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scifista42

Run And Gun

Do you play run-and-gun style?  

67 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you play run-and-gun style?

    • Yes, and I want all maps to allow me playing like that, otherwise they're not good.
      3
    • Yes, I prefer playing like that, and I prefer maps that allow me to do so.
      17
    • Yes, sometimes. I enjoy it when I do.
      26
    • Yes, sometimes, but I prefer another playstyle.
      9
    • No, I don't.
      4
    • I don't see what you're talking about.
      4
    • Your assumptions are wrong.
      4


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(this thread is in Wads&Mods because polls can't be posted in Doom General)

There are many ways how to play maps, and I believe that they correlate with the way how the maps are designed. I wanted to discuss one of these styles in particular - let's call it a "run and gun" playstyle.

What is "run and gun"? A very enjoyable adrenaline-pumping playstyle. You run through the map fast and there's constant action of killing monsters and evading their attacks. But there's more in it: In well-designed maps, you're able to perform run-and-gun somewhat very naturally, intuitively and partially mindlessly, you don't have to think about your moves, you don't have to bring full attention of your consciousness into the game you're playing... I'm speaking for myself, of course. Does anyone have it the same, at least sometimes?

I've noticed that I can play that way very well in a certain kind of maps. And these maps are widely considered to be quality ones. I'm talking about the kind of maps like Skillsaw, Jimmy or Esselfortium make, maps in BTSX, D(2)TWID and so on. I wonder, are they really designed with that playstyle in mind, and purposefully polished for it?

I've also noticed that average or beginner's map are different: I can't really play them run-and-gun style. Much more camping and/or thinking is involved. But is it really a sign of "objectively lesser quality" compared to the kind of maps I've described above? I'm genuinely not sure, it's strange to think that way, but there might be something in the idea. On the other hand, of course that other playstyles should be allowed! I've just thought: Should run-and-gun in particular be allowed (or even encouraged) in every map that wants to be considered a quality one?

Lastly, I've realized that while I thoroughly enjoy run-and-gun playability, it doesn't seem to be compatible with my own mapping style. Again, is it a thing that wordly should be improved? But whatever your answer is - since I like run-and-gun, I'd like to try it. I'd appreciate if anyone could share his experience and mapping advices to create such a gameplay in a way that actually works and is enjoyable, like I know it from some certain maps.

tl;dr - I want to discuss whether you play run-and-gun style, whether you consider it a pinnacle of goodness that all quality maps need to be accustomized for, and whether you can give away any mapping tips of how to make a good map for a run-and-gun playability.

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i enjoy "run and gun" style maps, and i try to make maps i enjoy: so i make run and gun maps. for a while i couldn't, i hit those same things you mentioned about beginners' maps, so i played a bunch of skillsaw maps til i learnt the traits that made them play the way they do ;)

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I think the more diversive a Doom player you are, the more styles you like to try out. run and gun could be more fun the more you know about the map you are running and gunning I guess. but I'm a thinker who needs to find a tactic to win a situation, so this isn't something I would do regularly. I would rather play a set that doesn't force run and gun than one that does (there aren't many, but there are some).

[scifista42 said:
In well-designed maps, you're able to perform run-and-gun somewhat very naturally, intuitively and partially mindlessly, you don't have to think about your moves, you don't have to bring full attention of your consciousness into the game you're playing...


"mindlessly" is kind of a bad thing to say too, and probably the reason I don't like run and gun in the first place. what if you were to run around only to get squashed by bigger monsters that just got alerted to your presence?

also for the longest time, I thought that was what RNG actually stood for.

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Getsu Fune said:

I would rather play a set that doesn't force run and gun than one that does (there aren't many, but there are some).

Force run and gun? Which particular maps do you have in mind? I can't imagine how a map would "force" a free aggressive playstyle, unless you mean that kind of maps where the player is constantly chased by monsters with nowhere to hide for a second without getting hardly slaughtered. I differentiate this "evasion" kind of maps from maps than simply encourage run-and-gun, where the player (mostly) feels that he's the king of the field and he can afford to keep fast pace - he can stop or slow down anytime he wants, but the thing is that he doesn't want to.

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You mentioned saying that the beginner maps are less run-and-gun, and more campy and make you think. I agree that they are less run-and-gun, but not less strategic. In fact, I think a good run-and-gun map forces the player to constantly be thinking about how to traverse the map, it's not mindless at all. That's part of what I think makes plutonia, speed of doom, av and other maps that suport this play style so much fun. You are thinking about what you are doing, you just have to do it faster.

Its what I like to encourage in my maps.

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scifista42 said:

I differentiate this "evasion" kind of maps from maps than simply encourage run-and-gun, where the player (mostly) feels that he's the king of the field and he can afford to keep fast pace - he can stop or slow down anytime he wants, but the thing is that he doesn't want to.


I might need a distinction of what types of maps are "run and gun" and what maps aren't to get a better idea of how you are using the word.

It sounds like you are talking about maps that are like the traditional casual iwad maps, particularly doom 1 and 2, where you can stroll through them at a casual pace and not have to power grind them for strategies. The most you have to do in them is watch your health every now and then and maybe play cautiously if your health got low. But they always had ways to provide the player with ways to play cautiously if they desired so - the maps had a large scale, but still had ways to take advantage of the map geometry as a crutch for what I think other people call "cover based gameplay", where your gameplay style is more Halo-like.

The last mapset I played was Resurgence, which had many maps where the gameplay forced you to play to the maps like a Mario Kart racetrack (i'm thinking of Technoprison 2 right now). You basically run constantly, but watch your step every now and then due to archviles that were put there to make the fight non-trivial (those darn Mario Kart banana peels and shells you have to dodge). I actually considered this to be "run-and-gun" because you are constantly running and can't afford to stay still. I enjoyed the crap out of these maps, but I had to mentally prepare myself for them and acknowledge what I was getting into, and I didn't stand a chance at them unless I drank a cup of coffee that day.

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scifista42 said:

Force run and gun? Which particular maps do you have in mind?


some slaughterfest-style map had this some time ago (can't remember, maybe it was in SF2011 or something). probably not the best example, but one I thought of, since I remember running around for a weapon only to find a lot of grub. then again, some of the more modern slaughterfest-like mapsets I've played practically make you run across a field of monsters to find a decent gun and/or BFG9000.

also basically what sudo459 had said. as far as your question of making a map in run and gun style, I think I vaguely remember making something like that, but not really enjoying it. perhaps I'm too easygoing as a player and a mapper.

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Would you agree 'run and gun' is the default Doom play style? KDITD certainly matches the definition you provide, as do many other IWAD maps.

I ask because I find it difficult to pin this style down unless it's compared to the other more obvious styles such as slaughter maps. What style would you describe those levels made by new mappers that you refer to, for example? You say they are not run and gun style maps but maybe they are just bad run and gun style maps?

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NoisyVelvet said:

It sounds like you are talking about maps that are like the traditional casual iwad maps, particularly doom 1 and 2, where you can stroll through them at a casual pace and not have to power grind them for strategies.

Not necessarily. The maps can be hard, but still possible to run-and-gun if you can react fast enough - as opposed to maps where your movement is restricted by heavy dangers waiting behind a corner, so that you better "pop and shot" rather than run and gun.

Getsu Fune said:

slaughterfest-style map[/B]

purist said:
[B]Would you agree 'run and gun' is the default Doom play style? KDITD certainly matches the definition you provide, as do many other IWAD maps. I ask because I find it difficult to pin this style down unless it's compared to the other more obvious styles such as slaughter maps.

Some slaughtermaps can't be played run-and-gun style, whatever your skill is. Some slaughtermaps can be, but it requires a certain amount of skill, varying in different slaughtermaps. I think that the latter type (you've called it modern) is what I'd consider the "quality" one - no, that's what I'm actually asking here, if other people have the same opinion whether it's really a sign of quality, and whether it's a sign of quality always. I'm reluctant to believe that it is, I can enjoy non-run-and-gun maps as well. That's why I'm also reluctant to call it a default Doom playstyle. In fact, I'd vote option 3 in my own poll.

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scifista42 said:

I've noticed that I can play that way very well in a certain kind of maps. And these maps are widely considered to be quality ones. I'm talking about the kind of maps like Skillsaw, Jimmy or Esselfortium make, maps in BTSX, D(2)TWID and so on. I wonder, are they really designed with that playstyle in mind, and purposefully polished for it?


I can't speak for Essel, Jimmy, or other BTSX mappers but yes, I do consciously design my maps with a "run and gun" style of play in mind.

If you want to make your own maps of this style, some guidelines off the top of my head are...
1) Be generous with health and armor so the player doesn't feel like they have to camp and savescum all the time.
2) Don't make doors, EVER, except for locked ones that gate progression. Doors are fucking terrible for gameplay and encourage more camping than anything except...
3) Hallways. Don't make hallways. Especially hallways full of doors.
4) Do build around big, open, central areas that connect everything together.
5) Do give the player plenty of space to move... like 128 units wide at minimum, but generally aim for even more space.
6) Now that you've done that, put in monsters until your map no longer feels empty.

Of course these are just guidelines, and sometimes it's better to bend or break the rules. There are always exceptions.

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skillsaw said:

I can't speak for Essel, Jimmy, or other BTSX mappers but yes, I do consciously design my maps with a "run and gun" style of play in mind.

If you want to make your own maps of this style, some guidelines off the top of my head are...
1) Be generous with health and armor so the player doesn't feel like they have to camp and savescum all the time.
2) Don't make doors, EVER, except for locked ones that gate progression. Doors are fucking terrible for gameplay and encourage more camping than anything except...
3) Hallways. Don't make hallways. Especially hallways full of doors.
4) Do build around big, open, central areas that connect everything together.
5) Do give the player plenty of space to move... like 128 units wide at minimum, but generally aim for even more space.
6) Now that you've done that, put in monsters until your map no longer feels empty.

Of course these are just guidelines, and sometimes it's better to bend or break the rules. There are always exceptions.

The guidelines sound pretty simple and reasonable. But seeing them written, by a person who knows what he's talking about, is a different thing than just imagining how it could have been like. Awesome. Thanks!

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Good thread.

skillsaw said:

6) Now that you've done that, put in monsters until your map no longer feels empty.


"Disregard monsters until your map is complete."

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XCOPY said:

"Disregard monsters until your map is complete."


That isn't exactly what I meant, heh, but I suppose you could make an argument for that: give a mapper who understands monster placement a well-made but unpopulated layout that they've never seen before and they'll be able to make it play well, because the decisions you make when designing the layout have more impact on whether the map ends up being good or not than the decisions you make while doing thing placement.

A better way to say what I meant for 6) was "Since you're building with the intent that the player can move around freely, you need to actually put in enough monsters that the player feels threatened or else the map will feel empty and boring." That requires that you playtest your map until you actually find that balance.

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WildWeasel said:

I stick to cover and often get frustrated when maps don't give me anything to duck behind.

It's fun frustrating players who stick to cover. :D

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Not when you trap the player in a big open area with 10 chaingunners (or any other hitscanner) placed in different locations with no monster to use as a cover against them.

goddamn CC4 map01 (uses shotgunners and zombies instead).

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Only on slaughtermaps that give you the BFG right at the beginning (like Scythe map26 "Fear" or Scythe 2 map28 "Nightmare")

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WildWeasel said:

I stick to cover and often get frustrated when maps don't give me anything to duck behind.


I use cover in my maps to give the player a breather, but I make sure to keep the pressure on still by allowing the monsters to be able to flush the player out of cover.

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I voted "No, I don't", because I play defensively most of the time. Running around mindlessly into ambush after ambush is a good way to get killed. Nothing wrong with lots of action, though.

Also, incessant saving and loading is a sure sign of weakness. Example:

"Bohoo! The map is too difficult, so the author is forcing me to 'savescum' here! Waaah!"

How can a map author possibly force you into cheating? You make that choice yourself!
Getting killed repeatedly should mean that your current tactics and playstyle need to be changed in order to overcome the obstacle. At least if one's a sensible person...

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Yes, saving a game is cheating and not because the game developers know games are not fun without it, or not everyone having the time to play it in one go, savepoints ? *cough*

Voted for option 2.

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I guess it's all about keeping the situation interesting and engaging for the player, IMHO. For example, if you're running around a huge room, taking out a big herd of Barons or whatever, you reach a point where you get into a rhythm and it gets repetitive. End of the fight, please! Move on to something else.
Sometimes it's fine to run and gun, sometimes it's fine to camp, depending. Sometimes it's nice to have a moment to breathe and call your nerves back. I think a mapper's skill is in providing an appropriate balance where the player feels challenged but not unfairly so, and where situations of extreme action, tension and calm are paced so that the game doesn't get boring. Also to avoid using the same repetitive themes over and over...
And this may be just my thing, but please avoid annoyingly complex puzzles or long tedious switch hunts. Doom is mostly about shooting stuff, you know. Not running around an empty castle for hours looking for that missing 13th switch, hidden away in some dark corner...

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scifista42 said:
I differentiate this "evasion" kind of maps from maps than simply encourage run-and-gun, where the player (mostly) feels that he's the king of the field and he can afford to keep fast pace - he can stop or slow down anytime he wants, but the thing is that he doesn't want to.

Something like... in an "evasion" map, the threat of violence pushes you out of areas and away from monsters; in a "run and gun" map, the promise of violence pulls you into areas and towards monsters.

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I prefer when maps have moments of safety to plan a route through monster hordes. But at the same time having the option to recklessly run around isn't bad especially when you have the option to slow down.

I guess I'm really not as skilled as some players and I'm not above "savescumming" when I'm not familiar with a map and feel I might die. My reasoning is that if I'm going to be dying repeatedly I'd rather not replay sections that I've already cleared especially if the map is some huge trek.

But this has made me think about how a lot of players probably don't like stop and go type maps. I guess the balance is having the option to run and gun or play slow and methodical.

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This is exactly the style of gameplay I'm trying to get in my maps at the time. Although it features most of skillsaws tips, (it could have a little more health and armor maybe), Scifista feedback was "slowpaced, tipical Darch" heh. Guess I tried to force this run and gun gameplay, which seems to be not as fun as just allowing it. The map was too open so you were chased from every side, and very non linear so you could meet high HP monsters before you get heavier weaponry, which slowed down the pace in Scifs' case.

Voted for option 2.

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skillsaw said:

2) Don't make doors, EVER, except for locked ones that gate progression. Doors are fucking terrible for gameplay and encourage more camping than anything except...

My attempt at making a Skillsaw-style map flow in Impure Offering confirmed for total failure :(

EDIT:

XCopy said:

"Disregard monsters until your map is complete."

This is actually how I work for the most part. I'll toss a few monsters around here and there (mainly for a sense of scale), and I'll obviously have a rough idea of "something" in mind for certain ares when I'm making the layout, but I tend to make the layout first, run around it a bunch to figure out what path I want the player to take, then add keys and remove passages as necessary to create that path (so far, both of my released maps layouts were loosely based on old Unreal Tournament deathmatch maps, so they were a bit too easy to get everywhere in the map without me tossing some obstacles around/removing some paths), and then start figuring out fights once I've done that.

If your map isn't fun to run around without any fights, you've probably failed (unless you're a Death-Destiny calibur genius for encounter design, which I certainly am not). It needs to have a sense of being fun to move around in for the sake of moving around -- then you can design wicked fights on top of it.

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Olroda said:

How can a map author possibly force you into cheating? You make that choice yourself!


Savescumming is cheating? Since when? It's a feature of the game as originally released, as opposed to something like God Mode, and other cheat codes, which were discovered later.

Savescumming is a valid play technique, just like camping. Players can do what they want. I think it's valid to say that a map might encourage too much camping, but that's a long-running debate. ;D OTOH, I do not think it's valid to say a map is bad because it calls for too much savescumming, because that's the same as saying it's "too hard," and IMO, "too hard" is never a valid criticism, at least when difficulty settings are enabled. If a player finds a map too hard on UV, the proper response is not buttrage against the map, it's to lower the difficulty to something more appropriate for your skill/patience level. Even then, a map may be too hard -- even on ITYTD -- for some players, in which case, the proper comment for such players should be, "It's too hard for me," because sure as shit, the mapper will be able to point to players who successfully FDAed that puppy. To be fair, I plead guilty to my own share of unjustified buttrage against maps over the years. I've learned my lesson. ;)

I savescum because I'm not a genuine UV-quality player, but I like to get smacked around in a map and die a lot, but at the same time, I don't want to play over and over again from the start since, like anyone else, I have limited time for the Doom hobby, so whenever I die, I open up my last save and go from there. Lack of the ability to savescum in other games, such as Bungie's Marathon 2, is just one of the many reasons I severely disliked that game, in spite of certain technical superiorities it had over Doom.

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Skillsaw's comments on doors (and hallways), I think, are the main reason why the "average or beginner's maps" aren't usually conducive to run-and-gun - they're usually full of door-room-door-room or heavy hallway design, and doors really slow the player down and generally force him to take the monsters one room at a time.

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I agree with Magnus and Skillsaw -- doors suck. And doors that don't open, unless they're key doors, suck even more. I prefer to use bars in place of doors that won't open, because they tease the player by giving a peek at the next area.

I think Skillsaw's guide is excellent advice. I know that the maps I made back between '96 and 2000 -- The Hellmaker Years -- were a lot more room-hall-room with mostly incidental, though occasionally severe, combat. At least I had high monster counts by Ancient Doomer standards, but sometimes, especially when using too many mid-tiers, that could make them a bit sloggy. I overwhelmingly prefer fast-paced giddy-up combat these days.

There's still more than one way to accomplish that. A mouldy or Cynical map might be all-out war from beginning to end, while a Demonologist or Ribbiks map is more start-stop, giving you a chance to prowl the area and think of strategies, and then they drop the Chrysler Building on you. Love that kinda stuff. Yet, I still have a fondness for old-fashioned exploration and secret-hunting.

The search for a proper balance never ends. ;)

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