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LateToDOOM2020

Have WAD Expectations Changed?

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Posted (edited)

 

So i downloaded an .ISO file containing a 1000 wads a while ago.  * I have also downloaded others previously with other wads - not just this "dvd".
d1000_insert_front.jpg

I assume this is from the time DOOM was released... not sure but it does not look new like its from 2021 for sure.

While playing they had a different feel from the newer wads I see now days.
They seemed more quickly put together and without heavy focus on design. 

I made a wad a while ago and while there was no bad criticism there was detail focused on the choices for weapons put on the map as well as layout and other things that i never would have thought about. It made me really think that the wad development community within doom is very serious and a huge amount of effort or skill has been put into the modern wads. After seeing some of those older maps I think those maps would be seen as not so good actually.
Though I do like the older wads and I assume others may too, simple designs and interesting choices for monsters/weapons added to the wad I think things have changed.

It makes me curious if anyone playing doom for a while has noticed a change in the expectations of wads?

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Definitely. As both the average PC has gotten better at rendering better graphics and larger levels, the Doom community has collectively improved with skill and techbases with shotgunners, imps and pinkies don't appeal to a lot of people anymore. 

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Without a doubt. Wads included in shovelware disks like these are often called "1994 wads," and they're called that for a reason. Nowadays, there's no excuse to commit most of the sins they do (misaligned textures everywhere, little monster variety, rectangular and boxy rooms, etc.).

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Posted (edited)

(Caveat: none of the below should be taken to mean that there hasn't been also real improvement and learning of what works and what doesn't...experience is a good thing, after all - only sometimes it makes some people jaded and cynical.)

 

Yeah.  Though personally i look for qualities that are timeless, as in, if something really was good twenty years ago, it will still be good today, and similarly with today's wads.  Think a lot of emphasis today is put on novelty, and people sometimes expect ever more more more!, and then build up ever more expectation for more immediate and obvious satisfaction, which in fact is just novelty mistaken for something more substantial and likeable, when actual substance isn't even looked for.  Just my perspective... and this is a very rough sketch of it, and should be fleshed out to allow for all the necessary caveats etc. 

 

In the end it's all just fun and doesn't really matter except to the extent it resembles one's attitude in life in general :P  At any rate, i really enjoy a lot of old maps which the more modern sensibility abhors (and yet my personal top ten wads has only one 90s set left in it...if indeed Kama Sutra is from the 90s, maybe it isn't...  In my top-20 there'd be more of them, though.)

Edited by dei_eldren

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49 minutes ago, LateToDOOM2020 said:

I assume this is from the time DOOM was released... not sure but it does not look new like its from 2021 for sure.

GameTek went bankrupt in 1997 and was liquidated in 1998, so yeah.

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Even Maximum Doom was filled with random poor wads, although it did have a few gems.

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Naturally, yeah. The 90s was mainly people experimenting and getting used to the tools, the way I see it, but they were also really limited in pretty much all aspects. Gothic99 is proof that even in the 90s people knew how to make incredibly intricate levels with a lot of attention to detail (disregarding the fact that it may not play that well), just that it was far too much trouble and effort. We have it real easy with 3D view, visplane explorer, computers that can handle massive levels (back then, just running the original levels was tough, from what I heard), press a single button to automatically align all textures, grid alignment, being able to look at the level in the editor and tell what flats are used where and what brightness the sectors are set to, etc and etc., so logically, you'd expect something higher quality than what most people in the 90s bothered to do. Just the convenience of the tools we have today gives us potential beyond even the best of the 90s... Though, I'd say a lot of early 2000s wads still hold up really well by comparison. 

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Posted (edited)

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.

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since shovelware was generally a collection of everyone's first maps hurriedly uploaded to a BBS, people expected them to be rough around the edges, mostly just proof that their authors got the tools to work at all, and that's enough, cos they tended to be less playable than Hell Keep, and I say that with affection <3 stuff like trinity and castevil were gems among all that.

 

we saw what early authors distilled the best parts of doom 2 into (Orin Flaherty's "Hell's Kitchen" essentially, lol) and then there's been generations of doom mapping since that point to learn from or to rebel against!

 

community expectations kinda scale in terms of visuals and professionalism in a mainstream sense, and get used as a hammer against more niche releases. I feel like these expectations can get in the way of an author's art; there's all sorts of reasons you might wanna align textures wrong or make a map full of ninety degree lines and slow lifts. and the "you have to beat your own map on UV" concept that's growing is another constraint on whim imo.

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Posted (edited)

The community has not only been making better maps for the past 20 years, but improving upon the game's technology to bring it to new heights of what's possible to achieve in a Doom WAD. You bet your arse expectations have changed since the days of 90s shovelware crap.

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Those shovelware discs are a guilty pleasure of mine even to this day!

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oh yeah, absolutely. people's standards are way, way higher than they once were, although as @Doomkid said, those shovelware cd's were bad back then too lol

 

14 minutes ago, yakfak said:

community expectations kinda scale in terms of visuals and professionalism in a mainstream sense, and get used as a hammer against more niche releases. I feel like these expectations can get in the way of an author's art; there's all sorts of reasons you might wanna align textures wrong or make a map full of ninety degree lines and slow lifts. and the "you have to beat your own map on UV" concept that's growing is another constraint on whim imo.

100% agree with this. unfortunately, i feel that the only way you can get away with that sorta stuff unscathed is if you're well-known amongst the community

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When internet was already available to everybody outside Europe, software was still distributed via magazines mail-order catalogs. At this time some companies filled the gap by downloading random stuff from the internet and sending out floppy-disks. I got a pack of downloaded WADs once and they sucked even by yesterdays standards. You could literally just send what ever stuff to people and have them pay for the download. Good times for some...

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, roadworx said:

oh yeah, absolutely. people's standards are way, way higher than they once were, although as @Doomkid said, those shovelware cd's were bad back then too lol

 

That is very true. I bought shovelware CD's way back when and had fun with that stuff but there sure was a lot of rubbish. The quality didn't improve when I bought shovelware CD's for Quake. It was around that time before I got on the internet, that I started to look for better stuff and was glad that PC Gamer would put decent quality stuff on their CD's.

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In the same way that no-one goes to the cinema anymore to watch silent slapstick comedies lasting 20 minutes, people boot up Doom wads these days having being tempered by 20 years of FPS advancement in general. If anything, we put our nostalgia specs on for Doom in order to not expect classic levels to look like they're out of Doom Eternal or such.

That said, as a kid playing Doom (I was 7 when it came out), I loved shovelware discs and always got my mum to buy them lol. I'm fairly sure I had the Gametek disc mentioned in the OP. I was too young to appreciate good level design in any case and I used to play on I'm Too Young To Die with cheats anyways; it was just that feeling of 'there's more levels this game plays! amazing!'.

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I don't think so. There have been good and shitty mods then and now. In my opinion the real change in "wad" expectation is that some current doom fans expect mods to be for fancy gzdoom with with fancy stuff, and then saying stuff like "can't believe that's running on doom engine". I think a real mapper is the one who makes good maps for vanilla, or limit-removing engine at most.

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11 minutes ago, roboticmehdi2 said:

I don't think so. There have been good and shitty mods then and now. In my opinion the real change in "wad" expectation is that some current doom fans expect mods to be for fancy gzdoom with with fancy stuff, and then saying stuff like "can't believe that's running on doom engine". I think a real mapper is the one who makes good maps for vanilla, or limit-removing engine at most.


Oh dude, you are really asking for trouble saying that.

As someone who typically prefers mapping vanilla/LM or boom, even I have to say that statement is factually incorrect, some of the folks making GZD maps are the top of the mappers list atm. Sure I see plenty of plain looking maps with dynamic lights all over, getting far more attention than they should... But suggesting GZD mappers are not real mappers is just so far from the truth.  

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14 minutes ago, roboticmehdi2 said:

I don't think so. There have been good and shitty mods then and now. In my opinion the real change in "wad" expectation is that some current doom fans expect mods to be for fancy gzdoom with with fancy stuff, and then saying stuff like "can't believe that's running on doom engine". I think a real mapper is the one who makes good maps for vanilla, or limit-removing engine at most.

lol what

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To stay on topic, expectations from wads changed time after time, for the better in most cases or for the worse in few cases, depending of each user.

 

About that D-1000 ISO file, I'd like to play them all but time is such a bitchy factor that we simply don't have the luxury. I've played some of the Maximum Doom levels, same with DZone and...man...we changed a lot regarding how a map is presented now compared to those old maps.

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, roboticmehdi2 said:

I don't think so. There have been good and shitty mods then and now. 

I definitely agree with this, although I think wether or not a map/mod is good is completely separate from what format it is or what port it’s for - there exist both great and shit wads for all formats and ports after all :)

 

I also personally prefer vanilla wads because the limitations “force” things to remain “classically Doomy”, which is something I personally value, but again it’s totally subjective 

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3 hours ago, LateToDOOM2020 said:

I assume this is from the time DOOM was released... not sure but it does not look new like its from 2021 for sure.

just wanted to say that this is a very adorable sentence, I assume the author is quite young

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I think the upper end of expectations has inflated with experience. If you’re a new mapper, you’re still an unknown quantity, and we’ve had enough surprises here (mouldy, Huy Pham, Viggles...) to not discount anybody’s first WAD out of hand. On the other hand, 20 years ago something really good looking was going still definitely look like it was made in Doom. With GZDoom and more powerful PCs at home, plus so many well-made freely-available resources, anything is possible. Likewise, the hardest serious maps of today are very far away from what high difficulties looked like back when HR and AV ruled the roost.

 

 We’ve got a lot more variety these days, and it’s harder to predict what you’re in for with an unfamiliar mapper than ever before. These are good things. The old stuff is still there if you’ve got that preference, and that’s great too

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, roboticmehdi2 said:

I don't think so. There have been good and shitty mods then and now. In my opinion the real change in "wad" expectation is that some current doom fans expect mods to be for fancy gzdoom with with fancy stuff, and then saying stuff like "can't believe that's running on doom engine". I think a real mapper is the one who makes good maps for vanilla, or limit-removing engine at most.

incorrect

 

28 minutes ago, Doomkid said:

I also personally prefer vanilla wads because the limitations “force” things to remain “classically Doomy”, which is something I personally value, but again it’s totally subjective 

honestly same tbh, cuz while gzdoom mods are beautiful technical marvels and all...them being in doom is weird. something about it just clashes with what i see doom as, and it kinda turns me away from them (although that's not to say i don't respect them, cuz i respect the hell out of them)

 

idk. what i'm trying to say is that i don't like doom looking like a van gogh painting in 4k

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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. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, ognjen said:

...and techbases with shotgunners, imps and pinkies don't appeal to a lot of people anymore. 

 

No Rest For The Living doesn't like your judgemental tone. :)

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Tools are a lot better, tons of new assets are out there, and there's a lot of accumulated knowledge from all these years and all kinds of options with source ports, i'd say people naturally expect more polish in modern maps (at least from more experienced creators) even though there's def still a place for retro vanilla compatible maps.

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23 minutes ago, roadworx said:

idk. what i'm trying to say is that i don't like doom looking like a van gogh painting in 4k

But it's one of the best levels in Golden Souls...

Qf2CnBr.png

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