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NaturalTvventy

Making a technical guide to DOOM mapping

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Greetings,

For my technical writing class we are required to create our own technical manuals. I'm planning on making mine about the basics of vanilla mapping with the DOOM engine. What do you guys think should be in there, and what should come first, second, etc?

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I'll be a huge fan of yours forever if you actually see this thing through. I've never attempted vanilla mapping precisely because all the minutia-knowledge that is required to successfully create a wad that runs on doom2.exe without erroring-out has never been successfully compiled into a single source AFAIK.

Some things I think you should talk about:

1. Explanation of vanilla limits, how to tell if you're breaking them, and how to work within them.

2. Common mistakes new mappers make when moving from boom mapping to doom2.exe mapping.

3. Glossary of terms and their definitions(e.g. linedef, sidedef, sector, thing, reject table, vertex, texture, sprite, etc.)

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Hmm... Are you intending to write a technical guide on the map format and editing tools, or something else?

If the assignment allows for it, I think it'd make a more interesting read if you could technically detail some aspects of the actual mapping process like layout progression, how monster and item placements combine with different structures to create gameplay encounters, etc.

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Yea I think you might need to clarify a little on whether you mean mapping for vanilla doom and explaining the limits of it and the basics of the engine operation or mapping in general within vanilla limits and how to create a map within the limits.

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I'm thinking of keeping it basic, discussing things like lines, sectors, things, etc. Also deal with vanilla limits and how various actions work. I will probably steer clear of level design, because I believe there are endless legit ways to lay out a level depending on what the author wants the level to be like. I don't want to say there's one right way for that. I may discuss some basics, like monster pathing and monster attack behavior, but maybe not. Mostly it's going to be a very basic nuts and bolts. And it will probably use the perspective of a modder using DB2.

I've realized this should be in the editing forum, so feel free to move it Mods.

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You will definitely need to define and exemplify all the things which make up a doom map then, for sure.

Sectors
-Sector Height (Floor and Ceiling)
-Sector Effects
-Flats
-Lighting
-Sector Tags (Tie in with Linedefs)

Linedefs
-Sidedefs and Textures
-Linedef Actions (Explain tagging)
--In-Depth on Teleporters
--In-Depth on Keys
-Linedef Flags (Impassable/Unpegs/etc.)
-Middle Textures
Vertices (Kind of Simple)

Things
-Different Categories of Things
--Player Starts
---DM Starts
--Monsters
--Weapons
--Ammo
--Health and Armor
--Powerups
--Decoration
--Obstacles
--Light Sources
-Thing Angle
-Thing Flags (Deaf/Skill Levels/etc.)

And then probably more, I can come up with more stuff later...

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Include a section on foundational constructs like doorways, doors, windows, and stairs. Maybe include a section on proper texturing; Matching the right textures to define a level's distinctive style and what not. Maybe discuss different active ports of today and what features each one brings the table. It's probably worth mentioning some of the tools mappers use too, or how one goes about inserting custom content into their pwads (via direct replacement, DeH, or port specific). Man I can go on all day...

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If I'm not mistaken, there was a very early (1994?) document which is still floating around, which is structured as a beginner's guide to mapping. Of course it's outdated with respect to Boom/ZDoom/Hexen/scripting, it's very DEU-centered (it even details manual sector laying) but I recall it covered the very basics of mapping in a "for dummies" way. Maybe you could use it as a base/adapt it for a modern audience, if you can find it (it had ASCII drawings of sectors, but I can't really remember the exact name. And to think I had even printed it out, once :-(

Edit: related, there's this level design FAQ from 1994.

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It's easier for a human being to learn concepts by using them instead of just reading about them. The Doom Builder 1 tutorial written by Dr. Sleep was by far the most useful resource for me when I started learning about the Doom engine, so if there hasn't been a good tutorial made for Doom Builder 2 yet, then this is the gap that most urgently needs to be filled.

I don't think I'd could write any useful engine guides at this point. I write the best guides when I'm still just learning about something, as the information is still fresh in my mind. Now, everything I know about the Doom engine is sitting in a heap in a storage closet somewhere.

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The manual's coming along well. It's supposed to be 35 pages, but mine's probably going to be pushing 50+, and it's missing a ton of info.

You can see my progress here:

http://www.mediafire.com/?6q76l6y5yd5113p

There may be some half-truths and errors of omission in there. I'm just doing it for the grade and since the prof is going to have no idea how accurate my info is I'm not sweating it at this point. If I want to make this a real thing I'll clean it up in the future.

Still gotta find a way to work in texturing somehow. Upper/Lower/Middle 1-sided 2-sided higher ceiling lower floor pegged/unpegged blah de blah's going to be a bit tough to explain. Then I'll finish with how to build more basic structures - doors, lifts, teleporters.

NT

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Just skimmed it. When you start writing more about sector specials you should cover how the lighting effects work. I forget if Dr. Sleep's guide touched on that, but I don't remember anything explaining them and had to figure it out from looking at E1M2. Light effects always go from the effect sector's brightness to the darkest adjacent sector's brightness.

A guide that actually deals with the vanilla limits and how to avoid them would be pretty cool. A lot of levels will hit the drawsegs or even visplane limits without even looking all that detailed compared to the iwad maps. At the same time it's really easy to make a nice looking area that barely pushes the limits at all.

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Maybe in targeted audience you should mention id Software somewhere in there? Also, it might be stated, but I Ctrl+F for 3D and nothing was found, so maybe a little section could be dedicated to that.

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Vordakk said:

I'll be a huge fan of yours forever if you actually see this thing through. I've never attempted vanilla mapping precisely because all the minutia-knowledge that is required to successfully create a wad that runs on doom2.exe without erroring-out has never been successfully compiled into a single source AFAIK.

I wasn't sure if NT was going to go in-depth about this stuff, so I took it upon myself to throw together a wiki articles:

http://doomwiki.org/wiki/Vanilla_Doom_mapping_reference

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Dragonsbrethren said:

Just skimmed it. When you start writing more about sector specials you should cover how the lighting effects work. I forget if Dr. Sleep's guide touched on that, but I don't remember anything explaining them and had to figure it out from looking at E1M2. Light effects always go from the effect sector's brightness to the darkest adjacent sector's brightness.

A guide that actually deals with the vanilla limits and how to avoid them would be pretty cool. A lot of levels will hit the drawsegs or even visplane limits without even looking all that detailed compared to the iwad maps. At the same time it's really easy to make a nice looking area that barely pushes the limits at all.


All good stuff, all stuff that I'll have to go into after I get the core of this thing made up and turned in. For now, details on things like lighting would be lost on the audience, ie my prof. Limits are certainly worth including, and will come later if I am inspired to do so.

BloodyAcid said:

Maybe in targeted audience you should mention id Software somewhere in there? Also, it might be stated, but I Ctrl+F for 3D and nothing was found, so maybe a little section could be dedicated to that.


3D like 3d mode? That's another 25 pages ;) And I hardly know half the things you can do in 3D mode I'm sure. Certainly essential for a complete DB2 guide though!

Dragonsbrethren said:

I wasn't sure if NT was going to go in-depth about this stuff, so I took it upon myself to throw together a wiki articles:

http://doomwiki.org/wiki/Vanilla_Doom_mapping_reference


Nice work! I'll be using this as a guide if/when I get to limits.

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