Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Mr. Kong

Popularity of Pistol Starts

Recommended Posts

I think maps that come in design of pistol starting is b/c if a player doesn't save for whatever reason on a map and dies and has to start back from square one, they would have a fighting chance to beat it from square one with the added challenge of progressing in power that you have to earn. Personally, I flip-flop between pistol-start and continuous play whenever I feel like I want to do either one, b/c in the end all that matters is that you should have fun with doom. Play with the added challenge, play with fast monsters, play pistol start, who cares?

 

However, there's this one mod called DAKKA that puts a unique spin to pistol-starting. There's an option where you could start the next level, keep all your weapons, but have absolutely 0 ammo for your other weapons except w/ the 50 bullets you have in your pistol. From there, you have to earn the ammo kept around the level.

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, bLOCKbOYgAMES said:

Remember when completing Doom on nightmare was considered a joke, even by the designers themselves?

That's very true.

 

Just look at the case of AV. It was (and still is, in my opinion) a really tough Megawad to blast through, on UV. A considerable time later the Black Label "expansion" was released, which contains Valley of Tears, which was supposedly omitted from the original release, among, other things, on account of it's difficulty.

 

But, eventually, the community "grew" in a way that can accomodate, and beat, that (by the way pretty awesome) level.

 

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, VoanHead said:

However, there's this one mod called DAKKA that puts a unique spin to pistol-starting. There's an option where you could start the next level, keep all your weapons, but have absolutely 0 ammo for your other weapons except w/ the 50 bullets you have in your pistol. From there, you have to earn the ammo kept around the level.

That's a great idea. I assume it's exclusive to Z-based source ports?

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, Adamast0r said:

That's a great idea. I assume it's exclusive to Z-based source ports?

ye, it's a weapon mod.

Share this post


Link to post

I played Valley of tears more than a decade after I finished the original AV. lol I played AV before I knew about source ports. Finishing AV was tough, partly because there are many levels that you cannot save your game on at all or it will crash. So I had to finish sometimes several levels consecutively without saves, and even then not knowing if the new level would crash on saving, losing levels worth of progress.

 

...but then I discovered JDoom!!!

 

On topic, to be fair, there are many levels that are far too easy and have their challenge destroyed on continuous play. (E4M4 'Unruly Evil' I'm looking at you... A joke on continuous play. Actually a pretty tough challenge on pistol start.))

 

So pistol starts vs continuous play is never gonna be something that is totally reconcilable.

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, bLOCKbOYgAMES said:

So pistol starts vs continuous play is never gonna be something that is totally reconcilable.

Exactly. Not that there's nothing wrong with that.

Share this post


Link to post
13 minutes ago, bLOCKbOYgAMES said:

(E4M4 'Unruly Evil' I'm looking at you... A joke on continuous play. Actually a pretty tough challenge on pistol start.))

 

When I first played Doom on the XBLA port I didn't know about save-scumming and died on this map.

The resulting pistol start was brutal and it became one of my favorite maps because of that.

Share this post


Link to post
Just now, Adamast0r said:

Exactly. Not that there's nothing wrong with that.

 

Agreed. That is the great thing about Doom. Do as you please.

 

My point was that balancing for pistol starts does have a (to my mind) detrimental effect on continuous play.

 

Perhaps the simplest solution is for the authors of the maps to specify their desired intent? Perhaps that would reconcile the two.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bLOCKbOYgAMES said:

I don't mind playing maps from pistol start, but I do mind when people make mapsets that are designed to be played continuously and then test them as if every map is a pistol start map. The result of this is that it destroys the tension of ammo limitations, and after a few levels, tends to leave you awash with way more ammunition than perhaps a continuous play should have.

 

As @Biodegradable rightly pointed out, the player has "earned the ammo they have," but this achievement of keeping and conserving your ammo is massively lessened because now there is too much ammo on the levels due to this idea that every map should be completable from a pistol start.

 

Well here's an idea. Balance continuous play maps... for continuous play! (assuming this is what you are going for,) and let the pistol starters rise to the challenge of playing maps that may not necessarily be as finely tuned for pistol starts. So that the achievement of continuous play is not lessened due to some arbitrary standard of pistol starts.

 

Anyway that is my 2c. Balancing for pistol starts makes continuous play easier. Which is bad. (Unless you are Malcolm Sailor. That guy knew how to make you earn your ammo.)

no. absolutely not.

 

i don't know if you've ever made a map before, but the amount of playtesting we have to do is...well...a lot. i already playtest my maps over, and over, and over again because i want to make absolutely sure that everything is, in my eyes, perfect. if i decide to make a multi-level wad - which i may do sometime in the future - i'm not gonna spend countless hours going through each individual map just so that i can balance one single map. even if i had a team of playtesters, they have their own lives and i'd rather they not waste it playing a 25y/o game for hours and hours just so they can tell me if one specific map needs more or less ammo for continuous players; they have lives and their time is valuable to them, and i don't want to waste said time.

 

if i'm gonna balance for continuous, i'll play through it once, maybe twice, once it's done and take some notes, and then do some balancing for continuous. either that or i'll have playtesters do it. but i'm not gonna spend hours upon hours playtesting multiple maps at a time - maps that i've already spent too much time playtesting - so continuous players have everything perfectly balanced. fuck. that.

 

some wads like strain and btsx may have been balanced for continuous in that way, but those were entire teams of people. i and most other mappers are only one person, and we can only do so much without trying to blow our brains out.

 

14 minutes ago, bLOCKbOYgAMES said:

 

Agreed. That is the great thing about Doom. Do as you please.

 

My point was that balancing for pistol starts does have a (to my mind) detrimental effect on continuous play.

 

Perhaps the simplest solution is for the authors of the maps to specify their desired intent? Perhaps that would reconcile the two.

they already do, at least for modern mapsets. it usually says in the text file

Share this post


Link to post

I'm pretty much a pistol start only player nowadays. I don't view it as any more legitimate or anything, I moreso just like having a sort of "standard" way of experience way each level, untouched by whatever I did in past levels. I think I have this fear that maybe the way I played in earlier levels will sully my interpretation of a level in some way, whereas with a pistol start I'm going to be having the same experience each time.

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, DisgruntledPorcupine said:

I'm pretty much a pistol start only player nowadays. I don't view it as any more legitimate or anything, I moreso just like having a sort of "standard" way of experience way each level, untouched by whatever I did in past levels. I think I have this fear that maybe the way I played in earlier levels will sully my interpretation of a level in some way, whereas with a pistol start I'm going to be having the same experience each time.

I get it. It's like a playthrough tabula rasa. As I mentioned before it can, in my opinion, have that effect of making you appreciate each map as it's own micro-cosmos.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, bLOCKbOYgAMES said:

I don't mind playing maps from pistol start, but I do mind when people make mapsets that are designed to be played continuously and then test them as if every map is a pistol start map. The result of this is that it destroys the tension of ammo limitations, and after a few levels, tends to leave you awash with way more ammunition than perhaps a continuous play should have.

 

As @Biodegradable rightly pointed out, the player has "earned the ammo they have," but this achievement of keeping and conserving your ammo is massively lessened because now there is too much ammo on the levels due to this idea that every map should be completable from a pistol start.

 

Well here's an idea. Balance continuous play maps... for continuous play! (assuming this is what you are going for,) and let the pistol starters rise to the challenge of playing maps that may not necessarily be as finely tuned for pistol starts. So that the achievement of continuous play is not lessened due to some arbitrary standard of pistol starts.

 

Anyway that is my 2c. Balancing for pistol starts makes continuous play easier. Which is bad. (Unless you are Malcolm Sailor. That guy knew how to make you earn your ammo.)

It's not as easy as you think, one single map will take a lot, and I mean a lot of playtesting, I myself can get a bit lazy on playtesting so I might not be the mapper who most time has spent playtesting his own map (if we measure somehow that and on top of that map length must be considered, but to the point) yet I still spend a long time of the mapping process playing x or y area and the map itself over and over to make sure that it's how I want it to be even if stuff gets out from my own playtesting, and that's why playtesters exist, because a mapper, knowing how they want the map to play will play the map that way, however, the playtester who doesn't know how it is supposed to go will give feedback on how it actually plays to the mapper.

 

Now, what's my point? playtesting takes a lot of time and more than one person to carry out well for a single map, plus how big the map itself is can make the playtesting time a lot more, now try to do this for a mapset of around 5 maps, that painstaking process must be taken for each and every one of them. It's fine still because if you made 5 maps you know you gotta playtest those 5 maps; however going by what you're saying here, the mapper and playtesters must not only playtest each and every one of those 5 maps until they're done they must playtest all of them on a single continuous play for every time just to end up to a conclusion that some ammo was extra. You know how much time, not counting what both the mappers and playtesters have to do on their life outside of Doom, would that take? Imagine doing that for a full 32 map megawad or even more maps. That's just not feasible. 

 

Hey, I'm not saying that a megawad shouldn't have a  continuous player in mind while making a mapset that has that option, because I think that adds to the experience but it should be something that doesn't mean to playtest every single map in a  continuous play just to change some minor stuff for continuous play, like some ammo for a weapon you get on a past map, but what you're asking for here is extremely difficult to do (it also doesn't keep in mind people who play saveless or save after they died once on a map).

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, RDETalus said:

Actually I think it refreshes the sense of progression.

 

The movement through the map set is the progress to me. I view it as an ongoing adventure, moving from one location to another to deal with the latest invasion. So to me, pistol starts are completely illogical unless they fit a narrative choice - eg: the player teleports from one location to the other and the teleport for some reason can't carry excess weight over a long distance. Mildly annoying, but it is a deliberate design choice like in Half-Life where Gordon is captured and left to die.

 

8 hours ago, DuckReconMajor said:

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)

 

Uh... Tetris has resources? To be fair I should have been clearer and said another game like Doom where you are clearly moving from one location to another as part of a continual effort to accomplish your goal. So Mario Kart is not a valid comparison nor is Tetris. I think I played a CoD demo once years ago and violently hated it so I have not played one since but I believe narratively it's a bunch of different missions, often with different protagonists? So there, it makes sense. The recent Death's Dichotomy is an example of where pistol starts do make sense. Each level is it's own self-contained experience, with the hub map effectively acting as a launcher. 

 

8 hours ago, Noiser said:

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.

 

As a designer you should be designing the map with the realisation that different players will tackle it differently. There are certain gameplay setups where a map designer might wish to say, force a player to have to take a Revenant on with just a pump action shotgun. Doable if you are quick enough and have suitable cover (or room to move) and can be nicely tense if done right. But I think such situations should be done with great consideration and definitely used sparingly because constantly having to use lower tier weapons on higher tier enemies too many times is tedious as hell. Similar, resource deprivation driven gameplay should be done with extreme care and plenty of playtesting. Always add more ammo than you think you need because players don't know the map like you do and will make mistakes. I have a short fuse when it comes to this kind of thing and will not finish a map where I am getting constantly frustrated by a lack of resources. I have better things to do than constantly rehearse a single map.

 

If the above examples are the kind of map you want to design, I would suggest it does not belong in a pack and should be it's own self-contained experience. If you avoid forcing this kind of setup and let the play handle it however is most fun for them, then balance for both pistol start and continuous play becomes much less of a hassle. If you want to give the player some bullets for the upcoming fight, swap out a few clips for a chaingun which gives you ammo with it. That way both are covered. Levels in a pack should ideally be designed with challenge built around layouts, and the choice of monsters and their position, all chosen relative to the map number you are working on. If you know your map is going to MAP02 in a pack, then you probably shouldn't be filling it with Archviles, Revenants and a couple of Cyberdemons to wash it down with. Unless the project is "Doom 2 For Masochists" it which case have at it.

 

DISCLAIMER: the above is my opinion which I do not consider objective facts. If you disagree with me that's all good. We are all different and like different things :)

Edited by Murdoch

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, roadworx said:

no. absolutely not.

 

i don't know if you've ever made a map before, but the amount of playtesting we have to do is...well...a lot. i already playtest my maps over, and over, and over again because i want to make absolutely sure that everything is, in my eyes, perfect. if i decide to make a multi-level wad - which i may do sometime in the future - i'm not gonna spend countless hours going through each individual map just so that i can balance one single map. even if i had a team of playtesters, they have their own lives and i'd rather they not waste it playing a 25y/o game for hours and hours just so they can tell me if one specific map needs more or less ammo for continuous players; they have lives and their time is valuable to them, and i don't want to waste said time.

 

if i'm gonna balance for continuous, i'll play through it once, maybe twice, once it's done and take some notes, and then do some balancing for continuous. either that or i'll have playtesters do it. but i'm not gonna spend hours upon hours playtesting multiple maps at a time - maps that i've already spent too much time playtesting - so continuous players have everything perfectly balanced. fuck. that.

 

some wads like strain and btsx may have been balanced for continuous in that way, but those were entire teams of people. i and most other mappers are only one person, and we can only do so much without trying to blow our brains out.

 

they already do, at least for modern mapsets. it usually says in the text file

 

You make some fair points. I used to map a lot, up until about 5 years go, so I at least have some understanding of what the creative process of mapping is, putting aside whether I am any good or not. :)  And yes there are certainly limits as to how far you can go with one or the other. (Balancing for pistol start or continuous play.) But I think what you said is a more than sufficient. You balance for pistol starts, and then, maybe spend a little time giving thought to continuous play, without being ridiculous about the latter. Which is a legit way to test a map. And more than sufficient in virtually every circumstance. I like to do it the other way. Balance for continuous play and give some consideration for pistol starters. 

 

The thing is that the bulk of the testing is gonna be the same for both. Make sure the player has the appropriate type and amount of ammo for any given fight. This principle remains true whichever style of play you are aiming for. No player wants to pistol kill a baron. Or single shotty to death a spider mastermind. The ammo requirements for each type of monster remain identical. The only difference might be where you place the ammo relative to the start of the level. The ammo in the level itself is likely to remain similar.

 

So to me it wouldn't take any more work to balance for continuous, just a different approach, perhaps.

 

[edit] @1Destro3456 Hopefully this sort of addresses your post as well. You make a fair point. To do both is probably unfeasible, but you can focus on one, and because of the similarities between them, that will still make it reasonably balanced for the other with only a little more work. 

Edited by bLOCKbOYgAMES

Share this post


Link to post

I play pistol starts because I record a lot of demos, and it is basically just the way it is.  You -warp to the map you are recording which forces a pistol start anyway.  Since I've started recording demos I just got used to it and now do it in maps that I'm not recording as well.  I believe it was the speed demo scene that started the whole pistol starting thing in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

I don't like pistol starting, it ruins my sense of progression. Also it wasn't the intended mechanic for Doom either. If some levels don't adapt to provide better weapons straight away you will have to kill with the pistol (objectively bad weapon) or play like a speedrunner to get past all the demons until you find a shotgunner or weapon lying around.

 

Modern game design very rarely adapts this "lose all your weapons each level" approach for a reason. It's not fun. It's more of a rogue like mechanic and even then, those games punish you for failing not by default.

Share this post


Link to post
6 hours ago, SCF said:

I was certainly influenced by decino

Maybe slightly, but pistol starting was quite popular for a long time before he was around.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Chezza said:

I don't like pistol starting, it ruins my sense of progression. Also it wasn't the intended mechanic for Doom either. If some levels don't adapt to provide better weapons straight away you will have to kill with the pistol (objectively bad weapon) or play like a speedrunner to get past all the demons until you find a shotgunner or weapon lying around.

 

Modern game design very rarely adapts this "lose all your weapons each level" approach for a reason. It's not fun. It's more of a rogue like mechanic and even then, those games punish you for failing not by default.

it's not meant to be the default mechanic for progression, but it was absolutely intended for when the player dies or if they wanna start at something other than the first map

Share this post


Link to post
6 minutes ago, VanaheimRanger said:
6 hours ago, SCF said:

I was certainly influenced by decino

Maybe slightly, but pistol starting was quite popular for a long time before he was around.

That was one of my points. There's no denying his influence as, at least from what I gather, as I don't watch his channel that much, he's possibly the most well-known, or at least popular, Doom player these days.

 

That being said, of course many of us were defenders of that type of gameplay logic before that.

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, roadworx said:

it wasn't the intended default mechanic for progression, but it was absolutely intended for when the player dies or if they wanna start at something other than the first map

I also agree with roadworx here. Each of the maps on the IWADs were made to, not necessarily cater, but at least support pistol starts.

 

That's why many of the PWADs that followed them continued on that path. But at some point, those becaming branching paths, so to speak.

 

At least it seems to me like the division between them grew.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Adamast0r said:

That being said, of course many of us were defenders of that type of gameplay logic before that.

I only really started playing Doom user content in 2017 or 2018, before that I had only played through Doom 1 and 2 several times prior to 2012, usually on various console ports, so idk the whole history there, but I am fairly certain it was speedrunners in the 90s and early 2000s who perpetuated the idea of pistol starting to the masses, since that was the way they all played it anyway, then more mainstream Doom players started to catch on to what made that way of playing interesting and it went on from there.

Share this post


Link to post

From what i see it's fairly popular nowadays, and that's probably due to most mappers putting a good deal of effort into balancing megawads for both continuous play and pistol starts.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Adamast0r said:

I also agree with roadworx here. Each of the maps on the IWADs were made to, not necessarily cater, but at least support pistol starts.

 

That's why many of the PWADs that followed them continued on that path. But at some point, those becaming branching paths, so to speak.

 

At least it seems to me like the division between them grew.

 

as @VanaheimRanger said, the reason pistol-starting each and every map even became a thing is because of the speedrunning and demo community of the 90s and 2000s (i think). doing demos or speedruns for single maps have always required a pistol start, and as people got better at the game they looked to pistol starting each map as a new way to challenge themselves. the earliest wad in my collection to recommend playing it pistol start only is from 2004, but i'm sure there's earlier examples as well

 

also, pwads haven't diverged from that path, at least to my knowledge.

Edited by roadworx : sorry for all the edits lol

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think Decino popularized the pistol start thing. Its been pretty normalized for years. Hell, every map in Doom and Doom 2 were designed around pistol start. Which is why continuous is almost always unbalanced. I'd say it became prevalent with players through speed runs which, if you're not doing single segment, necessitate pistol starts.

Share this post


Link to post

I pistol start when practicing a map to record a demo. Otherwise it depends on what I want to do at any point in time.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Egg Boy said:

I don't think Decino popularized the pistol start thing. Its been pretty normalized for years. Hell, every map in Doom and Doom 2 were designed around pistol start. Which is why continuous is almost always unbalanced.

not if you suck at the game

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Adamast0r said:

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.

I highly doubt that. I don't think anyone in the community suddenly changed their playing habits because DOOM 2016/Eternal happened to include a difficulty mode that many other modern and older games have included in the past. Not everyone who plays classic DOOM has played/cares about modern DOOM games, and even then, I'd wager a majority of them probably haven't even tried Ultra-Nightmare.

 

So I'd assume that the number of classic Doomers who have played 2016/Eternal, beat it on Ultra-Nightmare, and were so inspired by that particular difficulty that it fundamentally changed the way they play WADs is incredibly low.

 

Same logic can be applied to Decino. A lot of people don't watch streamers in general, let alone Decino. I've played DOOM for a long time and I have no idea who Decino is, other than another dude who plays DOOM.

 

People usually play a certain way because they want to, not because another game/person convinced them to.

Edited by TheMagicMushroomMan

Share this post


Link to post

I play Doom to explore the environments and shoot the monsters.  Resource management, beyond the level of 'hmm I can safely use the SSG here, I should do that so I have rockets/plasma for more specialized situations later' doesn't much factor into what makes Doom fun for me.  Needing to re-find the weapons that I had before my ass stumbled through an exit door thirty seconds ago doesn't make Doom more fun for me.  Someone said a couple pages back that not pistol starting reduced weapon pickups to ammo pickups, and I'm like... okay?  Are ammo pickups bad now?  I know that's not what the person actually meant, but hopefully you see what I mean.  You're not losing anything by getting two rockets for picking up a rocket launcher, but a person like me who is frantically sprinting around a hot start, looking behind the refrigerator and under all the couches for a rocket launcher so they can actually kill something, may in fact be losing something; viz., their desire to continue playing the wad.

 

It's certainly possible to make pistol starts that will be no more frustrating than playing through.  But it seems like what that means in a practical sense is either making the start of each new map easier, even late in a megawad, or rapidly giving the player enough weapons/resources to start pleasurably killing demons again.  The first doesn't feel like the most satisfying solution, and the second just seems like a continuous playthrough with extra steps.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

How do you balance a mapset for both continuous play and pistol-start play anyways? Do you just try to balance the maps so that the player ends each map with roughly 100 health, 0 armor, and 50 bullets worth of damage? Presumably the continuous player wouldn't have a huge resource advantage over the pistol-start player that way.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×