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Your mapping fears

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Biggest fear it's having a map where i spent countless hours refining and testing it, only to find out that most people find it mediocre at best, that it's a bit boring or that it feels like filler if its part of a bigger project. In the end you can't please anyone, and having some people dislike your maps for X or Y reason is to be expected and that's fine, it's valid, but finding out that the majority of opinions is that the map is 'meh' is a bit discouraging.

And very similarly to that, it's building and contributing a bad map to someone else's project, specially if it was a project i was invited to contribute

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Another fear of mine is working on a map for a few weeks and all the sudden run into a huge road block like not being able to do something in Doom Builder, then not being able to find any tutorials.

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That it is too flat, that the combat's too grindy for first timers, that it is too similar to the previous levels, that the layouts are not interesting enough... The latter two are probably why I haven't properly touched the editor in a long, long while.

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Releasing a map at all is a fear of mine. Haven’t done it yet despite working on maps over the past 10 years. Only a few friends have seen the few maps I made, and I haven’t really worked on one this whole year, nor last year really, mainly due to being in college currently. I also feel like my techniques are outdated, or if not outdated, I’d fear they’d be just flat out unwanted. Eventually I will get around this, and release something when I feel ready to do so. 
 

I’d also say a big fear of mine is losing the files. It makes me not want to bother trying to rebuild what I’ve lost, and thus whatever ideas existed are now lost. Sometimes that could be for the best, but it’s something I try to avoid now, that I didn’t really think much about as a teenager. 

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Losing the project due to some unforseen system crash or corruption. I backup my mulit-map projects to USB every couple of days. In the worst-case scenario I might lose a day or two of work, not the entire thing.

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@Gerolf You should release maps, it could help you improve much faster than the last 10 years of experience you have, don't be afraid of criticism, or your map being overshadowed by better wads from more experienced mappers, every mapper starts from somewhere and mapping is more fun when more people gets to enjoy your work, and how it gets better over time.

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That my perfectionism will drive me to exhaustion or despair before a single one of my many wad ideas sees the light of day.

 

Also, creating a really interesting hub area or room and not being able to expand on it. Seriously, my poor benighted NaNoWadMo project is like 50% hub areas and scrapped rooms at this point. I made the first two maps in just two days, then the next one took me two weeks! In that time I made the hub areas for four other maps and bunch of miscellaneous rooms, none of which ended up in a completed map. I've already reduced my goal of creating a full E4 replacement to a six map miniwad as a result, and even that may prove difficult at this point.

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Reading through the replies since mine, I've come to realise that I've actually lived most of these fears already!

  • Lose all of your work through a random editor fault? Check! I learned to back my work up at a young age thanks to this
  • Lose all of your work because you've bogged down and just can't continue with it? Oh yeah! Like, every few years I used to delete all of my lingering WIP projects to give myself a clean start and build up to an actual release
  • Start projects and never be able to finish them? Yep, see above. I've got three WIP projects that have been lingering for a couple of years, and not even NaNoWADMo could get me to finish the single-map one this month.
  • Release something to the deafening silence of no responses? Yep - a lot of threads drop off the front page within a day in WADs and Mods, so that's very high risk these days, but even years ago you couldn't guarantee a reply.
  • Release something to minimal response? Better than the above! Also quite common for single maps - particularly if they don't look incredible or come with a major hook
  • Release something only to be told it's shit? A pretty major theme back when I was an excited new mapper making experimental stuff in ZDoom. Not even the worst projects got universal panning, but back then we had anonymous reviews on /idgames, so you better believe I got some shit for some of my lesser projects :P
  • Having great ideas that you just can't commit to virtual paper? Honestly, my ideas plague me. For every release I've made, I've had at least one other idea that's been stillborn or simply never started. I had a big document at one point, but it was like a monumental demotivational poster, so I deleted it.
  • Starting an idea and realising you don't like it? I seem to have a really bad run of this with Cyberdemon gimmicks, plus a "Bug Hunt" map idea that I've probably tried to make about five times over the last few years. Evidently, it's not getting finished!
  • Doomkid's problem of not being able to do the last mile? If I can't make a map in a couple of sittings, it will drag on for a year or more. Pretty much guaranteed. Deleting the old projects was an approach to solving this. I'm trying to guilt myself into finishing them by keeping them around, now. We'll see how that goes!
  • That my best days are behind me already and my current maps will disappoint people? This one is a bit more nebulous, but I generally find that experience, coupled with enthusiasm for a particular idea, makes it all work out.
  • That I'll have the biggest stinker in a community project? Well, somebody has to, but due to the mixed nature of these things, and the wide tastes of the players, you're unlikely to be universally panned! Even if you do, it's a learning experience, it's exposure, and your map will be tempered by the highlights around it. Plus you might get some help from a decent project leader or the testers to improve before release!
  • That I'll wake up trapped inside my map? I made a MYHOUSE.WAD style map of the flat I live in. I've barely been outside for months. It's real!

 

I could probably go on. My point here is that those fears and pitfalls are something most of us have to go through. Even the mappers you worship now had to just start out at some point. The nice thing about a creative hobby - particularly one as easy to get into as Doom - is that you can do what you want and have a pretty quick turnaround time if you just want to get things out into the world. So, as I said before, hold onto those fears, because they represent your excitement and desire to do well. On top of that I'll now add: When you do confront those fears, you may be surprised by how easy they are to overcome. Ultimately, if you like mapping, you'll keep doing it even without an audience, or even if you feel your work is being quietly ignored.

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13 hours ago, Arbys550 said:

I've been working on a megawad for about 2 years now and I fear that when I release it, no one's gonna play it. A lot of the earlier maps aren't super good because they're old, so I'm worried people will play the first couple of maps, then decide that the entire megawad is gonna suck and stop playing.

 

As for accidentally losing progress, that's no concern for me. Back up your projects, people! I use dropbox. I also back it up on a separate flash drive in case my dropbox gets hacked or something.

 

As someone who went through this, I would recommend to work on the earlier maps and make them more appealing.

 

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As for myself, my biggest fears would be:

 

- Making someone waste their time playing something I've made.

 

- Throwing a bad idea in the batch which might ruin the experience for a lot of players.

 

- Not making the levels easily navigable enough, thus making players get lost regularly.

 

- Not getting any feedback e etc

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My mapping fears include some that have already been mentioned by a few people - two being not many seeing it and massive procrastination as detailed by Doomkid.

My deathmatch wad has been plagued by lack of development for a while since I started it in late 2019, but now I am back on it and already made 3 new maps on top of my original 2, with a third map scrapped since I was not satisfied with the direction it was headed.

To me the thought of knowing I am making new things for real players no matter how often it's played while growing as a mapper at the same time outweighs my fears.

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I've overcome a lot of mapping fears (especially boredom, critics, etc) since releasing WOS. I just enjoy mapping and aim to make as many fun and good looking maps as possible.

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- Whenever I make a new area & tried to make it as accurate as the image in my mind for it. Biggest fear is not making it as good as in the image.

 

- Procrastination. Need I say more?

 

- Monster placements. I have a big anxiety over that. I'm never sure if it's a fun encounter or not.

 

- I also fear that I might make a map too repetitive with samey traps or encounters.

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Mine biggest mapping fears.

-making maps too hard

-having the first few maps be too shitty for people to gain interest in completing the wad

-working on a megawad and thinking it will be good but turns out to be super crap

-not making maps that are interesting

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  • People saying it's too easy/too hard
  • Healing and monster placement
  • People opening my map in Doom Builder and see what a mess I have made
  • Monsters infighting 
  • Accidentally using the same tag
  • Sudden DB crash
  • Not knowing what texture should I use

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Mine would probably be not living up to the expectations of how maps are after 27 years worth of wads

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One of my fears during mapping is coming up with a new, original concept or mechanic only to be told after release that it's already been done in another wad. And then being accused of plagiarism. Hope that never happens.

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14 minutes ago, PeterMoro said:

One of my fears during mapping is coming up with a new, original concept or mechanic only to be told after release that it's already been done in another wad. And then being accused of plagiarism. Hope that never happens.

I fear the same not only for mapping, but for music, videogames and software. I was working on a python Markdown text to HTML webpage conversor. I discovered jekill, what basically does the same. The conversor losed its point, and i abandoned it. The thing still on github repo if you wan to view. Name Md2Html

I hate when it happens >:(

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1 hour ago, HLRaven said:

Mine would probably be not living up to the expectations of how maps are after 27 years worth of wads

Cool thing about mapping is that there's so many different styles of levels, and preferences can vary so wildly that you can make just about whatever and it will get some amount of appreciation. In my experience, even my weakest projects had something interesting for someone to latch onto.

 

Ultimately, there really is no expectation. Your map is your map, and people will be able to see it for what it is. There's no need to compare yourself to others.

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47 minutes ago, PeterMoro said:

One of my fears during mapping is coming up with a new, original concept or mechanic only to be told after release that it's already been done in another wad. And then being accused of plagiarism. Hope that never happens.

Definitely had this sort of thought run through my brain a few times before. XD

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A year ago or so I used to be afraid of "biting more than I can chew", like starting a large scale project then abandoning it. I have since learned to just post what I've done in smaller pieces, demos and work on them slowly instead so I don't get sidetracked as easily or feel like I'm wasting effort on nothing and voila, mapping fears gone :)

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My fear is missing some gigantic insurmountable bug when I release! As a result I spend far too much time testing and retesting after every change

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Making too many small dummy sectors close to each other just to get confused between them and their target lines. Its more of a freak out rather than fear though. *fast heart-beat* *eyes scanning fast* resorted to TID in the end.

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Find the right balance. Sometimes I feel like i'm shooting on the dark, there are so many different ways people can play your maps that it's crazy.

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I only started map making, but my biggest fear is missing such an obvious error even after testing it over and over (actually this is just a common dev pet peeve of mine period lol). Like during NaNoWADMo on my first map, my bro immediately noticed a missing texture. HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT.

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1 hour ago, Kokoro Hane said:

I only started map making, but my biggest fear is missing such an obvious error even after testing it over and over (actually this is just a common dev pet peeve of mine period lol). Like during NaNoWADMo on my first map, my bro immediately noticed a missing texture. HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT.

Very, very common. It's why you should always have other people playtest your levels before you release them. No matter how much time you spent on a level, a first timer will find or try something you never thought of...

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When u speedmapping in 4 hrs and didn't saving in whole time. And close to the deadline Domm Builder crashed and u lose all ur progress.

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