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phobosdeimos1

Mappers, what's your mapping process?

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Jw, when you get that all enveloping urge to map, how do you start your wad?

E.g. Do you just make it up as you go along or preplan it?

Interested to see what different people do

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I mess around with basic architecture shapes and fit textures together. I usually try a lot of different texture combinations and detail shapes to see how they flow. Then I say fuck it and make another earth temple.

Really though, once I get a base set of textures to use I map out vague shapes for rooms and interconnect them. I usually spend a lot of time playing the map running around thinking "what sort of detail would fit here?" or "It would be cool if this room had a window, or a door to another room". After most of the map is detailed, I run around looking for areas that feel sub-par.

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I make a template map with ideas and bounce them around, kind of do that for all my maps not working on any one at a time, adding more and more as I go along.

One instance is I used to make maps in just doom format, now with dynamic lights in gzdoom I've gone back and got rid of lights around torches and what not.

I find it hard to start mapping, but once I do I can't stop.

What do you do phobosdeimos?

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I do it as I go, until my ideas run out. Then resume when I get more ideas.. Or when I get baked :p Other than that if I try to plan it out I come up with something better that could have gone in place of another room. But doing as I go sometimes has its downs. I get "mappers block" 40% of the time.

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1. I open up DB2
2. Turn of snap to grid.
3. Make a room in the shape I want
4. Figure out what the theme of the map is going to be
5. Repeat step 3 till I get size i want
6. make some/most of the map look "pretty"
7. Random place monsters on the map (well using logic to make it some what playable)
8. Do step 7 with guns, health, and ammo
9. look for problems and fix them
10. Finish off anything that is left to do
11. have someone else test it
12. Fix problems form testers
13. Release it

I test the map out on ever step between 3-10

Now you know how I map (if I'm doing a Muiltplayer map skip step 7)

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I usually do a few hours of purely mental planning before I even touch a level editor or a piece of paper, as I like to have a fully developed concept and progression from the start. Then (unless I'm making a gimmicky map centered around a specific feature), I prefer to begin by designing the starting areas first, particularly to create an interesting view for the player as soon as the map loads.

I occasionally rough everything out on paper, but I find that doing it all directly in the level editor saves a step, particularly since I tend to have a near-complete design in my head by that point. Either way, I put down lots of flat boring sectors to blot out the whole thing, and then I work on detailing a handful of rooms at a time. I like to give each room its own sense of character, and if too many adjacent rooms start looking alike, they get overhauled or scrapped completely.

After some detailing, I'll focus on 'flow control' for a while, to ensure that the player can understand the general space and won't wander around lost for 20 minutes. This step is the hardest for me, because I play a lot more erratically than most players, but it usually involves ensuring that there are multiple paths to any major area, as well as accentuating the important areas via lighting, architecture, etc.

Next, I focus more on monster placement, and trying to design compelling battle situations. This is another area that challenges me, because I tend to find a lot of the combat potential in Doom boring (anything involving the SSG, Pain Elementals, or Revenants, particularly).

By this point, I'll have tested the map several dozen times, and thusly have a good idea of what to improve upon. So I reiterate through each previous design step in cycles until I'm satisfied. Sometimes this will take a few cycles, and the map will be done in a couple hours. At other times, I can never seem to be satisfied with the damned thing; I actually have a map that I've been working on since May 1996, and I don't feel like it's any closer than it was when I first cranked it out in DEU.

TL;DR: I'm a mainly a planner, though most of the plan remains in my head until execution.

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I get a basic idea for a theme and some small layouts, and just start it, make it up as I go along.

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Most maps start off with a single visual I have inside my head. Whether that visual be a trap or piece of scenery is random. I rarely plan beyond that opening idea, as I like the natural process of mapping a lot more. The results are better for me 90% of the time.

Come to think of it, beyond my first release, I've never actually drawn a layout beforehand. I've tried 2 or 3 times and failed miserably.

Item placement is usually done as I go along. Helps me keep track of my balance and gameplay scenarios.

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Every map I finished and liked enough to keep digging away at, I start off with an opening room, and with this opening theme I carefully plan what combat I'd like to go along with it along with what detail to go along with it too. With every new room I add new monsters and detail it while it goes along, and usually spend a long time tweaking the gameplay (to be fair I'm a slow mapper :) ) to make sure that I enjoy it.

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skaman86 said:

Or when I get baked :p


haha agreed

It's really interesting how different people do it, hell, you'd quickly know if you were playing levels all made by the same person

What do you do phobosdeimos?[/quote]I've got this formula way that's quick and easy for me,

I go onto google images, get an interesting shape (could be a persons' face or a lamp for example) and draw pairs of numbers at different points on the shape, e.g draw a '1' at one side of the map and another '1' at a different part, so i know that going to the first 1 will do something at the second 1, e.g open a door with a switch or a key or unblock an area.

Then i'll open DB2, start building it from the first '1' to the second '1', then to the '2' that the second '1' will reveal, then build to the second '2' and so fourth etc,

Then if the maps not big enough, the process can be repeated on a fractal scale - that whole shape i just covered was a giant '1', leading to another giant '1'

Do you see what I mean? It's seemed to work really well so far, but it only works for making Classic-Doom style levels

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The only pre-planning I do is usually just some kind of general, simple idea. Such as "A cave."

I like to make decisions as I go along, and I also am just too lazy to come up with a complete idea of a level :P But in all seriousness, what I often do is make the first couple of rooms and then playtest it and ask myself "where do I feel this is going?"

One thing I think I need to work on is secrets and moving parts. Sometimes I forget about secrets and put them in last, meaning they don't turn out very clever. I also want to start including more "puzzles" with lifts and things. Not stuff that is annoying or requires ultimate speed, but that requires a little bit of thought and adds some level of interactiveness beyond just operating singular doors, lifts, and switches

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I determine what engine I want the map to run in.

Then I grab any or all textures, custom monsters, effects, etc. that I plan to use and insert them into a wad via XWE.

Start up Doom Builder 2. Create the map and add monsters as each room develops. I go back through each room upon completion and make changes/add details.

I design every map as if I were to play on Ultra Violence and then if I choose to make the map have difficulty settings I go back through and modify the map for difficulty.

I use XWE to setup the Mapinfo. Also use XWE to modify custom monster health settings depending on what I am using the monster for.

Test the map in ZDoom and Skulltag, sometimes Doom Legacy and ZDaemon.

Release map upon completion of map or series.

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1. Decide what type of game mode I want to map for, and determine which port, settings, map format, et cetera, will be needed to make it happen. I test important game mechanics with the port my wad is designed for.

2. Decide upon a visual theme and atmosphere, and start planning how to recreate mental snapshots of what the final thing might look like. I might lay down some "test" architecture to see what textures and light levels resemble the atmosphere I was going for. These test areas may or may not remain throughout the development of the map.

3. Work out the beginning of the layout using the textures I decided upon, and make sure the sector shapes, heights, and light levels contribute to the desired atmosphere. If I run into problems here, like something just doesn't feel or look right, I may go back to step 2.

4. Keep expanding upon the layout, adding coarse details and structural architecture. Then once I'm satisfied with an area, I pass back over it adding even finer details until I'm satisfied the area looks good. I also add important items and weapons and monsters at this point. If an area becomes too cluttered, or looks inconsistent, I may delete the area and go back to step 3.

During various intervals at this stage, the map takes on a web-like shape, with the center (or start) being relatively finished, with the areas around it less so, and the outer-most areas incomplete or absent. Depending on the linearity of my maps, they tend to "grow" like a crystalline structure.

5. Once the majority of the map is finished, I do another pass over the entire map: I thoroughly looking for bugs so far; inspect the visuals for consistency and how well I achieved my planned atmosphere; I balance the map with less important items, weapons, monsters, and look for places to put secrets.

6. Playtest, playtest, playtest. I do another port compatibility test to make sure my game mechanics work as intended. I try to break the map a multitude of ways, and I get others' input on how it might theoretically break.

7. Then I playtest with others (since usually my maps are made for multiplayer) and get opinions on the map. Depending on the severity of any issues encountered, I may have to go back to any step (usually 4 or 5). If things go well, I do a release candidate and wait about a month or so for something to creep up. If nothing happens by then, I do a final release.

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When I was younger, I used to just "map as I go", arbitrarily throwing down sector shapes, and tossing in "detail" afterwards. It took me a long time to realize how linear this made my maps, and they lacked consistent themes.

After doing lots of Half Life 2 mapping (but never finishing anything...), I have a different process:

*Define the place (temple, hospital, dungeon, etc.)
*Settle on a theme (run down, modern, nighttime, etc.)
*Along with theme is color. These days I try to stick to 3 or 4 colors for textures.
*Draw it out on paper in as much detail as possible.
*Hammer out the geometry in the editor, not bothering with texturing, lighting, gameplay or anything.
*Spruce it up with appropriate textures, then lighting, then gameplay/secrets/buttons and such, and only after all that do I align any textures

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I'm new at mapping and I don't really map too often, but when I do, I usually just map whatever comes to me. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't.

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its usually very fast and helpful to use larger grid sizes to create a general layout of your map, then progressively switch to small grid sizes to move vertices around and create smaller intricate mapping details.

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Some of my common ways:

1- Inspiration

When I play an unseen before PWAD I catch a new idea depending on the one I see fast, so I start getting excited.

2- Music Dancing (In mind)

This may be weird, but sometimes when I think of a music such as "Infinite" I start creating an image in my mind that goes with this music track, suddenly.... you know what.

3- Mapping with Music

After 2, when I get the image clearly, I choose how would the player first sees the level with the start of the music. For example, At the start of "More", I would make the first area quiet inside a crowded place. Or at the start of "Death Bells" the first view would be outside with lava all over the place facing a big number of monsters.

4- Draw on a piece of paper

When I'm bored, I grab a piece of paper, the ideas come faster than opening the builder. And BOOM, I have a map. I sometimes do that when I'm bored in school.

5- Naming

Sometimes when I make a maplist and name the episode themes (Techbase, hell...), naming the maplist could give me a small idea for starting.

6- Homage break

For example I liked Doom 64 MAP23, when It comes to the editor, I forget about that homage and start a new one creating a better one.

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I start out with a basic idea of what I want to make, then I add to it. For the map I'm working on, I started off with a main area, and now I am now creating things within and around said area, but I haven't had much luck working on it since DB2 got all screwy.

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My mapping process differs on what I'm mapping - for the first half of shai'tan's luck I just mapped what I wanted, putting more detail in for 'realistic' touches. Then the second half I started drawing out maps, with map28/29 and 30 coming out somewhat close to what I drew. For some of the maps in newgothic I also just mapped from one room to the next but adding detail to be 'abstractly pleasing' instead of realistic. Others like 21 and 12 I drew out first and then mapped to fit those drawings with few changes. Map06 is the only one where I got an idea off a friend and ran with it, not drawing anything down, just mapping with an idea. My map for plutonia revisited was a mix of drawing and mapping if I remember right.

For gameplay, it depends heavily on the type of map I'm making. Usually slaughter, so craploads of not-hitscanners and a couple packs of strategically placed hitscanners. Music is mostly what I feel fits the gameplay, not necessarily the atmosphere of a map (21 of newgothic is definitely not gothic or metal, heheh).

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-First, I try to think of a map I'd like to play...but I can't think of anything. So I sit there for hours, furrowing my brows, wondering why I can't come up with any ideas.

-I eventually forgo Step 1 and just start building a room in the editor, but then I get disappointed with how hastily cobbled-together it's looking and delete it all.

-So, with Steps 1 & 2 failing, I pace around for hours and hours and hours, trying to think up some interesting rooms. A few really solid ideas come into my head. I then grab a sketchbook, draw them all out, connect the areas together in an exciting way, try to balance the geometry between visual flair and enhancing the battles.

-I then open up the editor again and start translating all of my ideas into an actual map. I work for countless hours...and then I realize I've mapped out all my ideas and I've only made three rooms.

-I give up and spend the rest of the day wondering WHY IT'S SO EASY FOR EVERYONE ELSE.

-Repeat.

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Grain of Salt said:

And I feel your pain.


I appreciate that. Maybe send one of your unfinished maps to me and I'll add some stuff and then we'll have a level with six rooms.

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Grain of Salt said:

I hate you.

Meh, it was probably more planning than that but I honestly can't remember my mapping process that far back. And the first two maps are pretty crap anyways.

So I somehow found your post on greengoddess map02 back in february and got interested cause I remember the first map was nice. Will check it out.

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I used to not plan and map room by room. It was bad.
I started planning on paper and giving myself a time schedule. It worked better.
Progressively, I got into dehacked, custom textures... And now I don't do anything because everytime I start a new map, I keep thinking "this would be better with [thing]", I remember how tedious it is to use editing tools other than DB2 for me, and I give up.

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40oz said:

its usually very fast and helpful to use larger grid sizes to create a general layout of your map, then progressively switch to small grid sizes to move vertices around and create smaller intricate mapping details.


I'm going to try this method when my MAP20 slot is up for the Progressive Fiction project.

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So the general concencus is that itt's better (and easier) to draw your map on paper first, so it's easier to connect rooms and so when you're mapping you know what the point of the room your making is.

Well i feel like mapping right now after all of this but i'm too hungover,

can anyone that's posted long replies gimme some links to your wads?im interested to play them now

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