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Zulk RS

Does anyone else hate hot-starts?

How do you feel about Hot-starts?  

160 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you feel about Hot-starts?

    • I like it
    • I Hate it
    • Meh, I'm indifferent towards it


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So I've been thinking about this for a bit and I was wondering if where and why this mapping technique (? Not sure what to actually call it) started and why it's somewhat  popular.

 

By "hot-starts" I am referring to that thing in WADs where the starting room of a map already has any number of monsters seeing the player as soon as the level begins without the player having even done anything yet. Zombies and imps on ledges that are facing the player start, a mancubus positioned behind the player start that's facing it, that sort of thing. I've seen this done on many PWADs. Granted, I don't remember seeing PWADs that did this every map but most PWADs that I've played tended to have 1-3 of these things every 10 Maps or something.

 

Am I in the minority of just hating "hot-starts"? What popularized this to begin with? If the majority like it, why? I've seen this being used in WADs both old (Hell Revealed) and new (Sunlust and Valiant). Why has it stuck around for so long?

 

Also decided to turn this into a poll too because why not.

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I dunno, maybe it's because it's an exciting way to start a map? Personally indifferent towards them, I can never truly know what to expect from the next map, so a hot start isn't something unexpected in a way I dislike. Note that Ultimate Doom's E1M2, E2M3, E2M9, E3M3, E3M4, E3M7, E4M2, E4M3, E4M5, and E4M8 all have a hot start (checked on UV), so the IWADs aren't safe from them either. Haven't checked the other IWADs yet, but wouldn't be surprised if they also had some hot starts in there.

 

Hot starts force me to pay attention when the map starts proper. They're a great tool for getting you to act fast, particularly with an initially fast-paced music track.

One concern about them might be if you're playing continuous and want to immediately end a session on the start of the next map. Well, what I usually do then is to open the menu during the transition to the next map, which usually opens it at the first moment when I can save my game. That way, I can reload the save whenever I die and begin right from the hot start.

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People like interesting looking start areas, and interesting areas tend to be populated with monsters. That's not to say that some maps don't have totally bullshit starts that have you under heavy fire before you can react, but the start of the map is probably the safest place to put that sort of BS, assuming it's well-balanced for a pistol start.

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32 minutes ago, Dragonsbrethren said:

People like interesting looking start areas, and interesting areas tend to be populated with monsters. That's not to say that some maps don't have totally bullshit starts that have you under heavy fire before you can react, but the start of the map is probably the safest place to put that sort of BS, assuming it's well-balanced for a pistol start.

 

Just for some clarification, I don't hate it when a starting room has monsters. Monsters in a starting room is fine. It's when the monsters can see the player is when I hate it. For example, Doom 2's Nirvana has a bunch of imps in the starting room but they're all faced away from the player.

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It depends on the context really.

If you spawn in a room where enemies are just doing their kind of thinf, it would be natural to have them immediately switching their attention to you.

 

In most slaughterwads where basically everything is a setpiece, yeah these can feel suck sometimes.

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I usally avoid it most times, but if done right can really bring a nice touch, i started a level recently where a friendly hellhound alerts you of an enemy entering your sleeping room, so its like you wake up to your dog protecting you from am oncomming hord.

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I lean towards indifference, but most of the time I see them I end up actually liking hot starts.

 

They get your blood pumping :D .

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As a novice Doomer, I find it a little unfair, but I guess it depends on just how many enemies there are. If it's a big enough amount to make me go, "Oh shit" and start ducking and weaving, but also give me plenty of room and not overwhelming me right out of the gate with enemies blocking every angle, then I think it's alright. I only recently had that kind of experience playing Scythe and made it out all right. I imagine I'll grow from hate to indifference to utterly relishing it in that, "Bring it on you bitches" kind of spirit.

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I'm really split down the middle because I think they can be done well, like in Valiant, where you're given room to maneuver and figure out your route, but can also be extremely frustrating if you are not expecting them and they are designed to give the player an unfairly low amount of time to react (i.e. the Mancubus behind you example, or having Revenants or a Cyberdemon immediately attacking when you spawn in).

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I hate it. It's so annoying when I want to end a session because I want to go to bed or take a piss or something, but the next level's a hot start and I have to clear the starting room first, which can take anywhere from 30 secs to 3 minutes. They're the reason I usually back-track to find health before ending a level, because chances are awfully high they're one of these, and if I start with 30 health or whatever I'm well passed fucked, and it's not even my fault. How was I supposed to know I would start the next level getting lit up by 90 million enemies immediately? It depends on degrees, though. I don't really care if the hot start is like 3 imps or whatever, but if there is a bunch of shit, and hitscanners or archviles are involved, and the process of getting to a place where it's safe to save and quit is needlessly complex and difficult is when it pisses me off. Please refrain.

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I personally like lot of hot starts. Of course, it really depends on how the start is applied - how clear the layout is, can you move enough without getting blasted? For short, action-packed and tightly tuned maps it can create a very 'puzzleish' feel - or perhaps akin to something like 'Super Meat Boy'. One example of such is Swift Death. 

Although, they can be applied badly and in some maps a slower start is good, not only gameplay-wise but in thematics and atmosphere.

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    I personally do not like them, I am a DooM Tourist and enemies at the start of the map prevent me from looking at the pretty scenery! But it also depends on the WAD. If the 'narrative' makes sense (i.e. DoomGuy enters starting room only to find imps munching on his buddy) then okay, but if the WAD is combat focused then whatever, narrative is not really the point there.

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I love a good hot start. Talk about getting your attention! It was Coffee Break that really made me like them. I had always done hot starts to some degree, but Coffee Break showed that if you take it up a few notches, beginning a map in a desperate struggle for life can be super fun.

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I like hot-starts. Cold-starts, Humid-starts, Warm-starts, and cool-starts suck, though.

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It really depends on the level and the monsters used for the hot start.

 

Start out with a Revenant in my grill and the SSG is on the other side of the room? Stupid.

 

Start out with a chaingun and two boxes of bullets mere feet away with a dozen imps and some zombies on the other side of the room? Awesome.

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Hot-starts do make me angry but when they are designed in a fair way and only happen occasionally  I'm fine with them.

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I think one of the reasons it's so popular is because it is a great strategy for a doom mapper to get the player into combat mode as soon as the map starts, Doom's biggest popular trend was the high demand for constant action, Every corner of Doom games were shoved full of enemies around every corner was the possibility of danger, so the idea of "Hot starting" a map is a good indicator for 2 things: 7/10 times it shows: How hard the map will be, and what you can expect from the map's pacing and progression, I know i don't tend to do it in my maps but i do enjoy ambushes and surprise encounters as i think they add a nice layer to your maps.

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3 hours ago, Maggle said:

 

I hate it. It's so annoying when I want to end a session because I want to go to bed or take a piss or something, but the next level's a hot start and I have to clear the starting room first, which can take anywhere from 30 secs to 3 minutes.

You can just get into the habit of saving right before exiting the level instead of right after starting a new one.

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Overall I lean toward preferring cold starts. That bit of tension, the "oh my god the demons don't even know im here!" cracks me up.

 

But hot starts can really add a dimension of urgency and fun to the start of a map.

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I usually find them artificial. Like how did you suddenly appear there and the enemies only noticed you now?

I just recently played the first map of "To Hell With You" for Doom 64 EX. There you basically start in a very tiny room, the door exiting it opens by timer soon after, then the enemies see you and there's no retreat. Seems a bit more natural way to do a hot start. :)

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My one request for hot starts is that you don't put a hot start in MAP01 of a multi-level WAD. When starting a new level, all's well and good and fair, but when starting a new episode I dislike being shoved into things quite that quickly.

 

Hot starts require a very different take on level flow. If you can build your level so that a sufficiently capable but still representative player can successfully complete it in one try from a 4+ arachnotron/cyberdemon hot start blind, then your level must have hit some kind of incredibly intuitive design and direction. Of course, figuring out how players think when blind running things is not at all easy when you're building the map.

 

To me, the value of a hot start is whether it encourages early fight or flight, and if it encourages one over the other how successfully a player can pull it off without needing to be perfect. But kicking the player out of the starting area with overwhelming force and letting them come back to it later with better equipment or positioning seems like it'd make for an interesting level flow. At the same time, don't put too many. Player predictions leading to boredom or frustration is a bad thing for any mapset.

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I dont care at all. Like it either way. But if it is a hot start, I prefer the one's where I can look around, all monsters with their back to me. But when I fire the first shot, all hell breaks loose. Hmm ... Does that count as a hot start?

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