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Jacek Bourne

What is Your Favorite “Niche” Mapping Style And Why

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Posted (edited)

The title explains it. Please be specific in your explanation if you can.

Examples: Platforming, Puzzle Map, Resource Starvation, Slaughtermap(not really niche but that’s beside the point)

 

Edited by Jacek Bourne

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Eternal Doom style exploration maps. I hope someday someone will make another megawad in the style, but using an artstyle more similar to Demon Eclipse, rather than the castle theme.

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(thank you, rd :3)

 

I'm forever expounding my weird tastes on this board but I was lately thinking about maps which are empty for most of their run time, or intermission maps completely bereft of monsters, or at least levels which separate their encounters with large stretches where there's zero resistance. Hellcore 2 is kinda infamous and I adore it, I love the first map of Aliens TC and the silly batcaves in Batman Doom, I love Comatose which feels empty, the stations in BTSXE1, the dream map in Epic 2 where you've returned from the space chapter which while being full of enemies just has this particular atmosphere that makes you wanna savor being back on earth and not wade back into the enemies which makes it count as an intermission map to me... there's also sminky2.wad by whoever made that where you can beat the level without fighting monsters simply by refusing to explore

 

hey I adore the outro map from Going Down, too. that level set tends not to be my thing at all but I love the music and I love the thoughtful detailing and I love that if you try hard enough in that map you can just revive hell for yr own amusement <3

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I feel excited every time I see unusual weapon progression/ availability. Abyssion is well known, I think, with its rocket launcher / plasma gun all the way. The first map of nilla is brilliant. Recently I played something in which the mapper maybe went too far, it was a bit of a torture, but I am not mad at him, I rather applaud his bravery:

 

Spoiler

ic2005: for a good, good while you only have pistol and your enemies are zombiemen, imps, pinkies and shotgun guys on crates. IC200x series is very good, BTW.

 

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I prefer maps that are short, sweet, and to the point. This is why I like Erik Alm's work so much. I also like green marble hell maps, metal maps, and maps that make heavy use of TEKWALL.

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rd's answer got me thinking because we share the same tastes by their list, but what is the common denominator across the points? Another way to put it I found is that I seek a playfulness and unique personality in doom maps instead of a desire to conform to some preconception of standardized gameplay. Map makers that know where to resonate with expectations within their niches and microgenres as a point of self-awareness but they also know when to be punk rock about it and shatter the assorted cliches... or at least as much as it is possible within the confines of an almost 30 year old engine. 

It really helps that doom map making is not (generally) a commercial venture, because then market expectations or what people seek from other commercial products becomes another set of toys for a playful map maker to find resonance with or just violently hard counter against. That's why I love doom and the map making community because people just can do what they like without having to worry about game industry shit.

So it can be run and gun fun, it can be slaughter, it can be empty and solemn, it can be puzzly, it can be whatever, as long as the unique personality of the map maker shines through, I guess! It's a blessing that, from doing a little playtesting for people on this forum in the last few months I find that so many mappers, not just the known big names have that playful energy to their maps if one looks a bit closer.

 

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Posted (edited)

Doom Zero style

Plutonia style

Sigil style

Basically, I like my maps either

1) Puzzle/secret heavy with an emphasis on exploration

2) Short, relatively hard combat puzzles

3) Resource starving, moody maps

My favourite maps in Doom 1 are E2M2, E3M6 and E4M1 for example. I'm not a big fan of techbases, long maps, or even balanced maps which is why I probably won't ever finish BTSX1. My favourite textures are mostly Doom 1 ones, I really like fireblu, green marble, vines, and Alien Vendetta has the best skies in my opinion. I also really like Scythe 2's aesthetics. Tangerine Nightmare is also gorgeous.

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I think a lot of this has to do with Alien Vendetta Map10, but I have a soft spot for sewer-themed maps. I think BRICK10 and SLIME01-SLIME08 go pretty well together, and is one of the most visually appealing sets of Doom textures/flats to me.

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Posted (edited)

-Maps featuring microwaves

-Maps where you can ride a giraffe

-Maps featuring the Masters & Johnson laboratory

-Complete recreations of the LOTR franchise even though I don't really like LOTR

-Maps that reference Ingmar Bergman

-Maps with voice acting by Woody Allen

-Maps featuring cars with 3 1/2 wheels

-Maps that feature a detailed depiction of the effects of listeria

-Maps that give you listeria

-Maps based on the show "How I Met your Mother and then Married my Brother"

 

If anyone can recommend some wads that have these features, I would appreciate it.

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RD covered most of it as I also like My First Maps, but more so because they're usually not following the established rules. It's nice to play a map now and then where it breaks from the norm and the mapper just dances to his own tune. 

 

Doomcute is another big plus and I love to see it. I always felt it meshed far better with Doom than some other options like sprite furniture. It just feels right to me when I see a Doomcute couch or wardrobe, like it belongs there and doesn't look unusual to me in the slightest. If anything it actually draws me into the map more.

 

Same goes for things like a light switch, working toilets (sound effect) and other small things that aren't needed but are appreciated. It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the green marble texture and never get tired of seeing it. I also like wood and metal support textures when used together.

 

I'll leave it there and keep it short as RD and a few others already covered it. I just wanted to touch on the ones above.

 

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Gimmicks. Anything that at one point throws the usual gameplay off the window and does something weird or silly or something that you think on it a bit and go "okay, that must've been fun to make in the editor."

 

Yes, I loved the 2000s era of shitty jokewads. Yes, I love TCs that don't take themselves seriously. I mean, sure, classic gameplay is still great, it is one of the reasons why Doom is still alive instead of say, Redneck Rampage; Yet I feel there's more untapped potential on what isn't normally done. See Absolutely Killed, that thing won a Cacoward while not being particularly great at anything other than constantly getting you into unusual and interesting situations. Okay, I lie, that one level with the red textures matching the other textures was a masterpiece of texture use as well. Still.

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Posted (edited)

In short, I'd say slaughter maps.

In reality, that's such a hard question to answer.  Some of my most favorite maps can be so incredibly varied.  But what definitely is a must is good music, pretty visuals, and good level design.  Take the level Warp of Time or better yet, take Timeless, both from the wad Hell Ground.  Neither are slaughter maps (Timeless is a basic puzzle level with only 2 lost souls) but they are so incredibly memorable!  I remember the first time I booted up the wad Refracted Reality... my 8 year old daughter and I were blown away with how pretty everything was!  (If you like pretty wads, check that one out!)

My single favorite map is The Singing Void from Sunder.  It's slaughtery, hard as hell, extremely well designed, has a fitting midi, is incredibly original, and set in a world that goes waaay beyond normal doom hell-ish.  In fact, the best description of the level I've seen comes from an Arbys550 playthrough of The Singing Void on youtube by a commenter of the name of Hirame Sensei who wrote the following:

 

Sunder is at its best, aesthetically, when it completely abandons any pretext of keeping its constructions grounded in reality and fully embraces the "fever dream nightmare world" style.

 

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