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Jacek Bourne

“Incidental” vs “Classic” Combat: Differences and Definitions

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Incidental combat is a very broad term used to describe most doom combat that isn’t slaughter or puzzle oriented combat. Classic Combat is another broad term without much meaning more than incidental combat. 


What do they mean and what’s the difference?

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idk about classic combat, but incidental encounters involve roaming enemies that you stumble upon. it works best with interconnected layouts and can create quite a bit of replayability, as it's different each and every time 

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I've always assumed classic and incidental is one in the same tbh. could you give an example of what's being called classic combat?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Major Arlene said:

I've always assumed classic and incidental is one in the same tbh. could you give an example of what's being called classic combat?


Classic is the Iwads and probably a lot more. It is a very broad term. A reason I created this thread.

Edited by Jacek Bourne : Fixed autocorrect errors

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Incidental isn't so much a style as a type (i.e., if slaughter is Coke and classic casual is Pepsi, incidental combat is the flavor of lemon-lime, which is found in both product lines). Setpiece combat is the big key fights in a map, the ones that people will probably remember for the challenge or the suspenseful setup or the cool concept and arena or the catharsis of shredding a bazillion enemies at once; incidental combat is the lighter, low-intensity stuff that happens between bigger fights, like while you're going through a hallway and the mapper put something there because they didn't want it to be empty or whatever. The big spawn-in at the pool in Suburbs or the Cyberdemon/Mastermind duel in Gotcha are setpieces; the zombies you shotgun through in Industrial Zone are incidental combat; both are classic.

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3 minutes ago, Not Jabba said:

Incidental isn't so much a style as a type (i.e., if slaughter is Coke and classic casual is Pepsi, incidental combat is the flavor of lemon-lime, which is found in both product lines). Setpiece combat is the big key fights in a map, the ones that people will probably remember for the challenge or the suspenseful setup or the catharsis of shredding a bazillion enemies at once; incidental combat is the lighter, low-intensity stuff that happens between bigger fights, like while you're going through a hallway and the mapper put something there because they didn't want it to be empty or whatever. The big spawn-in at the pool in Suburbs or the Cyberdemon/Mastermind duel in Gotcha are setpieces; the zombiemen you shotgun through in Industrial Zone are incidental combat; both are classic.


In that case, what would the difference between classic and modern?

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Not Jabba summed it up perfectly.  A good balance between Incidental and Set-Piece combat often provides a nice flow of "peaks and troughs" to a map's progression.

 

28 minutes ago, Jacek Bourne said:

In that case, what would the difference between classic and modern?

 

I don't personally know if there really is a fixed definition for "modern" combat.  If someone talks about combat feeling "Classic", what they really likely mean is it reminds them of the combat set-ups in the IWADs, or older vanilla PWADs.  I guess "modern" covers any kind of combat encounter that has increased in popularity since then, such as slaughter or anything heavily puzzle-combat based. 

 

But the reality is slaughter has essentially been around since Final Doom, and Cyberdreams (a whole megawad of puzzle combat encounters) was released in 1998, so they're hardly "modern" in that sense.  

 

So generally "modern" isn't really used very much for exactly this reason - it doesn't really have an agreed-upon definition.  I reckon it's probably better to refer to specific types of combat, or reference existing megawads or authors, as more tangible points of reference for combat styles.

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Im really not sure what you mean by Classic combat since i don't think i've seen it being used anywhere. Using it to describe the iwads and differentiate it from incidental combat doesn't seem right since they feature plenty of incidental combat on their own, my guess is that you must have confused another term as 'Classic combat'.

Like NotJabba said usually there's Incidental combat and Set pieces, Describing incidental combat is a bit broad but usually refers to the combat that happens between bigger fights or sometimes to unplanned fights that can happen when the monster move around the map and start filling spots on the map far from where they were originally positioned. Most of the time it is very low key and casual in a way that it doesn't slows down the player movement around the map, but keep the action going.

Setpieces would refer to fights that have more planned approach or that are designed to stand out on the map, could refer to Big fights that occur on the map, traps, or some small encounters where there's more planning involved in how they're gonna play out. Unlike incidental combat, they're not always casual or low key, and some setpieces can stop or trap the player until they're dealt with.

A good example of those two types on the iwads, would be on E1M6 in the original Doom, when you start the map it's all incidental combat, with low tier enemies populating the starting area but not enough to be slow down the player, however once you grab the red key a big monster closet opens while the area is temporary locked, forcing the player to fight most of the encounter in an area that's filled with barrels that can influence how that fight goes.

I hope this clears out some of the confusion

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Posted (edited)

Personally, whilst being aware of the standard use of the terms, i use 'modern' combat as opposed to 'classic', referring to more meticulously crafted combat encounters than would have been present in the IWADs, a style that has obviously increased over time as mappers have become more studied, experienced and crafty, along with the players.  Despite this not being standard usage, i'll continue to do so as it's a meaningful dichotomy to me :)  Even when the line is obviously in the sand.  There's also a certain type of streamlining that comes along with this modernism - which for me takes some of the spice away, whilst for some it makes the fights more enjoyable because of faster pace (a simple example would be a bunch of Barons that need to be taken down with the SSG, which is something i'd say is 'classic' in style and avoided in 'modern' maps.)

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I agree both with dei_eldren and Not Jabba. I've read "Classic" also used as a contrast to "slaughter". Not in the sense of incidental combat, but in the IWADs (particularly Doom 1/2) and most classic megawads the setpieces tended to be smaller and more cramped, with less emphasis on crowd management, which is the typical characteristic of "slaughter" gameplay. "Classic" could be thus described as a mix of incidental combat and small-to-mid-scale setpieces with, let's say, less than ~30-50 monsters per fight.

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