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Skibz

Common Map-making Errors

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Hey,
I'm just getting into making some Doom 2 maps in WADauthor, and I'm trying to avoid making stupid/predictable/boring levels in general. Can anyone please give me some advice on what they think generally ruins user-made maps - be it bad key placing, level themes, etc - as I'm not particularly experienced to be honest and there's no excuse for making bad maps in this day and age :)

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Some common mistakes and doom.exe game crashing errors:

Too many things in view
Using a small texture on a large wall (i.e. using a step texture on a wall)
Using a multi-patched texture as a see through wall
Ammo, health, and enemy imbalance
Visplane overflows
HOM caused by too many visplanes
Logical errors (i.e. blue key behind blue key door, no exit, doors that open on one side only, and no way to open it from the other side, etc.)
Using the sky textures on walls
Putting enemies in areas to small to contain them
Transitioning from sky to other ceiling without some kind of height change

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Chris Hansen said:

- Maps with huge 0 brigthness mazes!
- All the textures and flats available used!
- Mixing themes!
- Over usage of Cyberdemons, Masterminds etc!


To be fair, it probably is possible to have some of those things in a map and not consider them "errors". Its just how they are executed.

But otherwise I agree.

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Well yeah, but Skibz said that what we "think generally ruins user-made maps". And I think that a ton of Cyberdemons ruins a map! ;)

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Chris Hansen said:

Well yeah, but Skibz said that what we "think generally ruins user-made maps". And I think that a ton of Cyberdemons ruins a map! ;)


There are sick assholes who enjoy those sort of things though ;)

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Personally, I think anything more than three in a map is a little audacious (Rolls eyes, whistles).

Nobody seems to complain about overuse of ArchViles though... [Evil grin]

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Some people consider death-traps (such as nukage pits from which the player can't get out) an indication of bad level design. Another thing that could be considered a trademark of a newbie level designer is lack of texture alignment. Also, playing a level with imbalanced and unfair fights is no fun -- make the fights difficult if you need to, but always give the player a chance to win.

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Making non-fatal pits that the player can't escape is even worse.

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Ichor said:

Making non-fatal pits that the player can't escape is even worse.

Agreed. In the case of fatal pits, their use might possibly be justified if the gameplay warrants. But non-fatal pits are as inexcusable as rooms into which the player can enter but can't leave.

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Some things I hate in wads:

Traps in which the player is surrounded, at close range, by 45 chaingunners.

Ridiculous spikes in difficulty: Like a level containing mostly light encounters with imps and zombies having a two arch-vile trap surrounded by mancubi.

Large portions of a wad using 0 to 255 blinking lights(ow, my eyes).

Monster filled rooms where the player can simply stand outside the door at an angle and kill everything without ever stepping inside.

Barons in wide, open areas. They take too long to kill and in such environments they're almost completely harmless. Substitute "Cyberdemon" for Baron for another common peeve.

Damn near any use of Pain Elementals.

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ReX said:

In the case of fatal pits, their use might possibly be justified if the gameplay warrants.


I think you can justify fatal pits, if they're done correctly; namely that they're clearly marked, use a flat such as LAVAx to differentiate them from non-fatal pits, have the highest possible damage setting (For a relatively painless, quick expiration) and aren't actually designed to lure the player into them, but to force battle into designated areas; kind of the ultimate penalty.

In layman's terms; make them, but make them hard-ish to accidentally fall into.

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When you say 'fatal' pits, do you mean those with a well-disguised secret exit or those with no exit at all?

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No exit at all. I'd say "always fatal" pits and traps can be okay if they are well-executed; where they become an ostacle and a challenge adding to the replay value of the map. They should either be short dexterity tests, or should be combined with attacking monsters, making the fighting riskier.

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Another thing on the fatal pits thing is using a texture (ie lava) as a damaging texture but having it at another point where it is harmless.

Teleporters which aren't aligned.
Bad mix of textures.
Unexcusably high ceilings (made that mistake before--looks ghastly)
Key Doors that you forget to tag with *** key required.


Also, it doesnt happen often, but having an exit in the first room---WTF?? Like 666 etc

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bad theming destroys a level for me.. pick a realistic setting.. don't mix hell into tech style themes unless you've done it realistically through rifts in the walls or something.. that's my 2 cents.

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Vile1011 said:

Monster filled rooms where the player can simply stand outside the door at an angle and kill everything without ever stepping inside.


Sorry, fogot to comment. Yeah and when they use demons on high ledges so they can't reach the player and are waiting to be shot.

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