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FrankieSmileShow

Crimson Temple

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Howdy! Im a game developer, I normally do 2d stuff with pixel art, platformers and the like. I really like old school FPS games though, and I'd like to make a simple, old school FPS game of my own eventually. Something kind of like Blake Stone maybe, if anyone here remembers that...

I got some experience with level design in general, but I got zero experience with FPS level design, so I thought making some doom maps could be a great introduction to it!



I made this first map a month ago or so, and I'm pretty happy with it, though I no doubt made a lot of mistakes.
Like, its probably way too big. I started making a level and never really stopped!
I thought maybe I should show it off here and get some good ol constructive criticism for it all.



Heres the file. The map uses the Doom 2 IWAD. Its just one level.
I tested this on ZDoom. Im using the Doom 2-in-hexen-format-type source.
http://www.mediafire.com/download/bdt2i557251bz67/CrimsonTemple.wad

Its a little hefty because I put two MP3s in there. Some creepy atmosphere BGMs I made in Audacity. Its not entirely appropriate, its not a horror level or anything, but I always thought Doom was kind of a scary, tense game anyway, so it kinda fits either way.

All in all, my first experience making a doom map was really positive! I was shocked at how easy and simple GZDoom Builder was to use, and how quickly you could get a map layout done. I had a lot of fun making little structures with sectors, like cracks on the floor and stuff, though in retrospect they're probably a little distracting in that big courtyard arena place.

Also had a little taste of importing custom resources, but only used that for a single texture and two mp3s so far. I might go a little further with this next time!

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Honestly these threads are a rollercoaster for me.

"This is my first map"
"Oh :("
"I'm a game developer"
"Yay a good first map!"

I must've only played about half of this map but what I played is well designed even if it does have the fairly frequent my first map mistakes mainly in the misaligned texture department. What started out as a fun shotgun/chaingun zombie mow-fest rather quickly turned into a low ammo panic after all the plasma cells ran out in which case I had 74 rockets but no launcher to launch said rockets and sped off into the blood cave part fisting my way through what I could and just charging through in an unarmed panic until I found the rocket launcher, took out the Mancubi and a few imps then the Arch-vile came along and effectively ruined my day.

7/10 good first ever doom map

oh yeah and the ambient track was pretty good.

Also use Dropbox or something before people complain about the fullscreen Roblox adverts on Mediafire.

Another tip for future wads is don't bloat your single map wads with custom assets, or at least release the wad separately with no assets and have separate resource downloads to run alongside the wad optionally. 6mb is pretty big for one even decently sized map and I doubt people will want to download a 50mb single map wad full to the brim with FLAC tracks and texture packs from Afterglow.

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Looks pretty fucking sexy judging by the screenshots. I can see a misalignment with the stairs within the first shot but I have one question and that is what port did you make it for? As it's quite tempting to fire up an FDA for this if I have time tomorrow.

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It doesn't run in PRBoom+ giving me a doesn't-support-Hexen-format error so I guess it was made for ZDoom Doom in Hexen format. It ran fine in Zandronum for me (the go-to program that WADs are associated with on double-click) so I imagine ZDoom and GZDoom also work fine.

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SavageCorona said:

It doesn't run in PRBoom+ giving me a doesn't-support-Hexen-format error so I guess it was made for ZDoom Doom in Hexen format. It ran fine in Zandronum for me (the go-to program that WADs are associated with on double-click) so I imagine ZDoom and GZDoom also work fine.

That's a damn shame. I'll still give it a cheeky go, though. Best start dusting off the old bad boy and fire it up tomorrow.

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Well, that was something. I played in Zandronum on UV.

From a gameplay point of view it was excellent. I would suggest that a Green Armor is needed in the first room really, rather than where it is, as you encounter a lot of stuff before you get to it, especially if you take the right room before the left, as I did. True there is a MegaArmor secret in there, but that can easily be missed. I actually forgot I picked up the red key and so didn't get the RL for the first Cyberdemon fight. I only realised when I saw that there were tons of Rockets and no RL! Luckily I had the PG and so I made it through the fight with some infighting. The exit could also do with being signposted a bit better as I didn't realise that was going to be the end of the map. This Mancubus seemed stuck and couldn't move.

Other than that, I didn't notice too much wrong. I don't look too much at aesthetics and texture alignment and stuff like that as there are people here a lot better at it than I am. The layout was great and I found 11 of the 12 secrets, which meant I got to enjoy a lot of revisiting areas, which the prompts were great for.

A very enjoyable half hour spent there. Hope to see more maps from you!

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Fun map, fairly good atmosphere. However, I believe the atmosphere could have improved by reducing the overall light level, thereby creating greater contrast between shadow and light. Then it would've fit the (pretty good) music better. Just my $0.02. The text narrative for the locations was interesting and gave a better sense of place. That said, it felt grander than it ended up being. By the time the level was over, I had 40% kills and wondered what I left behind. There were also some texture misalignments, likely due to upper/lower unpegging. Anyway, great first try!

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Thanks for the comments everyone!

Maybe I should re-think the three branches a little bit. Right now there is an "ideal" order to visiting them, and doing it in any other order can put you in a really bad situation. I think its okay to have the choices be uneven a little, but they might be too uneven here! Maybe I should tone down the ambush of the west path a bit, to make going there first less of a death sentence. At UV its really bad to go there without armor, like Degree23 said! Maybe switch two of those sergeants in the back to zombies, and remove an imp or two..?

Id like to know where people tend to go, in what order? Do almost everyone miss the rocket launcher before either going down the courtyard or to the secret leading outside?
Also, maybe I should hide that secret to go outside a bit better. It seems like most people go there first? I guess I didnt hide it super hard, for a secret thats bigger than the whole damn level. And the text prompt of the room kind of tells you there's something to look for, too. Needs a more elaborate trigger for opening the way outside maybe. Maybe you should need to complete the "real" level route first, then if you come back, the gates' open.

For the "hall of three fates" where the level initially branches off, what do you guys think of how it starts out? What I *wanted* to do here was to put you in a situation where you just have your pistol and need to grab a shotgun, and pinkies are blocking your way, so you need to draw back some of the pinky demons out of the big room, past the narrow corridor and into the dark entrance lobby, use the columns there and run past em and snag a shotgun from a dead sergeant in the larger room before you can finish em off behind you. Is that more or less how it plays out for everyone in UV? Or does it just feel like a bit of a mess? I feel like it miiiight be the latter...

Im adding an EXIT sign next to the end switch. You're right, thats really missing there.

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FrankieSmileShow said:

Maybe I should re-think the three branches a little bit. Right now there is an "ideal" order to visiting them, and doing it in any other order can put you in a really bad situation.


Unless you force people to go in a specific order, which is not necessarily always the best way, then one of the ways to deal with this is to give sufficient weapons/armour at the location where you can choose so that whichever path you go down becomes at least feasible. This still leaves it so that if you go in a certain order (the "correct" order) then you pick up stuff that helps you with the other two branches, but if you don't, you still have stuff to get you by. There is a Soul Sphere, but I actually left that for later and by the time I came back to this area again (when the AV comes in) I actually needed it then. I think a Green Armor and a box of Shells in this first area would help a lot as I ran out of Shells. If you get the SSG first it all goes fine, but the ambush that appears means the player may turn around and go back out to fight, which is what I did and then ran out of ammo and had to use the Pistol on 3 Imps.

FrankieSmileShow said:

Id like to know where people tend to go, in what order? Do almost everyone miss the rocket launcher before either going down the courtyard or to the secret leading outside?


I think I only missed it because I forgot that I'd picked up the red key. I had been around the room and looked in and saw the RL (and HKs and Imps) and thought "I must get that when I get the red key" and then it just slipped my mind. One way around this would be to make it so there is a door preventing you getting to the first Cyberdemon battle in the courtyard area that only opens via a switch in the RL room. That ensures the player can't get to there without picking up the weapon.

Overall because of the large number of secrets and size of the level, it can be tricky to keep track of what's going on. But I think the main reason I didn't feel this was your use of on screen prompts, so that even when I ended up back in a previous area, the new prompt indicated that I should actually still be here, even if I didn't know what for initially. If you miss the secrets then you actually miss a large chunk of the map, so maybe making the larger of them not a secret and part of the main route would be a good idea, thinking about Job's point. I saw pretty much the whole map, but I can see how easy it is to miss a large chunk of it.

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I forgot to add one suggestion to my previous post:

Spoiler

You should make the door opening up to the central battle room (the one before the spider mastermind area) lock behind you. Maybe you can think of a more elegant solution, but the battle was made very easy by alerting the monsters, letting the cyberdemon wipe most of them away, and mopping up the rest. Popping up into the door way and backing down the stairs repeatedly was the key. I believe the battle would have been more fun/challenging if I had to use the pillars on the perimeter for cover.

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Good:

1) The elaborate secrets. It's alright if occasionally a secret is nothing more than a tiny closet, but I like it when even the smallest secrets are cool in some way (either the room itself, the means of accessing it, or both). The unseen temple and blood rivers were pretty cool. (Although the secrets could've been a tad harder to find.)

2) Arch-viles. Among the most threatening aspects of the level, in addition to the big spectre trap in one of the paths, which was probably the most threatening thing in the level. Oddly, the cyberdemon fights were among the easiest encounters in the map -- lots of space, lots of infighting automatically occurs (in the case of the one at the northernmost part of the map, you can sort of wake everything up and come back later to a mostly cleaned house), and LOTS of health. You could get rid of at least one soulsphere and megasphere each.

3) Spawning monsters. It's cool to come back to a previously cleared "hub" area and see that new monsters have appeared. The level could have used even more of this.

--

Re: evening out the paths. I went right-middle-left. Maybe that was ideal? It seemed pretty easygoing. If you don't want to put all the important resources in one central location, in which case you sort of lose out on an opportunity to tie a challenge to acquiring a weapon, there's no harm in putting duplicates (of the SSG and chaingun) in each of the paths, and rebalancing by removing an equivalent amount of ammo. If the player uses the "explore the first room of each path before going deeper", s/he'll get the needed resources immediately, but that might not be the most common strategy. In my case, missing out on the CG let to some tedious pistoling of non-threatening cacos/HKs.

The layout in many parts was conducive to chokepont campy battles (one way into a room usually means one way out for the monsters). You aren't shy about using scripts, so consider using indirect placements (teleporters, spawning, etc.) and various means of one-way travel (drops into rooms, bars slamming shut behind the player, one-way doors/lifts, etc.) to temporarily trap the player in the middle of heated fights. There were a few of these fights, and those were the best.

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Job said:

suggestion about the courtyard fight


Actually yeah, ive been trying to find a way to prevent this strategy without making this fight a complete surprise. Not sure how I would do this! I dont want to just one-way teleport the player into the courtyard, I want the player to realize what they are getting into when they go in there, as its a one-way drop, you cant go back after you start this fight. Thats pretty important here, the path being accessible from the start, the player needs to realize they should explore more and come back here later if they go there right away.
So how could I keep that clarity, but still prevent players from just waking up the monsters with a few shots and backing out of the door without dropping down?

I made some linedefs block out sound just now, so shooting from the doorway no longer wakes up everything in the courtyard at least, but you can still wake them up by hitting them... Should I just add a fence that blocks bullets, but still lets the player see through maybe? That seems a bit silly though.


Glad you liked the secrets, rdwpa!

Spoiler

The unseen temple is meant to be a secret alternate entrance to the map. Finding out about this is like a reward for going through the blood cave, and its pretty obvious from the top of the cliff at the end of the blood cave there, but you can reach the ledge leading to it with a running "jump" at the very start of the map, from the edge of the temples entrance. I wonder if anyone found that alt entrance from the getgo...?
There is also a secret exit. Kind of hidden in plain sight if youve found the way back outside. It doesn't do anything tho since there's just one map to this.


Magnusblitz said:

> Map is named crimson temple
> Temple is all marble green

It goes red pretty fast when you get there. On account of splattering demon gizzards all over the gaddam walls!
Also, Blood Temple just sounded a bit too on-the-nose

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FrankieSmileShow said:

Actually yeah, ive been trying to find a way to prevent this strategy without making this fight a complete surprise. Not sure how I would do this! I dont want to just one-way teleport the player into the courtyard, I want the player to realize what they are getting into when they go in there, as its a one-way drop, you cant go back after you start this fight. Thats pretty important here, the path being accessible from the start, the player needs to realize they should explore more and come back here later if they go there right away.
So how could I keep that clarity, but still prevent players from just waking up the monsters with a few shots and backing out of the door without dropping down?

Well, I was aware of the area from the view in the Sentinel area (I was able to wake up the cyberdemon from there).

The simplest way to sawtooth the player into the fight might be placing a linedef on the threshold of the entrance that drops a barrier behind the player. You could also try putting pillars on the other side of the threshold (in the arena) that lower via a switch in the level. That way you can see the area beforehand but not enter.

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degree23 said:

I would suggest that a Green Armor is needed in the first room really, rather than where it is, as you encounter a lot of stuff before you get to it, especially if you take the right room before the left, as I did.


I actually didn't have this problem at all since I was pretty decent at dodging the projectiles and I got really lucky that I was able to take out the zombie dudes before I took a hit from them.

My suggestion would be have another one further back on the easier difficulties and have the one you currently have on UV as it is since UV is only really played by the most H4RDC0R3 D00M3R5 in most cases.

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Amazing effort, the fact that it's a first map is mind-blowing, I had lots of fun and I found the secret exit. This looks like a promising start, if you'll keep making maps and keep on getting better, you'll top the BTSX series for me.

Make sure you use unpegged walls, this map's full of pegged door tracks.

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Really nice map, top effort for a first attempt at doom mapping. The atmosphere and text pop-ups really draw you in to the exploration, I never felt like I was just trying to find an exit rather than uncovering some kind of mystery.

I'd agree that the lighting is a little bright and uniform in places which seems at odds with the creepy vibe of the music. There are some texture alignment issues which other people have mentioned, mostly due to upper and lower pegging. For example if you have a window you can unpeg the lower and upper linedefs of the frame so that the texture will align with the adjacent walls, and I noticed a few door frames that needed lower unpegging to stop the texture rising with the door opening.

I found it fairly easy on UV due to the amount of health, ammo and space available, and the fights are mostly basic eye-level shooting whatever's in front of you. Thats not a big deal though since this map is more about the exploration than the fighting, and I had a great time finding all the secrets. I especially like the non-linear aspect and optional areas. I wouldn't worry too much about which routes people take as they are mostly able to go back and try a different route if it looks too tricky, which is what I did a lot. I also might have broken the intended progression by strafe-jumping to a secret area right at the start:


Here's a map of the route I took to the normal exit:


Hope you keep making Doom maps.

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Went back and explored everything. Much more enjoyable and gave more closure.

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mouldy said:

I also might have broken the intended progression by strafe-jumping to a secret area right at the start


Yep, that's the alternate entrance I mentioned in that spoiler tag in my previous post! The idea is that you may or may not realize this strafe jump is possible (actually you just have to run to make it), but if you don't find it at the start, and explore the secret areas thoroughly, and go through the blood cave, you end up at the top of the cliff overlooking the starting area, from where you can see the unseen chapel. Like, the reward for going through the secret paths to the end is learning about the alternate entrance, if you didn't find it on your own at the start. After you actually see it from up there, see it gives you a shotgun and see it re-connects into the main level with a one-way secret, youre meant to make the connection that this must be reachable from the start.

The route you took to the exit is more or less the "ideal" one from the alt entrance, yeah!
The text prompts about the rooms dont really make sense if you enter from the alt entrance though. Not sure how I could fix that. Can you add variables to the scripts? Like some booleans to keep track of which messages were used?


One thing I wanted to do with the courtyard, that im not really sure is working out like intended, is the switch that raises the four columns with arachnotrons on em. The idea was that pulling this switch makes the arachnotrons a bigger threat, but in return the columns give you useful cover from the projectile chaos in the courtyard. I'm not really sure if that works..? The arachnotrons dont seem to shoot much when theyre moved high up, and the columns can probably be more of a bother when you try to dodge cyberdemon rockets... Maybe hell knights would work better?

And yeah, I must have missed a lot of door tracks. I went through em and fixed some of it, but probably missed a lot of trap doors especially.



I might make another map that gives that basic "various optional branches leading to some gear to prepare you for a bigger battle you can access right from the start." idea another shot. Maybe a more obvious, straight-to-the-point approach to it. Like a corridor with teleporters on the sides, next to one-way drops that are the end of each branch the teleporters lead to. At the top of those drops, you can simply see the item(s) you'll get down that path. All cards are on the table. The branches themselves have almost no items in em: the items you see from the corridor are more or less all you get. When you reach the end of a branch and come back to that center corridor, the platform with the item lowers down, so you can get some of the items on it later if you like. There would probably be one or two branches that just lead to a lot of ammo or health pickups. Continue the center path and you reach an obvious point-of-no-return. You're put on a battle gauntlet that leads to the end. Maybe that each optional branch completed at the start adds a few more enemies to the final gauntlet? Not enough to make the branches not worth it, just enough to "customize" that final gauntlet a bit based on what you did in the early rooms.

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FrankieSmileShow said:

One thing I wanted to do with the courtyard, that im not really sure is working out like intended, is the switch that raises the four columns with arachnotrons on em. The idea was that pulling this switch makes the arachnotrons a bigger threat, but in return the columns give you useful cover from the projectile chaos in the courtyard. I'm not really sure if that works..? The arachnotrons dont seem to shoot much when theyre moved high up, and the columns can probably be more of a bother when you try to dodge cyberdemon rockets... Maybe hell knights would work better?

I don't think the arachnotrons are the problem. I'd try making the square columns they're on a bit bigger. The radius between the two seems so close they have difficulty aiming and firing unless repeatedly provoked. You could, of course, try revenants or mancubi if you like.

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The platforms used to be wider, but I shrunk em down. The wider platforms meant the arachnotrons often shot at the platform floor if they werent close enough to the edge. Ill try to find a sweet spot.

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