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Pompeji

How to make a good hell map?

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So, I'm working on a hell map and I'd love some suggestions on how to make a good hell map. So far, I'm working with these rules:

 

- Set the mood with a good MIDI. I'm either getting the player pumped to kill some demons or playing some depressing tune because... well, you're in hell. This is mostly subjective, but I'm thinking of using a MIDI cover or Alice In Chains's song Would.

 

- Lots of gore, blood, and disturbing imagery. Hell is a place shitty people go when they die in order to get tortured for eternity. Make sure to add blood, dead bodies, and use the fleshy skin textures for extra effect. Am doing this via a bloodfall leading to a gore puddle in the main room the player will see when they enter the map, plus planning on adding a fleshy part that's supposed to simulate intestines.

 

- Fire and lava. Add torches, add lava, add ash. Nuff said.

 

- Stronger enemies. Instead of loading the level up with an unbearable amount of monsters in the first room, have maybe two barons for the player to fight with a SSG. Don't think it's too bad considering I give plenty of ammo and health, but feedback is appreciated. Planning on using the weaker monsters in ambushes so the player can mow them down quickly.

 

- Marble textures. Lots of em. My map takes place in Abaddon's Garrison, and I'll be damned if I don't make it look like a stronghold. 

 

- Outdoor areas and natural terrain. Perfect place to add Cacodemons, Lost Souls and Pain Elementals is outside because I can add verticality and basically force the player to choose a different weapon instead of the same old SSG for every encounter. 

 

- Verticality. Giving the player high places to go will make the map less boring, and make combat more interesting along with exploration.

 

- Big baddies, big guns. I'm giving the player every weapon except for the BFG in my map so I can prepare them for a big fight at the end. Of course, ammo will be provided on a needly basis so players don't just blast their way through all encounters. My goal is to set up a "super shotgun for hell knights and barons, chaingun for cacos and pain elementals, rocket launcher for revenants" system where the player needs to be conscious about their ammunition usage and weapon management.

 

Is there anything else I missed about hell levels? Let me know.

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I always image that a hell map should have a generous amount of lavapots burping fireballs, a la Heretic.

Edited by Kappes Buur

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3 minutes ago, Kappes Buur said:

I always imaging that a hell map should have a healthy amount of lavapots burping fireballs, a la Heretic.

 

Ah, I'm using Doom in Doom II format so I don't think I'll have access to Heretic features.

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You are correct.

Unfortunately the DOOM2 Doom Format is very restrictive. To really let your creativity soar you would have to use GZDoom DiHF or UDMF.

 

Why not switch? :)

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4 minutes ago, Kappes Buur said:

You are correct.

Unfortunately the DOOM2 Doom Format is very restrictive. To really let your creativity soar you would have to use GZDoom DiHF or UDMF.

 

Why not switch? :)

 

My goal with my maps is to make them as compatible as possible with everything so people can enjoy them on most source ports! I also like to limit myself so I'm forced to keep things simple or find creative work-arounds. Plus I'm a new mapper so the amount of features on the other formats tends to overwhelm me. I barely got MAPINFO to work on Slade for my first map! This is my second map so I intend on using the feedback from my last one to create something better.

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4 minutes ago, Roofi said:

Dead pits , slow crushers and icon of sin. :)

 

 

What's a dead pit? Do you mean an area with lava that kills the player? The video I saw about map design said unescapable pits lead to frustration so I added teleporters on the ones I have.

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Just now, Roofi said:

A good hell map is a map where the player suffers. :)

 

Aye, that's true. There'll be plenty of suffering, I just want to ensure the player dies due to their skill and not unfair circumstances. Placing 8 chaingunners in a room and a hidden archvile that keeps reviving them is unfair. Placing two hell barons in the first room when you're given a super shotgun and enough space to dodge? That's a test of strength :)

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1 minute ago, BoxY said:

No sector pentagrams, even by Doom standards it's corny.

 

Does the demon wall texture with the pentagram on it being used as a door count? Also ironic you said that since originally I was going to make the starting room pentagram shaped until I gave up due to incompetence hahaha.

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31 minutes ago, Kappes Buur said:

To really let your creativity soar you would have to use GZDoom DiHF or UDMF.

He could simply switch to boom too for more extended vanilla things and animations. 

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Well, I hate to self-promote, but maybe this will give you ideas - I have recently constructed a few Hell-themed maps out of the stock textures and Boom format, which are mostly abstract:

 

Stone, metal, rock, red, skin, little cages containing the dead and damned, etc; whatever floats your boat.

 

You could even do one like MAP05 where Hell just actively fucks with you instead. XD

And an appropriate sky, I suppose.

 

I can't speak much for ideas by myself, so maybe this will help. As Misty said, UDMF and more advanced stuff will definitely bring about more ideas and tools to work with. This is just the Boom format

 

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10 minutes ago, Dunn & Dunn said:

Well, I hate to self-promote, but maybe this will give you ideas - I have recently constructed a few Hell-themed maps out of the stock textures and Boom format, which are mostly abstract:

 

Stone, metal, rock, red, skin, little cages containing the dead and damned, etc; whatever floats your boat.

 

You could even do one like MAP05 where Hell just actively fucks with you instead. XD

And an appropriate sky, I suppose.

 

I can't speak much for ideas by myself, so maybe this will help. As Misty said, UDMF and more advanced stuff will definitely bring about more ideas and tools to work with. This is just the Boom format

 

 

Definitely going to take inspiration from these maps and check out people's gameplay videos on them! Thank you!

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3 hours ago, Kappes Buur said:

Unfortunately the DOOM2 Doom Format is very restrictive. To really let your creativity soar you would have to use GZDoom DiHF or UDMF.

I strongly disagree with this. The use of restrictions is a nice way of boosting your creativity, as you have to keep focused to make good use of your tools. That's a thing on other forms of art as well :-)

Edited by Noiser

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In the interest of more self promotion helping out here's some shots from the vanilla-sans-limits Hell map I'm working on.  I'm not shy about including lots of metal and tech textures in here, I like E3M3 and don't think Hell should be nothing but lava and castles (not to say there aren't some amazing medieval/Gothic Hell maps out there, and that you shouldn't build one too if that's your vision, but I mean cyberdemons and arachnotrons and shit all suggest to me that Hell isn't shy about warping technology into itself)

 

In short: I got lots of corpses, themes of torture, flesh and iron and stone all twisted together, verticality and open space like you said never hurt either.  I agree with @Noiser too, the limitations of Doom 2 format will force your imagination to go to work coming up with ways to make your map what you want.

 

Spoiler

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Edited by StupidBunny

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2 minutes ago, StupidBunny said:

In the interest of more self promotion helping out here's some shots from the Hell map I'm working on.  I'm not shy about including lots of metal and tech textures in here, I like E3M3 and don't think Hell should be nothing but lava and castles

 

In short: lots of corpses, themes of torture, flesh and iron and stone all twisted together, verticality and open space like you said never hurt either.  

 

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I've always been fond of the castle designs in hell maps, with the classic marble and wooden textures, but I've always felt it shouldn't be the main focus of a map and more of a small area. I'm limiting myself to only making the castle part itself a small section of the map.

 

That being said, DOOM always kept the theme of flesh and metal. I'm sure one of the developers(Hugo Martin, I think) said this in an interview, but you can see all the way from DOOM with the Mastermind, Arachnotrons, Mancubi, Cyberdemon, Revenants, etc; to DOOM Eternal with the Whiplash, Doom Hunter, Cyber Mancubus, Icon of Sin, etc. I'm dedicating a section of my level exclusively to this flesh and metal thing. I want it to be clear to the player that there's where Grandpa Pinkie went if he lost a leg in the great purge of the Slayer and needed a prosthetic metal robot leg. Maybe I'll even add a boss that's somehow related to being partly robotic and Cybernetic... ;)

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1 hour ago, Pompeji said:

 

I was going to make the starting room pentagram shaped until I gave up due to incompetence hahaha.

 

Bridgeburner has a GREAT tutorial on how to make pentagrams extremely easy. You can probably skip half of the video if you're only interested in making pentagrams, but the whole video is super useful and informative so i recommend watching the entire thing:

 

 

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i like how in Kama Sutra, there are torturing bodies being submerged on acid or lava.

Thats is a hanging body attached to the base of a crusher ceiling and a fake water down it.

Certainly its a lot of trickery, but the effect is just awesome.

 

I was thinking this just today, things i didn't saw on hell maps by now, after 27 years one may think that everything was already done, but no, there are somethings that are not still.

 

Instead of looking just to maps and how other mappers did it, maybe looking to depictions of hell on paintings or movies could help, too.

Hellraiser 2: Hellbound hearth has a depiction of hell quite interesting: no fire, no lava, just an endless maze of suffering with a gigantic eldrich abomination soaring the space above the maze, shooting dark lightings that produce mind fuck psychological suffering on whoever is hitted by it.

 

Translatting that to the resources at hands may be a bit difficult, but its doable.

 

On the first post you pointed some alignments of what you think a hell map need, and those are spot on for sure.

But thats more in line with christian hell depiction.

Check how hell is on other cultures, that also could give you some neat ideas.

For instance, nordic hell is cold, a place of deep ice with Hel, the only goddess who can reanimate dead people.

Edited by P41R47

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Honestly, there have been so many different iterations of hell, red and bloody, dark and ominous, abstract and chaotic... I'd say you don't need to follow any "stylistic rules", as long as you're consequent with your stylistic choices throughout the map, you can go wild. I don't know if I would enjoy fighting two barons with a ssg tho, maybe if there was another bigger thread in the fight, otherwise it might get a bit boring... But everyone has their own style of mapping, and that's just my stupid opinion ;3

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12 minutes ago, P41R47 said:

i like how in Kama Sutra, there are torturing bodies being submerged on acid or lava.

Thats is a hanging body attached to the base of a crusher ceiling and a fake water down it.

Certainly its a lot of trickery, but the effect is just awesome.

 

I was thinking this just today, things i didn't saw on hell maps by now, after 27 years one may think that everything was already done, but no, there are somethings that are not still.

 

Instead of looking just to maps and how other mappers did it, maybe looking to depictions of hell on paintings or movies could help, too.

Hellraiser 2: Hellbound hearth has a depiction of hell quite interesting: no fire, no lava, just an endless maze of suffering with a gigantic eldrich abomination soaring the space above the maze, shooting dark lightings that produce mind fuck psychological suffering on whoever is hitted by it.

 

Translatting that to the resources at hands may be a bit difficult, but its doable.

 

On the first post you pointed some alignments of what you think a hell map need, and those are spot on for sure.

But thats more in line with christian hell depiction.

Check how hell is on other cultures, that also could give you some neat ideas.

For instance, nordic hell is cold, a place of deep ice with Hel, the only goddess who can reanimate dead people.

 

I've taken inspiration from the book Divine Comedy, and my hell is based on Dante's hell. Not sure which circle this classifies at, but it's definitely more inspired by Christian hell than anything. I also read those fake Bill Wieser reports for inspiration, where he basically claims God gave him an out of body experience so he could see hell and experience the suffering firsthand so he can tell people not to sin because hell is horrible. I could go on a tangent debunking exactly why this out of body experience is 100% fake(ignoring the fact if you look at it scientifically there's no way it happened, simply looking at it in a religious way using the bible for evidence). but that's not the point of this.

 

Bill Wieser said hell was full of demons torturing people's souls, it was filled with pits where people were being boiled alive in pitch, it had a lot of fucked up shit. That's my inspiration for my hell map.

 

That being said, this map has a story. Short version is, this is a powerful demon's stronghold filled with a garrison of demons ready to invade. It was attacked before by the UAC and Marines and so I'll add dead bodies and such, because it makes sense from a story perspective.

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1 minute ago, Pompeji said:

I've taken inspiration from the book Divine Comedy, and my hell is based on Dante's hell. Not sure which circle this classifies at, but it's definitely more inspired by Christian hell than anything.

yeah, i thought so while reading your hell points of interest.

I think you already has what is needed to depict a good hell map.

 

For certain, i like the tech hell that can be seen on some maps os the shores of hell.

Spawning Vats is a great example of that.

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1 hour ago, StupidBunny said:

In the interest of more self promotion helping out here's some shots from the vanilla-sans-limits Hell map I'm working on.  I'm not shy about including lots of metal and tech textures in here, I like E3M3 and don't think Hell should be nothing but lava and castles (not to say there aren't some amazing medieval/Gothic Hell maps out there, and that you shouldn't build one too if that's your vision, but I mean cyberdemons and arachnotrons and shit all suggest to me that Hell isn't shy about warping technology into itself)

 

 

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my taste too. take a look at the hell maps in valiant (m19-24) for fine examples of a skin-tech-hell, i've always recommended it because i found the design fascinating.

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3 hours ago, MattFright said:

[How to make the perfect pentagram]

 

Ah yes! This is what sets apart the boys and the men. This is the one thing that makes Doom maps worth your mint. This is the secret to professional Doom level design. This is the difference between a measly Chris Mead and a god-tier Cedric Fiorentino. This is the one true VIP pass to the duel of titans, Ribbiks vs Skillsaw, tonight on Ultimate Doom Wrestling. This is the real ultimate approach to sex appeal, as this is the #1 factor that makes ladies consider (or reconsider) dating someone.

 

This defines a hell map.

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Better yet, for yet another depiction of Hell make a map that's just an endlessly repeating maze of cubicles.  The sounds of phones and fax machines and people eating chips can be your ambient sounds

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17 minutes ago, StupidBunny said:

Better yet, for yet another depiction of Hell make a map that's just an endlessly repeating maze of cubicles.  The sounds of phones and fax machines and people eating chips can be your ambient sounds

 

Icon of Sin but you can't reach its brain.

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I like hell maps that make you feel small, like huge mountains with giant pillars and castles. Also the use of more foreign textures like fireblu (when used sparingly) and whatnot add to the aesthetics.

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