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scifista42

About us, mappers

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There are two kinds of mappers:

A - I give the players what they want!
B - I'm the king on my playground, deal with it.


I think every of us just has one of these two philosophies as his own, as his primary, true one. It does not have anything to do with how skilled/experienced you are or what type of maps you make (linear, nonlinear, easy, slaughter, small, large, detailed, action, moody, deathmatch...). It's simply your personality trait. It has to do with how you think.

Note: If you're scared by the following wall of text, skip to the bottom to the list of mappers ;)

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I claim I am a mapper of type B. When a mapper of type B makes a map, he first cares how the map will look. More precisely, if it would make sense as an environment. They don't at first care whether it will look eye-pleasing, or how it will play. Such mapper's primary aim is literally to make a map. He does it, because he enjoys the mapping. He enjoys the creating, and the experimenting. B-type mappers are very unconventional in their thinking, because they aren't limited to gameplay conventions. Combined with a skill, they have a potential to produce truly exciting and unforgettable maps.

From what I've said, I don't want it to sound like these B-type mappers (and me) are egoists. It's just a description of how their mind-processes start. They do try to make satisfying gameplay and visuals. But here it comes - it's quite difficult for them, at least more difficult than for A-type mappers. They lack a clear vision. Their mapping/detailing/balancing is rather chaotic. Mapper's skill and diligence will determine whether the map will turn good or worse. Mappers of type B usually have it harder to assert themselves in the mapping world. Also because it's sometimes hard for them to understand what is a good choice and what is bad. A-type mappers can give them a lesson in that. But mapper B is generally more lenient about imperfections in maps. Both his, and others. He can appreciate a wider scale of different maps, and as a mapper he is more flexible, but he not always have this ability fully under control.

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A-type mapper first comes with some idea, usually gameplay related idea. Maybe he don't have all the map in mind when he starts, but definitely knows some key attributes it should have. The important is, from the very beginning he's imagining the map from player's view. Everything he does with the map he does to satisfy player (of the target group). His aim is at the first place a map that will be liked. To achieve that, he usually spends only a little space to experimenting, and mostly sticks to time-proven patterns. In most cases these patterns are what is commonly called "classic Doom gameplay", or another type which is "slaughergameplay". But not always it is purely on gameplay, but also on visuals. The goal remains to make people happy with the product.

Thanks to using "conventional" mapping methods, A-type mappers have it quite easy. As their skill grow, they can learn how to well add "unconventional" ideas to their work to improve them but not spoil. These mappers have higher potential to push through and they often do. Many of them are very purposeful. And also critical and self-critical. It's because the "conventional" gameplay is the only (or the main) one they consider good and valid. They know the rules pretty well, and may believe that any deflection from them is a mapper's fault and that "unconventional" maps are inferior to the conventional "classic" or "slaughter" or some else pattern maps. If an A-type mapper receives a critique about his maps, he often immediately reacts in try to improvement. B-type mapper rather says: "OK, thank you. I'll try next time."

(I admit that I'm quite a biased mapper of type B)

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Quickest way to distinguish mapper A from mapper B is by judging the first start view on one of their maps. A-type mappers tend to have a highly polished nice looking start which is somehow adapted to the gameplay. B-type mappers have less nice starts and its gameplay is obviously adapted to the environment instead of vice versa. Quality will increase later, but in uneven jumps up and down.

The kind of a mapper is hard to determine for mappers who are very new to this activity, because they're yet growing, but also for very advanced and experienced mappers, who may possess the ability to think and map in both ways with the same ease. I cannot for example classify Esselfortium.

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Now here's a list of a few mappers and how I see their primary style in regards to my theory: (cz = mapper is Czech and may not be on Doomworld)

A-type mappers: BloodyAcid, Capellan, C30N9, cannonball, Damned (cz), Demonologist, Jaeden (cz), Jimi, Jimmy, Katamori, Khorus, Matt534Dog, Memfis, Method (cz), mouldi, MTrop, Pottus, ProcessingControl, Time of Death, traversd

B-type mappers: AlwaysDoomed (=Unholypinpin), an_mutt, CorSair, Death Egg, Egregor, enkeli33 (cz), Eris Falling, fiend-o-hell, General Rainbow Bacon, Gusta (cz), j4rio, Joseph Lord, Phobus, scifista42 (cz), valkiriforce, Walter Confalonieri

People I'd like to classify, but can't: Antroid, _bruce_, Darch (=Arch), Esselfortium, Jayextee, Obsidian, Ribbiks, schwerpunk

(note: in some cases, my guess is based on only one map I've played by that person, but mostly it's more)

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What do you think about it? Do you see it like me? Where would you put yourself? In case I listed you, do you think I guessed it right?

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Yay, I'm hard to classify! :P

I guess you could say I'm a bit of both: I want the maps I make to be as fun for other people to play as it was for me to make it. It's a relatively simple concept, I think.

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You're actually right on my part, though I'd like to think there's a bit of A left in there - and that's really misleading to type in forum code :P

Beware the shameless plugging about to follow!
I do start out with a visual idea for every map, and every map in Eridian Twilight is at least in some form of existence inside my mind. I've even taken images from the internet for good inspiration For example, MAP08 what will either be MAP09 or MAP10. Then that shitty drawing of MAP02. Then the Gothic <uncommon colour> theme I have in mind for the secret level. Then MAP05, and the list really is endless.
I'd like to think - although Tarnsman and Marcaek, and even myself admittedly, may disgaree, following the D2INO alpha - that I'm quite open to criticism, and will be glad to change things to make them better. That said, I don't want to change it so much based on what people say that I might end up starting to dislike it myself. I think valkiriforce posted something like this about criticism taking his own work away from him, which I can totally agree with.

Oh, if you want some help, I personally would have put _bruce_ in "A"

EDIT: Having been ninja'd during the 20 minute write-up of this post, I'd say that Obsidian's posts sums up what I want for ET. No Springy, not THAT ET. [/shamelessplugging]

DOUBLE EDIT: After reading Schwerpunks, I'd wonder how I'm in the list, having only made 2 maps.

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I don't quite follow you: at first you're comparing mappers who want to please others to mappers who want to please themselves, then gameplay-oriented mappers to design-oriented mappers, then you're talking about different mapping methods... All very different things that are absolutely not necessarily connected in any way.

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Kind of proud I made the list of unlistables, considering how few maps I've released. According to your system I'm more of an A-type, because I can get quite myopic on some of the details of my maps, to the point that I neglect the overall experience. But at the same time, I can get pretty pig-headed about some of my ideas, "Fuck 'em if they don't understand my puzzle - it's supposed to be opaque!." The latter is more a function of frustration, due to my lack of experience.

So yeah, while I can't speak for the others on the unclassified list, I'd say the reason that I'm there is because I haven't found my mapping 'voice' yet. Hell, I don't even know what kind of mapper I am yet!

Re the A/B thing in general: I'm not convinced a linear, left-to-right continuum (X-axis) is enough to adequately identify most mappers, but it is a neat idea. Would like to see the classification gain a Y-axis (so you get a 2D plane like this). Hell, a questionnaire would be a lot of fun, as long as people take their results with a grain of salt.

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Considering how some 8 or so of my levels (both released and unreleased) are quite abstract, I don't know exactly where I'd fit myslef.

The A-Type seems to be the kind of thing that every mapper has to do. I mean, the players want to have fun playing the map. I'd like to be a B-Type mapper, since abstract stuff is sweet, and I like that, but then some will hate on my maps (can't please everyone, ya know). Having to please them by adding things (which is my Achilles heel of mapping) messes me up.

So I'd probably fit in the unlisted category now.

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Even if you're a type A mapper, there's always going to be someone who doesn't like what you're doing. Trying to please them all would be futile.

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I apologize for sounding confusing. I wrote the basic idea at the beginning of the post, and the rest is just my contemplation about how I'd describe an average A or B, in the most extensive way.

Of course, all it's just a thought of this evening. Nobody has to agree. Even I may wake up tomorrow morning and say it's all shit.

Although, I still believe there's a difference between, say me and cannonball, and not just in skill, but in some general way of approach to mapping. Me and cannonball is just an example, I didn't write the article based on just it, at all.

Hmmm... Good night.

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Now all that needs to be done is to classify the plethora of gray-areas that this is creating and we'll be at about 60% accuracy.

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How did you come up with this classification scheme? From your write up, it almost seems like you're implying that "A" type mappers are the safe players who don't take the risks that "B" do dynamically, as both end up with the same result of a completed map - just that B's feature more "innovation", so to say.

I find it puzzling on how you've managed to categorize us (well, me, at least), considering the low amount of maps I've outputted, being 4 in the past year (iirc). Similarly to the way you've compared reactions to criticism, where A's are bending to others (but in reality, I don't want to upload a flawed map where multiple people have pointed out the flaw of) and B's are pricks. Also, how are you to assume that we don't enjoy the pure mapping as others?

Also, I disagree with:

[B's] can appreciate a wider scale of different maps, and as a mapper he is more flexible, but he not always have this ability fully under control.

Playing and mapping styles don't often mix; players who only play mods might only create Boom maps and vice versa. Unless you've dug into your list of examples of posts and the such, I don't see how you've managed this.

It's because the "conventional" gameplay is the only (or the main) one they consider good and valid.

LIESSSSSSssss Again, for me, I've made only one Boom "conventional" map, and have several "unconventionals" in the work.

and especially

They know the rules pretty well, and may believe that any deflection from them is a mapper's fault

Wut. I can't even start to say how wrong this is

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I would say that I'm a type A mapper, much more so than in the past anyway. For me, it's not really a matter of trying to please everyone, I just find that I actually end up agreeing with 99.99999999% of people's criticism. Plus, above all else I want people to have fun playing my maps. I've been re-working two year old maps little by little every day with what I've learned about mapping because generally when I find something that's not fun, others won't find it fun either.

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People either map for themselves or for others, that much makes sense.

Beyond that... It seems like you went from the idea you map for yourself to the conclusion every person who maps for themselves share your specific personality; and then anyone in the opposite category is just that, "not you".

There's no link between the character traits you list and who a mapper maps for. It's a mish-mash of independent behaviors.

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scifista42 said:

People I'd like to classify, but can't: Antroid, _bruce_, Darch (=Arch), Esselfortium, Jayextee, Obsidian, Ribbiks, schwerpunk


I'm a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma!

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Phml said:

People either map for themselves or for others, that much makes sense.

Beyond that... It seems like you went from the idea you map for yourself to the conclusion every person who maps for themselves share your specific personality; and then anyone in the opposite category is just that, "not you".

There's no link between the character traits you list and who a mapper maps for. It's a mish-mash of independent behaviors.


I agree with this. You started with a fair point but you unravelled it by assuming attributes like mapping style and personality traits are exclusive to each side.

Also, I would say it's more of a spectrum. Type A mappers map for others (not only players, sometimes peers, project leaders etc) and Type Z map for themselves only. I would say for example that Jimmy and MTrop will be near the A side, 40oz and gggmork near the Z side and others somewhere else on the scale.

I myself started off at A and am working my way towards Z (pinned to aletter I'd say I'm around P now). I think it's healthy to start by working to coventions and releasing work that is approved of before then working out your own style and having the confidence to be single minded about your creative goals.

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Ribbiks said:

I'm a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma!


Don't forget the veil of secrecy :0)

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I just know what kind of maps I like,and that's good enough for me.I'm also willing to try something new,to be fair.

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I think I would be in between but leaning closer to B, I do like to get a good sense ambiance and atmosphere going in a map in which ever way I see fit.

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Ive seen some nasty type B's that think I have no place here because I cant map myself, as if the inability ot make sense of an editor invalidates all of your creativity and passion for Doom. I'd link to think ive positively affected several projects now, despite not being a mapper.

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scifista42 said:

People I'd like to classify, but can't: ...Jayextee...


Not sure I fit into either camp really.

What I tend to do is create what I would like to see from a game (or indeed, map set) in terms of 'teaching' the player various things about how the logic of it all works, and ramping up encounters gently. I like to think that I'm crafting a good and solid experience for the player (even if I like my gentle starts), but not necessarily a popular-and-lowest-common-denominator one; I like to mix it up and (hopefully) keep it interesting.

Sinister Intention is an example of this kind of thing. The reviews for it are mixed (though the rating unabatedly positive), but I do unique things -- like, there isn't a single collectible chaingun in 7 levels; and MAP04 is very rocket launcher-oriented despite a large part of it being quite claustrophobic.

I guess I'm a hybrid in that ultimately I map for me; but I try and make it so I will at least throw in a few surprises for everyone else.

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j4rio said:

When did I become a mapper? Everything I did from scratch stays unreleased.

That's pretty much the same case for me. I would call myself the lazy mapper, a person who closes the editor after drawing a linedef.

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j4rio said:

When did I become a mapper? Everything I did from scratch stays unreleased.

What about that startan room with screwed up manco teleporters? :p

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Hey, maps is maps. Even if they aren't "serious."

Eris Falling said:

DOUBLE EDIT: After reading Schwerpunks, I'd wonder how I'm in the list, having only made 2 maps.

I think it's because we both talk a lot. :P

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I'd talk more, especially about mapping, but my default is to assume a reaction of "who the fuck cares, Jay?". So I don't bother.

I do have opinions one way or the other on a great many matters though.

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I just make levels that I like to make and play. Sure I'll design them so that others could like them too.

I do like to try new ideas and make the environments make some sense. But overall the environments will be made to fit the gameplay, and the ideas are about what kind of places would have interesting gameplay. Then I make some mapping with the idea, if it works, I continue it further, if not, then I'll do something else.

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