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Phobus

Have YOU tried to make a one-man 32-map megaWAD?

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We see it every week, it seems. Somebody has gotten the hang of a Doom editor and is all set to make maps. Next thing we know, they're in a Doom community telling us that they're about to set the world afire with their mapping a debut - a full 32-map replacement for Doom II :o

Of course, this rarely actually works out. Usually we, the people who've seen it all before, tell them to reign in the ambition (possibly with the /newproject tag). Sometimes it turns into a community project instead.


So, go on regulars, staples, legends, members and newbies:
1) Have you tried to make a one-man 32-map megaWAD?
2) Did you finish it?

If yes:
3) What do you think is the reason that you managed to succeed where so many others didn't?
4) Was it worth it?
5) Would you try and do it again, do you think?
6) Did you struggle or stumble?
7) What would you recommend to others in their attempts?

If no:
3) How far did you get?
4) Did you release what you finished?
5) Why did you stop?
6) What did you learn from this?
7) Would you recommend anything to others in their attempts, or just tell them to reign in the ambition?


I know I definitely gave it a go. Didn't succeed, of course, but I did make a complete map set and release it as Scourge. I'm probably going to be an exception to these stories, as the reason I finished wasn't because motivation ended, but because 17 maps made in DEU2 with very little idea of what the rest of the world was doing with Doom past the existence of ZDoom v1.22 and some old maps from various 90s CDs and sites simply didn't measure up to the potential I saw when I emerged from under my rock to find ZDoom 2.0.63a, Doom Builder and ZDCMP#1 all existing and completely changing the landscape of Doom for me. To my credit, I did actually take up Doom Builder straight away and finish the map set in the same fashion of the learning experience the map set had always been. Bigger, more complex maps that wrapped up to a proper conclusion for the map set, a secret hyper-detailed ZDoom map with a custom monster and the scripted ending sequence all finished it up and it also spawned my first giant map in the form of Warpzone (originally a rejected MAP31 for Scourge).

What I learnt is that there is a lot more to learn in Doom and, with ZDoom, whole rafts of possibilities to explore. It's basically been a learning experience since then, when I'm not mapping for vanilla or limit-removing projects. What would I recommend? Don't be afraid of not finishing - the experience is valuable in allowing you to realise those visions and ideas that are the kernel to all creative endeavours. Having a goal is a good motivator and even if you only make a couple of maps before giving up, at least you made a couple of maps.


So now you :P

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I've probably started like 40 megawads already, just 3 in the last month. I don't have much else to say.

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I don't think I've ever had the goal of making 32 maps for a project, I just make however many I feel like and then work on a new project (though one of my megawads does have 32+ maps).

My attention span isn't as bad as Memfis' though. :)

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Nope, haven't tried.


I used to have a collection of maps way back in the 20th century. Never tried to make a megawad out of them, though. Just creating whatever I wanted to do with DoomCAD and DEU. It was just a hodgepodge of random stuff: I had a rendition of the Shadowcaster temple turned into a Doom level (with Doom textures, of course), something that ended with a giant spiral where each section was darker than the previous so it kinda looked like the level was swallowed by a black hole, a very Wolfensteiny maze adapted from a top-down 2D racetrack and when you reached the end the walls all lowered to reveal there were a flood of demons on it, a giant corridor of extreme length entirely filled with explosive barrels and shotgunners, and a series of "Doom Complete" maps where the idea was to take a Doom 1 map and a Doom II map and connect them together, so Hangar's exit led you to Entryway, etc. I think I got as far as E1M3 in that exercise before having an epiphany of how pointless and stupid this was. If I had glued all these things together into a megawad, it would have been something which would have impressed everybody with its thorough crappiness.

I lost all that silliness a long while ago, during one of my brother's "let's reinstall Windows 95 by formatting everything first" session. I was kinda upset at the time; now I think it was for the best.

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I made one for the 1994 Tune-up Project, so I could quickly step through the intermission screens and check they were OK. Managed to speedrun the entire 32 maps in just over a minute.

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I made one back in 2010. It turned out horrendous, and the scary thing is, it was the first (serious) wad I ever made!

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I have tried to make my own 32-map megawad back in 2011.

First it was a vanilla megawad, then I discovered ZDoom and everything went downhill; I restarted the project several times, changed its name even more often, made bland maps with nonexistent gameplay, and ended up with only one map because of a hard drive crash.

I have actually tried to make more maps and recreate the old maps, but failed.

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1) Yes.
2) Not yet.
3) One complete map and several maps in varying stages of completion.
4) No. I think I might release a beta once I've got two or three maps done, just to get some feedback.
5) I didn't stop, I just slowed down.
6) I learnt that making multiple moderately-complex maps always takes longer than expected, even after I expect it to take longer. And that work, sex, and having a real life in general is detrimental to to the mapping process. Also, that I should never announce that I'm working on a megawad before I have something to release. Wait... ah, crap.
7) Unless you are financially independent, willing to abandon all social connections, and have the determination of a... non-giving-up... WAD... guy, I'd recommend you give up now. That's what I would do if I wasn't all of those things.

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Hell no. I have given it a thought or two, though, but I never actually startet anything.

I actually have 25 unreleased maps in my HD now, so I guess I could make one if I wanted to.

Currently being one out of two mappers of a megawad...its tough enough.

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1) Have you tried to make a one-man 32-map megaWAD?
Yes (I have always, quite rightly, credited a friend of mine with helping but, the reality of this is that he contributed a couple of starting areas for two maps that he abandoned and which I later completely reworked myself).

2) Did you finish it?
Yes

If yes:
3) What do you think is the reason that you managed to succeed where so many others didn't?
Well, mine started out as a replacement for the three episodes of Doom. I did it on an episode by episode basis and then combined all three. Then, when Doom2 came out, I converted them across and added the extra maps needed to make 32. So, that procedural process probably helped. That being said, I think that these factors also played their part: Doom was new and exciting. Modding was new and exciting. I had plenty of enthusiasm. I had plenty of spare time. Mapping standards were not as high (so maps could be made more quickly). I was stubborn and set myself targets of a certain number of maps in a given period of time and stuck to them. Probably other stuff too. It was a long time ago.

4) Was it worth it?
Yes, probably. I like the fact that I have a complete game replacement (as far as the maps are concerned anyway) under my belt and, every now and again, someone mentions it as one of the first megawads they played and, perhaps, even liked and that's nice. I've even been told by some people that playing my maps was what got them into modding, and that's great. The fact that some mappers (some of whom are far better than me) say that I helped them get into Doom modding is something I am really pleased about and proud about too.

It has also been suggested that it might have been the first Doom2 32 map megawad (albeit that I kind of cheated by having the maps done for Doom beforehand). I don't know if that is correct or not but even the fact that it is "there or thereabouts" is good enough for me. If it is the first it's something that no-one else can do because no-one else can be first. Regardless of that, I like the fact that, having set out to do it, I did actually get it done.

5) Would you try and do it again, do you think?
Almost certainly not. I do not have time, motivation or inspiration these days.

6) Did you struggle or stumble?
Not really. Mainly for the same reasons that I listed for how I think I managed to get it done. I was on a roll. ;)

7) What would you recommend to others in their attempts?
Nowadays? Don't bother. Personally, I don't really have much interest in the 32 level format. With modern ports, there is nothing magical about the number 32. Any number of maps you choose can be a complete game. Modern mapping standards mean that a map takes much longer to make to the currently accepted standard of a good (or even reasonable) map.

Personally, I'd much rather play a short series of maps than slog through 32 maps, some of which have probably just been made to ensure that each one of the 32 slots are filled. If you want to do 32 maps for the satisfaction of saying that you replaced all 32 map slots of the original game then "crack on" but, really, why would you want to do that? I mean, if that's not your motivation, why do you have 32 fixed in your head as the number of maps to make? Is the number the most important thing about your project? Surely other factors should actually be considered before you set your main goal as padding things out to 32 maps. Like I said, there's nothing magical about 32.

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Have you tried: Yes, but I tried doing at most 20 maps.
Did you finish: Hell no.
How far: Seven maps.
Did you release: I released six maps but they're drab.
Why did you stop: Because it's better to participate in community projects where there are other mappers and people involved.
What did you learn: I suck as a mapper.
I'd recommend being a part of a community project since I can't really map well without some good feedback.

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Warning: I'm quite a miserable example of a wad creator.

1) Have you tried to make a one-man 32-map megaWAD?
2) Did you finish it?

If no:
3) How far did you get?
4) Did you release what you finished?
5) Why did you stop?
6) What did you learn from this?
7) Would you recommend anything to others in their attempts, or just tell them to reign in the ambition?

[1] Yes, I tried. Many times I had an idea for one, and started working on that idea. Usually something megalomanic. Like an over-32-maps long ZDoom project changing all monster behaviours. Or transforming all Doom 3 level's layouts into a Doom megawad. Or a Boom TC with sprites made by my own. Or a vanilla compatible superslaughterwad with weapons modified to be super powerful, yet still balanced.

[2] No, I didn't finish any of them. Never made anything to the end and abandoned it instead. On my laptop, I have a folder called "crapwads" where I keep every of my fails. Currently it has over 35 subfolders, each of which is an abandoned *something* (map, mapset, palette, scripts, sprites...), bigger or lesser.

[3] A couple maps or prepared resources usually.

[4] If I didn't announce that I'm working on that idea before, I haven't released anything. If I did announce it before, I always released at least something. As a slight compensation for those people who might have been interested.

[5] I stopped for losing interest in the idea and getting a new idea. Then I started working on the new one, leaving the former one behind me.

[6] I learned several things:

  • That ambitious visions and motivation can fade out very, very quickly. My initial estimations may lie to me.
  • That I shouldn't announce projects that I can't guarantee they'll ever be finished. I still feel bad for those I did.
  • That I thoroughly enjoy the process of creating, even if I do it just for myself and NOBODY sees the result. That's why I keep doing it. Working with a map editor, graphic editor and other things around the game Doom just fascinates me. I'd like to be eventually able to create something actually worth showing to people, and I'm willing to keep practising for a long time in the meantime, because as I said I enjoy it.
[7] It really depends on what they want to achieve, or what they enjoy doing. If somebody wants to push through at mapping, I'd recommend him to start at smaller scale, not a 32-map megawad right away. If he wanted to become good in the shortest time, small scale helps him to manage it with a quality-over-quantity approach. I'd recommend trying to make one map after another, at his own pace comfortable for him, and just try each new map to be better than the previous one. That'd allow for an effective improvement in my opinion. Just today I recommended the same to one novice mapper.

However for people who have Doom just like a hobby and aren't eager to become the highest-respected professionals of the community, to these people I'd say - do whatever the hell you want, wish and enjoy!

And I personally would like to get better at mapping, in fact. I'll keep trying to make something and actually showing it. Getting feedback is important too if you want to improve, I realize that too.

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I'm really ambitious to make a Doom 1 megawad, but it's so low priority to me that I hardly make any progress on it. It's not dead because it doesn't have to. I had to quit all other community projects because I just didn't have motivation to continue on them.

I just see it as ultra-hard work that gets very little recognition from whoever matters. If I'm great at Doom modding, all I can hope for is praises from Doomworld, a cacoward position and a Doomwiki position. All irrelevant for my career or social bragging rights.

Do you guys feel that Doom (or any other game) level editing helps you mentally? Do you feel your mind better trained for creativity? Are you a more interesting person around your friends because you're much better at telling stories? Because that would be the only reason I'd be willing to map for.

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1) Have you tried to make a one-man 32-map megaWAD?
Too many times.

2) Did you finish it?
No... (or not yet)

If no:
3) How far did you get?
Usually restart after 3 levels + some incomplete levels. Some have gone further.

4) Did you release what you finished?
Some demos sometimes.

5) Why did you stop?
Previous time I got annoyed by adding lots of new textures.

6) What did you learn from this?
That I should just use the stock textures...

7) Would you recommend anything to others in their attempts, or just tell them to reign in the ambition?
Just make good levels and if it someday becomes 32 levels, well, that's great!

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Imo the main problem is that it's impossible to make even 2 levels of the same quality, like of 2 levels you will always love one more than the other, therefore you can't continue making the megawad since it is already imperfect.

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Oddly enough, despite my stupidity, I have never even thought about making one, even when I first started mapping. I read a lot about designing levels and through lurking on various doom forums have seen tons of advice about not starting one until you're ready, that played a vital factor, along with the lack of motivation to even finish a map.

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3) How far did you get?
I got 6 maps 100% complete with skill levels included, I started a map07 but only got a few sectors done.

4) Did you release what you finished?
I think.. only like 4 people have played/tested it.

5) Why did you stop?
"3 Ways from Hell" and various other prior engagements.

6) What did you learn from this?
Absolutely nothing.

7) Would you recommend anything to others in their attempts, or just tell them to reign in the ambition?
I would just tell them to reign in the ambition. You never know, that one map/wad could become something else.

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Phobus said:

So, go on regulars, staples, legends, members and newbies:
1) Have you tried to make a one-man 32-map megaWAD?
2) Did you finish it?

If yes:
3) What do you think is the reason that you managed to succeed where so many others didn't?
4) Was it worth it?
5) Would you try and do it again, do you think?
6) Did you struggle or stumble?
7) What would you recommend to others in their attempts?

If no:
3) How far did you get?
4) Did you release what you finished?
5) Why did you stop?
6) What did you learn from this?
7) Would you recommend anything to others in their attempts, or just tell them to reign in the ambition?

So now you :P


I did make a one-man megawad, although a room from map 13 was designed by a friend.

1)Yes.
2)Yes.

3)I think it is pure ambition of wanting to know what other people think of my work that keeps me going.
4)Yes, absolutely.
5)I am currently making another megawad, though my aforementioned friend is designing an entire map, or possibly more. The rest of it will be done by me.
6)Quite a bit, but it's all part of the learning process.
7)Have ambition! Have dreams! Also, listen to critics, and try to see from their perspectives. They are there to help you improve, not hurt you.

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I'll just say this, don't try to make a Megawad by yourself. Make a mapset - easier to get it finished and no pressure to reach this weird number of maps.

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Phobus said:

1) Have you tried to make a one-man 32-map megaWAD?
2) Did you finish it?
no(t yet):
3) How far did you get?
4) Did you release what you finished?
5) Why did you stop?
6) What did you learn from this?
7) Would you recommend anything to others in their attempts, or just tell them to reign in the ambition?


1)I'm TRYING!
2)Not yet.
3)14 maps
4)Not everything
5)Right now I'm taking a break from mapping and going to play/make YTPs instead.
6)That I'm going the right way
7)Do whatever you want but I'm gonna critisize it and give it a rating anyways.

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No, I've never started a MegaWAD. I know I don't have the drive to stick with the project long enough to get anywhere near that goal.

Personally, if I ever did do a large WAD like that, I'd probably break it up into multiple, smaller episodes of, say, five maps each, targeting whatever source ports could support such a setup, and then just take it one episode at a time. I know I can rarely bring myself to play all 32 maps of a given WAD, and I figure I'm not the only one, so making something more bite-sized like that seems like a good idea.

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I've started 2 megawads and I'm still working on them. Little by little, progress is being made. Neither will be done anytime soon.

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I'm actually working on one at the moment, but I've reached a point where I'm considering cutting it down to 20 maps, for a few reasons..

Partly because it just means less work to do.. Alright mostly that. But also after playing a lot of 32 map megawads I find that I start feeling the fatigue somewhere between maps 10-20. That's not such a big deal when the collection is disparate enough that you can dip in and out of it any time. But when the whole set of 32 maps is engineered to be like one long adventure then after a certain point I lose sight of each end of the journey and start to lose interest.

I think the original Doom got it right with the length of its episodes, and mappers shouldn't feel obliged to fill every map slot just because its possible. 32 maps should be seen as a limit rather than a goal.

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1) Yes.
2) No.
3) Few done (talking about only handful maps), and the rest... in my mind, somewhere wandering about.
4) Hell no.
5) It's on a pause at the moment.
6) Uhm... Nothing, yet. Except it will be long task.
7) I don't have nothing to say. Good riddance, I suppose?

So, nothing fancy yet from me. I'm a newbie mapper in its infancy, and I only got five maps released in different projects but no own projects released. I do still try make my own megawad (16 is the minimum for be considered as a megawad, right?), if inspiration permits me.

Only time will tell, though.

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1) Yeah a few
2) Technically 1 if you count doom megawads
3) Probably brute forcing, to be honest i stopped caring and made maps of a certain theme until I hit the limit of 9 maps per episode.
4) Not sure, I have mixed feeling, part of me is happy to see something through, though the quality could be put into question, though saying that it's the early maps which suck most.
5) Not on my own, I am making a 1 episode replacement which is less time consuming.
6) Not really in one sense, though some maps took a couple of days whilst some took weeks.
7) Erik Alm, it's the only way to spare someones sanity ;)

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Oooh. Totally-relevant, given that Nex Credo is back 'on' again. Inspired to post this, by any chance? ;)

1) Have you tried to make a one-man 32-map megaWAD?
Three times thus far. Murderous Intent, Sinister Intention and now Nex Credo, they all started with this goal.

2) Did you finish it?
No, No, and that one's a work in progress.


If no:
3) How far did you get?

Typically, I get 7 levels in. Doom 2's MAP07, being generally structured around the boss encounter, seems like a great cutoff point and I usually think "eh, that's enough" and cap it there.

4) Did you release what you finished?
I did, as both Murderous Intent and Sinister Intention are on idgames.

5) Why did you stop?
Lack of motivation. I'm always painfully-aware that my tastes don't fall in line with others, and when the realisation that I'm basically performing mapper's masturbation kicks in I often find it pointless to continue if I'm the only person who'll like what I make. It's said to 'map for yourself', but to be honest it seems too self-indulgent to do so.

6) What did you learn from this?
To ignore that stupid little impulse and make shit anyway.

7) Would you recommend anything to others in their attempts, or just tell them to reign in the ambition?
If it's your first project, definitely reign that shit in. Make a small episode of three-to-seven maps if you gotta. The seven-map figure is great, because there's that boss encounter at the end, and structuring this is like a micro-game design in a way -- you get to explore the kind of progression that a whole megaWAD would, but in a smaller and more manageable scale.

If it's not, then patience. Seriously, learn ALL the patience. You will be down on yourself and your work, you'll wonder why you even started, you'll even think that everyone is going to hate every last vertex of it all. Fight through that bollocks, because in the end it'll be worth it - especially if you can keep it fresh.

Also, try to take breaks for inspiration and new ideas. This is definitely a thing I'm learning for myself with Nex Credo.

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