Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Nameless

The Great mapper's block thread!

Recommended Posts

This could probably be a great thread were we share our tips on how to remedy mapper's blocks.

As custom dictates, I'll start:

I discovered Doom in 2006. It is now 2010 and I have still not made a complete map. Not. A. Single. Complete. Map. My problem lies deep: I would not have any problems speed-mapping and just make a map. However, I have problem making maps that I would be proud to slam my name on. I have a metric ton of ideas, mostly original and I feel that I am wasting them away.

Let me take you back in time, this has happend before: I got AOE 2: The Conqueros in June 1998 and in the 10 years I played that game I never, ever completed a single map.
I began mapping.
Mapper's block set in.
I realised that the map was crap and started over.

On and off for 10 years.
So... I am rather desperate to avoid that with Doom, because I love this game very much, so I am are asking for tips on how to remedy my serious case of mapper's block. I can see that history is about to repeat it self for the second time.

So far I have tried taking long breaks, to get my head off the mapping and I have noticed something strange:
My mapper's block actually depends on how long my mapping-free days are:
Example: I took two weeks vocation to be with my family, and that for some reason yelded about a week(5-6 days) were I almost mapped 24/h a day before mapper's block hit me.

I tried to focus on an other part of the map. If I were working on layout, I switch and began playtesting what I have made sofar, instead.

Lastly, I tried to join Community Chest 4 to have a goal to work towards, a deadline. That did help but my mapper's block still prevents me from finishing a map.

Share this post


Link to post

About 3 years ago I stopped caring what other people thought of what I made. Haven't hit a wall since and I'm making much better work.

Share this post


Link to post
Khorus said:

About 3 years ago I stopped caring what other people thought of what I made. Haven't hit a wall since and I'm making much better work.


This, unless I know those people actually know what the they're talking about.

I happen to have mapper's block right now actually. I've made 35 DM maps for my project and I just can't come up with any more original layouts.

Share this post


Link to post

Going through it right now, to a degree. On the one hand, I've got this awesome outdoor area planned, but designing deathtraps gets hard when you don't know ACS.

Share this post


Link to post

You should just share your maps that you get stuck on if you're sure you're not going to continue them ever again (assuming there's actually something to play in them). Getting comments and criticism, or even edits to your maps from other people can help widen your perspective. Once you're able to look at your map from more different points of view even if you get stuck in one place you can continue from an other.

Share this post


Link to post

Sometimes going for a vigorous hike, bike ride or other outdoor fresh air activity can improve neuron synapses and thus improve creativity and follow through in front of teh computer.

My problem isn't so much mapper's block as mapper's suck. I have decent ideas for an area in my map, I map it, and I playtest it and I want to puke. Just quit--the whole dang thing is so inferior to my vision.

Another thing that helps is to immediately start mapping the first idea that comes into your head. I am often reticent to do this because I'm not convinced the idea is very good. But as you start doing your idea... you sometimes get new ideas or the idea changes in a way that makes it better. Or, the idea ends up being better than you thought it would be--because it ends up being more suited to Doom than you thought it would be. The converse happens, too. Sometimes (extremely often in my case) an idea that seems really good just isn't as good as you think it is--for whatever reason--isn't that suited to Doom when you actually get down to it. You can't always tell what actually is a good idea and what isn't. Doom has a mysterious X factor that only the very few grand masters understand.

DOing is probably the greatest enemy to mapper's block. It's the one thing that mapper's block fears the most from the mapper. Tied to this is the willingness to delete and redo. Sometimes it's required that you make a whole area--realize it sucks--realize you just got a better idea for that area--delete all your work--and try again. :-/

Just so you know, I hardly ever do any of these things I've suggested. Far too lazy. But when I do, it's often worth it.

Share this post


Link to post

I havent mapped for a while because I hit a mappers block some time ago. What I have been doing though, is that Ive been writing and drawing down small ideas I come up with now and then, which really isnt big enough ideas to map out, just some cool small stuff to add in a map. Now, I have LOTS of these little notes and there should not be a problem to make areas where I can add them.

Another somewhat related problem I have is that I cannot get myself to start a map without a general idea, theme and layout of most of the map. I just cant start making some random stuff.

Share this post


Link to post

The catch is that I have everything planned out. Theme, setting, a rough sketch and willpower. You name it.

Jodwin gave me a good idea, thought:
I might release everything that I have made sofar. Just for the hell of it. However, I will not try to sort it in anyway because the crap is too much to filter and I would like to spend my last days on holiday doing something better.

Like a Doom map.

Share this post


Link to post

Too many projects of mine die an early death because of mappers block. Some maps are just meant to be doomed from the start, while others are great fun to work on when the ideas keep coming. Sometimes I get so many cool ideas that I can't keep up with mapping. And when that one cool map is finished I want to continue that mapping rush with a new map, but then I run out of ideas *fuuuuuck*. Maybe the trick is to not think at all when you work on a map. Like not being too serious about any project will probably make working on the map easier as well.

Share this post


Link to post

Actually, I think my remedy would be to speed-map or just force myself to do small maps. Then, as I see fit, increase them.

Actually, that might work.

Share this post


Link to post

I actually just went through a 2 month patch of not having a single idea and then cranked out a map in 3 days... Just how things go, I guess. I think my problem is I'll play something mind-blowingly awesome and then think, "Man... I have to be this good." Then I can't replicate it because it really isn't my style. It always ends when I say, "Screw it," and just think of a trap and how to execute it, then map it and build around that.

This happened with SID.

Share this post


Link to post

I really want to get back into Doom mapping, but I've been suffering from mapper's block for years. Every time I think, "Hey, I'm gonna try to get back into mapping," I'll sit down, load up Doom Builder... And nothing, absolutely nothing comes to me. I just sit there staring at the screen without even the faintest clue about what to make. I seriously can't stand that feeling.

Share this post


Link to post
dutch devil said:

Maybe the trick is to not think at all when you work on a map. Like not being too serious about any project will probably make working on the map easier as well.


Funny, I've kinda picked up on that too. None of my maps have real 'plots' or are based on any particular building for anything. They are quite simply... just areas that you can fight monsters in that have a lot of sectors and aligned textures.

One thing though, is that once I get started on a map, save it, then work on it another day, it's much more difficult to pick up where you left off, as opposed to working on the map from start to finish in one session. Speed mapping maybe good for you because concentrating on how fast I can draw out things in doom builder before I lose the image of what it will look like in my mind really helps me get the maps I'm working on done. I tend to enjoy a whole mess of short maps over a few painfully long ones anyway. And even if you don't, just make like 3 or 4 small maps and copy and paste them together into 1.

Share this post


Link to post

It would be interesting to try combining a whole game or episode worth of maps into a single map. Perhaps using ZDoom it would be possible to remove keys from the player's inventory upon entering a new "map" area, so that key-hunting would be preserved.

Share this post


Link to post
jute said:

It would be interesting to try combining a whole game or episode worth of maps into a single map. Perhaps using ZDoom it would be possible to remove keys from the player's inventory upon entering a new "map" area, so that key-hunting would be preserved.

I did that once by combining random maps from the three episodes of doom into one level. Not sure whatever came of it.. I don't think I got very far on it. I think I combined e1m1 and e2m2. I like the combining small maps into one idea tho. That'd be a good community project. Make a small map. Could even be a room. The hard part wouldn't be making the small maps, but combining them.

Share this post


Link to post

Don's Challenge did that with E1 -- turned out pretty cool, though most of that is probably because of the weapons n' things. Still, it doesn't seem to get as much recognition as it deserves, I think.

Share this post


Link to post

I was once told that writer's block is the result of fapping too much. Dunno if it's true, nor if it applies to mappers block.

Share this post


Link to post
Abyssalstudios1 said:

That... sounds like a good idea.


It is. I like to consider every piece of mapping valuable, no matter what it is. I can't stress enough how much I regret not keeping the wads I made for myself that I never released to the public. I searched out all my old CD's and hard drives and had no luck. I really wish I still had those maps.

Clonehunter said:

And what is writer's block? I've heard of it, but...


Writer's block is phrase used for when you're in the middle of writing for a story, and as you are halfway through it, you run out of ideas on how to continue the story and thus your writing stops and you're left with an unfinished story.

Replace writing with mapping and story with .wad for the definition mapper's block.

Share this post


Link to post
40oz said:

Writer's block is phrase used for when you're in the middle of writing for a story, and as you are halfway through it, you run out of ideas on how to continue the story and thus your writing stops and you're left with an unfinished story.


Actually, my main source of mapper's block comes before I even start mapping. I'll just stare at Doombuilder and... nothing. So I don't even have an unfinished map, I have nothing... If I start a level, I normally crank it out in 5 to 15 days depending on size. Just another variation, I guess.

Share this post


Link to post

I've been wanting to map since I got the old DoomEd from my D-Zone CD back in whenever (1994?). I used to mess around trying to figure out how to work things, as I was only 13 and not extremely bright, I never quite got the hang of it. In fact, when I tried to generate a new wad, the computer gave me a 'not enough ram' message, so it was futile anyways.

I forgot about mapping for what seems like forever now, but having recently discovered Doom Builder and then DB2, I decided to take the time and watch and re-watch the tutorials and even take notes! I've gotten most of it down and committed to memory now. But since having begun and abandoned around ten maps so far, I keep getting nagging doubts that I could create maps as good as what's already out there. The best that I could probably manage would be that someone would say that it's a decent map for 1994 standards. Right now I'm having too much fun playing other people's levels and I will wait out that feeling until I feel I have something real to create.

To clarify I don't hang this entirely on the would-be opinions of others, but rather that I wouldn't want to create a level that I wouldn't JUMP at playing myself. Romero's first ep. is still the best, imo.

Share this post


Link to post
Snakes said:

Actually, my main source of mapper's block comes before I even start mapping. I'll just stare at Doombuilder and... nothing.


I usually start by drawing some unconnected squares and rectangles

Share this post


Link to post
40oz said:

Writer's block is phrase used for when you're in the middle of writing for a story, and as you are halfway through it, you run out of ideas on how to continue the story and thus your writing stops and you're left with an unfinished story.

Replace writing with mapping and story with .wad for the definition mapper's block.


AH okay thanks. I've been to both of those. Writers block twice even...

Share this post


Link to post

DuckReconMajor said:
SOME TEXT


Heh, you scared me. I was ready to reply that "the guy you were linking to" wasn't me. I had to read the post twise before I got it.
It is a great little map-pack you have there. You should feel proud. ;-)

And, regarding this thread: I'm not going to try to defend myself over a forum, because that is useless in the longrun and only leads to a flame-war. I understod what you where trying to say, but mapping really is my thing.

Share this post


Link to post

I have a huge folder full of assorted screenies from different peoples work. Whenever I get mapper's block, I go and have a look through that to get inspired. Or I just look through page after page of the "post your doom picture here" thread until I get inspired.

The other way to avoid mapper's block is to not treat mapping as 'work' as in stuff that absolutely positively must have an awesome end result. Someone here touched on this, but a child throwing a ball around a yard isn't aiming for anything in particular. He is just playing. But it is this very playing without any real end result that sees this same dude become a pro ball player. It is the play that gives the skills. End results just add unnecessary pressure sometimes.

So just sit and map. A big stupid square room if that is all that comes to start. And if you do it enough, over and over, eventually your ideas will evolve into something really good and unique.

Share this post


Link to post

I never did find a workflow that allowed me to map with any kind of efficiency. My NDCP map took me three years to make! That was ridiculous. Some of the layout was easy because I drew half of it while sitting in a physics class. Got mired in creating details for it.

I asked John Romero about how he came up with the rather free-form but somehow pleasing designs in E1. He said it was just drawing stuff and iterating again and again (this contradicts what Sandy Peterson says about him in the DOOM strategy guide...). I'd like to make more maps some time, but I have to think about how to work around that issue. I'm thinking maybe designing the flow of the gameplay first might help with that. Then I won't be trying to fit gameplay into some weird idea for a room detail I had that maps the map flow badly.

Share this post


Link to post

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×