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Btyb88

Scrap it or push through

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When you're mapping and you start to make a part of your map that just doesn't feel right, do you spend the time trying to make it work or just instantly delete it and try something else? 

 

I find more often than not if I spend just a little too much time on an area I'm not thrilled I start to lose interest in the rest of the map and end up leaving it to rot on my hard drive. I very much have the mindset of "if it doesn't instantly click, get rid of it".

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It never happened to me (yet), cause I only start to make a map when I have something well defined in mind, but when I see that some part of it doesn't really work, then I start rearranging it over and over until I'm satisfied x) (or until I'm bored and need something new) but I never deleted really anything.

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I tend to throw stuff away a lot more frequently early on because I test geometry with monsters as I build it.  I learned to do that after throwing out a few maps for just not having the correct dimensions for good combat.

 

Later in development when I'm putting together complicated widgets I am much more reluctant to trash stuff, which has some sunk cost fallacy downsides but so far has generally turned in favorable results, for the most part.

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38 minutes ago, ZethXM said:

I tend to throw stuff away a lot more frequently early on because I test geometry with monsters as I build it.  I learned to do that after throwing out a few maps for just not having the correct dimensions for good combat.

 

Later in development when I'm putting together complicated widgets I am much more reluctant to trash stuff, which has some sunk cost fallacy downsides but so far has generally turned in favorable results, for the most part.

I definitely tend to throw more away early on as opposed to later on. My problem is I'm too much of a "perfectionist" and rarely get that far enough into making map. When I do though, it makes me feel that much more accomplished.

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I have a 'scrap' folder. I never know when it may come in handy though...

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Posted (edited)
On 12/31/2021 at 9:18 AM, Btyb88 said:

When you're mapping and you start to make a part of your map that just doesn't feel right, do you spend the time trying to make it work or just instantly delete it and try something else? 

That's probably a way "deeper" question than it looks to be on the surface... It may depend on how "integral" any given area that's causing problems might be, as in "will this map feel the way I want it to feel without this idea that I have started building for this part of it?" To say this in a different way, it may depend on your priorities for the map in question...

 

...and it also depends on your work-ethics to an extent, in the sense that some mappers do all the detailing first, with a vague plan for combat in mind, others may prefer doing only the bare minimum in terms of required geometry and then start inserting monsters to see if any given area works. In other words, how much previously invested effort are you willing to part ways with in order to "liberate" yourself from something that might start feeling like a chore for the time being..? And depending on who you ask, and what their mapping doctrine is, you may get wildly different answers, but one thing's for sure: There isn't a "generally/objectively right answer"...

 

Myself, when I map - which doesn't happen often, but sometimes it does - I tend to think ahead in terms of what I want in a map/fight, and roughly in which order, but other than that my approach is somewhat "formless", and I don't require for there to be any particular type of room or area that has to look a certain way. I am content with my content when it works a certain way (and once it does it has earned its right to some additional work in the detailing department, provided I'm in the mood), and, thankfully, that sort of "mechanical approach" makes making significant adjustments as well as deleting "rough cuts" of areas easy for me, because there's not a lot of work involved that I'd feel bad about parting ways with at the time it might be a decision I'd feel like making...

 

If you want to rip that band aid off more gently, you could probably "lift" the section in question from the map, and save it as a vignette that you might just be able to insert into another map some day, but, in my experience, it works better the other way around, in that creating vignettes "without context" and then inserting them into a map you know they'll fit in is a more interesting and enjoyable process than being the caretaker of what could be(come) "a graveyard of second-best ideas" that you still might not even know how to feel about.

 

That's not to say that saving these "cuts" is without merit. You built it, you know which ideas you've had on your mind when you built them, and you know where you "went wrong" about something. There is value in those experiences, and preserving them, so you can take another look in the future - thinking critically about your approach to what you wanted to accomplish can do a hell of a lot more for you than you might expect...

 

/ramble

Edited by Nine Inch Heels

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46 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

That's probably a way "deeper" question than it looks to be on the surface... It may depend on how "integral" any given area that's causing problems might be, as in "will this map feel the way I want it to feel without this idea that I have started building for this part of it?" To say this in a different way, it may depend on your priorities for the map in question...

 

...and it also depends on your work-ethics to an extent, in the sense that some mappers do all the detailing first, with a vague plan for combat in mind, others may prefer doing only the bare minimum in terms of required geometry and then start inserting monsters to see if any given area works. In other words, how much previously invested effort are you willing to part ways with in order to "liberate" yourself from something that might start feeling like a chore for the time being..? And depending on who you ask, and what their mapping doctrine is, you may get wildly different answers, but one thing's for sure: There isn't a "generally/objectively right answer"...

 

Myself, when I map - which doesn't happen often, but sometimes it does - I tend to think ahead in terms of what I want in a map/fight, and roughly in which order, but other than that my approach is somewhat "formless", and I don't require for there to be any particular type of room or area that has to look a certain way. I am content with my content when it works a certain way (and once it does it has earned its right to some additional work in the detailing department, provided I'm in the mood), and, thankfully, that sort of "mechanical approach" makes making significant adjustments as well as deleting "rough cuts" of areas easy for me, because there's not a lot of work involved that I'd feel bad about parting ways with at the time it might be a decision I'd feel like making...

 

If you want to rip that band aid off more gently, you could probably "lift" the section in question from the map, and save it as a vignette that you might just be able to insert into another map some day, but, in my experience, it works better the other way around, in that creating vignettes "without context" and then inserting them into a map you know they'll fit in is a more interesting and enjoyable process than being the caretaker of what could be(come) "a graveyard of second-best ideas" that you still might not even know how to feel about.

 

That's not to say that saving these "cuts" is without merit. You built it, you know which ideas you've had on your mind when you built them, and you know where you "went wrong" about something. There is value in those experiences, and preserving them, so you can take another look in the future - thinking critically about your approach to what you wanted to accomplish can do a hell of a lot more for you than you might expect...

 

/ramble

This is exactly what I need to learn to do. I'll think of one cool idea and throw it together real quick. Usually what happens is it doesn't turn out exactly how I pictured it so I scrap it. I probably have hundreds and hundreds of maps sitting around because even if my idea works as intended I hit a road block, lose interest in the current map, and convince myself I'll come back to it later but I never do.

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If the area in question has "potential", then I keep chipping away at it until I'm satisfied (or the seg/planes limits say I am), if it's becoming a mess I cut it. That being said, I have a nasty habit of getting my maps around 50% "done", then forget about them for a while - start a new map later that turns out similar, and scavenge previous "scrapped" maps for their good parts and paste them into the new one.

 

In my current project, I have a map that's been made in 3 different versions. Yes, I restarted the map TWO times, and I'm using sections of the two previous iterations to "fill it out" according to my original vision of what it should be.

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19 hours ago, Uncle 80 said:

If the area in question has "potential", then I keep chipping away at it until I'm satisfied (or the seg/planes limits say I am), if it's becoming a mess I cut it. That being said, I have a nasty habit of getting my maps around 50% "done", then forget about them for a while - start a new map later that turns out similar, and scavenge previous "scrapped" maps for their good parts and paste them into the new one.

 

In my current project, I have a map that's been made in 3 different versions. Yes, I restarted the map TWO times, and I'm using sections of the two previous iterations to "fill it out" according to my original vision of what it should be.

 

One of my goals for this year is to go back and really make use of all my 50%+ done wads. I certainly have enough to work on.

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It depends. Sometimes an area just isn't working out and needs to go, or be totally overhauled. If you're lucky then the bit thats giving you grief might suggest a way to be reworked into something better...if you stare at it long enough.

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I was thinking of this too, how people progress through the mapping process. Because guarantees, everybody will approach it differently, and that fascinates me. Fortunately, we have mappers who share their process, either by talking about it in podcast/interview, or time-lapse, or livestream, something like that. One thing that stuck with me is interview with our boy John Romero, who said "okay, I enter a room, what do I want to see there?"

That is very much how I operate too. Like my last map, I had an idea of making a tower with multiple floors and a pillar in the middle of them all, and you can see all the way up/down as you move up through it. Admittedly, the gameplay isn't great but I look at it, and think to myself "that's kinda cool."

And because I want to play an architect, I need to have an idea of what to build, and then refine that idea. Make it work. Stretch it this way, cut it that way, or add another layer around... Morph it until it looks cool and utilises fights well enough. If you were more interested in the flow of encounters, and progression through the level than the looks, you'd approach making the map in a different way. I guess it'd be easier to delete a whole area if the combat doesn't feel right. Ideally, one reaches a middle ground with learning the art of mapping. A map that looks nice and plays nice.

 

tl;dr: push through

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On 1/2/2022 at 5:48 AM, NaturalTvventy said:

I'm a scrapper for sure.

Yup bin it, if you don't like it likely no one else will either ;-)

 

awa

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Everything I make in my maps is something that I initially feel is bad and not what I envisioned at all. So I keep it because otherwise I just wouldn't be making maps at all.

And even when it comes to maps, I've almost never just abandoned a map that hasn't been at least finished, if not playtested*. I've made about 20-30 maps so far, and out of them I've only abandoned about 3-4 of them mid development.


*And I definitely have a lot of maps that are finished, but that I just haven't playtested from start to finish.

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I rarely scrap a map wholesale, preferring instead to think and rework what I already have into something fun.  On the rare occasions I have given up entirely on a map, it's been where I realize the entire underlying concept is either unworkable, not as interesting as I hoped, or (more often) likely to be highly work and time-intensive against little apparent payoff.  I've found that it does help to save detailing and texturing to a later stage since it's a lot easier to redraw/reshape stuff when it's not got a bunch of frills already tying the geometry together.

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so Jack Kirby (20th century comic artist, co-created many characters you've heard of, mostly for Marvel) used to dump any page that took him more than an hour to do on the basis that lack of inspiration shows. Great praxis tbh.

That said I don't really scrap many maps in progress these days, because I finally learned to plan them out on paper first. That way any lack of inspo becomes clear before you open your editor. Planning in this way can help you figure out when you're approaching a map wrong too; I actually completed layout/combat for a map today that I did scrap twice, two (2) times, because I wasn't feeling it for the first attempts -- I knew it was a good layout because it flowed easily onto the page, though, so I persevered. It turned out that I was mapping in the wrong order; I needed to build around the 'showcase' central area, not start from the outside in, and once I did that everything came together nicely.

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On 12/31/2021 at 9:18 AM, Btyb88 said:

When you're mapping and you start to make a part of your map that just doesn't feel right, do you spend the time trying to make it work or just instantly delete it and try something else? 

 

I find more often than not if I spend just a little too much time on an area I'm not thrilled I start to lose interest in the rest of the map and end up leaving it to rot on my hard drive. I very much have the mindset of "if it doesn't instantly click, get rid of it".

Jimmy Paddock's "Jenesis" was half made up of scrapped single player maps.  Even recycling room ideas can allow you to same some time, let alone parts of maps.  You may need to spend time to integrate the parts into your map however so be mindful of that.

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I rarely delete whole areas, and even less often do I delete whole maps unless I've just started and it's only a couple of rooms anyway.

I think there's a big difference here between inspiration and technical ability. If I have an inspired idea, I will usually keep cracking away at it until I get there. As in, if I really want to see something happen, I won't give up on it just because the first draft isn't perfect. I might erase parts of my attempts along the way or change my goals slightly but it's not like I'm scrapping the whole idea. Sometimes deleting a room (or 10) and starting again is actually the best path to that desired outcome, as in the hiker allegory (sometimes when ascending a mountain, the safest and best way forward is to turn around).

Technical ability has a major effect, in my opinion, on how well that idea can materialize for the mapper. As a beginner, it's hard to keep that end-goal in mind when you're still learning how to make doors and align textures. That's why every beginner gets told to start with very small ideas. Until you are comfortable with many aspects of doom mapping, you will really struggle to cross the finish line even on a small map. As you become more proficient, certain things become second nature and you will find yourself running into roadblocks less often, as well as being able to plan things a little easier.

That being said, in order to learn you might have to spend some quality time bashing your face against the keyboard in order to get certain technical setups to work at all. Whether you are using advanced port features or poking at the boundaries of what's possible in vanilla, there will probably be some very finicky situations that require a lot of tweaking and testing. You might find yourself wondering if this trick is really necessary to make your map excellent, and the answer is, maybe not. I admit I have poured time into just getting some crazy line-special idea to work, only to give up because it seemed too hard. However, when you eventually do crack something difficult it can be very rewarding. I recently spent a bunch of time trying to get a complicated barrel-teleporting-machine to work just right - I think it took me around 6 hours of poking and prodding. I'm glad I didn't give up on it because once I saw it work perfectly I was very happy with myself. I added a new tool to my box, and for me it was worth the time.

So I guess my point is, try not to give up on the ideas. If a sector is really getting in the way, by all means, delete it. But don't just give up on things because they aren't excellent right off the bat. Re-draw that sector as many times as necessary to get your idea working. If you are sure the architecture is correct but the gameplay just doesn't flow, change the monster and item composition until it's better. You will rarely hit the nail on the head on your first swing, and chances are it's not because your original idea is bad, but because the way you implemented it needs improvement. And there's no replacement I can think of for getting that implementation right other than try, try, try again.

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If we're talking about entire maps, then I'll absolutely throw that fella in the trash. Not being pessimistic here, but if I don't like the map and feel like I need to just push through to even finish it, then how much fun is a player going to have? However I will completely repurpose rooms and fights from failed maps for others if I feel they were high points in an otherwise boring experience. Also I apologize if this exact thing has been said already; I'll admit to not reading all the responses.

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I think everyone will deal with this differently, but I always push through. If worst comes to worst I'll just cut things up and rework it some way. I find it rewarding when things start to look good from a place that was initially hopeless.

 

But I mostly like to keep a sort of "Bob Ross" mentality where you just put whatever on the canvas and go with it. Also, things never turn out how I imagine them, but I think it's good to not let that bother you, just work with what's there. Putting too much pressure on yourself can be a big enemy to the process.

 

Also, the Doom engine itself is pretty ugly and off-putting when you just begin mapping too - it can be a hurdle when everything initially looks so flat and lifeless in the editor. But I find pushing through, adding little details on the way, helps the process and make things come together.

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I always give a room a chance. Sometimes it might even suggest an encounter I hadn't even thought about. Usually I like to start with at least a theme / color / playstyle, like 'techbase / green / slaughter' and improvise for a bit until it comes together. Sometimes I scrap a piece, but I always try to see if I can 'make it work' first through some serendipity, if that makes sense. 

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