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Lance MDR Rocket

Mapping process?

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Alright I was wondering - what are people's approaches to making maps? I mean, how do you inspire yourself, what's your workflow, how do you keep 'on point'? Do you plan ahead or go with the flow?

I mapped quite a lot in 2005-06 but never released anything and my maps were shit anyway owing to the fact I'd generally just come up with a vague idea for a level theme, make an area, and then detail it, having no clear plan for what to do with the level as a whole. After a couple of areas I'd run out of ideas and I'd start on something new. Still, it was fun.
I recently got the bug again though, and am trying something a bit different. I start off by making a short section off the top of my head, and if I'm happy with that, I'll copy it onto notepaper and make notes on how the area should flow, which means I don't forget any good ideas I may have had. I'm also finding that compartmentalising layout, gameplay (ie. thing placement and linedef definitions) and detail is helping me stay focussed - if I get sick of doing one thing or find myself gazing at the level in 3d mode for too long I just work on another for a little while. Now I've got a (small) map that's pretty close to being finished and, frankly, is much more interesting than anything I got 'done' way back when, which is a nice feeling.

Now talk about yourselves please

(I guess this could have gone in Editing but it's a pretty ephemeral question so I put it here instead)

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I just go by itch - piece by piece with an as it grows approach. I walk/play the map as I progress.
Can't plan things on paper because this is not how I work internally. I have a strict visual flow rule for the map(3d and automap) that I follow.
Normal stuff like texture set gets tested in a box before I start... this often takes hours because I'm a picky bastard - but that's how I like it.

After some mapping I often visit the id maps in 3D mode and I'm impressed by how they made so much of a map with so little geometry -> same goes for the Quake mapset as well(esp. DM1 - DM4).

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It all depends on how your brain works. I find that if I don't plan a map out in advance, it'll end up as a maze of interconnected rooms(not fun). Getting a rough sketch down on paper of at least the first two-thirds of the map helps me avoid total linearity as well, and helps with looping things if I chose to do so.

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I'm actually the exact opposite of Vordakk, as it turns out. Of the maps I've created since my first released WAD, only 1 of them was drawn on paper beforehand (out of ~30). I find that if I draw on paper before I start mapping, my brain sort of freezes up when I look in Doombuilder. Don't know why.

I usually start drawing a random shape and constantly adjusting it. Once I get something that I think I can work with, I start to try to find spots where I can seamlessly add ledges to provide height variation (which improves both the aesthetics and gameplay of a map). After the initial room, the process tends to change entirely. Usually, it consists of me finding a way to create tight, compact path that allows for at least some choice as to where to go.

That last part actually is something that suddenly developed last year. Many of my maps beforehand consisted of very straightforward routes that circled back on each other. Now my maps play more like wide-open chaosfests.

I like that.

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