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Editing query of an abstratc nature

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Okay. I have the BIGGEST editor's mental block ever known.

Which explains my lack of level released lately. But anyway, I guess everybody gets it from time to time, so this will help everybody else.

How do you overcome this?

I mean, I'd like to see a polling of the things you do to find inspiration for maps, as I'm desperate - it's been two months since I actually finished a map!

I don't care how many people reply here, I'll try all the suggestions, unless I have already.

Please, save my editing prowess! ;)

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Well, what kind of level are you trying to make?

One thing is to play other levels of a similar style. You could start by checking your mail, which will give you access to quite a few :)

City levels are the easiest, just search for pictures of buildings. They're on the web, in brochures, books, everywhere. And it's pretty easy to convert all that into Doom settings, like space stations and whatnot. The level I'm gonna work on for FreeDoom is going to be somewhat based on real architecture - although by the time it makes it to Doom, it will look virtually nothing like the original piece. Just find weird shapes and play with them, that works best. Barring that, add a support system. Any boring scene can be made to look good with a support system. Zaldron's philosophy is to add spiral staircases. They both work pretty well. And for the best of both worlds - add a support system to a room full of spiral staircases.

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ANY kind of level. Nowadays, I seldom get past the first two/three rooms without being stuck in front of the monitor, thinking "What the hell NOW?".

I'm getting desperate. I love WAD editing, but cannot think of what to do with it.

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Heh, I've got the same problem with some scenes I trashed in some of mine. This time I even know what's supposed to go in there, but just can't get it started.

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Guest Fanatic


I get that way too. I'm stuck now on the Castle Tech Demo I'm doing in two areas.

When you get stuck, it's best to stop. QDOOM's QD5 (E2M1) was the result of many days of not knowing where to take the level. Pretty much the entire Eastern side is that. I think it turned out ok, but it's not what I had in mind (meandering hallways are usually not a good thing).

So for my current level, I just finished a gorgeous underground water filled cave, and I don't know what I want to do with it. So I'm stopping, will probably go to the gym and work out, clear my head. I usually have a few ideas by the time I get home.

I also take a grid paper pad with me to dinner (I often eat by myself...), go someplace quiet and draw out some ideas on paper.

But most likely I'll list out what I want to do, like a basic idea (base, scifi-room, torture area, etc), and then get details on what I want in the area (lighting effects, 3D structures, indoor, outdoor, etc), and then star drawing on paper a basic sketch of the area to get started. I often don't stick to the drawing, but it gets me started and prevents wandering in my level editor.

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QDOOM's QD5 (E2M1) was the result of many days of not knowing where to take the level. Pretty much the entire Eastern side is that. I think it turned out ok, but it's not what I had in mind (meandering hallways are usually not a good thing).

You mean QD6? QD5 is the episode select :)

I found E2M1 to be one of my favorite maps in QDOOM, mainly because of those meandering hallways. What I'm not too fond of are levels centered around one specific area that you keep going back and forth through. My favorite maps are the ones like E1M6, E2M7, Map17 and Map29 where you just go and go without much repetition of scenery at all, maybe a backtrack or two. Your E2M1 had an excellent flow to it, and that HUGE secret at the beginning was definately the finishing touch.

But yeah, I think all big levels could use at least one semi-linear part like that. It's cool to rush through a bunch of scenes without backtracking for once.

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Like Fanatic said, I think the best thing to do is taking a break from the level for a while. I might be a good idea to have more than one project to work on and switch between them when you get stuck.

And yes, playing other people's work can give you inspiration. But for me, it sometimes lets me down like "huh, other people are able to make these great levels, but i don't even have the inspiration...".

I'd recommend either of these strategies:

- Download some really old level from somewhere. Check it out. These levels sometimes have interesting (although non-detailed) room design that you can rip off, and no one will know about it.

- Get a piece of paper and draw the weirdest thing you can think of get inspired.

- Finally, and this is sometimes very good. Get some unknown level. Look at it in your editor, study the geometry. You don't know anything about the Z perspective in the rooms, neither do you know anything about textures. Get inspired by the rooms' shapes =)

Best of all is of course to BUILD BUILD BUILD, don't think about if it becomes crap. Just build, eventually it will be good in some way and you can work from there.

Works for me at least.

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The few times I've had "editor's block" is when I've had to deal with many things simultaneously in real life. That's when my limited mental resources have to be allocated to several different problems, and DooM editing gets lower on the priority list. If possible, simplify your life and you'll find that you'll re-gain your DooM editing creativity.

Alternatively, you could try a different approach to building a map, which has worked for me on many occasions. I start by deciding what the map's finale will be -- one or more of the bosses with just the right amount of cover, hordes of enemies in an open space, a dark and spooky area where you have little ammo and are being stalked by a couple of barons, etc. Next, I work backwards and develop the scenarios that will propel the player into the finale. Sometimes I work back and forth between the finale and the start, allowing myself to be surprised at what develops in-between.

Good luck.

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