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40oz

Reducing monster infighting in UV Max demos

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I'm mostly posting this for reference, but a while back it was mentioned that theres a disinterest in the way most UV max demos are conducted, in which it was described as plunging through toward the end of the map, then going back and cleaning up. I too, have been watching lots of maxes lately and have noticed that similar strategy to be a bit overused and boring for the watcher. I was wondering if anyone had put any more thought into it since, because I've been trying to think of ways a mapper can fight that strategy in hopes of making the fastest UV max also the most entertaining to watch. At the moment this is mostly just theory, I haven't actually hired any guinea pigs to be my test subjects or even made any maps that use these qualities to check if they're effective, but I have a few ideas.

1. Make the map too hard. Its the most obvious one, but if the challenge is hard enough that completing the map successfully warrants a valuable UV max, then I'm sure that's what most people will do.

2. Trapping the player. Doing anything you can to limit the players movement throughout the level might push him to kill monsters instead of let them kill themselves if he's unable to abandon them to themselves or orchestrate their movement. Puzzle solving, long lifts, slow moving floors, precision platform jumping, catwalks, etc.

3. Give the player valuable weapons and items early. If the player can kill the monsters faster than they can kill themselves, then the player will oblige, and it will reduce his need to collect everything on the map ahead of time.

4. Use alike monsters across large spaces. If the monsters can't infight, then they won't. Simple as that.

5. Keep the majority of monsters out of reach. If the monsters are immobilized by being in cages, on ledges, or in pits, then its trickier to use them for infighting and will consume more time to infight than for the player to just kill them himself.

Again, these are only options if combatting that commonly used strategy is interesting to you. I can't promise it will make your map more fun. But I don't doubt that such qualities make a map impossible to design in a fun way. There are plenty maps that (probably unconsciously) use these traits that can serve as examples. I think I've covered it for the most part. If anyone has anything to add, please do! :)

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I'm guilty of mapping like that, but this isn't accidental. I love the rush -> fight -> cleanup dynamic. Well, could do without the cleanup, but it's often a result of making the first two parts fun. Mostly, I love having options (be it for general play or demos), and if you leave the way entirely open and do high monster count maps, the most efficient approach is going to be a gigantic brawl.

UV Maxes where the player goes from A to B, killing everything in order with ruthless efficiency... Eh. No doubt an impressive performance, but when the challenge is about perfect mechanical execution, rather than managing overwhelming chaos, I lose interest, personally.

Of course there's room between the two extremes. Just pointing this out as a counterpoint to the thread's premise.

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Uh, I'd like to warn you about overdoing this. Infighting is one of the most entertaining things about UV maxing, at least from the player's perspective. It's absolute joy to manipulate monsters into doing your job for you. Keep in mind, good maxes don't come easy and there might be grinding involved (my Scythe maxes are all disgusting grinds). If you remove the random element of infighting, the map will always play the same and I'll probably get bored sooner than I get a really polished max. I can understand infights may be underwhelming for the demo viewer if the majority happens off screen and limiting that can and should be a goal, but working against infighting in general is a bad, bad idea. Slightly nicer UV max watching experience won't compensate much more boring gameplay.

#1: Valid. There's infighting in, say, skepland, but everything is so ballbusting that running through the map to provoke general chaos is out of the question. Downside? You are limiting your target audience. Not everyone is a Doomgod or a masochist.

#2: Valid, but controversial. Everyone likes a good arena fight, but if your map is nothing but arena fights, you're overdoing it and again, you'll lose people who aren't in love with such style.

#3: Oh, absolutely, but then you're losing the low key, tense gameplay and basically limit yourself to slaughter or attrition styles. Good for hard maps and/or late mapslots in megawads, not good for building up progression.

#4: No, no, no, no, no. Avoid like plague. Destroying hordes of a single enemy type cannot be your basic gameplay, it's going to go stale way too soon. Cleaning that out often feels like a terrible chore and completely doing away with infighting is detrimental to fun - see KDiZd. There's nothing wrong with micro-infights!

#5: Eh. Can work when used sparringly, but hard to reach cage snipers are more annoying than fun in general. Also I usually still manipulate other monsters to infight with them regardless.

Mix those ideas, sure, but don't overdo it and don't underestimate how fun infighting actually is. Viewer's experience shouldn't be more important than the player's.

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Hmm, to me utilizing monster infighting never seemed like a particularly fun part of uv-maxes. Here is my typical experience with it:

1. A baron and a mancubus in a room. Okay, I'm just going to stand behind the baron and wait for the mancubus to hit him.
2. Okay mancubus, now shoot.
3. Now shoot.
4. Shoot.
5. SHOOT YOU BITCH!
6. ... Okay, I guess he'll never shoot, but this baron keeps attacking me so I'm going to stand behind the mancubus now and wait for the baron to hit him.
7. NOW MANCUBUS SHOOTS AT ME?!

So yeah, never liked this aspect of speedrunning, but then again I typically don't plan anything and just improvise. I guess it is more interesting for people who actually put some thought in their demos.

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^That scenario is actually the best and funniest part of RNG giving you the finger.

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I personally like using monsters against each other when playing. My personal favorites are directing revenant missiles into imps, and using cacodemons as shields against chaingun guys.

I've just watched quite a few demos of some wads recently where the player pretty much ran through the map pushing all the way to the exit, which alone took about 6 or 7 minutes, then returned all the way to the start carrying a super shotgun and plasma gun and wiping out the last remaining monsters left over from the infighting. You don't even get to watch it happen, and its a bit of a drag to not see any of the good stuff. Personally I'd feel sort of gypped if someone were to do that in one of my maps. It's a bit uncomfortably common in some wads, especially with some megawads and episodes made by a single mapper where the gameplay style is mostly the same throughout. I'd be surprised to watch a really fun and interesting demo that the recorder admitted to be rather tedious, unrewarding, or frustrating, unless of course the demo is of the player dying a lot.

I wouldn't recommend overdoing this either. Because even a UV-MAX with no infighting whatsoever would also be a boring watch. These are just suggestions that might put a halt to that particular strategy being used in an entire map.

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Who do you want to please while mapping, players or demo watchers? Pick carefully. I personally don't care about the latter at all, I'm not even a demoer. Not everyone is.

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The uvmax goal is to do it as fast as possible, so if all the monsters are triggered by the player, it usually makes sense to run around like crazy triggering everything (as much as possible at a time that can be handled without too much difficulty). This maximizes infighting, and often bunches enemies up in groups, which can be mass killed with splash damage or bfg.

Another option I've used is have time trigger stuff, instead of the player. Put a dummy player 1 on a scrolling floor and a walk over line far down that triggers the next wave of enemies or next event. I usually end up enjoying the gameplay of these more than the player-trigger-stuff type. The latter has a route that is probably fastest, meaning you'll be running in the same basic path every time once you figure out the fastest one, whereas with time triggering stuff you can go wherever you want mostly. You could make the fastest route harder to figure out (but there still probably is a fastest one when you crunch numbers), like I remember hr11 not being clear what the fastest route was at first; at start one direction has ssg/rl, the other has a needed key, and you can skip the cybers and return w/ bfg. Clutter is another strategy, with corners/stairs/pillars/stuff around, enemies don't bunch up into mass splash damage targets easily. And since infighting exists, there's a sweet spot of how much distance you want visible at any time; a big open field will make everyone see and shoot you and infight whereas walls/pillars/heights reduces it. Maxing maps fast is often about where the bfg and cells are all located + the best place to bunch enemies (or the most rocket boxes). If you have nearly infinite bfg, you can kill faster then everyone else can infight usually, making infighting less of a help. In player-triggers-stuff maps, it doesn't really bother me much that the fastest route is sometimes triggering everything and returning.

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Couldn't secrets be used tactically to manipulate speedrunners? Since it's a max run the speedrunner needs to flag it to get 100% even if there is nothing useful in it, but the regular player can ignore it (unless they are one of those OCD players that has to max everything in the level). You could close off the secret if the player passes a certain point or collects a weapon crucial to cleaning up. Seems to be a bit of potential in this area to me.

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I just want to say that I find the whole assertion here rather preposterous. Reducing the player's options, punishing him for trying ambitious strategies, or making him use a predeterminined route with strict set-piece battles: all this leads to less interesting demos for players and watchers. Infighting is one of the best things in Doom, and making skilful use of it one of the player's main weapons.

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Since infighting is mostly the go-to strategy for most progressive, non-slaughter, non-arena maps, id argue that my suggestions such as traps and easily obtainable weapons expands your options.

I also forgot to mention usage of archviles, and pain elementals to be infighting resistant too.

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