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Zyzyx

Big Space Port

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Sure it's appropriate! :p

So far I've played MAP01. "Formally", it's a good map with no mistakes present. I actually liked the mud-pool effect, very unusual design choice. All the bad sides of this map are just minor things. First, I know you were probably aiming for a kinda "believable" setting, but for the purposes of a Doom mod, you should rather focus your efforts to make your levels to be an interesting experience for players, above anything else. Everything I'll mention further is connected with that.

Shortage of ammo helps you to make the players to play your map kinda the way you wanted, but it may also alienate you some people. Maybe you want too much from people if you want them to have foreknowledge of the layouts in order to beat them. Another thing is, some secrets were too hard to find, specially when you use the "secret" linedefs. It's uncomfortable design for a large group of players. Another thing, the area with untriggerable blue switch and doors around will confuse players, they'll expect some purpose, but there's no. You will learn that the effective approach is: If there's something in my map that doesn't do anything good, REMOVE IT, whatever cool it may seem to me. Lastly, players would also expect a progression which will keep the map interesting all the way along, but this first map just keeps the same environment and gameplay for quite a long time.

But I've only played the first map so far, maybe my impressions from the next ones will be different. I'll check them the next day.

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Okay I've only just checked out the aesthetics part of the mapset, god-mode and no-clipping, and a quick look around each maps. I can think of 3 particular things that can be worked on.

First, I can see that you have a pretty sound understanding on what constitutes as good architecture and texturing design. There are good height differences, and mostly non-spaghetti layout designs. I can't say anything about the gameplay design as I did not actually play through it. scifista42's comments are pretty handy and worth keeping in mind.

As for the things that can be worked on:
1) New music would be good and establishes better mood than the stock doom2.wad music.

2) New sky texture also goes a long way to change the mood and feel of your maps.

3) You really need to work on your lighting. I noticed in your maps, there are very little variations of lighting, it is mostly really dark, with a splash of bright lights. Learn to mix up the lighting more, and it can really bring out and highlight your texturing/architecture designs. Otherwise it'll just all look the same, and nothing really stands out. Even I struggle with this myself, but it is definitely something worth working on for your next project.

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After reading the posts above, I decided to play it on HNTR and liked it very much. Health and armor were above 100% most of the time, and I had no ammo problems. I played the first two maps, they are atmospheric and both have nice ideas. The text file says it's tested with chocolate doom, but I had to activate jumping to climb out of a cavern pit on map 02, unless I missed something. Also, couldn't find the keys at this map, so that's the reason I stopped playing here.

As already recommended, adding custom sky and music will certainly add more personality to these maps.

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4 levels in so far, maybe not going to get a chance to finish the rest for a bit so I'll write a little now.

First off I love your layouts, huge nonlinear levels with lots of optional areas are right up my alley. I'm really enjoying exploring these maps and seeing how playing things in a different order would completely change the experience.

The detail/visuals/etc. is pretty good seeing as it's vanilla-compatible, but some of your cave areas are a little too plain brown for me. I also agree that "fake" doors/switches for detail is a bit annoying, even though I didn't mind it too much. Might be a good idea to use one particular door type for doors that are purely decorative and don't lead anywhere.

Not sure about difficulty, UV didn't seem nearly as hard as you made it sound but it was feeling a bit grindy with so many enemies, so I switched to HMP pistol starts and I think it's flowing a bit better, even though I do ultimately prefer continuous play.

Speaking of which, so many low tier enemies. An occasional revenant or mancubus now and then would really liven things up I think, and keep me on my toes. I like fighting low-tier hordes but after 4 large levels of it, it's starting to wear on me a little.

Other music would definitely help, even if it's just taken from other wads. I'm pretty sick of most of Doom 2's music at this point and wandering around these large levels with the stock tunes would get kind of dull I imagine. For now I used the music from pcorf's Zone 300, it does the job OK. New skies aren't so important I think, especially since so far there's really only been one outdoor level.

A few gameplay things that I'm not thrilled about but overall really enjoyable so far. Nonlinear exploration gameplay with lots of things to shoot is probably my favourite kind of level so I'm glad you brought this to our attention!

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Thank you for the feedback! I totally get the music and sky recommendations, I'm just not much of a composer or artist so I'm not sure how to begin. I understand the argument against unusable aesthetics too.

@Darch I will look into the jumping thing. There is no key in map 2 though, you just need to find a few switches: one to open a door beside a window, and one to lower rocks in the brown cave.

Is it ok to repost an updated wad to the idgames archive? If I made enhancements based on the feedback here I'd like to replace the one that is out there. Maybe I should post here first?

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I advanced a bit in this mapset, and noticed that you actually tend to repeat simple gameplay setups. Each map has its own, and actually the setups aren't bad at all, but they last too long without any change, which gets boring soon. MAP01 = pistoling zombiemen and imps in a canyon, repeated repeated repeated. MAP02 = shooting imps and sergeants in darkness + some punching, repeated repeated repeated. MAP03 = hitscan action and walking damaging floors - and so on, I got up to MAP03 as for now. It's not really wrong design, but it could be made much better if there were more changes and surprises along the way. A dangerous high-tier enemy, trap, memorable architectural structure, mixing more ideas at once... That's what I wanted to say.

The difficulty of MAP02 wasn't that high, once you get packed with shells and grab the berserk. MAP03 was more interesting, unfortunately still a lot of just shooting zombies served in front of you - but the occasional demons released behind you are good. This maps are challenging, but not in as intense way as some players might be used to. For a shooting experience in simple environments, good. Again, no real mistakes are present. I liked the cave-lift secret in MAP02, you don't see it often that such a large area of floor moves down and up. The slime pool effect didn't look as good as in the first map, though.

I'll finish this later.

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Zyzyx said:

Thank you for the feedback! I totally get the music and sky recommendations, I'm just not much of a composer or artist so I'm not sure how to begin. I understand the argument against unusable aesthetics too.


Most people don't compose new music for their levels, there are lots of places for finding other music. Even if you just take them from another wad. Here's a few threads with some resources:
http://www.doomworld.com/vb/doom-editing/61879-any-good-midi-sites/
http://www.doomworld.com/vb/wads-mods/66307-level-designers-where-do-you-get-your-music-from/

Skies are less important but again taking something from another wad (even another Doom IWAD) might be an improvement. People are just generally tired of the Doom 2 MAP01 defaults.

@Darch I will look into the jumping thing. There is no key in map 2 though, you just need to find a few switches: one to open a door beside a window, and one to lower rocks in the brown cave.


FWIW I didn't get stuck at all, using PrBoom+. I don't suppose you got a screenshot Darch?

Is it ok to repost an updated wad to the idgames archive? If I made enhancements based on the feedback here I'd like to replace the one that is out there. Maybe I should post here first?


Yeah you can post an updated version to idgames, the first line of the template textfile has an "Update to" field. You can also post here again if you want.

Also I agree with scifista42's comments somewhat about repeating simple gameplay setups. That's what I was getting at with the suggestion of higher tier monsters I guess, introducing other enemies would be one way of changing the gameplay around.

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Yeah I kind of had a design idea for each map:

1 - Underpowered weaponry
2 - Being fired upon in the dark; berserk
3 - Damaging floors
4 - overwhelming hordes
5 - retreating to one location for more ammo
6 - Higher light level contrasts

I really do like sprawling non-linear maps, but maybe I took it too far and didn't notice as the map author. I like the idea of a theme for each level, mixing things up too much hurts what distinguishes one map from the next. I'm sure you guys know this too. :)

I'll keep the feedback in mind for future work though.

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