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Memfis

Who makes the most varied maps?

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Speaking about prolific map designers, it seems that usually their productivity is counterbalanced by the fact that they keep rehashing same ideas. Like you can play 2-3 maps by Michael Krause and then it's kind of like you've already seen everything, you're familiar with his large-scale blocky creations and he doesn't have anything else to offer. Sometimes a whole episode or even megawad can feel like the same few levels remade again and again. Who do you think is (was) the best at combating this? People with only a few released maps don't count obviously.

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I feel like Erik Alm certainly proved his ability to create a vast variety of maps with Scythe 1 & 2. Tiny techbases, natural settings, vast, gothic-esque slaughterfests, oldschool "hell maps" - The dude has done it all. Definitely the mapper I look up to most for SP/Coop stuff.

Argentum (Known here as Zakurum) created a very large variety of maps with his Skirmish duel pack. Definitely a little something for everyone there, very fun stuff. Got everything from high-fidelity modern maps, to more oldschool stuff, though still very clean and polished.

Spoiler

Pardon me for the self promotion, but I will take any chance to provide others with enjoyment from the hundreds upon thousands upon billions of centuries I've spent slaving over a hot Doom Builder :)

I've done everything from techbases to hell maps to beach maps to dark caves to massive cities to gothic maps to grocery stores to forest maps to 'abstract' maps to large canyons to deserted tombs to tiny deathmatch arenas to space ships to literally a floating rock in space (dk_dm_13) and that's not to mention homages and other various inspirations!...



















I'm not kidding when I say I've tried to put literally every scene I found interesting while driving around, visiting places etc into Doom, rather it be a 'direct import' or abstract representation. The only real unifying theme to my mapping has been dubbed as an oldschool mapping approach.

Again, excuse the self promotion, but many are not aware that I've released more than a few maps when I've released literally hundreds over the last 6 years or so. Just type 'doomkid' in the author section of /idgames, all the stuff I think was worth releasing is there.

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Pretty cool looking stuff Doomkid! Going to download like all your stuff on idgames now, also I hope I can use some of those cool recolored textures :s. Thinking about deathmatch makes me wanna make some deathmatch maps. Not sure how the deathmatch scene has been doing lately but I do know that I prefer the CTF/DM/TDM over the duels that I remember seeing on ZDeamon a lot

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Heh, funny that DK's posted as he's one who I thought would fit the bill of OP's questions. Certainly in terms of game modes and ideas for maps in DM.

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My pick would be Joshy, I've played about 50+ of his creations, and yet I still get caught off guard. :P

He's conquered a variety of themes, different types of layouts and yet even maps he does within the same theme he manages to do pull off unique ideas and make something that still feels fresh and keeps you guessing.

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Erik Alm did the entire gamut, the rest just follows him religiously. And deservedly.

I'll say AlexMax in multiplayer. The guy is a goof, but he has a tendency to create hit maps of very different styles.

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Me

I'm actually going to say Eternal, as he varies wildly in theme, what resources he's customising, source port to an extent, IWAD, inspiration and style. He's probably better than valkiriforce at replicating classical mappers when he wants to, but has also done giant Slaughter maps and more modern styles.

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dew said:

Erik Alm did the entire gamut, the rest just follows him religiously. And deservedly


A lot of the most popular and beloved wads are from before Scythe though (2003). And I'm not sure how the entire gamut of Doom mapping could be covered across Erik Alm's works? Just curious what you mean.

He hasn't made any easygoing WADs has he?

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Phobus said:

Me

I know this was a sort-of joke, but in truth I've thoroughly enjoyed every one of your maps I've tried. Great style, IMO.

dew said:

I'll say AlexMax in multiplayer.

Fair call - AlexMax has done great things to keep the duel scene alive, over at Zandronum especially.

PsychoGoatee said:

A lot of the most popular and beloved wads are from before Scythe though (2003). And I'm not sure how the entire gamut of Doom mapping could be covered across Erik Alm's works? Just curious what you mean.

I think he means, in addition to taking inspiration from mappers before him, he also tried plenty of new things that weren't so common back in 2003. A good mix of inspiration and innovation. His positive influence on the WADding scene is undeniable.

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See, I was going to join in with the Xaser suggestion, seeing as he has a very varied mapping history, including silly jokewads, experimental ZDoom maps, maps with changed weapons and enemies and more classic styled stuff. What stopped me in the end (and had me pick Eternal) was thinking about his current motif of very large towers and spiral stairs.

Asking myself questions like "does this mapper have a motif?" or "have they made a giant map? Small map? Mapped with a source port? Tried speed mapping or working within limits?" is how I looked at this, allowing me to rule out a lot of people quite quickly.

If I'm totally honest I actually think my mapping history gives me a strong claim to being "most varied mapper". Far from influential or popular, but certainly unpredictable and inconsistent.

PS: Thanks Doomkid!

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Phobus said:

If I'm totally honest I actually think my mapping history gives me a strong claim to being "most varied mapper".


You made Base Ganyemede, didn't you? I really enjoyed that and actually recommened it to some friends.

I've seen more from screenshots than actually having played them, but Eternal seems about the most creative to me too, and I love his continuous employment of all-new resources.

Also, I'd like to mention 'rf, because his screenshots in the "post your Doom image"-thread have always stood out to me.

Also gotta mention Tormentor667, who's gone from his Torment & Torture solo-maps to his Stronghold survival-maps to his new Wolfenstein mod with (I assume) focus on story and progression.

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gemini09 said:

You made Base Ganyemede, didn't you?

That was Khorus, not Phobus. Phobus's releases are (were) almost always single-map wads or CP contributions - but pretty good ones, for sure.

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Not Dario or Milo Casali, hahaha

Sorry, that was in bad taste.

I really enjoy Esselfortium's work. Xaser is an obvious contender too.

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PsychoGoatee said:

A lot of the most popular and beloved wads are from before Scythe though (2003). And I'm not sure how the entire gamut of Doom mapping could be covered across Erik Alm's works? Just curious what you mean.

He hasn't made any easygoing WADs has he?

Oh, I'm not saying Erik invented the wheel, heh. He certainly stood on the shoulders of giants that came before him, however he developed a formula that became a massive hit and it still works to this day. The insane popularity of the Scythe saga tells the entire story: rather casual players really enjoy the first half and complain about the late maps where it gets too slaughtery, but those maps are on the fave lists of the hardcores instead. So yeah, Erik covers the difficulty gamut easily. He also made Vrack-like megahuge single map releases with the Europa series and "psychos only" maps in eaxt. His maps are speedrunning staples, they're survival favourites, people successfully throw gameplay mods at them. He's also quite the mapper's mapper - most of the current top talent won't even bother to hide direct Alm inspiration, just ask skillsaw, heh.

I'd say it would be hard to find a more versatile mapper who put a little bit of just about everything into his maps.

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dew said:

rather casual players really enjoy the first half and complain about the late maps where it gets too slaughtery, but those maps are on the fave lists of the hardcores instead.


It's cool to enjoy either end of the gameplay spectrum there, but it's not inherently tied to "casual vs hardcore". Plenty of hardcore doomers find that kind of gameplay boring for example.

And in general, while combat and how many enemies you use are big factors, I'm looking at varied mapping in other ways. Like when a map goes and does unexpected things. Say TNT level 4, Wormhole by Ty. Just not your usual formula, and was surprising to play. For me variety would mean a bunch of maps that do different things like that.

For the record I'm not dismissing the Scythe guy or anything, I'm just trying to get how he "did the entire gamut" of Doom design. And while he's surely influential and plenty do follow, it doesn't seem accurate to say "the rest just follows him religiously."

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PsychoGoatee said:

It's cool to enjoy either end of the gameplay spectrum there, but it's not inherently tied to "casual vs hardcore". Plenty of hardcore doomers find that kind of gameplay boring for example.

I find plenty of high level slaughterstuff boring, because there's a lot of purely mechanical grinding and late game sweeping. There's surprisingly little of that in Scythes however, despite their age (coming before slaughter really took off as a genre). I'm not even saying there's a dichotomy between hardcores and casuals here, Erik's maps are actually nicely scaled. People often get shocked by the difficulty bump in s223, but that stems from 21 and 22 relaxing the pace A LOT. If it came right after 20, the difficulty ramp-up wouldn't feel surprising at all.

PsychoGoatee said:

And in general, while combat and how many enemies you use are big factors, I'm looking at varied mapping in other ways. Like when a map goes and does unexpected things. Say TNT level 4, Wormhole by Ty. Just not your usual formula, and was surprising to play. For me variety would mean a bunch of maps that do different things like that.

Scythe map26, 28? Scythe2 map16, 32? The last map of One Bloody Night? I really don't see how this is a valid argument at all, Erik alone has output as variable and inventive as the entire TeamTNT.

PsychoGoatee said:

For the record I'm not dismissing the Scythe guy or anything, I'm just trying to get how he "did the entire gamut" of Doom design. And while he's surely influential and plenty do follow, it doesn't seem accurate to say "the rest just follows him religiously."

Well, I did use a rather strong word, but that was referring to him being the "mapper's mapper". Many of the common tropes today were championed by Alm's designs, so perhaps in retrospect it doesn't look all that special, but that's exactly because the rest follows him quite faithfully. Especially the infamous "even a square flat room full of revenants looks cool if you run a metal border around it", heh.

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dew said:

Scythe map26, 28? Scythe2 map16, 32? The last map of One Bloody Night? I really don't see how this is a valid argument at all, Erik alone has output as variable and inventive as the entire TeamTNT.


It wasn't really an argument, I was just bringing up different points than what we had mentioned thus far. When I said I was trying to get what you meant, that's genuine, not an argument. I'm not weighing in one way or the other, for one thing because I haven't played a single map of his as of yet. =D Though I've watched people play some of the later Scythe maps.

Just was looking for some clarification on seemingly bold statements. I look forward to running the whole Doom gamut in one or two wads, sounds fun. Hope these Scythe wads live up to the hype for me. =P

And maybe I will find the rest follow him religiously in hindsight. It just seems surprising. I guess I have preconceived notions on what Scythe is based on what I've seen so far.

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PsychoGoatee said:

I'm not weighing in one way or the other, for one thing because I haven't played a single map of his as of yet. =D

*falls out of the chair*

Well... have fun playing them, heh.

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i do agree about Alm's influence. looking at Scythe 2 and the many modern megawads that came after, it really feels like they're taking a lot from that one. especially the forced death-exits, heh. was Scythe 2 the wad that popularized this concept?

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I think Oblige is a pretty varied mapper. I can tell him certain specifications and he will configure a custom map accordingly, imho

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SuperCupcakeTactics said:

[...] I hope I can use some of those cool recolored textures :s. Thinking about deathmatch makes me wanna make some deathmatch maps.


Please feel free to use my WADs in any way you want :) Also Id love to see you make some DM stuff!

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I'll just leave my 2010's self screaming "Paul Corfiatis!!!" here.

Well of course PCorf is a great designer, but picking him would sound quite biased, concerning the fact that he was the only known mapper whose maps were played by me between very late 2009 and middle-to-late 2010. From what I've ever seen, I have a hard choice between Esselfortium, Xaser, Phobus, Dutch Devil/DutchDoomer(?) and Ribbiks. None of them feels superior to the other IMHO, but various great workpieces were produced at each one's hands.

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