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Xegethra

4 Doom gets an update.

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Hello there!

I decided to update my maps a little bit. So I made a new topic as opposed to bump an ancient one.

This time round they use a lot of custom content, I've been cannibalising textures from Doom 1 and 2 to make some new ones. There is also a couple of new enemies. I have also placed a lot of sign postage in the base levels but they are only really for aesthetic reasons, while they may help guide you around they are not needed.

To play my levels you will need Doom 2 as the IWAD and to load up Doom 1 when you play, as my levels use Doom 1 stuff. My WAD works in Zandronum and GZDoom, however if you want to try other source ports then go ahead, but I can't guarantee any success. People have also mentioned in some areas that it can get a bit too dark, because of my settings I suppose I never had this problem, just make sure ALL usual lighting settings are set to default, have dynamic lighting on, then turn off all forms of fog, have ambient lighting on at least one of the first 3 notches and have the theme to either dark or doom. I cannot speak for people's monitor settings though, but as far as my in game light settings are that's it

4Doom, latest so far.

4Doom, latest so far on Dropbox

So to start here are some screen shots. Of course other peoples games will look different depending on what settings they have.

Level 1 - U.A.C. Base - Tech Level

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Level 2 - U.A.C. Base - Office Level

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Level 3 - Sewer Complex

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Level 4 - Lost Passages

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If you want you can download some more images I have taken from here.
http://www.mediafire.com/download/hyp4986d5hjjmt1/4Doom_-_Version_7.9_Images.rar

I hope you can enjoy my levels. I am aware that some things are rough and not quite right, but they are being worked on, largely though I am more or less done with the maps, it will just be touch ups in the future.

But if you see anything, mention it anyway, knowing me I may have missed it somehow.

A video of my enemies

Some sprites in level 4 in the temple were taken from other games such as Tekwar and Rise of the Triad. Plant pots I ripped myself from Terminator Rampage
http://www.spriters-resource.com/pc_computer/tekwar/
http://www.spriters-resource.com/pc_computer/riseofthetriad/

Old Topic.
http://www.doomworld.com/vb/wads-mods/68013-my-custom-levels-called-4doom-with-another-new-enemy/

Old Versions.
https://www.mediafire.com/?uac8t69a9j3gad7/
http://www.mediafire.com/download/h4i0tlpylpdj53w/4_Doom_V7.2_-_By_Xegethra.rar

Edited by Xegethra

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Ragnor said:

That bottom screenshot looks odd, the pillar by the bottom left, the shadows going off them.

I agree, the torches should be in the corners of that room, rather than next to the pillars.

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Haha, if it looks too bizarre I'll change it. But yeah otherwise I'm glad people can still enjoy it.

Currently I'm touching up level 3 in the high tech area. Putting in more sign posts and tech screeny stuff.

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Ragnor said:

That bottom screenshot looks odd, the pillar by the bottom left, the shadows going off them.

I understand what you're saying. It looks like there's missing textures on the edge of the shadowed sectors where they meet the channel. The shadowed sectors actually go all the way across the channel to the platform you're standing on and have the same flat. The side textures where the shadowed sectors cross the channel are the bottom edge of midgrate, which is darker still. The 'missing textures' are an illusion because of the spot the screenshot was taken from.

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A very different experience that is an extremely large improvement over the original 4 Doom that I played (The one with the weird acting, possessed sounding music).

I still really like MAP02 and its shenanigans.

MAP04 is still best IMO.

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Well, I just gave these maps a try. They're well detailed and kinda exploratory and interestingly semi-realistic-like, but I can identify multiple problems that considerably spoilt the experience for me:

(1.) Extreme orthogonality and rectangular-ness. I suppose that you've taken inspiration from Doom 3 and tendencies of modern games, right? Anyway, Doom maps are being played for their interesting gameplay and level design aspects - and the more interesting they are, the better your maps are. Level design of Doom maps can only benefit from the engine capabilities (like non-orthogonal walls are) and easy moddability of the game, so why restrict your design in such a way? My tip is, use non-orthogonal angles and various other engine capabilities as much and as interestingly as possible - that's how you do a good Doom level design! Orthogonality is cheap and uninteresting when repetitively used in large amounts.

(2.) Similarly, the maps should feature more interesting layouts and progression through the levels. Your maps are too corridor-heavy. They consist of rooms simply connected by corridors, and the primary gameplay type is an infinite crawling forward, as the environment dictates. My advice is, give more freedom to the player. Experiment with various architecture structures, various shapes thoroughly interconnected at various height levels, and let the player explore them however he wants to, and take advantage of them during gameplay.

(3.) Gameplay in your maps consists of trivial small-scale shooting gallery for most of the time. Improve challenge. Let the monsters take advantage of terrain around them. Let them attack the player from various heights and directions more often - that's what makes interesting combat setups. Also, don't allow your maps to feel empty, or the player to wander around without fighting anything for a longer time. That's boring.

(4.) Preferably, maps should be comfortably navigable for the player, that's definitely a good thing. Darkness in some of your maps is a little uncomfortable - sure, it's immersive a little, but immersion by a Doom-style environment... There are more important aspects of design that you should focus on, as I've stated above. What's worse, though, is that in some of your levels, it's highly unobvious to find out which objects are interactive and which are not. Switches, doors, stuff like that. You really should make this clear somehow, to not let the player get lost because he needed to press a particular one of 5 same-looking doors, 4 of which don't react to him anyhow. Etc.

(5.) The new monsters aren't very good at all. They're unnecessary ammo sponges over everything else. An enemy (preferably every single enemy in every map) should be added and balanced out in order to be possibly threatening, but not overly dragging gameplay. That's why your enemies could use an alteration to have less health and also more interesting and unique attack patterns, otherwise they wouldn't challenge the player and wouldn't be necessary to be included at all.

That's it. Just suggestions for a possible improvement. Anyway, seeing the sheer extensiveness of your maps and their detail+"semirealism", they're somewhat intriguing on their own and have a good potential. Keep up the good work!

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I guess it looks quite square because I do genuinely like that look, so things took a rather boxy turn. I didn't really take any inspiration from modern shooters, although I can see your point about the corridors coming from them. I guess squares come naturally to me, but trying out other shapes I've done a little of....I could have a go at ramping that up a little bit.

What's wrong with the darkness? Too dark? Not dark enough? I find that a bit hard to deal with, I've shown the maps to friends and some say one or the other. I mostly have left my settings on default, although I have taken the fog away...so I suppose from that aspect, when I play the game it looks a bit different from other people's. As far as switches go, that's something I have tried to make easier with some new textures for them. I can see why the doors might be more of a problem though, but it is something I am working on, for example in level 2 when you get to the red corridor, the doors you can go into are marked with plant pots.

My monsters can change if need be, they are still very much a learning thing for me to see what I could do. I know I'm no master monster creator, but I just wanted to have some visual variety that I created myself...instead of resorting to downloading other people's stuff. Wanted to try my hand at it, something to say I can say I made...even if a bit rough.

But yeah thanks for the feed back and whatnot!

And yeah I fixed the music...I have no idea why it would go all weird. I just took it out and placed another one in and that worked.

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Xegethra said:

I guess squares come naturally to me

Many people have it the same, myself included. Nevertheless, I try to combat it, because I know that squarish-ness is not the optimum design at all, as I've described.

What's wrong with the darkness? Too dark? Not dark enough?

It's not a big deal, but I thought that in many of your areas, too much darkness unnecessarily got in the way of comfortable navigation.

As far as switches go, that's something I have tried to make easier with some new textures for them. I can see why the doors might be more of a problem though, but it is something I am working on, for example in level 2 when you get to the red corridor, the doors you can go into are marked with plant pots.

That's not enough, trust me. It needs to be obvious. Because, what most players want is to fight, and not to be puzzling the progression.

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I originally read this as "Doom 4 gets an update" and soiled my britches. Then I realised. A new pair of jeans and fifteen minutes of soaking my hands in bleach later, and I can finally see your screenshots. This looks bloody brilliant. Then I shat myself again.

Scifista, you've had the same criticisms of a couple of wads I think are absolutely gorgeous. I'm interested to see examples of maps you think are ok, i.e. non-squared. My own maps are pretty square in places and I could use some pointers.

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MajorRawne said:

Scifista, you've had the same criticisms of a couple of wads I think are absolutely gorgeous. I'm interested to see examples of maps you think are ok, i.e. non-squared. My own maps are pretty square in places and I could use some pointers.

IMO, it's just not good when a majority of a map is "boxy". Here are names of a few mappers whose works impressed me and didn't have distinct tendencies to be square-ish: Jimmy, Tarnsman, Skillsaw, Esselfortium, other successful DTWID/D2TWID contributors, Memfis, Nicolas Monti, Mouldy etc. And a few examples of wads: Check out the designs in Vanguard and Lunatic, *TWID wads, BTSX, numerous Memfis's single maps, Favillesco series, Going Down MAP12 onwards, or a recent wad "Way Too Many Dead Guys" by Urthar.

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scifista42 said:

Many people have it the same, myself included. Nevertheless, I try to combat it, because I know that squarish-ness is not the optimum design at all, as I've described.
It's not a big deal, but I thought that in many of your areas, too much darkness unnecessarily got in the way of comfortable navigation.
That's not enough, trust me. It needs to be obvious. Because, what most players want is to fight, and not to be puzzling the progression.


Hmm ok, I'll give some different shapes a bit more of a go. See what I can do.

Darkness is a weird one for me, in some cases I thought some areas weren't dark enough...but if this is not the case for others, I'll leave them well alone.

I think the switches are obvious enough, but if doors are a problem then I'll highlight them more if needs be. I don't think a little bit of puzzling is too bad though, but yeah if the navigation needs a bit more highlighting then I can do that....

MajorRawne said:

I originally read this as "Doom 4 gets an update" and soiled my britches. Then I realised. A new pair of jeans and fifteen minutes of soaking my hands in bleach later, and I can finally see your screenshots. This looks bloody brilliant. Then I shat myself again.


Haha, well I hope you enjoyed then!

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Xegethra said:

I think the switches are obvious enough, but if doors are a problem then I'll highlight them more if needs be. I don't think a little bit of puzzling is too bad though, but yeah if the navigation needs a bit more highlighting then I can do that....

A little bit of puzzling isn't bad, and not highlighting a main path also isn't bad. I'll phrase myself better: You should make it intuitively obvious which objects are interactive and which are not. In other words, mandatory interactive objects should be recognizable at first sight (= never ever interchangable with scenery) and very easy to find (= hard to overlook). For example, when the player needs to press a normal looking wall in order to progress, while there are multiple same looking walls around, then it's bad. If there are multiple same looking doors and majority of them cannot be opened, but some can, then it's also bad. Hiding mandatory switches in darkness is super bad. That's how I see it. To easily fix this, you can for example use silver doors as the non-openable ones, and differently colored doors for the openable ones, and follow this rule always and without exceptions, unless there are optional secrets behind the doors, and even then, put some minimum hint to mark such doors. Etc.

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Just started watching a playthrough ofVanguard on Youtube, map 11 to be precise. Never seen or played this megawad before. It's immediately obvious what you mean about it not seeming square. This warrants further investigation - thanks for introducing me to it.

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O.K well, I've updated it again.

Largely the maps use the same rooms as before, but I have added in some extensions that try to be a bit curvier than the rest of the map. I have also tried to make the doors a bit more clear on use, in a way that I think still fits a semi realistic feel.

I chose that method instead of flashing lights for example, because I didn't want navigational aspects to clash with any ambient aspects.

As for changes to the actual rooms, this may happen...there are a couple of rooms I'm not too keen on and I am running through ideas on how to change.

Either way my maps are in this form now, I hope this improves them even a little.

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Xegethra said:

I have also tried to make the doors a bit more clear on use, in a way that I think still fits a semi realistic feel.

I chose that method instead of flashing lights for example, because I didn't want navigational aspects to clash with any ambient aspects.

That's right that you haven't just use flashing lights - I would disapprove that as well if you did, because flashing lights are also just a vague hint rather than a clear sign.

I actually like how you changed the door textures to the ones with red lights (closed) and green lights (openable) - that's in the spirit as I've meant it. Good. ;)

Xegethra said:

I have added in some extensions that try to be a bit curvier than the rest of the map.

I've checked the new maps and I can tell you: If you thought that adding rounded corners to corridors is a fix to orthogonality, then you've completely misunderstood the issue. Orthogonal-based layouts with all smoothly rounded corners are still orthogonal based layouts, and those are uninspired for the reasons I've described before. A few posts above, when talking to Major Rawne, I've mentioned several wads that I considered good and that had nice non-orthogonal layouts, I recommend you to check them out for inspiration.

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I'm glad the doors are better suited now, cool haha.

But yeah I've tried a few more wild designs for the rounded rooms, but never got them down. I'm still giving it a go though. So at the moment, they are just a bit rounded off.

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Think less about rounding out the corners of rooms and more 'slacking' entire walls of a room inwards somewhat. Or fusing rooms together and bypassing connection hallways.

I dunno, it's kind of a tricky thing.

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Yeah it is tricky, which is why my maps probably won't get a massive rounded overhaul.

However for some variety I will keep on trying to experiment with other shapes for new rooms.

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