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Eris Falling

Untitled Boom wad - 2 map pre-alpha

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Yeah, I know just releasing 2 maps is kinda dumb, but after numerous false starts on maps for various projects, and after getting very bored in my D2INO map, I panicked.

So here's the first 2 maps from the Boom wad I've been working on. They've not been fully tested, and in PrBoom+, you get AASHITTY skies.
It's not of major concern to me right now, the maps are completable (apparently not XD), so my only concern right now is the quality of the maps' gameplay. Feeback specifically on that is much appreciated, anything else is a bonus.

Screenshots:




Download (requires cc4-tex)

inb4 boring

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SO MUCH OPEN SPACE.

Honestly, the use of monsters is very non-threating, unimaginative and uh, yeah... rather boring. Player always has plenty of space and group of monsters are always either directly in front of the player coming from one direction or in predictable places. The use of only low-tier monsters in first 2 maps seems reasonable but with how huge map02 is, it just seems silly and gets boring and repetitive very quickly. Also, the number of demons after picking up the chainsaw seems to be an overkill without ssg or stronger weapon (maybe berserk would be better and quicker?).

You should probably put into OP that the wad is supposed to be run with cc4-tex, too.

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I agree with him.^

The monsters present are entirely perfunctory, because they are so universally weak, and, apart from the shotgunners in map 02, largely ineffective given the huge amounts of space provided (although sometimes the zombiemen get lucky, of course). Apart from the imps in the columns near the shotgun in map 01 and some teleporting imps near the chaingun in map 02, all of the monsters that I can recall are also placed/deployed directly--there are never any traps or ambushes or even any flanking moves, it's always a straightforward standup fight. While there's a rudimentary aspect of height variation in the combat afforded by the sniping monsters perched in the landscape comprising the play area's boundaries in map 02, its impact is minimal, again mainly because the monsters are so weak and the player has so much room to move/dodge, but also because the monsters tend to be pinned in place (indeed, some of the imps near the entrance to the soulsphere secret in map 02 are literally stuck in place and unable to act) rendering them essentially low-HP target practice, and the map's action essentially one-dimensional. Additionally, in a theoretical scenario where the opposition survives for more than .87 seconds after the player encounters it, some of the architecture tends to funnel monsters down into the little gullies that line some of the main paths (e.g. around the edges of the long circular pathway around the central area in map 02), further hampering their ability to be a threat. That said, this little indignity of pathing AI is still probably vastly preferable to blanketing the map in monster-blocking lines, I for one certainly wouldn't want to see that.

A side-effect of this categoric lack of pressure is also that the thing balance (ammo, health, etc.) skews heavily towards the side of over-generosity. It's so unlikely that even an average player will take much damage or need to expend much ammo (since even the basic shotgun can mow down weak monsters by twos and threes when they are positioned in little phalanxes like they tend to be here), leading to eventual oversaturation even though you've mostly doled out the supplies in little clusters of smaller increments (e.g. clips instead of ammo boxes, blue potions instead of medikits, etc.).

Map 02 has a neat visual theme (nice texture/color combos) and a whimsical racetrack-style layout, but with the action being so sedate there's little cause for racing about--you need bigger monsters, a tighter balance, incoming fire of more types from more angles, more sudden monster deployment that requires the player to think on his/her feet, etc. OR.......you might actually do better with fewer monsters than you currently have and a more scavenging/miser/attrition bent to the action, sort of emphasize the exploration/atmosphere aspect.

Random aesthetic observation: the many waterfalls in the surrounding terrain in these two maps look really funky when their tops are flush with the edge of the rock that surrounds them--the ones that are more realistically inset a little ways below the edge of the surroundings look quite a bit better.

As an aside, I was not actually able to complete map 02 in prboom+ -cl 9, although I'm confident I saw enough of it to form a fair impression--killed about 85%-90% of the monsters and found all three secrets, but couldn't get the red key to lower, and encountered a pair of doors on the two sides of the southern tip of the circuit which simply would not open. This standstill may well be the result of my simply failing to solve a puzzle/navigate properly; I simply bring it up for posterity since you mentioned that the maps are currently not thoroughly tested (I sense the implication that you mainly tested in ZDooM from your OP).

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Well, damn. Still, called it. I'd rather I knew this now than at the end of like four years, so thanks guys.
Thanks for the catch KD, I was certain I'd missed something after I posted it.

With the red key in MAP02, I'd have thought at least one of those doors in the south part of the map opened. They both should, but the switch to lower the bars at the north end is in that room.

Anyway..
Not sure what to do with these now.
MAP02 did end up being a lot larger than I initially intended. It was supposed to be another small map.
I don't want to start bringing in mid-tier monsters so early on, so the only suggestion left is DotW's exploration idea, which I think sounds really neat, but I have no idea if that would work in practice.

The main WAD itself kind of relies heavily on story, so it's not even case of maybe I can move it to a later mapslot and modify it accordingly.
Perhaps I'll just scrap MAP02 and it do it again. Was MAP01 just as bad?

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I often go into things with the "gotta start slow and build up the action" mentality but then I realize how long it takes me to do things and how much I don't actually really care about that. sounds like you have some other reasons (story) to try to maintain this but nonetheless... something to consider I guess :p

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Just had a quick run through - not a considered approach as I'm supposed to be working :/ - however, I like the relatively slow pace; the first map in particular actually feels like a first map. The pace + theme give the maps a nice atmosphere, which seemed to be geared more towards exploration than standard 'run-n-gun' gameplay. I agree with others' comments about the way in which you've deployed the monsters, and I had the same issue as Demon of the Well with completing Map02 (but I didn't give it much time). Some of the rooms and settings were very nice I thought, and generally everything felt pretty cohesive (I've some nit-picky points which I'll try to get around to posting later). The layout of Map02 does elicit a sense of, "Right, that's that room done, onto the next one", which players may find a little tiresome. I think schwerpunk released a few maps with a similar(ish) outdoors/exploration theme and some interesting layouts - maybe check them out (thread).

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