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What's better? (darkness)

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Alright I got a question. I've got an idea for a wad that's going to use all new textures. But I've got a bit of a problem. Which of the two do you think would yield better results? (Visually and gameplay)

1. Well lit textures, maps with dark lighting.


2. Dark textures, well lit rooms.

The gameplay I'm aiming for follows progression similar to Doom64. I want a very dark, underground style atmosphere. Ya start off fighting zombies and imps with pistol and chainsaws. Then about 3 or 4 maps into the wad you quickly move on to tougher monsters like Hell barons and Mancubuses, lots of Supershotguns and rocketlaunchers provided. Not quite a slaughter, but the number weaker monsters will be minimal.

I've boiled down some pros and cons of each:

1. Well lit textures will most likely allow for use of the largest range of the pallete. But dark rooms will make monsters dark too, and thus may make even the weakest of monsters unreasonably hard which throws the "lots of big monsters and big weapons" idea in the trash unless done right. Low lighting seems like a survival horror type of thing.

2. Dark textures will give the illusion of being in a dark area even though at 160+ lighting. Your hud weapon will always be bright (and once you get the chaingun that would look pretty weird) and so will monsters, which will make them at a decent difficulty to fight. I think the well lit rooms with dark textures might make the monsters look too cartoony in this setting as well. However I do think using dark textures along with really bright light textures can show some extreme contrast which may look pretty cool.

I'm pretty sure I can make some decent out of one or the other, but what do you think would be the best approach?

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As far as colormappings go... gray, brown, tan, olive, green, and blue seem to approach the dark end of the spectrum without washing out too much. Avoid yellow, purple, gold, or any color that generally doesn't have a lot of shades, and any colors like red, orange, or pink, which have plenty of good lighter shades, but don't really go very dark. Avoid this last group of colors like the plague, when it comes to dark areas, except when they are used near light sources, where the darkness will not bring out the inefficiency of the palette/colormap.

If you keep colors in mind, designing a good-looking dark map isn't really a problem. Use certain textures in only dark areas, use certain textures in any areas, and use certain textures in well-lit areas. It's simple, especially if you're designing your own texture set. Understanding the weaknesses of the various textures is part of the mapping experience.

While we're on the topic, I would ask Ptoing about his progress on his improved Doom colormap. It looks a lot better so far, and doesn't turn colors into grays at low light level mappings. While it doesn't change the actual colors used, your texture colors will look much better in darker areas in-game.

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You could also use Boom light transfers. Have the main sectors at brightness ~128 so you can see, but transfer a lower ceiling and floor light level. You could have a 1-wide bordering sector around walls to give them a specific brightness (or lack thereof).

This of course means you have to tag almost every player- and monster-accessible sector. You could still use other tags on sectors to make lifts, doors, teleports, traps, etc. You'll just need to add a floor and ceiling transfer to those tags as well.

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Super Jamie said:

You could have a 1-wide bordering sector around walls to give them a specific brightness (or lack thereof).

Trust me, this isn't worth the effort.
Been there. Done that. Wished I hadn't.

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