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Looking for people to test a map I designed for GZdoom/Zdoom

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I don't know where else to post maps I have made, and none of my friends play DOOM so I have no other way to test the functionality and overall vibe of them. Everyone I have talked to on this forum so far has been more than helpful, nice and not afraid to lay into the bad aspects of a map, as I have read in the reviews. So if anyone is interested in testing a single level I've made for the purpose of fun and to improve over time, feel free to download livid.zip and and enjoy or not enjoy, based on my skill and your preference. This is my first map using Doom in Hexen format, as well as my third full map ever made. I did my best, but if it blows gherkin, let me know. I tried to clean it up the best I can, but I may have overlooked a few aspects throughout the week it took me to build this little guy.

The main things I want to know are:

Is it fun in the slightest?

Does it look good, whether simple in design or not?

Is it too easy, or to hard?

Is there enough ammo and health to deal with monsters? Too much? Not enough?

Are the enemies placed tastefully? Or are the traps too cheesy and predictable?

Does the map have a good flow?

Is there anything I would change for improvement?

Is it total crap that should die by fire and I should quit while I'm ahead?

Here are some screenshots of the areas by themselves:

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not bad eh. it's pretty simple but that's not necessarily a bad thing. the use of zdoom stuff seemed pretty trivial overall and didn't serve much purpose functionally, but imo you should map however you want and not necessarily use stairs over slopes "because vanilla." of coruse, if you know how to create things without zdoom features and make it look really good, then making something look good using slopes etc will become a bit easier.

the standard advice here would be "go back to vanilla and learn how to make vanilla maps first;" i think a lot of people (myself included) go through a source port phase near the beginning of their mapping career (doom legacy lol), then revert to vanilla/boom, and then finally revisit zdoom or whatever. again though you should do what you want. it's entirely possible to advance your mapping skill just as much even with the availability of slopes and 3d floors and whatnot. so imo if you like zdoom stuff then keep doing zdoom stuff, just don't fall into the trap of making maps that are 99% hallways where you try to make up for lack of interesting architecture by making every surface reflective and adding colored blood to all the monsters and other (g)zdoomisms

at this point for you, you're still at the level where you can do things more... freely than someone with more of a defined style. this is difficult to explain though heh. basically what i mean to say is that you shouldn't be afraid to experiment a lot with visuals and structure (making bigger, more open rooms, or just doing cool wacky things). once you map for longer you start developing habits and stronger preferences for certain things, which eventually develops into your style. once you get to that point it's harder to incorporate new things into your style imo, so my advice to you is go wild right now and just make as much cool shit as you can. have fun with it

yeah so i guess that'd be my general advice for the map. don't be afraid to experiment with bigger, more complex areas, because you can do that *and* develop a more trained visual eye at the same time.

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I suppose at this point in time, I'm not concerned with elaborate architecture so much as engaging game play and fun ways for monsters to attack the player. I've played several wads that were commended for being wonderfully detailed and having giant open rooms, but they seem to just glob hordes of monsters in a pack and it doesn't feel as engaging to play. IMO the bigger the room is, the smaller the action feels, no matter how elaborate the design. It's the relationship between the action and the world you're in. Granted, there are exceptions, and I'm at such an early point in making maps that I have much room to grow and have preferences change, but as far as being a gamer goes, I enjoy a lot of obstacles, twisty turny, puzzley shooty, and the ability to finish it in no longer than 20 minutes because A.D.D., and 20 minutes is pushing it for a single map.

As far as different source ports go, I was always fighting the standard Doom format and had a tough time balancing what I wanted to do, with what the engine permits. Although seeing the 3D bridge in the first level of 'Back to Saturn X' on Odamex blew my mind and let me know that you can do more with less if you're clever, which I am not, because I tried it and failed. So after feeling comfortable with Doom and Doom 2 formats, as elementary as I still am, wanted to see what Hexen format was capable of, and even though I'm in over my head at this point, I feel like I don't have to be as clever to pull of a neat trick or two.

My main goal is to work with others and learn how to make better maps that way, maybe do some co-op speed mapping projects with someone instead of playing a wad, taking notes, imitating, failing, searching for resources, failing again and making something else. Thanks so much for your feedback, I don't get a lot of it, because as I mentioned, other than you good people on the internet, I don't have anyone to tell me whether or not I should keep designing or just stick to playing what others make.

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Clusterone666 said:

I tried downloading the map to playtest, and it's not up on the site anymore?

Sorry about that. You probably tried to download it as I was replacing it with a fix.

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calm down there kiddo, new mappers get an unfortunately small amount of attention usually. you should try posting screenshots though, i'm sure that'd help :p

i think you may have wrongly associated larger, more open and potentially sophisticated rooms with a certain type of gameplay that you don't enjoy. if somehow you haven't found a single wad with open rooms that are fun to play in, then imo you should get right on that and try to fix that problem. figure out for yourself how to fix the problem rather than confine yourself to small cramped rooms. i definitely see where you're coming from but it sounds like you're limiting yourself too much right off the bat because of an assumption that isn't necessarily correct. bigger rooms can still fun to play

and when i say experiment with larger areas i don't necessarily even mean huge open areas. you can make small areas "feel" larger by connecting a series of them really well. try straying away from doors and long hallways maybe; that's usually what helps me with better connections.

also, another way to make smaller areas "feel" larger is to open them up with sky and windows etc. this is probably not the best example but it's what i've got on hand so... look at the conveyor belt area in this screenshot. now look at the same area on the left in this shot. not the best angle actually but meh. the point is, the playing area is virtually the same in both the shots, but in the second one the ceiling is raised, windows and entrance/exit emphasized more, yadda yadda yadda. point is you can do a lot for a small room just by opening up the ceiling and letting some natural light in (lol) etc.

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I don't mean to get so worked up, but I really have no one to talk to about this sort of thing. I really am grateful for your input. I feel more like a puppy who just chewed through your favorite drapes and all I can do is wag my tail like I really achieved something.

Back to Saturn X or that Bioshock level for example, were done very well and seemed to have huge areas, but for the most part wads like what I thought you were describing tend to choose detail over aesthetics which is subjective to the eye, like Alien Vendetta just annoys my senses.

But I see what you mean completely as far as connecting areas in a way that feels more open. Shadows and light sources aren't exactly my strong point, but I racked my brain trying to get the lighting element right and give it some atmosphere. I'm going to keep experimenting, of course, and feedback like yours help me do a better job.

In the first wad I ever made, someone told me that everything attacks from the front, taking away from the challenge, so in this one I have multiple rooms that the player can be hit by the same monsters at different angles.

Screenshots, I forgot about the screenshots. I really am new at this, I haven't had a computer for years and then two years ago I bought a mac because I'm a dirty hipster, which is very limited for these kind of resources, but I finally bought a pc and am trying to make up for lost time, I suppose.

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TimeOfDeath said:

I dropped down in the water to grab the blue key and there was no way out.

Really? Is the ramp too close to the low ceiling? I never had an issue, what port were you playing on? I could make stairs instead of having the ramp. That whole area is also under a 3D floor, there could be some issue that I haven't experienced when testing. It could be anything, really.

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Hmm. I only tested it on 2.6.1, but the version shouldn't have anything to do with that kind of issue as far as I know. Does the ramp disappear or is it not there to begin with? You said you dropped down into that area, leading me to believe that the ramp was not visible to you at all.
I'm going to remove the ramp and add stairs anyway.

Tell me though, in the room with the chainsaw on the pillar with the switch, did you drop down into that room as well? If so then the ramps aren't showing up in your version of ZDoom, and the only thing I could think of is to update Zdoom. But that's your call of course, because if you're happy with that version, then there's no reason to update just to play a stranger's early attempt at a map, because it could be my fault to begin with that ramps are only showing up when I test them.

Thanks for the input, I'm checking on the issue right meow.

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I'd agree with Tango that opening areas up some more would probably be beneficial.

One of Doom's best features, I think, is the player's agility. Taking advantage of that by putting the player under fire from multiple directions, using ledges and windows into adjacent areas, can be an effective way to create interesting and challenging encounters in between your traps and setpieces. The use of open ledges and windows also can effectively turn several simple rooms and hallways into a larger and more complex scene.

In doing this, keep in mind that hitscan attacks (zombies, shotgunners, etc) can't be dodged and thus encourage the player to hide in safe places if they're being sniped at, whereas projectile attacks can be dodged out in the open if the player is given sufficient space to maneuver.

John Romero's levels in Doom 2 and Thy Flesh Consumed were typically very heavily built around the use of windows and ledges (along with some quite extensive use of walkways over damaging floors) to keep the player frequently surrounded and on their toes. They're worth taking a closer look into to pick up some general ideas from.

"Livid" definitely has the feel of an early attempt, but don't let that discourage you -- I don't think there are very many of us who would consider our early works to be representative of our potential, since mapping (like any other creative pursuit) is an endless process of gradual learning, experimentation, and improvement upon what you've done before. Keep at it!

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It's difficult to see the big picture when starting with a single sector. At this point in time all I can seem to do is think of an idea, draw a sector and go from there. I play a new wad every day, good or bad and try to learn something from it. I am going to take Tango's advice and go back to vanilla before really running wild with ZDoom. Make bigger spaces and see where that gets me. I was really excited to use 3D floors, but it might just be too much of a hassle with my current experience.

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