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Creaphis

The Worst Doom Architecture Ever

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I came across this map a while ago, and as soon as I did I knew it deserved some public humiliation. While I try not to be too harsh on beginner attempts, because, hey, everybody starts somewhere, this deserves it. This is not just glaringly amateur, but possibly the laziest attempt at Doom level design I've ever seen. Here's a relatively tolerable screenshot to get us started:

http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/3045/wall1sl.jpg

Nice. You know how some people, when they're fleshing out an area, they'll add interest to surfaces? They'll add ledges, or pillars, or windows, or detail insets? Yeah. This guy doesn't do that. This guy stops after he's drawn one single straight line, making a wall that's pasted from top to bottom with the same limestone texture. It's a good texture, I'll admit - it tiles really well - but how about some variety? "Hold forthwith, Creaphis, we hath hitherto witnessed merely one bulwark. Methinks some variety shall henceforth be regarded," you say. You're wrong. This is the only texture, anywhere.

http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/7955/corner1e.jpg

After looking at this, you should be clued into a few more of our intrepid mapper's design strategies, yanked straight from the prolapsed anus of 1994. It's pretty easy to see this guy's thought process: "Hey, these two long, straight, limestone-flooded walls seem boring... I know, I'll build some random crap on 'em!" Nevermind that an actual shape could have been built and then improved upon, nevermind that the little bit of height variation we've been graced with would have only a negligible effect on gameplay, and nevermind that the uniform height of the walls makes it look like this game doesn't even have the two-and-a-half dimensions it's usually credited with. In a final analysis, we've got nothing here but two flat, boring walls, connected at a corner, and... hang on, speaking of the corner, I can assure you that it doesn't appear to be sharper than a 90 degree angle merely because of freelook distortion. It really is some sharp, random, absurdly unrealistic angle, and there are more like it.

http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/9263/corner2.jpg
Close-up:
http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/2447/corner2close.jpg

Now at last we understand the true nature of the beast. What apparently happened here is that our mapper opened up his editor of choice, drew some random irregular polygon to start things off, and then just went wild! And you know what? That's fine. That's absolutely, perfectly, fine - if you're speedmapping, or otherwise engaged in some personal exercise with results that nobody else is ever going to see. This project, on the other hand, is something that we're actually expected to take seriously. Right, well, I've played through enough zombie-infested WAG military bases to know that they don't conduct their teleportation experiments in flat, featureless buildings loaded with non-functional corners. No real human being could possibly make use of a space like that. This is completely ridiculous, and it doesn't get any better.

http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/2175/panoramam.jpg
(Taken with "fly.")

This is one of the first parts of the level that the player sees. Let me give you a closer look.

http://img79.imageshack.us/img79/9372/everythingq.jpg

Wow. This, this is the scene that's supposed to give you faith in the quality of what's to come. Now, to be fair, there is some impressive stuff here. The mapper shows at least some iota of ability to use advanced port features, like slopes:

http://img136.imageshack.us/img136/5211/slope.jpg

Also, he's even managed to rig up some partially-transparent polyobjects that open horizontally when you cross a walkover trigger:

http://img203.imageshack.us/img203/2141/doors.jpg

But, these features don't quite cover up that smell, do they? As the old standby goes, "you can't polish a turd." This is another one of those classic cases where a beginning mapper gets distracted by the availability of some fancy tricks, and, to the detriment of all, never learns the fundamentals. What's supposed to come across as a professional-grade embellishment is just tacky when the quality inconsistency is put into sharp relief. This is like an extremely transparent bait-and-switch scam, except what we're being baited by is a nice texture and a nice set of doors, and what we're given instead is this:

http://img79.imageshack.us/img79/4910/lightsi.jpg

Holy crap! "Adding a light source" is not equivalent to "flood-filling half the ceiling with a densely-packed light flat," or at least it isn't for most people. Maybe the mapper knows this is excessive, but was too lazy to add lights anywhere else and decided to compensate. This is such an absurd, unrealistic touch on an absurd, unrealistic building that I can only be amazed.

The tour ends here. I should admit that there is actually more to this thing than what I've shown you, but, get this - they actually have the gall to charge for the full version. Based on the strength of the demo, I think I'll pass. But, if any of you masochists want to check it out, here's the map download link.

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Stupidest imp sprites ever. And I'm sorry, but an imp carrying a baby just doesn't seem that threatening.

lol, the floor flat on the slope is all crooked against the wall.

You should edit the entire inside of the building to have a floor of fwater with a fire hydrant.

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Yeah the map doesn't look very good, but I'm sure it has a good layout. Haven't seen the inside of the building, either.

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So, the lesson here is "real-life architecture and Doom level design are two different fields with completely different aims and constraints"?

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Meh, the "architecture building at Lincoln University" map is worse. It has a plain white hallway with loads of doors into tiny, pointless rooms with pillars in wierd places, some of the pillars are right up against the walls! Also it has really tiny, narrow vertical windows. Then you get to the end of the hallway and it inexlicably widens out, with another hallway going off backwards at a 179 degree angle to the first, with a door between the two of them!, the second hallway then just ends in a sheet of gla-i mean-an impassable linedef, overlooking some stairs! Who the hell would design something like that?

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Technician said:

Where do you live Creaphis? That building looks familiar.

In the "fly" photo you can easily see that it's the Winnipeg art gallery.

Whether he took the photos himself or not is an other thing. :P

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I think it's unfair to point out this single part of the map if you think the WHOLE thing is bad. I mean, that overhead you provided sure makes it look like it's a small part of a super-elaborate city map.

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Snakes said:

small part of a super-elaborate city map.

But what you are looking at is actually a sky box ripped from a Tormentor map. :P

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Technician said:

Where do you live Creaphis? That building looks familiar.


Winnipeg. You probably could have deduced that from context :P

Krispavera said:

Yeah the map doesn't look very good, but I'm sure it has a good layout. Haven't seen the inside of the building, either.


Yeah, there are a few reasons I didn't get shots of the inside. For one, I'd have to pay for admission (ie. buy the full version). Secondly, it's a security-conscious art gallery so there's no way I'd get away with snapping pictures, and third, the decor and layout inside would actually make a pretty kick-ass Doom map.

Gez said:

So, the lesson here is "real-life architecture and Doom level design are two different fields with completely different aims and constraints"?


You've hit the nail on the head. I actually really like this architecture and always have, but I felt compelled to make fun of it when it struck me that good modern architecture and bad level design share the same attributes. I suppose that real-world architecture has always been necessarily complex so that buildings can actually be stable, healthy and useful, so extreme simplicity in architecture is an ideal that is sought after, while in games, extreme simplicity is by far the easiest thing to produce, and unnecessary complexity must be added to surpass the norm and create an impression.

I'm glad this has amused a few people. I have a couple other good photos of the area I took at the same time, if anyone wants to see them.

http://img128.imageshack.us/img128/1223/rearl.jpg
A rear area of the map. You can get a glimpse of a traditional vertically-opening door at the left edge of the shot. Though I wasn't able to open it (there's probably a hidden switch on the other side of the map somewhere) one suspects that the doortracks aren't pegged correctly.

http://img126.imageshack.us/img126/8232/legislature.jpg
Part of the sky texture, which deserves at least an honorable mention.

Also, here are a few more shots I took before turning "fly" off:
http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/8103/fly1.jpg
http://img128.imageshack.us/img128/1131/fly2.jpg
http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/572/fly3.jpg

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That's a pretty bad map. One of the worst I've seen. This deserves national attention.

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If anything this says something about expectations. This shows that we desire more the effort that's put into a work art than the actual art itself. The building that Creafish showed clearly had a good deal of effort was put into its design and construction, whereas a building with similar architecture in a Doom map would take little effort at all. I mean, tormentor667's distinct style is pretty ugly by architectural standards, but it shows a great deal of effort and beauty when executed in a Doom map.

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Patrick said:

If anything this says something about expectations. This shows that we desire more the effort that's put into a work art than the actual art itself. The building that Creafish showed clearly had a good deal of effort was put into its design and construction, whereas a building with similar architecture in a Doom map would take little effort at all. I mean, tormentor667's distinct style is pretty ugly by architectural standards, but it shows a great deal of effort and beauty when executed in a Doom map.


That building's pretty ugly in real life too, especially with the lamp orgy in the last picture.

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Super Jamie said:

The weirdest thing is, the second photo actually looks like it's not perspective-corrected. IRL in software ZDoom.

That's exactly what I thought, which is really weird at that o.O

Worst wad of the year? :P

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