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wesleyjohnson

Level concepts doc release

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I don't know what I love more about this guide:

The fact that it suggests you get a pack of tools that are completely outdated and irrelevant, the fact is is completely full of information you can find in a much better and more detailed format on the wiki, the fact that it starts off by saying that there are many different types of players in the doom universe then proceeds to give a clear cut list of 'do's and 'don't's that totally undermines that point, the fact that the actual mapping advice given (particularly in relation to map dynamics and monster usage) is pretty fucking terrible and the antithesis of fun, or maybe the fact that it's 74 pages long and full of random crap like "HOW TO MAKE A SIGN"

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Oh man, where to start. Well, I suppose the objective falsehoods are a good place to start. We can argue over the subjective stuff later.

The voodoo-doll position would vary with difficulty level (using the difficultly settings to select alternative voodoo-dolls), or could vary the number of voodoo-dolls on the scrolling floor. An EASY voodoo-doll could be placed on the left side of the scrolling floor, MEDIUM voodoo-doll in the center, and a HARD voodoo-doll to the right. The linedefs on the scrolling floor would be angled to vary the timing for the EASY, MEDIUM, and HARD voodoo-dolls.

Player starts (and hence voodoo dolls) are not affected by difficulty or game type flags. What you really need to do is teleport the voodoo doll, and have different teleport destinations for different difficulty levels. This same error appears later, in "Chapter: Adjusting difficulty level"

Voodoo-dolls (extra player1 start positions) can operate machinery and can be adjusted by difficulty. The Doom engine treats them as a player objects allowing them to interact with linedefs. The last player1 start position (by object index) is the player.

You mean player x start position, where x is a player who was present at the start of the map. In particular, player 1 is not guaranteed to be present in cooperative games, as he may have disconnected and the other players continued without him. In that case, player 1 voodoo dolls will not be spawned on subsequent maps. For co-op compatibility, there must be a voodoo doll for every player.

Monsters won't substitute for a voodoo-doll, as there are no walkover linedefs they can trip.

Monsters can activate linedef types 4 (door trigger), 10 (lift trigger), and 88 (lift retrigger).

Set the monster where it walks on its own towards the player. It can open a door, lower a lift, or push a switch. The monster will only press a switch if that linedef blocks its path to the player.

Monsters cannot activate any switch or button linedef types.

A sound tube from the area where the player is shooting will activate the monster remotely.

Sound tubes? People still use those over merged sectors? Well, I guess if it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid...

Closed doors sometimes seem to do their own sound block, but cannot be trusted. Monsters in a closed room will hear.

Closed doors (and similar constructions, such as platforms that rise up to the ceiling) always block sounds completely. Monsters in a room completely sealed off by closed doors (with no other sound path) cannot hear the player. However, monsters that are already awake may open doors on their own, allowing further monsters to be awoken the next time a sound is made.

Use 36 wide doors in a wider wall to slow monsters down. It takes a while for them to get lined up on the door. Use a 64 wide door and even the barons will come out after you.

The lost soul is the only monster in the game that is small enough to enter a 36 unit wide doorway. Although imps and zombies appear the same size as the player, they are in fact wider.

Two missiles will kill an arachnotron, so individuals are not difficult.

The chance of killing an individual arachnotron will two rockets is only 1 in 16. It almost always takes 3 or 4 rockets to kill an arachnotron. Against groups of arachnotrons, the blast damage will sometimes damage multiple arachnotrons simultaneously, reducing the number of rockets required, though this is of course true any time rockets are used against groups of multiple monsters.

Any editing of a level map will require running a node builder.

Not true; only altering a map's geometry (adding, deleting, or changing vertices or lines) requires rebuilding the nodes. Textures, lighting, sector effects, line actions and tags, and thing placement can all be altered without rebuilding the nodes.

Chapter: Blockmap Editing

What? What is this I don't even... I've never even seen a blockmap editor (WARM, mentioned in the text, has no such facility), nor have I ever seen a deliberately malformed blockmap used for special effects, and I have certainly never seen a renderer produce display artifacts when a bad blockmap is used (in fact I don't think any renderer uses the blockmap for any purpose at all).

Doom2 Map32: Keen, open door, tag=666.

This is not a function of MAP32. The death of all Commander Keens will open all tag 666 doors on any Doom 2 map in which they appear.

Radioactive slime:
On the sign could be a floor with little waves over it, in glowing green. Could be used to warn the player of the more fatal radioactive slime pits.

The stock textures already include "POISON" and "RADIATION" warning signs specifically for this purpose.

Use the GIMP native file format (xcf) to save your work. This saves all the work layers separately. This also saves with 32 bit RGB color which allows retouching after testing.

Not necessarily. It can save in any colour format that GIMP supports. In particular, converted Doom graphics will be saved in 8 bit format using Doom's palette unless you convert them to RGB.

There is a color that the tools will make transparent in the patches. It is used to make sprites and transparent textures. That color can be selected in one of the tools, but it is just easier to use the default color. The same color appears in patches converted to ppm (deutex, etc..). That color must be used as a solid background layer while drawing, or it will be very difficult to fix it later.

There is no transparent colour in Doom. Doom's image format encodes transparency separately, allowing non-transparent pixels to use any of the 256 available colours. This myth got started because early Doom graphics tools, such as the hopelessly outdated ones you recommend, converted images to and from the GIF format, which does require a transparent colour (and thus can only use up to 255 colours for non-transparent pixels.)

Most of this stuff is trivially verifiable, so I have to assume you never tested it at all and wonder where you got all this misinformation.

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Last but not least, fuck this crap:
- plain text file included in a ZIP
- said ZIP given as a file download
- on a crap site that wants to send me malware via Javascript modal message boxes.

Interesting document, anyway.

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Foxpup said:

You mean player x start position, where x is a player who was present at the start of the map. In particular, player 1 is not guaranteed to be present in cooperative games, as he may have disconnected and the other players continued without him. In that case, player 1 voodoo dolls will not be spawned on subsequent maps. For co-op compatibility, there must be a voodoo doll for every player.


Hmm, never thought about that before. What's the best way to do this, then? Seems like setting up separate machinery for each player could result in multiple events repeating and screwing things up. Can voodoo dolls be stacked on top of each other without causing problems? Or just need to place them one behind each other?

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Magnusblitz said:

Seems like setting up separate machinery for each player could result in multiple events repeating and screwing things up.

That's what non-repeatable actions are for. Though even repeatable actions cannot be repeated while the action is still in progress. If repeated actions will still cause problems, a non-repeatable teleporter can ensure that one (and only one) voodoo doll ends up were you want it.

Magnusblitz said:

Can voodoo dolls be stacked on top of each other without causing problems?

Voodoo dolls placed too close together will be stuck and unable to move, but effects not involving voodoo doll movement will still work.

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Foxpup said:

Closed doors (and similar constructions, such as platforms that rise up to the ceiling) always block sounds completely. Monsters in a room completely sealed off by closed doors (with no other sound path) cannot hear the player. However, monsters that are already awake may open doors on their own, allowing further monsters to be awoken the next time a sound is made.

Also, if the monsters are seemingly sealed, but still wake up, it won't hurt to check for merged sector-type "leaks".

Foxpup said:

Not true; only altering a map's geometry (adding, deleting, or changing vertices or lines) requires rebuilding the nodes. Textures, lighting, sector effects, line actions and tags, and thing placement can all be altered without rebuilding the nodes.

Probably a "doom builderism". Doom Builder 2 (I can't speak reliably of other editors and versions) runs nodebuilder after all kinds of edits.

Foxpup said:

There is no transparent colour in Doom.

Well, to be fair, that particular quote was telling about a color that "the tools will make transparent", which is accurate.

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Quite an amusing document, I mean it's just so against the modern trends it's almost funny. I obviously disagree with A LOT of stuff but I find it pretty interesting to read about your well-thought-out approach. Thanks for sharing!

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Da Werecat said:

Probably a "doom builderism". Doom Builder 2 (I can't speak reliably of other editors and versions) runs nodebuilder after all kinds of edits.

All full-blown editors do (in fact, they blow away any existing nodes when saving), though there are utilities specifically for replacing things and textures that never touch the nodes, since it's not required for those edits. (Though it's probably a moot point these days, now that everybody uses a full-blown editor for even the most minor edits since rebuilding the nodes every time no longer takes forever.)

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Memfis said:

Quite an amusing document, I mean it's just so against the modern trends it's almost funny. I obviously disagree with A LOT of stuff but I find it pretty interesting to read about your well-thought-out approach. Thanks for sharing!


Yeah, I get people are going to feel strongly against this, and of course criticism is always warranted; but personally, I'm glad to see people writing their thoughts down and going at length about it.

Even when you disagree with something entirely, having it all laid out makes a good starting point to articulate your exact argument, and in the process increasing your own understanding of the big picture.

More power to wesley, Tuxlar, etc. for doing this. Hopefully this is starting a trend. As far as I'm concerned, in an ideal world every Doomworlder would write a 100-page manifesto on their game design thoughts, and each of us would then be free to mix and match what they feel are the best parts in all of these different philosophies.

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Foxpup said:

Monsters cannot activate any switch or button linedef types.


You probably already know this but thought it was worth mentioning, that Monster's can simulate the operation of switches by themselves if a door they can operate uses a switch texture (E2M5: Command Center for reference, monsters operating switches)

Phml said:

Yeah, I get people are going to feel strongly against this, and of course criticism is always warranted; but personally, I'm glad to see people writing their thoughts down and going at length about it


Good point. There are many mappers here who I would be interested in seeing a similar document of their design ideals and philosiphies, even if totally subjective and opinionated or even misinformed. We can only learn from it, so if anyone is going to bash it, at least don't discourage them others from trying. In the current state of things, I'd have a good bit of stage fright sharing something like a 74 page document of "everything you need to know about mapping" etc.

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Foxpup said:

Monsters cannot activate any switch or button linedef types.

G1 & GR :)
But I know you were just talking about S1 and SR types.

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reading these things always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I can't shake the feeling that it takes some sort of ego to show up and detail "here's what I like in doom, you should do this!". It gets far worse if they're laid out as "rules", guidelines, do/do-nots, etc, or if there's the implication that they're speaking for anyone except themselves. No one's under any obligation to maximize the appeal of their map, suggestions aimed at accessibility have an uncomfortable sterility to them. "Well, our focus group showed that 65% of doomers have a moderate-to-negative opinion on insta-raising floors, therefore to increase quarterly revenue we advise you seek alternative methods of monster presentation."

But ehhhh, I'm probably reading into it too much. From a purely informational standpoint these are great I guess. The more opinions in the pool, the more impetus there might be for mappers to experiment with things they might not have otherwise...

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Where's the part about recklessly drawing 8 unit wide lighting gradients across multiple sectors at varying heights and angles? I don't see anything saying that the vast majority of your mapping time should be spent adding as much trim and visual fluff as possible. I am, quite frankly, disappointed at such an oversight.

Under my regime, undesirable, classic mapping methods will be vanquished. You will spend a minimum of 5 mapping sessions detailing one wall. Support3 will be the only god you pray to. Any map that doesn't exceed 40,000 side-defs will be denied entry to the kingdom of idgames outright.

Modern mapping standards are coming. You will adhere, you will.. obey!

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I found some people's reactions in this thread outrageous. wesleyjohnson shared a Doom design document of an unprecedented length and detail (I've never seen anything like this that would be even 3-4 pages long), and all he gets from you is a bunch of snarky comments because you were annoyed by the fact that someone on the internet has a different opinion on what makes a Doom level good. Clearly, this is not nice.

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Memfis said:

I found many people's reactions in this thread outrageous. wesleyjohnson shared a Doom design document of an unprecedented length and detail (I've never seen anything like this that would be even 3-4 pages long), and all he gets from you is a bunch of snarky comments because you were annoyed by the fact that someone on the internet has a different opinion on what makes a Doom level good. Clearly, this is not nice.


Considering the majority of its length is padded out by either factually false information, stuff that's already on the wiki, tips for using tools that are horribly outdated and no one uses any more, tips for doing things that serve no purpose, tips on using things outside Doom's scope; I don't think you can praise the length of this document.

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Memfis said:

I found some people's reactions in this thread outrageous. wesleyjohnson shared a Doom design document of an unprecedented length and detail (I've never seen anything like this that would be even 3-4 pages long), and all he gets from you is a bunch of snarky comments because you were annoyed by the fact that someone on the internet has a different opinion on what makes a Doom level good. Clearly, this is not nice.

Devastation wrote these, they're actually useful, but not entirely the same thing. There was also the ridiculous dissertation on how Greenwar 2 failed by rr.

wesley gets mocked, because his novel is insanely, needlessly detailed, yet misses the mark by a continent. It's like another Doom Bible, describing a dreamed up game that has nothing in common with the end product.

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As the theatre of the mind is more powerful than any WAD editor, authors are recommended to map a simple box. The lack of needlessly stratifying design and detail stimulates the imagination of the player, allowing him or her to experience their own unique masterpiece.

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I think Wesley is maybe getting too much negative feedback for this. I took a quick glance and although I didn't look in too much detail it doesn't seem *that* bad.

Tarnsman said:

stuff that's already on the wiki

Wesley does actually cite the wiki as a source for some of this information. Even if it's documented on the wiki, there's value in having a structured guide that someone can read through to learn. Encyclopedias aren't the only way to learn things, and they aren't always the best way either.

I guess a good question to ask is who this is targeted at. The fact that it suggests tools to use suggests it's supposed to be something that complete beginners can use. But it isn't structured in such a way; it leaps into high level concepts about story and style without explaining basics. If the assumption is that the reader has already learned the basics and how to use an editor then why waste time recommending tools?

One criticism I'd make is the fact that this guide presents itself in a factual, authoritative tone but does not distinguish between fact and personal opinion. A simple example:

The plat texture is not a great texture for lift sides. I do not know what
it is supposed to represent, and it does not work well in odd sizes.
Use a silver texture, or a streaky texture, or a plain dirty texture.

Plat is the standard elevator texture, so this is a pretty contentious, narrow personal opinion.

I think this would work much better if it was presented honestly as "my personal philosophy on mapping" rather than an authoritative guide for other mappers. I get the feeling that this is the source of a lot of the hostility in this thread toward it.

Finally I agree with printz:

printz said:

Last but not least, fuck this crap:
- plain text file included in a ZIP
- said ZIP given as a file download
- on a crap site that wants to send me malware via Javascript modal message boxes.

This would be much better if it was put onto a site that allows people to attach comments to text. You could do this with a Google Doc for example, although my personal recommendation would be to use Github.

Another good idea would be to break this up into several pages and just put it on the wiki. Let other people improve upon it and add their own ideas. It would certainly be good to have some new fresh content for the wiki. But to do that you should decide what this document is: is this really a definitive guide to level design (for which a collaborative effort could be really useful, though you'd have to give up creative control), or just "my personal philosophy and preferences on Doom level editing" (in which it wouldn't)?

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Memfis said:

I found some people's reactions in this thread outrageous. wesleyjohnson shared a Doom design document of an unprecedented length and detail (I've never seen anything like this that would be even 3-4 pages long), and all he gets from you is a bunch of snarky comments because you were annoyed by the fact that someone on the internet has a different opinion on what makes a Doom level good. Clearly, this is not nice.

Oh, yes, it's incredibly god damn rude, and unnecessary.

"Oh no, you didn't just post your hard work on the web, for free? Shame on you." It seems to come from the same tired set of posters. I can picture: acne-fill, frowny faced, 300-pound angry teens, in their parent's basement, butt-hurt from getting beaten down, day after day of their unproductive lives. "Hey, no one can beat me up on the web, so let me spread some piss." How's that for non-productive criticism?

If the intent is really to help, send a PM with suggestions, or, at least, be nice about it - jeez.

EDIT: And, yes, some people were being constructive - you know who your are, and are, of course, excluded from my fight against evil :)

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kb1 said:

Oh, yes, it's incredibly god damn rude, and unnecessary.

"Oh no, you didn't just post your hard work on the web, for free? Shame on you." It seems to come from the same tired set of posters. I can picture: acne-fill, frowny faced, 300-pound angry teens, in their parent's basement, butt-hurt from getting beaten down, day after day of their unproductive lives. "Hey, no one can beat me up on the web, so let me spread some piss." How's that for non-productive criticism?

If the intent is really to help, send a PM with suggestions, or, at least, be nice about it - jeez.

You may have had slightly more of a point here had you not immediately shifted gears from scolding other posters for being 'too rude' to saying 'well they're all probably useless ugly fat pieces of shit anyway LOL!!!'

I would be genuinely curious to see if any WAD in Doom's 20-year history has lined up with the bizarre, counterproductive requirements set out in Wesley's manifesto.

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kb1 said:

Oh, yes, it's incredibly god damn rude, and unnecessary.

"Oh no, you didn't just post your hard work on the web, for free? Shame on you." It seems to come from the same tired set of posters. I can picture: acne-fill, frowny faced, 300-pound angry teens, in their parent's basement, butt-hurt from getting beaten down, day after day of their unproductive lives. "Hey, no one can beat me up on the web, so let me spread some piss." How's that for non-productive criticism?


Your mother gets paid for sex with dirty hobos. Happy now?

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hi btsx\dtwid\32in24\irc gang, it was a pleasant surprise to see you coming here

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Memfis said:

hi btsx\dtwid\32in24\irc gang, it was a pleasant surprise to see you coming here

Thanks for your contribution Memfis, your passive-aggressive grudgeposting is as laughable and transparent as ever.

Knock it off. Official warning.

EDIT: Let's please not turn this thread into "post your weird youtube videos", thanks everybody

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Memfis said:

hi btsx\dtwid\32in24\irc gang, it was a pleasant surprise to see you coming here

conspiracy theory: doom community members that go to a doom community irc channel also go to a doom community forum

ignore the fact that it's linked in the FAQ!

EDIT: oops I'll stop

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esselfortium said:

You may have had slightly more of a point here had you not immediately shifted gears from scolding other posters for being 'too rude' to saying 'well they're all probably useless ugly fat pieces of shit anyway LOL!!!'

You're right, of course :) I couldn't resist. Funny that some people responded...Hit near to home, anyone? Being insulted sucks, by the way.

* Mogwai - are they any good? Couldn't really tell from the compression/feedback thing.
* "Your mother gets paid for sex with dirty hobos. Happy now?" If that were possible, yes, I would be.
* "u..can't spell" Huh??
* "btsx/..." - not familiar with that combination of terms. Diggin 'dtwid', though.

I haven't read the document yet, but I do know that wesley tries to better the community, so, compared with shit-slingin', he gets my pre-vote by default. I'm sure some of it is opinionated - what isn't? The veterans will know which is which, and newcomers can benefit from the opinion of a veteran Doomer. Win win.

Thanks for the contribution - I'll be checking it out this weekend!

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I'm not really dogging Wesley. It's just a little like trying to write a definitive guide on how to be an abstract artist within a contrived set of guidelines that people have grown comfortable with.

It would be more beneficial to write a document that helps new mappers understand that they have tools at their disposal that can be modified in near limitless ways to create something unique from their imagination.. not a doctrine of farty conservative mapping standards, boo.

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Memfis said:

hi btsx\dtwid\32in24\irc gang, it was a pleasant surprise to see you coming here


you just jelly they didn't want you in their club

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