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Methods of mapping

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Look at this: http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/?id=15384

This wad has two maps by Wraith: map02 and map05

You can download backups of the key stages of process here:
http://prboom-plus.sf.net/grid32_2.zip
http://prboom-plus.sf.net/grid32_5.zip

Does somebody use such strange (for me) method of building his levels as Wraith did?

It is very funny for me, that the first phase Weblord1.wad (one texture, no heights) is fully the same in view from above like release version. Especially because the level is not so small you can retain in one's memory

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I guess he draws his maps before hand, looking the backups.
I have the same method personnaly.

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Yes, if you are sure of what you want to do it's easy. Though his maps are more complex than my works.

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I can't work at all like that. I wish I could, coz it is a pretty efficient way to map. I always finish one area at a time, perfecting it, adding all the details, heights, etc then moving on to the next area. I work with an "image" in my mind rather than an overall "design" if that makes any sense.

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My mapping style is pretty sporadic. I usually just draw up some random layout in an editor and detail it and add gameplay from there. Other times, though, I do what Kyka does, yet other times I sketch out all of my map on paper and then "copy" it into an editor as closely as I can. I think I probably just get bored using the same method of mapping over and over... or something. =/

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Ever since i got into doom builder 3D mode i lay down the sectors i want first and do texturing/lighting and height-ing entirely in 3D mode, makes mapping fun! I also do some placement in it, but then align the items to the grid properly in 2D mode afterwards

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I draw my maps on paper first, then re-draw them in Doombuilder. I do almost all my sector heights, textures or flats in 3D mode. How do you change light levels in 3D mode? I still only do one room at a time though, I get a bit ill diciplined and leave areas bland otherwise.

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purist said:

How do you change light levels in 3D mode?

Normally, the scroll wheel changes heights correct? Well, if you hold down Ctrl when using the scroll wheel, it changes light levels instead.

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I think I've tried virtually every method for mapping. My experiences:

- Just start in DoomBuilder, build immediately without any beforehand planning:
Pro: you only do the fun part, being the actual mapping. Con: With this method I spend so much time on one single idea, that I forget about all the others.

- Laying out an entire (part of) a level in 2D mode, drawing sectors only. After that, adjust heights, lights, textures and things.
Pro: you have excellent control over the map layout. When you're building this fast, you can make a good layout, where all rooms sort of 'work together' and unite, much much easier. Con: When I'm halfway detailing the sectors, I get bored with the layout I made. In other words: I can't implement layout ideas that I get along the way well enough. You're stuck with the layout that you have, to a certain extend.

- Drawing (parts of) the level on millimeter paper, using the grid to draw the level precisely as it should be.
Pro: as the previous method, complete control over the layout, but less 'set in stone' than that method. Con: same as previous method, and drawing the level on paper in such detail is tedious and not much fun.

- Rough sketches of rooms, areas and smaller parts of the level, not bothering about exact dimensions.
Pro: this is what I mostly do. It's easy to quickly draft an idea, when it pops up in my mind, and I have enough freedom while mapping to change it to my views. Con: you think about your level per room, not about the level as a whole, which I think influences gameplay.

But, I'm sure everyone has to find a method that suits him or her personally.

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Judging by his unfinished maps for Doom 64 Outcast (iirc), I believe that Kaiser maps this way as well.

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THE ULTIMATE FOOL PROOF PLAN

Script 666 (int HowToMakeAMapRight)
{

if (no other steps are done)
{
Get an idea in my head
}


if (idea is good)
{
Draw map madly and hope it works out
}
else
{
rethink of the idea
}



if (idea turns out to be complete)
{
while (true)
{
print (s: "Epic win");
delay (1);
}
}
else
{
DrawOnPaper = 1;
}



if (DrawOnPaper == 1)
{
Implement ideas in map
}


if (Map == looking good)
{
while (true)
{
print (s: "Epic win");
delay (1);
}
}
else
{
restart;
}
}

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I usually just throw on some music that fits the atmosphere for the map I'm working on and go from there.. Mostly it's Skinny Puppy, actually, it's always Skinny Puppy.

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I throw on music to get me in the mood of the map I am building. And then I work differently depending on the editor I use.

DETH, I work mostly with linedefs. Building the map wall by wall so to speak. When I am in the middle of an area, there's big gaps in the structure.

Doombuilder, I just succumb to the nature of the editor and build sectors. Don't really like working in Doombuilder.

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Ed said:

I usually just throw on some music that fits the atmosphere for the map I'm working on and go from there.. Mostly it's Skinny Puppy, actually, it's always Skinny Puppy.

Great choice !

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Woot... I've just spent much of today ironing out bugs in my level. And it occurred to me that man do I do things the long way. I gotta learn how to "map-lite" do it fast, rip through the general outline, get a bigger overview. I think I am going to force myself to map like that occasionally rather than my usual perfectionist turtling "oh shit I even offset textures in areas that no-one is ever going to see."

Thanks people.


P.S. Great script Black Metal.

P.P.S. I've never heard of Skinny Puppy. But I'm gonna rectify that in the next few minutes.

<--Once made a vanilla doom map in front of 50000 screaming fans at Wembley stadium. The crowd erupted as I built an over/under bridge across a chasm packed with lava. I don't have that map anymore. Who'd of thought that computer boxes don't crowd surf very well.... Ahhhh, good times.

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My mapping methods changed over the years then reverted back.

I started out making random rooms in the original DV and winged it from there. In the early DVII maps (02, 18, 19, 21), I sketched my map on paper before creating it in Doom Builder. In the more recent DVII maps (01, 03, 12, 20, 22, 23), I got good enough to imagine the floorplan in my head and reverted back to just building maps by winging it in Doom Builder.

Yep, now I just open up DB and let it flow.

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Kyka said:

Once made a vanilla doom map in front of 50000 screaming fans at Wembley stadium. The crowd erupted as I built an over/under bridge across a chasm packed with lava. I don't have that map anymore. Who'd of thought that computer boxes don't crowd surf very well.... Ahhhh, good times.



whaaaaat

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Kyka said:

<--Once made a vanilla doom map in front of 50000 screaming fans at Wembley stadium. The crowd erupted as I built an over/under bridge across a chasm packed with lava. I don't have that map anymore. Who'd of thought that computer boxes don't crowd surf very well.... Ahhhh, good times.

Tell me more.

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Oh shit.....

I seem to have led everyone on a wild goose chase. I'm really sorry if I misled anyone into thinking there was any truth in that story at all. It is completely untrue and a figment of my overactive imagination. I was just being my usual bizarre self. While it is true that I am a musician/singer/songwriter, i have never made a doom level in front of more than 2 other people, and then only coz I was showing them how you go about making a doom level. I did once cause a computer box to crowd surf, but it had died on stage and deserved all it got.

My mind is just rampantly creative, am even working on a trilogy of novels (finished the first and well into the second, though yet to find a publisher), so creating weird stories goes with the territory for me.

<-- grins sheepishly

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This is usually how levels are designed, especially for modern games. The purpose of these stages is to iterate the level step by step and reduce the time being spent to do major reworks.
Nothing is more frustrating than having to create one half of the level with full detail, sectoring, lighting, the works, and only to find out that, gameplay wise, it’s not working out and most of the content ends up being scrapped. Time is pretty much wasted. This is why gameplay comes first, and then detail last.

The way I typically create levels for Doom (since during D64TC and CIF3) I would build the levels through the following stages:

* Layout - Nothing fancy, no sector heights, lighting, texturing etc. Layout is blocked out in editor and major events, areas, sequences or other highlights are identified and the level layout and scope is iterated. This stage shouldn't take no more than one or two days. Bear in mind that the layout is not set in stone. Don't become married to this layout as some parts usually gets modified or changed for your gameplay or whatever.

* Prototype - Sector heights, no texturing, basic thinker placement (doors, lifts etc). Designer runs through the level to get the time length to run from start to end and to test out the flow for combat, traps etc. If using ACS, then basic scripts are implemented, just so something is there as a placeholder, again nothing fancy. This shouldn't take up much time either.

* Gameplay - Any gameplay related things are added (monsters, ammo, objects used to block paths etc). Scripting should be polished and be at its full potential. At this point, level authors should provide the prototype level to others to get feedback on the gameplay, which can be quickly tweaked, changed, updated etc without spending too much time.

* Pretty - Texturing, sector work, lighting, detailing, thing details etc. Go nuts; beautify the shit out of your level.

* Polish - Level is polished, scripting polish, gameplay polished etc. Address any minor glitches, or texture flaws and whatnot.

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I rarely plan my maps in depth. In turn, at least, for DOOM, I don't have much to show for it.

But in Half-Life and related things, I'd say that "winging it" works fairly well in my case. I know a friend who goes through this process of designing things step by step, in phases, and frankly he tries too hard and doesn't enjoy mapping.

So yeah, each to his own, I just like to let it flow.

I usually try to perfect a room, make a new room, perfect it, etc, though sometimes I go through moments where one or two rooms will be obviously lacking in comparison to others, I go back to them later.

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Kaiser's method definitely seems most sensible for professional game design, but unfortunately, that doesn't quite work for me. In my mind, "good gameplay" and "good atmosphere are inextricably linked - I can't feel like a map I'm making has good gameplay if the atmosphere currently consists of bland, flat, untextured spaces. Also, I'm not content to make something that's just "fun." There are countless fun wads already available to play, so I feel that to actually contribute to the wad medium it's necessary for me to make something that could trigger another level of emotion or admiration. So, the only option left for me that avoids rework is to be extremely painstaking about each area, until I know that it plays good, it looks good, it feels good, and I won't have to change it later. I then start the next area. This takes too long.

I wish I could transfer my ideas directly into reality without this darned intermediary "mapping" process. I presume that Doom Builder 2 will have a telepathic interface?

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Creaphis said:

I wish I could transfer my ideas directly into reality without this darned intermediary "mapping" process. I presume that Doom Builder 2 will have a telepathic interface?

Last I heard, Black Metal's script above will be implemented, so creating maps should be a fairly quick and easy process. ;-)

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I make my map in it's final stage from the start. From the very first sector I draw, I map out full detail and absolute thing placement and effects. There is no prototyping stage.

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Creaphis said:

I wish I could transfer my ideas directly into reality without this darned intermediary "mapping" process. I presume that Doom Builder 2 will have a telepathic interface?


What??? Telepathy??? Do you mean to tell me that I will still have to think to make doom levels when doombuilder2 comes out. That's just not good enough!! There's got to be a better way. ;)

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