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Katamori

How do you get ideas for mapping?

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I have a problem often: when I try to make a map, I don't have any ideas. Is it happens only with me, or it's not a rare problem? How do you get the ideas, when you haven't?

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Most guys here have this problem and I think this is a good thread for discussing things here, because I often have this problem and will be delighted to get ideas.

You can play a random level, you may get an inspiration from it. Or if you stop mapping for a while (like 1 week), new ideas may enter your brain.

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I get inspiration from real life, playing DooM, and from music.

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I build some start room and if it's good, then I get inspired by it and continue in similar style. Or I get inspired by some other levels in whatever game I've played recently or were memorable. Then I do the starting room quite close to some part of that level and continue from that, but not replicate the entire level.

If I've build half the level and lose idea, I go for walk or do something else for a while and then return to the level. Usually new ideas have come to me during the break.

Or sometimes some words/sentence/conversation gives me an idea, and I make the level based on feelings about those words/sentence/conversation. Like one of my maps named "Green Tea Brick Factory" was based on conversation about green tea and other conversation about a brick, though both conversations also related to Doom.

Music is also good for inspiration or mood, but wrong kind of music can also ruin it.

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It's these phases... sometimes you can't do anything worthwhile no matter what, and a bit later... after doing other stuff... you just feel like doing some maps. Like during the last.. week? I've made like five maps. Get a good idea in your head and focus intensely, listen to some music too if that's your thing. Keep going until you burn out again. Or don't. But that's just me.

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Jimi said:

Music is also good for inspiration or mood, but wrong kind of music can also ruin it.


I agree with the mood aspect of the music. I preferably enjoy metal but have found I get into the music too much. Sometimes I'll listen to Anime music because some of it is just down right hilarious! But the best so far is none at all. Probably because I would not have thought of using the music as a means for inspiration for a level, but more as a background theme that adds to the experience of map making.

As for inspiration, usually it just comes as I make the map. Mistakes can be a good source as well because of how it can show you something in a way you may never would have thought of.
And lets not forget,
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From music (especially midi-music) and other peoples screenshots (not by playing the maps actually, just screenshots. I guess it has to do with not knowing whats behind that corner or behind you, so then I wanna make it myself).

I think those two reasons are the only ones giving me ideas. Not so much when it comes to gameplay, but when it comes to the themes/places/mood of the maps.

I really shouldnt be starting new maps atm, and rather finish/polish some of my current ones, but last night I couldn`t resist. I started on a map I got "visions" of from looking at a screenshot by DeathevokatioN while listening to the music from map06 in Evilution ;P

Oh, and btw: I have been inspired by IRL stuff a couple of times also, but very rarely. Once was actually last week when I visited Barcelona and lots of really old and epic cathedrals, monasteries and castles.

edit:
the screenshot: http://wadsinprogress.info/image.php?wad=1497&shot=1
the music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PflSLdjeW5Y

:)

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Music will keep you going in mapping. Midi's can help but full CDs often are better. Often playing wads can help generate ideas but if you're too lazy or impatient to play a wad, you can look on youtube for UV-Max demos of popular wads like Alien Vendetta, Hell Revealed, or Memento Mori. The music and soundfx in combination with the visual aid of seeing fun action packed traps take place can be really helpful for mapping.

Lately I've been watching TheGreenHerring's UV-Max's of really obscure 1994 wads. I feel like there is a lot of charm and inspiration to be gained from mapping of that era.

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darkreaver said:

I really shouldnt be starting new maps atm, and rather finish/polish some of my current ones, but last night I couldn`t resist. I started on a map I got "visions" of from looking at a screenshot by DeathevokatioN while listening to the music from map06 in Evilution ;P

edit:
the screenshot: http://wadsinprogress.info/image.php?wad=1497&shot=1
the music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PflSLdjeW5Y

:)


Thanks!

To be fair though, that area was a joint effort by Valkiriforce and myself. :)

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Katamori said:

I have a problem often: when I try to make a map, I don't have any ideas. Is it happens only with me, or it's not a rare problem? How do you get the ideas, when you haven't?

Try to imagine singlehandly taking on the demon forces; which setting comes to mind?

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40oz said:

Lately I've been watching TheGreenHerring's UV-Max's of really obscure 1994 wads. I feel like there is a lot of charm and inspiration to be gained from mapping of that era.


Pretty much agreed. Once you look past the lack of "unique" architecture, the misalignments, what's considered mapping flaws by modern standards... the overall experience of playing through some the better wads from that era is actually a lot more fun and leaves a bigger impact on me than when playing through a lot of what is praised by modern standards.

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I buy my ideas at the brain store, in my head, with brain points...

...But in all seriousness, recently I went looking through all of Maximum Doom's WADs (the Doom II ones) and I deleted the ones that didn't look very fun and I kept the ones that looked fun and interesting (of course looks can be deceiving at times). Either way after having looked at so many WADs for what took days to get through, I feel I'm jam packed with lots of ideas. I've also been inspired specifically from the works of the people themselves. It's fun to do style imitations, much recently I've created some maps inspired from Jens Nielsen's works as well as Orin Flaharty. They were a couple of my favorite recurring authors involved in Memento Mori I & II as well as Requiem.

Then of course, there's simply thinking about specific qualities that you enjoy in a map, and aiming to be more like that. Much like Matthias Worch with his ideas of level progression using dozens of clever tripwires/puzzles/traps and all that stuff that make a level interesting. Sometimes it's also fun to mix and match various author ideas, you could have the architectural style of one author and have the level progression of another.

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I peruse the list of line types and try to imagine new ways to base rooms or battles involving those actions. I play through countless WADs and blatantly rip off things I like, trying to make their ideas better. I have a txt file named 'Doom ideas' where i keep a list of whatever I come up with throughout my day, as too many potential ideas have been forgotten while mapping, only to be remembered once a level is completed (curses). I power through and make mediocre looking areas with generic battles just to complete a level. Never a good idea, but the drive to finish a map is hard to quell.

NT

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NaturalTvventy said:

I have a txt file named 'Doom ideas' where i keep a list of whatever I come up with throughout my day


I do this, but on a (probably) larger scale: in addition to the dozens of text files full of Doom modding ideas and my 2GB directory filled with half-finished maps, I have a stack of loose-leaf 'idea' pages ~30cm thick, and about twice that many filled with concept drawings.

So I never really experience mappers' block anymore. In case I ever have trouble deciding what to build next, I wrote a script to print me three paragraphs at random from the text files in my projects directory.

Failing that, I'll look through the loose leaf pages and drawings for something that I'd like to include, or I'll cannibalize the most compelling sections from some other map that I had previously abandoned.

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Mithran Denizen said:

I do this, but on a (probably) larger scale: in addition to the dozens of text files full of Doom modding ideas and my 2GB directory filled with half-finished maps, I have a stack of loose-leaf 'idea' pages ~30cm thick, and about twice that many filled with concept drawings.

Whoa! That's intense. 2GB?

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NaturalTvventy said:

I have a txt file named 'Doom ideas' where i keep a list of whatever I come up with throughout my day

I also do this, just make a list of cool names for levels not made yet and try to imagine what a level with that name would look like. I've also taken large inspiration from dreams I've had of Doom levels. This happens every time I stay up late working on levels.

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Ideas for Doom maps? Here's a short list of the things that give me ideas:

-The odd thought of "That'd be cool!", usually in regards to architecture.
-Maps I play. This can be the originals, or any maps I see, including my own old works. If I see something that is kind of cool but I could do it or use it better, then I'll be inclined to.
-Gameplay ideas tend to make my maps - say I've thought of a good trap or an interesting battle, then I'll maybe make a map section based around it, which may be combined with other sections to make a map, or may stand on its own as a map.
-Something unfinished or in need of an update or remake. The potential may well be there, but it needs realising, so work with whats there.
-The neverending quest to make a map I enjoy. If I've got a few ideas or a rough map in the works, me thinking "I like climactic battles" or "I like a bit of non-linearity" will tend to make me think of ways to incorporate those gameplay ideals into the ideas.
-Ideas of oppurtunity. Say you've built a map, and you think it's looking pretty complete, but then you actually look at what you've done. That space is crying out for this idea you've just had! Chuck it in!

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