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Mr. Kong

Popularity of Pistol Starts

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I'm a big fan of pistol starting, particularly in Doom.

 

I'm just curious as to when did pistol starting change from something that a few people did (even though the IWADs were made to support them), to something that is viewed as essential for someone to beat, say, a Megawad with.

 

The most recent of it's popularity surges is probably due to decino, and later cemented by MtPain27. I was just wondering where it used to stand, with the community in general, before that.

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i like to play it saveless

that is if i die on a level i do a pistol start if i dont then i keep my weapons

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2 minutes ago, Murdoch said:

This is a relatively new phenomena that I cannot recall being mentioned back when I was hanging around the community originally circa 1999 - 2005ish.

That's what I menat, Murdoch.

 

Even though I like to do it as well, I disagree with that kind of thinking, as I don't think that the main reason to play should be to promote elitism.

 

I'm just curious as to how and why that happened, as I've noticed that it's a kind of thinking that's becoming moe common.

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3 minutes ago, Adamast0r said:

Even though I like to do it as well, I disagree with that kind of thinking, as I don't think that the main reason to play should be to promote elitism.

 

Good man.

 

3 minutes ago, Adamast0r said:

I'm just curious as to how and why that happened, as I've noticed that it's a kind of thinking that's becoming moe common.

 

It is a bit weird. I can understand it being done as post completion challenge if one feels so inclined. Otherwise... why? I really don't get it. Just in case I had not already hammered that point home with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to one's sensitive areas.

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10 minutes ago, Murdoch said:

It kills the ongoing sense of progression.

Actually I think it refreshes the sense of progression. There is hardly any progression in Doom to begin with, collecting weapons is about the only thing that's going on. If you get all the weapons within the first 3 maps, there is no sense of progression for the next 27 maps.

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I think it might have to do, at least in part, to the influence of the Doom reboot, on account of it's Ultra-Nightmare permadeath logic.

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, Adamast0r said:

I'm just curious as to when did pistol starting change from something that a few people did (even though the IWADs were made to support them), to something that is viewed as essential for someone to beat, say, a Megawad with.

 

The thing to remember is people have been playing this game for 20 years. Long-time Doomers seem to be those who enjoy pistol-starting in the same way the average modern day Doom WAD in general has become much more difficult than the old IWADs ever were over time: It's just a way to keep Doom fresh for them. That's how I've come to see it's popularity among some people within the community at least. Personally, I prefer to play continuous right now because, hey I earned the stuff I've collected, I'm damn well going to keep it! :^P

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Just now, RDETalus said:

There is hardly any progression in Doom to begin with, collecting weapons is about the only thing that's going on. If you get all the weapons within the first 3 maps, there is no sense of progression for the next 27 maps.

I see what you mean.

But it can also be argued that it defeats the sense of, say, a scenario in which you're captured, as Going Down does, for example.

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1 minute ago, Biodegradable said:

hey I earned the stuff I've collected, I'm damn well going to keep it! :^P

That's true. That makes it invariably easier the longer you progress but, on the other hand, helps in making you reap the rewars you got from the sweat of your own brow.

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26 minutes ago, omalefico32x said:

i like to play it saveless

that is if i die on a level i do a pistol start if i dont then i keep my weapons

For some reason, I have never ever played Doom this way in over 25 years, but this makes perfect sense and it adds tension to the game.

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Just now, RDETalus said:

For some reason, I have never ever played Doom this way in over 25 years, but this makes perfect sense and it adds tension to the game.

i really recommend you play doom2 this way

doom is kinda easy and i had time where i played the entire game without dying but doom 2 is a different story not only that but it also lacks the super shotgun in some maps so sometimes you go a long time without seeing one

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Well...considering that most maps of today has been tested with pistol-starting gameplay, people right now has that option. Dunno if that's the same for older wads though, because maybe it had a continuous plan.

Basically, it's a "Because why not?" situation that players can enjoy. About the origins of such gameplay...it got popularized recently.

 

So, players can start pewpewing the demons anyway :D

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5 minutes ago, leodoom85 said:

Dunno if that's the same for older wads though, because maybe it had a continuous plan.

That's what's interesting. Many of them are possible to complete that way, and I think the greatest strenght pistol starts have going is to make you "appreciate" each level for itself, and not as a building step in a continuous experience.

 

Sometimes that may work, but other times, perhaps, not so much.

 

I think in Heretic, for example, wand starts are common place as well, but shotgun starts in Q1, or pistol starts on Duke 3D, not so much, even though many of the same level design principles were similar.

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1 hour ago, Murdoch said:

Name me one other game where the player character tosses their supplies between levels?

 

Mario Kart, Tetris, Call of Duty campaigns.

Really any game that doesn't center around an inventory. Or one where it wasn't meant to be kept and can be replenished by pickups in the level itself (like Doom)

 

Your point is an interesting one because Doom kind of is in a middle ground here.

I'm not super well-versed in the speedrunning community at large, but as far as I know, Individual Level records aren't a focus like they are in Doom.

But even in Doom there's Movie records. And of course, I've never seen one of those where they pistol-started each map.

 

In the end, I'm pretty sure most agree it's not cool to be an elitist jerk for really any reason.

But if you go into a thread for a wad and start complaining "MAPXX is too easy!" when you ran in with a BFG from the previous level, you'll get rightly criticized for that.

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1 hour ago, Biodegradable said:

Personally, I prefer to play continuous right now because, hey I earned the stuff I've collected

Exactly! I only pistol start wads that I already completed on UV.

 

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2 minutes ago, DuckReconMajor said:

Mario Kart, Tetris, Call of Duty campaigns.

Not really comparable. Especially Tetris.

 

In Duke 3D and in Dark Forces, there are levels that force you to go through an inventory reset. In both cases, it's only used once, and explained by you being captured, and you can find in the level a special item that gives you back all your confiscated gear.

 

There's Hocus Pocus, a platforming game, where you lose your items between each level. In that game it makes sense because powerups are temporary, so the only real setback is losing the multishot upgrades you've acquired previously. Inversely, in Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II (the platformers), you kept your powerups throughout the game, getting more and more firepower as well as enhanced movement options.

 

So really I'd say the difference is between "game as an adventure" and "game as a series of puzzles". Doom is sitting with its ass between two chairs, there, in that it wants to be both an adventure and a series of puzzles.

 

A last note is that in Doom 3, each level has its own "fresh start" equipment. So there's no real pistol start, because the game will automatically give you the minimal equipment that the designer thought you should have acquired in the previous levels by this point. (And given that you actually start without any weapon and even without the ability to pick up stuff, that's for the best.)

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Posted (edited)

Hmm. There is only one megaWAD I played where I forced pistol starts, that being Japanese Community Project because all of the maps seemed to be meant as separate experiences. I also played 180 Minutes Pour Vivre this way, but never got past map10. The rest of the WADs I played were either clearly meant as a continuous experience, or too hard for me to consider playing them with pistol starts. I'm not very good at Doom, clearly.

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1 minute ago, northivanastan said:

There's only one megaWAD I played where I forced pistol starts, that being Japanese Community Project. The rest were either clearly meant as a continuous experience, or too hard for me to consider playing them with pistol starts.

I agree. Community projects are much more prone to that kind of gameplay.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Murdoch said:

It is a bit weird. I can understand it being done as post completion challenge if one feels so inclined. Otherwise... why? I really don't get it.

I think pistol starting is a thing because maps are made with it in mind. Sometimes mappers have to make their maps WAY too hard just to take continuous playthroughs in mind, especially on community projects... and it doesn't even work that much because you can't predict how the player will start it.

My map on Switcheroom 2 heavily suffers from this issue. I've seen people breeze through it and breaking all the intended puzzles or encounters because they can rocket or BFG the hell of it (even after I removed almost all the cells from the map). It's something unavoidable I guess, but disappointing nonetheless. I always end a bit sad when I see someone playing a continuous map of mine. Not because I want it to be HAAARD, but because I put a lot of effort on balancing and I feel guilty when everything gets scrapped. I also don't want to make the map insanely difficult or punishing just to loosely "fix it".

However I would like to know what more experienced mappers think about it since I'm still learning. Maybe I'm the one to blame here, so I'm thinking on ways of improving that.

Edited by Noiser

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Community projects often have little regard for continuous balancing, because each mapper makes only their own individual map(s) so they can only really balance it for pistol start.

 

So continuous balancing in many cases comes down to roughly ordering maps by difficulty, and adding death exits before gimmick maps that really require pistol start gameplay for the intended experience.

 

Having said that, I do think mapsets in general could be more frugal in terms of placing backpacks. IMO they are the single biggest contributor in impacting continuous balance.

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1 minute ago, Gez said:

Not really comparable. Especially Tetris.

 

Murdoch said "one other game" not "one other game like Doom"

 

I just in general get annoyed at any generalization about all video games, as it's a huge medium with endless possibilities, and I believe such statements limit what people think they can be.

 

As for your Duke3D/Dark Forces point, I agree completely and I think if Doom had been designed differently (for example if the map format allowed you to control what players started the map with) we'd be having a very different conversation.

 

In the end, Doom was designed, as you put it, with "ass in both chairs" and as such we're going to end up with debates like in this thread.

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Posted (edited)

I play pistol start after a continuous playthrough.

 

As for playing through a PWAD in a more "serious" manner, I just try to follow what the author suggests in the provided textfile.

That way, we can try to enjoy the experience closer to way it was supposedly "meant to be". That being said, to each his own.

 

And by "serious" manner I mean playthrough videos and reviews. I figure one should try to judge or give an opinion on another person's work based, at least somewhat, on their goals and design choices for it.

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I only pistol start when I die and didn’t save beforehand. Levels being easier than intended has never had an effect on how much I appreciate them.

 

Carrying over supplies is arguably just an alternate means of selecting an easier difficulty. Kind of like fast or slow monsters. The only time I’d ever consider pistol

starts truly “necessary” is if you were doing an in depth analysis on each level as it’s own experience, sort of how MtPain does. I’m no wad analyst so I just play it the way I enjoy most, which is continuous.

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I'm a jerk so when I released Clippyworld I made each map enforceable with pistol starts. That's because they were all standalone and I don't want to screw up the balance. 

 

But I have a new map set coming out that was designed around being play continuous OR pistol start 

 

Hopefully it'll appeal to everybody in some fashion

 

I do personally lean towards pistol starts as I like the challenge of starting with just the pistol and collecting the weapons each time

 

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3 minutes ago, Clippy said:

designed around being play continuous OR pistol start 

That sounds great. Just specify it in the textfile or on the thread itself.

 

Fortunately there's flavours of Doom that cater to all tastes.

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Posted (edited)

I play only play continuous. Pistol starting just changes maps to trial and error, until you find the best route to where the weapons are placed. Wrong turn usually means a restart. I could see myself eventually pistol starting WADs I already played as a side challenge, but first time? Absolutely not.

 

Pistol starting is also much less viable for me because I only play with -fast.

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14 minutes ago, idbeholdME said:

I could see myself eventually pistol starting WADs I already played as a side challenge

That makes sense. As one does with UV Fast, Tyson or Reality runs.

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I should add that some wads out there forces you to start with the pistol in every single map. Dump 3 is an example of that. 

Some mods also does that :)

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If that's done to implement the design of the PWAD itself, than it's perfectly fine.

 

But if it's to force on the player the gameplay philosophy of the WAD's creator, that's a different story.

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