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Job

Gameplay > Details

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Why is everyone so damn bent on visuals in wads today? If you want some überleet crazy-detailed shooter, launch up something made in the past couple years. Doom is all about gameplay, and if you make your wad with that in mind, all the fugly texturing in the whole IWAD couldn't change that.

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LOL, flamewar ahead.

Basically I agree, since I would prefer a butt-ugly wad with good gameplay over a beautiful one with crap gameplay.

However, I would contend that good design enhances gameplay, and bad design damages it. And that an appropriate level of detail is a significant ingredient in good design.

This is a very old discussion though.

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Grazza said:

LOL, flamewar ahead.

Basically I agree, since I would prefer a butt-ugly wad with good gameplay over a beautiful one with crap gameplay.

However, I would contend that good design enhances gameplay, and bad design damages it. And that an appropriate level of detail is a significant ingredient in good design.

This is a very old discussion though.

I agree with what you say, but if one were to be chosen over the other...
Yeah, it's old, but I was just bitching about it since it seems like it's a main priority in wad reviews or criticisms these days. See, I'm not the best at details, but I focus on gameplay -- granted I try to follow a theme and make things look not too shabby, I don't think I could meet today's standards for eye candy. So I guess you could say I've got "Detail Envy".

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Heh, I tend to try make my own maps pretty detailed, but I also try to make'em fun to play at the same time. Balancing them out is sometimes difficult.
But yes, gameplays, always, always, ALWAYS, comes over eye candy. I don't care if you can manage to squeeze five hundred sectors worth of detail into one room, that doesn't matter at all if the gameplay isn't right.

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Job said:

Why is everyone so damn bent on visuals in wads today? If you want some überleet crazy-detailed shooter, launch up something made in the past couple years. Doom is all about gameplay, and if you make your wad with that in mind, all the fugly texturing in the whole IWAD couldn't change that.


that previous wad I made is an example of why I prefer gameplay over visuals.

I agree, Doom's gameplay is its key feature, and its a shame many people today are overlooking this game as being not interesting. People are looking more towards eye candy now in days.

Unreal II is an fine example of good looking games with shitty gameplay. Yet there are people out there that rather play it because it looks "pretty"

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* smashes fist against the table *

Aye, brother! Not just in PWADs but in games in general, I'm sick of seeing yet another game that's all glitzy-pretty wow-effects and plays like shit. Half the original levels in Doom look bad but they were fun to play. Old arcade games like PacMan and Asteroids had the bare minimum of graphics but people still loved them because they were fun to play. Not that it's bad to make games/levels that look good, it's good done right, but it's bad when it becomes the whole focus. Games are for playing not oggling at. Mappers/game designers need to remember this.

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Deathman said:

Unreal II is an fine example of good looking games with shitty gameplay. Yet there are people out there that rather play it because it looks "pretty"


Oh god yeah, that game is one of the worst ever in PC gaming, as far as I'm concerned. I almost felt like I wasn't playing the game right because I didn't stop to gape at all the pretty surroundings and take note of all the technical eyecandy that was packed into the game, because it was just extremely boring in regards to gameplay. It's a shame, I would have rather been stranded alone on another alien world ala Unreal 1 where I wouldn't have minded taking a look around once in a while, but being bound to cleanup missions was saddening (not to mention the time invested in the levels devoted to lengthy mission briefings, only to end up doing the simplest of tasks once you're set loose).

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I can't play a map unless it looks good, because wtf is the point. imo you need to strike a balance between the two, there's no compromise. an ugly map that plays great is just as bad as a detailed one that plays like shit (if not worse)

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Yeah, anyone notice how much sidescrollers rule? My favorite game ever is a 3D sidescroller called Klonoa.

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Cyb said:

I can't play a map unless it looks good, because wtf is the point. imo you need to strike a balance between the two, there's no compromise. an ugly map that plays great is just as bad as a detailed one that plays like shit (if not worse)


agreed :D

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Why should a map either be goodlooking or fun to play? Why can't it be both? A little from column A and a little from column B. If you really want me to decide between good looks and fun maps in Doom...I'll take looks over fun anytime, because I've tried so much fun and seen so little good looks.

That is not entirely true. In order for me to play a wad for more than 5 seconds, I want it to look good. In order for me to play a wad for more than 5 minutes, I want it to play good. You just can't split an experience into two groups like that.

geez...You can't just say "detail or gameplay" and "graphics or gameplay". It's just not that simple. An ugly map that plays great is not better than a beautiful map that plays like shit. What defines gameplay? Enjoyment of playing the game. Just about everything in the wad/game contributes to the gameplay aspect. Good looking design will increase the gameplay as well as well placed monsters. Why? Because a hanger that in fact looks like a hangar will immerse you more than a hanger that looks like a toilet and a toilet does not bring the right atmosphere of a hangar. Why are people still dividing it into those two groups, graphics and gameplay?

Gameplay is the overall experience when playing the game and don't tell me good graphics/looks mean nothing. Why do we still play Doom even though it's technically ancient and why don't we mind the poor technical aspect? Mainly because we're used to it.

A little from column A and a little from column B makes a game I want to see.

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hell i don't really care about gameplay or details in particular. i just want something with really good aesthetics and atmosphere. i don't really care if there's monsters, weapons, or details. i play doom maps as a form of art first and foremost.

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sargebaldy said:

hell i don't really care about gameplay or details in particular. i just want something with really good aesthetics and atmosphere. i don't really care if there's monsters, weapons, or details. i play doom maps as a form of art first and foremost.

As a genius named SargeBaldy once said, "Doom is artwork, not a playground."

I like details over gameplay personally. I do all the details and then try to make it play good. But I certainly don't try to skip on the gameplay. I want it to play good too.

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Job said:

Why is everyone so damn bent on visuals in wads today? If you want some überleet crazy-detailed shooter, launch up something made in the past couple years. Doom is all about gameplay, and if you make your wad with that in mind, all the fugly texturing in the whole IWAD couldn't change that.


Perfectly true, gameplay is what separates DooM from all the modern FPS's. In any case, too much eyecandy will lag...

While a reasonable level of detail is important, I see no point in cramming 10000 sidedefs into a 512x512 room or whatever - it takes far too long, doesn't add too much to the map (compared to a good-but-not-overkill level of detail) and will probably end up slowing most PC's to a standstill. (low framerate = low gameplay)

Personally, as a designer of mainly strong-themed maps, I think the detail should be realistic to match the theme, but no more than that. (after all, who's ever seen a factory with a really complicated-shaped hole in the roof, a run-down city with intricate statues all over the place or a series of underground maintenance passages with anything other than bare walls?)

And I too prefer low-detail-but-good-gameplay wads to high-detail-but-crap-gameplay wads. (Revolution! > P:AR, HR > MM2)

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Gameplay & Graphics != mutually exclusive

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Ah, the age-old argument.

It's simple. Like others have said already both need to be good and I would also say in an even proportion to one another.

When you play a small ugly level with some awesome sniping and mad running action you tend to not be too worried about the ambient lighting or lack of new-texture computer displays because of the chaingunner that's roaming around your ass. You're absorbed.

When you walk through a 90000 sector cavern with lava flows more intricate than Niagra falls and rock formations more complex than Everest you forget a trooper is shooting you and you slowly die whilst gazing into the pixelated horizon.

Both are good experiences but you won't come back and back to either.

You know both have been combined brilliantly when you know you're getting near to the end of the map, check the automap, see 01:07:35 on the clock and realise you've been thoroughly enjoying yourself for the last hour. And then when everything's dead you go back and look over the level just once more. And you want to find all the secrets. And you want to find all the items. And when you finally go for the switch it feels totally satisfying.

Needless to say it's an effect long in the making, and one which not many maps can boast.

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Heart.wad is the level I'm working on right now. I'd say it's pretty detailed (it's about the size of E1M1 and has more SideDefs than UAC, if you've ever had the displeasure of playing that).

However, you don't have time to pay attention right at the start because you're surrounded in imps and chaingunners. As you get out of that, revenants, barons, and mancs are ready to snipe at you from various places. As you travel through the level, you get more time to stop and enjoy the scenery (it's very nonlinear and spacious). I hope it balances well in gameplay and detail when released...

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pritch said:

Needless to say it's an effect long in the making, and one which not many maps can boast.

Some people here are coming quite close. Enjay, Erik, Shav, etc. :

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The Ultimate DooMer said:

While a reasonable level of detail is important, I see no point in cramming 10000 sidedefs into a 512x512 room or whatever - it takes far too long, doesn't add too much to the map (compared to a good-but-not-overkill level of detail) and will probably end up slowing most PC's to a standstill. (low framerate = low gameplay)


This is exactly my take on the argument too. A good level of detailing is important to add to the atmosphere of a level (which can help make the gaming experience more enjoyable), but I don't think uber-detailing adds anything at all. And as you said, I think you need to be very careful that uber-detailing doesn't come at a cost of framerate. I've seen too many potentially great wads ruined by over-detailing and subsequent slower framerates.

And I do think gameplay and graphics can be divided, and gameplay is the more important ingredient of the two. I would definately rank an ugly map that plays well over a detailed map that plays like shit. From my experience of playing doom levels though, the people that make the best levels gameplay-wise also tend to make the best levels detail-wise too.

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ravage said:

Some people here are coming quite close. Enjay, Erik, Shav, etc. :

They're not close, they're there, on many occasions.

Enjay's latest wad in newstuff this week is exactly what I'm on about.

Erik is king of balancing good looks, proportions, decent routes and gameplay in levels.

Shav, well it's just grand to be helping to write for rtc-3057. It's going to truly own.

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NiGHTMARE said:

I wonder when it'll get to the stage that "Interactive Art" is an officially recognized genre of PC game? :)

Games are art in themselves...IMJack, back me up on this one, will you?

ON-TOPIC: Oh goody! With the general reaction in this thread, I guess that means I can get to work on my (unanncounced) project and not worry too much about the design ;)

If anybody [newproject]'s me, I'll go into my old "Cren" mode...and nobody wants THAT now, do they? ;)

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pritch said:

Shav, well it's just grand to be helping to write for rtc-3057. It's going to truly own.


Indeed...! =)

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I can't play a map unless it looks good, because wtf is the point. imo you need to strike a balance between the two, there's no compromise. an ugly map that plays great is just as bad as a detailed one that plays like shit (if not worse)


You've got to be kidding me. Anyways, I'll take a 1995 map with completely random texturing and kick-ass gameplay over a detailed map with two million pointless ZDoom scripts any day. In any event, I think that Zort series does a pretty good job of mixing detail and action. Or at least scripts and action. Or something like that.

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Well, bear in mind that by today's standards, most of the Doom 1 maps look like garbage, but no one will argue that they're classic if for no other reason than that they have fantastic gameplay (and also, they came first -- but that's beside the point). It's instances like that which make me believe that gameplay is more important. Also, I'm not as good at making details as most mappers out there, so to compensate, I try to make the wad more fun through gameplay while keeping a decent appearance to the map.

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I posted this the last time this discussion came up, but it still stands:

I'm an architecture nut. I'm not sure what's up with everybody else here, but I'm entirely played out when it comes to Doom. I've played through maps with every kind of gameplay imaginable time and time again, so the only reason I play maps nowadays is for their visual and architectural accomplishments. I enjoy walking around places as an observer much more than emptying hordes of demons out of them for the 10,000th time. This doesn't mean I don't enjoy good design in the gameplay department, but when it comes to personal enjoyment, I'll take a great looking map and run through it with -nomonsters instead of a good-playing plain map anyday.

I'm the explorer type, really. I couldn't care less about monsters; they usually just detract from the scenery.

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Ambience is the best, the sounds, the dim lights, the music, the scenery. Getting sucked into a new world is what I like.

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Epyo said:
Ambience is the best, the sounds, the dim lights, the music, the scenery. Getting sucked into a new world is what I like.


Exactly. And to sucker people into your make-believe world you need to make that world convincing. And that means adding enough detail to set that ambience.

Still, getting the ambience right does not a good game make :) You still need to create good gameplay, by having good level LAYOUTS and objectives. It's perfectly possible to create two levels with the same amount of detailing and ambience but one of those levels sucks because there's nothing interesting to explore or do.

So you need to have both gameplay and enough detail to make your level convincing. Some people prefer to go all gameplay, because they do not mind in what setting they get to do their stuff. Others just want to immersive themselves into the make-belief world.

Of course, real level designers provide both ;)

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Job said:
Well, bear in mind that by today's standards, most of the Doom 1 maps look like garbage,


As I see it I'd only feel that if I took the point of view that the game is some sort of (realistic) simulator, because it's like saying drawings or paintings look like shit since we can take photographs.

The title of the thread uses "details" instead of "good looks" and they aren't the same thing at all; if you ask me to a certain degree they are exclusive. Lots of details don't even look good, like graded lighting where it doesn't fit. Simple lighting often looks much better, giving a cleaner impression and not looking so cluttered. It's just a matter of not jumping from pitch black to fullbright and such. Also, what about those little details that try to use DOOM's limited rendering and dimensions to "look like things"?

Often a map's good looks has to do with elegance gained from consistency, an economically functional layout (which is in turn well-merged with gameplay)... like Grazza and Mordeth pointed out, larger scale quality architecture that is part of a game.

One thing that certainly attracts me to DOOM is how basically simple it is, it practically doesn't use additional non-functional resources to "immerse" you. It just uses the ones that are part of the game, and that's what makes them so effective in the long run.

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Lüt said:

I posted this the last time this discussion came up, but it still stands:

I'm an architecture nut. I'm not sure what's up with everybody else here, but I'm entirely played out when it comes to Doom. I've played through maps with every kind of gameplay imaginable time and time again, so the only reason I play maps nowadays is for their visual and architectural accomplishments. I enjoy walking around places as an observer much more than emptying hordes of demons out of them for the 10,000th time. This doesn't mean I don't enjoy good design in the gameplay department, but when it comes to personal enjoyment, I'll take a great looking map and run through it with -nomonsters instead of a good-playing plain map anyday.

I'm the explorer type, really. I couldn't care less about monsters; they usually just detract from the scenery.

/me hugs Lüt.

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