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rdwpa

Small mapping decisions that you appreciate(d).

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Here's one from me:

rdwpa said:

I noticed that hard-to-reach switches can be used specifically for [the purpose of holding you up]. Map five of Valiant has a good example: the trap that shuts you in a small area with demons and a shotgunner and a revenant. The switch that re-opens the room is [in plain sight but] both small and at an askew angle -- somewhat difficult to use (or even notice, during a first play-through) while running in circles and having to shoot demons.


This is maybe a bit generic, but I didn't want to start the thread without an example!

How about you?

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I really appreciate maps that have a good secret in the beginning. Some maps are really hard and the ability to turn around from the start area and wallhump for a free soulsphere or super shotgun is a really polite way to consider that not everyone is great at doom all the time.

I appreciate when a mapper puts cooperative and deathmatch starts in their maps. You may think no one would play your map on multiplayer, but you never really know what people are going to do with it. What if somewhere down the line, someone develops some kinda revolutionary multiplayer game mode designed to be fun even on linear single player maps. If too many greats maps are left untested for multiplayer, that game mode might never work for being too incompatible with everything.

I appreciate good lighting. Far more than blanketing an entire map with 112 lighting, but when light sources are really bright, and shadows are really dark.

I appreciate when maps give you far more ammo than you need. Giving the player the freedom to choose how he spends it. I feel reducing ammo is a cheap way to increase difficulty, just about on par with having to fight monsters in the pitch black darkness.

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I appreciate stairs. Running up stairs is more fun than waiting for elevators, both in real life and in Doom.

I understand the need to put elevators in maps (to accommodate wheelchair-bound space marines), but when they are necessary, it's good to have an alternative route that doesn't require stopping (is there anyone who prefers taking the middle path on E1M4?).

If the elevator is the only way up, then I appreciate when it at least has the decency to lower itself automatically to minimize the waiting time.

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I like it when a map has the 'hidden' and 'secret' line flags applied consistently. Although it makes no material difference to gameplay, it always feels weird to hit tab and see a mess of control sectors scattered across the void.

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I appreciate it when level designers place the monster 'containment' for teleport ambushes within or close to the structure of the level itself, so the apparent size of the level on the automap isn't distorted. Bonus points if they can do so in a way that still prevents the monsters from being heard before they teleport in.

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Personally I generally appreciate the care for little details to make the map coherent and interactive, even if this extra attention doesn't necessary bring anything to the gameplay itself.

The perfect example would be MAP19 Shipping/Respawning from TNT megawad. That little outdoor area with the truck, the switch that activate the conveyor belt, or the barils that seem like they explode into monsters... even though the global level design for that map is not necessary amazing, I really enjoyed going through it because of all these little aspects that kept my attention.

Of course, if the map is beautiful but empty and boring to play, the first aspect doesn't forgive the second.

On the other hand, I might not enjoy playing a ugly-looking (and/or messy-looking) map with a very refined level-design.

To me a game is more than a gameplay and some fun, it also about getting immersed into a universe, and, especially in old games like doom that are far from looking realistic, all this extra care to make the environments coherent, and I risk the word "plausible", are always very appreciated.

When I map I try to apply this same philosophy, thus the finish of my maps take generally as long as the layouting and thing-placement combined.

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@tomatoKetchup: Well said, I agree entirely. (except that I thought that the tricks in Shipping/Respawning were often too confusing)

I appreciate consistent damage output of damaging floors of the same type within the whole wad or at least episode.

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I like when control sectors and teleport monsters holding boxes are flagged to not show on the automap, especially but not only if there's a computer area map. Hiding lines that are there just for detailing is good also.

I appreciate when you can dodge big pickups (ammo boxes, powerup spheres, etc.) because it annoys me when I have 99 shells and I have to run over a shellbox, or I have 200% health and I have to run over a soulsphere.

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I don't care so much about dummy\control sectors being seen on the automap but for the love of god make them silent. The player shouldn't hear stuff like doors opening in monster closets or invisible floors moving under bridges.

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purist said:

Is there an easy/elegant way to do this is vanilla?

To make moving sectors silent? Well IIRC the sound emanates from the center of a bounding box surrounding the whole sector, so if you have the control sector far away, the sound should be far enough away that you don't hear it.

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Linguica said:

To make moving sectors silent? Well IIRC the sound emanates from the center of a bounding box surrounding the whole sector, so if you have the control sector far away, the sound should be far enough away that you don't hear it.

Linguica means a dummy sector far away from the map and joined with an in-map sector - technically, this makes them become one sector. In vanilla, the sound will be emited from the center point, which should still be far-enough from the player, so that he won't hear it. In ZDoom though, sector sounds are emited from the closest point to the player, so that this trick won't work.

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Memfis said:

ZDoom has some mapinfo compat thingy for that.

That's right (compat_sectorsounds). However, it's basically an engine downgrade in most normal scenarios (or not?), and also, it requires the wad's author to actively put the keyword into MAPINFO (or well, the player can set it in compatibility options menu on his side). That's why it's sparsely used, probably rightfully so.

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Linguica said:

To make moving sectors silent? Well IIRC the sound emanates from the center of a bounding box surrounding the whole sector, so if you have the control sector far away, the sound should be far enough away that you don't hear it.


OK thanks, I knew about that but I don't like putting control sectors far away from the map. Just making sure there wasn't some other commonly used method I overlooked.

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Lol, so hard to put one line in mapinfo?
Most people will never even notice that sound works differently in the level. I only realized that ZDoom has a different sound system when Gez told me.

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Fredrik said:

I appreciate stairs. Running up stairs is more fun than waiting for elevators, both in real life and in Doom.


Most maps don't have much height variation, so getting from 0 to 128 units with a lift can be a real chore. Some maps with really tall ceilings are made cooler with lifts, like map06 the crusher, or map09 the pit.

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I appreciate it when a mapper ends his map at the right time. An design choice that saves mapping time and effort yet some maps long outstay their welcome.

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scifista42 said:

I appreciate consistent damage output of damaging floors of the same type within the whole wad or at least episode.

Very much this. Also, more generally, I appreciate adherence to what little Doom floor-damage logic there is, e.g. that water/stone/grass/panel flats won't damage you UNLESS there is a clear visual indication that they will.

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Map 4 of Suspended In Dusk. There's a berserk pack at a revenant's feet on a small nondescript ledge, just sitting there. Why is this noteworthy? Well, Espi favors a naturalistic mode of item placement (averting "blatant placement" tropes). Health and other pick-ups aren't strewn all over the place as they are in most maps. Instead they are clustered in little supply cubbies or holding rooms, or alongside crates or wherever else -- in reasonably logical locations by Earth standards. There are exceptions, but this is the norm, at least in SID and B2B. So . . . why do we find this berserk pack in no-man's land?

Because it was the revenant's (!), which makes sense because they have a strong punch! Nearby, there's also a chaingun and a couple of boxes of ammo next to a chaingunner, in a similarly nondescript location, so I think the connection was intentional. I found the berserk pack more striking because I previously hadn't considered that -- if you want to imagine a backstory for Doom -- all revenants might be under the influence of a berserk pack. They are all bone and bone; I doubt they'd be capable of such strong punches without it. :D

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Another one to throw in here: I appreciate it when mappers come up with a layout where the start room is, initially at least, a safe spot, but isn't a dinky little room or dead-end corridor that the player never has cause to revisit.

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Any mapping decision which defies my expectations for a monster encounter to heighten the suspense of a chosen "set piece" moment or other haunted avenue of approach. When the bad guys just aren't there, something is amiss, and it leaves me asking questions, which increases the length of time I spend playing a pwad.

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TheCupboard said:

Any mapping decision which defies my expectations for a monster encounter to heighten the suspense of a chosen "set piece" moment or other haunted avenue of approach. When the bad guys just aren't there, something is amiss, and it leaves me asking questions, which increases the length of time I spend playing a pwad.

Can you give particular examples, please? I didn't comprehend the point, what exactly it is that you either appreciate, or dislike.

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sid.wad map01
bauhaus.wad map01
rylayeh.wad map01
1monster.wad map24

I enjoy a suspenseful moment without the presence of monsters ;)

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I appreciate when nukage pits have a way out. If they don't, then they need to instantly kill the player.

Fredrik said:

I appreciate stairs. Running up stairs is more fun than waiting for elevators, both in real life and in Doom.

Now I want a map that features stairs near every lift, just for realism's sake.

TheCupboard said:

When the bad guys just aren't there, something is amiss, and it leaves me asking questions, which increases the length of time I spend playing a pwad.

Something like in Doom 3? There's a segment in the game where you arrive in a lab, and nothing attacks you for several minutes. You see blood and carnage everywhere, plus brief flashes of demons in the windows and shadows on the floor, not to mention the noises they make. I thought it was the game's scariest moment (too bad it's not nearly as spooky when replaying it).

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I appreciate maps where textures are used as materials (instead of just wallpapers) and match the architecture/detailing meaningfully. This is mostly enough to impress me alone, if combined with non-basic architectural shapes or details. Some TNT Evilution maps and maps by Iikka Keränen (Requiem) were good early examples of this approach that particularly sticked in my mind.

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@ scifista yes I know exactly what you are talking about, one wad that truly impressed me, with minor details and beautiful construction (not so good gameplay) was Doomed Apartment.

@ Janus: yeah Doom 3 actually does suspense very well throughout the game, as long as you don't play for too long and start predicting where all the imps are going to teleport in. I like a lot of the early levels where zombies are just fucking everywhere and you are in close quarters. Even later in the game, when you get to first reach Delta Labs, the lighting is orange and red, dead bodies and blood splatters. The power is turned off and there are no monsters to be found. It's almost as if you were "behind enemy lines" at that point because the invaders had dispersed themselves.

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I appreciate mappers using impassable linedefs to stop me getting snagged on wall details, or false floors in boom to even out floor bumps. Maybe even using midtextures for protruding wall details to allow smoother navigation.

Also the use of monster blocking lines to stop monster corpses hanging off the edge of ledges, and repopulating areas in maps that feature backtracking.

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I prefer wads that change sprites and sounds of the Nazis if they use them in normal maps. Bonus points for a reasonable DEHACKED-based behaviour change.

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