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Doom OG

Is map knowledge a skill?

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I am feeling philosophical and wondering if map knowledge is really a skill.  Someone mentioned it the other day somewhere and I keep wondering about it.   Obvious skills would be things like reaction time, movement, resource management, target acquisition, general strategies, crowd control, etc.

 

I don't think map knowledge is a skill in that sense.  Perhaps its a skill-enhancer?

 

But then again, I see things like Zero Master memorizing entire IWADS for speedruns and I think maybe it is a skill...I don't know, I'm weird, but just wondering what you think.

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whatever thing that helps you gain the upper hand may be seen as somewhat a skill.

In this case, is your memorizing skill that gives you knowledge of the surroundings thanks to the previous walkthrought.

 

Playing an entire megawad without knowing it is where the other skills you mentioned come into play.

But if you are replaying the mapset, its kinda difficult to not use your memory of it.

Unless you played it long ago, its almost impossible to not use your memory.

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Absolutely it is. Memory is location based, as per Joshua Foer.. American Memory Champion and author of ''Moonwalking with Einstein". When you know the map, it essentially becomes a Memory Palace. I'm sure many Doom players can mentally walk through a map that they've played and know (nearly) exactly what will happen in each location of the map. 

 

Consider this: If you had to relearn the map layout on each subsequent run, that would slow everything down. Map knowledge is certainly a skill. 

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It's a skill in a sense.

Do you remember the excitement and anticipation of playing a map for the first time? With each replay one remembers more parts of the map, that is a skill, but it destroys the sense of excitement and anticipation, which really is a shame.

 

This is, of course, true more so for a small map, but luckily there are also large maps, which keep the excitement and anticipation up a bit longer.

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I’d go with yes overall. In the same way that becoming a master of gameplay takes effort and memorisation, so does becoming a master of navigation/ layouts. “Raw” skill will only get you so far, if you’re not too good at navigating and memorising, most maps will be out of your range.

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I'd say it is, definitely. It's like navigating Wal-Mart, once you have the layout memorized, you know where everything is. That is, unless the layout changes. Very useful but it can become monotonous and boring if you know where everything is and nothing changes.

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I would personally split things into two different categories: "skills" and "advantages" and call map knowledge as an advantage.

Skills are, as you listed some of them, your personal individual abilities to do things better than average person who does not have experience with the game.

Advantages are outside factors, which give you better chances when competing with a person who has exactly same personal skills as you.

 

So to distinguish them:

- If you previously have played a specific map or megawad, this is an advantage.

- How much and how well you can remember from the map or megawad you played in past, is a skill (the qualities of your memory and memorization ability).

 

Another examples of advantages:

- quality of your physical equipment (mouse, keyboard, monitor), playing on lower difficulty level than your competitor, mods and hacks (aimbot etc.), knowing about game's internal workings and bugs and how to exploit them

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2 hours ago, Hisymak said:

So to distinguish them:

- If you previously have played a specific map or megawad, this is an advantage.

- How much and how well you can remember from the map or megawad you played in past, is a skill (the qualities of your memory and memorization ability).

 

Absolutely, I agree.

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Undoubtedly, familiarity with a map is a big advantage when playing through it. But is it a skill? I'm not sure I would call it a skill - it's more knowledge, that skill can take advantage of.

 

Take driving a car (or a motorbike!) - when you learn to drive, you acquire a crap-ton of knowledge about how to drive, but that certainly does not make you a skilful driver - that takes practice and experience. 

 

Knowing a map is the same - I knew E1 like the back of my hand 20 odd years ago - but I was not very good at actually playing until relatively recently, and the prior knowledge of E1 certainly meant I could play through it again very easily.

 

Certainly knowledge of a map gives you an advantage when playing - regardless of your skill level - but that knowledge does not, in itself, mean you are more skilful at playing.

 

The only exception I can think of is if you have trained yourself to remember things better than you did before - so your better memory (or at least the ability to improve your memory) could certainly be thought of as a skill. So you could say applying this new memory skill to better remembering a particular map might apply here.

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So, I’ve turned the question over in my mind a bit more thoroughly.. If by skill we mean aspects of playing that pertain to fine motor skill specifically, then knowledge isn’t a “skill” by that definition - but it’s still someone putting time and effort into being better at the game, which I think could (colloquially) be classified as “part of your Doom skills”.

 

Any craft requires knowledge, and a person with more knowledge is going to be able to take a better approach to that craft. So if we really do want to divide “Doom knowledge” and “Doom fine motor skill” into two clean categories we can, but it’s still safe to say that knowledge plays into that skill.

 

I suppose knowing and exploiting Doom’s quirks and bugs would fall under knowledge as opposed to skill, but again it results in the theoretical best Doomer ever being a balanced cocktail of fine motor skills and knowledge about Doom’s mechanics, quirks, bugs, and map designs.

 

I guess it does make sense to divide “raw skill” and “knowledge” - they call on different parts of the brain, but both require effort and learning/training on behalf of the player, so both are important attributes to consider if you want to ask “how good is this person at Doom?” and the importance of knowledge shouldn’t be downplayed. I think it’s also good to remember that, in a colloquial sense, basically the sum of your abilities is usually considered when gauging “skill”, including aspects of gameplay that don’t pertain directly to fine motor skill. (Of course this concept could apply to many other games or even non gaming endeavours.)

 

It’s interesting that multiple studies have found a direct link between fine motor skill and working memory (closer to “short term memory”). Usually these studies are focused on children during developmental stages, but I still think it bares mention. Since our long term memory or knowledge base is directly informed by our short term memory, this seems to suggest that - although knowledge and raw skill call on different areas of the brain primarily - the divide isn’t clean cut by any means, and that ultimately the two inform one another.

 

I love this thread, I learned more about how the brain works because of it!

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@Doomkid I'm, not sure a delineation between the two is appropriate in all occasions. Knowledge is one thing but how you use that knowledge is where it becomes an active skill. An example off the top of my head is table tennis - motor control is one aspect but then the other is knowing to use topspin to counter your opponents backspin. That's not a mechanical skill but it's utilizing a proficiency you've developed. It is useful to make a distinction between motor skills and knowledge but I think they both fall under the umbrella of 'skill'.

 

We should take a step back and look at the questions themselves because skill changes with context. "How good is this person at Doom?" is too broad of a question. What does being good at Doom mean? Good at finishing Sunder? Good at finishing maps they've never played?

 

///

 

You know, after writing all this I may have changed my mind. I was thinking about professionals that heavily rely on knowledge like electrical engineers. It's one thing to learn all the prerequisite information but how you actually use it where the skill comes in. It's the same in Doom. You may know a map back to front, you may know there'll be an imp across the room and a archvile right in your face but if you choose to target the Imp first then you didn't use the knowledge in a skillful way. I fully agree with @smeghammer.

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To repeat what has been said and sound pithy doing it:


Knowledge is a tool, skill is what you can do with said tool.

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If you define a skill as being something needed to beat a map or an encounter easly, then yes.. one might called it a skill.

Otherwise, skill are something that help the player to channel knowledge in a particular domain into tangible actions.

Like ... dodging... and stuff.

There is a very tight line between knowledge and skill.... but consider this :

Knowing the map and or the game, allows you to be more skilled.

Being more skill doesn't allow you to know more about the map. They are disconnected in that direction.

 

So map knowledge can't be a skill.

Like in maths, its not a necessary and sufficient condition, it doesn't work both way, so they are not equivalent.

 

Exemple : I know MAP01 of Sunlust very well, but I might be destroyed by another player on this map even if the other has no knowledge of the map beforehand, because translating knowledge into applicable advantage on the ground demands skills all by itself.

I'm not skilled because I know, I can become skilled when I know, if I know jow to channel this knowledge.

I know e1m1 is the first map of doom.

I know there is an imp behind the corner. I might still get hit and kill him later than someone that didn't know of it, becauseI didn't know how to strafe propely in order to jump in front of the imp and shoot him.

I have the knowledge, but I lacked the skill to translate it. Thus it is not a skill.

 

I know how to get an OOB in Doom. I am unable to perform it. I'm noy any better at the game now because of this important map knowledge I have on Halls of the Damned.... because I can't translate it.

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9 hours ago, JezChrist said:

Being more skill doesn't allow you to know more about the map. They are disconnected in that direction.

 

So map knowledge can't be a skill.

Like in maths, its not a necessary and sufficient condition, it doesn't work both way, so they are not equivalent.

 

Very good point.

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For me, classifying it either way is arbitrary - and i mean that it's a matter of choosing which standard one wants to use.  What is sure, that it is very different in nature to the technical skills required to play, and in this sense, since this difference exists, whether it's classified as a skill or not, doesn't make it similar in nature to other skills.

 

On the other hand, according to my subjective classification: a skill is something you actively must practice to have, and memorization isn't really something most people practice (i suppose when one gets more familiar with general Doom layouts, one can get better at remembering maps with the help of familiar features etc. much like someone who walks in the woods a lot gets better at getting around there than someone who doesn't.  But i stil don't think that's similar 'practicing' as acquiring a skill usually takes - otherwise all experience would fall under developing a skill..).  Even if one does, to my way of thinking, it still isn't a skill because its usage is largely automatic and not consciously utilized, as in case of motor skills.  So i'd say it's an ability, not a skill.  But all this gets really into drawing lines in the sand territory and i don't believe, against our cultural trends, most aspects of life should be strictly classified because it tends to be more limiting than constructive - well, belief has nothing to do with it, i don't do it, and i don't accept a lot of classifications haha.  One has to force oneself to draw hard lines where no such things are objectivelly.  Tis the problem with all systems......

 

Kind of like is chess a sport or not...well, is snooker a sport or not?  Or are they just games? 

Edited by dei_eldren

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How do you setup a route to go through the map is a skill, but only knowing the map is probably not.

 

However, resource management is a very weird one because you can't plan anything before knowing the map, so classifying a thing into a strict category doesn't really work.

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You can pause the game at any non-stressful moment and look through anything in Doom Builder.

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There is more to learning a map than rote memorization. How you can process information into "chunks" that can be assembled into a full route is important; fewer and more streamlined pieces makes your task easier.  

 

A scientific study comparing chess beginners to grandmasters, in their ability to memorize configurations of pieces on a chessboard, offers a workable analogy here. Beginners had no choice but to memorize individual pieces as discrete entities, where a GM could detect familiar pawn structures and logical piece configurations, and understand the underlying "story" that might have produced a realistic position ("oh this is a Sicilian where players castled on opposite sides and went gung ho with an attack, and it seems like White is getting overrun"). So a grandmaster could memorize a logical chess position with far greater ease than a beginner. A random configuration of pieces that bore no resemblance to a plausible chess position? Surprisingly -- or not -- beginners and grandmasters were on relatively even ground, showing that raw memory wasn't the grandmaster's edge. Now the grandmaster no longer had their vast mental repository of chess patterns to make sense of the board. 

 

For comparable but not identical reasons, someone with Doom experience will have an easier go committing a map to memory. Even with less ambitious tasks, like learning a map while FDA-ing it in order to not get lost twice in the same exact spot in case you die, experience with the mode of mapping you are playing helps.

 

If your task is to record playthroughs of maps in one take for YouTube, there is arguably even more "skill" to gain there, relative to a beginner at that particular task. I have done a lot of casual saveless playthroughs and stuff, and I can definitely understand maps better than I did when I hadn't done any, piecing together maps for full playthroughs with much less effort. And that isn't just a consequence of the passive gains of experience. It came from actively doing it. 

 

TheV1perKiller -- an astonishingly prolific maxrunner and, in my opinion, the most skilled "playthrough" practitioner -- definitely seems like he has some dark knowledge, with his ability to churn out efficiently routed 20+ minute maxes like it's nothing. 

Edited by rd.

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9 minutes ago, rd. said:

If your task is to record playthroughs of maps in one take for Youtube, there is arguably even more "skill" to gain there relative to being a beginner at that. I have done a lot of casual playthroughs and stuff, and I can definitely understand maps better than I did when I hadn't done any, piecing together maps for full playthroughs with much less effort. And that isn't only a consequence of the passive gains that come with more experience. It came from actively doing it. 

 

TheV1perKiller -- an astonishingly prolific maxrunner and, in my opinion, the most skilled "playthrough" practitioner -- definitely seems like he has some voodoo going on with his ability to churn out efficiently routed 20+ minute maxes like it's nothing. 

 

I guess when you're not doing speedrunning (or maybe not going for record type of speedrunning), how do you "release" the most resources in setting up a route for a non-linear map to make it easier is kind of a skill I guess. It's difficult to say what I wanted to express... somehow. Probably the more clear way to express this is, when I'm not going for a record, I do try to make a route that simplify everything to its lowest difficulty if this makes sense.

 

TV Killer is definitely one of the most impressive runner for longer maps out there. For example, Community Chest Map29 is one of the best example... Not to mention he's a keyboard only player which blows me mind whenever I look at his movement. Though sometimes there are little flaws here and there for long run, but hey, what can I say as I'm someone who does really poorly if the run goes beyond 5 min. (I guess this is why I usually go for shorter maps instead of long maps. CChest 29 took me 1 hour and 52 minutes to finish :P)

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A map knowledge before map actually starts - it's a CHEAT, not skill.

 

It's the Sixth Sense. This is what I always think while replaying Doom.

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If you want to play maps without prescience of what can happen, and vulnerable to otherwise moot surprises -- those are called blind runs --, map knowledge is a burden.

 

Also, heyy, 2007! Man, that really is an OG after all! I was, like, 4, when you made your Doomworld account, heh. Time flies. Long-time lurkers should have their own titles; kind of a shame they're just lumped with two-week-old junior members.

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40 minutes ago, Gustavo6046 said:

Also, heyy, 2007! Man, that really is an OG after all! I was, like, 4, when you made your Doomworld account, heh. Time flies. Long-time lurkers should have their own titles; kind of a shame they're just lumped with two-week-old junior members.

 

I began playing in 1995 :)

 

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100% map knowledge is a skill :-)

 

knowing what hat kind of weapons/ ammo you should save or use can be the difference between an absolute struggle to stay alive and trivialising a fight!

 

My best argument for this would be the speed running community. I’d say half of what they do is remembering exactly what they have to do, when and how :-)

Edited by DooM Bear

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Semantics matter, and in fact the actual question is primarily regarding semantics. The definition of "skill" is not clear cut. If a skill is an ability, then nah; map knowledge feels more like a resource than an ability. The skill you're looking for is called memorization; the ability to remember. @Doomkid was pretty much spot on - that motherfucker should go play casino roulette or something! :D

 

If you mean "skill" merely as in an attribute of the player or of the manner with which they play the game that can affect the outcome of said game, then sure, map knowledge is something that can really help you when you play, so it would qualify as a skill in that sense.

 

Semantics are boring, and don't matter 99% of the time, so that kind of question is usually pointless, unless you have to worry about very specific wording, think lawyers/legislators.

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