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Hellslime

Mapping Sins

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I just started making my first map a couple weeks ago, so I'm new to it.

What are some of your absolute "don'ts" when mapping? This can be anything - layout style, game play, monster placement, design, etc. I realize many will disagree on different things, but I want to get a general idea of stupid stuff not to do - especially the stuff you think escapes the notice of many other mappers. This could include your enlightened wisdom or just a chance for you to bitch about stuff you don't like. Also, feel free to include some qualities you like to see in maps in general. You can also include talk about mods, textures, sprites, and other add-ons, but I'm using the regular Doom II textures and stuff to start because I still prefer them to most of the new textures included in megawads and such.

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I can name one thing that always pisses me off: NEVER EVER put items in front of switches or door, or in spots where they can't be passed by without picking up. Because when you have 598 cells, and there's a large cell pack in front of the switch you need to press to continue the map, it's kinda lame.

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Things I hate/strongly dislike:

-Heavy use of non-key doors. Just don't.
-Barons (with a few exceptions).
-Excessive symmetry.
-use of BRICK11.

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- Maps that are too squashy
- Maps that are either have too much puzzle or open to explore
- Slaughter-maps (pet-hate)
- Imbalanced difficulty
- Boring and plain looking maps

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Mapping sin is when the map/mod author doesn't care about compatibility of his wad, which may take one of the following forms:
a) Mapper/modder releases a wad, but doesn't state its intended IWAD and intended compatibity (=which "minimum-advanced" port is needed to play the wad).
b) Mapper/modder claims that a wad is compatible with certain classic port or even vanilla compatible, but he hasn't actually tested the wad in said port / vanilla engine. He assumes that since he used a vanilla (or Boom) map format, his map should be vanilla (or Boom) compatible - but that's frequently NOT TRUE, because so-called "zdoomisms" are a thing even in non-ZDoom map formats, and it's just best to always playtest in the actual intended lowest-compatible port.

Explanation: There are numerous wads that are meant to be played only in certain ports, and can glitch or break in other ports. At the same time, different players prefer to use different ports, and surprisingly lot of them actually prefer ports with less features than other ports have, because all ports have their pros and cons. As I see it, proper treatment of compatibility is super important, more than might be apparent to a newcomer. Compatibilities are almost like separate "markets" of wads that players can recognize and choose to play in a way they prefer, but they're even more than that. Speedrunning "conventions" often depends on the wad's compatibility, community projects usually target a given compatibility (which they do for player's convenience, again), etc. I don't like when mappers/modders ignore the issue.

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Not providing enough ammo or health.
Non-obvious switch actions.
Linearity is good for arena-style maps, but if you're making "classic" maps, they should be complex.
Boring "Shotgun vs Baron"/"Pistol vs Cacodemon" gameplay. It's just a waste of time without any danger.
Inescapable pits and instakilling traps. Traps overall are bad if can't be predicted.
Obligatory secrets to kill any enemy in sight.

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I'll make a map where basically every design decision is a mapping sin. Sometimes examples are helpful.

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This question stifles a lot of possibility as I don't think its very healthy for your creativity in mapping to have a definite list of things not to do when you're making a map. I'm of the general feeling that anything can work so long as you're willing to modify it in a way that players will think its fun. Sometimes it does involve removing elements of it and replacing it with others, but in general, there are far fewer things you can do that become blackholes for fun than things that you don't do.

There are plenty 1994 maps that are mildly enjoyable even when they do all the terrible things people hate in Doom maps simply by having monsters and providing guns and ammo to kill them. Once you become a more prolific mapper and establish a name for yourself, you will have player who play your maps with expectations, and then thats when these so-called "sins" become more of a problem.

You might be familiar with the standard narrative plotline.



Much of this matches pretty well with the context of a Doom map. You want the player to see where he is and understand what he's doing here or what he's supposed to do, you want to connect the acquisition of new guns and items with the assault of monsters that don't want him to live. You want to have periods of calmness in between fights to give the player time to explore, collect items, and prepare for advancing forward in the map. The player continues fighting incrementally harder and more monsters until finally completing an objective (in most maps, this is getting the key and bringing it to the colored door it belongs to) which is then concluded with a big bad fight with a boss or large horde of monsters, and then concluding the map with a familiar exit sign or exit door, followed by a switch or walking over a teleport or hole in the ground to effectively end the map.



When you're playing Doom and playing other people's maps, you might have an idea of the types of maps you like, but when you become a designer, you want to evaluate the things you play so you can effectively itemize the elements of a map that culminate into the feelings of enjoyment you get from playing that map. I really enjoy the suspense of picking up an item that remotely triggers an ambush. I like holding the trigger on a rocket launcher while hordes of monsters try to storm in through different entryways, I like the sound of cracking bones of revenants, the shriek of a Hell Knight, and the electrical explosion of blasting an arachnatron with a super shotgun. I like making progressing through an area and it effectively dumps me off into a familiar area that is now repopulated with monsters. I like having choices, so I can play a map differently depending on which direction I choose to take. So naturally, I try to design maps where those particular things happen as often as I can control.

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don't make:

-techbase maps
-city maps
-hell maps
edit: -pretty abstract outdoor facility maps with dark liquid over the ground, a high-constrast sky, a horizontally-scored material-based texture set, dramatic shadowing and heavy strip-lights

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Just my 2 cents (as a player):

Doors are cool if well used. They add a sense of mystery and organise the battles by sections. Moreover, they can add a touch of adventure and atmosphere that tend to be weak with action-packed arenas.

I miss maps that make a good use of doors.

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to teh op: bear in mind that the posts in this thread aren't hard-and-fast mapping rules, just people's pet hates. Do the exact opposite of this stuff if it takes your fancy

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Imo as long as you give to the player enough and appropriate resources (health, weapons, ammo, even space/covers) to deal with the situations you will make in your maps, everything is allowed. Just avoid to make really unbalanced or utterly bullshit things.
And when you go for secrets, puzzle stuff, crypt progression give some hints.

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When it comes to progression you may also need to consider if you're working on 1 map, several, chapters or a Megawad. I'm working on a Megawad and within Map 08 I already implemented most of the ideas I wanted to include which brings up creative challenges to keep aesthetics and challenges fresh. Hexen as a game does a pretty good job imo.

You don't see much Hexen like maps for Doom, which I would find interesting if done right. In doom you're mostly limited to crushers and platform jumping while Hexen also included dangerous projectiles shooting constantly from the walls (like Quake) and earthquakes. I haven't played as many wads as many of the veterans on this forum so I would imagine there is bound to be a map or even megawad which is high variety of puzzles and non BS traps.

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Jaxxoon R said:

I'm pretty sure all those goofy-looking monster mini-climaxes could be soundly filed under "rising action."


Of course they can if you want to generalize and neglect to read the text outside the pictures.

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And yet there's a reason the original narrative graph doesn't have "more badguy stuff, more plot, more things, reveals (?), twists (?), more stuff" on it.

Because it looks dumb.

Also, all your text amounted to was "i leik cool noises and shooting stuff," and things that are plainly obvious about the game. Like how there are monsters and an end objective.

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All there is to Doom is cool noises, shooting stuff, monsters and an end objective, if you want to look at it that way. Personally, I see a lot more in what 40oz said.

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I remember when I used to get angry at things I don't understand too. If you want clarification, just ask bro.

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He's just acting like it's the best thing ever and then gets all mreeeeer when I criticize it for looking dumb and being plainly obvious.

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Yeah, it is a pretty shitty graph.

-

One thing I love but I know others hate is corridors, I just can't stop making them though.

Also, huge empty vast areas of fucking nothing are quite hit and miss too. If the map has hundreds of enemies and the surrounding is detailed enough then it is good, if there is 10 dudes in a flat ass canyon then it ain't great.

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darkreaver said:

Absolutely dont: realistic stuff like toilets, furniture,

Hey, but they can be fun! Sometimes even the ugly ones.

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