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Signature mapping style

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Here's something I thought would be fun to discuss that I don't think is brought up too often - what are the little flourishes you add to your maps that you think really stand out as your style? You know, those little signature details that, while others may do them too, you're really aware of when you're designing maps?

For me, it's techbases with lots of STARTAN, using DOORTRAK to break up walls when I need to change textures, wall lights that make a distinct "V" pattern in terms of area lighting (dark corridor, wall light with V of light coming off, followed by more darkness), little touches like extra doors that don't go anywhere just to make it seem more like a "real" place, skylights, and signs of ruin and decay (walls that have collapsed, ceilings with chunks taken out of them, etc. It's just something I've noticed, that anytime I make a map, these are the little details I always have to add.

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Some stuff from my own mapping I've noticed.

I've noticed I quite often fill as much space as I can so if there's some void in the middle of my level I will put a secret or alternative path in there. This means the map sometimes looks like an interconnected block.

The start place often is at the bottom of the level.

I rarely teleport a player to somewhere they cannot (at least eventually) walk to.

I ration keys and doors in some of my levels, something I've noticed more from my more recent stuff.

For architecture I reuse some ideas like beams accross the sky or pillars dropping down but I suppose these are generic enough to be in most mappers work.

I use catwalks quite often and raising bridges.

I use environmental hazards quite frequently. You'll probably see more crushers and damaging sectors than your average map.

I use quite a lot of orthogonal shapes. Hopefully not to the extent of being boring.

I've started littering levels with armour and health bonuses in my last few levels.

Generally quite low lighting levels

I favour use of brown support texture and the brown carpet like flat. They appear in most my maps.

That's l I can think of right now. Would be fun if anyone else has noticed any tropes in my level design - not that I expect anyone to have studied me!

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I put block monster lines on things like this so that monster corpses don't get up on them.

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step 1: draw curvy lines
step 2: flood fill with SUPP532C and cyberdemons
step 3: release.

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Ok, let's go with a different theme. Jungle maybe? Let's try those green textures... Hmm. Nah, I don't like it. Maybe these ones? Nope. Maybe light grey bricks would do, Mayan type of jungle. Eh... This looks so-so. Seeing as I'm going with bricks anyway, might as well use those brown ones. These always work. And ADEL_W53 for the supports would complement these bricks well. And some lava. Yep, got to have some lava in my indoor-only brown brick grey support Mayan jungle.

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I remember years ago making a thread like this to ask if I even had a signature style. Apparently non-linear layouts with inventive detail and structures was roughly my thing, but these days I'm not sure. I don't think I've ever really had a style that is definitively "Phobus", but I imagine people associate me with SNES game MIDIs and open level design.

I did one get a review saying "A typical Phobus map, looks great with lots of clever creative design ideas you've probably never seen before or would think of in a million years. Plays well and is an enjoyable challenge though not too difficult or memorable." which has rather fuelled my opinion of my mapping, despite being several years old.

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Some mappers have distinct design style or tendencies, while others not that distinct. I'm unable to recognize any mapping signature of mine, since I still have yet to develop a style that isn't crappy, so I keep trying different things. My only known tendency is to craft out simple shapes and then spend extremely long time sitting at the editor and more-or-less randomly changing shapes of rooms, wanting to make them look better. But this effort mostly turns out as pointless, and I guess that (for other people than me) it's unnoticeable from the resulting map, therefore not really a "signature style".

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Memfis said:

I put block monster lines on things like this so that monster corpses don't get up on them.

pfff i do that.

My mapping style has evolved a lot, and I don't really have much to show for any of my latest stuff, but I'm more often than not in a constant struggle to produce something that is concentrated with the best qualities of every genre of maps in a single map, even things that are almost entirely mutually exclusive.

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Phobus said:

I remember years ago making a thread like this to ask if I even had a signature style.

Hey, I remember years ago when you made an alternate account to ask if you had a signature style. ;P

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Xaser said:

Hey, I remember years ago when you made an alternate account to ask if you had a signature style. ;P

No... I made an alternative account to release levels under to see if anybody would recognise it was me. They didn't (although the first map was basically a '94 Tune-Up style thing, so that was cheating on my part) so I figured that was my question answered :P

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First secret in my map is usually the automap.
I use a lot of light textures for detailing lifts or some elevated or lowered areas where i place keys or weapons.
I usually give out shotgun pretty much at the start if not the starting area.
Most my maps usually feature texture scrolling effect.
I like to most of the time detail my doors with the doorstop texture where appropriate and make keycard indications seperate sectors near the door that are lowered form the ceiling and elevated from the ground so theres maybe 4 or 5 key color indication lights.

Can't think of more right now.

Don't know if all of these qualify as signatures but these are the things i do most of the time and at least few of them are not in other maps i've played. But im sure all of them are used before and some even used pretty frquently i think.

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Thinks of a good idea for a map, then it goes one of two ways
1. Idea progress, either map is finished quickly or slowly but the result is decent.
2. Creates lazy arena room with a symmetrical shape.

If result is 2, then lots of deserved hate from certain live-streamers. Unfortunately I think that signature is going to stick with me for a long time.

Simply put I should be banned from doombuilder when I have no genuine ideas :P

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Usually there's some areas that are very similar to something I've liked in some other levels. Sometimes I make them as secrets.

Door frames usually have one of the LITE textures, but now sometimes I make them without.

Metal pillars and supports are pretty fun too. Decorative brown blocks that could also have enemies on top, or to get flying monsters have some height.

Some liquid and sky.

And some big movement on the sectors after hitting a switch or walking over a line.

You can also find a soulsphere or megasphere somewhere, probably visible, even if not immediately accessible.

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Glaice said:

Ambushes/traps and pseudo-slaughter/high monster count.

Most of this stuff.

- Secrets that have more traps than prizes.
- Techbase style levels
- Hellbase style levels
- Lots of switches
- Computers everywhere
- V lighting
- Use of SUPPORT2/SUPPORT3 to separate different textures.
- Fake Exits
- Unorthodox room design (i.e, several square rooms with doors on each 4 walls leading to more square rooms and so on...)

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Yeah, like Memfis and 40oz, I always make window lines impassable to prevent corpses from looking stupid and sitting on the edge of them.

I try to make rooms have some breathing space, and not be too crowded to move about freely. I can't stand my earliest wad, UAC Rebellion, because I made everything waaaay too cramped in a misguided attempt at realism.

On that note, I HATE visual clutter (or what is called 'detail' by some newbies) because your eyes don't know what to be drawn to. A mash of colors a pretty map does not make. The only official map that even comes close to breaking this rule is Mt. Erebus - other than that, it seems your eyes always know where to look. This is not the case in a lot of NS crap I've played. It's even worse in DM - Gothic99 is pretty much unplayable for me, on the flipside, I like the older Gothic maps.

I try to make my maps feel "official" by building them at a roughly ID standard of detail, the only difference really being that I'm anal about texture alignment.

Oh, and little easter eggs, like changing what it says on computer panels and such. I'm addicted to doing that sort of thing!

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Unnecessarily huge maps with no sense of progression. The reason that my maps end up so big is because I have no clue how to utilize backtracking properly.

I also tend to keep a fairly barebones level of detail in my maps since I figure that the only detail that's really necessary is enough to convey an general idea/sense of place.

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-try to make the floor and walls neat to look at, but forget the ceiling a lot
-trying hardest to vary textures a lot, to prevent things from looking samey
-same with brightness
-oftentimes i curve linedefs into perfect circles to make circular thingies
-in my deathmatch maps, i've been putting some fractal thingie as well.

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Nothing special that sets my maps apart from others work, but these are some things I always (and never) do:

-generally low lighting levels

-always lots of gradient lighting and shadows

-I always have some kind of liquid in my maps

-I always (except for 1 map) have at least one outside area or at least a skylight and/or windows outside

-I never force the player to use the pistol, and out of all the 40 or so maps I've made only two contains a berserk opening, and only one a chainsaw opening.

-I never make realistic architecture (you know...chairs, toilets, beds etc.)

-always make maps that looks better than they play

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Taking ages to finish anything appears to be my most prominent style, heh.

Mine are things like:

    - Only very occasional and limited use of DOORTRAK texture since I think it looks ugly on anything longer than a 16 unit line

    - Taking a feature like 3D floors or rising stairs and going overboard with it to the point where it could be considered abuse

    - Borders on just about everything / pointless detail rape

    - Probably an above-average appearance of Revenants and a below-average appearance of Lost Souls and Pain Elementals

    - Usually very tight on health and ammo until someone complains and I add more

    - Often throw in secret areas at the end as an afterthought and need to stop that

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Title said:

Signature mappnig style

How fucking racist!

My signature mapping style appears to be: draw a few linedefs into a shape, get exhausted, add monsters, fart and after that promise to come back to it but never do. Remember these tips, sunshine. For DM (the mode I tend to be good at), I tend to make a map with more than one way to exit a room in order to increase flow. I also tend to put a weapon near a player start, but I always put the BFG and plasma in hard to reach places which often require a switch of sorts to get.

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My secrets are often afterthought as well. I don't think there's anything wrong about that, as long as the secret or the puzzle to get to the secret is interesting.

I hardly ever use DOORSTOP. Sometimes I use DOORTRAK in thin 4 unit borders around some lights. Like if I have a place that would fit a 24 wide LITE.

Usually I make a level "complete", and if it feels too short, I'll extend some area or add new areas. Though this is probably impossible to detect in the released versions.

I usually give player lots of bullets.

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Things I have noticed about my crap:

- Enemies are placed in "squads", usually resulting in hostile infights.

- The map usually centers around one or two main buildings.

- Hell Knights are Imp "squad leaders", Barons lead the Hell Knight "squads".

- Rare use of Lost Souls or Pain Elementals.

- Low secret count.

- Ceiling lights follow a octagonal shape that progressively goes down in light levels until it matches room brightness.

- Smaller and more compact areas for sake of simplicity.

- I like TNT and my stuff has been described as a more "refined" TNT style.

- Most maps are 90's/"Old School" styled, apparently something I am good at.

- Bumpy outdoors, trying to simulate ground imperfections and stuff.

- Hitscan everywhere.

- Linear, but open (extra areas to go, but they won't lead anywhere but extra crap).

- I like computers, I put computers in walls, I put terminals in places and other fun things.

- LITE is great, I like LITE.

- Marble sacrifice tables with BLOOD and BFALL associated with a Twitching Impaled Human, Impaled Human, Dead Player, Bloody Mess or Pool of Blood and Bones.

- BLOOD used around corpses, Pool of Brains, Pool of Blood, Pool of Guts and other niceties used in corpse "piles".

- Trees outside, trees fuckin everywhere.

- I hide little things within the map only cheaters or people who look at the wad file content before play will find.

- Loads of other stuff that I can't be arsed to mention that I actually put in on purpose.

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