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NiGHTMARE

Pet peeves in level design

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Maybe graphically edited corpses that appear to be partially dissolved to hint to the player that the liquid is deadly? Maybe even something like steam rising from it.

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Still possible to confuse it with a decoration. Maybe a pile of decayed bones with a skull on the top would work as a warning sign when placed on a damaging liquid floor close-enough to the start. On the other hand, its sprite would be hard to make to look Doom-plausible and not too game-y symbolic.

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Too bad it can't just be like Fallout 3 where there's a handy UI notice to warn you when you're about to be exposed to a damaging sector.

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For damage floors, nukeage and lava should ALWAYS hurt, with no exceptions. I agree that blood floors should be consistent within a WAD as well as a megawad as to whether or not it takes damage. I usually make blood hurt, but I'm always a bit undecided about it. After all it's just blood, why should it even hurt? I guess ultimately it's because I love blood rivers as an atmospheric detail, but want to give it more personality by letting it play an active role.

In one of my maps I made a puddle of water hurt, even though water didn't hurt in other areas of the map. This particular puddle leaks down from the ceiling and falls across a computer console before collecting on the floor. It's meant to be electrified water, lol.

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If it were boiling, there would be visible bubbles in the graphics. (Someone should do that, though - it'd look pretty cool.)

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The blood is damaging because it's infected with a demonic common cold, that causes the player to sneeze every second. Sneeze in pain, actually. Demons and demon-possessed humans are immune to the disease.

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Numerous switches in one place, make it a single button with tripwires in front of it.


In-escapeable death pits.


Large useless space.

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joe-ilya said:

Numerous switches in one place, make it a single button with tripwires in front of it.

In-escapeable death pits.

Large useless space.


I agree with the first two, but large open space can work, depending on the map and how the mapper uses it.

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joe-ilya said:

Numerous switches in one place, make it a single button with tripwires in front of it.

A recipe for making a map that will work in Zdoom only.

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Am I the only who doesn't care if a player is inconvenienced by damaging liquid? Just stick a stimpak near the first instance of the liquid.

Or don't. Not every map has to be fair. :P

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AD_79 said:

I agree with the first two, but large open space can work, depending on the map and how the mapper uses it.



If the purpose is an abandoned town (which this map appears to be doing), then it has its place. It can make the player feel more alone than to be constantly surrounded by stuff. Besides, it isn't that much empty space, vehicles had to have a place to drive since this is an Earth city.

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Breezeep said:

Zdoom only maps, with little zdoom features created by newbie mappers. I was one of them. Shameful.


Yeah, that's how I started mapping :/

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schwerpunk said:

Am I the only who doesn't care if a player is inconvenienced by damaging liquid? Just stick a stimpak near the first instance of the liquid.

Or don't. Not every map has to be fair. :P


Yeah, that's my attitude to it as well.

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My only major pet peeves are inconsistent damaging flats (as mentioned) and maps that are way too cramped (UAC Rebellion, definitely a learning experience..)

Everything else griped about here has the potential to be used in creative and interesting ways, as far as I'm concerned. There is no "one size fits all" rule for texture use and item placement.

This is more about wad building in general, but I hate bad MIDIs. Not "unfitting" MIDIs so much, just ones that are fucking awful - off key, butchered by a MUS conversion, using high pitched squealing sounds, etc. It's just not necessary, there are a gazillion good ones out there. Sometimes I really want to use a particular song for a map, but if the MIDI of it sucks so hard that I can't even improve it after extensive editing, it's just not worth using. (Although. I do respect those who can take a bad one and make a "new" song out of it, that's very creative.)

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2 things I noticed while playing Plutonia 2.

1) What I would call a "slaughter start". Basically when you start a map surrounded by herds of monsters and nowhere to shelter. I think it's a easy and unfair way to dramatically increase difficulty and it's more frustrating than enjoyable. What if I suffered a lot in the previous map and start a with 20% health?
At the very least, starting in an safe room full of ammo/powerups before being thrown in the arena is acceptable.

2) A second thing is when a switch opens a random door at the other end of a map. Secret or not, it's not funny to have to re-explore every corner of a level and try to figure out what changed. There should at least be a visual clue that help linking a trigger and it's action.

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tomatoKetchup said:

2 things I noticed while playing Plutonia 2.

1) What I would call a "slaughter start". Basically when you start a map surrounded by herds of monsters and nowhere to shelter. I think it's a easy and unfair way to dramatically increase difficulty and it's more frustrating than enjoyable. What if I suffered a lot in the previous map and start a with 20% health?


I'll be honest, I absolutely love those types of starts.

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Me too. A level design pet peeve of mine is making the very beginning the hardest part of the map. It's easy to do because the player is in a position where he's vulnerable. No weapons, no armor. Good level design is making the level proportionately harder as the player acquires more resources. Don't wanna forget that a doom guy with a super shotgun, a megaarmor and a backpack full of shells is near unstoppable. But crushing a fragile player while the map is still loading is a dumb cheap shot. Just put a door or a teleport or something before your starting ambush. Why make the player vulnerable before he even moves?

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Maybe a map start where everything is all chaotic and the player has to escape because they're ill prepared to deal with all the mess. Maybe not at the exact start, though, since it isn't really fair to have the AI actively hunting the player before the map even loads onto the screen.

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Breezeep said:

Zdoom only maps, with little zdoom features created by newbie mappers. I was one of them. Shameful.


On the other hand, ZDoom maps that, because they're for ZDoom, have to use a whole shitload of ZDoom features just because they can or to "justify" using ZDoom, rather than using only the features best suited to the project.

40oz said:

Me too. A level design pet peeve of mine is making the very beginning the hardest part of the map. It's easy to do because the player is in a position where he's vulnerable. No weapons, no armor. Good level design is making the level proportionately harder as the player acquires more resources. Don't wanna forget that a doom guy with a super shotgun, a megaarmor and a backpack full of shells is near unstoppable. But crushing a fragile player while the map is still loading is a dumb cheap shot. Just put a door or a teleport or something before your starting ambush. Why make the player vulnerable before he even moves?


This isn't a Doom map, but am I guilty of doing that in this map? It can be quite brutal from a pistol start:



If you're pistol starting you basically have to run for dear life past the SS into the room beyond and hope you can take out all the guys coming for you before you get swarmed.

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AD_79 said:

I'll be honest, I absolutely love those types of starts.


Such a start is acceptable, to a certain extent. Plutonia has a few reasonably tricky ones and that makes its charm. But Plutonia 2 pushed the thing too far, in my opinion. Some of the map are almost impossible to play from a pistol start. You need to restart them about twenty time and run randomly until you finally spot a mock-shelter in a location generally pretty far away from the player start. This is clumsy gameplay.

Apart from that Plutonia 2 has pretty nicely designed maps though.

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tomatoKetchup said:

This is clumsy gameplay

... on your part. All these starts are easy to figure out in 1-2 deaths imo.

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Kinda funny, but a lot of the pet peeves expressed so far in this thread don't bother me very much, or at all. For example, paper-thin support and lites from the original post are totally fine in my book.
And until I read further, I thought that mouldy's three pictures (especially this one https://www.mediafire.com/convkey/d43f/x713psyu6bmnpm44g.jpg ) were about inappropriate flat usage. I mean, the floor and ceiling at the little column borders is really bad - it should be that near-black flat IMO, and not wooden panels cut off to hell and back.

Tech textures and elements in hell are perfectly fine with me too - I always thought that not limiting hell's human-made-looking parts to medieval architecture, and instead incorporating 'modern' techbases or city parts in the same way as the castles and temples are incorporated is original and interesting. It probably depends on how you think about hell as a setting though, in my eyes it's sort of spontaneously formed and not, like, built and decorated by demons manually.

The bricks here: http://i.imgur.com/glQvzMSl.png are fine in the concave corners on the left IMO, and bad only above the lowered ceiling on the right. The walls are probably going deeper than the floor and higher than the ceiling, if you think about how it would be constructed. But I can't stand cutoffs of shapes and structures drawn on the textures on convex corners.

Inconsistent flat damage is also fine by me. Doesn't even need to have an indication. The only way it is bad for me, is when you can plunge into a pit without an obvious way out, so you'll have to stay in the liquid for some time: you can't test whether it's damaging in that situation. But as far as I'm concerned, blood could be corrosive and not, or boiling, same for water (and the flat animation to me looks ambigious enough to pass as boiling as well as just idle waves). Arbitrary damage from floors is also just fine, because come on, you have 100 health by default, there's a lot of room for error. If you end up walking around with 5 health or less, it's your fault, and a stray zombieman could kill you from the horizon as easily and unfairly as an unfortunate run over a lava pit. IMO good design that stays fresh should discourage thinking about itself when playing: if you calculate what the author thought while making the level, consider what he would or would not do and make YOU do, etc., then I think the level isn't doing it's job being immersive.

When it comes to my personal pet peeves though, there's too many possibilities :D It's all a case-for-case situation, the same things can work and not work in different maps and places in them, so not much is universal.

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Woolie Wool said:

This isn't a Doom map, but am I guilty of doing that in this map? It can be quite brutal from a pistol start:


Wolfenstein is comparatively easier than Doom 2. Most of my reason for posting stems from my early experiences with doom, where I was loading megawad maps in doomsday on a slow laptop when I was playing doom pwads for the first time. Many maps often started off with really choppy frame rate, with massive slowdowns until it warmed up to the map. Wads like kama sutra were pretty close to unplayable because the start of many of the middle and late maps were like "welcome to my map oh btw these chaingun guys, cyberdemons, and revenants are already killing you"

Nobody in their right mind would save a game in a position like that so its just disrespectful to force a player into a situation like that without him having any control over it. Even Dead Simple does it fairly by giving you a switch to press before the map starts.

In your map, those schutzstaffel guys usually go down in like 5 or 6 pistol shots, so I wouldn't consider that too unfair. And I've never seen a slow loading wolfy map on any machine. Even Doom 1 is light with instakill monsters, so just about any start is more forgivable than ones with doom 2 monsters besides a cyberdemon in your face or being locked in a closet with a hell baron.

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Memfis said:

... on your part. All these starts are easy to figure out in 1-2 deaths imo.


Of course this is only my opinion. I can understand that some people like this form of "sadism". Maybe I'm not hardcore enough to appreciate. :)

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If there is a place for trial and error type of gameplay and level design in a Doom level, isn't it at the very beginning of a level? That way you're sure that you should have enough resources to proceed, you can't save-fuck yourself by mistake, restarting and retrying is quick, you don't have to replay previous parts if you didn't save, etc. Much better than if such a situation came deep in the level. I think such starts are acceptable even in levels/wads where the bulk of the gameplay is much more first-try-friendly.

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