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

New 32-level Doom 2 wad on the way

Recommended Posts

I don't know what I'm calling it, I have no level names...

I have a book that I'm filling up daily with sketches for levels I'd like to see in doom 2, meanwhile I'm saturating my brain in every John Romero interview I can find.

I know I want bigger, more complex maps with deeper, more confusing secrets. To aid the player in this, I'm kinda targeting the Doom Retro engine, which allows you to set up a secondary monitor to be a permanent automap - which I thought was a cool feature.

Some of you might know me from the quake3world forums, where I've made some (generally surreal and only marginally playable) maps that attempted to push the q3 engine to its limits.

I've always wanted to make maps for doom and just never got around to it until now, so I'm picking it up as I go....but hopefully whatever I produce will be something you folks might enjoy.

Coming from the quake 3 universe of level design, are there any good rules or best practices....things I should avoid when making decent single player maps?

Share this post


Link to post
volumetricsteve said:

Coming from the quake 3 universe of level design, are there any good rules or best practices....things I should avoid when making decent single player maps?

The best practice is not to make 32 of them in one large wad.

Just make a map.

Go and exercise your mapping muscles!

Literally hundreds of people have made the same "I'm new to Doom mapping and am making an epic 32 map megawad!!" thread as this and then didn't, and nothing was the end result.

Just make a map.

Have fun.

Welcome!

Share this post


Link to post

I'm actually doing lots of little ones in the mean time, so this won't be the product of a best "first" effort, I'm already like 6 revisions in and I'm working on other forums to work out other kinks along the way. All these little maps might get hacked up into other biggger maps for this campaign, once they've run their R&D course.

I'm also going as far as testing shapes of areas with different monsters to see how it impacts the flow of a level. Maps I'm working on at this stage are really proof of concept kinds of things, so I'm getting a sense of what flows and seems fun. Today I'm going to be messing with the idea of pressure in a map, where the player is in a situation where they've got over-powering strong enemies in one direction, a hoard of other troublesome enemies in the other escape route, and should you find yourself out of ammo in a case like this, you'd have to take the "tricky, dangerous, but less enemy laden escape path that's filled with environmental hazards" ..just running little experiments to see what works.

It's weird having only seen the classic doom levels in-game, and then seeing them in a 2D autocad kind of thing....the flow isn't apparent at all from that bird's eye view, at least not to me...not yet. I'm doing a ton of back and forth between the editor and the game.

Though I guess if I did produce one really solid viable map from start to finish, it'd be a sample of the rest of the megawad....sort of a demo, so I guess that could have its benefits.

Share this post


Link to post

Would you post screenshots of what you have so far, please? It sounds like you already have something that can be shown, and it would certainly make this thread more interesting if you posted them.

Share this post


Link to post

I will when I have something more interesting to look at. This is as much a research project as it is to get something fun out there...but I've been putting function first so I have the same texture on literally every surface that isn't the ceiling or floor. :p

I'll see if I can jazz up one of my proof of concepty kinds of things and get you guys some decent screenshots of that....particularly this "pressure" idea I'm messing with.


Exploring the flow of a game like doom is weird because there's enough dynamic crap going on that it's hard to define exactly what the player's experience will be without pinning them down too much (like doom 3 did) Doom 2's movement is more free, and I think the gameplay should be more free...which gets us away from the elaborate haunted house/monster closet/etc stuff we saw in doom 3. In these experimental levels I'm working on, they're focused on a particular part of the gameplay experience and seeing how different styles of play and thought can be invoked by the kind of space you find yourself in. In that sense, these are kind of pinning you down in some ways, which won't be indicative of the final product.

More to come soon...

Share this post


Link to post

Something I've found useful when making a megawad for the first time is to break it into episodic chunks and just focus on one chunk at a time. Makes it far more manageable.

Share this post


Link to post

That makes a lot of sense, and ended up being kind of what I'm doing for one of my larger levels....it's so big I'm actually not 100% sure the engine can parse it, but we'll see.

I just drafted up two levels nudging my "pressure" concept and hopefully I can get one of them screenshotable tonight.

Share this post


Link to post
an_mutt said:

Just make a map.

Ding ding ding!

Start off small and just see what you can do with the builder. A megawad is extremely exhausting and likely halfway through it you'll realize your first couple of maps are pretty poor in comparison to what you can churn out now, so just start slow and fiddle around with layout/monster combinations. This tip isn't just for you, but for any newbie that's interested in mapping; your dream project will come one day, you just have to be ready for it.

Share this post


Link to post
dobu gabu maru said:

Ding ding ding!

Start off small and just see what you can do with the builder. A megawad is extremely exhausting and likely halfway through it you'll realize your first couple of maps are pretty poor in comparison to what you can churn out now, so just start slow and fiddle around with layout/monster combinations. This tip isn't just for you, but for any newbie that's interested in mapping; your dream project will come one day, you just have to be ready for it.



Please see my other responses on this :) I realize thousands of have before me and attempted the same, but they probably all hadn't been putting it off for roughly two decades and all the while, ideas and experience mapping for other games had been welling up. I'm finally at the "build some damn doom maps" part of my list in my life and like I said earlier in this thread, I'm working on proof of concept/foundational kind of stuff to see what works, some of it might get hacked up into bits to become part of a final level, or some tests might get scrapped entirely.


I had started out building "the first level"...and it's still there, but my process, as it is with all of my maps, is convoluted and broken up over time. I have a book full of sketches that provide guidelines of what I want to make into levels, so as I systematically go through and kind of...digitally transcribe them into doom builder...I'll hit a point and say "what kind of dynamic would work here, or what if there were a place to jump off here really fast?" and then I start a new map and just play with the physics and timing. (which is where I'm at now, incidentally)

You're right about this though...building these maps IS exhausting, but the best part about mapping for doom is that there's no compile time...everything is instant. This is a big change from what I'm used to with quake 3 and some of my maps took weeks to compile. Even in the fast compiling modes it'd take a half an hour so, but it was a mess. This is like....instant payoff. You can see what works, and if it doesn't, there's no time-penalty to making huge changes.

That being said...there is a learning curve...and I need to figure out how to make triggers to throw doors open when you walk over a certain spot because this proof-of-concept map hinges on it. But I did figure out how to put a really neat cracked-floor lava flow thing in the level, in one shot, and that looks alright.

more on this soon...

Share this post


Link to post

With this level of confidence, I'm dying to playtest one of your maps in a future playtest stream. The more Doom mappers the merrier!

(Feel free to not focus/worry on making 32 maps, but seeing how many GOOD maps you can make. Then if it's not 32 maps, just release the ones you made no matter the number. And I'm not even a mapper offering this advice!)

Share this post


Link to post

Oh jeeze, now I've done it...well, I'm HOPING to get something halfway decent out tonight. This "pressure" concept i've been rambling about plays out kinda well in two maps. I've got the first one kinda built, but it's missing some details i'm not 100% sure how to put in yet...and of course the concept hinges entirely on those details.

The other one I think is more simple from a mapping perspective so I might go ahead and put that one out there first, but it's gounna be REAL simple....but it should illustrate "pressure" in level design....I hope. The idea is you can put the player in situations where there's a lot of dangerous crap happening in key locations that immediately impact how you're going to get from point A to point B.

This simple map I could get out pretty easily is going to be a huge room with 4 spider master minds guarding a button. Arch viles overlook the masterminds so...there's a lot of murdering you're going to have to do to achieve any victory there. There will be a huge plot of weapons and goodies behind the masterminds, but most of all, you want access to this button. You have places to hide...more or less in plain sight (so you're never really 100% safe) but this tension exists between this huge mountain of "OH SHIT, BAD GUYS" the treasure trove of junk they guard, and the all-desired button. Thus, the "pressure" of the map is driving you into the fray, and away from the shitstorm of bad things going on right where you want to be, and more or less need to be.

It's a REALLY simple example, but i'm hoping even an example this simple can be engaging....enough to get me making slightly better maps anyway.

Share this post


Link to post

Ok, so here's "pressure2"

http://imgur.com/a/8lhma

*note - the VERY first thing I learned is that virtually none of doom 2's textures are meant to scale up as well as they scale across. >:(

it took a lot of tweaking to make it playable and learned a lot from this

the good:
1. Blitzkrieging piles and piles of archviles and revenants with rockets was especially fun. I had room to get really good running starts, lock on, and fire away.
2.It's visually interesting in doom to have such a wide open space, you can see a lot more of what's going on and plan accordingly
3. It's fun to have a lot of room to run around

the bad:
1.chaingun guys are assholes, and in wide open spaces, they can make the level unplayably hard. I have about 30 to 40 monsters in total here, 3 archviles, 1 spider mastermind, and a ton of revenants. I had 5 chaingun guys. Once I took them out, it became a lot more...winable.
2.wide open spaces seem to struggle a little in doom. I assumed a space this big would feel more like rocket arena, but it wasn't as freeing as I expected...maybe it's the source port I'm using..and the fact I had mouselook disabled, but having a lot going on vertically when you can't look up or down is a pain. This may be null and void once I get mouselook on..that warrants more testing.
3.relying on doom's classic vertical autoaim kinda sucks, i'm much less of a purist when it comes to something as common place as mouselook.
4.the monsters tend to bicker far too much in huge arenas like this and 25% of the time, they ended up taking eachother out. Somehow the spider mastermind on the ground got into it with an archvile like...300 units up. If there's a way to tell doom to turn monster fighting off, or better yet, just turn it down a bit, that'd be great to know.
5.effective weapon distance didn't feel right either, I'd stand way back and try to fire a bunch of rockets at the spider mastermind, but it seemed like they'd explode before they got to him. I can't tell if this is me messing up, the engine..or what

lessons learned:

regretably, maybe spaces need to be tightened up a little...and monsters need a little room to breathe or they get all crazy and murder eachother. we don't want that, that's our job. Larger spaces take away from the doomguy's speed..that's no good....I think it can be ok if it's just one dimension, like a long ledge you need to run along or some steep stairs maybe.

dumb lesson: you need stuff to go in places - you can't just have a huge open arena, it looks like garbage, you have to put a thing in it, like....a pillar, or some stairs..an enemy, an interesting texture, something.


if anyone's academically curious, I'd be happy to post the current version of the wad...if I can figure out where to host it.

Share this post


Link to post

In my experience, large open spaces don't look good in the doom engine. The textures don't scale well, and floors don't look very good at long distance. Also, none of the weapons in the game are effective past a certain range, and most of the monsters are also ineffective, or unfair, past a certain range.

So in general if I want a big space I create line of sight blockers, terrain, obstacles etc so that even though the space I'm in is big, the immediate area is always a good size for gameplay. I think the monsters work better when there are obstacles for them to come around, rather that just as a single blob of enemies. By creating different paths you also reward good player movement, because you have to avoid obstacles as you're running around.

The doom engine doesn't do vertical well in general. I try not to have the player need to aim up or down very much in my levels. Mostly I keep at most a 128 height difference between levels in close range, going higher as the distance from the height change increases. Basically if you can't comfortably see where you're supposed to be shooting there's too much difference in height.

As a rule, I try to always make sure there's cover when I include hitscan enemies. I hate getting hit without being able to do anything about it. With the projectile enemies I can dodge, but with hitscan I need to take cover.

How much enemies infight can be controlled by adding more obstacles in the level. You can block line of sight, and line of fire, between different paths and alter the chance the monsters will fight each other.

I've been working on a level for brutal doom with an open level design kinda like what you are aiming for I think. It focuses on retreat, and big battles. Hit me up if you'd like me to send it to you.

Share this post


Link to post

If you want examples of how to make doomish textures work on a large scale, check out Sunder. Mediafire is what I use for hosting, it's ok. Still has stuff I uploaded years ago too ...

Share this post


Link to post

Linkage:

https://www.doomworld.com/vb/wads-mods/46002-sunder-updated-with-new-maps-huzzah/

Those look pretty great, I'd never envision anything I was working on with that level of environmental detail. Now I'm wondering if I should try and get some more in there...

I'm going to make a smaller version of the thing I made yesterday to see how that plays. I didn't realize that the arch viles need proximity as well as line of sight to what they're healing/wrecking up. I had a "lead" arch vile to recover the other two if one died, but they were so far apart it never seems to happen.

I'm trying to get a good rule of thumb out of this experience for what a "maximum size" should be for anything resembling a single player arena.

Other good rules of thumb: chaingun enemies should be used in places with cover...someone else in this thread said that, they were right.

making a space too large makes the doomguy seem slower...so that should be reeled in a little as well.

Share this post


Link to post
volumetricsteve said:

I had a "lead" arch vile to recover the other two if one died, but they were so far apart it never seems to happen.

With the default unmodded game behaviour, an Archvile can't resurrect other Archviles at all, as well as he can't resurrect Cyberdemons, Spider Masterminds, and enemies that don't leave corpses. As for other monsters, Archvile can resurrect them only when he's close enough to nearly collide with their corpse.

His behaviour has even more quirks, that are well described here: http://doomwiki.org/wiki/Archvile

Share this post


Link to post

Wow....you'd think in my lifetime of playing doom I'd have noticed that...I could have sworn arch viles could bring each other back. Huh, well that leads to a lot of problems for me. Many of the levels I had planned for this wad depend on that. How hard would that be to change you think? Is it something I can change in the wad or is that an engine level thing?

Share this post


Link to post

You would have to define Archvile's own "Raise" animation. It is possible via a DEHACKED patch (modern DEHACKED editor = WhackEd), which is a game behavior modding tool compatible with vanilla engine and practically all Doom ports. If you're making your wad only for ZDoom-based ports, you can also use DECORATE, which is more flexible in its features, but non-ZDoom ports ignore it.

Share this post


Link to post

Crap, I'll have to look into that. In the mean time, I've got more silly things to build.

Edit:

So i've discovered that using an appropriate arena size for these enemies actually stifles the action. One of the fun things about the space that was entirely too large was how the revanants rockets would wind around and if you played your cards right, you could get them to hit enemies.

I think I'm finding that arena spaces need to be central points to other zones of action....the arena on its own feels uncomfortable, it's close enough range that you're kinda compressed behind any shelter you have access to...which defeats the point of creating pressure if you can just hide it out.

Once I can get the arch vile thing sorted out, that'll probably change things a lot....actually if I can change the effective range of pretty much everything, that'd fix a lot of my issues here I think. Can effective weapon range be changed the same way the arch vile can?

Share this post


Link to post

This is going off memory, but I believe that the pistol and chaingun can both be made sniper-accurate by not allowing them to call the "refire" frame in Dehacked. I might be a bit off, Scifista will clarify when he's around next I'm sure :)

Share this post


Link to post

@Doomkid: Correct.
@volumetricsteve: What do you mean by "effective range" / "effective range of pretty much everything" / "effective weapon range"? And when you say "changed the same way the arch vile can", what do you assume about what can be done to him, or how do you mean it?

Share this post


Link to post

Sorry, by effective range I mean that in huge spaces (2048x2048), rockets don't seem to make it all the way across, or at least arch viles aren't aware of the player until 896 units of proximity or something like that. I may be mistaken on the weapons, but it seems like they can't reach their target past a certain point.

In a previous post, someone mentioned DEHACKED patches as a way to alter the arch vile's behavior. I was wondering if other things, like weapon range (if I'm right about them only being able to shoot so far) could also be changed by DEHACKED patches.

It seems like the kind of gameplay I want to have is just *barely* out of the realm of what doom 2 offers by default, so it seems like I'll need to change some things.

Additionally, the changes I've been making to this experimental level I've been butchering haven't been paying off...I'm finding more things that only partially flow or seem slightly interesting. my first test (which was a giant mess) was actually fun to just play with, even though it was far too big.


Edit:

I moved past my last arena-size experiment and just started from scratch...and produced something kind of interesting.

I realized what I'm going for is a collection of enemies that are hard to kill, and can attack you from a really long distance. I'd been trying to combine arch viles and revenants, but that resulted in chaos among the monsters and a lot of unwanted behavior. i've swapped the arch vile for a cyber demon, so now I've got a combination of straight fast rocket fire, and slower homing missiles, which gives you a lot to dodge and a lot to shoot at.

the current working map name is "untitled" but..the screenshots leave a better impression than the name:

Share this post


Link to post
volumetricsteve said:

by effective range I mean that in huge spaces (2048x2048), rockets don't seem to make it all the way across,

Projectiles don't have any maximum range. They fly until they hit something. They may also disappear when they hit the sky.

However, hitscan attacks do have a maximum range: 2048 map units. This can't be changed via DEHACKED. Via ZDoom's DECORATE yes, it can be changed.

volumetricsteve said:

or at least arch viles aren't aware of the player until 896 units of proximity or something like that.

Archvile can see the player at any distance. He just doesn't initiate his incinerating attack until his target (typically the player) is closer than 896 units to him. This distance can't be changed via DEHACKED. Again, via ZDoom's DECORATE yes, it can be changed.

Share this post


Link to post

Hmm... your screenshots doesn't look very good. From somenone that is working in a one man megawad since 2009: I suggest you try first to release some standalone maps or at least participate in some comunnity project to improve your skills and receive criticism. If you keep mapping, as your skills improve you'll realize that your earlier maps aren't very good (or are a pile of feces, in some cases) and a)will become frustrated and lost interest or b)will have to redo everything to balance quality between earlier and later maps.

Share this post


Link to post
HavoX said:

When it comes to making maps, newcomers should start off small, not big.


I learned this the hard way.

Share this post


Link to post
Pedro VC said:

Hmm... your screenshots doesn't look very good. From somenone that is working in a one man megawad since 2009: I suggest you try first to release some standalone maps or at least participate in some comunnity project to improve your skills and receive criticism. If you keep mapping, as your skills improve you'll realize that your earlier maps aren't very good (or are a pile of feces, in some cases) and a)will become frustrated and lost interest or b)will have to redo everything to balance quality between earlier and later maps.


Please read...this thread that explains all of this. I could equally advise you to try to release some standalone sentences to work on your written communication skills, but that'd be a dick move.

I'm assuming you mean YOU have been working on a one-man megawad since 2009. I'm sorry to hear that. I don't intend to drag ass for 6 years. It'd be foolish to put a release date on something I'm starting on my own for the first time, but in all seriousness I was thinking no later than summer 2016. They're doom maps, not the ceiling of the sistine chapel.

There's really not a ton that some doom engines can do out of the box, especially when playing by Doom 2's rules of spacial design, so with the classic restrictions in place, it reduces what kinds of things you can do and thus, how much time you really need to spend drawing out elaborate spaces before things get either unintelligible or repetitive. I'd site the level "Tricks and Traps" as a good example of 'unintelligible'...IMHO, that was a crappy map that shouldn't have made it into the final game. It had no flow, it hinged on gimmicks, most spaces showed almost no planning or intention. That level is like 50% hidden triggers and it detracts awkwardly from the run-and-gun flow of the game. I'm walking a line between trying to carve out an experience similar to doom 2, but dropping things that lean towards repetition or junk. I've already produced and trashed a LOT of junk.

If you'd read my other posts, including my second one, you'd see I've been systematically trashing designs that don't work. I scrapped one yesterday for this reason, and replaced it with the map with screenshots you decided to point out "doesn't look very good", completely missing the point of what I'm doing.

Every project requires a first step - regardless of scope or size.

Every conceptual map I put together is another first step into a different avenue of figuring out what makes doom maps enjoyable for single player. To me, there's no point in just putting out a single map to get my feet wet or to get a warm, fuzzy feeling...because that's not what I want to make. If I produce a really good map I think belongs in this megawad, I'm just going to put it in the megawad and keep working. If I put this out map by map, I'll have a ton of little scattered maps with no order floating around and my last step will be to wrap them up in one wad...and by then everyone interested and still hanging around will have already played the levels.

/rant


@scifista42

Thank you again for your valuable feedback. I have a lot to consider between DEHACKED and DECORATE....there are some limitations of the Doom Retro engine I appreciate (they're intentional by design) but they hinder gameplay for me more than they improve it, I think. Big issues for me are mouselook and widescreen neither of which seem to 100% work in Doom Retro, but again, that's on purpose. I may end up moving testing to the zdoom engine....it seems pretty popular anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
volumetricsteve said:

I may end up moving testing to the zdoom engine....it seems pretty popular anyway.

A lot of casual players use ZDoom and GZDoom. Their advantage = they support the most advanced and flexible mapping/modding features and can run almost every existing wad out there (most of today's gameplay mods actually require the player to use ZDoom). Their disadvantage = bad demo compatibility, which is why speedrunners and demo recorders (and mappers who want their maps to be speedrunned / recorded demos on) avoid using them and their most "popular" port is PrBoom-plus/GlBoom-plus instead (which supports features up to Boom/MBF, but not ZDoom's features).

Share this post


Link to post

No need to be so butthurt and act like a fucking asshole. You claim to be scrapping designs that doesn't work, yet you show screenshots that would look bad in 1994, so I conclude that you have no idea what are you doing or just want to show something regardless of quality.
But it's OK, the project is yours and I will not bother you anymore.

Share this post


Link to post

Honestly, why would you even start making a 32 level megawad when you're new to mapping? I really think you should work on a small level then release it to get feedback on how you can improve.

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
×