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ReX

The Phobos Directive: 9-map E1 GZDooM hub [New Pix 1/2011]

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The Phobos Directive is a 9-map hub for GZDooM. Each map has a "core" area that is based on the respective maps of E1, but also includes new, industrial-type areas to explore. To make the game less repetitive and more challenging, gameplay will not be restricted to Episode I weapons & enemies. It has many new graphics and new skies, will have new music, and features an inventory system and new powerups.

More information and screenshots are available at DooM Nexus.

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It looks a lot like E1 except with weird quirky GZDoom based details and effects stitched on it. Doesn't look right to me :/

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I've got to agree with 40oz. I love good modern-styled map designs, but this just looks stylistically incoherent to me. The old and new resources and design elements you've mixed together just create an unappealing mishmash of different styles, and that's even before considering the poor alignment/autoalign abuse and the wonky color combinations showcased in a lot of these shots. I also see a lot of scenes that are almost entirely structurally empty except for a few heavily detailed models stuck in one part of them; the inconsistency just makes the barren areas look unfinished and the detailed parts look out-of-place.

This and this look appealing to me, despite a few alignment qualms; the other shots..not so much. :\

Honestly, a lot of it reminds me of the 1990s vanilla maps that Jive would "update" for Legacy or GZDoom by adding oddly miscolored skyboxes and thematically misplaced structures.

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esselfortium said:

The old and new resources and design elements you've mixed together just create an unappealing mishmash of different styles...

With the exception of Map E1M1, all of the "industrial" areas are in (relatively easy-to-find) secret areas. In this way the areas with so-called "traditional" style with minimal GZDooM elements are kept separate from the heavily 3D sector-based areas. You'll need to decide if these two "mishmash" of styles works or not after you play the game.

.... poor alignment/autoalign abuse and the wonky color combinations showcased in a lot of these shots.

I can assure you that the alignment is impeccable; I'm not quite clear where you're seeing wholesale mis-alignments. As for the colors, with the exception of the translation of the color palette to use turquoise, the colors are entirely in the DooM palette. As practically all the textures have their origins in DooM's textures, and I'm generally staying with E1 textures, I'm not sure how the color combinations can widely be described as "wonky". At any rate, "wonky" was definitely what I was not going for, and in that regard (notwithstanding your opinion) I believe I have succeeded.

I also see a lot of scenes that are almost entirely structurally empty except for a few heavily detailed models stuck in one part of them; the inconsistency just makes the barren areas look unfinished and the detailed parts look out-of-place.

Again, I'm not seeing the abundance of "barren" or "entirely structurally empty" areas you mention. Yes, there are spaces that are not taken up by sectors/structures. But if all spaces were taken up by sectors/structures, that wouldn't leave much room for enemies or maneuvering, would it?

Also, a clarification about your use of the word "models". If you used it loosely to describe "structures", rather than "models" in the sense of GZDooM's actors, you would be correct - every structure you see is built of 3D sectors and are not "models".

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ReX said:

I can assure you that the alignment is impeccable; I'm not quite clear where you're seeing wholesale mis-alignments.

These two shots have badly aligned textures (the various STAR* textures and COMPSPAN, respectively) and the STARTAN3 texture here cuts off at odd parts vertically. Generally, tiled textures like these look much better if the edges of the tiles fit the edges of the linedef perfectly.

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Theres a few misalignments on the STARTAN wall in this shot and the BROWN1 trim this shot. However, I'm not so much calling out misalignments as much as I'm calling out less than satisfying texture usage.

I'm also hesitant to say anything good about shots like this where the design of the room is oriented around an archaic octagonal design that looks like e1m4. In and of itself would look okay in a nostalgic sort of way but the giant metal prefab looking sector in the center demonstrates evidently that you are trying to meet some kind of modern day standard and in just looks messy.

The same can be said about shots like this, this and this, which showcase pretty boring room structure, the first two are obvious rectangular prism shaped rooms and the second, while a little more inventive than the first two, is still just some kinda C-shaped room. This would be excusable if your mapping in general relied on the imagination to make things look good but it becomes inexcusable when you show more attention to detail for things like the ceiling lights, floor trims and other unnecessary 3D-stuff usage, and not as much for the overall architecture of the room.

This is a pretty wayward example, and I'm not suggesting a map has to look like this in order to be good, but if you look at this screenshot, a lot of the mapping is oriented in making the overall shape of the room less noticeable by having varying height differences. (especially near the ceiling so as not to interrupt gameplay) You appear to be making a simple room and heavily detailing small sections of it and leaving the rest pretty bare, which gives an element of incompleteness in the overall design.

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ReX said:
With the exception of Map E1M1, all of the "industrial" areas are in (relatively easy-to-find) secret areas. In this way the areas with so-called "traditional" style with minimal GZDooM elements are kept separate from the heavily 3D sector-based areas. You'll need to decide if these two "mishmash" of styles works or not after you play the game.

I'm not really talking about industrial vs clean/high-tech, I just mean that the ways you've put structures together doesn't really look convincing to me. I don't think it's the kind of thing that would change if I saw it in action.

I can assure you that the alignment is impeccable; I'm not quite clear where you're seeing wholesale mis-alignments.

There's lots of weird-looking autoaligned stuff all over the place, and panel/bar cutoffs that clash badly with the modern realistic-ish design you're trying to go for. I pointed out a bunch of them here: http://sl4.poned.com/rex-alignment.jpg

As for the colors, with the exception of the translation of the color palette to use turquoise, the colors are entirely in the DooM palette. As practically all the textures have their origins in DooM's textures, and I'm generally staying with E1 textures, I'm not sure how the color combinations can widely be described as "wonky".

It's perfectly possible (and quite easy) to create unappealing color combinations even within Doom's palette, you know. I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean, as such. In any case, a lot of your shots mix together a lot of different base and highlight colors and they just look like a mess. Blues, reds, oranges, tans, grays, browns, silvers..it doesn't really form any cohesive whole.

This to me honestly looks like you took a TNT: Evilution map and added a blob-shaped metal sloped structure and a translucent 3D floor to it.


Again, I'm not seeing the abundance of "barren" or "entirely structurally empty" areas you mention.


You've got big, very simple-looking rooms with 3D structures in them that are so complex compared to literally everything else around them that they look like prefabs pulled out of a model library. Many of the shots have very little in the way of actual architecture, just some basic stock-textured walls, a plain flat ceiling, and one really elaborate 3D structure somewhere in the middle of it. Like this.

Some of the fancy 3D stuff doesn't even look like it would be able to physically support itself. But regardless, the design style of the structure in the middle here is completely at odds with the structural design style, color scheme, and just about everything else of the walls and surfaces that surround it. It looks like it was pasted in from a totally different wad.

http://doomnexus.drdteam.org/Screens/PGMap504.jpg This shot is just awful. I'm sorry, I can't think of anything good to say about it. The sector fog, the weird translucent fireblu usage, the mountains fading into white fog without a white foggy sky behind them to make it make any sense, the expanses of shawn2 and excessive brightness.. it looks like a lot of first-project threads on Skulltag.com. :\

http://doomnexus.drdteam.org/Screens/PGMap603.jpg This has a random sloped...thing sticking out of a wall, and a colored dynamic light on the other side, but the actual ceiling is totally flat and bare. In comparison to the architecture and structures shown in shots like http://doomnexus.drdteam.org/Screens/PGMap101.jpg it looks like you ran out of ideas as soon as you placed the surrounding walls.

Yes, there are spaces that are not taken up by sectors/structures. But if all spaces were taken up by sectors/structures, that wouldn't leave much room for enemies or maneuvering, would it?

Only if you were putting all of your structural detail on the floor and sticking out of the walls. Which is...what you've mostly done so far :P

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All points are well taken. In some instances it's a matter of preference (e.g., texture use) and I have made choices that appeal to me. Naturally, I don't expect everyone to share my preferences, and so we must leave it.

When it comes to level and type of detail, again I'd say it's a matter of preference. What one person considers fabulous detail is what another person considers clutter. Obviously the type and level of detail in The Phobos Directive do not appeal to some here, and will likely not appeal to others who play the game. For my part, I am quite satisfied with them.

In the matter of "room" design, I'd have to take some exception with comments such as "obvious rectangular prism shaped rooms and ... just some kinda C-shaped room" and "big, very simple-looking rooms". While I really liked the comparison pic that 40oz used, the theme and style of The Phobos Directive relies on a more straighforward (and, yes, simple) layout. However, to illustrate that the maps are more than a bunch of rectangular rooms thrown together and connected by corridors, I've put up the following pics of some map layouts:

Map E1M1
Map E1M5
Map E1M6

Moreover, who's to say that rectangular-shaped rooms can never be appealing, eh?

In the matter of texture alignment, let me point out the following:

1. In the case of the STARTAN3 texture shown here, the top/bottom appears cut off because of the 64-unit vertical offset required for that section of wall. This is part of a contiguous wall that extends into another sector with different floor/ceiling heights. Even with the use of a transitional texture (such as DOORTRAK) between the sectors, the textures look horribly misaligned unless the vertical offset is applied.
2. In the case of the COMPSPAN textures shown in this pic the linedefs to which most of those textures have been applied do not have lengths in multiples of 32. In some instances I've manually aligned the textures to get them looking right, and the angle of the pic prevents this from being seen. In other instances the length of the linedef is greater than 32 and the "joint" is going to be visible somewhere.
3. In the case of the numerous "instances" that esselfortium has highighted with yellow arrows, all I can say is: "Are you serious?" Most of them are not misalignments of any kind, and the so-called "panel/bar cutoffs that clash badly" are purely opinions. In other words, they appear to be mostly nitpicks. I have, as always, been quite meticulous in texture alignment. In some instances I've chosen to use auto-alignment in favor of other, less visually appealing alternatives. I assure you that the texture alignment would look worse without the auto-alignment. [However, I agree that there may be ways to insert transition textures that may alleviate the obvious signs of auto-alignment.]

While I certainly understand the comments made, for better or worse what you see here in terms of map design and layout is what you're going to get in the final product. Not because I am unwilling to make changes to suit a (in my opinion, small minority), but because I have spent a considerable amount of time visualizing and implementing the layouts to what I feel are the optimal arrangements. If the screenshots appeal to you you'll play the game; otherwise you'll give it a pass. Isn't that what the purpose of screenshots is? 'Nuff said.

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ReX said:

While I certainly understand the comments made, for better or worse what you see here in terms of map design and layout is what you're going to get in the final product. Not because I am unwilling to make changes to suit a (in my opinion, small minority), but because I have spent a considerable amount of time visualizing and implementing the layouts to what I feel are the optimal arrangements. If the screenshots appeal to you you'll play the game; otherwise you'll give it a pass. Isn't that what the purpose of screenshots is? 'Nuff said.


ReX said:

3. In the case of the numerous "instances" that esselfortium has highighted with yellow arrows, all I can say is: "Are you serious?" Most of them are not misalignments of any kind, and the so-called "panel/bar cutoffs that clash badly" are purely opinions. In other words, they appear to be mostly nitpicks.




I don't think you understood at all. It seems like reasonable advice to me. Left side is what you do now; right side is what essel is suggesting you do.

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Fisk said:

I don't think you understood at all. It seems like reasonable advice to me. Left side is what you do now; right side is what essel is suggesting you do.

Indeed I don't get it. Are you suggesting that I deliberately ought to ignore texture alignment to create an "irregular" looking texture? In some instances, and when used occasionally, I do believe that's a good idea. However, for the most part I find misaligned (whether deliberately or otherwise) textures unappealing. Also, I believe most players will agree that proper (even perfect) alignment is typically desirable.

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ReX said:

Indeed I don't get it. Are you suggesting that I deliberately ought to ignore texture alignment to create an "irregular" looking texture? In some instances, and when used occasionally, I do believe that's a good idea. However, for the most part I find misaligned (whether deliberately or otherwise) textures unappealing. Also, I believe most players will agree that proper (even perfect) alignment is typically desirable.


What are you talking about? I'm telling you up-front that the way you align your STARTAN panels looks bad, and I even showed you how to fix it. It's not esselfortium's little pet-peeve or just his nitpick.

I'm going to explain to you again.



On the left side, I demonstrate how the STARTAN panels in your shots are aligned when you have broken out bits in the wall for whatever reason. On the right is how you should attempt to align startan when you have missing parts in the wall for other details.

The left side looks lazy, like something Tormentor would make. On the right, you can believe that the panels are actually panels and that they were not wallpaper, because you're working with the outlines in the texture instead of trying to fight against them by making random holes in them.

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ReX said:

But wasn't it Romero himself who recommended using special border textures between different wall segments and doorways? Heh.

You can ungrit your teeth now and minimize your chances of getting lockjaw.

Jumping to anyone's set of design rules as a defense when someone doesn't like something you've made isn't really very productive. Especially ones as vague as those (which Romero often broke himself).

In any case, there are so many more interesting and better-looking ways to separate materials or differently-aligned versions of the same texture than sticking a support texture between them. If it's done in a way that's repeated as some sort of structured pattern, it can look fine, but I've seen way too many maps that just wallpaper their walls and stick a random strip of support2 between them where they want to switch the y-alignment by a few units for one area. It has to be done really carefully to not look like a total mess, and it's...usually not.

Also, you're mapping for GZDoom, one of the most advanced and feature-filled Doom ports in existence. You have more ways than you can count to build and properly texture structures. If you're aiming for visual appeal, which you definitely seem to be doing, there's not really any excuse. If you think it looks good and you're happy with it, that's fine, but please don't try to tell me this is the only way it could look. I'm not an idiot.

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Csonicgo said:

Using Border textures as transitions is lazy.

Ah, all hail! Romero's master has spoken.

But all sarcasm aside, I was not suggesting that border textures be used indiscriminately. In fact, if you look at the pics (and when you play the game) you'll see that I've used them quite sparingly.

there's a reason there are transtition textures in the STAR* range.

Which may work when we're dealing with STAR* textures for the main walls, but not when other textures are used. But your point is taken.

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ReX said:

Indeed I don't get it. Are you suggesting that I deliberately ought to ignore texture alignment to create an "irregular" looking texture? In some instances, and when used occasionally, I do believe that's a good idea. However, for the most part I find misaligned (whether deliberately or otherwise) textures unappealing. Also, I believe most players will agree that proper (even perfect) alignment is typically desirable.

What are you talking about? I'd let it go and accept that we have different focuses if you had just said you didn't care about alignment, but this is just willful ignorance. Autoaligning a 32-unit-wide panel onto a wall of a non-multiple-of-32 size isn't going to look proper or appealing under pretty much any circumstances.

Proper alignment means that the textures actually fit to the structures you're putting them on so that they look like they're made of something and not just painted on. It doesn't mean that if I look at it in Doom Builder and add up the numbers of each line, the alignment will go completely linearly on every line.

Here, look at this: http://www.doomworld.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&postid=740338#post740338

This too, actually: http://www.doomworld.com/vb/showthread.php?postid=740338

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Fisk said:

On the right, you can believe that the panels are actually panels and that they were not wallpaper, because you're working with the outlines in the texture instead of trying to fight against them by making random holes in them.

OK, I finally got what you were trying to say, and I can see the logic of damage manifesting itself as panels falling off. However, who's to say that panels can't be split and broken off? And I'm not buying your "trying to fight against them by making random holes in them". There's a reason they're called "random" - they don't exactly carve out convenient geometric shapes.

At any rate, I now understand what you were trying to say, but I don't agree that there's necessarily a right or wrong way to do this.

esselfortium said:

Jumping to anyone's set of design rules as a defense when someone doesn't like something you've made isn't really very productive. Especially ones as vague as those (which Romero often broke himself).

I wholeheartedly agree (also see my response to Csonicgo's post, above). I'm guessing you missed the tongue firmly stuck in my cheek in response to your gritted teeth remark.

In any case, there are so many more interesting and better-looking ways to separate materials or differently-aligned versions of the same texture than sticking a support texture between them. If it's done in a way that's repeated as some sort of structured pattern, it can look fine, but I've seen way too many maps that just wallpaper their walls and stick a random strip of support2 between them where they want to switch the y-alignment by a few units for one area. It has to be done really carefully to not look like a total mess, and it's...usually not.

No disagreement there. But the context of the border texture discussion was specific to an instance where the same wall was contiguous between sectors of different heights, requiring a vertical offset.

Also, you're mapping for GZDoom, one of the most advanced and feature-filled Doom ports in existence. You have more ways than you can count to build and properly texture structures. If you're aiming for visual appeal, which you definitely seem to be doing, there's not really any excuse. If you think it looks good and you're happy with it, that's fine, but please don't try to tell me this is the only way it could look. I'm not an idiot.

I don't see how using GZDooM has anything to do with texturing and aligning textures on non-3D surfaces, on which this whole discussion has been. [Note that all the instances you pointed out were on "regular", not 3D surfaces.] You mentioned "structures", and your general tone suggests that the texturing sucks to the point that I need GZDooM to come to the rescue. When you say it's "not really any excuse" you imply that I have something for which I need to seek atonement. This is where the crux of the problem is: I believe that most players would consider my texture choices reasonable and my texture alignment good. Just because I don't do things your way or someone else's way does not make my way wrong. [And incidentally, I didn't say my way was the best way (aka "this is the only way it could look"); just that it's how [u[I[/i] prefer it.] You may not like it, but you do have the option of ignoring the game when it's released. Beyond that we're simply engaging in a pissing contest.

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esselfortium said:

What are you talking about? I'd let it go and accept that we have different focuses if you had just said you didn't care about alignment, but this is just willful ignorance. Autoaligning a 32-unit-wide panel onto a wall of a non-multiple-of-32 size isn't going to look proper or appealing under pretty much any circumstances.

And you've completely missed what I said. I didn't say I autoaligned the COMPSPAN textures; on the contrary, I said: "In some instances I've manually aligned the textures to get them looking right, and the angle of the pic prevents this from being seen."

In the case of the 3D computer console, the total length of the texture is greater than 32. Using COMPSPAN will mean that the texture "seam" will show. [In this case I will look into using an alternative texture where a seam won't be visible.]

The only instance where the autoalign is slightly off is on the corners of the platform in the E1M6 pic.

While I appreciate your thoroughness in examining minutiae, in this case I can't help but feel that your comments are nitpicky. I quite understood that you generally didn't like what you saw in the screenshots. Let's just say you made your point and move on.

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ReX said:

And you've completely missed what I said. I didn't say I autoaligned the COMPSPAN textures; on the contrary, I said: "In some instances I've manually aligned the textures to get them looking right, and the angle of the pic prevents this from being seen."

In the case of the 3D computer console, the total length of the texture is greater than 32. Using COMPSPAN will mean that the texture "seam" will show. [In this case I will look into using an alternative texture where a seam won't be visible.]

1) Add one vertex in middle of line
2) Manually align to fit edges
3) ???
4) Profit

(The "???" could optionally, yet preferably, be replaced by "read the links I sent you where I explained exactly this same thing")

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esselfortium said:

Jumping to anyone's set of design rules as a defense when someone doesn't like something you've made isn't really very productive.


Perfectly put.
So, please, stop spreading the gospel of sl4, although you do have some followers.

Please, consider that every mapper has one's own style and pushing your view only makes you look like an imbecile.
Constructive critique is certainly welcome, but nitpicking and proselytizing is not.

Personally, I like Rex's style, it's quite refreshing to see something different for a change.

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Kappes Buur said:

Perfectly put.
So, please, stop spreading the gospel of sl4, although you do have some followers.

Please, consider that every mapper has one's own style and pushing your view only makes you look like an imbecile.
Constructive critique is certainly welcome, but nitpicking and proselytizing is not.

Personally, I like Rex's style, it's quite refreshing to see something different for a change.

Uh, what? Thanks for the needless insults, but I said pretty specifically that it doesn't bother me if Rex told me he didn't care about the alignment issues I raised and thought it looked fine. If he's happy with how it looks and how it plays, that's good. I don't have to agree with it, but it's his wad, and it's his right to do it however he wants. I raised some criticisms as I saw fit (that is why we have threads, for this to be a two-way medium). That's the end of that. But I can't let bizarre, impossibly logic-bending responses like "I assure you that the texture alignment would look worse without the auto-alignment" go unquestioned, so things continued from there.

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Kappes Buur said:

Constructive critique is certainly welcome, but nitpicking and proselytizing is not.


Here, I'll show you how wrong this statement is:

ReX said:

In the case of the 3D computer console, the total length of the texture is greater than 32.

esselfortium said:

1) Add one vertex in middle of line
2) Manually align to fit edges
3) ???
4) Profit


The way I see it, ReX poses a valid problem, and esselfortium provides a perfectly valid solution. On the same token:

esselfortium said:

There's lots of weird-looking autoaligned stuff all over the place, and panel/bar cutoffs that clash badly with the modern realistic-ish design you're trying to go for. I pointed out a bunch of them here: http://sl4.poned.com/rex-alignment.jpg

ReX said:

Are you serious?


There's no cleaner-cut way to put it, really. You can avoid making your map look like you didn't have a care in the world by just paying a bit more attention to how your textures are shaded. Right now, to me, it looks like by the way you used STAR* textures, you really weren't concerned with whether or not the walls looked like wallpaper. Again I find myself calling on this visual aid:



"Hey, where do you want these weirdly-shaped detail holes?"
"Oh, just any old place will do."

ReX said:

However, who's to say that panels can't be split and broken off?


Then explain this one to me:



What architect would go out of his way to cut into panels that he doesn't need to be cutting into for any particular reason? Those yellow keycard markers clearly aren't some kind of damage after the fact, and they'd look like they belonged in the wall if their floor/ceiling heights were both raised by maybe 4-8 units.

Furthermore:

ReX said:

And I'm not buying your "trying to fight against them by making random holes in them". There's a reason they're called "random" - they don't exactly carve out convenient geometric shapes.


The point here is that you're just not paying attention to how your textures line up and how they are supposed to represent a material.

Wiki: Cleavage (crystal)

The concept here is similar; when I look at a plate on the STAR* series of textures, I get the strong indication that the plates would break off entirely before they got these weird cleanly laser-cut strips ripped off of them like you've built them.

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ReX said:

2. In the case of the COMPSPAN textures shown in this pic the linedefs to which most of those textures have been applied do not have lengths in multiples of 32. In some instances I've manually aligned the textures to get them looking right, and the angle of the pic prevents this from being seen. In other instances the length of the linedef is greater than 32 and the "joint" is going to be visible somewhere.
3. In the case of the numerous "instances" that esselfortium has highighted with yellow arrows, all I can say is: "Are you serious?" Most of them are not misalignments of any kind, and the so-called "panel/bar cutoffs that clash badly" are purely opinions. In other words, they appear to be mostly nitpicks. I have, as always, been quite meticulous in texture alignment. In some instances I've chosen to use auto-alignment in favor of other, less visually appealing alternatives. I assure you that the texture alignment would look worse without the auto-alignment. [However, I agree that there may be ways to insert transition textures that may alleviate the obvious signs of auto-alignment.]

You can, you know, make a vertex in the middle of any linedef with a non-multiple-of-32 length and align the textures on the two new linedefs so that both fit the edges of the wall. The middle panel is going to be thinner or wider, of course, but that's not such an eyesore.

And the weird panel cutoffs look bad to a lot of people because they make the textures look like wallpaper. Peruse this thread, especially this post. It's a really good guide to basic room design.

Also, DOORTRAK is not a transitional texture. Just... no.

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You're all being too defensive of Doom 1's episode 1 pure style. I'm sure that if it plays well, I'll gladly ignore all those purely aesthetic "problems" you're raising. Because gameplay is all that counts.

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