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Katamori

Questions and tips about open areas

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Well, I don't ask technical help. It's an ask for building tips.

As I saw, all the best maps (I'm not joking: ALL the best maps) contains a lot of open areas. For example: Lunatic (MAP03, MAP04), Vanguard (MAP04 is the best example), all parts of Torment and Torture, Thunderpeak... but also the simplier ones: Revolution, Jenesis, Hell Revealed, Memento Mori and even the Final Doom megaWADs!

All of them contains several (nearly uncountable amout of) open areas. And I can't figure out how to do it! I've seen A LOT OF maps and screenshots, but I haven't been able to make any similar open area. I make a lot of rooms and caves and corridors and structures, but thats it! Most of them are heavy linear.

Please, give me hints and tips! How to make a map "open"? What I have to avoid? Etc.

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Use F_SKY1 as the ceiling flat. It's now open!





Okay, more seriously.

- Irregular shapes are your friend. Don't make a rectangle or a sphere, make something shaped like a weird potato.
- Use the sky trick. All the cool kids (starting with Id itself) are doing it. Surround your open area with another sector, which has a lower ceiling and a floor at the same height as the ceiling. It'll give you a sky wall.
- Make it big! An open area cannot be a cramped area.
- Connect it to several parts of the rest of the map (not just one or two). It should serve as a main hub or as an alternate route between the smaller rooms.

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Gez said:

Use F_SKY1 as the ceiling flat. It's now open!


Haha, funny! But not true; I saw indoor open areas already. As I remember, it was a Boom-compatible map screenshot from Vader.

Gez said:

- Use the sky trick. All the cool kids (starting with Id itself) are doing it. Surround your open area with another sector, which has a lower ceiling and a floor at the same height as the ceiling. It'll give you a sky wall.


I know that, I always use it.

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One nice way to make levels open is to make them far larger than you normally would.

Example:

Look at this terrible shit.


Now we're talking!

Don't believe me? Why not try it yourself?

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Try using windows a lot. I remember Chris Hansen being really good at this. He'd design a room which showed the player hints of many other connected rooms via windows, elevated offshoots and branching pathways, or parts which are temporarily barred with bars or gates which can be lowered by the player. This way the level feels more like you are in an actual installation, rather than in a maze of rooms connected by doors.

Another point is that not all of the best maps are open-area style. Try playing through Malcolm Sailor's CHORD series, particularly CHORDG, if you don't believe me.

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Two random-ass ideas for you:

1. Try rebuilding one of your favourite maps in Doom Builder, just to get a sense of how it feels to make the open architecture you so admire. One of the more famous classical composers (though I can't remember which) would copy the scores of his favourite works onto blank staff paper, just to better understand how the music was put together. Maybe it helps!

2. When you first open up your editor, make a gigantic sector as large as you want the level to be, and then make your level by building walls and placing monsters in the open space. This might help you end up with a more "open" result, as the usual method of drawing sectors just as you need them is more like carving a network of tunnels and chambers out of bedrock.

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Melon said:

One nice way to make levels open is to make them far larger than you normally would.

Don't believe me? Why not try it yourself?


I just played this level. And I felt like Alice in Wonderland.

The size sure made getting all the secrets harder. Try getting the megarmor without getting hurt by the sludge. And the secret with the lowering lift is much more difficult to get now. It seems so far away as you are running towards it. Still possible tho.

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Interesting. I love overscaled maps, especially the classic ones. I killed a Shotgunner with a single pistol round on this map. Never done that before in 16 years of playing Doom! He must have been weakened by his new surroundings.

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KiiiYiiiKiiiA said:

I just played this level. And I felt like Alice in Wonderland.

The size sure made getting all the secrets harder. Try getting the megarmor without getting hurt by the sludge. And the secret with the lowering lift is much more difficult to get now. It seems so far away as you are running towards it. Still possible tho.

What's even more weird is playing E1M2 after that. It just looks so tiny.

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MajorRawne said:

Interesting. I love overscaled maps, especially the classic ones. I killed a Shotgunner with a single pistol round on this map. Never done that before in 16 years of playing Doom! He must have been weakened by his new surroundings.


How can you kill a sgt with a single pistol round? I thought bullets do 15 max damage? It's like killing a lost soul with a single shotgun blast... you can't.

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Unless it's been hurt by another monster previously and you didn't notice it.

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