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HotGarbageCity

[Issue] [LevelDesign] What constitutes to some really bad level design?

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Hey guys! I've been playing for a while and noticed, that there is a distinct lack of maps that are designed bad on purpose. So I decided to make a 10 map wad consisting of specifically badly designed maps (kinda a joke wad). However, after 3 maps... and other 5 micromaps in my other thread, I've kinda ran out of ideas already. 

So I'm going to ask: What is the worst level design element you have experienced?

Things that will not be included in that project: Broken teleporters or other linedef and trigger related issues.

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Aside from cramped spaces, I’d say flat layout, monotone texturing, using cyberdemons without thought, just for the kick of it.

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Some things, off the top of my head, that I particularly try to avoid

 

  • Forcing the player to kill lots of big monsters with puny weapons (taking down one or two hell knights with the shotgun can be exciting, taking down 50 is a big fat waste of time)
  • Allowing monsters to bottleneck through a single doorway, letting the player mow the idiots down in a line
    • Related to above, putting a big monster in front of a small doorway that they can't get through
  • Archviles with no cover
  • Inescapable death pits
  • Spamming BFGs and megaspheres everywhere without much care for balance
  • Secret, unmarked, or overly obscure switches/doors/teleports being necessary for level progression
  • Making the player wait a thousand hours for a slowly moving lift or floor while absolutely nothing else happens
  • Completely flat levels
  • Dumping in random assortments of monsters without thought to placement, density, mobility, how they will infight etc.
  • Poor difficulty progression--this comes with practice and experience, but many bad maps will jump from being insultingly easy to suddenly impossible and back in the span of a room

Gonna second cramped spaces too, because it's one that so many new mappers (including myself, when I was new) fall into.  One of the best things about Doom is how Doomguy is able to move so quickly and fluidly, and not giving him any room to maneuver anywhere kind of saps the fun of that.  It also doesn't give monsters room to move, and nothing is more tedious, as suggested above, than having to slowly grind your way through a narrow tunnel packed with angry confused pinkies and imps and mancubi and other random shit all attacking each other.

 

In the long term, of course, there are situations where most if not all of these rules can be broken to positive effect, but those situations are exceptional and generally speaking rules like these tend to hold pretty well, especially if you're starting out and haven't yet got the full grasp of things like ammo/health distribution, layout, and how to balance everything to be hard but not quite unfair.  I know I'm not 100% there yet.  

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Play just about any of Bob Carter’s maps - bad/repetitive texturing; open, empty, and/or square spaces; obscure, unclear, and/or obtuse progression; uninteresting monster roster and placement; lazy use of lighting; etc.

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I don't think it's really bad level design, but these are things I don't like lol

 

- High level of grinding: Taking time to kill lots of high HP enemies with low threat level (usually the player is in a safe position such as behind cover or circle-strafing enemies)

 

- Super cryptic progression: Switches that you have no idea what they did or you have no idea where to go.

 

- Room-corridor-room layouts, also lots of doors.

 

- D_RUNNIN

 

etc

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Not clearly marking the exit is always a bad idea.

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2 hours ago, HotGarbageCity said:

So I decided to make a 10 map wad consisting of specifically badly designed maps

If you make a CP around that, I could help hehe

 

2 hours ago, HotGarbageCity said:

What is the worst level design element you have experienced?

Resource starvation, beefy monsters that block your movement or not letting you to press a switch, popup monsters, damaging floors

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2 hours ago, HotGarbageCity said:

Hey guys! I've been playing for a while and noticed, that there is a distinct lack of maps that are designed bad on purpose. So I decided to make a 10 map wad consisting of specifically badly designed maps (kinda a joke wad)

 

Oh hi Mockery!

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Problems I see with this thread:

  1. This is not an "issue".
  2. The question you present here, along with the context given by the actual OP itself, is a red flag.
  3. There's already been enough threads with the exact same premise and they all went to shit sooner or later. So expect this one to suffer the same fate.
  4. Capitalizing on things people dislike and making levels that comprise them primarily is never a good idea. Your work is only going to get cursed to the ninth circle of Hell for that. The people that do get some form of morbid enjoyment out of it are likely to be few and far between.

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Repetition. Have you played hell revealed?


Literally making a map impossible. And no I don’t mean extremely hard. Things like having no exit having an exit that is completely inaccessible.

 

The map itself not working properly. Monsters failing to teleport in consistently will piss off a lot of people so make sure your monster teleporters do not fail to teleport monsters in or use teleport designs in well regarded wads like Sunlust.

 

Monsters placed without any reason. If you put a monster in a map and it ends up not serving any purpose then it doesn’t need to be there and should probably be removed.
 


Almost everything else is down to personal preference. 
Things like resource starvation, inescapable pits, platforming, or extreme difficulty are not objectively bad or good. Some like them, some do not. This is not limited to the design elements I have listed.

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2 hours ago, HotGarbageCity said:

So I decided to make a 10 map wad consisting of specifically badly designed maps (kinda a joke wad). However, after 3 maps... and other 5 micromaps in my other thread, I've kinda ran out of ideas already.

Why would you waste time making intentionally bad maps? For less than 5 people to exhale out of their nose slightly harder than usual? It's a waste of your time, a player's time, and forum space, honestly. The best "bad maps" are the ones that are honestly designed - the author thought they were doing a great job and it turned out terrible. Intentionally making them shitty is really kind of lame, and probably still won't top things like Zandronum's old Shitty Map contests (of which I think there were 4?). You should focus on making your maps better, not worse.

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33 minutes ago, SilverMiner said:

If you make a CP around that, I could help hehe

 

Resource starvation, beefy monsters that block your movement or not letting you to press a switch, popup monsters, damaging floors

 

I'll first make a 10 map wad for starters to gain my own experience. And only then, maybe, i'll make a community project. since, i can't edit all just yet.

45 minutes ago, Stupid Bunny said:

Some things, off the top of my head, that I particularly try to avoid

 

  • Forcing the player to kill lots of big monsters with puny weapons (taking down one or two hell knights with the shotgun can be exciting, taking down 50 is a big fat waste of time)
  • Allowing monsters to bottleneck through a single doorway, letting the player mow the idiots down in a line
    • Related to above, putting a big monster in front of a small doorway that they can't get through
  • Archviles with no cover
  • Inescapable death pits
  • Spamming BFGs and megaspheres everywhere without much care for balance
  • Secret, unmarked, or overly obscure switches/doors/teleports being necessary for level progression
  • Making the player wait a thousand hours for a slowly moving lift or floor while absolutely nothing else happens
  • Completely flat levels
  • Dumping in random assortments of monsters without thought to placement, density, mobility, how they will infight etc.
  • Poor difficulty progression--this comes with practice and experience, but many bad maps will jump from being insultingly easy to suddenly impossible and back in the span of a room

Gonna second cramped spaces too, because it's one that so many new mappers (including myself, when I was new) fall into.  One of the best things about Doom is how Doomguy is able to move so quickly and fluidly, and not giving him any room to maneuver anywhere kind of saps the fun of that.  It also doesn't give monsters room to move, and nothing is more tedious, as suggested above, than having to slowly grind your way through a narrow tunnel packed with angry confused pinkies and imps and mancubi and other random shit all attacking each other.

 

In the long term, of course, there are situations where most if not all of these rules can be broken to positive effect, but those situations are exceptional and generally speaking rules like these tend to hold pretty well, especially if you're starting out and haven't yet got the full grasp of things like ammo/health distribution, layout, and how to balance everything to be hard but not quite unfair.  I know I'm not 100% there yet.  

  • check
  • check
  • check
  • Passing that, but replacing with "nearly inescapable"(Think of anti-softlocks of mario maker 2 troll levels.
  • Huh...I think I just got my first map idea. Thanks!
  • Yhea, that's what I'm trying to replicate, while avoiding actual implementation.
  • Already did that, now I know where to use it. 
  • I have a problem with flat levels: i still tend to use steps lol. But yhea, I can make flats. 
  • Check
  • check
  • cramped spaces is check.
  • Bad infighting sadly is my specialty even on the best of projects I've not released yet. 

Thanks for your time, got some ideas.

38 minutes ago, Chainie said:

Yhea, I'm trying to make a lighter version of that. I could contact them, but I prefer to work without texture packs. Besides, my projects objective is not to mock, but to try to find ways to make crappy  level designs still fun. Didn't know about that, so thanks.

 

33 minutes ago, MFG38 said:

Problems I see with this thread:

  1. This is not an "issue".
  2. The question you present here, along with the context given by the actual OP itself, is a red flag.
  3. There's already been enough threads with the exact same premise and they all went to shit sooner or later. So expect this one to suffer the same fate.
  4. Capitalizing on things people dislike and making levels that comprise them primarily is never a good idea. Your work is only going to get cursed to the ninth circle of Hell for that. The people that do get some form of morbid enjoyment out of it are likely to be few and far between.
  1. One mans trash is another mans treasure
  2. Yhea, but I'm not affiliated with anyone on this thread. Sorry to dissappoint you. 
  3. Ofcourse threads will go shit fest if not tackled properly.
  4. The problem with disliked things is that usually they are just ineffective use of those things.
5 minutes ago, Decay said:

Why would you waste time making intentionally bad maps? For less than 5 people to exhale out of their nose slightly harder than usual? It's a waste of your time, a player's time, and forum space, honestly. The best "bad maps" are the ones that are honestly designed - the author thought they were doing a great job and it turned out terrible. Intentionally making them shitty is really kind of lame, and probably still won't top things like Zandronum's old Shitty Map contests (of which I think there were 4?). You should focus on making your maps better, not worse.

The goal is to make the maps bad, but the gameplay of those maps still enjoyable in one way or another. That's the whole challenge. 

 

16 minutes ago, i suck at nicknames said:

Frustrating platforming (esp with death pits) and overly cryptic puzzle elements with no real indication of where to go (especially when its mandatory for level progression). 

Oh yhea. i am actually skipping those in my project, cause I have not found any good way of using them. Platforming being exception, as it can be used for anti-softlocks. Other than that, rest is pretty much a pass. 

33 minutes ago, Jacek Bourne said:

Repetition. Have you played hell revealed?


Literally making a map impossible. And no I don’t mean extremely hard. Things like having no exit having an exit that is completely inaccessible.

 

The map itself not working properly. Monsters failing to teleport in consistently will piss off a lot of people so make sure your monster teleporters do not fail to teleport monsters in or use teleport designs in well regarded wads like Sunlust.

 

Monsters placed without any reason. If you put a monster in a map and it ends up not serving any purpose then it doesn’t need to be there and should probably be removed.
 


Almost everything else is down to personal preference. 
Things like resource starvation, inescapable pits, platforming, or extreme difficulty are not objectively bad or good. Some like them, some do not. This is not limited to the design elements I have listed.

  • I'm trying to avoid repetition thankfully. 
  • That is also something I will avoid.
  • Random teleportation can actually be used to good effect, but only if monsters all teleport in. I do understand what you mean though. So many times have I noclipped into obscurse teleport room at the end of the map just to see if it's teleporter accident or someone left monsters roaming outside the bounds of a map.
  • I think that can be used. 
  • I agree with this, but inescapable pits is something I try to avoid. Resource starving really depends on map theme. Overabundance is also another end of that

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So are you trying to make a jokewad that is actually bad but people are supposed to wink at it and laugh with you because they know it's intentional, just trolling "bad level design"?

 

Or are you trying to take design ideas that are frequently denigrated and vindicate them with maps that utilize them in good and fun ways?

 

 

I think the latter is a much better idea.

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54 minutes ago, MFG38 said:

Problems I see with this thread:

  1. This is not an "issue".
  2. The question you present here, along with the context given by the actual OP itself, is a red flag.
  3. There's already been enough threads with the exact same premise and they all went to shit sooner or later. So expect this one to suffer the same fate.
  4. Capitalizing on things people dislike and making levels that comprise them primarily is never a good idea. Your work is only going to get cursed to the ninth circle of Hell for that. The people that do get some form of morbid enjoyment out of it are likely to be few and far between.

Gonna go ahead and ditto all of this. We've had countless threads about shitty wads/level design, purposeful or not so. next!

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