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KiiiYiiiKiiiA

What level would you give different weapons? A discussion.

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Ok, so my question is basically this. Sorry if this post is all rambly and incoherent, am just thinking 'out loud' here.

If you guys were designing (or playing) a vanilla megawad, what would be the first level that you would expect to find various weapons or items? Say, a Rocket Launcher? Or a chaingun? (I should mention that I am talking purely about single player here.)

Might you put the Super Shotty in a secret on level 2, but not allow the player to find it freely until, say level 5. And what about plasma weapons?

Are you more in favor of giving heavy weapons early, but restricting ammunition, gradually giving more as the levels progress.

And of course, the all important backpack. At what point would you hand out this item?

And even stuff like ammo and berserk packs. For example, you find your first cell ammo in Doom2 in a secret on map 03 but don't get a plasma gun, even in a secret, until map 05

Just by way of comparison, I looked at a few of the iwads.

Doom2:

chainsaw: (map 01 at start, sort of a secret), map 10 in some sludge.
shotty: (map 01 in a secret) map 02
Super shotty: map 02
chaingun: map 03
rocket launcher: (map 01 in a secret) map 03
plasma gun: (map 05 in a secret) map 06
BFG: (map 08 and map 09 in a secret) map 10
Backpack: not til map 06, (map 03 in a secret)

It was pretty amazing that if you miss the chainsaw right at the start of map 01, you don't get another shot at it until map 10, and even then, it is in some nukage, hidden behind a pillar. I don't think modern designers would do this. I have been thinking that Doom2's designers saw the chainsaw as a sort of easter egg, rather than how we see it now as a way to balance gameplay etc.

Evilution:

chainsaw: map 02
shotty: (map 01 in a secret) late map 01
Super shotty: (map 02 in a secret) map 03
chaingun: map 01
rocket launcher: (map 02 in a secret) map 03
plasma gun: (map 03 in an area which should be a secret) map 07
BFG: map 15 (hard to find unless you know, tho not a secret) map 16
Backpack: map 02

Couldn't be stuffed doing Plutonia.


Anyway, seeing as how I am working a lot on TNT2, all the things I have mentioned are quite relevant to the project.

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I suppose it depends on the gameplay. A plutonia style wad, the sooner the ssg is available the better. But for something where the gameplay isn't so tight with high tier monsters around very quick, letting the chaingun and shotgun have more time alone isn't a bad thing.

Seeing as balancing is done for pistol starts on vanilla megawads, I put more thought on how far into the map the weapons are re-acquired.

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Weapon distribution is contingent on monster distribution.

However: shotgun early; preferably first level. It's the weapon of choice against lowest-tier monsters (zombies, sergeants, imps).

Chaingun soonish after, before level 5. It's a good weapon for second tier monsters (demons, spectres, chaingunners, lost souls) and third tier (cacodemons, pain elemental, hell knights), as well as crowd-control.

Super shotgun ought to be introduced once demons/spectres are starting to be used in swarms (rather than two or three at a time) and if high-tier monsters (revenants, mancubus, barons, arch-viles) are used in close-quarter encounters. Especially for barons, who take a while to mow down with the chaingun.

Rocket launcher should be introduced shortly after the debuts of the high tier monsters, so as to dispose of them more quickly once they start to be used in larger quantities; as well as for slaughterish quantities of lesser monsters.

Plasma rifle ought to be introduced in time for boss monster encounters (spidey & cybie).

BFG 9000 ought to be placed only in a secret level so that they are rewards for thorough players. Unless of course the gameplay is slaughterish but then you're typically spawned on a megasphere, a pile of backpacks, and one of each weapon already.

Chainsaw can be introduced anywhere, it doesn't matter much. And practically all levels could feature a berserk pack somewhere without harming balance.

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Berserk is a great weapon against imps, demons, barons, revenants, PEs and sometimes arch-viles. (j4rio would also add mancubuses to this list). One berserk pack can turn tightly balanced map into a walk in the park.

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Memfis said:

(j4rio would also add mancubuses to this list)

(Maes would also add trappedd cyberdemons to this list)

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Gez said:
BFG 9000 ought to be placed only in a secret level so that they are rewards for thorough players.[/B]


I disagree with this, it should be present as an option for skilled players to deal with hordes\larger monsters. Of course it depends on the wad, but I'd have it show up around level 10 in a standard megawad.

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I expect to get a new weapon that isn't the chainsaw as soon as the first level (that is, no pistol/chainsaw levels). Beyond that, I'm indifferent.

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I agree with Gez that the weapons are generally given depending on which monsters you want to use. I've considered working on a Doom 2 wad that was in a kind of episodic format, so that the first episode would only feature Doom 1 monsters, weapons and items, the second would be generally Doom64 monsters, (everything except revenants archviles Spider Masterminds and chaingun guys) and the third being whatever.

If you want to put hell knights and arachnatrons on the first level, by all means. But expect to have annoyed players when you're reserving the super shotgun for MAP05

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I personally don't mind fighting single HKs\arachs with the SG, it only takes a few shells. The SG's rate of fire is high enough to permanently stun arachs as well.

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The Progressive Fiction megawad Hadephobia weapon progression in UV:

Chainsaw: map04
Shotgun: map01
SSG: map02-04 (secret), map05
Chaingun: map02
RL: map05-07,09-10 (secret), map11
PR: map07,09-10 (secret), map11.
BFG: map31,21,25,26 (secret), map27
Backpack: map02,05,06 (secret), map07

Not sure about the BFG appearances but the others should be right

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KiiiYiiiKiiiA said:

chainsaw: (map 01 at start, sort of a secret), map 10 in some sludge.

Isn't there a chainsaw in tricks and traps? You pick it up, a baron walks into you.

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I felt the super was introduced too early in Doom2, would have been nice to pick it up and have a couple of the new monsters rush in at you.

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vdgg said:

Isn't there a chainsaw in tricks and traps? You pick it up, a baron walks into you.



You, sir, are absolutely correct. I must have accidentally skipped that level when I was searching DoomBuilder for where the chainsaw first appears.


Use3D said:

I felt the super was introduced too early in Doom2, would have been nice to pick it up and have a couple of the new monsters rush in at you.


I do agree with this. It gives you a more varied game to give the super later in the game. Coz once you have the super, you have it for the rest of the megawad. Making the player do 3 - 5 levels without it is a good idea, I think, but as others have mentioned, don't have Barons and mancs on level 01 if you aren't going to give them some real firepower until level 6.

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Isn't the BFG in TNT MAP16 only on the lower difficulties?

Anyways, I agree with Gez on the whole weapons appear based on opposition thing, but I think the BFG shouldn't exclusively be in the secret levels. I really like it when the BFG is found fairly late like in Memento Mori (MAP23) and Requiem (MAP21).

I think it'd be cool to see more megawads with more unusual progression. Having the first few maps only have a weapon like the rocket launcher would create some interesting gameplay scenarios.

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Map01 - Just pistol and Chainsaw are OK since only zombiemans and imps are seen here.
Map02 to Map04 - Shotgun right, assume only zombies and imps as well as demons here.
map05 to Map06 - Added cacodemons and barons, so it might needed it.
Map07 - SSG and RL, yep a dead simple map as everyone knows lol.
Map08 - Backpack since doom 2 monsters start to be seen in more maps.
Map12 - Plasma gun because monsters number start to increase.
Map20 - BFG 9000 since Spider Masterminds and Cyberdemons also seen here.
As for the berserk, it can be put randomly. Perhaps a punching map like HR map09 and Eternal map14.

And I also assume Map01 to Map06 Ultimate Doom style.

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I think a monster heavy (or, at least, zombieman heavy) map 1-2 with only a pistol and maybe a chainsaw/berserker upgrade secret is most fun. Then just start ramping up difficulty as you incorporate the shotgun. The hardest one needs to work for "stronger" weapons, the more effective the weaker monsters are when placed effectively.

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Processingcontrol said:

I think it'd be cool to see more megawads with more unusual progression. Having the first few maps only have a weapon like the rocket launcher would create some interesting gameplay scenarios.


There was a single map that gave you only big weapons, with rockets being the main. And there was a clever DM map where everyone started with a BFG, but with the spawns high up and hidden to remove spawncamping. (some idiots still camped on the edge of the spawn alcoves, but it was ineffective)

I've done this sort of thing before too. My first wad had weapon/monster progression and weird concepts at the core of it's gameplay:

Map 01: Chainsaw/berserk only, with just imps/demons and the odd caco. Chaingun and baron at the end.
Map 02: Shotgun/chaingun with all weak enemies plus a few cacos/pains/revenants and 1 hell knight/spider/manc/archy.
Map 03: Shotgun/chaingun with more of the stronger enemies (inc. a large manc group). SSG at the end with two archies.
Map 04: Rockets added at the start, normal monsters.
Map 05: Chainsaw/berserk recommended, with all spectres. 2 barons in the middle room and end room, secret plasma at the end.
Map 06: Plasma added before big trap, normal monsters from here on.
Map 07: Secret BFG in dark map.
Map 08: Spidey battle at the end.
Map 09: BFG before big cybie battle at the end.
Map 10: Normal.
Map 11: Icon at the end, with cybie and spidey thrown in.

I also did a pistol map for the start of the original CC wad.

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