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SavageCorona

College Project - [Alien Strife] It's Done!

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I started working on making a small Doom map pack with a Duke theme (Literally like 99% of the textures are Duke textures) as part of a college project. I've finished making the first level all 5 of the levels and I want people to criticize it harshly but fairly. Point out things you liked or didn't like, how I can improve both the gameplay and aesthetic of the level, how I can balance the difficulty better (I did make an effort to have different monster placements on the different difficulties), whether the secrets are too easy or too hard to find (There are two) and anything else you can think of criticizing, as well as any positive thoughts on the level. Be sure to try out the different difficulties too.

Download the map (V1)

UPDATE 1.1: This update focused mainly on the alien area and added in a little extra to the sewer secret. It mainly made the entrance a little more challenging to get through and less tedious to fight, actually making you circlestrafe instead of just shooting through the door and dodging projectiles as well as makes the room on the right more interesting to fight in, rather than just being a lazy corridor with a trap behind it. The room on the left has also been changed, adding in some raised parts both as cover and to vary the terrain, although if people don't like this I'll perhaps use a different method. It also locks you in the room to stop you from just standing outside the door and shooting them from the door, although it is still possible to do this for the first phase of that room. As a safeguard against being accidentally locked in this room, the switch to lower the bars is set to SR instead of S1, since there are 3 triggers, as using only one closer to the door makes it possible to run back outside and get stuck. It is possible to avoid this dilemma by running over the 3 triggers but until I figure out a different method, it's just what you'll have to deal with.

Download Update 1.1

UPDATE 1.2: A real big update which adds a whole new area, being a Duke Burger restaurant to the bland and barren first area, which also has had a couple of posters added to make it seem more interesting. There is now a red key door in the restaurant with a red key hidden somewhere, which allows access to a back area which leads to another secret with a goodie at the end of it. I've also spiced up a couple of those repetitive and bland hotel rooms, though the structure for most of them remains the same, a couple of them have been made larger and somewhat more significant, adding in a powerup which helps with the last part of the map, moves the blue key and adds a few enemies in them so it's not completely pointless and tedious to go through them all.

Download Update 1.2

UPDATE 1.4: Added in a whole new map. Tell me what you think of it and that junk. It mainly involves experimentation with slopes and creating decent lighting with cohesive direction throughout the entire map. The second level was "updated" to the Doom in Hexen format which allowed me to speed up a couple of things like the lift delay and streamline the map a little more, as well as make the vent secret more challenging to reach.
(Yes I know I skipped a decimal point)

Download Update 1.4

NOTE: YOU NEED THE DUKE NUKEM TEXTURE PACK OR THERE WILL BE BROKEN TEXTURES EVERYWHERE on versions 1-1.4
Get that here

UPDATE 1.5: Added in Map03, based heavily on The Focus. Also added in some MAPINFO code with the help of a friend and you no longer require the Duke texture pack, at the cost of bumping up the wad to 8mb. You still require the texture pack for the older versions should you want to see how the wad progressed.

Download Update 1.5

UPDATE 1.6: Map04 has been completed and is by far one of the most difficult levels I've made, and some people may get stuck towards the end. I've also added in music from Duke 3D so it's extra groovy though I may have to release a second version with no music since this bumps the file size up to 26mb.

Download Update 1.6

Final patch: It's done yo. All 5 levels finished. Been tarted up so it looks fancy and professional and it's all packed in one WAD. Bearing in mind this is a small college project and it's supposed to be short, though I might add more to it after I've handed it in just to expand on it for funsies (and justify a 30mb download)

Download it here

Screenshots
Map 01
Map 02
Map 03
Map 04
Map 05 is a secret you gotta get there first

Quick rundown of the levels:
Map01 is a lighting and ramp experiment which features different lighting techniques and basic slopes and was my first attempt at a decent non-linear style level.
Map02 was actually done first, and as such is probably the weakest level of the WAD, with very basic architecture and very linear design.
Map03 is very similar to The Focus, done really as practice to get into some good habits about making fast action packed non-linear and not blocky levels, so don't tell me "you just copied The Focus" when I already know that.
Map04 is where I truly put all my effort into the design of the level, avoiding as hard as I could to make another blocky level, trying to create a fairly challenging level with a fairly big reward for finding large secrets, as well as trying out new things such as the way the doors open.
Map05 is the boss battle. It's not very complicated, it's not very long, but it's also not very easy (on hard). I tried to create a bigger challenge by letting monsters trigger the platforms to come down, but reward players with health powerups should they successfully lure a monster or rocket jump on top. The choice to make the platform's linedefs block monsters was deliberate as the boss could step onto them and get stuck.

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dood welcome back, I remember you from about two years ago.

overall, design is pretty basic, with a bit of realism. I can see someone saying that the bare flatness of many areas is a turn-off. the whole area from the start to the alien-like room is entirely orthogonal. if you are intending for some sort of "holocaust" as in the title of the map, make it look like parts of the level got destroyed or something. gameplay-wise, I played it on three difficulties. ITYTD was easy, HMP wasn't too difficult, and neither was UV apart from the pain elemental room.

the lobby's okay, but the next few halls after that with zombies are a bit barren in design, there's not much to look at apart from the vending machines, it could use some ceiling or maybe wall decorations. on ITYTD/HNTR, there's no chaingunners, and I never got a chaingun on those difficulty settings. mowing down the zombies wasn't too difficult on my end, it could probably use different monsters to spice things up. the bathrooms are a bit weird, as I have played WADs where the imps were in the female room while the zombies were in the male room, and this was the other way around. maybe it's alright here, I dunno.

the megaarmor secret is pretty weird on different difficulties. plus the caco who is on every difficulty is in front of the smaller monsters, meaning all but the demons on HMP might hit him. move the caco behind the other monsters I'd say.

the door and elevator leading to the hotel rooms is pretty odd. apparently I found out that I had to open the door and walk in front of the elevator. really not sure what you were getting at with that. I did alright with the room at the top of the elevator, it was most fun on UV difficulty.

the identical hotel rooms are a bit boring to look at, plus there aren't any monsters in any of them on any difficulty. I think there should be some enemies in some of the rooms, especially a tough one inside the room with the blue key.

the alien-like room behind the blue door (which is not marked so well, I might add) was sudden, not sure if that was good. plus it's flat as a field. the two side rooms have switches, but for some reason they don't seem to have a "pressed" face, probably a problem with the texture pack. I did not like the right door where I was in a small hallway with a demon/caco/HK. the other room was more fun, especially on UV and was the standout encounter for the wad.

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Thanks for your feedback.

I do see where you're coming from with the flat areas being rather off-turning and barren. I did feel like something was missing from them but I couldn't really decide on what to put in there.
The no chaingunners on easy was supposed to be a deliberate choice, as originally the blue armour secret had a chaingun, but it was replaced due to the difficulty on hard when you go up the lift plus the overabundance of bullet ammo already present, I didn't feel the need for to be there since you already have a chaingun on medium and hard. It was just an oversight there's no chaingun on easy. I'll be sure to add one in somewhere in one way or another, possibly just adding one of the chaingunners back in the big hall. Plus the imps thing was supposed to indicate that the monsters are coming out of a secret passage (ie. the secret sewer opened by the condom machine)

I did originally have switches for the lift but I opted to have it triggered by walking next to it. I now realize this is impractical due to how small the trigger is and it'll be changed back to switches, though I'll probably leave the triggers in.

I pretty much assumed hotels have identical rooms in them so I went for that similar design, although if I were working with more space I could have made them more interesting, possibly something like the hotel rooms in Hitman Blood Money. I might possibly attempt to make them bigger although I'm not sure how I would do that.

The alien room is sort of a marmite thing I've found. I personally like it but I can see why other people wouldn't. It's just that I like the parts of Duke Nukem where you would be in some sort of man-made environment and then open up a section and have like the alien stuff growing over it (eg. The part in E3L1 where you walk into the dining area and there's the green slimey stuff and women tied up), which I can tell is possibly an idea taken from Aliens. I do see it as a rather jarring difference and it could have been done better but I like that idea of this secret room they built behind one of the hotel rooms. I was also going for a sort of Doom 2 Map05 thing with that right hallway, but now that you mention it, it does seem rather lazy and cheap.

Oh yeah and Hotel Holocaust is really just a working title. It's just a cheap shot at Hollywood Holocaust. The demons are clean invaders who don't like to break things.

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The level was distinctly amateurish, for the following reasons:
-Architecture primarily consisted of rectangular blocks. That's very unimaginative. Feel free to add interesting structures of varied shapes and heights. Preferably incorporate them into the gameplay itself, rather than just as an eye-candy.
-Gameplay was straightforward. All enemies were encountered from the front side. They just stand in the corridors, waiting to be slain. Very often they could be safely sniped from doors, that's just bad. They don't threaten the player any efficiently, which they should. Actually, the Baron + PEs were nothing but tedious to fight. Pay attention to monster placement, place them to challenge the player while allowing him to kill the monsters quickly enough.
-All fights took place on a flat ground. Not enough usage of height variation that affects gameplay.
-Layout full of repetitive small side rooms with only 1 entrance. It's a chore to explore them all. Interconnect rooms in the whole level with each other, nonlinearity is fun. Also, don't repeat architecture.
-Switches didn't animate properly, I think, or at least I didn't notice any animation.

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scifista42 said:

-Switches didn't animate properly, I think, or at least I didn't notice any animation.


This is an issue with using custom textures. There's nothing I can do about that.

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I prefer when switches indicate their action by a sound and animation. You can make a recolor of that monster hand, add it to your wad as a new custom texture, and use ANIMDEFS to make it animate properly when switched.

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I've added a small update focusing on improving the alien area and adding a little to the sewer secret, though the rest of the map is pretty much unchanged. Download link is in the main post.

EDITING CAUSE NOBODY ELSE POSTED AND I DON'T WANT TO DOUBLE POST:
Another update is out with a new area and some extras. I worked on it pretty much for 6 hours straight so I hope it's decent enough or at least improved.

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I started working on another map, actually bumping up the first map to MAP02 and made a sort of prequel of sorts to that map. However I hit a snag when I decided to make the start a sort of homage/ripoff of Duke Nukem 3D's start.





You can blatantly see the vent from the other side, and it disappears as you get closer. I had this same problem with the area at the bottom of the vent but that was easily fixable by moving it lower down (it was too high up compared to the rooftop anyway). Is this a glitch with the actual engine or just my shitty mapping?

It would also be nice to see the outside of the vent rather than the inside if that's possible.

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SavageCorona said:

http://i.imgur.com/5jJKu1B.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/pYXx9qI.png

You can blatantly see the vent from the other side, and it disappears as you get closer. Is this a glitch with the actual engine or just my shitty mapping?

It's your mapping error: You've placed a sky boundary in front of the vent, and the sky obviously blocks it. You must make the vent a solid object observable from outside and place the sky behind it rather than in front of it.

I also forgot the resize code for images and I know this forum hates images over 800x600.

The forum software now resizes them automatically, and people no longer get in trouble by posting them.

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You just need to place the sky line further away from the building (with lowered floor around it), and build the outside part of the vent.

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I've done that, but I've also managed to replicate the error I had before where you can see the area down below from up on the rooftop, and it only appears at certain angles too.

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Advice: First, learn how the sky clipping works. It actually works slightly differently in software and OpenGL renderers. Then feel free to experiment with tricks. Honestly, preventing the player from seeing the ground that needs to be placed there is a nontrivial task. You will either need portals, fake floors or a silent teleporter inside the vent.

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I'm probably pissing everyone off bumping this thread but I updated the wad with a new map and some minor tweaks to the old one. The new map is a "prequel" level which pays quite a bit of homage to Duke Nukem 3D as well as using my own designs. Mainly experimentation with lighting and sloped floors and ceilings.

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I've finished Map03. I did a little bit of coding the MAPINFO with the help of a friend to change the music, level names and par times as well as merging the texture wad within the main wad itself so you don't need to run the texture wad separately any more.

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It's done baby. All 5 levels done and the WAD has been tarted up and made all fancy with green stuff. I'd appreciate feedback on it.

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As a general guideline, doors look better if they're not flush with the walls. I know the semi-realistic architecture of the first couple levels results in thin walls but doors could still be receded a bit.

MAP02: the blue-locked passage to the ending area can be triggered and then backed away from. Then the map becomes non-completable because there's no way to get it back down.

MAP04: I dislike one-time only secrets like the blue armor in the pantry.

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I could've sworn I made that an activatable lift on Map02. I guess it's due to the fact it's too close to the door. I also forgot to make that blue armour secret a repeatable action. Easy mistake to make. Gonna replace the download with a fixed one in a minute.

I fixed the issues by moving the lift further in so the door isn't blocking the lift trigger and you can call it back down and I made the blue armour secret repeatable so you can lower it to your heart's content.

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