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DiavoJinx

Doom's design "language" trends

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there's a common shoot switch texture people use in lots of well known wads, eg. Valiant, that people recognise as "yes, you're waking up all the monsters on the level straight away, so shoot this and RUN"... I think it's become pretty established. but with cutesy stuff like the evil eyes it might seem more like plagiarism than a repeatable trope - it might not catch on as heavily. also evil eyes sometimes get modded into turret monsters so there's two things they could mean :)))

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-A lot of WADs use techish textures to hide tiny secret switches. The player is often expected to look for small pops of color or a portion of a switch texture. Sometimes used with stock textures, sometimes not. 

 

-Electrical textures and flats denoting active instakill floors seems like something that will be copied to hell in future maps. It's way more fair for the game to telegraph this feature, as it has the potential to be as hated as crushers if misused, except they make a sound and visually move. 

 

One that's been around but I feel is less talked about is in outdoor areas or caves with use of stone textures, very often you need to look specifically for tiny ledges to climb up. Older maps sometimes did this but I feel it's very common in recent years. The trend has been to make the escape from hurtfloor pits a bit more hidden and compact instead of traditional blocky stairs.

 

 

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I feel like people have been much more inclined to put weapon pickups on a specific platform with boosted lighting, moreso than the IWADs

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2 hours ago, TheHambourgeois said:

I feel like people have been much more inclined to put weapon pickups on a specific platform with boosted lighting, moreso than the IWADs

I always appreciate a nice weapon/ammo alcove.  Unless you're populating an arena with supplies you'll need in the heat of the moment, it feels better to not leave stuff just lying on the ground.

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19 hours ago, kwc said:

Ooh yeah,
A pair of Medikits placed prominently inside the exit room.

Skillsaw does it pretty consistently and it appears to support/signify continuous play. Almost feels like a calling card.

I like the way Abscission does this as well. There's always a similar-looking medical shelf in the techbase exits, which feels like a nice little bit of scene-setting in establishing some vague sense of OSHA protocol to the base's construction.

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23 hours ago, kwc said:

Ooh yeah,
A pair of Medikits placed prominently inside the exit room.

Skillsaw does it pretty consistently and it appears to support/signify continuous play. Almost feels like a calling card.

I was happy to see this continue to be a thing in Machete too.

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27 minutes ago, faceplant641 said:

I was happy to see this continue to be a thing in Machete too.

 

Doom 2 map 01 did this, though it placed 3 medikits there rather than 2 because it was such a tough map. It may not have been done on every single map but it was still fairly common early on to place health at the end.

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On 1/30/2024 at 9:48 AM, Lucius Wooding said:

 

Doom 2 map 01 did this, though it placed 3 medikits there rather than 2 because it was such a tough map. It may not have been done on every single map but it was still fairly common early on to place health at the end.

I cast doubt on MAP01 of Doom 2 being hard. Maybe it's beneficial to those who are running NM but even on UV it's a cakewalk.

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On 1/29/2024 at 8:48 PM, Lucius Wooding said:

 

Doom 2 map 01 did this, though it placed 3 medikits there rather than 2 because it was such a tough map. It may not have been done on every single map but it was still fairly common early on to place health at the end.

Maybe it's just my perception because of Doomtube, but it feels like pistol starting is the default modern way to play.  Seeing a nod to continuous players in a wad from 2023 was cool.

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8 hours ago, ZeroTheEro said:

I cast doubt on MAP01 of Doom 2 being hard. Maybe it's beneficial to those who are running NM but even on UV it's a cakewalk.

Whenever I encounter a statement that's really obviously false, I usually assume the writer knows it's false and is joking, even if the statement lacks common "humor" cues such as exclamation points, parenthetical statements, italics, weird capitalization, a big sign saying I AM DOING A BIT, etc.

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Speak for yourselves. There are 17 imps in that map on UV. I often find myself wishing for a pair of megaspheres after such a vicious slobberknocker of a map. 

 

Spoiler
3 hours ago, Mr. Alexander said:

Whenever I encounter a statement that's really obviously false, I usually assume the writer knows it's false and is joking, even if the statement lacks common "humor" cues such as exclamation points, parenthetical statements, italics, weird capitalization, a big sign saying I AM DOING A BIT, etc.

 

I propose we use some kind of unmistakable cue for sarcasm in our posts here on Doomworld. A sort of agreed upon visual language if you will.

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Clearly some of the posts in this topic show that no matter how clear the author's intent, some people will misinterpret it. I'm sure the author Gifty referenced didn't see a problem with the key texture on a switch in that context for example. Personally I think there's a downside to reducing a map's visual cues down to a universal and specific set; it will prevent mappers from being more creative and developing their own signature versions.

 

It's much more important in my opinion for a mapper to be consistent within a WAD than to conform to the community's ideas. Either way, people will likely get lost or miss secrets or the like no matter how careful the mapper is to communicate to them.

 

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The idea that picking up a powerup, weapon, or key you don't have or seems too good to be true is going to trigger an ambush of some sort. Some wads have traumatized me to the point where I am paranoid picking up anything. I see a key in a big but otherwise empty room I don't trust ANYTHING! I know something yet unseen but terrible is about to happen the moment I walk over there. Doom maps have conditioned me this way through trial by fire (literally).

 

Somewhat related, but extra-wide and extra-tall doors have me on edge, because if the doors are extra wide and not the standard size there's nothing pleasant waiting on the other side (usually hordes of monsters, cyberdemons, loads of arachnos, etc.). Alien Vendetta, I'm looking at you!

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6 minutes ago, ObserverOfTime said:

The idea that picking up a powerup, weapon, or key you don't have or seems too good to be true is going to trigger an ambush of some sort. Some wads have traumatized me to the point where I am paranoid picking up anything. I see a key in a big but otherwise empty room I don't trust ANYTHING! I know something yet unseen but terrible is about to happen the moment I walk over there. Doom maps have conditioned me this way through trial by fire (literally).

something fun that you can do to play with this is to have only a small trap when you pick it up, but then when going back the actual trap springs :p

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1 minute ago, roadworx said:

something fun that you can do to play with this is to have only a small trap when you pick it up, but then when going back the actual trap springs :p

God don't remind me. Pick up key, a single Imp teleports in. I chuckle, even think it's cute. I turn around and pass the door, and walk right into a hallway where the walls have opened up filled with angry chaingunners, and shotgunners in an alcove behind the door I came out of. Bonus if the door back to safety doesn't open anymore, or even more monsters teleport in there as well once you leave the room. Such a kick in the nuts, but I'm here for it lol. It is debatable whether hitscan traps like this are fair or not, since I usually eat a lot of unexpected and unavoidable damage. I'd sooner punch a mancubus to death than deal with those kind of traps, lol.

 

I am also a fan of traps which teleport enemies behind and in front of you. Seems a bit boring if you can just use the most powerful technique in all of doom which is "Just Leave™". Not much of a trap then haha.

 

This begs the question though: Is it really an ambush if I expect something to happen, but fail to accurately predict what?

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1 hour ago, ObserverOfTime said:

The idea that picking up a powerup, weapon, or key you don't have or seems too good to be true is going to trigger an ambush of some sort. Some wads have traumatized me to the point where I am paranoid picking up anything. I see a key in a big but otherwise empty room I don't trust ANYTHING! I know something yet unseen but terrible is about to happen the moment I walk over there. Doom maps have conditioned me this way through trial by fire (literally).

 

Somewhat related, but extra-wide and extra-tall doors have me on edge, because if the doors are extra wide and not the standard size there's nothing pleasant waiting on the other side (usually hordes of monsters, cyberdemons, loads of arachnos, etc.). Alien Vendetta, I'm looking at you!

Megawad idea: Doom 1 or 2 iwad, but picking up *any* item reveals trap

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@bobstremglav I'd probably still play it because I am a glutton for punishment lol (and enjoy Dark Souls like trial-and-error a whole lot as part of map design, provided it's not outright terrywad-levels of trolling). As long as there is even a ~5% success rate not dependent on wild RNG shenanigans, I'm in.

 

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Years back I noticed a trend of sticking a single imp in the exit room, something that's been done since Knee Deep.

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Thanks for all the insight, everyone!
The impetus starting this thread was loving the glowing red cracks all throughout Sigil 2 as a constant motif.  Of course I'd never directly copy something so unique, but it got me thinking... =)

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I don't know how common this is in other maps, but I've started using the GATE4 texture for teleporters that aren't active / only one way, and GATE3 for normal teleports. I feel like I've seen this in an official IWAD, but I can't tell you which one off the cuff, has anyone else seen / used this?

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20 hours ago, JustAthel said:

I don't know how common this is in other maps, but I've started using the GATE4 texture for teleporters that aren't active / only one way, and GATE3 for normal teleports. I feel like I've seen this in an official IWAD, but I can't tell you which one off the cuff, has anyone else seen / used this?

Nice.

I thought Doom 1 used GATE4 (the white pentagram floor texture) only to denote exit-level teleport pads?

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A common design language trope of the 90s, and not just in Doom: "You picked the wrong teleporter/door/switch? DIE!!!!!!"

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If a light source is blinking while any other light source in that area isn't and they're all structured similarly, then you most likely came across a secret.

 

OR, a devious mapper might just kill you for thinking "ah, the flickering/pulsing light area might indicate a secret.  Let me go press it".

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On 2/19/2024 at 11:55 PM, Li'l devil said:

A common design language trope of the 90s, and not just in Doom: "You picked the wrong teleporter/door/switch? DIE!!!!!!"

So true!

I don't mind "here are 3 switches, 1 is the exit & the other 2 are ambushes" as long as those ambushes are survivable. Leaving continuing to luck and foreknowledge is not cool, IMHO.

Survivable just means more gameplay (combat) to me. =)

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Not really a language trend but a design trend that I actually don't enjoy: Megawads with progressively bigger maps that don't seem to end. I like big standalone maps (baaul's foursite is one of my favorites), but having 32 levels be huge setpieces gets tiring. I'd much rather have 32 maps that can be beaten in 20 to 30 minutes each. That's actually what I generally aim for when making a bigger map. 

Edited by DoomGappy

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