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129thVisplane

Feeling really not great about my Doom mapping attempts.

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I've started my journey into mapping as an enthusiastic 13 year old kid with WadAuthor and many super mega cool and whatnot ideas for maps, of which I've finished and released only one, but I was proud of everything I've done and thought it was the best thing ever. But these days when I open GZDB to do anything else than a comfy house map, I draw a few sectors and then immediately break down crying because even thinking about gameplay is hard. I want to participate in this community, I want to make cool maps that people enjoy playing, but I just can't. I just can't get my head around making enjoyable gameplay, when I try it just ends up the same boring corridor shooting in front of the player through pretty but ultimately nonfunctional geometry. The fact that I can barely play Doom without dying every 5 seconds doesn't help either. Also I think I have some kind of trauma from the last time I was proud of a mapping attempt and posted it here only to get it absolutely annihilated. Fucking hell I just want to be loved by the community for colorful and fun projects but i can't do both, I can only make texture/sprite edits and funky palettes for my projects but the projects never go anywhere cuz there's never any fucking useful maps for them, and i cant release the resources because the context of the projects is important, and im about ready to fuckin end my miserable ass because my stupid brain is keeping me from being a meaningful part of the community for my favorite game and i don't know what to do.

 

Im sorry i don't know why i'm posting this vent but i havent been in a very good place over the past few days, and i just wanna say something before i snap and game end over a fucking 26 yr old game aaaaa i'm probably gonna log off for a few hrs to not see myself get warned/banned/losered/whatever for posting mental anguish cringe.

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Mapping in Doom is supposed to be fun if you are willing to play with it. I'd love to try it, but my interests lie elsewhere. Mapping in Doom is not supposed to bring you to a mental breakdown.

 

One advice i can give is that you shouldn't release anything thinking that it will be met with instanteous praise. Read the critics carefully. Barring tone (which is subjective), the vast majority of users here try to give meaningful criticism to you as to how to improve your works.

 

Don't take such criticism as a personal failure. Most veteran mappers here started out just like you, releasing their works, getting criticism. What you have going is that you keep attempting to get back into mapping, so obviously the drive for improvement is there. Trust me, it would be far worse if you released map after map and never learned anything from the criticism given. Look at other mapper's works, particuarly the early maps they started out with. What are they doing? What layouts are they using?

 

Another tool for inspiration might be Oblige. It has evolved to the point that it is able to generate a pretty fun mapset all by itself. Generate a megawad and study what Oblige does: Where does it place the monsters and the powerups, where are the key's settled? This can also be applied to the other mappers part found above.

That said, reading your thread, it does come across as if you are forcing yourself to make a fun map - Don't. Forcing yourself to creativity nearly always leads to either procrastination or a less than stellar attempt at achieving what you want. Try to approach things from another angle if one angle does not work out. For instance, Do you draw out your map physically on paper before designing it in Doom Builder? If not, give that a whirl!

 

A personal example:

When i started on the DoomWiki, i never had worked with its software before. Through carefully looking at other people's works and trying to apply the advices they gave through edits, slowly but surely i learned to improve in every aspect, to the point where i actually stop writing ''Seperate'' instead of ''Separate'' (Thanks @Diabolución!) ;)

In closing:
Whatever you do in the Doom community, know that your contributions are appreciated - The fact that you get proper criticism for them only cements this fact. Don't aim for the moon, but make a plan to build the rocket to take you there first.

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i totally feel you, pal.

I tasted what is make something you like but everyone out there, happy just following the standars, reject for being different.

 

I would like to play your maps. By now i'm totally sure that sometimes we better follow our own desire to make something worth the effort.

And you can even send a powerful message just leting you go.

 

Check Mars War by Nathan Lineback. Its soo clunky and out of the scoope of what everybody can rate as good that it become a classic of the time from what it was made.

I love it. As i also love TNT: Evilution and it "bad design choices".

 

So don't feel bad, pal. Always be someone out there that just love what you do. You just need to keep on trying until you are satisfied with what you made. If people don't like it or can't appreciate it, that doesn't mean you are bad, you just made something different that they don't understand. And judge it with the preconsived idea of what they think is good.

 

Don't let yourself down. This is what i always want to hear, just someone out there saying this for true, but people suck at being sympathetic sometimes.

 

Hope this words reach you, pal.

Hope this words, at least, helps you a little.

 

 

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redneckerz, advice like that often lands more brutally than it's intended - if someone's struggling with their place in a community they don't wanna be told to be more like other people lol

 

what I could say is that gameplay's what you make of it. no matter the layout or the distribution of weapons and monsters, every player will still find a way to approach it differently; if thinking about the gameplay makes you fret, concentrate on other elements of the level - its presentation and style, things you like to see made of map geometry or moving parts, or just find ways to showcase the resources you've been making in ways you want to see them used! there's still an audience for maps where gameplay isn't the prime function and i know because i'm one of them <3 i also suffer from being terrible at doom and yet drawn to it like a moth to a flame

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@129thVisplane You may be surprised to hear that a lot of mappers feel a bit like you do. I'll have to relate to you through my own experience, but perhaps it'll help you to know that there's a lot of fragile egos in the mapping game.

 

I don't know how I'm actually perceived by others on here and the wider Doom community, but I know how I perceive myself in relation to the achievements of others. You'd think, after 15 straight years of releases, you'd be pretty good at what you do. Yet I see the Cacowards roll around every year, see the endless "recommend me a WAD" threads and all the rest of it and there I am, never mentioned. Do I deserve to be mentioned? Probably not - there's an incredible talent pool here, but it feels like a personal failing for me. I often feel like I'm slipping into depression or growing embittered towards the community and get jealous of the success of others (but wouldn't dare to say I should have it instead of them, obviously. They've earned it in a big way, to stand out in this crowded of a field).

 

It's the price we pay for being passionate about a creative endeavour, I suppose. So be disheartened, but don't let that stop you making what you want to. The joy of finishing something, even a crappy little speed map you threw together in an hour or two, is worth the suffering.

 

As for advice?

Jump on some mapping Discords, like @Bridgeburner56's Hellforge, if you're not already on there, and talk Doom with people. Or head over to Doomer Boards, the DBPs and their Discord - it's a small group, but we're pretty supportive of mapping and the quick release cycle gets you moving and developing quite quickly. I imagine if you're a good contributor for one or two projects, you'll be able to run a DBP and then your ideas will get the maps you want. Or if you're not game for that, wait until the next NaNoWADMo and join the many others burning out over the course of a month. The more you talk to others, the more support you'll get and the more of your work you'll want to show. That'll encourage you to finish it.

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Btw, there are also other ways to contribute to the community; You could do midis, sprites, textures, titlepics, write lore, etc.

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1 hour ago, 129thVisplane said:

im about ready to fuckin end my miserable ass because my stupid brain is keeping me from being a meaningful part of the community for my favorite game and i don't know what to do


This seems a little extreme, but I'm going to take it seriously and compassionately here for a moment.

For one; map for you. First and foremost. Are you having fun creating? Are you having fun playing what you've made? Do you get any sense of pride from having made a thing? If you can't answer 'yes' to even one of those, is it worth even continuing? I'd say not. And those, to me at least, are the only metrics that matter; after all, have you ever heard of me as a mapper? Prrrrrrobably not. And yet, I keep at it; even if sometimes I gotta take a break because it (temporarily) stopped being fun. Sounds like you sorely need one of those, you could just be experiencing burnout.

Secondly, there are more ways to be a meaningful part of this community than creating mods/maps/content in general. Insightful commentary on posts, or even participating in any of the WAD 'club' threads that are now a regular occurrence; it's all good, in my eyes. Anything but memes and shitposting, right?

Just take care of yourself, okay? If you're becoming frustrated with anything to the point where it outweighs the benefits and becomes a detriment, don't feel bad if you gotta take a step back. Breathe. Re-assess. Do something else, something you know you enjoy. And then, after long enough, perhaps you'll come back to things with a clearer head and a fresh perspective.

Edited by Jayextee

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26 minutes ago, yakfak said:

redneckerz, advice like that often lands more brutally than it's intended - if someone's struggling with their place in a community they don't wanna be told to be more like other people lol

Holy heck that's not even the slightest of intentions i tried to make there.  <.<

 

What i am going on is that the OP struggles to find composure and peace with his mapping attempts - That's what i am after.

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Don't take negativity so hard. We all experience that stuff. Sometimes the person is trying to be helpful, sometimes its some troll or nobody responds at all to the thing you worked on so hard and it can suck for sure. This is what I got from some anonymous on /id games.

 

Quote

0/10 Not Worth it!

 

I didn't find it funny at the time but I shrug it off now and don't worry about it. Some other anonymous tard said my map was shit... can't find the quote... lol Don't take it so hard, were all been in the same sort of situation. Don't let some disappointment keep you from continuing your endeavor to make content for the game you love. It's been mentioned that you can also try doing other things besides maps. You said you make textures, so why not make a few and put them in the texture thread.

 

As for making enjoyable gameplay, I've been mapping for 20 years, have released very little and I'm still figuring out stuff. The main thing is that you enjoy what you're doing. I map for myself and if somebody else gets something positive out of it, then that's a bonus.

 

Don't give up. I hope you come back and decide to stick around and get more mapping practice under your belt. You obviously want to, so just do it already! ;)

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Jayextee said:

This seems a little extreme, but I'm going to take it seriously and compassionately here for a moment.

Yeah I might have gone a little spicy there. I do like living, I honestly don't know why I say these things. Meltdown brain not working right.

 

Anyway I did consider just giving up and letting the more mapping-inclined people do the mapping, for my own sanity (which isnt very solid anyway as you can see by this meltdown post), but part of my crippling self-pressure to make maps is because I have beloved projects which I'm convinced I can't ask for help with, because apparently in my head asking for anything on Doomworld gets you laughed out of the wads/mods subforum and newprojected to hell unless you're an established user. I do love doing the graphical parts of modding but this deep seated (or is it deep seeded) fear of getting dismissed as begging for maps and told "haha just make the maps yourself noob" really gets to me.

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I recommend you to read this blog by @Dragonfly last year: https://www.dfdoom.com/staying-motivated-as-a-doom-mapper/

We have all started from zero and we have all received tons of shitty comments here and there (and we keep getting them!). Bad experiences should not invalidate the good ones but that is a skill that is developed with time!

 

As others have suggested, join a group of mappers that can help you to improve!

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I once tried to make a map. Years ago. Actually it was more than 20 years ago, so I guess I can say "decades ago". I think I used DETH? The first time I tried to load it it crashed because I didn't know I was supposed to build nodes. WTF? Then I fixed it but the first door I tried to make, I forgot some setting and it opened into a huge medusa effect or something like this, and it froze. Oh, and the light level was 255. I threw my hands in the air, and haven't tried ever since.

 

It amazes me how some people can build amazing, detailed maps and I couldn't even build a door. Well, I guess I never tried hard enough to actually learn the basics. If I had some creative bug inside of me, I'm sure I would. Now, my son - he might have such a bug, and he talked about wanting to build Doom levels. When he's a little older, I will probably spend some time with him to learn the process and then let him run wild with it.

 

And @129thVisplane I can say this: there are many ways to be a meaningful part of this community. Mapping is just one of them. You can contribute artwork, music, pieces of code for any of the ports, speedruns, reviews - anything really. All depends on where your creativity lies. And if you don't seem to feel to invest in any of it - so what? I have never done anything useful for this community, I don't feel ashamed by it, and no one cares one bit anyway. I still love DOOM, and enjoy coming here to chat and have fun.

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Mapping is hard and takes a lot of practice.

 

At least for me, it is the same as learning a new language, a musical instrument or even programming: It's about learning concepts, putting them in practice, getting used to the tools (Doom Builder, XWE, Decorate, etc) and doing it again and again as your brain gets used to the process and the whole thing becomes less painful.

 

Unless you're a mapping genius, you won't be able to create something impressive from get-go. I wasn't and probably many here, which are a lot more experienced and skilled than me, wasn't too. Take baby-steps and start building simple and (more important) short levels as you learn to use the tools, get used to the environment and you feel confident to try more ambitious ideas. If you want to accelerate the process, getting in contact with more experienced mappers (such as Discord), as well as watching some mapping stream (because someone always knows a useful Doom Builder hotkey that you didn't know before :P)

 

So no need to be so negative and, more important, you should map first for you and yourself only. I've spent several years in projects that people would simply shit on it and/or that very few people played. The only reason I kept going back (even if I would stay years absent) was because I love mapping.

If you feel like the same, don't give up and keep going, you might not end being a super kick-ass mapper, but you'll definitely enjoy the journey.

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Don't get me wrong, I know my way around GZDB, it's just when I have to construct a map based on actual combat and not aesthetics, as soon as I place the first monster my brain shuts down and I can't figure out how to progress, and I think back on that one comment telling me a battle in my last public map just doesn't work, and I go into a feedback loop of self loathing.

 

I honestly think i'm just gonna stick to the graphical sidelines and stop trying to force myself on mapping. I did think about it and realized that Kevin Cloud probably didn't make any maps either, and that made me feel a bit better about myself as well.

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Oh, I see, monster placement depends a lot on what kind of map you want to create.

For your maps, what style are you aiming for? Classic more-exploratory, 90's grindfest, punchy-like Plutonia, slaugther or gimmicky-base?

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I think that if you don't actually like your maps, you should try to play some well known wads, take notes at what they did well and such, of course, when you start don't think you'll make a MegaWAD, make something easy.
For the combat problems, i recommend also self experience, your playstyle and such, ask questions like "Will i and others be able to kill a Hell Knight with the SSG?" if the answer is yes, put a Hell Knight, if not, put a weaker enemy.

That works for me, although i'm no Jhon Romero, so take these tips with a grain of salt, because i'm not really experienced.

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@Deadwing I'm honestly not sure. I do enjoy the more simple, IWAD-style combat, mostly cuz that's about the only style i can efficiently survive at without savescumming and I don't want to add another layer of frustration to the mapping process by dying in my own maps.

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As far as monster placement goes, just drop something in and live with it for a while. When you get fed up with it not playing well, change it out for something else. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good, and don't let sanity checks or reason stop you from trying something at least once. Who knows, maybe that room does need a handful of cyberdemons. Get something that you think plays. Not plays well, not plays intuitively, not plays according to some theoretical optimum of ammo/monster balance/fun. Just something that plays. Then move on, because it sounds like that's something that you might need to just move on from for a while, and that's okay.

 

If this ends up with a lot of easy monster placements, so be it. Easy maps with lots of exploration can be just as fun to play a few times as hard maps with tons of hyper-engaging encounters for some of us. Good monster placement and very finely tuned balance definitely appeals to a certain section of the community, but some of us also thought that <insert megaWAD here> was harder than it needed to be even on HMP or HNTR. Doom1 E1 was really easy (except on Nightmare), but it's still fun and memorable today.

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3 hours ago, elend said:

Btw, there are also other ways to contribute to the community; You could do midis, sprites, textures, titlepics, write lore, etc.

Lore!? How? People read that?

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10 minutes ago, 129thVisplane said:

@Deadwing I'm honestly not sure. I do enjoy the more simple, IWAD-style combat, mostly cuz that's about the only style i can efficiently survive at without savescumming and I don't want to add another layer of frustration to the mapping process by dying in my own maps.

So don't over do it, pal.

Just make the maps, and position the odds the way you feel confortable with.

 

A lot of people around here still enjoy the iwads style of difficulty curve. Myself one of those.

 

Just one question, i play in "Hey not to rough", and even if i had a hard time with Doom2 in that difficulty, i can manage my way around.

What difficult do you play? Do you use mouse and keyboard? wich sourceport you use?

 

I ask this, because if you play keyboard only, that greatly adds a layer of difficulty to have in consideration.

 

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3 hours ago, Redneckerz said:

Another tool for inspiration might be Oblige. It has evolved to the point that it is able to generate a pretty fun mapset all by itself. Generate a megawad and study what Oblige does: Where does it place the monsters and the powerups, where are the key's settled? This can also be applied to the other mappers part found above.

 

The rest are fine, but I would highly recommend against this.

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1 minute ago, rdwpa said:

 

The rest are fine, but I would highly recommend against this.

I mean part of the issue is that even mapping a few sectors is a burden. I take in that that Oblige, whilst flawed, is decent enough to make a sufficient level. Obviously looking at mappers first should apply. But if one has troubles making a decent sector, then Oblige fits that bill.

And honestly that's more a compliment for Oblige today anyway if anything else. Its just an additional tool, not a primary incentive.

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7 minutes ago, rdwpa said:

 

The rest are fine, but I would highly recommend against this.

 

1 minute ago, Redneckerz said:

I mean part of the issue is that even mapping a few sectors is a burden. I take in that that Oblige, whilst flawed, is decent enough to make a sufficient level. Obviously looking at mappers first should apply. But if one has troubles making a decent sector, then Oblige fits that bill.

And honestly that's more a compliment for Oblige today anyway if anything else. Its just an additional tool, not a primary incentive.

Wait, Oblige can be used as insiparition? I'm mostly at the side of rwdpa, because Oblige is flawed in many ways, i have literally 3 Oblige generated maps that literally have the player 1 start next to the exit.

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1 minute ago, Redneckerz said:

I mean part of the issue is that even mapping a few sectors is a burden. I take in that that Oblige, whilst flawed, is decent enough to make a sufficient level. Obviously looking at mappers first should apply. But if one has troubles making a decent sector, then Oblige fits that bill.

And honestly that's more a compliment for Oblige today anyway if anything else. Its just an additional tool, not a primary incentive.

You're not learning anything about the fundamentals of mapping using Oblige.
I highly recommend learning basics- there are diagrams about basic building blocks of level design available. Learn them, take them in, fold them into your maps. Even if one building block doesn't seem impressive, you'll learn to layer them in interesting ways and make fun levels in no time.

But yes, above all, have fun with it. If you're not having fun, take a break, go play a different game, chill out. We're doing this for free- it's not the end of the world if you don't finish something. Criticisms will come (and unfortunately here, or anywhere, sometimes harshly), please read them and take in that information for further improvements.

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1 hour ago, 129thVisplane said:

@Deadwing I'm honestly not sure. I do enjoy the more simple, IWAD-style combat, mostly cuz that's about the only style i can efficiently survive at without savescumming and I don't want to add another layer of frustration to the mapping process by dying in my own maps.

 

Oh cool, I would try to focus on more incidental combat instead of tough setpieces.

 

Focus more on low tier enemies, mixing up projectile enemies with hitscanners and hiding them, to make the encounters more engaging. If you don't know where to hide enemies, change the geometry of your level so you can explore different ways to add your enemies. (Adding columns, boxes, corridors, etc). Of course you don't need to hide everything, but having some small ambushes definitely helps making things engaging.

 

I wouldn't say never, but avoid placing too many enemies after you open a door or in a corner that makes camping a super-easy strategy.

 

Be really careful of using demons or spectres, they're too bulk for low tier combat and can make things get tedious fast. They're stronger when the player isn't in a safe place and forces him to move. If you want to use them more freely, a SS in the beginning will be a must.

 

Higher ties enemies are definitely allowed, but for now might be better to keep them in bulker traps, as your goal to get closer to a IWAD experience. In this case, you'll need to create to some small setpieces, which usually are ambushes that happens after the player picks a key/press a switch and monsters appears putting the player in a disadvantaged position.

 

I also like to keep grind level (when you are in safe spot cleaning up enemies and waiting them to die without challenge)  as low as possible. HK, Caco's and Barons are the biggest offenders here, because in a typical situation their threat level is very low and they take a lot of time to kill. Some people enjoy this though. With Rockets or Plasma, killing them is more fun, though.

 

Monster Placement is a very subjective thing, if you are not skilled (as I am not), focus on something that will be fun first for you. Some things I've said probably isn't what many like to do or even think as a good design approach, which will require for you to experiment a lot and find your balance and what makes things the most fun for you.

Edited by Deadwing

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39 minutes ago, Major Arlene said:

You're not learning anything about the fundamentals of mapping using Oblige.

True. It does the opposite actually. You won't learn anything with Oblige unless that you start doing maps on your own.

That's the real learning process.

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52 minutes ago, TheStupidestBeing said:

 

 

Wait, Oblige can be used as insiparition? I'm mostly at the side of rwdpa, because Oblige is flawed in many ways, i have literally 3 Oblige generated maps that literally have the player 1 start next to the exit.

 

49 minutes ago, Major Arlene said:

You're not learning anything about the fundamentals of mapping using Oblige.

I am not sure how i can envocate it any clearer than what i said previously. If a user has issues getting a sector together, then ofcourse, look at other mappers first, but how is Oblige for that specific meta-task a bad omen to suggest? Oblige can make a sector by design.

If anything by studying Oblige you will learn to recognize its flaws* and also how to avoid common mishaps that Oblige does expose.

Atleast, that's what i tried to convey.

*At the very least you will learn not to put an texture in that says Oblige into your level. :P

To add something of more merit to this reply, I would advise OP to take the old but still very useful DoomWorld Editing Tutorials to heart. They contain everything from how to make a 3D bridge to transparent doors.

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1 minute ago, Redneckerz said:

 

I am not sure how i can envocate it any clearer than what i said previously. If a user has issues getting a sector together, then ofcourse, look at other mappers first, but how is Oblige for that specific meta-task a bad omen to suggest? Oblige can make a sector by design.

If anything by studying Oblige you will learn to recognize its flaws* and also how to avoid common mishaps that Oblige does expose.

Atleast, that's what i tried to convey.

*At the very least you will learn not to put an texture in that says Oblige into your level. :P

To add something of more merit to this reply, I would advise OP to take the old but still very useful DoomWorld Editing Tutorials to heart. They contain everything from how to make a 3D bridge to transparent doors.

r/whoosh

if you don't know the fundamentals to begin with you're not going to recognize the flaws of Oblige. period. much of learning map-making is tied to muscle memory- if you're not drawing those sectors then you're not going to understand how they work with each other- or how they might not.

I do recommend checking out tutorials as they can help with understanding fundamentals but having a map drawn for you is by no means a way of learning.

Apologies for somewhat derailing the thread about debating about Oblige but it's just not a good tool. Mapping is not just a technical form but an artform, and you cannot develop an art style from pre-fabricated maps. Period.

Also recommended- learn from people who map (with their hands). If you like their style- ask what they're doing or how they're doing it and you'll find a few different answers you can then compile to gain a better understanding of how mapping works.

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Thanks for y'all's insights, support, and suggestions honestly, I've been reading em but I'm out of brain power to reply to specific ones rn. I did however realize that i've been stuck in a loop of "everyone's gonna fuckin loathe whatever i do" based on my own mind constantly reminding me of a comment taken out of context and the reviews on my first released wad. Maybe after I take a nap I'll come back to GZDB and try to make something that I enjoy playing even if the warped version of a generic idgames reviewer in my head doesn't.

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