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Terra-jin

Mappers block

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Hello everyone!

Over the past few weeks, I've compiled an army of new ZDOOM monsters, and decided I should go build the map to go with 'em. However, I find it very difficult to do.

My map will be composed of 'battles'; fights with a certain posse of demons, the rooms in which to do battle, and the resources you have to get the job done. As a beginner in map design, I use this pattern to build my map, but I seem to lack the inspiration for it... I just can't think of good 'battles', because I don't really know which group of monsters is interesting to do battle with (for instance, a huge posse of Imps is less fun than mixed groups), what kind of setting the map must have (natural cover, how much space you have) and so on.

Other than that, the first try-outs of my maps were not very goodlooking, and they just didn't feel right... I guess what I'm trying to say is: please help a beginning mapper get some inspiration. How would you design a map? What kind of method do you use? How do you plan the gameplay of your map?

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I usually lay myself down somewhere and start thinking until suddenly something good hits me, like some nice looking architecture or a sneaky trap.

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Actually...I have found that if you are well enough prepared (as in plans about the level) there is no such thing as a mapper's block.

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When I started mapping, I used to view my favourite levels from the
Doom II iwad in my editor for inspiration. Strangely, my first 20
half-finished maps bore a strong resemblence to either MAP04, MAP07
or MAP16 :)

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OK, here's what you do:
Get a really good idea for your map and then try as hard as possible to design your map to where it fits the idea in your head. It's what I do, and the success rate is 9 out of 10.

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Making things up randomly right off the top of your head for an entire map doesn't always go well.

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No, but it works for a room or two until you get some good ideas.

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Think about what would make the battles challenging, then build the arenas around the idea. Like your example of imps: what would make the battle a challenge? Well, what if their long-range attack gave them the advantage? Base it on that.

Have it so the player is forced to use a weapon that isn't very effective at long-range(SG) and make it difficult for the player to get close to the imps. Giving the imps more mobility than the player would also add to the challenge.

Also, remember that architecture plays second to atmosphere, originality, and fun(OK, fourth). You should worry about how your map is going to be built AFTER the rest of the concepts are defined, unless you're being particular about buildings.

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DooMBoy said:

Making things up randomly right off the top of your head for an entire map doesn't always go well.

It works for me every 1/100 times.

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Draw it first and then you can't possibly get stuck on the actual building of it. However, you may get stuck drawing it... oh well, at least you werent letting a monitor slowly destroy your retina's in the meanwhile.

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DooMBoy said:

Making things up randomly right off the top of your head for an entire map doesn't always go well.


That's how I map...

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I usually try to think of a theme, like a mine that has access to hellish caves (that's the map I'm working on at the moment). Making interesting fights is another thing though. I usually first finish the map and then try to figure out what monsters fit best in which areas.

W00T, 500 posts!

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DooMBoy said:

Making things up randomly right off the top of your head for an entire map doesn't always go well.


It does for me if I start at the end and go backwards.

Though I usually map DM and CTF, instead of SP, so am not very well versed in SP game mechanics.

However, if you are totally 100% out of ideas, do not try and map. Wait until an idea hits you. Trying to force an idea out is one thing that really does never work.

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I cannot stress this enough: If you have a doom level idea, GET IT DOWN ON PAPER. It's what I do. Maps I draw on paper before doing in WadAuthor are 10 times better than winging it. And plus, when you draw the map, the picture is forever. So it's there on the paper even if it leaves your head, and you may come back and do it some day.

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DooMBoy said:

Making things up randomly right off the top of your head for an entire map doesn't always go well.


that's exactly how I map

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BloodRust was made off the top of my head, although not randomly (I tried to keep to single-themed maps). Same goes for pretty much every other map I make.

I actually used to draw maps down, but usually I'd either not get around to mapping them or I'd lose the drawings...

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