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Silhouette 03

I need some advice

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I don't honestly know how to formulate my thoughts so that they make at least some sense, so I'll try and be brief, and bare with me if this is disorganized. I'm a novice mapper, I've released three maps publicly, the first of which was a classic "my first wad" map, with a plethora of stupid little mistakes that I want to kick myself for not noticing , the second suffered from the same mistakes and received very little feedback(due to my own idiocy), and the third and most recent one, which showed some improvements, though was still lacking in the gameplay department and layout was  too simplistic. I'm trying to find my breakthrough map, something that I can say started my road to improvement and something that other people can enjoy, and I need advice on how I can improve. Are there any Community projects that cater to novice mappers like myself, and have a relatively long time to submit a map? Or should I just go solo for now? I'm really uncertain of what I should do... since personal projects usually end up badly

 

Mapping has been my main outlet for the past few months in controlling my stress levels and anxiety, and when I map I usually feel a sense of calm and serenity. I'm struggling to actually formulate my ideas for the layout of my maps into something I can be proud of and actually fulfill it's intended purpose i.e. not end up a complete mess. I've heard that some mappers draw the layout and then apply it in the editor, though I'm terrible at drawing.

 

Mappers , I need your advice, please. It'd mean the world to me.

Spoiler

Sorry if this sounds disorganized, but it's the best I could do. Also, apologies if this is in the wrong subforum.

 

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If you want some community projects there's this All-comer project

And the DoomWorld Maximum Project has a deadline of January 1st 2022 

 

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Playing and thinking about what you like about other maps is a great thing to do to identify what you want from a map. Definitely feel free to join the discord for RAMP, people have been really great at giving each other advice, encouragement and feedback so far :)

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Do not try to sprint before you can crawl. Do not be embarrassed about being a beginner. Every great mapper was once where you are. Keep practicing. It is going to take time. As David says, really stop and think about maps you like and what you can do to come close to that while adding your own spin to it. Maybe recruit some playtesters who can give you feedback on a map before you release it to the public.

 

And finally, try to remember that 99% of the people in this community are generally not assholes. Do not be scared to ask for help and feedback.

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Murdoch said:

Do not try to sprint before you can crawl. Do not be embarrassed about being a beginner. Every great mapper was once where you are. Keep practicing. It is going to take time. As David says, really stop and think about maps you like and what you can do to come close to that while adding your own spin to it. Maybe recruit some playtesters who can give you feedback on a map before you release it to the public.

 

And finally, try to remember that 99% of the people in this community are generally not assholes. Do not be scared to ask for help and feedback.

 

 

 

I think I may need to frame this advice. 

 

Seriously though, thank you for the kind words and taking the time to write this. I sometimes wonder why people are this patient in this community, and I'm thankful that majority of people here are this nice to me, even when I screw up in unfathomable ways ;) 

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Just now, Silhou3tte said:

I think I may need to frame this advice. 

 

Seriously though, thank you for the kind words and taking the time to write this. I sometimes wonder why people are this patient in this community, and I'm thankful that majority of people here are this nice to me, even when I screw up in unfathomable ways ;) 

 

You are being way too hard on yourself.

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Just now, Murdoch said:

You are being way too hard on yourself.

Heh, maybe. My wording was a bit bad there, sorry. Didn't mean to come off that way.

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Don't overthink it, a perfect map is the worst enemy of a good map.

 

What I'm saying is, it helps to just map a lot, play other people's maps, note what you like and what you don't. Helps to eliminate the "freeze" when the map is not "the way i wanted it to be". With time, these things become faster. My first release took me a good month!

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"Improving" can be two things: it can mean getting faster at mapping, more efficient with your time, more familiar and comfortable with the tools, and generally having more flexibility and talent to turn your ideas into actual maps. It can also mean the ability to create maps that appeal to a wide audience, at least here on DW. 

 

If you're specifically interested in appealing to as many players as possible, the simplest advice anyone can give you is to start playing the most popular wads (there's plenty of "best wads" lists around here). Try to make notes of what make them so much fun to play -- likely, it's things like compact, looping, "inter-connected" layouts, clever use of monsters, memorable setpieces, themes, or details, etc. And then, try formulating your own map ideas that incorporate these broader concepts. This leads directly into my next point, though:

 

"Improving" at anything is just practice. My first point (about becoming more efficient, more comfortable with the tools, etc.) is absolutely necessary in giving you the readiness to create the kind of experiences you're interested in making -- especially if you're attempting to emulate an existing map(set). The only way to get this level of comfort, familiarity, and experience with the editor, and with executing on your own ideas, is by making maps, making maps, making maps, making maps, making maps, making maps. With 3 maps under your belt, you've already begun that journey, but you have to remember that it's a journey without a destination -- that is to say, you'll never stop learning how to make maps or how to improve, because every single map you release is going to be a lesson learned for your next one (probably multiple lessons). And, since you enjoy making maps so much (which is awesome to hear), that tells me you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Just keep mapping, and enjoying yourself.

 

Community projects can be a great source of practice (and the shorter the deadline, the better). They can shake things up by introducing you to new resources, new formats, and new criteria/limits that restrict your time and "freedom" so-to-speak, and pull the creativity out of you. Just scanning the WADS-and-Mods page every so often for new community projects can yield a lot of opportunities, they seem to pop up quite frequently.  

 

Playtesters are your best friends. I certainly recommend having at least one person (if not more) test your map before a public release, and an FDA (a recorded video of their first, blind playthrough) is arguably the most important piece of feedback you'll ever receive, because it lets you see firsthand how a player responds to each and every aspect of the map as they play through it. Do they seem lost? Did they notice that Soulsphere? Did this ambush lead to a fun skirmish or just kill them instantly? Oh, they're just camping this corner instead of running around the arena, why is that? Etc, etc, etc. If you're looking for playtesters, look no further than here.

 

There are some wonderful discords to check out, if you want to engage in more conversation about mapping, such as Bridgeburner's Hellforge and Jimmy's Joy of Mapping servers, respectively.

 

As far as how to actually approach the design / construction of a map, I never draw it out first (I know some people do). I've tried this a few times, but the ideas always wind up mutating into something completely different once I start building them in the editor, that I found the "drawing" portion of the process to be little more than a waste of time (again, for me personally). If it works for you, that's great. Keep doing it. The more maps you make, the better understanding you'll have of how your own process works, and then you can begin leaning into that and using it more effectively.   

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@RonnieJamesDiner, Thank you for the advice and for writing a short stories worth of invaluable information, ha ha. To be perfectly honest, I was feeling demotivated for a while now in regards to mapping, and I just needed some insight from more experienced mappers such as yourself and DavidN, as well as Murdoch for giving me some of his personal wisdom. I'll definitely look into joining a CP ,such as DavidN's RAMP and try and contact some playtesters. I'm not giving in. Period. 

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I am not a mapper so my advice will probably be worthless, but I would say that one thing that usually helps creative processes in general is to never try too hard to appeal to everybody. You have an idea you think could work, just go for it, without worrying too much about what other people may think. Even if it's unconventional. I'm sure you have played a lot, so you already know what kind of situations you like more in the game, what kind of levels you enjoy the most (both in terms of gameplay style and visuals/construction), the traps that work better or worse, and so on. Use that kind of experience to build something that you know you would like to play, or you know would be cool to your taste, and go for it. And don't be too hard on yourself if sometimes the results are a little more disappointing than you expected. Improvements will come with time and dedication. As with most things in our life.

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@Asphalt I mentioned in the OP that I was asking for mappers advice, since I was not sure what kind of advice I would be given. Any advice to me is invaluable, and to think that only mappers could answer with solid advice that I could carry with me was a bit presumptuous of me, I see that now. A lot of people have contributed to this thread, and I'm more than happy for that.

 

I've always wanted to have a "mapping identity", if that makes sense, and I'm still trying to find one, though I see now that appealing to everyone is not the right thing to do here. Your advice is really helpful, and thank you for taking the time to help.

 

  

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@Silent Wolf No, thank YOU, man.

It's thanks to people like you that we have this great community and plenty of new exciting things to play every time.

Just keep going, and I'm sure with practice you will also discover the identity you are working for. Good things take time. ;-)

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On 5/28/2021 at 2:49 AM, Silent Wolf said:

I don't honestly know how to formulate my thoughts so that they make at least some sense, so I'll try and be brief, and bare with me if this is disorganized. I'm a novice mapper, I've released three maps publicly, the first of which was a classic "my first wad" map, with a plethora of stupid little mistakes that I want to kick myself for not noticing ...

 

well, i guess at least your first published map should be much better than my 1st which has no architecture at all (here). despite its overt simplicity, i still love it loads. currently learning to make my 2nd map though but this time with some architecture. i believe there are no such things as stupid careless mistakes after checking for them. those mistakes were there for a reason. that's why we have versions (1.01, 1.02, etc) and the chance to learn from them. anyway, good luck in mapping, and hope to one day see you get a cacoward :)

Edited by terminator

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31 minutes ago, terminator said:

 

well, i guess at least your first published map should be much better than my 1st which has no architecture at all (here). despite its overt simplicity, i still love it loads. currently learning to make my 2nd map though but this time with some architecture. i believe there are no such things as stupid careless mistakes after checking for them. those mistakes were there for a reason. that's why we have versions (1.01, 1.02, etc) and the chance to learn from them. anyway, good luck in mapping, and hope to one day see you get a cacoward :)

Thank you. I'll keep the versions in mind for testing. Thank you for the encouragement as well. Really appreciate it.

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First of all, calm down, there's no time limit in mapping, there's no ticking time bomb (unless you join a community project), doomworld and any mapping/modding site will always stay online, so you can take all the time in the world, days, weeks or even months, creating the perfect experience, patience has a reward, so you can use your mapping sessions as a way to relax and not to demonstrate (by that i mean rush your projects for quick plays), if you rush it out of the oven 9 times out of 10 the reviews will be negative and people will forget about it, so take your time, calm down, and find the most comfy way for you to create your doom map, watch tutorials about the basics of mapping and use that as a basis to improve!

 

After you're ready, then you should join a community project, in my opinion of course.

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1 minute ago, Kurogachii said:

First of all, calm down, there's no time limit in mapping, there's no ticking time bomb (unless you join a community project), doomworld and any mapping/modding site will always stay online, so you can take all the time in the world, days, weeks or even months, creating the perfect experience, patience has a reward, so you can use your mapping sessions as a way to relax and not to demonstrate (by that i mean rush your projects for quick plays), if you rush it out of the oven 9 times out of 10 the reviews will be negative and people will forget about it, so take your time, calm down, and find the most comfy way for you to create your doom map, watch tutorials about the basics of mapping and use that as a basis to improve!

 

After you're ready, then you should join a community project, in my opinion of course.

Thank you for the advice. Yeah, I may have sounded a bit panicked, but I assure you I was mainly looking for some advice. I had four maps that never went anywhere and I was worried I was suffering from a creative block. I now see that I need to get more comfortable with my mapping, and improve naturally, not worrying about timeframes, and getting a map in at a certain date.

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