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Gameplay traits/features you DON'T like seeing in levels?

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Don't you just love those moments where you are playing a level and having a good time and then suddenly something happens that just makes you go "ugh...."?

Well no, you probably don't. And neither do I.

Simply put, this is a thread where you mention what you hate seeing the most in user made levels/PWADS.

For me, its bullshit traps that you can't actually escape and monsters that are placed all around the player spawn at the begining of a map.

I don't mind tough traps but when the mapper makes it so that monsters literally spawn right in front of you out of thin air (and I don't mean that they appear from a new area, I am talking about it when they LITERALLY SPAWN/APPEAR right in front of you like ghosts) it makes me rage. There is no way to defend yourself against those kind of traps since you can't see them coming in any way.

As for the monsters that are placed around the player spawn, those suck for much the same reason. Getting killed just a few moments right after you start a map because you got blasted into shreds by something that you can't even see or avoid is not much fun.

What are the things that YOU hate the most?


EDIT: I forgot to mention annoying jump puzzles. Fuck those.

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Chaingunners behind doors, on ledges, and in the middle of a large field. Those suck.

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What I can't stand in levels? Here's my list

*Switch hunts. I know I said this before, but I absolutely fucking can't stand the idea of flipping a switch and then running around to find out what it did. That goes double for hard-to-find switches. (Eternal Doom, Armadosia, and many maps from the Community Chest Series are really annoying because of this.)

*Secrets with pain-in-the-ass ways of triggering their accessibility...especially if the rewards aren't worth the effort. (Goes double for secrets that can be lost when the opportunity's missed.)

*Secret level exits that have a limited time to be accessed before they're closed off for the rest of the level. (Scythe II's map31 supersecret exit with its super-short timer can go fuck itself)

*Enemies that teleport right in your face to catch you off-guard. Yeah, I agree with hardcore_gamer here.

*Inescapable pits. Couldn't agree more.

*Last of all, hitscan hell sections in general. The tons of fireballs I'm reasonably good at dodging (though homing revenant rockets, I admit, are still pains in the ass), hitscan enemies positioned in high-up areas are real ball-busters. Especially the chaingunners.

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The one thing I can think of from the top of my head at the moment would be slaughterish gameplay unless it is weaker monsters like imps in an open area.

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Ammo shortages at any time. Seems pretty common in highly detailed maps. I'm not sure how many people are really into that survivalist-type gameplay where you have to kill everything with precise accuracy just to get the four shotgun shells sitting behind them. I like shooting stuff. I don't really seem to have a problem with much else.

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What I don't like is heartless mechanic traps meant to kill the player almost automatically. Some maps have a dull opposition but you step in an alcove to pick up an armor bonus and you get killed immediately by a high damage crusher, for example. Those instant death traps show a design where dying doesn't matter, most likely because the author sucked at playing and used saves all the time instead of making an effort to improve and survive more.

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myk said:

you step in an alcove to pick up an armor bonus and you get killed immediately by a high damage crusher

Reminds me of the superarmor trap in the secret Hectic level of Doom 64.

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The big 5 (off the top of my head):

  • Switch hunts
  • Confusing layouts
  • High HP monsters in unthreatening positions without the ammo or weaponry to take out quicky (Barons on ledges or on podiums behind repeatable doors)
  • Prolonged lack of space or snaggable details.
  • ZDoom-isms in non-vanilla mapsets.
X2 if the map is long.

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Flat, boring, and unprovoking gameplay with little to no thought put into it... and when monster placement doesn't take advantage of the layout.

< elitest nerd asshole.

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Maps where you get railroaded into every single set-piece monster encounter, and you can't try to risk speeding through the level.

I myself am guilty of making maps like this.

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Monsters that raise out of the floor in front of you (see Speed of Doom, Surge and many other map sets [obviously not all by Joshy]) - I'm alright with it when it's done like in Scythe 2 and liquid flats are used, or if the monsters are on ledges or whatever. It's when you're walking down a corridor and then a hell knight or whatever rises out of the concrete floor right in front of you - it looks crap and always feels cheap. Extra rage when (in ZDoom) the rising is calculated to be so last minute that you can be standing on the monster(s) when they come out of the floor. I appreciate that with infinitely tall monsters that isn't an issue, but it still sucks IMO.

Traps that seem to require foreknowledge in order to be survivable. I'm not so bad with these, as I tend to make use of save games, but it still feels cheap when you're suddenly destroyed by a horde of monsters that you could never have seen coming first time. Extra rage when the trap is so tight (or so overwhelming) that even with foreknowledge you'll still be lucky to get away.

Inescapable pits near the end of a long level aren't popular with me. Bullshit near the start of a level is something I'm more forgiving of, and short levels lend themselves more to trial-and-error gameplay as well, so this relaly is quite context-sensitive.

I agree with purist on the high HP monsters point too - nothing more tiresome than having to shotgun your way through a Baron of Hell when it's never going to be a threat to you. The temptation to skip them is always strong, but I always worry that they might catch me out later when I'm distracted, so I make a ponit of making sure they're dead.

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Lost souls and pain elementals. Can you ever remember a time when you thought, what an awesome fight I just had with that big pack of lost souls! It was great the way I had to laboriously SSG each one of them while they flew around aimlessly into walls and each other!? When a pain elemental emerges from a hiding place, does you heart surge, in anticipation of combat, or does it sink, as you mutter 'oh for fucks sake'? LSs and PEs are sucky enemies and shouldn't be used. Fact.

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Pain elementals are fun in open maps where you have to reach them quickly or else they'll go apeshit (usually due to infighting) and spawn nine million skulls. Remember Plutonia MAP21?
So PEs can be used well in combination with other monsters.

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Jonathan said:

Lost souls and pain elementals. {...} When a pain elemental emerges from a hiding place, does you heart surge, in anticipation of combat, or does it sink, as you mutter 'oh for fucks sake'?

I'm trying to come up with a retort because I'm sure there have been times where a PE encounter has been enjoyable... but I'm really struggling. I don't despise them or anything, but perhaps if they were vulnerable to the detonations of their own spawn? I mean, I love a good fistup with a flaming skull just as much as the next marine -- a little bit of pinball wizard, as I like to call it. Introducing a reason to send them back into the shit-easting maw of their faecal maternity might actually make the encounter fun!

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Memfis said:

Pain elementals are fun in open maps where you have to reach them quickly or else they'll go apeshit (usually due to infighting) and spawn nine million skulls.

Hilerious description of the pain elemental and lost souls.

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Lost Souls themselves aren't too annoying in my book. By that I mean that while they're obviously more work to pick off than the equivalent number of Demons or whatever, they're enough of a cool enemy that fills a niche that I enjoy them when they're well-used.

The one thing that can fuck right off is when there's a huge outdoor area with no barriers to keep them from shooting off into the far distance (maps set in lakes of liquid that extend to the sky are often guilty of this) and I have to either wait for them to come back or try to snipe off a 2-pixel lost soul with the chaingun.

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Jonathan said:

LSs and PEs are sucky enemies and shouldn't be used. Fact.

Not really. PE's make great 'priority' targets if they invite themselves over with a clusterfuck of other Hellspawn and start gobbing Lost Souls everywhere, giving a sense of urgency to blast the bastards away before you're swarmed with some very angry skulls.

LS's themselves are ideal for what they are; small, silent Hellspawn that can be put away without much trouble, but can potentially be a real menace if left unchecked in a large-scale fight.

  • Start areas that are loaded with Hellspawn that are looking straight at you. Fuck off with this shit, it's tedious to put up and always feels like a lazy stab at creating difficulty.

  • Incessant and badly-planned BFG slaughterfests. I don't mind a huge fight every now and then, but for the 10th map in a row, when the 300th Hellknight teleports into the arena followed by several dozen more of his brothers only to be vaporised in seconds like all before them, I'm wondering just what sort of simpleton thought that such a bland series of skirmishes involving "hold down fire and YOU WIN!!" gameplay would be fun all the way through. Because it's really not.

  • Much like Phobus says, any and all of those lazy 'rising from concrete floor' ambushes. Yes, yes, we've all seen/experienced the 'insta-raise ambush' now, and the novelty has long since worn-off. Find another gimmick to pester us with.

  • Inescapable pits alongside narrow catwalks while being pelted with all sorts of shit at the same time. Just use one or the other, you asshole.

  • Poorly-marked (and unmarked) secrets. Blind wall-humping is a gameplay 'feature' that should have died off after Wolfenstein 3D showed just how incredibly boring it is to have to do that.

  • Secrets that open through a method that is seemingly placed as an afterthought. Scythe MAP24 is a great example of this; who the fuck goes around indiscriminately shooting at MARBFACEs?

  • Secrets that close off after a certain amount of time or become blocked by some arbitrary action somewhere else on the map. Especially when it's a Secret Exit.

  • Secrets with an access method so convoluted and mind-bending that it's not worth the hassle to open. Moreso when it's for a shitty few basic items. And even moreso when it's to access the Secret Exit.

  • Bullshit traps that kill or severely damage without any real chance to escape. Crushers, ambushes, floors that drop 50ft and turn into 20%dmg lava... you get the idea.

  • Placing powerups/items in unavoidable, wasteful places. I don't want that Green Armour, I still have 95% of this Blue Armour. And I don't want to pick up a Soulsphere/Megasphere when I have 150% Health and Armour either, stop fucking doing this.

  • Using powerups as 'triggers' to open necessary doors; I'm not the sort of player who rushes at the Invulnerability, foaming at the mouth and shouting "gimmegimmegimme!". I'd rather wait until I need it, but I can't do this if the W1 line to open a door is where the fucking Powerup is.

  • Revenant swarms. No. Go and stand in the corner and use your imagination next time, this is done to death now and has simply stopped being fun.

...and breathe.

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My own two cents on this:

- Over-sized, over-confused level layouts. Having to run through the same corridors again and again to find out your way is frustrating at best. A generally simpler layout with added detail in certain places is certainly better.

- Labyrinths. If they are not reasonably dimensioned or extremely peculiar, they end out being very annoying and repetitive. IMHO crate mazes fit in this category.

- Impossible jumps. Those that require you to save-and-retry a million times because the author made the jump feasible only by straferunning at a certain specific angle - sometimes, they make you even wonder if you're taking the right route...

- Invalicable low walls/fences/level discontinuities. Because it's just not believable and ruins the atmosphere. Not counting the fact that being unable to jump makes it sometimes even more absurd...

- Inconsistent use of textures for switches/teleports/ecc. Having the same representation (or very similar ones) for an object with the same purpose everytime is good practice! :-)

I think it's all for now... ;-)

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Chaingunner(s) on a ledge with an archvile behind, in a position where it can't be hurt but can ressurect them indefinitely.

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Phobus said:

Monsters that raise out of the floor in front of you (see Speed of Doom, Surge and many other map sets [obviously not all by Joshy])

:3 *lovingly embraces linedef action 19*

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linedef action 19 = <3

trying not to overuse it though.

on topic:

Crate mazes

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I think this thread has been done before, but it's still fun:

1. Mazes - I love puzzles, but mazes tend to annoy the crap out of me...especially crate mazes. They tend to bog down the pacing of map and, obviously, they're repetative and utterly confusing 99.999% of the time.

2. Ridiculous/Insane traps - I hate it when a map throws an unavoidable trap at you that's frustratingly difficult/unbalanced.
It can ruin the pacing of the map entirely, not just the enjoyment factor. I also hate the time of slaughter-y traps in which 3 or more Arch-Viles spawn in with the horde just to make things absurd.

3. Wads with too little health and/or ammo - While sometimes these can be a nice challenge, some maps are just poorly done and there really isn't enough ammo and/or health. Alternatively, I don't like it when super-difficult, slaughter-type WADs have only one difficuly setting (namely, brutal UV), and only the best of the best players can successfully beat them without cheats. One of the reasons I like the Europa series is because there are difficulty settings for every kind of player, so it's more fun.

4. Wads with too much ammo and/or health - There's nothing more boring than a map that overpowers you. Where's the challenge if you have ammo and health littered all over the place?

5. Too many Chaingunners/Revenants - While both of these monster types provide solid long-range challenges, maps sometimes abuse their use and put them in the most frustrating places--usually up and around the player.

6. Bad Music - I know you can change the music in Doom maps, and you can even just turn off the music and play your own. But I hate it when a perfectly good WAD occupies Doom II map 1's slot and opts to use that annoying music track. It just screams "poor planning" to me. Music is just a much of a factor in a Wad's quality as everything else, I think.

7. Flat, square maps - Now, I can understand this for slaughter maps, but I don't like to see any other type of Wad with bland, boring, flat maps. What makes things worse is if there's dull texture placement and usage, which just emphasizes the weak achitectural design.

8. Inescapable pits - This probably goes without saying. It sucks to fall into a lava pit or something (maybe even by accident) and have no way out.

9. Timed doors/lifts - Sometimes, it's just nearly impossible to make it in time.

10. Large maps with bad layouts - I like large, non-linear maps, but some are so sloppy in terms of layout that it's more of a pain to navigate through them than a pleasant challenge. One good example is "Junko." Pretty maps with good music, but extremely tedious layouts.

11. Too many/poorly placed Pain Elementals - The Lost Souls on their own are bad enough....

12. Making secrets necessary - I like secrets, but I hate it when maps make some or all of their secrets very, very necessary to obtain in order to beat the map with greater success. I really hate it when such secrets are hard to find and exist in maps where you really don't have time to dig for them. Secrets should be a helpful boost to the player, I think--not a requirement.

13. Poor use of GZDoom/Skulltag - This can apply to other source ports, too, but the main idea with this peeve is that I find it disappointing when someone maps for GZDoom (for example), but they barely use any of its many features. They, like, throw in a couple slopes and that's it. It can do a LOT more than that.

14. Jumping puzzles/traps - Love puzzles, love jumping in maps...don't like it when it's a precarious chore to succeed in a jump puzzle. This definitely applies to those types of jumps that are pretty much impossible and you have to do the jump JUST RIGHT or else you have to redo it, usually many times.

15. Maps with good visuals, bad game play/maps with good game play, bad visuals - Some Wads are beautifully done, but their game play is terrible. Others have engaging game play but they look boring and/or ugly. I think a map that has a nice balance between the visuals and game play is a lot more fun than one that does not.

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st.alfonzo said:

I'm trying to come up with a retort because I'm sure there have been times where a PE encounter has been enjoyable... but I'm really struggling.

Doom2 Map28, 2 PE's in a cage that can't hurt you >:)

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Jonathan said:

Lost souls and pain elementals.

PE's are OK. Just more difficult to place than your average monster. IMO the following are considerations:

Distance from the player: Best at mid-range or at least in such a way that the player can get close to it to give him the option of killing it quickly. If it's too close they're trivial to kill due to the lack of melee attack and painchance, from extreme range they will fill up the map with lost souls before you can engage it. At mid range a PE forces the player to decide whether to remain at range and risk the LS spawns or move forward into potentially dangerous territory to take it out. Any opportunity to subtly influence the players movement is a bonus as a mapper.

Approximation to other monsters: The PE is best accompanied by other monsters as it's a priority monster so again it forces the player to make a decision. The one pitfall of this is placing it behind too many or too high HP mosters so you can't hit it. This isn't so bad if there's a way to circumnavigate the horde.

Room for movement: There obviously needs to be ample room to allow for the PE, accompanying monsters and spawned lost souls. Beyond that there needs to be additional space for the player to be able to dodge around other monsters to get to the PE if he chooses to. The other problem with having them in tight spaces is the earlier mentioned issues of them becoming trivial to kill. The worst error to make in this regard IMO is if player movement is restricted to a fraction of what the PE has access to. For example due to the player being on a ledge or there being a ocean horizon.

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