Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
cs99cjb

Escalation II: Centurion Night

Recommended Posts

How is it possible for different players to have wildly different ideas of how much is "enough" ammo, and how can map authors reconcile such differences?

My review of 'Escalation II: Centurion Night':

"My main gripe is that there wasn't enough ammo for me to really enjoy myself: I found myself worrying over every energy unit or bullet expended, and planning my route more than I would have liked."

The following review of 'Escalation II: Centurion Night':

"BTW2 way too much ammo @ UV"

I used to think that a hitpoint-to-ammo ratio of greater than 0.5 in WadWhat was a mean map, but since finding the wider Doom community here and playing insane maps like "Swim With The Whales", I no longer have any idea what is reasonable.

Share this post


Link to post

Some people have better aim, abuse infightings more, use berserk\chainsaw more often, etc. So obviously you'll never please everyone. But I think many will agree that "not enough ammo" is a much worse problem than "too much ammo", so that's something to think about while balancing your levels. Personally, I'm completely okay with levels where you never run out of bullets\shells but I might complain about too much rockets\plasma making stuff too easy (2002ado e1m5, scythex map07, etc).

Share this post


Link to post

If the implication is that swtw is light on ammo (which it is, comparatively), I can attempt to justify: The intention for restricting ammo (in maps of mine) is usually to try and force instruct the player to approach something a specific way: e.g. infight these mobs together, or advance further and return to this later, or find a way around these mobs to get the goodies stashed behind them that are required to bring them down. Sometimes it is punishing though, like, if you're aim is off, well, sucks to be you. Of course if the player is not keen on dying enough times to gradually figure this out (either the "correct" sequence of actions was not conveyed well enough, or if the intended strategy is simply not as much fun as the way they want to play) it can go awry. Demos of j4 non-berserk punching HKs to death still haunt me to this day..

But to answer the OP, memfis pretty much hit the nail on the head. some players have kickass aim, others not so much. some players start shooting the minute they see mobs, others waltz around and let 90% of them kill eachother. so it makes sense that what "enough" ammo means may vary considerably.

Your gripes actually have me curious to check out that map now though :p

Share this post


Link to post

Centurion Night is kind of a strange map in terms of ammo, since it's really bullets and cells only. I don't remember thinking there was a problem with the ammo overall, just that it was weird to not have a shotgun at all for a map with higher tier monsters.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Ribbiks,

I didn't mean to pick on your WAD specifically — it was just the first example that came to mind of one with levels of difficulty so out of line with my expectations that I came nowhere close to finishing it, let alone ruminating on its relative lack of ammo. To be honest, "dying enough times to gradually figure this out" is anathematic to my enjoyment of Doom, which is based mainly on exploration. If I die more than two or three times whilst trying to complete a map, more often than not I give up and do something else. I usually try to avoid abusing save games, and play from the start every time. A map has to be very fascinating indeed for me to press on in the face of continual death.

Share this post


Link to post

There are maps (e.g. Jodwin's) which are based almost entirely on the concept of ammo and health/armor micromanagement, to the point where even using the chaingun might be considered wasteful, if it's not always used with tapping mode AND if the second bullet or every burst is fired on a target which died with the first: you're supposed to switch to the pistol for jobs requiring odd numbers of bullets, and OF COURSE you are always supposed to use pistol and chaingun in their "accurate" plinking mode.

This can be done in subtle ways too, rather than denying the player outright of ammo. E.g. by denying the player of an early/easy access to a SSG, you force him to use more shell ammo, protract fights, etc.

Or, by offering multiple paths, some may lead to easily draining your ammo, others not as much (but you have no way of knowing before you play, of course).

Other maps (like the Great Bicycle Mystery) also deny the player _specific_ kinds of ammo in some maps while being overly generous in other kinds which are not as effective for a given situation, making certain encounters artificially harder than they need to be.

It's a double-edged sword really. Done right, it can indeed increase the player's challenge and satisfaction. Done wrong, it's just shoehorning a form of fake difficulty into Doom's gameplay, and forcing the player to play in a very specific way.

Share this post


Link to post

I've just played E1M8 and E2M1 on UV skill level, and to be honest they were easy. I finished with 100% health, more than 80% armour, plenty of bullets and shells. I feel as though playing recent PWADs has warped my idea of what Doom should be like - a painful slog of reloading 10 or 20 times per map. There's no doubt in my mind that difficulty levels have gone through the roof in the last 20 years, but this is turning into a whine so I'll leave it there.

Share this post


Link to post
cs99cjb said:

I feel as though playing recent PWADs has warped my idea of what Doom should be like - a painful slog of reloading 10 or 20 times per map.


difficulty settings??.. use them?

Share this post


Link to post

OK, I now have some concrete data from WADWHAT by Gregory P. Kwok. It told me the ratio of total monster hitpoints to maximum ammo damage on UV skill level.

In the PWAD which spawned this thread, 'Escalation II: Centurion Night' (http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/index.php?file=levels/doom2/Ports/p-r/ph_e0100.zip), the ratio is 1.082. If I understand correctly, that means that it's impossible to get 100% kills without provoking monster infighting even if your aim and luck are perfect. I therefore assume that whoever wrote "BTW2 way too much ammo @ UV" was either trolling or crazy.

In Doom episode 1, the ratio never exceeds 0.474 (E1M8, Phobos Anomaly). In episode 2, the ratio never exceeds 0.915 (E2M9, Fortress of Mystery). In episode 3, the ratio never exceeds 0.738 (E3M6, Mt. Erebus). In episode 4, the ratio never exceeds 0.994 (E4M4, Unruly Evil). Across all the maps, the average is 0.464. Perhaps Id Software had a similar tool to WADWHAT, otherwise it seems a remarkable coincidence that the ratio comes so close to 1.0 but never reaches it.

In Doom 2, however, the maximum ratio is 1.218 (map 8, Tricks and Traps) and the ratio of 1.118 in map 16 (Suburbs) also makes it impossible to get 100% kills without provoking infighting. Across all maps, the average is 0.565. OK, it's well-known that Doom 2 is harder.

In 'The Plutonia Experiment', the ratio never exceeds 0.807 (map 15, The Twilight) and across all maps the average is 0.476 - comparable figures to the Ultimate Doom. This surprised me, because people often complain about the comparative difficulty of Plutonia.

Since we discussed it, the ratios in 'Swim With The Whales' (http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/index.php?file=levels/doom2/Ports/s-u/swtw.zip) are 0.0, 0.880, 0.933 and 1.042 (average 0.952, discounting the outlier). So, not as high as 'Centurion Night' but still impossible to get 100% kills without infighting. In fairness, I don't think that's why I only lasted about ten seconds on map 2.

Of my maps, the one with the highest ratio is 'Medieval Castle' (http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/index.php?file=levels/doom2/Ports/a-c/castle3.zip) with 0.638, followed by 'Fish!' (http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/index.php?file=levels/doom2/Ports/d-f/fish.zip) with 0.599, and 'The Sewage Works' (http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/index.php?file=levels/doom2/Ports/v-z/works.zip) with 0.540. These are all Doom 2 maps with hitpoint-to-ammo ratios in the same ballpark as most of the maps in the Doom 2 IWAD so I'm happy with that.

Share this post


Link to post

Doom is too complicated for a simple monster/ammo ratio to give you the whole picture. It's perfectly possible for a map with a much higher m/a ratio have too much ammo, and for a map with a much lower m/a ratio have too little... for reasons people highlighted as soon as the first reply in this topic, your own topic!

I'll throw in a few others:

- enemy density. 5 hell knights together can be dispatched with 2 rocket boxes (10 rockets), likely with a few to spare. Those 5 hell knights fought 1 by 1 will take 15 rockets (3 each), assuming you never miss.

- weapon efficiency. The SSG fires 20 pellets with 2 shells. The SG fires 7 pellets with 1 shell (or 14 pellets with 2 shells). The plasma gun does around 25 damage per cell on average, or 1000 damage with 40 cells. The BFG can do about 3000 damage in one shot (40 cells), when used properly.

- enemy type. Cyberdemons and spider masterminds are immune to explosive damage, so rockets do less against them.

- enemy range, environmental hazards. Most Doom weapons are most efficient at close range, no matter how good your aim is. If you have a shotgun and you're facing an imp right in front of you in a small room, it's an easy one-shot kill. If that same imp is in an unaccessible area, perched on a high pillar in a large outdoor zone, walking back and forth between structures blocking line of sight, it's another story entirely.

- encounter difficulty. Just about anyone can one-shot an imp with the shotgun. How many players can 2-shot a cyberdemon with the BFG reliably? How many of those who can will pull that off against 3 cyberdemons at once?

- berserk pack. It makes you hit half as hard as a SSG shot, and faster, but it's also tricky to use. In some maps it could be worth more than all the shells and ammo boxes in the world, in some others it could be merely reduced to a healing item, and then there's everything in between.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Phml,

Thanks for your reply. I don't know how accurate WADWHAT is but I imagine that the following points are covered by the "maximum" element of "max ammo damage": weapon efficiency (e.g. assume BFG use if present in the map, assume SSG use if present), enemy range and environmental hazards (assume every pellet hits), encounter difficulty (assume perfect player).

As for hitpoints subtracted using the chainsaw, berserk pack and barrels, these are clearly not in the category of "ammo damage". I don't know what WADWHAT does about splash damage (I think this is what you were referring to with 'enemy density' and 'enemy type'). The most conservative approach would be to ignore it. I would compromise by assuming maximum damage on a single monster (e.g. an isolated imp).

Something you didn't mention is that ammo may not be provided in the right places to be useful! I don't claim that WADWHAT tells the whole story about the difficulty of a map, but I find that it provides a useful heuristic.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't claim that WADWHAT tells the whole story about the difficulty of a map, but I find that it provides a useful heuristic.


OK, fair enough. I can get a little too excited when words like impossible, trolling, crazy are thrown around. ;) Sorry.

The points I listed may not be all that important, at the very least when compared to infighting. It's hard to overstate how efficient infighting can be.

Share this post


Link to post
Phml said:

- berserk pack. It makes you hit half as hard as a SSG shot, and faster, but it's also tricky to use. In some maps it could be worth more than all the shells and ammo boxes in the world, in some others it could be merely reduced to a healing item, and then there's everything in between.

Also depends a lot on the player. I know in many Demon of the Well demos I've watched, he berserk punches things all the time just because it's fun. For some other players, it just means their weapon of last resort is more powerful if they run out of ammo.

Share this post


Link to post

Heh, this is one of those times where having lousy aim actually seems to be beneficial. Seriously, of the few maps I've posted around here, almost every FDA of everyone I've seen play my levels has way more ammo than I do. Apparently, my aim is really shit. D:

I usually just try to place ammo until it's "just enough", then add a little more on top of it. That pretty much maxes out my own capabilities as a player and gives me a small margin of error, while everyone else usually has a comfortable surplus.

Share this post


Link to post

I think I'd rather err on the side of too much ammo than not enough. I'd prefer increasing diversity of gameplay by varying ammo types, rather than strictly limiting ammo. For instance, in one of my only releases, I had fine-tuned the ammo so that if you play it a certain way (the way I played while designing the level), there was just enough to make it through. In reviews, and in retrospect, I realized I had been too stingy - my design required the player play the level exactly as I had done, even though I had tried to lend the level to approaching challenges with different strategies. So unless you guessed the correct strategy at the start, you were likely to run out of ammo at some point. That wasn't my intention at all, and if I could go back and re-release it, I would've included a berserker pack or a chainsaw at the very least. I hadn't taken different playstyles into consideration, and I think my map suffered for it. I mean, it's not the end of the world if you finish the level with a lot of ammo to spare, but running out of ammo could mean not being able to finish the level, and that's a shame.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm confused, geekmarine. You can go back and re-release it — just ask Ty to overwrite the original file in the idgames archive.

Of course, I can't promise that anyone will play the new version. :-) One of my maps is in its 14th iteration and I suspect that people read "release 14" in the title and think "I've had 13 chances to play this before" (which isn't true — it was only uploaded to /idgames for the first time recently) instead of "this must be really polished".

Share this post


Link to post

I had a look at the source code for WADWHAT 2.3 (02/16/98) and the method that it uses to compute the "maximum ammo damage" looks wrong:

   /** Ammo from all sources **/

    l = 20 * COB(2002) + 10 * COB(2007) + 50 * COB(2048) + 10 * COB(8) + 5 * COB(3004);
    wdam += l;                          /* Bullets */

    l = 8 * COB(2001) + 4 * COB(2008) + 20 * COB(2049) + 4 * COB(8) + 4 * COB(9)
     + 16 * COB(82);
    wdam += 7 * l;                      /* Shells */

    l = 2 * COB(2003) + COB(2010) + 5 * COB(2046) + COB(8);
    wdam += 20 * l;                     /* Rockets */

    l = 40 * COB(2004) + 40 * COB(2006) + 20 * COB(17) + 100 * COB(2047) + 20 * COB(8);
    wdam += 2 * l;                      /* Cell packs */
The Doom Wiki says that bullets inflict between 5 and 15 hit points of damage (not 1), shells inflict 35-150 hit points of damage (not 7), rockets inflict 20-160 hit points of damage (so 20 is a low estimate), and plasma rifle shots inflict 5-40 hit points of damage (not 2).

Thing 2004 is the plasma rifle, and it does come with 40 units of energy, as in the code above. However thing 2047 is an energy cell and it gives an extra 20 units (not 100), and thing 17 is a energy cell pack, which gives 100 energy units (not 20). It looks as though cell packs and cells have been swapped.

It's clear that the author is trying to count hit points using the same scale as in Doom, but the code is riddled with errors and "Max ammo damage" value displayed is nothing of the kind.

I might be tempted to fix this, but the last time I did work on a Doom editing tool I got no reply from my email to the maintainer, who may be dead or have lost interest for all I know.

Share this post


Link to post
cs99cjb said:

The Doom Wiki says that ... rockets inflict 20-160 hit points of damage

[/B]
It says no such thing. Against non-bosses, rockets do 148-288 points of damage (218 on average) with a direct hit, and the Wiki says as much (though the rocket launcher page fails to mention bosses' resistance to rockets).

Also note that back in the 90s it was not uncommon to measure monster toughness in terms of how many bullets it takes to kill them, rather than actual hit points.

cs99cjb said:

Thing 2004 is the plasma rifle, and it does come with 40 units of energy, as in the code above. However thing 2047 is an energy cell and it gives an extra 20 units (not 100), and thing 17 is a energy cell pack, which gives 100 energy units (not 20). It looks as though cell packs and cells have been swapped.

It sure does.

Share this post


Link to post
Foxpup said:

[/B]
It says no such thing. Against non-bosses, rockets do 148-288 points of damage (218 on average) with a direct hit, and the Wiki says as much (though the rocket launcher page fails to mention bosses' resistance to rockets).


http://doomwiki.org/wiki/Rocket says

A direct hit from a rocket inflicts a range of 20 to 160 hit points of damage (determined using Doom's pseudorandom number generator); the explosion may also cause additional blast damage.


I didn't take into account blast damage. Presumably your figure of 288 is 160 (direct) + 128 (blast radius) - 0 (blast distance).

Share this post


Link to post

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×