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Katamori

Does separating main design and creating gameplay work?

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Something made me wonder recently: after years of experiences at creating Doom maps, I realized that creating and testing gameplay is the least enjoyable part of the process. I don't even have the patience for it, so I started thinking on that I'm going to ask someone to help me by doing the dirty job. What's your opinion about it: is it worth or I just should be more patient and precise?

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I love playing doom and playing peoples maps, but after spending so many hours mapping, my playing skills get weak, so testing does become a drag.

For some people, playtesting someone else's map can be a lot of fun for them, so sharing your maps with someone (preferably some one who has an unbiased opinion) can a fun symbiotic relationship for both of you.


I'm pretty finicky about making betas after betas and like to do most of my testing myself. Ive created some dehacked patches for myself to test my maps with that make it less painful though. One of them is a notarget dehacked patch that makes all monsters not wake up when they see or hear you, and you can walk right through them, so you can play the map and see where they are without having to fight them.

If you want to test the actual gameplay, I made a dehacked patch that slows down fireballs and puts long delays on monsters just before they attack, making the game really easy when I'm simply testing and not playing my best. In my experience I've found it to work really well after I've checked the map a few weeks later ready to play it the real way, I found it to be really fun and challenging.

If you're interested I could share the patches with you.

For a real working example, Super Jamie and i worked on UAC Ultra, I managed to do most of the mapping, while Super Jamie placed most of the weapons and monsters. Most people thought it worked really well.

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I personally like designing encounters, it's much more fun for me than the actual mapping process. However, for me it's always pretty hard to take someone else's map and make gameplay for it, as I always make locations with notion of what's going to happen there, and thus adapt design to gameplay, not vice versa. Yeah, I did a major work on monster placement on another person's map once, but I'm not sure if it'd work for me again.

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Demonologist said:

I always make locations with notion of what's going to happen there, and thus adapt design to gameplay, not vice versa.

This is the right approach, IMO.

Also, there's nothing wrong with creating or tuning up the gameplay in cooperation with somebody else, be it a co-author or playtester, it might be fun (and even enlightening) for both of you. If you're an architecture oriented mapper, and collaborated with a gameplay oriented mapper, the results would be awesome.

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I used to absolutely hate working on the gameplay too. I "played" Doom Builder like people play Minecraft or Legos or whatever: just building stuff for fun. But I had to put some monsters as well just because Doom maps are supposed to have monsters. It was such a chore.

Now I feel like I understand the game a little better and I can have fun doing thing placement sometimes but still, I totally understand you.

I had an experience like what you're describing. I made a map, completely textured and everything, but just didn't feel like working on it anymore. So I sent it to Archi and he did pretty much the whole thing placement. It was quite interesting to play the resulting map afterwards: I felt "at home" in my own areas, yet there were surprises everywhere. But I was a bit disappointed too, because I imagined many fights differently hehe.

If you can find somebody to work with, try it!

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40oz said:

I'm pretty finicky about making betas after betas and like to do most of my testing myself. Ive created some dehacked patches for myself to test my maps with that make it less painful though. One of them is a notarget dehacked patch that makes all monsters not wake up when they see or hear you, and you can walk right through them, so you can play the map and see where they are without having to fight them.

If you want to test the actual gameplay, I made a dehacked patch that slows down fireballs and puts long delays on monsters just before they attack, making the game really easy when I'm simply testing and not playing my best. In my experience I've found it to work really well after I've checked the map a few weeks later ready to play it the real way, I found it to be really fun and challenging.

If you're interested I could share the patches with you.


Please do. I often have trouble playtesting even my own maps due to monster AI attacking every second.

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Populating the map and testing it is my favorite part of the process, and I think it could be an interesting experience to do it in someone's else layout!

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I'd love to see a mapset in which a mapper made an empty level and other people thinged it in several different ways.

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I love to make gameplay stuff and make the levels based on that, but I don't like to spend too much time on decorating stuff or even playtesting (only the necessary to see if the general idea is working)

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Conversely, I'd like to see a project where someone takes a map and deletes everything but the things, and then other people have to make a map based around the things.

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Linguica said:

Conversely, I'd like to see a project where someone takes a map and deletes everything but the things, and then other people have to make a map based around the things.


How is it possible that it's not done yet? Or is it?

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I think I'm the opposite, I can never wait to add some monsters and start testing.

And I find it quite useful. It helps get a sense of scale, allows me to see how monsters move about and how they interact with the player, and enables me to make early changes before things get set in stone.

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Linguica said:

Conversely, I'd like to see a project where someone takes a map and deletes everything but the things, and then other people have to make a map based around the things.


Duuuuuude!! I love it! You could even try to guess the map the things came from.

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You asked and you shall receive!

notarget.deh makes all monsters unable to "wake up" so you can play the map like you would with -nomonsters except you can see where the monsters would be. It also makes all monsters and other thing obstacles able to be walked through. You can also see teleport destinations. I might make a version where the destinations remain hidden if you don't like it.

hardtest.deh could probably be balanced a little better, but for the most part it slows down many of the projectiles monsters throw, extends the attack animations giving the player more time to react, slows their moving speed a little bit, and reduces their hit points a little, particularly for RNG nightmare monsters, like imps and chaingun guys that don't die from one shotgun shot, or cacos and pain elementals that don't die from two SSG shots, or mancs that don't die in three. There's a couple other minor adjustments like all monsters and item pickups are fullbright so you should have no trouble finding them in the dark, and the chaingun shoots a little faster. It makes Doom noticeably easier for lazy players that want to test the gameplay in their maps fairly but don't have the energy to play their best. This is different than playing with IDDQD on because the tester can't fairly judge what times the player will need health, or with IDFA because the tester can't easily judge how much ammo or what weapons the player will need and when.

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There was a time when a few mappers of ill repute did relays where everybody spent a given number of minutes on a specific element of a map (outline, detailing, more detailing, thing placement, testing) and then passed it off to somebody else to do the next step.

The results were interesting.

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