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How do you test your fights?

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I want to know how do you check if your fight is balanced well with ammo, health, and the monster placement. It's because I don't really have a way to do it so I wanted to know how do you test your individual fights without having to play the whole map.

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I dunno, I put some ammo around, the guns I'm expected to have at this point (and maybe new ones) and test it out. Like that, I don't necessarily have to play the whole map but, just this section. 

Then well, I try to see if it isn't too frustrating, etc... 

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I would start with enemy positions. If it is a slaughter map, then make sure the player is as cramped as possible, but if it's not, give the player some space. Try to think about infighting. Don't put a chain gunner behind imps and pinkies, it would remove the challenge. Put zombiemen and shotgunners behind, as they struggle to really infight. An Archvile should be in a place where the player has cover. Just think about how they will interact, and how evil you can be to a player (while still being fair).  Also, try to trap a player who isn't thinking quickly. They don't deserve the space. Also make sure the player cannot run away, and ensure battles are beatable without peaking around corners to shoot. That is never fun.


Then, health. For a first map, rely on health bonuses, but after that you should start using stimpacks. If the fight looks hard, give some medikits. Also think about who will be playing, a map for good players might have less health, a map for bad players might have more. It really comes down to what other people think though.


I don't balance ammo, but just give ammo based on what can easily infight, what enemies give, and how much to kill them. Don't give out lots of energy packs, give lots of bullets earlier in the wad, less later, and be nice with shells and rockets. Also think about the space, a player won't use rockets in a sewer section.


You can do all of this just by looking at the map, but you will need to test it all eventually. Anyway, that's what I think about. Create your own style if you want. Study from the professionals. That's what I did anyway.

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The skill level I always play on is hurt me plenty, so if I am barely able to beat my map on UV, without saves or secrets, then I consider my map to be balanced and considerably difficult.

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Of course, how you test your fights all comes down to what you're looking for in them across certain difficulties. Some examples:

- The player doesn't have a lot of pressure put on them and can take out the enemies with ease

- The player is left starving of resources and must play out the fight pacifist-style, and take as little damage as possible. Decreasing the ammo/health amount and size of the arena is one way to do this. Typically you would do this all on UV first, and make it more forgiving on HMP & below.

- The player is only given a rocket launcher and a couple boxes, so they have to place their rockets well. If they are skilled enough, the fight will give them no trouble.

- The player must employ typical slaughtermap tactics: Luring enemies to one side to keep getting enough room, or various types of strafe patterns (circle- , C- , or U-strafing). The layout of the arena (and archviles hehe) is crucial to impacting the player's movement.

- The encounter is a puzzle and the player has to find their way through it how you want (switch-hunts, enemy prioritization, etc). Signposting is one thing there.

- Luck-based bullshit.


If you're looking for easier ways to test a particular fight, I always put a player start in or near the room (or move the current one). If they are expected to have weapons, ammo, or a certain amount of health/armor by the time the fight rolls around, I'll put those down too - or use commands in GZDoom and make a save with them.


Hope this helps.

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The whole enemy prioritization and impacting the player's movement is why I love Pain Elementals and Archviles.

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