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BlueSonnet

Map-making difficulty question.

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(this is mainly a question for regular mappers or guys who did something big)

Providing that you hve a normal doom level editor that you are quite comfortable with, how hard would you say it is to make a decent map; one that is as good as the normal doom levels? If you have made maps before were there times where you got really frustrated?

I'm asking because i'm going to start map making soon and i wanted to hear people's opinions on the subject as a whole.

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As long as you've figured out the basics of level design, and know what makes a good map (i.e. you've played plenty of them), it isn't really that hard, it's just time consuming.

Having said that, more advanced features can be quite tricky. For me, it's ZDoom's ACS scripting, which I still can't do without extensive reference to various documents. Quite a few people seem to have great difficulty in adding/modifying resources, especially textures, although personally I find it pretty easy.

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hmm... My first map taked about a week to make, and it wasn't that big. (well, I also made a few small test levels, to test how you made different things).
Now I can make a map on about some days. But It is also about the size of the map. I don't think you could have made av map20 or others of the biggger maps in 3days.

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I've played numerous maps for Doom and Doom2, and what I like best are nicely detailed maps and challenging gameplay. If I ever do another SP map, and I might, it'll have both of these things present.
Oh and my first ever map took me about three or four days to do. I'm a pretty fast mapper now, I can do a pretty good DM map or three in about a day or two.

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Even if it is just a room, there is something incredibly satisfying about firing up a game, wandering around and saying "I did this".

And that's the way to start. Make a room.

Add a room or a shelf or anything that requires you to join 2 sectors.

Start playing with objects that get activated with a switch or something.

All simple steps, but at the same time quite daunting if you've not done it before. Something I think experienced mappers forget.

I remember the wonders of making something fancy happen for the first time and then testing it. Calling people through to see what I had done (and looking at the lack of impressedness on their faces). The kick out of letting someone try one of my levels (once I was confident enough) and seeing that the traps and stuff actually did what they were supposed to.

It's all good fun, just don't expect to be producing a showstopping, genre setting map at the end of day 1.

Rather oddly, one of the first things I managed to get working was a rising staircase. It is one of the harder things to get right, but get it right I did - totally by accident. It took me until something like 6 years after that to actually work out what it was that I had done right though. :-)

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So far some very useful information. Thanks.

I have had a quite a few go's before with doomcad. I'm fairly familiar with how to do sectors\doors\rooms\etc and i feel fairly creative when implemnting things and monsters. The main thing i'm finding daunting is creating an area of the map that involves you going from outdoors to indoors (or visa versa) in which from the outside (eg the exit that leads to the courtyard with blue armour in a pool of slime in E1M1). There isn't much to it is there?

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Not too hard once you get experienced. Very time consuming, first of all. Secondly, you'll get better the more you make. You'll eventually be looking back on yer old wads and saying, "Man, I sucked." My best advice is just to make levels. It took me 5 small-medium levels to get good (though no one will know because THERE IS NO WAY FOR ME TO UPLOAD MY FRICKIN' DAMN LEVEL!!!!!!)

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BlueSonnet said:

.... how hard would you say it is to make a decent map; one that is as good as the normal doom levels?

There are many people that will tell you some of the DooM2 levels aren't that good. Of course they're comparing them to newer, fancier levels, while saying it almost 8 years after the game came out. But... back to answering your question. There are 2 elements to making a decent map -- inspiration and, for want of a better word, perspiration. Inspiration, well, you can't measure that. However, if one of the DooM2 map designs is given to an experienced mapper it would probably take him/her two to three weeks to produce some of the more complex DooM2 maps, and about a week to produce the simpler maps (assume 2-3 hours a weekday, more over the weekend). This includes texture selection (which can take quite a bit of time to get right) and play testing (which can take a very long time to get right).

If you have made maps before were there times where you got really frustrated?

I seldom get frustrated by the mechanics of map development (but perhaps I did when I was first introduced to mapping). But, like Nick (NiGHTMARE), I have most often been frustrated when my scripts don't work the way they should. Lately, I also sometimes struggle for new ideas for my maps.

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RTDscout said:

THERE IS NO WAY FOR ME TO UPLOAD MY FRICKIN' DAMN LEVEL

If you don't have access to an ftp client, perhaps you can email your zipped wad and text files to someone who can upload it to 3DGamers for you.

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Texture alignment is my bane.

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It can vary from days to weeks, depending on computer access, etc. But I strongly recommend doing a "blue print" on notebook paper before even opening up the editor. That way everything can be planned out and the map is usually the better for it.

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Ooh! Speak of the devil. I'm making a map as we speak with wadauthor. Got a bit of a while to go. I'll upload it for viewing pleasure as we speak.

Can i send entries to Sir Robins castle here on doomworld?

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Sir Robin's site hasn't been updated in decades, in other words it's dead, in other words, nope.

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BlueSonnet said:

Can i send entries to Sir Robins castle here on doomworld?


I don't think sir robin update that anymore, but I dunno.

edit: oops, someone posted before me, heh, don't try...

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Ack! I'm in deepshit.

Um basically i'm trying to have a bit in which the player opens a door by activating a switch. How do i do that? It doesn't say in the wadauthor tutorial.

I will be very grateful.

(ideally i wish it would be step by step for simplicitie's sake :) )

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BlueSonnet said:

Um basically i'm trying to have a bit in which the player opens a door by activating a switch. How do i do that?

    1. Select your linedef switch. The Map Object Properties window will pop up for Linedefs/Sidedefs.
    2. From the Class menu, select Remote Door. This will enable the Type menu, just below the Class menu.
    3. From the Type menu pick the type of trigger to activate your door -- e.g., open, open & close, open turbo, open with key, etc.
    4. In the Map Object Properties window, assign the linedef (switch) an appropriate tag number (lower right hand corner). Note: Don't mistake the sector tag number for the sector number. Do not change the sector number unless you know what you're doing, otherwise you'll get errors that will make your map unplayable.
    5. Assign the same sector tag number to your door

It doesn't say in the wadauthor tutorial....(ideally i wish it would be step by step for simplicitie's sake

WadAuthor's Help section has a tutorial called Creating a Remote Door. It's just a matter of searching hard enough for what you're trying to find.

Good luck.

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BlueSonnet: Don't get too ambitious too quickly. If you set your aim too high initially, it sets you up for a disappointment. Just make something and keep doing it until you feel comfortable in that area and then move on to a different aspect.

As with anything creative I think you need to have a good understanding of the medium you are working with, i.e: Play a lot of maps. When you find one you really like, try and look at it analytically to figure out what you like about it and you'll start to develop your own mapping style based on your preferences.

Just in case you don't know (this confused me when I first started), these are what the linedef activation codes mean:

If they have a 1 after them, it means they can only be activated once. If they have an R after them, they can be used repeatedly.

; n does NOT require a tag number
; W walk-over activation
; S switch (triggered by player use)
; G gunfire (pistol, shotgun, chaingun) cross or hit line
; & affected sectors locked out from further changes
; m monster actions can activate the line's effect


Anyway, good luck! I hope you have fun, like Enjay said, there's nothing cooler than walking around in your own map, at points mapping can be more addictive than the games themselves :D

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Your question leaves alot of room for discussion because everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a decent map. I think most would agree tho that the original doom and doom2 maps, while good are probably quaint by todays standards. Doing a map in the original style wouldn't take long at all depending on the size. But, most mappers and the people who play them expect more now. Better architecture, tricks that weren't used by ID when they originally released the game (see-through doors for instance) or bridges (over/under). Most maps still don't use these features or if they do they use them sparingly because without a port its very difficult to do some of it. Alot of maps use "dummy" sectors as well to create special effects in their maps. I think you'll find tho that your first couple of maps should concentrate on being built on a solid foundation till you know how to use the features available and then after you have gotten "broken in" start putting some special architectural features into your maps.
The other part of this is gameplay. You have to learn how to set up your levels so that they are fun to play. Some people just like a good looking, well thought out map but I think most still like a good play and that, believe it or not, is more of a daunting task for some mappers than the design of the map itself but the map should work with the creatures for the gameplay.
I personally enjoy designing small, tight maps that force the player to use his skills and his brain to beat. Some people don't like those types of maps - others do. Some people enjoy making large, open maps with tricks and traps and lots of fighting room and hard mosnters, etc... - I personally don't enjoy those types of maps as much but thats why I don't design them like that. Your mapping will and should be based on what YOU like in maps. The detail, etc.. will come along as you get better at it.

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BlueSonnet said:

Ack! I'm in deepshit.

Um basically i'm trying to have a bit in which the player opens a door by activating a switch. How do i do that? It doesn't say in the wadauthor tutorial.

I will be very grateful.

(ideally i wish it would be step by step for simplicitie's sake :) )


You have far to go grasshopper. Anyway - create your door - then create your switch. After that - give your sector a lindef tag then give the line which is your switch a sector tag with the same number. Most editors including wadauthor will come up with the first available tag number when you set the tag on the sector. Just make sure the line has the same tag number. Next - make a line "type" - in this case s1 or sr door open door or one of the other options. You'll see them. I don't use wadauthor so I can't tell you exactly where these options reside in your menu but I guarantee they are there. in most cases you can simply click on the sector or line that you want to change and hit enter or right click and an appropriate menu will come up with the options you need.

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Vulg@r said:

It can vary from days to weeks, depending on computer access, etc. But I strongly recommend doing a "blue print" on notebook paper before even opening up the editor. That way everything can be planned out and the map is usually the better for it.


I personally do things totally different - as do most people. I can't work from a "blueprint" unless I'm doing a maze of some sort. I just start with an idea - begin my first room, start adding detail and the map develops as I build. The ideas change, the rooms never end up being what I first thought they might be - they usually end up better. I spent 2 months working on my last map (bloodworks) - here: http://www.doomwadstation.suhost.com/descent/bloodworks.html (couldn't resist the opportunity to plug) and I rarely spend less than a few weeks on a map. The details and checking, rechecking and playtesting are a large part of the time after the map is actually finished.

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RTDscout said:

Not too hard once you get experienced. Very time consuming, first of all. Secondly, you'll get better the more you make. You'll eventually be looking back on yer old wads and saying, "Man, I sucked." My best advice is just to make levels. It took me 5 small-medium levels to get good (though no one will know because THERE IS NO WAY FOR ME TO UPLOAD MY FRICKIN' DAMN LEVEL!!!!!!)


send them to me via email - I'll look at em and post em for you if you want

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Yeah i guess i have been aiming too high. I finished my map but it is missing a few features that i originally intended to have in it (rising staircase and lift). My level is complete but i intend to move the textures around so that it looks in line with the other textures.

btw: i did find out for myself how to do that switch thing but thanks a million for telling me how to do it anyway. :D

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BlueSonnet said:

Yeah i guess i have been aiming too high.

Nothing wrong with aiming high. At the same time it needs to be balanced with one's ability, knowledge/training, available time & resources, etc. Stick to it and in no time you'll be making maps that you and others really enjoy.

My level is complete but i intend to move the textures around so that it looks in line with the other textures.

Excellent decision. Texture/flat selection is an often overlooked but important aspect of a map's appeal. Spending a little extra time to get that right can make the difference between a mediocre map and a good map.

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Two things that i've forgot to address.

1. I'm not really a complete newbie to maps. I've given map-making a try with doomcad in 2001 and tried doomcad recently in 2002. I suppose it's a big gap in time but since i spent many hours on map making on both occasions, i just though that it's time to have a go at doing something proper. I tend to be quick once i've learnt to get into grips with a particular subject (eg: doom skinning)

2. Yes, you can never try out too many maps for the purpose of inspiration and knowing how things work. I've given quite a few mappacks like icarus, hell-revealed etc a try. I suppose hell revealed does have good level design with good texturing. It's only flaw in my opinion is that the levels are overall too deathmatch\monster slaughter-based if you know what i mean, so it a lot of the time they're not really maze like which is what can make a great level (not that i mind the sheer amount of monsters that one may come across). The point i'm mainly making is that having a played loads of levels you tend to get a good idea of what's good and what's not which is what everyone else would say.

Methinks the worst map i've ever played is when you start off in a room with a shotgun and when you open the door there is a room filled with at least 100 cyberdemons. As much as the author design it for a laugh, i honestley don't see the fun in that; the game is over before it begins.

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BlueSonnet said:

I'm not really a complete newbie to maps.

My apologies if I implied that you were a newbie.

Yes, you can never try out too many maps for the purpose of inspiration and knowing how things work.

Try out a level called venom.wad by Ola Bjorling. It's tight, well-designed, and with intense gamaplay.

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ReX said:

My apologies if I implied that you were a newbie.


No problem :)

ReX said:

Try out a level called venom.wad by Ola Bjorling. It's tight, well-designed, and with intense gamaplay.


Sounds cool. I'll give it a go.

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