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sirjuddington

Sandy Petersen Reddit AMA

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Sandy Petersen recently took to Reddit to answer a bunch of questions in an AMA (Ask Me Anything). While a majority of the questions and answers were not Doom related, a few interesting tidbits about Doom development were brought up, which are summarised below:

  • His level design process: Start with a sketch on paper, then come up with a theme (eg. exploding barrels, traps, house blueprints)
  • Mostly focused on the single player aspect of maps; other members of id were more focused on multiplayer.
  • Enjoyed experimenting and pushing the limits of the engine. Carmack would then have to change the engine to accommodate because the other designers would begin to push things too. Example: large outdoor "city" maps.
  • Barrels 'o Fun was fun to think up, and took a lot of setting up and testing to pull off.
  • "Downtown" was the map that inspired the other designers to make more open "city" map layouts. The buildings are based on the layout of the id office building at the time, which "looked like Satan's Rubix Cube".
  • If more time was available during Doom development, he would have liked to incorporate a game mode with both monsters and deathmatch.
  • Favourite Sandy map: Downtown. Favourite non-Sandy map: E1M1.
  • id hired a sound guy to do all the sounds for Doom. The Mancubus sounds are pig noises.
  • Didn't enjoy Doom 3; "it basically killed Doom for me". Hearing good things about the new Doom game.
  • E2M9 is designed to be best played from a pistol start. It was also his favourite map design-wise.
  • In-house id level editors were generally not finished until the game was done. During development they were constantly in a state of flux.

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I would just like to point out for the record that I specifically predicted that the structures in MAP16 were based on Sandy Petersen's house:

Suburbs is one of those maps with a pretty inexplicable name: I have seen suburbs, and you, MAP16 sir, are no suburb. That said, I have often wondered about the building right near the beginning: it's totally a house, right? And the 20-imp room adjacent to it is a garage if I've ever seen one. I would love to see the floor plan for where Sandy Petersen was living at the time and see if there was any inspiration there.

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I bet that little stairway up to the balcony had a pleasant view in it's non-Doom incarnation.

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Linguica said:

I would just like to point out for the record that I specifically predicted that the structures in MAP16 were based on Sandy Petersen's house:


I can't remember if I mentioned it before but that building always struck me as a MYHOUSE.WAD type thing too. I too definitely found that imp room to resemble a garage, based on the way it looks adjoined to the house. The library room may be a study or a kitchen, and the ssg alcove resembled a bedroom to me. Something about just says "doom guys house" to me, for sure. The starting area may very well be a house too but the floor plan is a bit too open.

There was a mattchat interview on YouTube with Sandy Petersen and I distinctly remember him saying that E2M9: Fortress of Mystery was his favorite map because the gimmick of it was to get the hell barons and cacodemons to fight each other. It made the testers curse Sandys name until they could figure it out and they eventually realized how clever it was. He may not have included Doom 2 when he was talking about his favorite map though.

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sirjuddington said:

E2M9 is designed to be best played from a pistol start. It was also his favourite map design-wise.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that E3M8 was strictly made for pistol start too.

sirjuddington said:

id hired a sound guy to do all the sounds for Doom. The Mancubus sounds are pig noises.

"A sound guy"? It's not Bobby Prince?

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Hi Sandy! Loved your levels in Doom and enjoyed reading through Masters of Doom. What was your favourite memory of working at id?

Sandy Peterson said:

Listening to John Carmack, who at the time had no comprehension of how humans interact, try to praise someone.


RIP dethtoll

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Noiser said:

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that E3M8 was strictly made for pistol start too.


I 'think' it's been said by Romero as well, that Doom1's levels were all built for pistol starts over being played through continuously.

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Sandy Petersen said:

Listening to John Carmack, who at the time had no comprehension of how humans interact, try to praise someone.

Ha ha, dayum. I think Sandy's my new favorite ex-Id Software member. I haven't seen this level of corporate burn since the Sonic Twitter called out Jim Sterling.

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Shame I missed this. The burning question/hint I have for Sandy is: how much design work did you do for Q2 before leaving, and do you still have any of it (and would you leak it?)

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Damn, I would like to ask him about his Doom 1+2 levels this: Did they turn out the way you hoped? If you had more time, would you make any big changes or do you consider them finalized?

Basically I'd like to know if he acknowledges any of the maps as just "filler" maps.

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