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rdwpa

New designer -- feedback appreciated.

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I decided to hunker down and learn how to build levels some weeks ago. This is a map 01 replacement -- so, simple design, not too difficult gameplay. I mostly wanted to create a functional map with a start and exit before taking on anything ambitious. :)

It has a few ZDoom-only features, but nothing too crazy, since the advice I've read is to focus on becoming competent at the vanilla aspects first before getting to crazy with scripting, etc.

Some screenshots (the first five are with -nomonsters on):

http://i.imgur.com/ijjz0gE.png (how you got in)

http://i.imgur.com/bGyTOQ6.png

http://i.imgur.com/0KjEG3s.png

http://i.imgur.com/buLKUyd.png (conveyor belt)

http://i.imgur.com/SrTKh21.png

http://i.imgur.com/wNOSUy7.png


The level:

http://www.mediafire.com/download/p3j2wppy356a38b/11111.wad


Format: ZDoom, no jumping. I used several graphics from the excellent CC4 texture resource, which is necessary to run the wad.

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The map had a little improportionate usage of detail, simple blocky structure, and simplictic gameplay with really low monster density and 1 simple setpiece ambush. It reminded me of a modern day boring corridor shooter. I've noticed a sign of inclination to "realism" aspect over gameplay aspect. Doom players (including myself) tend to prefer the latter. Therefore, feel free to go crazy about architectural shapes (as opposed to rectangular blocks) and feel free to ramp up difficulty, variety and colourful-ness a lot, players will only appreciate it!

That said, this map was a nice little experience, just very simplistic aside from some realistic-like detail.

There was a couple of slime trails in the exit room. They're visual bugs, and something is wrong when they display even in ZDoom, ZDoom's renderer fixes a lot of buggy vanilla-engine slime trails. You might have unclosed sectors in that room. Redraw the sectors over the existing ones, and if it doesn't help, delete the sectors and make them again. Unclosed sectors happen when you inconveniently delete linedefs between sectors. It's best to Join or Merge sectors before deleting any linedefs, map editors have a special feature for that when you click a button (or press J / Shift J), but sectors will never join or disappear automatically when you just delete lines.

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Hey guys, thanks for the kind words and for the criticism.

Scifista, I learned a lot from your post -- I've been studying good maps recently and they had in ample supply what I was lacking (interesting battles and architectural shapes, for starters*).

The slime trails in this case were a result of vertices at fractional coordinates (e.g. (38.284, 18)), not of screwed-up sectors.

The comment about blockiness confused me at first, but looking at it again a week later, I realized you were right; there isn't much of a difference between pure rectangles and rectangles tapered at the corners into smooth curves.

http://i.imgur.com/cDtcw7V.png

I have map number two on the way. I busted my ass on this one.


*Color contrast too. Looking back, my favorite part of the map was the conveyor secret, which uses green walls.

http://i.imgur.com/Djfnhyr.png
http://i.imgur.com/154QDeW.png

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Okay, the second map is upcoming. I decided to go against my natural inclination to make techbases. It has the same specifications (ZDoom, CC4 texture pack*), but jumping is allowed. Coy hint: pay attention to your health. I'll edit in the link later today**. Shots for now.

















Link: http://www.mediafire.com/download/vnen4qtpes7f436/22222.wad


* I want to do something purely for vanilla and without custom textures (maybe in the style of e1m1, e1m3, e1m7, e2m4, e2m6, e3m5, e4m1, or e4m6, which I love), but I'll wait until inspiration strikes.

** For later: Please tell me if it's too difficult. And it doesn't have difficulty settings yet (HNTR = HMP = UV).

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rdwpa said:

Please tell me if it's too difficult.

It really isn't. It was cool that you've added an element of slight hecticity into the first mancubus fight, but other than that, the map was a trivial exercise (and I'm not even a slaughter-style player).

I still see it as a problem that the map takes place in blocky corridors where you keep encountering monsters from the front side only - it's simply not challenging enough, and actually can be boring (in your map, it very slightly was). When these monsters have a lot of health, you should consider whether they pose an appropriately high threat, otherwise it will probably turn out to be a tedious fight and you should reconsider their placement. Doomguy's movement speed is high, which is great for us players (maps that encourage running and gunning are superb), it also allows to evade enemies and their attacks with efficiency, therefore the mappers have it harder to create challenge than in other games. I really like that Doom works this way.

Beware of too much unnecessary backtracking in your maps. Try to repopulate the map when it needs to happen (newly opened monster closets), but generally try to prevent it by design. The moment when I grabbed 2 shellboxes and the floor descended me to one of the map's early areas and I had to backtrack all the way back, that was unnecessarily bad.

The map could generally use more height variation that directly affects combat and both monster's and player's movement. Fighting monsters in plain corridors or rooms tends to be boring. Pits, ledges, stairs and other such things would spice it up well.

Still, this map was a little better than your previous one, keep it up!

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Thanks again, scifista.

scifista42 said:

... the map takes place in blocky corridors where you keep encountering monsters from the front side only ...


I found this part very surprising and discouraging. Mostly because I tried to avoid this and thought I did. The four major set pieces take place in rooms of at least medium size (ranging from 700x700 to 1100x1000 mp or thereabout). In three of those, the player ends up taking fire from at least two sides (this was my goal when designing them), in one case from all four.

The corridors mostly contain lower-tier monsters like imps -- specifically to avoid the unidirectional high-HP encounters you are talking about. The only mid-tier monsters there are three revenants, which don't have much HP and which appear at askew angles. Altogether, only nine of the map's 77 non-secret monsters* are located in corridors (or 14, if you count that small room where you dropped down to the early fight as a corridor). The fights with the lowest-tier monsters are mostly head-on, but one (off the left side of the graveyard) is a legitimate trap.

I guess the hell knight–cacodemon "ambush" in the graveyard can be rewritten; it doesn't work as an ambush, and the visual effect of the cacos appearing by rising over the walls is cute, but ultimately the fight is dull.


*One of the secrets has some lost souls.

scifista42 said:

(maps that encourage running and gunning are superb)


What are your favorite RnG-style maps?

scifista42 said:

Beware of too much unnecessary backtracking in your maps. Try to repopulate the map when it needs to happen (newly opened monster closets), but generally try to prevent it by design. The moment when I grabbed 2 shellboxes and the floor descended me to one of the map's early areas and I had to backtrack all the way back, that was unnecessarily bad.

The map could generally use more height variation that directly affects combat and both monster's and player's movement. Fighting monsters in plain corridors or rooms tends to be boring. Pits, ledges, stairs and other such things would spice it up well.


Good points. I can remedy the first one easily.

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rdwpa said:

I found this part very surprising and discouraging. Mostly because I tried to avoid this and thought I did. The four major set pieces take place in rooms of at least medium size (ranging from 700x700 to 1100x1000 mp or thereabout). In three of those, the player ends up taking fire from at least two sides (this was my goal when designing them), in one case from all four.

The corridors mostly contain lower-tier monsters like imps -- specifically to avoid the unidirectional high-HP encounters you are talking about. The only mid-tier monsters there are three revenants, which don't have much HP and which appear at askew angles. Altogether, only nine of the map's 77 non-secret monsters* are located in corridors (or 14, if you count that small room where you dropped down to the early fight as a corridor). The fights with the lowest-tier monsters are mostly head-on, but one (off the left side of the graveyard) is a legitimate trap.

You know, it comes from the player's experience specifically with Doom wads - they're mostly very gameplay oriented, and the community-made wads created over the years have established standards different from today's typical shooters. Looking at your map, it's not bad at all, but I've seen much better combat situations in average maps, let alone good ones. I can recommend you to take a look at some notably good maps to understand what I mean - this is a good place to start. IMO, particularly a mapper skillsaw excels at making appealing design and gameplay, check out his works in Vanguard and Valiant at least. You'll strongly feel the non-blockiness, non-plainness and pace.

Mapping is also about ideas, that make the game distinct from a generic corridor crawler. Uncommon and unique ideas are important aspect of good maps. That's also where your work could use an improvement - that would come later, though.

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