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LateToDOOM2020

Have WAD Expectations Changed?

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3 hours ago, Nimiauredhel said:

John Romero said several years ago (before Sigil) that if he made a level "today", people would get on his case about texture alighments and such, and I think that generally speaking WADs aren't made with Doom/Doom 2 quality in mind anymore as we've learned a lot since these games were released and they aren't considered the pinnacle of level design anymore.

 

And tools of course, if I knew how amazing Doom authoring tools were nowadays I would have gotten into this so much earlier. The people who made the WADs in this ISO probably took ten times longer just to do basic stuff like doors.

I remember the last time I tried to make levels for the vanished Panophobia project, something like 7 years ago, I found doors really difficult at first! Teleporter traps were an utter pain in the arse and never worked right!

 

As for the comment about original maps not being the pinnacle of level design, this makes me sad. Playing the original maps after a long absence reminds you of just why Doom was so ferociously addictive. I'll take even a map I am not a fan of like Halls of the Damned over a massive, architecturally gorgeous slaughtermap with symmetrical rooms and symmetrical fights.

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4 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

 

As for the comment about original maps not being the pinnacle of level design, this makes me sad.

 

I don't think that is 100% true, like we can still make Iwad style maps or slightly better (iwad+ as I call them) and as long as the texture alignment is sound and the combat interesting, people will enjoy it. Whether it would get as much attention as other projects is debatable but there is a big difference between iwad and 90% of the 94/95 wads imo.

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

As for the comment about original maps not being the pinnacle of level design, this makes me sad. Playing the original maps after a long absence reminds you of just why Doom was so ferociously addictive. I'll take even a map I am not a fan of like Halls of the Damned over a massive, architecturally gorgeous slaughtermap with symmetrical rooms and symmetrical fights.

ehhh...tbf they're right. a lot of high-profile wads released after doom 2 had better level design, and that's not including slaughtermaps either

 

as people pointed out to me in a thread i made not to long ago, the guys at id didn't have a whole lot of time to get a hang of how to use the monsters and weapons in an efficient manner. so while it's not entirely their fault, it still ended up being kinda shit in comparison to what the fans made afterwards (not to say it IS shit, it's comparatively speaking)

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Oh don't get me wrong, I have said ad nauseum that I consider Alien Vendetta to be Doom perfected. I just meant that the original maps are so unbelievably fiendish at times, John Romero and his team were high IQ kids to be sure.

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Posted (edited)

@rd. - good points! i hadn't thought about it like that.

 

i guess an obsession of mine right now is metavisuals - how a streamer blindplaying a map makes your map look first time to others. there's ways you can make a map which are totally satisfying to yrself but which also makes it totally fail to advertise itself in real time, which means I still have these bugbears, whether later community examination squashes them or not =P

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

Oh don't get me wrong, I have said ad nauseum that I consider Alien Vendetta to be Doom perfected. I just meant that the original maps are so unbelievably fiendish at times, John Romero and his team were high IQ kids to be sure.

 

Well, I was not dissing the original games, either. It's just inevitable that during 28 years of mapping they will eventually stop being the point of reference that they have been for 1994 maps.

 

Spoiler

Anecdotally they are still the point of reference for me since I have, unfortunately, not gotten around to playing any of the well known PWADs yet.

 

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The overall WAD expectations have of course changed, and the general opinion is that there should be WADs with lots of challenge and decent design to them. But individual opinions always differ and fluctuate constantly. In other words, the Doom community is VERY fickle. You cannot deny that.

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So what are currently regarded as the top megawads? Preferably non-slaughterfest style. Also preferably with nice visuals.

 

I haven't moved on from the AV, Requiem, MM, HR generation. There is something so simple and fun about them, gameplay was focused on over visuals (in most cases). That generation of slaughtermaps played like other Doom maps, if you know what I mean, they weren't just a big arena.

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31 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

So what are currently regarded as the top megawads? Preferably non-slaughterfest style. Also preferably with nice visuals.

 

I haven't moved on from the AV, Requiem, MM, HR generation. There is something so simple and fun about them, gameplay was focused on over visuals (in most cases). That generation of slaughtermaps played like other Doom maps, if you know what I mean, they weren't just a big arena.

eviternity and valiant are the first two that come to mind, but if you've been primarily playing older stuff for a really long time they'll feel kinda weird. at least, they did for me lol

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36 minutes ago, roadworx said:

eviternity and valiant are the first two that come to mind, but if you've been primarily playing older stuff for a really long time they'll feel kinda weird. at least, they did for me lol

 

They may feel weird at first, but once you get used to those, you might start enjoying them to a point where it may be hard to go back ;)

 

1 hour ago, MajorRawne said:

There is something so simple and fun about them, gameplay was focused on over visuals (in most cases). That generation of slaughtermaps played like other Doom maps, if you know what I mean, they weren't just a big arena.

 

While modern wads have heavy emphasis on visual presentation, there is also much more focus on gameplay in modern wads than in the older wads.

 

Take Heartland for example. That wad has great visuals, but the gameplay and the atmosphere is where it really shines. The fights are well designed and there are only like a couple arena fights in that wad.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

So what are currently regarded as the top megawads? Preferably non-slaughterfest style. Also preferably with nice visuals.

 

Think Back to Saturn X and Stardate 20X6 & 20X7 should also be mentioned among the modern top WADs with nice modern visuals.  Too hard they are for me - or at least, i'm not fan of their combat-style, but many are.

 

The absolute must-play is of course Eviternity.

 

Check out also the Doomworld Community Top Wads of All Time -thread, helpfully the release year is included in the list.

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2 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

So what are currently regarded as the top megawads? Preferably non-slaughterfest style. Also preferably with nice visuals.

 

I haven't moved on from the AV, Requiem, MM, HR generation. There is something so simple and fun about them, gameplay was focused on over visuals (in most cases). That generation of slaughtermaps played like other Doom maps, if you know what I mean, they weren't just a big arena.

CPD is a good starting point for sure.

It use the monster placement and designing ideas of the old days but completely refined. It has great visuals, but the strong point of it maps is how interconnected and nonlinear, but still not mazey and unbeareable, the maps are.

 

There is one that probably you will really enjoy if you like the old school of mapset like Memento Mori, Requien and Doom 2. Its the one called Three's A Crowd. It use the abstract style of maps of Doom 2, but far better and with a little touch of semi realism that grant is a heavy sense of place. Its a marvelous experience for sure.

 

If you want something similar to Alien Vendetta (indeed, perfection) try Vile Flesh and EPIC 2, both really similar to it, offering a great adventure with amazing challenge. They are as hard as Alien Vendetta, if not harder some times.

 

In the vein of Hell Revealed, you have Hell Revealed II, and the mezmerizing Kama Sutra, both with great challenge, but Kama Sutra being a total winner and more like a cross between Hell Revealed short and hairy maps, with Alien Vendetta epicness. Good shit for sure.

 

Aside from that, you can't left this other mapsets unchecked, they are awesome and highly polished.

-Tangerine Nightmare

-Going Down

-Plutonia 2

-Japanese Community Project

-Struggle: Antaresian Legacy

-REKKR

-Ancient Aliens

-Bloodstain

-Doom 404

-Doom Zero

-Eviternity

-Hell Ground

-No End In Sight

-Preacher

-Scythe 2

-TNT: Revilution

-Syringe

-Back To Saturn X EP.1 & EP.2

-UAC Ultra

 

Those are heavyweights that don't go near slaughter maps too much.

Do remember that UV from Alien Vendetta is fairly easier in comparison to Eviternity on UV, thats for example.

Just take that on account, varying the difficulty setting if needed, and you will have a great time playing those ;)

 

Also, welcome back to the community, pal!
Its good to see old members around here again :D

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Thank you for all these suggestions, I will get on them! Gonna have to be Eviternity next!

 

I downloaded the original Scythe this morning which I somehow missed -- it's nothing like expected, I thought Scythe maps started easy and the difficulty curve turned into Mount Everest, but I'm only 33% of the way in yet. Scythe is VERY nostalgic.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, VisionThing said:

What I want to know is, have we reached a point where "mid 90s" is/ could be it's own neo-retro style? Though I guess it could be hard to tell whether that sort of wad would be a deliberate angle, or a result of being utterly new to mapping, with only the original games as a reference point. 

 

I somewhat like that type of "style" for wads just simple and quick wads to play through in 10-20 minutes. 
Though it is funny because I thought if i created a wad similar to the ones of the mid 90s people would think its crappy.
Not because its intentional but because I Have only created 1 wad before and I have only doom 1 and 2 as reference points just like mentioned. 

I kind of like that old wad feel anyways because it seems to follow no standard and I never know what ill expect! 

Edited by LateToDOOM2020

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Standards have risen for sure, but there's still a place for "low-detail" maps. You might not get a cacoward for it but that's not the point. People still make speedmaps, IWAD-style maps, or just comfortable maps that don't push their ability to the absolute limit. And I would honestly say that the community in general is more open-minded about such projects. It seems like it used to be that you'd get one review in /newstuff that just said "crap - skip it" if your WAD wasn't "fresh" enough. Nowadays people share their creations more freely in threads and there's usually at least a few people who will play it and have fun with it.

Standards do creep upward in general, but not everyone wants to spend 50 hours on a single map, and that's ok. People still play maps that work under doom.exe limitations, which can often look much more pro than the IWADS, but still can never surpass those 128 visplanes. It's kinda like how you could say standards for video games in general are super high, but then realize that there's an audience for PICO-8 games and other less-than-AAA projects.

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Posted (edited)

Well, simplicity doesn't mean necessarily uglyness, quite the contrary. While I'm impressed with some GZDoom maps, there are those I find unattractive despite being filled with detail and visual effects - as there are 90's wads that I find beautiful exactly for the minimalism, like Dystopia 3 (1996).

3IAC was one of my favorite wads on the last cacowards and it is very simple in terms of architecture.

Edited by Noiser

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I actually kind of prefer older simpler wads to the hyper-polished 'decade in the making' instant cacoward winners. As long as its not devoid of lighting and detail like Tim Willit's Raven crap, or giant empty halls with horrendous texturing like Sewers and Bob Carter's half of Lost Episodes, I can play almost most anything old, and have great fun with it. Everyone talks about Skillsaw's Valiant/Ancient Aliens/Heartland as be-all end-all of mapping, and here I am enjoying Sector 666 tonight, his earliest work, and yet still full of classic Doom fun.

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This is making me pine to play some 90s wads again. Everyone including me talks about megawads like Requiem, but when did we last actually play them?

 

Some modern wads are gloriously beautiful, but it's the gameplay that suffers because people tend to build huge, oppressive arenas. What's wrong with a return to AV style exploration, where maps could turn into savage battlegrounds, but you felt like you were actually exploring a location, and it put you on edge?

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21 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

This is making me pine to play some 90s wads again. Everyone including me talks about megawads like Requiem, but when did we last actually play them?

 

Some modern wads are gloriously beautiful, but it's the gameplay that suffers because people tend to build huge, oppressive arenas. What's wrong with a return to AV style exploration, where maps could turn into savage battlegrounds, but you felt like you were actually exploring a location, and it put you on edge?

 

You basically described A.L.T. to me  in that second paragraph. It has multiple great big giant levels that feel like a journey, and the whole wad more or less feels connected, outside of some oddball guest mappers that said 'fuck the cohesive theme! Imma do a map'

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1 hour ago, MajorRawne said:

What's wrong with a return to AV style exploration, where maps could turn into savage battlegrounds, but you felt like you were actually exploring a location, and it put you on edge?

 

quickly and not exhaustively, from 2016-2020

 

Nihility, Mutiny, Comatose, Alpha Accident, JPCP, Counterattack, Legacy of Heroes, Moonblood, No End in Sight, TNT: Revilution, Waterlab GZD, Avactor (lower difficulty), Maskim Xul (skill 3), Dimension of the Boomed, Exomoon, Magnolia (HNTR), Unwelcome, Bury My Heart Knee-Deep, Port Glacia, Dark Tide, Hellscape, Square and REKKR and Ashes 2063 (total conversions), Hell-Forged, Hurt, Lost Civilization, Infraworld, Lunar Catastrophe, Doom Zero, Mutabor (HMP), Syringe, Abysm 2 (tc), Three is a Crowd, Faithless Trilogy (Heretic), Gods & Guardians, Nova 3, Akeldama 

 

are all reasonably well-known things with lots of attention to exploration, or often even a primary focus

 

 

edit: since people might use this for playing suggestions, I'll try to grab more later and mark a few more of the ones that might be hard

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5 minutes ago, rd. said:

Nihility, Mutiny, Comatose, Alpha Accident, JPCP, Counterattack, Legacy of Heroes, Moonblood, No End in Sight, TNT: Revilution, Waterlab GZD, Avactor (lower difficulty), Maskim Xul (skill 3), Dimension of the Boomed, Exomoon, Magnolia (HNTR), Bury My Heart Knee-Deep, Port Glacia, Dark Tide, Hellscape, Square and REKKR and Ashes 2063 (total conversions), Hell-Forged, Hurt, Lost Civilization, Infraworld, Lunar Catastrophe, Doom Zero, Mutabor (HMP), Syringe, Three is a Crowed, Faithless Trilogy (Heretic), Gods & Guardians, Nova 3, Akeldama 

 

What a list - thanks!

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Players have very high expectations and you'll know of their disappointment if the expectation turns out to be just misleading and that was the case when I created WOS over a decade ago. Players demand interconnected layout, strong challenge and nothing unfair in the maps (such as inescapable areas, backtracking, linear and mirror image layouts, etc). Detail and architecture is also a big deal, but gameplay is a bigger deal. You can have a good looking map that plays bad and a scrappy looking map that plays superbly and if it is the other way around (good looking and good gameplay), big hugs indeed.

 

Now with a couple of grey hairs, the new era of Pcorf maps yet to be released (I'm currently working on two megawads) will try to combat my earlier issues. Some of the maps are still linear but I am trying hard to limit it and also promote more of Doom's features such as crushing ceilings, lights out, and more challenging ambushes. If there is a situation where you need to backtrack then new areas will open up revealing monsters or monsters teleport into the previously visited areas. If you fall into an area which requires backtracking then often an elevator or teleporter is revealed to avoid the backtrack. Since I rarely design areas on paper, it certainly requires extra thinking and I'm often whispering to myself do this, do that, etc.

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Thanks for the map ideas, I definitely will prioritise exploration/adventure maps.

 

Oh and I am in the last third of Scythe. And the difficulty level did go up Everest. A shame, as the first two episodes in no way prepare you for how nasty it gets at level 21. Forgot how much I hate Arch-Viles, and full speed Revenants, and Lost Souls that take two shotgun shells to kill for some reason.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MajorRawne said:

Thanks for the map ideas, I definitely will prioritise exploration/adventure maps.

 

Oh and I am in the last third of Scythe. And the difficulty level did go up Everest. A shame, as the first two episodes in no way prepare you for how nasty it gets at level 21. Forgot how much I hate Arch-Viles, and full speed Revenants, and Lost Souls that take two shotgun shells to kill for some reason.

I don't know if this might help, but for me in wanting to get ideas on exploration, I felt it was important that exploration shouldn't make the player feel "lost" on what to do next.

 

I found some ideas and things to look out for by playing a megawad that has multiple pathways and dead ends, to the point where you can get stuck and the level flow appears lost, and switch it up together with a map that flows really well, just to contrast how these maps handle their flow.

The megawads I am playing now are Struggle: Antaresian Legacy, BTSX and Sunlust. Struggle can be non linear and I often found myself stuck in certain areas trying to determine where I was supposed to go next (sorry antares). BTSX flows well, you'll revisit areas and space gets opened up. Sunlust maps are often smaller and more focused so you almost always know where to go, and it helps that the maps are more open compared to just having rooms connected by hallways.

 

 

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2 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Thanks for the map ideas, I definitely will prioritise exploration/adventure maps.

 

Oh and I am in the last third of Scythe. And the difficulty level did go up Everest. A shame, as the first two episodes in no way prepare you for how nasty it gets at level 21.

Having climbed Mt. Scythe many years ago, I felt like Map21 onwards was the preparation process for so many things to come afterward. Scythe is almost like a “Doom custom content litmus test” - In other words, if the end of Scythe is too much to bite off, you’ll want to check out the stuff that’s below Plutonia 2 in terms of difficulty (just to use a popular example).

 

I personally can beat the super hard stuff when I feel like being thrashed, but it’s often far more mental work than I feel like doing while Dooming. For me SP Dooming is more of a thing I do to relax & take a load off, so with that said, I prefer something like MagicDoom, CRUD, LowEff or other “classically Doomy and engaging, but never too hard” type stuff. This is also the difficulty range in which I made Rowdy Rudy and basically all my other wads.

 

..This discussion just reminds me how badly I wish there was a (somewhat) universally agreed upon grading system of difficulty for every wad with any degree of popularity. It would make life so much easier for all Doom wad players, wether they’re looking to play true iron-Doomer turf, or they’re just looking for something to cruise, relax and shoot demons.

 

Of course, there’s this extremely useful thread which has several great wads on a sliding difficulty scale, and there was this old attempt at categorising many popular wads into different skill categories, but it’s just such a daunting task that I think it’d need many Doomers from all walks and of all ages to agree which wads go in what difficulty category.

 

Of all the painstaking efforts the community has made to have Doom & wads be as accessible as possible to anyone, I’m surprised we haven’t done more on the front of ranking all popular wads not only by their quality, but by their difficulty.

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Yeah, Scythe is a good, small-scale trainer. Ironically I found the "super-hard" map 26 to be relatively easy, I still died a bit and carried weapons etc through from the previous map. It would be more challenging from a pistol start but you just let the monsters do all the heavy lifting. Erik gives you the ammo to kill everything yourself if you wish - something I think all slaughtermaps should do.

 

I saw an old Doomworld thread last night, can't remember the link. Someone posted a picture of an iceberg. Starting at the top and descending down into the abyss, he listed wads in order of difficulty from easiest to underpant-destroying.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MajorRawne said:

I saw an old Doomworld thread last night, can't remember the link. Someone posted a picture of an iceberg. Starting at the top and descending down into the abyss, he listed wads in order of difficulty from easiest to underpant-destroying. 

 

The iceberg pic can be found in the last link in @Doomkid 's post above.

 

4 hours ago, Doomkid said:

This discussion just reminds me how badly I wish there was a (somewhat) universally agreed upon grading system of difficulty for every wad with any degree of popularity. It would make life so much easier for all Doom wad players, wether they’re looking to play true iron-Doomer turf, or they’re just looking for something to cruise, relax and shoot demons.

 

I was thinking about this the other day, and I think for most purposes, most of the time you can measure a map's difficulty by its hardest encounter, or perhaps the hardest 3 encounters, or something like that.  It sounds so imperfect, but I think this is actually very close to what people remember as that map's difficulty unless that map is an outlier in some way.  At first map length seems like it should also be important and factored in somehow, but the longer the map the more you are likely to save.  I think length is almost a different dimension, part of map style. 

 

The difficulty of a megawad might be defined as the average difficulty of all the maps, calculated using this method.  This would also smooth out the effect of those outlier maps.

 

I view this idea as mostly theoretical.  It would still be an awfully time consuming project to carefully assess a wad's difficulty using this metric, but it does provide a realistic way someone could systematically organize all the information.  They would identify the hardest encounter(s), write down the number of each monster type, and some notes about how much open space and how much cover there is.  It also requires some final subjectivity on how to place various encounters into different tiers, but these subjective comparisons start becoming much more transparent because the underlying data is written down.  If this was ever done, I think you would get much more agreement that the consensus tier is on average correct.

 

I betcha by the end of this decade people will have robust "Doom playing AI" projects and these could be used to automatically measure combat difficulty to a useful degree.

Edited by dosboot

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Does anyone just like that old amateur 90s wad type?
I'm talking about some wads made within an day or an hour.

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10 minutes ago, LateToDOOM2020 said:

Does anyone just like that old amateur 90s wad type?
I'm talking about some wads made within an day or an hour.

 

Me!  One-level wads like Strippers and Genocide come to mind.

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I can't say what do I expect from a modern wad overall but

I'm pretty sure that IOS fights became useless and redundant

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