Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Built-in tricks rant!

Recommended Posts

OK, to recap... In the old days mappers were more naive and would often miss various ways to break the intended routes in their levels. This is a part of the reason why wads like Plutonia, Icarus, Revolution, etc are very very speedrun-friendly. But nowadays people are much more knowledgeable about all sorts of tricks and exploits, so an experienced author usually can design an unbreakable level with very high reliability. However, that's often undesirable because speedrun-friendliness is seen as a good thing. That's why mappers intentionally design their levels in such a way as to make some shortcuts possible.

That bothers me a little (you could say that there is nothing cool about breaking a level if the author actually helps you to do so) but I can accept it as a compromise and I enjoy watching speed demos for Kama Sutra, Plutonia 2 and so on. But, I think that if we are going the "mapper and player work together" route, we should at least do it in style. For example, in my opinion Gusta always does this in style: his built-in tricks look natural and believable, almost as if he was indeed clueless about them. As I see it, that's what map makers should strive for.

Because if they don't, then things like Sunlust Map08 happen. I just watched a TAS speedrun of this map and was a little bit offended (yes, a rather strong word to use in this situation, but that's because I'm passionate about this stuff). What happens there is that the player uses an arch-vile to jump above the blue bars. And logically, he is supposed to get stuck after doing that because the switch that lowers these bars is in another place, so there shouldn't be any way to get back to the main area now. But then these bars suddenly lower anyway? I was like "whyyy?". So I opened the map in Doom Builder and found out that the author deliberately added a trigger linedef that lowers these bars JUST IN CASE the player uses an arch-vile jump.

I'm sorry but that is totally lame in my opinion. There is no effort to hide the intention at all: the added linedef exists solely to make that speedrun route possible and serves no other purpose. And I don't like that. It's forced, it's inelegant, it's lame. I can name similar examples from Unholy Realms, Resurgence and maybe some other wads if people want but I think this illustrates my point well enough.

What do you think? Should map designers at least attempt to make built-in tricks look unintentional or is there no sense in trying to hide the "obvious" truth?

Share this post

Link to post
Memfis said:

Because if they don't, then things like Sunlust Map08 happen.

the trick is useless in a uv-max, which is the only category I really think about while mapping. it was in there as a cutesy trick if you decided to jump in there from the central cyb platform (the AV jump didn't even cross my mind, honestly). sorry I triggered you with my triggers.

Share this post

Link to post

Modern mappers should make sure no glides are possible. These are so boring to watch.

Share this post

Link to post
vdgg said:

Modern mappers should make sure no glides are possible. These are so boring to watch.


Also, yeah, triggers like that are pretty lame. Whenever I make a speed run trick in my maps I try to make them as unique and interesting as possible, too bad no one speed runs gzdoom maps :~D

Share this post

Link to post
vdgg said:

Modern mappers should make sure no glides are possible. These are so boring to watch.


As for built-in tricks, I don't have an issue with the occasional one, though I much prefer unintentional shortcuts that are found and then get left in because why not.

Share this post

Link to post

Calling out UR or Resurgence while praising Gusta's "natural" shortcuts in KS is stupid as hell, but I'll be nice and call it nostalgia goggles: It was one of the first megawads that consistently did this and you weren't the bored veteran that hates everything that doesn't conform with your increasingly specific formula for success. I'm biased here obviously, but let's just say I asked Joshy and Snakes to remove some of the "superlame & obvious" tricks - and if I was around when Gusta and Method were doing KS, I'd point at a few really really bad ones there as well.

If you want to use a proper example, try skillsaw. While he's experienced enough to know the entire gamut of tricks, he's almost hilariously blind to them. Valiant, like all skillsaw maps, has a ton of sequence breaks. Many of them were there, unintended. Some of them were so easy that they had to go. Some of them even led to catastrophic softlocks and HOMlands. It is absurd to say such mess should be left in, but then a playtester like me will also notice all the other tricks and comment on their coolness. You can't have the cake and eat it too.

It is important to realize how much more complex nowadays big releases are. The heavily scripted nature calls for weeding out unwanted sequence breaks, otherwise all your scripts might blow up. That's why I'm sympathetic with "insuring" the routes that are kept in. It's much more common than you think, actually - even Erik Alm did it. Also worth noting is how much harder these preplanned tricks tend to be. You're usually performing difficult tricks under fire and you need to succeed on your first setupless try. This is a huge leap from the trivial nature of IWADs or TVR. It means individual level runs will be predominant, because chaining that stuff is waaay too hard, possibly TAS only.

Basically, these are "trends". Some mappers want it that way and there's a crowd of people who will enjoy it. The idea is that everyone should find something that pleases them. You don't see me bitching at the low trick count in Russian wads, do you. I do agree, however, that bar glides have no place in modern wads. Unless you're mimicking the 90's, it's a lame anachronism. Everything else should be left to the mapper's creativity and yes, if it feels forced or cheap, that's a negative and it's okay to criticize.

Share this post

Link to post

Sorry, maybe I should have mentioned some specific examples instead of just naming the wads. Here is a quick comparison. I'm perfectly okay with the death slide in Resurgence Map18. It looks "believable" enough to me. But I totally dislike the linedef 1460 in Map30, the one that opens some stuff in case you perform a glide at the start. Oh, and that bar being openable from the other side just so that the player doesn't have to do two glides in a row - that's lame too in my opinion. The difference here is that on Map18 that little space between the floor and the ceiling feels like a legit part of the level's design, whereas on Map30 that linedef was clearly added specifically for speedrunning purposes and nothing else. That's what I'm against. I hope you can understand my point better now.

I agree with the negative comments about glides by the way. Not even because they are boring to watch, but because I'm not a fan of the skills you need to master in order to be good at them. These pixel hunting tactics described in the glide thread are ridiculous to me.

If I had to criticize the tricks in Kama Sutra, I guess first of all I would talk about these that allow you to finish the map in some 4-5 seconds. Because obviously there you can very quickly get an optimal (not counting milliseconds) time and then there's nothing to do anymore.

Oh, and Ribbiks, that was funny, you are forgiven now. :)

Share this post

Link to post
Ribbiks said:

the trick is useless in a uv-max, which is the only category

NOPE... More useful than you can guess because Cyberdemon appears there. INFIGHTING :D
I'll try it later... busy with Doom2.
What about mapping: I don't care about it. I found this trick suddenly and I'm glad. For me important that maps were beautiful and interesting for TASing.

Share this post

Link to post

I suppose Memfis would hate watching speedruns of modern games like Skyrim, Amnesia, Soma or, say, DXHR, where they spend months figuring out the best items, fps values, timings and angles to use in order to clip through walls and out of bounds. And it ends up being the same crap as glides :D Namely, a luckbased, yet partially controllable fiddly weird trick that is annoying to perform in a run.

More on topic - the only thing i kind of dislike is when mapmakers make lazy shortcuts that are too obvious and generic. For example, a 32-unit hole leading straight to the exit or to a key. It doesn't bother me much at all though, but it's not very interesting to discover such stuff. Which leads me to the next point: i really like to invent routes rather than discover them. The difference is subtle and most of the time exists only in my brain. If i successfully manage to trick myself into believing that i've found something that was unintended, it feels amazing. In all of your examples this feeling gets ruined by a creator saying "Hey! I left you a linedef right here, enjoy" instead of being subtle :p So maybe we're in the same boat here.

From this perspective, Valiant is amazing, i really loved va27-127.lmp for example, the route looked quite out-of-the-box'y. But sadly, wads of such quality take too long to make, which is why i nowadays play with modern ports instead, and record shitty first finish runs like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQxyVuF076U since it gives more freedom and allows to break maps in the ways they were not designed for. Quite refreshing. But probably incredibly boring for the majority of community.

Share this post

Link to post

Oh, I know what you mean, guys. :) The feeling of discovering a shortcut is undeniably sweet and for sure if it's clearly announced to anyone who ever tried a sr40 jump once, that magic is gone. That's why I personally like the most when mappers don't include intentional shortcuts too much, but map freely in a sandbox or non-linear looping form. Then when I go through the maps, I encounter a lot of "almost" shortcuts that are ruined by a platform being just a tad high, a lamp protruding from a wall too much or a crucial teleporter that doesn't lower because some silly walkover line in another part of the map.

Giving these proto-shortcuts a subtle push is definitely much more natural in the way memfis desires, although they're sometimes crazy-difficult and often super-annoying to get to work seamlessly, heh. From the wads I had a strong influence on, you could say this was the predominant way of building in tricks in Valiant, d2twid and PRCP to a degree. SoD, UR or Resurge had more planned tricks and maybe some of them do feel too artificial, but plenty were also "mapped in" from existing circumstances. And you can't make me feel guilty for the travesty that is UR map30 speed route. :)

Share this post

Link to post
dew said:

SoD, UR or Resurge had more planned tricks and maybe some of them do feel too artificial, but plenty were also "mapped in" from existing circumstances.

Yeah, I reckon the best ones were when the tricks were coincidental with the map design, rather than those clearly implemented ones. It was always a nice surprise to see a possible route that was already there (like SoD's map13 for instance).

As for the Resurgence Map30 trick, it was added because without it, it would only serve to alienate the UV speed recorders ('because fuck running through the entire beginning for a UV-speed demo'). I'm not a fan of glides but that was a necessary evil in my opinion... along with any other glides I've inserted, they're necessary evils too.

Share this post

Link to post

I don't really have much of an opinion one way or the other, and I feel it's because I'm not much of an avid demo-watcher. I have plenty demos on hand and do watch them, but I'm usually just engrossed with the idea of watching someone play Doom better than me, than analyzing the map. :P

Sort of like music on the radio, I kinda just have demos run in the background as I do something else, like drawing map layouts or making a list for something. Not as vigilantly as I suppose most people on this subforum do.

Seeing that speedrunning has had an explosion in popularity lately and that memfis is both a strong level designer and speedrunner, I think his opinion certainly has a lot of weight to it (and if you link to posts he made that would contend against it, I will politely discard them) So I would like to look into the fundamental differences between "built-in" and "natural" speedrunning tricks in maps. I have a feeling it lends a lot to my distaste in modern games in which the gameplay is highly manufactured and formulaic where doom is a little more "put these guns here and these monsters there and see what happens" and the gameplay becomes a little more free-form.

However, bearing this opinion in mind, I'm having trouble coming up with rules for myself to use in my maps that might support this demand discussed in the OP. I understand the game fluidly enough that I can often spot a game-breaking bug in a map just by looking at it in an editor and floating around in visual mode. Naturally I shun myself from ideas that have high risk of working against what I intended to happen. So being able to create a map that really caters to freeform diy route-planning for the player seems really difficult, especially if you want to avoid creating a bunch of nonsense sector vomit so that you can make something that actually looks good, permit balanced optional routes that are equally fun and playable, and plays well especially for anyone who isn't bent on maxing or speeding it.

I have a pretty blurry memory of the maps mentioned here so it's hard for me to get a grip on the concept being discussed here. Avoiding obvious glides is something I will definitely keep in mind.

Whats the opinions on SR50 jumps, rocket jumps, and in what ways can archvile jumps be exciting and not too obvious? What other tricks am I missing?

Share this post

Link to post
40oz said:

What other tricks am I missing?

'Glide' and 'Void Glide' (going through walls and impassable lines), 'Wallrun' or 'Thingrun', 'LineDef skip', 'RJ' and 'AVJ'. This is all tricks what i know.

Share this post

Link to post

An no, there is almost infinite number of different tricks.
Barrel tricks:
- shoot a barrel so it doesn't explode and moves a bit, in order to give way
- shoot a barrel so it doesn't explode and moves a bit and prevents door from closing (10sector map16)
- shoot a barrel so it explodes to gain vertical boost (ZDoom)

- press switch through enemy
- press switch from below/above / press switch which has not been raised

- make arch-vile/lost soul open the door from the other side

- plasma goes through walls

- fire SSG so that one pellet reaches an 'unreachable' gunfire switch (pl2 map07)

- lure shotgunners/chaingunners to activate a gunfire switch for you (mm2 map03, demo by RadeG)

- all the tricks in bump.wad - thingrunning combined with wallrunning and strafe 50, outrunning one's own rockets...

and so on

Share this post

Link to post

Nice topic! Hey Memfis, thanks for bringing!
Oh good old days when tricks weren't intentional or, even better, weren't trick at all, but instead they were exploits.. oh how i missed thee... Brings a huge, shiny tear to my eye.. especially when it comes to 32 units gaps.

vdgg said:

Modern mappers should make sure no glides are possible.

It would be a crime.

Da Werecat said:

All I can say is that nowadays making a 32 mp gap somewhere is like placing a giant neon "TRICK HERE" sign.

I can't disagree. Hmm, what if we make glides (guided ones) a part of regular progression? To reach secret area, for example.. Those triggers will certainly become handy. Guys, what do you think?

Cyberdemon531 said:

Also, yeah, triggers like that are pretty lame.

100%. Tricks for the sake of tricks.. or for the sake of pleasing speedrun / TAS audience. Should there be tricks? Absolutely. Should they pop up? No. Since i'm a speedrunner i don't care that much, but subtlety, at least, provides an illusion of the old days. Those convenience triggers, of course, successfully breaks it.

40oz said:

Whats the opinions on SR50 jumps, rocket jumps, and in what ways can archvile jumps be exciting and not too obvious?

Well, make SR50 jumps possible from a very specific point / angle; put RL as far away from the gap as possible; instead if single av jump make it double. That should do it.

Share this post

Link to post

I made a little research and here i tried systematize all tricks and wrote down here:
Player's trick:
-Wallrun/Thingrun (speed up from wall under specific angle and direction or from any thing :with parameter -longtics 'wallrun' possibly make in any direction:)
-Death exit (when you die - you can glide under lower ceiling and catch 'exit linedef')
-RocketJump (Speed up by splash damage)
-Linedef skip (avoiding linedef trigger if you run under specific angle with strafe50)
-Glide (moving through 32-gap (Exist also "Void glide" when you can go through impassable lines or walls... Very specific trick)) Also 'Side glide' where glide possibly make between two walls from 32 to 28-gap if it is hypotenuse.
-Archvile Jump (jump by splash damage)
-Lever tricks (you can pull lever/press switch from below/above you and which has not been raised)
-Shot through narrow walls
-Grabbing unreachable key (if you run (again... under specific angle with strafe50)

In-game tricks:
-'Archvile' and 'Lost Soul' can open door
-Blocking closing door by monster or something else

//aaaanndd i guess it's not enough. Other stuff like hit barrel to move it a little or shot from supershotgun to reach lever are too obviously.

Share this post

Link to post

Also worth bringing up, is are tricks even necessary? A lot of wads try to build them in in an effort to be "speedrun-friendly", but I don't think forced tricks makes something speedrun-friendly at all. Runs like Memento Mori for me are really fun because there's barely any tricks in it at all, so the very few ones that exist feel more special that way. Rather than a run like Scythe where you skip 80% of the game in a run, it's still cool, but less "special" in my opinion. At least from a routing perspective.

Share this post

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now