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Aaronjw

Tower of Belial

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I've been messing around in Doom Builder 2 for a month or so now, and I've gone through all the video tutorials on the site, so I know my way around the editor. I can make doors, lifts, teleports, etc. Within the last couple of weeks, I've been working on my first wad that I plan on actually releasing. I'm planning on it being a one, maybe two level wad. The basic idea is that you're in a tower, with different rooms going out from the main tower room. Every time you go into a different room, the floor in the main room raises up to the next room, and you have to find a teleporter in the current area to get back to the hub. (I asked for some help on the raising floor in the Editing Forums. If you're wondering, this is the level I was working on). So far, I have the center "hub", the outdoors start area, the first room, and the second room finished. Well, sort of finished. I have the basics mapped out, but they probably need tweaking.

So, being new to mapping, and even fairly new to Doom itself, I'd really appreciate it if some of you wanted to test what I have so far. So I've taken some screenshots of the map from in game, and here they are:











I'd like feedback on anything you find, but I have a few things I'm questioning:
1. The difficulty in general. Or, maybe, lack thereof. I'm not sure if the difficulty is right, or too easy (yes, I do have difficulty levels).
2. On UV, there is a battle at the beginning of the level with 2 barons. I thought this would be fun, but you really just end up circling around them over and over unloading shotgun shells into them. There's really not much challenge, and I'd like to know how it could be improved.
3. There is a place in the level where you have to fight a couple of mancubi and cacos at the same time. It's a challenging fight, but it might be a bit sudden and out of place as compared to the difficulty of the map up to that point.
4. At the beginning of the map, you're in an outdoors area, in front of the tower. You can see the tower, but I'm not sure I really like how it looks. Maybe a little bland, and I'm not sure it gets across the enormity of the tower.

I hope with the gracious help of veteran doomers and mappers that I can make this into something worth releasing. So, again, I hope the screenshots catch some eyes and some people will want to help.
Also, I'll be leaving for college in a week, so I might have to put the map on hold after that. But I'd like to get as much done as possible until then.

Thanks for any help!

P.S. Just to give credit where credit's due, the name is inspired by the band Sons of Seasons song, Belial's Tower.

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tower of belial has to have 1000000 strong monsters and constant bfg action

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dew said:

tower of belial has to have 1000000 strong monsters and constant bfg action

Though in a fit of irony, that might make the real Belial not like your map. =P

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tower of belial has to have 1000000 strong monsters and constant bfg action


Thanks for the encouragement and incredibly useful criticism. If I'd wanted help like that, I would have asked a ten year old.

Sorry if I seem rude, but I was hoping for some actual help getting into the wad making community rather than smart-alecks like you just discouraging a new mapper.

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Umm... actually, that wasn't intended to be mocking. It was a reference to a somewhat legendary WAD (that I can't manage to find anywhere) by the name of Belial, which is supposed to be just that hard.

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Looks pretty good, especially if this is a first attempt at mapping.

My favourite screenshot was the fourth one, as it has a dark, creepy feel to it.

By the way, how high is the ceiling in the first screenshot? That tower looks huge!

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to put some input into this, it looks as though this kind of layout would be more appropriate for a slaughter map than as few monsters as I am seeing.

also, I personally feel like it could use some more color. changing the sky texture to the E4 sky compliments the green marble much better.

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Patrick said:

to put some input into this, it looks as though this kind of layout would be more appropriate for a slaughter map than as few monsters as I am seeing.


Ditto.

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Umm... actually, that wasn't intended to be mocking. It was a reference to a somewhat legendary WAD (that I can't manage to find anywhere) by the name of Belial, which is supposed to be just that hard.

Heh, now I feel like a fool :P. Sorry I said what I did. I hadn't heard of that map before. Hope you don't hold it against me :(

Looks pretty good, especially if this is a first attempt at mapping.

My favourite screenshot was the fourth one, as it has a dark, creepy feel to it.

By the way, how high is the ceiling in the first screenshot? That tower looks huge!


It's not exactly my first attempt. I've made a couple of maps before it, just playing around with DB2. I also literally worked through all the tutorials on the DB2 website, actually doing everything he did. Helped me learn pretty quickly.

I like that particular section of the map as well. Actually, it was kind of a coincidence. I was making a bunch of different sectors to do the lighting, and decided to try and raise some of them up to be like collumns or something. I like how it turned out.

And yeah, it's supposed to look huge. I set the ceiling height at 10,000 :p
It's supposed to look like basically an enormous tower, perhaps, size-wise, reminiscent of Sauron's tower from the Lord of the Rings movies.

to put some input into this, it looks as though this kind of layout would be more appropriate for a slaughter map than as few monsters as I am seeing.

also, I personally feel like it could use some more color. changing the sky texture to the E4 sky compliments the green marble much better.

I'll add more monster then. What would you suggest? Lots of plain zombies and sergeants? Or harder monsters, like revenants, etc.?

And I was thinking the same thing about the sky. I just don't know how to change it. The only sky texture I could find was F_SKY1, and I have no clue how to change it to any of the other colors. I would be VERY grateful to know how to do this.
Actually, figuring out how the skies work in Doom might have been one of my biggest problems, since it's not a simple matter of telling it what sky it should use, instead having to actually set the ceiling of the sector as the sky texture. I'd love any links about making skies in Doom.

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Out of curiosity, have you played any custom maps in a similar gothic/hell style? Scythe 2's map27, Deus Vult II's "Unholy Cathedral", ZPack's e3m8 (Vader's "Blackrock"), and so on should help give you more ideas for architecture, map layout, detailing, and whatnot.

For your tower, I'd probably use a custom texture with larger bricks (each brick being 64 units tall), to begin with...right now the texture on it just looks like a mess due to the size of the structure it's used on. I'd also build some lower decorative structures sticking out of the tower, put some windows in the tower, add some support pillars/columns, etc... I'd also probably make the tower itself quite a bit smaller, to be honest.

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Your fourth screenshot is the most promising.

One of the easiest things to do to make your map look polished is to coordinate your textures and flats. For example, in the fifth shot, replace the upper marble texture with something wooden, or the flats on the outer rings with something marble. Also, try not to switch flats without changing heights, like you did in the next screenshot. Sometimes it can be done well but often it looks funny.

It may just be that you haven't finished the areas, but make sure there are more light level differences. All bright rooms make for boring looking levels.

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Out of curiosity, have you played any custom maps in a similar gothic/hell style? Scythe 2's map27, Deus Vult II's "Unholy Cathedral", ZPack's e3m8 (Vader's "Blackrock"), and so on should help give you more ideas for architecture, map layout, detailing, and whatnot.

For your tower, I'd probably use a custom texture with larger bricks (each brick being 64 units tall), to begin with...right now the texture on it just looks like a mess due to the size of the structure it's used on. I'd also build some lower decorative structures sticking out of the tower, put some windows in the tower, add some support pillars/columns, etc... I'd also probably make the tower itself quite a bit smaller, to be honest.


I'll check out some of those maps.

How would I go about getting the custom texture? Download it from somewhere? Or try to make it myself? Stuff like that isn't really my strong point, unless I could just get the texture I used and just make it bigger in photoshop. If that's all there is to it, how do I get the texture out of the Doom 2 wad? I have XWE and SLumped, so I can open it. I just don't know how to do anything with it.

Thanks for the tips about architecture on the tower. I'll add some buttresses. How would you suggest I have some structures sticking out of the tower? I'm not using Boom or GZDoom, just the normal Doom format. Though, I can imagine that being able to make slants would be useful. How hard is it to learn how to do that stuff, and can I use it on a map that's already started?

EDIT--Oh, about making the tower smaller. I made it real big because of all the rooms inside it. In actuality, some of the rooms already extend beyond where the walls of the tower would technically be. I'm obviously not going for a perfect scale tower, but I don't want it to look completely unreal. I guess I could go with explaining that it doesn't conform completely to the laws of physics, and is therefore larger on the inside than the outside :p

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I'd recommend sticking with the standard Doom format for a while.

For structures sticking out of the tower, there's all sorts of different possibilities...they could be purely decorative or you could have the player access some or all of them at some point (either directly from doors in the upper tower, or via teleporters) to do something there. You could border them with a sort of __II__II__II__ structural pattern on top like medieval castle walls, you could border them with metal, etc. There's tons of different things that could be done with them, but it's up to you to experiment and see what you like best. A quick google image search for "gothic tower" turned up this; while many aspects of it couldn't be recreated exactly in a Doom level, it might help to get some ideas flowing for types of architecture and structures that you could build on and around your tower.

As for textures:

If you want to make a scaled-up modification of the GSTONE bricks you're using now: To export the texture from SLumpEd, you'll need to open up Doom2.wad and look for the relevant patches. Textures in Doom are made out of patches -- some textures are a single patch, others are a composite of multiple ones. The GSTONE texture in your map is made out of four 64x128 patches, if I remember right. Anyway, find those in the wad and save them as PNGs, open them in Photoshop and arrange them next to each other appropriately, and scale them up and do whatever else you want to them. Note that while some source ports support tall textures, Doom itself only allows for textures up to 128 units tall. It might work out well to make a 128-tall texture with two rows of bricks stretched to 64 pixels tall each. (You would, of course, also want to make the texture wider. Texture widths can be any number that's a power of 2. Stuff like 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, or 2048) Then save the graphic as a PNG or BMP in Photoshop.

Patches go between PP_START and PP_END markers in your map wad, which are just empty lumps that you can create in SLumpEd by creating a New lump (at the top of the Lump menu) and giving it the name PP_START or PP_END. Import the new texture into your wad by using "New from File" in the Lump menu. (The "Import" menu item sounds appealing, but that replaces the selected lump with the file you load, so it's not what you want to do here.) Now right-click on your lump, rename it if you need to, and Convert To -> Doom Graphic. Then do "Add to TEXTURE1", which will automatically add your patch to the patches list (PNAMES) and create a texture entry using that patch.

If you want to use a texture from another wad, you can import it in the same way (though it'll most likely already be in Doom Graphic format, and you can just copy and paste the lump instead of having to import it from a file).

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I don't quite get what you're saying about the textures. Are you saying I should end up with four patches, like the original, and each patch made up of two rows of bricks?

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Solarn said:
It was a reference to a somewhat legendary WAD (that I can't manage to find anywhere) by the name of Belial,

Nah, it's a guy who plays very well.

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Aaronjw said:

I don't quite get what you're saying about the textures. Are you saying I should end up with four patches, like the original, and each patch made up of two rows of bricks?

No. The original texture (which is 256x128 pixels in size) is made up of four 64x128-sized patches. If you want to make a modification/variant/edit/whatever-you-want-to-call-it of that texture, you'll need to export those four patches. Some textures are made up of only one patch, other textures are made out of several. Your own texture can be just one large patch.

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myk said:

Nah, it's a guy who plays very well.


Actually the WAD in question. (At least the one I think he's talking about) is most likely about another Belial. (There's another guy using a name like "Lord Belial" or something in Skulltag, and I THINK that's the person it was aimed at... But I can't be sure)

Here's the wad: http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/index.php?id=14773

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Remember, add some detail. We've all seen empty rooms with monsters before. Of course there is nothing wrong with it... just making it fancier may help. You don't need to go overboard, but at least make it somewhat visually appealing. This makes the wad last longer.

Just don't sacrifice gameplay for details...

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esselfortium said:

No. The original texture (which is 256x128 pixels in size) is made up of four 64x128-sized patches. If you want to make a modification/variant/edit/whatever-you-want-to-call-it of that texture, you'll need to export those four patches. Some textures are made up of only one patch, other textures are made out of several. Your own texture can be just one large patch.


Oh, good. That makes things simpler then. So, will the size of the patch matter? You said that Doom has a maximum size.

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If your texture is 128 units tall and its width is a power of 2 (8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, etc) it should work properly in any Doom port. The sizes of the individual patches in a multi-patch texture can be odd sizes, as long as the composite texture itself is a normal size.

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myk said:

Nah, it's a guy who plays very well.

Or that. I could have sworn I heard the name applied to a WAD before though.

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kristus said:

Actually the WAD in question. (At least the one I think he's talking about) is most likely about another Belial. (There's another guy using a name like "Lord Belial" or something in Skulltag, and I THINK that's the person it was aimed at... But I can't be sure)

I always thought that map was aimed for the "Belial who plays well", because he had been giving bad comments on Zalewa's previous maps (or maps that Zalewa had liked, or something like that).

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Reminds me of The Spire 2 (think it's around the archive as either spire2.wad or spir2a.wad, can't remember!), which is an awesome map with a huge tower in it. Play that for some more inspirations.

The primary things it has are "hills" and small "towns" (no need for enterable buildings, they require mucking about with 3D floors and other fancy effects, not really a good idea while still learning mapping basics) that you have to quest around before you even get near the tower let alone in it.

Another old but good wad with a tower to quest to/up is called blaktwr.wad or something similar. It's in the Master Levels if you have those.

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esselfortium said:

If your texture is 128 units tall and its width is a power of 2 (8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, etc) it should work properly in any Doom port. The sizes of the individual patches in a multi-patch texture can be odd sizes, as long as the composite texture itself is a normal size.


Oh, ok, I think I understand now. I'll give it another try later today.

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Ok, I tried it over and over, using different settings, etc. I tried it as both a PNG and a BMP, but it still doesn't work. Every time, it ends up showing something like this in the visual mode of DB2:



As an experiment, I got in-game, and the wall ended up with a HOM effect. I'm obviously doing something VERY wrong, here, but I have no idea what it could be.

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For one that doesn't look like it is in the Doom pallette, but I don't think that would hinder it from showing up. Are you adding the texture to the patch list? If you're using SLumpEd, right click the file and make sure you add to both "PNAMES" lump and "TEXTURE1" lump.

[edit]Looks like esselfortium already covered that. I would make sure you convert it into the Doom palette. That might help.

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It shouldn't be a PNG or a BMP. Convert it to "Doom Graphic", which is the format used for patches, sprites, and whatnot in Doom.

Also, Nomad, adding to TEXTURE1 automatically takes care of adding to PNAMES; you can't add something to TEXTURE1 if it's not in PNAMES already :)

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Yeah, I did convert it to the Doom Graphic. When I said that, I just meant that that was what I saved it as from Photoshop, before I put it in my wad. So that's not the problem. And the texture is 256 wide by 128 tall, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Nomad: What are you saying about the "Doom palette"? What's that?

Maybe this will help: when I see the texture in Photoshop, it's green like it's supposed to be, and when I put the PNG into SLumpEd, it's still green. BUT, when I convert it into a Doom Graphic, and view it in SLumpEd, it appears in greyscale. Does that give any clues as to what I'm doing wrong?

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