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EffinghamHuffnagel

At what point is a 'mapset' considered a 'mod'?

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I've had this question rolling around in my head for a while. When does a mapset qualify as a 'mod'? Probably when you change original monster/weapon/item behavior, but at what level of graphic enhancement? A new palette? New textures and flats? New sprites? Is there a minimum number of maps required? dead.wire changes some monster behavior - they're invisible. I've not seen it referred to as a 'mod'. Is that because it's only one map? If you create a mapset using the Gothic texture pack, can you replace all the monster sprites with re-colored 'darker' versions? Does that enhance the mapset, or make it a 'mod'?

This seems to be a point of discussion right now in Abyssal Speedmapping Session 24. Is Violence a 'mod'? Can ASS24 use the new sprites/sounds and still be its own mapset, or would that make it feel like an addon to Violence?

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I personally separate mapsets and actual gameplay modifications since usually you can combine two wads from those two categories and it works all the same. The real question I ask myself is if something like NeoDoom is a mod or a mapset since it combines both.

Then I just fix everything by calling it a wad because that's what all Doom mods are unless you're still using Skulltag or something.

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Think about this, it's a equation.
- 1 map is equivalent to 20 mp (map points).
- Each modification that isn't a map counts 1 gp (general points).
A mapset normally becomes a mod when it contains 50% more GP than MP.
Simple right?
Or think it like this:
- If GP is equal or bigger than one and a half of the total MP, the mapset is actually a mod.

SavageCorona said:

Then I just fix everything by calling it a wad because that's what all Doom mods are unless you're still using Skulltag or something.


You forgot the PK3, the PK7, DEH, BEH and many others, and even Python plugins (PZDoom is Upcoming!)

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PK3s generally aren't used any more except for really big Zandronum mods and I've literally never seen a PK7 in my life. DEH and BEX files usually reside inside the WAD file and constitute to it being a mod.

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DEH and BEX are outside the WAD if you want vanilla compatibility, also isn't Combat Redux (the hard mod you might have seen, with the headshots, the ultra high damage bullets etc.) a PK7?

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Personally, mod = modification. If something modifies the game, it's a mod. It doesn't matter to me if this modification is in the form of a different map, a different texture, a different monster behavior, or all that at the same time; a mod's a mod.

In short, as far as I'm concerned, every mapset is a mod; but not every mod is a mapset.

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In theory anything is a mod but I say anything that that changes or replaces the way things work, monsters, weapons etc is more of a "modification" where as a map is more of an addon.

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SavageCorona said:

... I've literally never seen a PK7 in my life.

I've seen a few. Just a re-named .7z for greater compression and therefore, smaller size. I've never tried to load one, so I don't know what ports can actually read them. With terrabyte hard drives and DSL/cable download speeds, I don't know that the additional size savings makes them more useful than .pk3's (which I still see from people who want to use truecolor png's without the extension so they don't get palette-raped).

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All mapsets are mods. They modify Doom. :P

IMO, the term "mod" by itself is interchangeable with "wad", which in turn is usually agnostic to whether or not the package in question is a .wad or .pk3 or some other format (since that's useless pedantry unless we're talking about it in a technical sense or perhaps referring to the physical file).

A more sensible terminology that reflects how things are generally named around here might look something like:

  • Map - A single map. Duh. May also refer to a wad that contains only a single map, though.
  • Mapset - A wad with more than one map.
  • Megawad - A wad with a whole bunch of maps. The /idgames archive explicitly defines a minimum amount of maps (15? Can't remember offhand) for it to go in the /megawads dir, so there's a somewhat-canon definition.
  • Gameplay Mod - A wad with no maps that modifies other things like weapons or monsters or whatnot. The word "gameplay" is important here since otherwise the term is too generic.
  • Partial Conversion - A wad that contains both maps and a small to medium amount of gameplay-mod content (e.g. STRAIN).
  • Total Conversion - A wad that contains both maps and a large amount of gameplay-mod content (e.g. Batman Doom).
Categories aren't always mutually exclusive, so one may describe STRAIN as a "partial conversion megawad" for example. I'll leave the drawing of lines between Partial and Total conversions an exercise for the reader. :P

Just my thoughts.


[EDIT] Since dead.wire was brought up, I'd refer to it as a "single-map partial conversion" myself because of the new weapons. Maybe-oddly, I wouldn't apply the PC label to something like BTSX because although it has extensive texture work, the gameplay is unmistakably Doom because the weapons and monsters remain unchanged. Debate at will. :P

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So a good mapmaker can give the 'impression' of a gameplay mod or conversion by using good design and graphic replacements (possibly complete replacements) without actually changing any gameplay. So Violence and Swim with the Whales are just regular Doom mapsets that feel like mods/conversions/different games because of their overall 'atmosphere' (or 'mise-en-scene' for those across the pond).

I suppose giving the impression of a mod also requires a balance of graphics and map design. One can't outweigh the other. Playing regular Doom with all Realm667 monsters wouldn't feel right.

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I wouldn't object to classifying BTSX a partial conversion, because with the exclusive use of an all-new texture set, the change in palette, the soundtrack, and the architectural styles, its ambiance is very different from Doom. It feels like a different game using the same mechanics, if that makes sense.

Another example of partial conversion: Hell to Pay. Custom music, textures, and monster sprites. Game mechanics remain exactly the same, but it feels kinda different while being the same. As a poet said, not exactly the same, not exactly another.

And on the other hand, dead.wire, being only one map, is too short to feel like a "complete work" in the same way a megawad does. So what can I say? It's all very subjective.

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Gustavo6046 said:

DEH and BEX are outside the WAD if you want vanilla compatibility, also isn't Combat Redux (the hard mod you might have seen, with the headshots, the ultra high damage bullets etc.) a PK7?


Never even heard of it. I don't venture outside of the WADs section here in fear of being torn apart by the BD fans on ModDB so the majority of mods I play are straight up map packs made by our lads.

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They're all mods because they modify the game in some way, even if it's just replacing maps.

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VGA said:

Did anybody use the term "mod" back in 1994?

The full word, "modification", certainly. But the oldest example of the phrase "weapons mod" I found on the archives was in a description from 1999.

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EffinghamHuffnagel said:

.pk3's (which I still see from people who want to use truecolor png's without the extension so they don't get palette-raped).

You can put truecolor PNGs into WADs as well. They will remain truecolor PNGs if you don't manually convert them to paletted format. This "palette-raped" thing is not an issue of file format, but of software vs. OpenGL renderer. Assuming we're talking about ports which support PNG graphics at all: Ports with an OpenGL renderer will always display truecolor PNGs as truecolor PNGs. Ports with a software renderer will automatically convert them to palette on the fly and display them as paletted (but NOT save them as paletted into the WAD or PK3 file). In both cases, file format doesn't matter.

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Jaxxoon R said:

Do you even Zdoom?!


I do use GZDoom but only for testing my snazzy maps with ramps and stuff. I use Zandronum just cause that's what comes up when I double click on wads since it automatically associates wads with Zandronum when it installs.

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VGA said:

Did anybody use the term "mod" back in 1994?

Semantics. A modification is a modification regardless of the name you call it by.

The thread title is really an irrelevant question since "mod" is a broad term for any modification, while "mapset" is a very specific one.

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A Mod is a Modification, so it's applied To any kind of Modifications you've done to the game (Custom Levels, Sprites, Textures, Sounds, Objects/Enemies ... etc) .

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Impie said:

The thread title is really an irrelevant question since "mod" is a broad term for any modification, while "mapset" is a very specific one.

If the word 'mod' were replaced with 'conversion', or 'new game', would that be clearer?

If you take a mapset using standard textures, sprites, etc. and start changing things, one at a time, at what point do you say "Nope. This isn't Doom." Is it a hard line? Is there one category of thing that always does it, like new weapons or monsters, or can changing everything a little bit do it? I found a 'mod' which replaces all Doom2 textures with Hexen2 textures. It's otherwise still the same Doom, but it sure doesn't feel like it. Swim with the Whales, Violence and Hell to Pay were mentioned. None of them change gameplay mechanics, only graphics, but they feel like a 'different' Doom.

Oniria. Happy Time Circus. Psychophobia. Rocket Jump. Golden Souls. Are they still Doom? I played the first map of Donkey Kong Country in GZDoom. THAT certainly isn't Doom. Or has 'Doom', like 'mod', become a generic term; used for anything that works with the original engine or ports?

I'm not trying to get too deep into the weeds here. I'm just feeling the passage of time; looking at what Dooming was 20 years ago and seeing what it is now, wondering how much further it can go and still be 'Doom'.

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