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sparerib1968

My first map

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I have made a small map and hope to find some constructive criticism. At the risk of looking dumb, I thought I'd post about it here. How or where should I share the map so everyone can take a shot at it?

The map itself is based on DEMO.WAD as detailed in Doom Builder: An Illustrated Guide, which I modified and expanded to suit my wishes. It's a nice tutorial for newbies like me, and Doom Builder is a great program.

I'd like to hear about any problems or suggestions. If it goes over well, I'd like to do a 6 level set of 100% original maps.

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Or you can zip it, upload it to MegaUpload and post the download link here.

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Thanks for the pointers. I've uploaded it to both MediaFire and MegaUpload. Here are the links:

http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=14087f608cd56a4f9bf8d6369220dcabe04e75f6e8ebb871
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=VOCK2INE

Everyone please do look it over and let me know what you think.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, the name of the file to download is SR1-101.ZIP. The name of the wad is SR1-101.wad.

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Well, I can't tell much from it, since you used another wad as your base. From what you did do, I think you did do a good job with the difficulty and monster placement. Keep that when you do make your own maps from scratch. The bottom line, though, is that if you want us to judge your mapping skills, you're going to have to either:
1) start from scratch
2) make the base part only a small section of your map, or
3) do something like in Knee Deep in ZDoom, where it looks like a new map at first sight, but you can still see the basic structure of the map it is based on.

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DuckReconMajor said:

From what you did do, I think you did do a good job with the difficulty and monster placement. Keep that when you do make your own maps from scratch.

Thanks DuckReconMajor. That's actually very encouraging. What I think would be most helpful at this point is the critical eyes of Doom veterans.

I'm still very uncertain about the technical aspects of design. Things like lighting levels, linedef actions and sector effects can get a little tricky. To be honest Doom Builder does so much of the work for me I'm just trying to learn why things work the way they do. So anything that seems wrong or out of place in the map is pretty much what I want to know about.

Eventually all these things probably become second nature to experienced designers. It would be nice to find out anything I'm doing wrong before I engage in a larger project. For that reason, I hope everyone will share their thoughts.

Thanks again, and please keep the comments coming.

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Well, if you insist, the only thing I could find that could be changed was the room to the right after you go down on the lift. The movement is clumsy because of the lamp's position (though I see what you tried to do with the stimpack) and the corner that's hiding in the dark. It flows much better when the lamp is moved to the other side of the room, and in my opinion, looks a bit better.

However, I still think you should make a small map for us to play. I'm a perfectionist myself, so I know exactly how you feel. Don't worry, we're not going to go nuts and badmouth you for making a mistake (some will, but don't listen to them). It doesn't have to be a "large project", just maybe a few rooms to run around and shoot monsters in. Just start laying down the linedefs, the ideas will come. And yes, from what I did see from what you did, I do think you're worrying too much.

And no, I'm not a "Doom veteran", but I hope I can help.

(And are you seriously going to tell me you didn't open Doom Builder for the first time and make a big square with a Cyberdemon? C'mon, don't lie to me.)

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DuckReconMajor said:

The movement is clumsy because of the lamp's position (though I see what you tried to do with the stimpack) and the corner that's hiding in the dark. It flows much better when the lamp is moved to the other side of the room, and in my opinion, looks a bit better.

Not sure what you mean. You are referring to the darkened niche area with the demon, right? Is it the shape of the niche that bothers you, or do you want the lamp somewhere else? Is it that the lighting doesn't make sense?

DuckReconMajor said:

However, I still think you should make a small map for us to play. . . . Just start laying down the linedefs, the ideas will come.

Oh, I'm already working on a new map with a completely different feel. It's expansive, and ... umm ... high tech I guess. The textures of DEMO.WAD just didn't excite me much, so I want to get away from that sort of look. Anyway, that's something for a later time.

DuckReconMajor said:

(And are you seriously going to tell me you didn't open Doom Builder for the first time and make a big square with a Cyberdemon? C'mon, don't lie to me.)

LOL. Nope, I really didn't, but now I wish I had **. Seriously, I'm saving the CB division for later in the wad **.

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sparerib1968 said:

Not sure what you mean. You are referring to the darkened niche area with the demon, right? Is it the shape of the niche that bothers you, or do you want the lamp somewhere else? Is it that the lighting doesn't make sense?

Well, you go in there, and it's kind of awkward trying to get around that light, then you finally get the stimpack and you try to back out, and you hit your back on the wall. Plus when you move the lamp it makes the light seem to "ray out" more.

All this is just nitpicky stuff, though, I had to play the level a few times to notice it. The wad's fine as it is.

Just don't be afraid to experiment. I see you're trying not to do those typical "noob" things that people do when they start out, but sometimes you've just got to get that out of your system. You've got to think, "What would it look like if I made a room with 8000 height," or "what if I made a map that looked like a hot dog." If you start right away and try to make 5-star maps you'll find yourself very confused and frustrated. I'm not telling you to go and make bad maps on purpose, just don't be afraid to try any crazy ideas you come up with.

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DuckReconMajor said:

Well, you go in there, and it's kind of awkward trying to get around that light, then you finally get the stimpack and you try to back out, and you hit your back on the wall. Plus when you move the lamp it makes the light seem to "ray out" more.

I should confess right away that the niche area was always intended to be an inconvenience for the player. My first thought was to create a darkened area from which a demon would jump out. Then I thought I should add the stimpack as a consolation prize for killing the demon. I didn't want the stimpack to be obvious at first glance, and that's when I decided to put the lamp there.

It was while I was installing the lamp that I thought of moving the linedef trigger for the stairs into the niche area. I have noticed sometimes linedef triggers cause the game to stutter slightly, so maybe this is what you're experiencing. Even though the niche is pretty tight, and oddly shaped, I have no difficulty maneuvering in and out.

Just in case you're wondering, my rationale for the niche storywise is that it should be a service area for the lift. We had a tiny elevator where I used to work that was frequently breaking down. The maintenance guy had to go into the basement to get behind the elevator shaft and fix it all the time. That area had no lighting to speak of, and it was always cold, dank, and dirty back there.

Anyway, just tell me where you think the lamp should go. I'll move it and change the lighting.

Speaking of lighting, it's kind of a PITA getting the sector effects for lighting to work. Not sure what I'm doing wrong.

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Well, if it's supposed to be that way then leave it. I think it's a nice effect. If it's really supposed to be a maintenance thing then maybe you could put a computer texture that kind of looks like a fuse box or something there.

What do you mean by the sector effects for lighting? You mean ones such as pulse light and stuff? What kind of problems are you having?

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I just played through your wad and it seems to be a fairly decent first map. As far as learning goes you expanded quite a bit on the demo wad adding things like doors that open as you get near them and lots of decor. Your monster placement was pretty good as well.

Gameplay wise it could use a little work. I've personally never cared much for auto-opening doors. It causes me to not be ready for any monsters lurking in the next room and if the door closes before I go through it, it can sometimes be difficult to reopen the door. I had an instance of this after entering the room to the left when you start, I got trapped in there and had to move around quite a bit before the door would reopen.

The secret was a little strange. After having run through the level and coming to a dead end (in the blood room) I ran back through the level and saw it open. It coincidentally dropped me in front of the exit when I left. I didn't realize until my second play-through that the exit was actually in the room with the barred window. As a result, because I didn't look at the map until my third play-through, I never realized that area was the secret.

I played through the level 3 times (difficulties 2, 3, and 4) and while difficulties 2 and 3 were perfect, I had a significant amount of trouble with difficulty 4. The first two times I tried to do it I ran out of ammo fighting with the imps in the start room. In a scramble to collect health before I died I learned that the secret (giving access to the shotgun) opens when I enter the second room. Using this I was able to grab the shotgun first, and then take out the imps. Also, not sure if this is a bug or not, after I grabbed the shotgun I noticed fireballs coming through the brick wall in there.

Overall, as I said in the beginning, a decent first map with only minor playability issues. I think the biggest problem is that all the areas are very cramped, leaving very little room to maneuver around the relatively large number of enemies on difficulty 4. Other than that I see no glaring problems, and your decoration placement is superb. I look forward to trying your next map.

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@ DuckReconMajor, I removed the lamp and installed randomly blinking ceiling lights instead. I also made the opening to the niche slightly larger. Oh, and there is now a nice computer panel to make it look more like a service area. All these changes will be included in the version 02 release.

@ Frozen Nemesis, I greatly appreciate the compliments, but I appreciate the criticisms even more. If you don't mind, I'd really like to address these directly.

FrozenNemesis said:

I've personally never cared much for auto-opening doors. It causes me to not be ready for any monsters lurking in the next room and if the door closes before I go through it, it can sometimes be difficult to reopen the door.

That is part of the challenge of Doom, IMHO. Being surprised when that door whooshes open, and even more surprised by the fireball hitting you in the face, is one of the best parts of the game. Even if it's not at all convenient, it does keep the player on edge, and that's exactly the experience ID software wanted to create. Please note that the imp is removed from the room with the impaling victim when you play on easy skill (1 or 2).

FrozenNemesis said:

The secret was a little strange. After having run through the level and coming to a dead end (in the blood room) I ran back through the level and saw it open. It coincidentally dropped me in front of the exit when I left. I didn't realize until my second play-through that the exit was actually in the room with the barred window. As a result, because I didn't look at the map until my third play-through, I never realized that area was the secret.

The secret is counted when you step onto the platform containing the lite amplification goggles and shotgun. To enter the dark alley containing that platform, you must open the teleport in the starting room by crossing the linedef behind the impaling victim in the room with the lift. Because it's nearby, you should easily be able to hear the teleport open while you're gathering the ammo clip and stimpack behind the impaling victim. It's a very small map, so backtracking should be no trouble at all. Please note that you can complete the level without getting the secret, but then you don't get the shotgun, shells and armor.

FrozenNemesis said:

I played through the level 3 times (difficulties 2, 3, and 4) and while difficulties 2 and 3 were perfect, I had a significant amount of trouble with difficulty 4. The first two times I tried to do it I ran out of ammo fighting with the imps in the start room. In a scramble to collect health before I died I learned that the secret (giving access to the shotgun) opens when I enter the second room. Using this I was able to grab the shotgun first, and then take out the imps.

Sounds like a good strategy to me. I also noticed ammo was a little scarce, but I have no difficulty completing the map even if I get damaged. I have added an extra ammo clip for version 2 of the wad to help those who don't get the secret stuff. On the other hand, you should always expect a challenge when playing on ultraviolence.

FrozenNemesis said:

Also, not sure if this is a bug or not, after I grabbed the shotgun I noticed fireballs coming through the brick wall in there.

Yep, I noticed that too. It's not really a bug, just an unexpected consequence of the way I drew that sector. All that stands between sector 36 and sector 9 is a single linedef, not a solid wall. It turns out that the double sided linedef, even though I flagged it as impassible, will allow fireballs to pass. Chalk it up to my own ineptitude. It's weird, but I don't think it spoils the level.

FrozenNemesis said:

I think the biggest problem is that all the areas are very cramped, leaving very little room to maneuver around the relatively large number of enemies on difficulty 4.

I totally agree with you. The map was very small to begin with, and I didn't want to make it much bigger. I have difficulty maneuvering between the impaling victim and lamps in the lift room. It's impossilbe not to get torn up if the imps teleport into the barred window room while you're in there. No big deal though, because my first all original map will be very spacious indeed. This one is just a something for me to learn with.

FrozenNemesis said:

I look forward to trying your next map.

Thank you very much. That is greater praise than I ever hoped for with this tiny effort. I'll try hard to meet your expectations.

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sparerib1968 said:

It turns out that the double sided linedef, even though I flagged it as impassible, will allow fireballs to pass.

Yep. I'm pretty sure "Block Everything" will work.

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sparerib1968 said:

That is part of the challenge of Doom, IMHO. Being surprised when that door whooshes open, and even more surp...

Oh I definitely agree. For gameplay reasons I think auto-opening doors are great and your use of them in the level was good as well. My only recommendation is that in addition to adding the walk-over line def, make the doors openable by hand, so that the player is never forced to run back and forth in front of the door to try and trigger it. It's not really a problem in this wad, but I have seen some where it is either due to a strange sector shape or just bad placement of the linedef.

The secret is counted when you step on...

The secret itself as well as its entrance were designed and placed quite well. I only found it odd that upon returning to the start room the secret is more noticeable than the exit and seems to flow more with the level design. Usually (but not always) secrets are off to the side or out of the way, placing them outside of the levels flow. That said, I think there is nothing wrong with the way it is currently set up. Just a passing curiosity.

Sounds like a good strategy to me. I also noticed ammo was a little scarce, but I have no difficulty compl...

My only concern was in more or less requiring the secret to be used in the gameplay strategy on UV. This could just be my style of playing though. Low ammo means I slow down a bit to make sure my shots connect (especially with the pistol) but the small room combined with the large enemy count make slowing down fatal. Personally, for ultra-violent, the difficulty is a refreshing change. Many wads are still easy on UV and it's nice to have a challenge that isn't insanely difficult. The difficulty on each of the skill levels is quite well done.

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@ DuckReconMajor: What? I don't see Block Everything linedef flag in the Doom Builder interface.

@ FrozenNemesis: I agree with you that auto-open doors (remote doors?) should also work by user action (local action?). Perhaps I'll add that for version 2.

The secret may seem out of place, but it is the single largest new room. I didn't want to expand the map more than a few units beyond its original size. Yes, finding the exit is confusing. Yes, the teleport to the secret is a bit too obvious.

To be honest, I'm feeling somewhat elated to hear that you were a little confused by the end game of the map. I am evil in that way, and hope to use such tension building elements for players of my future levels.

FrozenNemesis said:

My only concern was in more or less requiring the secret to be used in the gameplay strategy on UV. This could just be my style of playing though. Low ammo means I slow down a bit to make sure my shots connect (especially with the pistol) but the small room combined with the large enemy count make slowing down fatal.

The secret is absolutely not necessary for completing the map. Even on skill 4, I can complete the map without much difficulty. Did you try punching the demon instead of shooting him? You'll conserve ammo, and you've got enough freedom of movement as long as you don't get caught in the stairwell.

As a concession, I'll include a berserk pack in version 2 of the wad, but it will require a trade off. Since the berserk pack gives you 100% health, I'm removing most of the other health from the map. You'll definitely want to try version 2 to see whether this change suits you better. I think it's too easy now.

FrozenNemesis said:

Personally, for ultra-violent, the difficulty is a refreshing change. Many wads are still easy on UV and it's nice to have a challenge that isn't insanely difficult. The difficulty on each of the skill levels is quite well done.

I could not agree more. Surviving a well balanced map gives a sense of satisfaction that can only come from overcoming a challenge.

Everyone, I'm planning to release version 2 this evening. If there are any changes you'd like to see included, please let me know right away. Meanwhile, I intend to put some more work into my new map.

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sparerib1968 said:

@ DuckReconMajor: What? I don't see Block Everything linedef flag in the Doom Builder interface.

Oops. That's a ZDoom tag, I'm sorry.

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The first time I got to the demon I had actually run out of ammo and had no choice but to punch him. Then one of the imps ended up nicking me with a fireball in the area up the stairs. I've always been miserable at punching things without a berserk pack though.

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Just in case nobody gets back to this, thank you everyone for the feedback. I feel like I'm done with this map. I'll open a new thread when some significant progress is made on my new map.

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