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scifista42

Can you still see Doom enemies as "monsters" and not "pawns with specific AI"?

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I would like to point this question specifically to slaughter players and other advanced players. I've came to a conclusion that slaughter players no longer view Doom monsters as anything else than just "game elements with predictable behaviour". Looking at the revenant, they primarily see an enemy unit with dangerous homing attack, rather than a scary and ugly skeleton. Looking at a revenant horde, they primarily see a very challenging gameplay setup, rather than a menacing skeleton crowd.

Do you think there's any truth on what I'm saying? My point is, are you still affected by monster's ("realistic-like") visual appearance while playing, or do you disregard it in favor of effectively playing a game, a game with well-known rules?

Few months ago, there was a thread about using particular monster types. I can't find it now, but it was interesting to read. People have noted many tips how to use monsters to effectively take advantage of their behaviour, in order to create a challenge. But is there any mapper who would completely disregard this approach, and just put particular monsters into places where they visually / thematically / logically fit?

I admit that I think about monsters as "pawns with known behaviour" while playing the game. I know their attacks, their health stats etc. and use the knowledge while fighting. I can hardly be impressed by an atmosphere of a room simply filled with zombies, like if I was watching a horror movie with zombies, I take Doom as a game and zombies as the wimps. Maybe not all players have it like that (at least not always). Has anyone anything to say about it?

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Yeah, I still see DOOM enemies as monsters all right... in DOOM PSX I really do feel like Ash Williams from Evil Dead and I find myself quoting one-liners from Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness and getting scared by the monsters in the PSX version.....

Try out the PSX DOOM TC and the PSX DOOM Lost Levels and you will see what I mean man.... don't play it at midnight! Don't!

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AshWilliams43 said:

Yup, though does anyone else get scared or at least a little startled by PSX DOOM or DOOM 64?

Demons on PSX versions used to sneak up behind me in the dark and bite me, that was kind of scary.

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AshWilliams43 said:

Yup, though does anyone else get scared or at least a little startled by PSX DOOM or DOOM 64?


A combination of dim lighting and marijuana makes PSX/N64 Doom as frightening to me as it did when I was a kid. Without it, it's still loads of fun, but I think the altered state brings out that inner child in me that was legitimately frightened by the experience. The monsters still fee like monsters to me. When I map, I like to think about the how the enemies fit within the context of what I've created. Maybe two barons are guarding something from their world, or perhaps an archvile is preparing for a surprise attack. Maybe this place was occupied by a lot of humans that are now possessed. Perhaps arachnotrons are loners that prefer to keep their distance in isolated areas. Enemy placement can make the maps feel more alive, both literally and figuratively.

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In a word, no. I see them as health and attacking power, which I balance against my weaponry. I still identify them as monsters, but they don't do anything to make me view them as living things with personalities or intentions.

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I completely get what scifista's saying. I was planning to make a thread about this too, but I wouldn't be able to explain it as clearly and as in depth as this.

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GoatLord said:

A combination of dim lighting and marijuana makes PSX/N64 Doom as frightening to me as it did when I was a kid. Without it, it's still loads of fun, but I think the altered state brings out that inner child in me that was legitimately frightened by the experience. The monsters still fee like monsters to me. When I map, I like to think about the how the enemies fit within the context of what I've created. Maybe two barons are guarding something from their world, or perhaps an archvile is preparing for a surprise attack. Maybe this place was occupied by a lot of humans that are now possessed. Perhaps arachnotrons are loners that prefer to keep their distance in isolated areas. Enemy placement can make the maps feel more alive, both literally and figuratively.


Playing at midnight always makes it scary. Regardless of whether or not your stoned. The one thing that always scares me is those fucking Lost Souls man.... the Lost Souls, and PAIN ELEMENTALS!

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I don't think the two points of view are mutually exclusive, although I get where you're coming from in that as your knowledge of game mechanics increase, there is an element of immersion that goes away.

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While playing the game myself, I see doom monsters as pawns with AI. But, while making making maps I usually value the 'looking-good' aspect more than the power and health aspect.
PS: This question is interesting thing to think about.

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Depends on the kind of map I'm playing. In open slaughter maps it's hard not to start summarily seeing monsters as mechanically predictable automatons, to be treated simply as a great meat wall or even annoying obstacles.

In more tactical maps, when knowing the individual behavior of each monster species would be more beneficial, paradoxically I start viewing them as "monsters" again.

But that's what I like about Doom: on one map you may be slaughtering thousands of monsters with ease and suffer not as much as a scratch or bruise, keeping them far from you. In others, a carefully placed imp can just sneak up on you from a dark corner and fuck your shit up with a few scratches.

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Maes said:

In open slaughter maps it's hard not to start summarily seeing monsters as mechanically predictable automatons, to be treated simply as a great meat wall or even annoying obstacles.


And this right here, is primarily why I despise slaughter maps.

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I haven't been able to see the monsters as "monsters" since the first time I died in Doom only to see every monster on-screen stop in its tracks and do its little "walk in place" dance. It instantly shattered any illusions I may have had about the monsters being autonomous creatures in their own right, having any behavior or goals at all not relating to stopping me. I will say the infighting does help a little, though, if I'm really trying to pretend. It may seem kind of odd to say, but I've always wanted to play a game wherein the enemies had goals and whatnot beyond simply being obstacles to me as a player - that, you know, if you were to spectate them or something, you'd see them doing other things besides simply standing around waiting for the player to show up and kill them.

Seems kinda pointless and unnecessary, but I've always had an interest in artificial life, so I've always been kinda interested in the idea of playing a game wherein the enemies are more complex than simply reacting to what the player is doing.

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scifista42 said:
Few months ago, there was a thread about using particular monster types. I can't find it now, but it was interesting to read. People have noted many tips how to use monsters to effectively take advantage of their behaviour, in order to create a challenge.

Yeah, depending on the monster placement/usage they are sometimes scary!

Where is that thread?

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VGA said:

Yeah, depending on the monster placement/usage they are sometimes scary!

Where is that thread?


I don't know man, I saw it a few months ago before I registered. I don't really remember the name of it... but yeah...

Lost Souls and Pain Elementals are my worst nightmare.

Anyone who's played PSX DOOM or DOOM 64 knows what I'm talking about lol.

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Basically what phml said. The feeling of immersion hasn't completely vanished, usually in part due to what kinda mood I am in. But there are maps and sets where the monster usage makes the suspended disbelief kinda muddy.

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I still view them as monsters in any case and some atmospheric well made levels still creep me the hell out like for example Arcadia Demade.

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It's reasons like good monster placement that I love Doom. Ones like these:

http://i.imgur.com/5rEhPPT.png
*IMAGE TOO BIG FOR IMG TAGS - DON'T DO THIS AGAIN*

Taken from Earth.


Now, when I was about 4 and watched my dad play Doom, when he played the first level of Doom II (I thought Doom and Doom II were just one game back then), I noticed the weird stepping motion of the dormant Former humans, but didn't really take notice. Whenever Dad offered me a go, I'd be far too scared to even move!

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Hitpoints and attack patterns for me, as I don't care in the slightest about the "horror" or "atmosphere" aspects of Doom anymore.

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I think for me it depends on the context. If the in-game atmosphere and personality of the level / room / environment goes hand-in-hand with the monsters used, I can absolutely view enemies as actual entities. That's one of the reasons why I think looks matter. An empty box with a horde of Revenants is just that, an empty box with a horde of Revenants. But if there's an environmental context for a horde of Revenants, that's a different story.

Of course there's an element of knowledge of their stats but I believe it's up to the mapper to make sure the 'personality' (or something) of monsters is properly emphasized.

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Belial said:

Hitpoints and attack patterns for me, as I don't care in the slightest about the "horror" or "atmosphere" aspects of Doom anymore.


Because you're older, because you've been playing it for so long, or what?

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It's kinda dumb, but even when I run through my level with god mode and noclip to look at something or check if something works, I prefer to also "kill monsters" or do a notarget beforehand, because having the monsters roam around and attack me makes me just ever so slightly uncomfortable even when I'm protected by cheats.

scifista42 said:

But is there any mapper who would completely disregard this approach, and just put particular monsters into places where they visually / thematically / logically fit?

I usually take this into consideration at least a little when I place monsters. Not as much as I used to, though. Still maybe more than many mappers out there.

But the day I stop feeling any sort of atmosphere in Doom is the day I stop playing this game. Gameplay alone absolutely won't hold me.

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This thread got me thinking about some 'tropes' present in mapping.

You know those bands that play highly technical music? Extremely complex and difficult to pull off yet often lacking this 'something', the soul. Then we might have a band that plays technically inferior music but manages to reach far deeper with their direction.

Scifista42 asks for opinions of 'advanced' players. This got me thinking that a lot of the most experienced mappers are like those technical bands. That's why their maps are often so difficult. Because they're all about cold calculation and technicality of the fights. It's all about razor sharp challenge and carefuly prepared environments.

Perhaps at least some of those maps lack this organic element. When I play them I often feel like they were made by someone who calculates the purely technical aspect of enemy hitpoints, damage, supplies, etc, rather than a person that would say "wouldn't it be cool if a skeleton came out of this tomb?". And this thread kind of confirms that.

Maybe that's what I miss in many modern maps. Keeping enough technicality to make fun and interesting fights but leaving a room for this freeform design that's more focused on the atmosphere rather than challenge.

a note: this post is a generalization. Don't take it as "every modern map is like that" or "every mapper is EXACTLY like that" or something. It's just my train of thought.

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scifista42 said:

But is there any mapper who would completely disregard this approach, and just put particular monsters into places where they visually / thematically / logically fit?

I did that in Scourge, to an extent. Particularly on the alien planet, I gave Hell Knights a couple of pits and caves full of gibbed players to look like they ate there, with larger groups having a Baron of Hell as well. Likewise, I usually hid groups of Imps in wooded areas so they'd either attack from a distance or kind of emerge in a scattered grouping. I think I kept Zombies in built environments, for the most part, and would tend to use decorations to explain why enemies might be standing near certain areas, like Demons near damaged hanging victims and the like. Warpzone also followed some of these ideas.

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Maybe that's what I miss in many modern maps. Keeping enough technicality to make fun and interesting fights but leaving a room for this freeform design that's more focused on the atmosphere rather than challenge.


There is a constant stream of new mappers or people returning to Doom modding after a long break . Here's one such topic from today. If you want unbrindled creativity, there you go.

For me personally, the answer is no, it wouldn't be cool if a skeleton came out of this tomb; and even if I changed my mind, there's still more maps like this, starting with '94 levels, than I could possibly play in my lifetime. So I don't see much point in pining for a past age, if I truly wanted these things I could have them right now.

Sure, you can note this is a generalization or whatever, but I always find the cold calculating expert vs young newbie with heart trope more than a little insulting. In Doom mapping or anything, you don't know how much of themselves people put into their work. It's entirely unfair to make the default assumption there's no emotion if there is skill (and the similar assumption if there's no skill then there's emotion). It reeks of gold medal for everyone and it's disrespectful of the time and effort involved for those who do put time and effort into it.

You want to say it's more specialized or niche, or that it can't appeal to everyone, sure. But "no atmosphere, no soul"? Screw that noise. Just because something isn't designed for mass appeal doesn't make it cold. If anything, it's the other way around.

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