Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Sign in to follow this  
Lutz

News & Editing Ideas

Recommended Posts

So this was going to be put on the Chaos Crew website, but I can no longer log into it -- apparently the password has changed, and I don't have it. Also, since no one at DW seems eager to respond to my repeated queries for the new login info, I decided to post this here. Anyway, without further ado:

********************

Surprise!

Sweet merciful McGillicuddy, 2003 just flew by, didn't it? Er, at least as it relates to this site; I haven't touched it for almost 365 days. Eeek. Of course, during that time I have found a new job, bought a house, moved out of DSL range, and got married (sorry, ladies)...so I've been busy, but still, it's been too long. Anyway, for better or worse, I'm back -- and I come bearing a long, convoluted, and reasonably self-serving piece of introspection. Read at your own risk.

< BEGIN RANT >

Recently, I've been some time playing through a lot of my own levels; it's been a while since I've thought about them, much less seen them, so it was both entertaining and nostalgic. And since this seems to be that time of year for the requisite host of "Best of..." lists, I somewhat unintentionally compiled a list of my favorite levels that I have created (that seems odd, I know, but this is going somewhere; I promise). So, in no particular order:

  • Inferno E3M5: "The Ravaging Way" - With the exception of the opening room, this level just looks good, and maintains a rather consistent theme without always looking the same.

  • Inferno E3M7: "The Spawning Vats" - I love the beginning area of this level; it has some nice shadow effects, and the spiral staircase is just neat.

  • Caverns of Darkness MAP06: "Peredition's Abyss" - Running around on top of the church ruins was fun, and (in my humble opinion) the mix of gothic/tech architecture amongst the lava really looks good.

  • Phobos: Anomaly Reborn E1M4: "Railbender" - It's a friggin' train!

  • Phobos: Anomaly Reborn E1M6: "Subterra" - Again, this just looks good, dammit, despite the occasional slowdown. Also, it has a host of really cool effects (moving gears -- ha-ha! I rule!).

  • Millennium Boss Level - I realize that very few people have actually seen this, given the issues involved in getting the project out the door. I won't spoil it in case Millennium is actually -- someday -- released (!), so I'll just say that two-thirds of the level is one giant special-effect that (a) I've never seen on this scale, and (b) is just plain cool.
In looking at these levels, I've come some conclusions about how I go about designing and building my creations. To briefly sum up, I think about and design around a series of "set peices" and/or special effects -- more often than not, I will come up with some cool structure and/or effect that I will then build a level around. For example, the opening cave of P:AR E1M6 is good looking -- there's lots of detail, both in the architecture and the lighting, but nothing novel or tricky about it. Alternatively, the transparent water in the same level isn't necessarily gorgeous, but it is a "neat" effect (not that I take any credit at all for it's discovery). Eye-candy and novel tricks are combined in the moving gears -- it looks good and they move...how 'bout that?

Another example: when I started designing P:AR level 3 ("Dissolution"), the only thing I had in mind was the crane. So, I went ahead and built that; after the crane was done and looking pretty good, I sat for a while and wondered where, exactly, the level would go. Clearly, the crane was the central set-piece -- it had to stay -- but there needed to be some reason for it to be there (see the next paragraph). Eventually, I stumbled upon the idea of a crumbling, half-finished base. Also, I had been kicking around the idea of a "filling pool," so I went ahead to build that...and from the pool came the notion of turning on the water, and then the nukage, etc. Similarly, level 2 started only with the idea of a horizontally-moving platform and grew from there; level 5 with the Quake II-ish cavern architecture and the tank; and so on.

Some other points: I really like creating levels with "ancient/tech" themes; I think that medieval architectures strewn with industrial technology (e.g. CoD E3M6, as well as certain Strife and Unreal levels) offer the most opportunites for my concepts of both beauty and outlandish creativity. Further, I tend to always design spaces that "serve a purpose" -- there's some point or theme to the structures. Or, in other words, it would be very difficult for me to build a level like Doom II's MAP01...it's just sort of a vague tech-y "base" that could really be anything.

Anyway, I suppose you're wondering what the point of all this is going to be; so, here you go. After a year away from Doom (I played around with UnrealEd 2.0 but never released anything), I am feeling the desparate need to create. The problem is, I don't know what, exactly, I want to create.

Actually, I take that back -- I have a very good idea of what I want to create: namely, Unearthed. This was the project that the Chaos Crew started after the release of P:AR; it would have been a ZDoom-based gothic horror megawad in the same vein as Undying. It had a great plot by Joel Murdoch, and we had some big plans for it...but to do it right would take forever given the little time I can devote each week, and I'm not going to do it if it's not going to be done right. Basically, Unearthed isn't going to happen unless someone pays me (so, Mr. Carmack, if you're reading this: I'm sure you have $100,000 just lying around -- start a charity! Pay me to make a free mod for a 10-year-old game!)

Right, so what can I do that's also reasonably feasible? Well, I have a few ideas:
  • A series of SP levels (e.g. Blind Alley or kzdoom) - a level here and there with no particular consistency. With the exception of my 10 Sectors entry, I've never done this; even my Heretic maps were originially going to be part of an episode. The problem is that I generally have a need for at least a few additionally graphics, and I don't want to force anyone to keep downloading extra stuff (though I guess I could just (a) deal with it, or (b) use an existing resource pack, e.g. TeamTNT's Return Resources).

  • A direct sequal to P:AR - something along the lines of "Phobos: Nightfall" that chronicles the exploits of the hero surviving the night on the surface of Phobos immediately following the events of P:AR (and trying to get back to the Hangar from E1M1?). It would probably be a lot like P:AR, which might get old.

  • The second episode in an "Anomaly Cycle" - perhaps "Diemos: Anomaly Unleashed" or something like that. Instead of doing a direct sequal to P:AR, switch planets to allow for different styles of architecture. This wouldn't stray too far from P:AR -- it would still be the same universe -- but it would definitely be more different than the idea above.

  • Something "Strife-esque" - I really enjoy Strife, and it takes full advantage of the "ancient/tech" theme I like so much. In a Doomworld post, I asked about a Strife resource .WAD, and I didn't get a terribly clear answer -- is there a .WAD out there with some converted graphics/sprites (or a .WAD with a new color palette and some unchanged graphics? That I might actually prefer...)
I really don't want to do anything with Hexen -- that never really captured me like other Doom-engine games.

Finally, a lot of people critisize the "playability" of my levels, and it occurs to me that I really don't know what that means. Does the detail just cause things to run too slowly? Unclear as to where to go next? Are there not enough (or too many) monsters? More ammo? Less health? Help me out, here. Even though the primary reason I design levels is that I love to design levels -- granted, I like that others play them, but it's not the reason I do it -- it would be stupid to ignore helpful suggestions. So, talk to me, folks.

< END RANT >

Alright -- this has gone on long enough. Again, I realize that there are portions of this that sound terribly vain; that's not my intention (and I am equally as praising of others' work). Rather, I just wanted to make my thought process a little more transparent, then open it up to you all for ideas and suggestions. Please, if you have any comments or advice, write me an e-mail or reply to this message. It's Democracy in action, folks -- don't miss out.

Also, Mr. Carmack -- write me an e-mail about Unearthed. Or just send me some money in a box.

Share this post


Link to post

Ooh, I like the idea of a Deimos: Anomaly Unleashed, between that and P:AR and Inferno, there'd be a full game of Lutzy goodness :)

Share this post


Link to post

If you decide to go the "Strife-esque" route, I have a completed Strife texture/flat resource wad (including Doom format PNAMES & TEXTURE1) that's currently just sitting on my hard-drive gathering dust :)

Share this post


Link to post

About the playability, I encountered several issues with PAR regarding this.

1) Complicated layouts and switches with not very obvious effects. This can be frustrating sometimes and cause players to give up and/or cheat. Solution, plan the layout so that the player gets a good idea of what a certail switch does.

2) Too little health when there are many hitscan enemies around. This forces players to be extremely careful. Doom has a great advantage over most others FPSs, the movement speed. With careful play like this, the funfactor is greatly reduced as you can't take advantage of that speed very often. Solution, add more health.

3) Detail gets in the way of gameplay. Sometimes you try to dodge a fireball, but get stuck on some piece of detailing, sometimes you just can't move around as quickly as you'd like to because of all the tiny stuff. It's not very obvious how to fix that since your style is generally very complex and detailed. Maybe you can make some of the architecture a bit larger in scale and provide some open areas without a mish-mash of tiny detail. Also, ceiling detail is a lot more friendly than floor - and wall detail when it comes to not obstructing gameplay.

Hope this helps at least a bit.

Share this post


Link to post

Also, a lot of hitscan enemies generates a lot of ammo, which was another flaw in P:AR - too much ammo in the earlier maps.

The rest is basically what Erik said - too large and confusing layouts (not helped by having many locked areas that aren't necessary to finish the map), detail getting in the way of gameplay, not enough health etc. (I got plenty of frame lagging too, which made E1M8 and some other areas a lot worse, but that's just me)

The gameplay was better in the gothic part of the wad, but overall it didn't feel special really. Together with the other flaws it means I don't rate P:AR that highly - it has the detail and the engineering certainly, but the gameplay doesn't match it IMO. (and good gameplay is first on my list of wad preferences, detail is actually quite a way back - but then I have a somewhat unusual order of preferences)

Also, maps containing Phobos monsters only are a bit easy and boring in my book, and it's no surprise that the gameplay improvement in P:AR co-incided with cacos and barons becoming commonplace. (but I know it's harder to make good gameplay when working with DooM 1 monsters only - I had similar trouble in LTSD, but luckily I toughened the lost soul and had the green demon and stealth monsters to help out in the later maps)

Share this post


Link to post

Deimos: Anomaly Unleashed, Hell yeah! Oh, and if you're having any questions about your levels, feel free to send 'em to me and I'll test 'em out for you. :)

Share this post


Link to post

Hmm, I have no complaints about PAR, I love it and a sequel would be really cool.

Share this post


Link to post

If you do make a sequel to P:AR, make the new one work better with ZDoom. It's a pain to load up PRBoom to get the full potential out of the maps.

Share this post


Link to post

"Of the choices given, I'd say a Deimos: Anomaly Reborn sounds most interesting. Together with P:AR and Chris' Inferno Episode, this would be a solid retelling of the entire doom story (though Inferno would seem easy compared to the former two, it still works). Unearthed sounded very interesting, as horror settings have been successfully captured in wads like asylum of the wretched, but I'm afraid I don't have THAT much money lying around. :)

EDIT: also, about the gameplay concerns, I'm trying to pinpoint exactly what the issue could be and I'm not getting anywhere, but I'm sure others might be able to do better. Perhaps it's just naturally when areas become more complicated in a simple gameplay design (we're still finding the keys, but the surroundings have evolved since)."

EDIT: comment removed after irrational response was reconsidered, today has not been good to me. My apologies.

Share this post


Link to post

Coming from a detail whore such as myself, PAR was a real treat to me.. I love levels with tons of detail that isn't just a bunch of squares surrounding a light at different heights etc(that's not creative)..

In retrospect, the detail found in PAR is extremely creative, and you should be applauded for creating a highly atmospheric levelset.. Realism and Atmosphere are the 2 things i concentrate most on with level design.

Now, That been said.. Gameplay does succeed everything. Doom is a game, people want to play it. I personally didn't find the gameplay in PAR to be anywhere below average, however, i will agree that it did seem slow in sections.. and very slow in others.

I don't think that PAR's detail had much to do with all the complaints in the gameplay department but rather what Erik said.. Lack of Health, lack of variety in monsters and a lack of traps... every doom level needs traps!!!

Lutz i've played all your wads, and everytime i download one and unzip it, i feel like someone has given me a gift. Since you're the giftgiver, i thank you!..

To be honest, I haven't seen you really implement a lot of traps in your levels.. people like suspense.. not knowing what is going to be coming at them.. or knowing when they'll next be locked in a room with a hoard of monsters all crawling at them for blood..

I myself find most wads today far too easy and boring (i'm not trying to boast here). Wads like Hell Revealed1-2, Alien Vendetta, help make Doom more interesting for the hardcore players, and they usually allow the player to take a break.. (before the next trap!)

Anyway sorry for the length of this post! GG.

Share this post


Link to post

Or you could try and map for me. You know, what you said you wanted to do before you dropped off the planet.

Share this post


Link to post
Lutz said:

A series of SP levels (e.g. Blind Alley or kzdoom)


A regular stream of levels would be cool whether they had the same theme or not.

Share this post


Link to post

I'd definitely say a Deimos episode in the same vein as P:AR, except with different architecture, etc.

And as far as gameplay is concerned, I guess I'm among the minority that really enjoyed P:AR because of all the interactivity (something that's common in my maps, just on a less intricate level technologically). There were only one or two times at the most that I wasn't immediately aware of where to go. Apart from the fact that it wasn't too difficult (which is understandable considering you can only do so much with Doom 1 monsters), I thought P:AR had great gameplay.

Just my two cents.

Share this post


Link to post

Three quick things:

Mordeth - yes, I'm a terrible person.

Nightmare - I'd love to see that .WAD; is there a link anywhere?

Though I haven't completely made up my mind, I'm leaning towards the Diemos idea...but I might get utterly inspired by the Stife .WAD and do something else. We'll see.

Also, Joel (Murdoch) is pushing hard for Unearthed, and the more I think about it, the cooler it becomes. Quick question, though: in a pervious forum topic, folks mentioned that you don't need to convert a .WAD to the ZDoom-specific format to add slopes -- what's up with that? How do you add the necessary tags to the line without ZETH or a ZDoom-specific editor?

Share this post


Link to post
Lutz said:

Quick question, though: in a pervious forum topic, folks mentioned that you don't need to convert a .WAD to the ZDoom-specific format to add slopes -- what's up with that? How do you add the necessary tags to the line without ZETH or a ZDoom-specific editor?


can't you assign a linedef type even if it isn't listed in most editors?. Deepsea allows you to enter custom numbers eg 142 in Boom mode IIRC

Share this post


Link to post
Szymanski said:

can't you assign a linedef type even if it isn't listed in most editors?. Deepsea allows you to enter custom numbers eg 142 in Boom mode IIRC

Yes, I got that, but doesn't the slope tag require some extra data (e.g. which side to slope, and whether to slope the floor or ceiling?)

Share this post


Link to post

Vile said:
EDIT: comment removed after irrational response was reconsidered, today has not been good to me. My apologies.

Argh, pity I missed it; I bet it was a brilliant thing you said.

Share this post


Link to post

Slopes: ZDoom/Hexen format levels only have one linedef types for slopes, 181. The first argument slopes the floor, while the second slopes the ceiling. You set these two arguments either to 0 (no slope), 1 (slopes the sector on the front of the linedef to the sector behind the linedef), or 2 (slopes the sector behind the linedef to the sector in front of the linedef).

ZDoom/Doom format levels, on the other hand, have no less than eight linedef types for slopes, ranging from 340-37:

- 340 slopes the floor in front of the line to the floor behind
- 341 does the same, but for the ceiling
- 342 does both
- 343 slopes the floor behind the line to the floor in front
- 344 does the same, but for the ceiling
- 345 does both
- 346 slopes the floor behind to the floor in front, and the ceiling in front to the ceiling behind
- 347 slopes the floor in front to the floor behind, and the ceiling behind to the ceiling in front


Textures: You can find a wad containing just the Doom format Strife TEXTURE1/PNAMES lumps I created in Gokuma's Strife Editing Package, but the wad which also has all the Strife texturs & flats using Doom's palette isn't currently available anywhere AFAIK. I can e-mail you it if you like.

Share this post


Link to post
Lutz said:

Yes, I got that, but doesn't the slope tag require some extra data (e.g. which side to slope, and whether to slope the floor or ceiling?)


not for doom format maps, just a new linedef type for every possible combination (eg xxx = ceiling sloped only, yyy = both sloped)

I'll take a look tonight and see If I can find the info

Share this post


Link to post

If you ever want to go for ZDoom, read "ExtraLight" from the Wiki. It could
speed up gameplay in very-detailed-maps-à-la-Lutz due to less subsectors.

Share this post


Link to post
Hirogen2 said:

If you ever want to go for ZDoom, read "ExtraLight" from the Wiki. It could
speed up gameplay in very-detailed-maps-à-la-Lutz due to less subsectors.




How that if it's also sector based?

Share this post


Link to post
Hirogen2 said:

If you ever want to go for ZDoom, read "ExtraLight" from the Wiki. It could
speed up gameplay in very-detailed-maps-à-la-Lutz due to less subsectors.

To make this vertical lightning in Boom, you need to use very tiny sectors (like in Doom2 MAP30) which vary in light levels. Suppose you have a pillar that is vertically-lit, you need dunno, say, 3 extra sectors around it to create the desired lightning effect. By all logic, by creating ONE extra (circle) sector around a (circle) pillar, you create at least 4 subsectors.

For the ZDoom method, you'd only need one. A basic convex (maybe triangular or square) dummy sector at the side.

Share this post


Link to post
Hirogen2 said:

To make this vertical lightning in Boom...



Don't you mean lighting (without the 'n'.)? I don't think what we are talking about has anything to do with bad weather... ;-)

Share this post


Link to post

Lutz, you seem so good at tech-base maps. Id like to see what would happen if you branched out into another style. Like hell or something. Id love to see what a "Lutz-Hell" would look like.....

And use Zdoom cause it is cool...

Share this post


Link to post

DoomDiz - yes, Inferno is an episode 3 replacement that retains the hellish style -- however, it is the first thing I released, and therefore nowhere near as technically (or visually) polished as CoD or P:AR.

As for what I am working on now: Of the 5 actual votes for anything (which was more or less the subject of this post, folks), it looks like the clear winner (with 3 votes) is a Deimos-themed sequel to P:AR. Thus, Deimos: Anomaly Unleashed begins. Er...actually, it begun last week, since I was tinkering around with an effect that turned into the first part of a level. So, D:AU is underway (and has a cool free-standing cage elevator, like the ones in that old Edge-based DoomRaider-ish map...but with MBF).

One immediate problem, though, is that while I rather like the sound of "Deimos: Anomaly Unleashed," the abbreviation "D:AU" is not as nice as "P:AR" -- so, any thoughts on the name? Also, does "dau" mean anything in another language (German, perhaps)?

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
×