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Kid Airbag

Criticize me in a constructive manner, plz

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So I've been having this sort of Doom renaissance lately, and part of that has involved blowing the dust off of WadAuthor and a subsequent return to mapping. I'll put more details on WIP at some point in the near future, but for now, I wanted to glean some useful information from the fine folk here at the Doomworld Forums.

As you may or may not know (more likely the latter), I contributed map 10 to the Community Chest 3 megawad and I was planning on modifying/reworking the map for use in this current project of mine. In perusing the comments on the doomworld/idgames page for CC3, it seems several people had issues with map 10, so I'm asking for some elaboration in that regard.

Is the map too hard? I'm personally able to beat it on UV from a pistol start, but then again I made the map and know where all the secrets are and what kinds of traps to expect, etc. But I figure that has to balance out with the fact that I'm far from the greatest Doomer out there. I can understand that people might get frustrated with some of the traps and other situations I put them in, but I did implement difficulty settings for a reason, and I've always been the type to save my game like every two minutes, and I guess I assume other people are similar. But gameplay has admittedly always been my weak point when it comes to mapmaking, so if there are issues here I would gladly welcome any advice.

As far as level design goes, I do acknowledge that the multi-level brick10 maze could rub a lot of people the wrong way, since the next step to take is never really clearly marked (although in a few instances I tried to use rising and lowering sectors near the switches to indicate what the switch did). I thought it was a neat concept, but I could be alone in that opinion.

Architecturally, I also can see where my blocky sector-based style is somewhat outdated, but I happen to like that style so that's the one thing that won't change. Other than that, though, I'd love to hear what people thought so I can edit accordingly.

Thanks.

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I did a quick test run and I found a number of game play related issues that you might want to consider.

The first one being that if you can't look up and down. Then you can't do anything about the high up monsters that keep shooting homing missiles at you while you run back and forth trying to find the way that is hidden in a nook in the first room you were.

I also think the weapon and ammo placement favors a player that knows the map. I used up all my chaingun ammo on the two mancubies at the beginning. Then I only had SSG for the dark maze thing and it was poorly suited for shooting at the monsters on top. Had I saved my chaingun or also had an SG. It would have been easier for me. But that's only because I played it in EE with Mlook on. Had I played it in Boom I probably would have been less happy.

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Aside from monster placement being kinda cheap as Kristus pointed out, my major complaint with this map is the completely nonsensical progression. It's a chore just to maneuver around the map, with backtracking and seemingly random rooms which have nothing in common to each other.
Any feeling of accomplishment is undone by falling, being blocked-in, or backtracking. Like the whole map was designed to punish the player. I like the look of the map overall, I love brick10 and enjoy the industrial feel, but honestly if you planned on re-using this map I would consider starting fresh, incorporating the good ideas and overhauling the whole layout.

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Great thanks to the both of you for your comments.

kristus said:

The first one being that if you can't look up and down. Then you can't do anything about the high up monsters that keep shooting homing missiles at you while you run back and forth trying to find the way that is hidden in a nook in the first room you were.


I actually did this intentionally, I thought it was a good challenge to have to run down the hallway with the specters while trying to avoid fireballs and rockets from the imps and revenants above. Having to avoid some enemies for the time being instead of just everything being right in front of you to be killed all at once is just something a little different from traditional Doom carnage, and that's what I was going for in that room.

What I think works the best there is to use the chainsaw (which I even put right at the entrance to that corridor as a hint) to hack through the specters and just keep moving forward as fast as you can. If done right, by the time you get to the end, you may have taken some damage, but it should be minimal, and there are also several stimpacks along the way to help out in that regard.

I do see what you mean about it being unclear where to go next, that's definitely something I'll be working on.

I also think the weapon and ammo placement favors a player that knows the map. I used up all my chaingun ammo on the two mancubies at the beginning. Then I only had SSG for the dark maze thing and it was poorly suited for shooting at the monsters on top. Had I saved my chaingun or also had an SG. It would have been easier for me. But that's only because I played it in EE with Mlook on. Had I played it in Boom I probably would have been less happy.


This is also something I can work on. I just put about equal amounts of both shells and bullets at the beginning of the level and left it up to the player to decide which kind to use. Would you load up on shotgun ammo in the first room and then give the player more chaingun ammo after the Mancubi are dead?

Although, I do think a lot of your grief could have been alleviated by using the chainsaw in the dark room, and not worrying about killing the baddies above you until later, when you're actually up there with them and it becomes much easier. I understand that of course, as the level designer, it would seem more obvious to me, but I am also a staunch believer in "trial-and-error" dooming and saving very often. If your strategy doesn't work, hopefully you have a saved game right before you entered that room so you can just reload and try something different.

Use3d said:

Aside from monster placement being kinda cheap as Kristus pointed out, my major complaint with this map is the completely nonsensical progression. It's a chore just to maneuver around the map, with backtracking and seemingly random rooms which have nothing in common to each other. Any feeling of accomplishment is undone by falling, being blocked-in, or backtracking. Like the whole map was designed to punish the player.


Yep, this is basically what I was most worried about. I figured my attempts at scenarios that were a little atypical would take a toll on the gameplay, but I was hoping it wouldn't be so bad.

I like the look of the map overall, I love brick10 and enjoy the industrial feel, but honestly if you planned on re-using this map I would consider starting fresh, incorporating the good ideas and overhauling the whole layout.


This is essentially what I'm going to end up having to do anyway, since this new levelset I'm working on is unique in that every level fits spatially with the other levels in the set, giving it a kind of 3d "hub" feel.

But as for the "good ideas," I did want to keep the multi-level brick10 "maze" in some capacity, because I love the idea of using rising and lowering water levels to access new parts of the maze. Do you have any suggestions for how to better implement that? Using numbers in the walls to help progression be more clear, maybe? Or is it really just not an idea that is meant to be compatible with the Doom engine?

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Kid Airbag said:
I actually did this intentionally, I thought it was a good challenge to have to run down the hallway with the specters while trying to avoid fireballs and rockets from the imps and revenants above. Having to avoid some enemies for the time being instead of just everything being right in front of you to be killed all at once is just something a little different from traditional Doom carnage, and that's what I was going for in that room.

Yeah, authors sometimes do this to make levels more challenging. The start may seem impossible or very harsh to less resourceful players, but using one's head and daring to scout ahead for a better position or more equipment gives one a good chance. These maps can kill you on the first couple of tries but also encourage one to try things other than just blasting through without much thought.

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myk said:

Yeah, authors sometimes do this to make levels more challenging. The start may seem impossible or very harsh to less resourceful players, but using one's head and daring to scout ahead for a better position or more equipment gives one a good chance. These maps can kill you on the first couple of tries but also encourage one to try things other than just blasting through without much thought.

I found a lot of that in some quake maps. Especially Scourge of Armagon which based most of its gameplay on it.

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