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Sprawling Maps vs. Compact Clever Maps

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Which do you prefer? For the longest time, I enjoyed spending a lot of time in a map, getting comfortable with it. Like a long book. But after playing Scythe (1) last night, I realized how fulfilling compact, clever maps can be. It's just really engaging, discovering the way architecture ties concisely into itself like a Celtic knot. So I'm going to have to lean toward smaller, compact maps like what I just described. Do you enjoy immense maps or tidy, bite-sized ones?

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A little of column A, a little of column B. Generally I'll prefer smaller maps, but I like having larger map to break things up. That said, if the map gets too large (like, we're talking several hours to clear) or the WAD is filled to the brim with them, I'll generally tire of it all before too long.

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I enjoy large sprawling maps every once in a while (ex. Mechadon maps), but generally I prefer short maps.

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I will rarely play large map sets. Instead I prefer smaller maps which tend to have a better sense of progression. In larger maps I generally get bored with them and tend not to complete them.

I'd rather play a small well built mapset (like under 10 maps) instead of playing a gigantic 32 map megawad (which I inevitably will get bored of)

I always liked speed maps because they tend to be shorter maps with a very "rough around the edges" style of gameplay. Anyways that's my opinion.

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I can enjoy maps of any length if they're well done. Medium sized maps are most likely to appeal to me - I mean maps with roughly 80-200 monsters with reasonable density of their placement (not slaughter and not sparse). I appreciate clever-ness and uniqueness related to gameplay.

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I tend to like larger maps and the sense of exploration they can offer. Short maps are nice but usually end just as they are getting good. It really depends on my mood and what I'm looking to get out of a session.

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I prefer compact maps. In a map set or megawad some variety of both is nice as long as the split is mostly smaller levels as too many long maps in a row is a bit of a slog. I don't like huge maps though.

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Imo it's quite hard to make a "clever" compact map. Very often they turn out too short and featureless to leave any serious impression, so in a way they seem pointless. I guess most of my mapping is a good example of that and Gusta's works are a good counterexample, especially his amazing PL2 stuff. So sure, "clever" compact maps are cool but there aren't that many of them around.

Though it's difficult to talk about this when "compact" isn't clearly defined. For example, imo most of Scythe maps are "pointless" when judged individually but the same doesn't apply to Scythe 2, where everything somehow feels more "legit" because the maps are quite a bit bigger overall. So what I'm saying is that the question is too broad perhaps. Like, how compact are we talking about?

That pointlessness I'm talking about is the main reason why I freaked out when they gave me that weirdass cacoward. Like, how could six maps about nothing get that sort of praise? It was ridiculous and almost looked like poking fun at my sad attempts at making something serious.

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I like all kind of maps, as long as they are good. But I prefer the big/massive ones, and more if they have a sense of journey, I love to immerse myself in the atmosphere of the map.

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Compact maps.

1. Allows for clearer focus on a concept and when that concept is over it fucks right off and doesn't drag itself on
2. Allows for more controlled gameplay
3. If it's bad it ends quickly.

Sprawling maps are great but only if the map needs to be sprawling. Unless you have a very vivid setting that you can fully immerse the player in or an hour worth of ideas, keep your map short.

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The size and proportions of the map don't always matter to me, but if a map takes me more than 15 minutes to complete, then i feel it's way too long.

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Small to medium maps, mainly so I don't have to drag on recording for more than 25 minutes or longer.

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If the locale is immersive and well-crafted, I can totally enjoy wandering around a sprawling adventure map for hours. Espi's The Shrine and Vader's Blackrock are the ultimate examples of this for me. I can wholeheartedly agree that a lot of small-to-medium maps benefit from their brevity, but the aforementioned behemoths are among my favorite maps ever.

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Well, ideally of course, you won't ever have to make this choice--both very large and very small maps (and everything in between) have their place, and more often than not it's beneficial for a megaWAD or longer mapset to feature some of both, although this may not apply as much if it's just a pack of loosely related one-offs (ala most of the CChest and similar series, for instance).

Cop-out answer aside, if you present me with the ever-popular desert island scenario and ask me to pick between big sprawling maps and concise/compact ones, in all likelihood I'll pick the big ones. A very large/long map--or a pack of very large/long maps--is something of a "high risk, high reward" proposition, as I see it. Following Tarnsman's reasoning, it's quite true that a bad or boring map becomes exponentially more difficult to tolerate the longer it goes on for, and that many concepts/ideas are best served as a shorter, more concise affair. However, speaking in absolutes, a longer map also offers a larger canvas for a more complete sense of immersion, a more rewarding sense of exploration, greater variety and scale of battles and a greater possibility for a more intricate interplay between them, more potential for first-order replayability (e.g. play it one way the first time, and a completely different way the next), and on and on. It is of course true that not every large map lives up to such lofty ideals, but a large map 'done right' is like hitting the jackpot, more rewarding/satisfying than a half dozen good short maps combined, and I guess for my tastes that's a chance worth taking.

tl;dr: I agree with esselfortium. And SFoZ911, for that matter.

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i like big levels that i can get lost in, unraveling the map like solving a rubik's cube is very satisfying to me

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I try to make all of my maps fairly small maps that use space as efficiently as possible, but not "lightning fast" maps like the early ones in Scythe. I hear a lot of people complain about "meat sheild" enemies that force you to spend more than 20 seconds in one room (I know, a fate worse than death) but I acturally like gameplay like that. It forces you to quickly observe what in this particular room you can use as cover/vantage points and use it against your enemy.

Maybe it comes back to my love for Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania and stuff. I don't mind spending a while in the same area as long as I'm being provided with a fun challenge.

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I think any map size can be clever, and even when it isn't particularly it can still be quite fun.

As long as the maps aren't too long I'm alright with them, I don't mind spending a few minutes in one map, I'm not gonna pretend my time is more important than it is and that I can't handle taking the time to actually play things.

But that being said, it also comes down to what is in the map, large or small. My maps aren't the best example of loads of fun, but I tried. A good amount of shooting is nice, but I can go for sparse enemy placement if they do it well enough....but no slaughtery stuff, gets a bit too monotonous. It's fine in one last boss fight though....because you aren't subject to it all the while and the appeal of a bloodbath feels like a reward then, rather than something forced at you.

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I think that enjoyable small maps would have to meet this criteria: action packed, kaizo-esque, which means that standing still is heavily punished, making it feel like an action-puzzle. Yeah, gameplay over looks.

For big ones, clever traps and cool combat setups, combined with a cool looking environment (be it close quarters or open areas). In other words, put effort on good looks and interactivity, gameplay is less important.

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I generally like medium-sized maps the most. Small ones are good enough for me as well. Large ones only work fine for me if I'm on a map set in which the map sizes get progressively get bigger.

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Depends on the map itself. I love large outdoor terrains (especially if the sky looks awesome) - not only in Doom but in other shooters as well.

But, at the same time, I also like some of the small maps in Demonfear or Scythe - they may be short, but the quality more than makes up for that.

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I like variety. Have some short compact maps then one big sprawling one, then back to compact, etc.

For a standalone map, or just a small set (no more than, say, three maps) then I'm more inclined to prefer the maps to be large and offer a lot to explore by themselves. I don't often bother to download and play a small standalone map because I feel it'd be over too son, and inversely I'm not eager to start playing through a megawad of only huge maps because then I feel I'd never play it to its end.

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This is kind of a hard question to answer. I like sprawling maps in the sense that they have lots of interesting and meaningful paths to explore and play in, but I hate big, epic maps that just go on and on for the sake of it. Boring. Zzz.

I also like compact maps, but, you know, good ones. Basically, I like good doom maps and I don't like bad ones. Bad sprawling maps are bad, and bad compact maps are bad. Bad maps are bad. Eggs are eggs.

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More and more I'm coming 'round to compact-ish maps over large, sprawling ones. I think there are a couple of factors at work there.

Large maps are caught between often contraditory directives: they need to really use and justify their large size while at the same time trying to avoid its disadvantages (tendency towards walking for the sake of walking, backtracking through quiet areas, etc.). I think there are more potential problems inherent to the large, sprawling map format than there are inherent to compact maps (though poor mapping decisions can throw up just as many issues in either) and the scale of large maps tends to magnify the annoyance of any problems therein.

I'd point to 5till L1 Complex as a map which makes the most of its large size and sprawling nature, and indeed, probably wouldn't work on a smaller scale. Conversely, I don't think, say, CC3 MAP12: Black Rain benefits from/makes use of its size and sprawl.

I've also found myself thinking "you could achieve this same effect in half as much real estate," or "you could challenge the player just as much with half as many monsters," far more often than I've found myself thinking the opposite.

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I don't think it's really a matter of whether or not huge maps are better than compact maps or vice-versa, it depends more on why the map is the size that it is. I'll take a sprawling map with simple progression but owes its size to lots of optional areas to explore over a sprawling map that owes its size to a 45-minute series of switchhunts for the sake of making it longer/bigger/more epic.

Same goes for small maps. I'll take a map that's small for the purpose of being straightforward and to-the-point over one designed around the idea of "Let's see how much I can cram into a 1024x1024 space!"

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