all of doom2's gameplay refinements :-(

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Your rules aren't very clear and I find them contradicting with each other.

 

Quote

* Does the level have a strong sense of place, while keeping fairly abstract design? (sorry, helipads and other real world representations will be penalized). 

* Related to the above criteria: is there compelling use of textures to build atmosphere and sense of place?

Sense of place, keeping it abstract? No real world like things? So how do you get a sense of place? Do you just want a shitty techbase?

 

Work on detailing these further honestly. I'll wait till this whole thing is set in stone. And please get rid of the filler text, it's too long to read and doesn't really help understand the goal any more than "Make maps like Romero did".

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19 minutes ago, IvanDobrovski said:

Your rules aren't very clear and I find them contradicting with each other.


This. OP reads less like 'school of design' and more 'school of the kinda nightmare client specs a designer hopes never to have'. Gotta make those maps, y'know, really pop. I'll know it when I see it.

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3 hours ago, Vorpal said:

Sounds to me like really the whole premise can be summarized to "Make good vanilla maps not based on the iwad".

 

I wouldn't say it was anywhere near this vague. I mean, BTSX is "good vanilla maps not based on the iwad", but it's far from what Hellbent seems to be describing.

 

I guess the idea behind this project is considerably less straightforward than "Make a E1-themed map with 100 monsters", but I think I understand it pretty well. Make the best of your linedefs and make the level highly memorable while keeping detail low. Make different areas of the level thematically consistent with each other without copying themes that have already been done to death. Imagine you just made an awesome new 3D game engine and try to impress all the 90s gamers as much as possible without totally killing their PCs.

 

I think I can understand this quite well, because the original Doom (and to a certain extent also Hexen, Hacx, and other old classics...) have a lot of those memorable moments that don't happen a lot in your typical Doom WAD. The spooky, intimidating and entirely optional E1M2 maze, extra open-ended layouts like E3M2 or MAP13, the daunting teleporter puzzle in E3M7, the freaky spiraling staircase at the end of MAP15, the vast empty dark hall of MAP27 with monsters jumping out of the walls whenever you dare to approach a light source... a whole cave getting flooded with lava that one time in Hacx.

 

At least, that's what I believe @Hellbent is describing... am I just projecting, or are we indeed seeing eye to eye?

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@Vorpal: did you follow the development of DTWID at all? If not, I can certainly understand if you're confused. In that project it was discussed at length a virtue the original Doom levels have: that they often have a striking sense of place (like the examples I gave) without having any literal interpretation (where's the Hangar in Hangar? Where's the refinery in Toxin Refinery?). I'm not at all discouraging atmosphere: the point I thought I made was that original Doom has excellent abstract atmosphere that comes out of excellent abstract sense of places. I don't want atmosphere to lead the design; I want good gameplay to come out of an economy of space mentality to lead the design, with atmosphere following in an organic and natural manner. It is my belief, and maybe I'm misguided in this belief, that economy of space (or vertices:unit-area) is the framework, the foundation, the keystone to good gameplay (and secondarily, to creating things that can feel like they might really exist somewhere, even if you can't put your finger on what it is). I will post an indepth hypothesis on why I believe this soon, as I think it is an interesting point to consider.

 

Yes, many super-talented doom designers have figured out how to make Doom look like modern games with incredible detail and looking like things and places that we can immediately recognize. I'd like this contest to be less concerned with creating realism and more concerned with creating immediate and memorable game design. The more linedefs and detail you cram into the ceiling and walls, the less interesting the fundamentals of your designs become. Vrack2 is more or less a case in point of this. Remove all the detail and you basically have a Wolf3D grid style map. 

 

I'm happy to have this be a doom 2 project. But, personally, I don't want to see Doom 2 style levels as they do not, in my estimation, embody the genius of Doom 1's economy of space design throughout, since they are bigger and more open.

 

@IvanDobrovski Much of my reply to Vorpal applies to your response. Were E1 levels of Doom just "shitty tech bases"? I thought the examples I gave showed that Doom 1 had compelling sense of place and atmosphere, even if they were abstract. I left it open the type of levels people can make: they could be tech bases, they could be hellish, they could be futuristic, they could be city-ish, I'm open to suggestions and ideas. There could be a few themes we could agree upon or leave it entirely open (constraining themes somewhat might help make a more synergistic megawad in the end). 

 

@Scypek2 yeah, that's pretty much what I'm describing. I am hoping there will be an emphasis on smaller spaces, though, but maybe there aren't very many people interested in this "classic" sort of design. 

 

Hopefully some of the leaders of DTWID will post some of their thoughts: @Xaser, @Ellmo, @Alfonzo, @Naturaltvventy, @Esselfortium

Edited by Hellbent

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I guess some Doom II levels do indeed get bigger in both size and complexity, but not by a longshot. They still go very easy on the linedefs, and never fail to baffle me with their apparent simplicity whenever I check out their map image on Doomwiki.

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What do I mean by 1) "economy of space" and why do I think it is 2) the keystone to good Doom design?

 

1) Let's start by looking at what John Romero had to say about space in his process for making Doom 1, Episode 1 levels:

 

Quote

The line level design process is an iterative play design process where I start building a level and I play it immediately and I feel the space that I'm moving through and do I like the way it looks and is it the right length of movement space; do I like the amount ... [gets interrupted].

 

By iterative I think Romero means repeating a lot as in: draw an area, load the game and play it, draw some more, load the game and play it etc. etc. 

 

He talks about how it feels to move through the space: is the space too big? is it too tight? Does he like the way it looks and is it the right length of movement space? Again, is it too tight, too open? does it take too long to have an interaction with something in the environment or to move into a new environment?

 

Why do I think this question of space is so important? Romero is replying to a question "what's the secret to making a good Doom level?" In Romero's reply he immediately goes into "do I like how it looks" and "is it the right size space", therefore the size of the spaces is a key "secret" to making great Doom maps, and has to be a big reason why Doom 1 episode 1 is the most emulated and mimicked levels in the history of this beloved game. As far as I can tell, Romero squeezed the maximum gameplay and atmosphere out of the spaces he built in, and did it with a minimal number of vertices/lines/sectors. 

 

If this competition gains traction I will ask Romero to expand on what he started to say about space in the above quote. 

 

Just to be clear, I am also interested in discussing elements of Sandy Petersen's designs. One thing I liked about his designs was his using high ceilings to great effect (E2M4 is a good example of this). 

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24 minutes ago, Hellbent said:

I don't want atmosphere to lead the design; I want good gameplay to come out of an economy of space mentality to lead the design, with atmosphere following in an organic and natural manner. It is my belief, and maybe I'm misguided in this belief, that economy of space (or vertices:unit-area) is the framework, the foundation, the keystone to good gameplay (and secondarily, to creating things that can feel like they might really exist somewhere, even if you can't put your finger on what it is).

 

I agree with that, "economy of space" being qualitatively "good" and it acts as a catalyst to qualitatively "good" gameplay. My argument is just that trying to quantify goodness is going to be a rabbit hole (requires a ton of essay writing which myself and others are already misinterpreting and confused by, will lead to a sort of homogenization of submissions, can kill the mystery of what "goodness" is if we make it formulaic, and so on). By leaving a rule/guideline as a descriptor like "efficient" or "elegant" saves a lot of work and invites variety of interpretations. Like the most exciting thing about 10sector is how wildly different each map is from the last, box of chocolates and whatnot.

 

Everything surrounding "goodness" is just going to be so spiky with opposite interpretations, like I have to opposite definition of "atmosphere" than you do, I just think it saves a ton of analysis and arguing if it's left undefined and let the judges judge.

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Okay, interesting points Vorpal. It would never have occurred to me to see it this way if you hadn't replied. I like discussing things and analyzing them, and I think it's fun and helpful to newer mappers to try to understand the "secrets" to good design, to demystify what makes a doom level good. Also, I like the essay writing. It's fun and illuminating, hence the title of this contest "School of Doom Design". Furthermore, if I am to be completely honest, I suppose I should admit that I actually want that homogenization you see as a detriment. My hanging on to this game after all these years comes out of a place of wanting to answer what has now become an "age old" question: Do I not enjoy Doom as much as I used to because I've played the game to death or because the levels being created are not to my aesthetic? I suppose it's a little bit of both. I thought having a competition that is sort of instructive would be a win-win: there'd be a bunch of maps made in the style that I like while a lot of discussion in this thread would be instructive of what goes into making a good doom map. 

 

Honestly, though, I think the guidelines of this map making contest will serve to create a nice synergy for a megawad (the sort of synergy found in the original games, even), and will not be a detriment. It's a different kind of contest than 10Sectors. 


If we were to simplify the rules of the contest as you suggest I'd be less inclined to lead it or invest money into it. I appreciate your sharing your viewpoint on this matter, though, and your viewpoint is definitely worthy of further consideration. For now, though, let's see how many others are interested in the demystifying of good design by way of a map making contest!

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Hey! I'm so happy you took your idea from the thread! I hope all goes well for you! really excited to see how this turns out!

 

 

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Looks like discussion has tapered off... despite my Debbie-downerisms I think this would be a fun contest, hope it turns into something!

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Thanks Vorpal!. Yeah, I was hoping it would generate a little more interest. Maybe if I made something to show by way of example my vision for this project, since that's kind of a golden rule of mapping projects (to show something), it might generate more interest. Yes, I will do that! Stay tuned.... 

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Sounds good! alleycat.wad is one example so far, but if you made your own then we could look at both and see what they have in common.

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I loved the idea for this! It shouldn't be lost. I hope it is done, because it is awesome! Great job, Hellbent!

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