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andrewj

MAP08 rework

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I have started reworking MAP08, with a goal to make it vanilla compatible.

Today I have been reworking the layout of the map so that it is easier to understand what to do / where to go, and would appreciate people trying this version to check if the layout is indeed better.

BTW, the weapons and weak monsters on this map makes it feel like it should be in slot MAP02 or MAP03 -- should it be moved to earlier slot?

First draft: http://oblige.sourceforge.net/files/fd_map08_a.zip

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The changes are really nice so far, but some of the textures need different pegging. You also forgot to remove all the Boom specials, such as semi-transparent textures.

andrewj said:

BTW, the weapons and weak monsters on this map makes it feel like it should be in slot MAP02 or MAP03 -- should it be moved to earlier slot?

I agree. It should replace MAP03, I never liked the map currently in that slot.

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Sodaholic said:

The changes are really nice so far, but some of the textures need different pegging. You also forgot to remove all the Boom specials, such as semi-transparent textures.

I agree. It should replace MAP03, I never liked the map currently in that slot.


D:

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sgtcrispy said:

D:

I'm sorry, I just don't find it very fun to play. MAP08 isn't really fantastic either, but I find it slightly more engaging.

FWIW, MAP03 looks very nice visually.

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I agree that MAP03 looks good visually.

I don't think it is a bad map -- for me the main issue is that it is a series of smallish rooms connected to each other, and in each room there is no real choice on where you can go or how you tackle the monsters.

I see that MAP08 suffers from a similar thing, I guess the windows to other rooms and the monsters teleporting into places where you need to backtrack through make it more interesting.

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I like what you did to the room with the key switches. You could also add some pseudo-non-linearity by changing the layout (and player starts) even more, like so: http://88.198.197.45/boris/doom/fd_map08_b1.wad.

andrewj said:

BTW, the weapons and weak monsters on this map makes it feel like it should be in slot MAP02 or MAP03 -- should it be moved to earlier slot?

Fun fact: that map was designed to be MAP02 and actually occupied that slot for a long time.

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boris said:

I like what you did to the room with the key switches. You could also add some pseudo-non-linearity by changing the layout (and player starts) even more, like so: http://88.198.197.45/boris/doom/fd_map08_b1.wad.

Yeah, interesting, the loop around that start room almost mirrors the loop around the outdoor secret area.

BTW, are you the original author of this map? It didn't occur to me to ask earlier ^_^

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Sodaholic said:

I agree. It should replace MAP03, I never liked the map currently in that slot.

I see no problem with map03. Not the most unforgettable encounter, but still good enough imho.

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andrewj said:

BTW, are you the original author of this map? It didn't occur to me to ask earlier ^_^

Yes, I am.

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Actually, my modified version has too much boring backtracking, since I removed the teleporter: both the yellow and blue keys are very close to the locked bars, so to unlock them and then go past them you have to run the same way back and forth - boring!

So I made a new version, that added a new teleporter and also another set of blue blocked bars near this new teleporter. IMO that gives the map a better flow.

Download: http://88.198.197.45/boris/doom/fd_map08_b2.wad

It's just brainstorming on how the map could be improved. So I'm not expecting those changes to actually make it into the map if you guys don't like the ideas or have better ones.

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I like your revised version very much, boris. A few things though:

  • The start room shouldn't have enemies in it.
  • The start room could do with a decorative door or teleport to explain how the player got there.
  • The original start area looks pretty barren now. You should either remove the alcove or put stuff in it.
  • Not a fan of SHAWN1 being used as a door.

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As it's just brainstorming I didn't really put much work in the visuals, in case it gets discarded. Even if the flow stays the same there will have to be some changes for improved layout and to stay below the visplane limit. Same for the Imps in the now-starting-room, they were just in that room originally. With the currently monster placement the starting area is a bit too difficult, anyway.

I think it was andrewj who changed to doors to SHAWN1. I'd replace them with bars anyway, since they are opened by a remote switch. Using bars instead of a door would keep consistency.

I'd also remove the normal red and blue key doors. From my pseudo-realism point of view it just doesn't make sense that there are normal key doors in the map, but the locked bars have to be raised by a remote switch. It'd probably be best to W1 open/stay those doors when the keys near them are picked up. Right now it's possible to never open those doors, because you can always run back to the teleporter. That way you can circumvent the area between the blue and red doors. This is not necessarily a problem, but automatically opening the doors will carefully guide the player to take a more enticing route (instead of backtracking to the teleporter).

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The conveyor belt monster teleports are not foolproof. That means, if a solid object is occupying the destination spot in the moment when a monster tries to teleport there, the teleportation will fail and the monster will stay sleeping in the closet forever. Many of the pinky demons didn't get teleported when I played in Zandronum. Maybe also because there is too little space for them behind the teleportation line.

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The method of teleportation has to be changed anyways, if the map is to be made vanilla compatible.

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Comments on _b2 version:

A nice aspect of the new starting room is that you are given a choice which way to go, left or right, and if you go left you have another choice: keep going or use the teleporter.

There probably should be something like green armor in that teleport destination area, since there is otherwise nothing over there the player can do (at beginning of map) -- so a nice item can make it seem less like a dead end.

What I miss from the original starting spot is that you immediately had something to look at (the outdoor area through the windows).

The switch that openes the unkeyed bars, OTOH it is a nice way to introduce the player to that idiom (so they know how the keyed bars will work), but it's a bit odd that it opens the other doorway too (which the player might never had seen). Perhaps turn that room into the start room (player must turn around and press the switch to exit).

I'm a bit torn on the large keyed doors. Generally you would expect to find the key to open them, but here they are just shortcuts back to the rest of the map. Hmmm I'm thinking that idiom is useful on large maps, but this map is too small for it?

Having two blue keyed bars seemed odd too, plus I did run around the maps a few times before finding the yellow keyed bars. I have noticed that doors (etc) flush with a wall you are travelling past are less noticeable than doors you walk towards.

Lastly I have been thinking about how we could make some areas more "room-like" and less "hallwayish". Not coming up with anything so far :). It's not a big deal, just wondering if we can improve the overal "funness".

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andrewj said:

Comments on _b2 version:

A nice aspect of the new starting room is that you are given a choice which way to go, left or right, and if you go left you have another choice: keep going or use the teleporter.

[...]

What I miss from the original starting spot is that you immediately had something to look at (the outdoor area through the windows).

An easy remedy is to add another door at the western side of the room and have both be open (i.e. they are not really doors). It's still missing the height variation from the original starting area, though. Maybe the teleporter alcove could be raised a bit with steps leading to it, and/or the red key bars could be lower a bit, again with steps leading to them. Or the starting room could be placed on the opposite wall. The fake non-linearity with the choice to go left/right would still be there.


andrewj said:

The switch that openes the unkeyed bars, OTOH it is a nice way to introduce the player to that idiom (so they know how the keyed bars will work), but it's a bit odd that it opens the other doorway too (which the player might never had seen). Perhaps turn that room into the start room (player must turn around and press the switch to exit).

Introducing the player to the bar idiom that way was exactly my intention. I agree that it doesn't make sense that it also opens the doors leading to the yellow key, and as I said before those doors could be replaced by bars of the same style.
Not sure about using the unkeyed switch room as the starting room. I'd rather prefere not to slap a switch right in the player's face when entering the map, but let them run around and fight a bit first.


andrewj said:

I'm a bit torn on the large keyed doors. Generally you would expect to find the key to open them, but here they are just shortcuts back to the rest of the map. Hmmm I'm thinking that idiom is useful on large maps, but this map is too small for it?

I don't like those doors, and as I said earlier they could be replaced with automatically opening doors (when you pick up the keys). In my current version I replaced them with green doors (a new idiom that's introduced at the yellow key). I'm not super happy with it, since it's a rather cheap excuse to not backtrack after picking up the blue and red keys. Maybe the red key area could be reworked that the player can jump down a ledge into the chaingun room after picking up the red key. The area at the blue key is so cramped that I don't really know what could be done there.

andrewj said:

Having two blue keyed bars seemed odd too, plus I did run around the maps a few times before finding the yellow keyed bars. I have noticed that doors (etc) flush with a wall you are travelling past are less noticeable than doors you walk towards.

Two blue bars: agreed, it doesn't make sense and feels artificial. And removing the one between the blue key and the teleport pad doesn't lead to too much running around, since the current way between the teleporter pad and the original blue bars isn't too far.
Yellow bars: interesting, the way I placed them they should be easily visible when you step through the teleporter or walk past the unkeyed bars and look left:



But I realize that the yellow doesn't really stand out. Maybe some lighting work or simply changing key color order could fix that.

andrewj said:

Lastly I have been thinking about how we could make some areas more "room-like" and less "hallwayish". Not coming up with anything so far :). It's not a big deal, just wondering if we can improve the overal "funness".

I think it's not too bad since there are quite some open areas. What I'd like to see is some more non-90-degree angles. It's pretty blocky right now, and even something simple as putting the steps on the chaingun room in a 45 degree angle could help a lot.

I also really dislike the stair in the red key room, it just screams "I didn't know what to do" :(

Version b3: http://88.198.197.45/boris/doom/fd_map08_b3.wad

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b3 is a big improvement!

Start room is good having the two large doorways.

The green-door idiom (opening when you get a key) is a really good idea. Overall the layout is good now, I enjoying the non-linearity of the map.

I edited the map with these changes:
(a) moved the yellow keyed bars to be directly opposite the teleporter, and slightly reworked the lift area.
(b) bit of rework in the imp-on-pedestals room -- removed that stair, as I think it is better *not* having a two-way loop around the start room (it is a one-way loop, consistent with the loop around the central outdoor area)
(c) added an extra level to the red-key room

http://oblige.sourceforge.net/files/fd_map08_a5.wad

boris said:

Maybe the teleporter alcove could be raised a bit with steps leading to it

Yeah makes sense to make it more of an alcove (e.g. 8 units up and different floor texture).

In my current version I replaced them with green doors (a new idiom that's introduced at the yellow key). I'm not super happy with it, since it's a rather cheap excuse to not backtrack after picking up the blue and red keys. Maybe the red key area could be reworked that the player can jump down a ledge into the chaingun room after picking up the red key.

I think it is fine as it is.

What I'd like to see is some more non-90-degree angles. It's pretty blocky right now, and even something simple as putting the steps on the chaingun room in a 45 degree angle could help a lot.

Yeah, it is not a big issue I think -- the chaingun room could become a really curvey room. So far I have been concentrating on the raw layout and flow of the map, haven't put much thought into other aspects yet.

P.S. the entrance to the blue carpet room should probably be moved south now. That room also feels a bit empty, needs a few items I think, like a medikit and some ammo.

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andrewj said:

(a) moved the yellow keyed bars to be directly opposite the teleporter, and slightly reworked the lift area.

The problem I have with that is that the player might not see the bars at all if he doesn't walk through the teleporter. The natural flow to pick up the yellow key is a counter-clockwise motion around the outdoor area. So the player most likely will open the unkeyed bars, then pick up the yellow key and keep going in the direction of the teleporter and come by the yellow bars. However, you could also pick up the yellow key and backtrack, neverseeing either the yellow bars or the teleporter.
What about this compromise: I moved the yellow bars back so that they can be seen from the opposite side of the gallery, but also rotated the teleporter room by 45 degrees, so you'll still look right at the bars when coming through the teleporter:



What do others think about it?

andrewj said:

(b) bit of rework in the imp-on-pedestals room -- removed that stair, as I think it is better *not* having a two-way loop around the start room (it is a one-way loop, consistent with the loop around the central outdoor area)

I really like that change. With some nice items in the pit it will coax the player to take the "correct" route (i.e. leading to the yellow key).

andrewj said:

(c) added an extra level to the red-key room

Definitely better than the huge weird stair.

andrewj said:

Yeah makes sense to make it more of an alcove (e.g. 8 units up and different floor texture).

I was thinking of something more drastic, like a 32 height difference:


andrewj said:

Yeah, it is not a big issue I think -- the chaingun room could become a really curvey room. So far I have been concentrating on the raw layout and flow of the map, haven't put much thought into other aspects yet.

It should not be underestimated what good replacing 90 degree angles can do to a map. As an example I rotated the stairs in the chaingun room be 45 degree. I think it just gives a better sense of place (or whatever you want to call it, I can't really describe that feeling). I could also imagine to move the green door that opens after picking up the red key on the 45 degree wall next to it.

andrewj said:

P.S. the entrance to the blue carpet room should probably be moved south now. That room also feels a bit empty, needs a few items I think, like a medikit and some ammo.

I agree. Maybe the whole part between the elevator and the blue carpet room should be removed. The carpet room could be reworked/extended, so that the elevator leads right to it.

Item placement in general needs an overhaul. I noticed that the chaingun is set to not appear on hard, and there's a SSG on easy near the yellow key. That strikes me as so weird that I'm not even sure if it was me who placed them there. And if I did - what was I thinking?

Here's my new version: http://88.198.197.45/boris/doom/fd_map08_b4.wad

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boris said:

The problem I have with that is that the player might not see the bars at all if he doesn't walk through the teleporter.

Yeah I did not think of that.

The 45 degree of that teleporter alcove works quite well. I think it would also be fine if that teleporter simply looked due west.

BTW, when picking up the yellow key there are two green doors open which are monster closets. Having monster closets there is fine, but I think the green door should replace the unkeyed bars going south. Will post an edit soon trying this....

(re: first telelporter alcove)
I was thinking of something more drastic, like a 32 height difference:

That looks good.

It should not be underestimated what good replacing 90 degree angles can do to a map. As an example I rotated the stairs in the chaingun room be 45 degree. I think it just gives a better sense of place (or whatever you want to call it, I can't really describe that feeling). I could also imagine to move the green door that opens after picking up the red key on the 45 degree wall next to it.

Yeah that's not bad, and the green door on the diagonal would look better than being directly next to the other door, though the red key room will need adjusting.

That chaingun room was one of the worst places for visplane overflow -- due to a potential line of sight that can reach from the bottom of the map to near the top. It may need even more radical surgery on it (or in the blue key / blue carpet rooms).

Maybe the whole part between the elevator and the blue carpet room should be remove The carpet room could be reworked/extended, so that the elevator leads right to it.

Actually I think we should replace those hallwayish parts with a completely new room. I will muck around in the editor and see if I come up with anything......

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My new version:

http://oblige.sourceforge.net/files/fd_map08_a6.wad

Lots of experimental changes, don't feel like you have to keep any of them, and lots of it is pretty rough.

Changes:
(a) changed green door near red key to be on the diagonal
(b) simplified all light fittings, for less visplanes
(c) reworked chaingun room to block more of that N/S line of sight
(d) made a new room after yellow keyed bars
(e) reworked area containing the blue key
(f) made blue key exit at a lower height, hence smaller steps up to blue key
(g) raised a hallway floor (after the big staircase down), also raised the central outdoor area to compensate
(h) made unkeyed bars near yellow key be a green door instead, disabled the closets (though they are still there)

P.S. visplanes are currently much better, only a few bad spots remain in the indoor areas, the large southern outdoor area is the worst though that is mainly because of a light-of-sight through the blue-keyed bars.

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andrewj said:

(a) changed green door near red key to be on the diagonal

That's exactly how I meant. Looks good. Maybe it could be placed on the middle level of the red key room, with some steps leading from the green door to the chaingun room.

andrewj said:

(b) simplified all light fittings, for less visplanes

That had to be done sooner or later. Not sure if reducing the geometry is actually necessary, though. What apparently lets the visplane count skyrocket is the square sector inside square sector with different visual properties. Simply setting the light level of the outer and inner sectors to the same value can the visplanes by a lot. Not saying that the original lights are great and need to be kept, though.

andrewj said:

(e) reworked area containing the blue key
(f) made blue key exit at a lower height, hence smaller steps up to blue key
(g) raised a hallway floor (after the big staircase down), also raised the central outdoor area to compensate

That indeed works better

andrewj said:

(h) made unkeyed bars near yellow key be a green door instead, disabled the closets (though they are still there)

I like it, makes the grab key -> open green shortcut door idiom clearer.

I'm thinking of increasing the time between discovering the yellow/blue blocked bars and the corresponding key. Right now it like thos: "oh there are the blocked yellow bars. oh, and here's the key". That just feels kind of staged.

For the yellow key the unkeyed bars right next to the key could be removed (i.e. replaced by a solid wall, and a couple new rooms could be added at the old start position, which eventually lead to the yellow key. That way the player would also be encouraged to not backtrack after picking up the yellow key (right now backtracking from the yellow key is barely longer than going forward and then through the teleporter.

For the blue key the southern outdoor area could be scrapped and replaced with a couple rooms, that eventually lead back to the blue carpet room and make the blue key accessible or something.

Anothor thing I'm not really fond of is that it's possible to kill literally half the monsters in the map before getting the yellow key.

Modified version: http://88.198.197.45/boris/doom/fd_map08_b5.wad

It just contains some changes to the yellow key area, with a longer way to the key and some enemies protected from the player before he can pick up the yellow key.

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boris said:

That had to be done sooner or later. Not sure if reducing the geometry is actually necessary, though. What apparently lets the visplane count skyrocket is the square sector inside square sector with different visual properties. Simply setting the light level of the outer and inner sectors to the same value

I didn't try that, it would reduce visplanes on the floor but not for the ceiling.

Anyway I think we can worry about the details of the map later on. Ceiling lights will surely be a feature. It will depend a lot on our visplane budget, which we won't know until the general layout has finalized.

I'm thinking of increasing the time between discovering the yellow/blue blocked bars and the corresponding key. Right now it like thos: "oh there are the blocked yellow bars. oh, and here's the key". That just feels kind of staged.

I agree.

Will checkout your latest version shortly.

For the blue key the southern outdoor area could be scrapped and replaced with a couple rooms, that eventually lead back to the blue carpet room and make the blue key accessible or something.

Would actually be nice to get outside (without it being a secret).

The reworked outdoor room could hold a switch which opens the two small archways leading to the blue key.

Anothor thing I'm not really fond of is that it's possible to kill literally half the monsters in the map before getting the yellow key.

I'm not sure that is a big issue. The barred keyed doors (leading to the switches) could become a completely closed door, preventing the player killing the monsters in those small rooms. Plus we could reduce the amount of free-range monsters at the start and have more teleport-in monsters.

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Ok did some more radical surgery on the map:

http://oblige.sourceforge.net/files/fd_map08_a8.wad

As usual, feel free to discard any of the changes you don't like.

Changes:

(a) big one, moved the key-switch rooms in N of map to simply be in a row, not unlike how the map was originally. That whole area just felt kinda awkward, but perhaps is was more interesting before. I wanted the yellow entrance to be directly opposite the start room -- it is the first one the player sees so it seems fitting that is the first key they will get. Also changed the bars to doors, to prevent killing the monsters in those rooms.

(b) made the entrance to the yellow key area be on the central axis, which meant moving the exit room somewhere else. There was a niche to the south of the central outdoor area which was not used for anything, so that seems a reasonable spot.

(c) made a simple outdoor area past the second unkeyed bars -- it is okay but nothing great, I don't mind if it gets the made into an indoor room.

(d) made grabbing yellow key open another green door (to make the loop around the central outdoor area possible again). I missed that loop when it was gone :). The other green door near the teleporter, I didn't see the point of that, so I made it jus be an open doorway (it could just be removed too).

(e) in the SE room with '+' shape, change exit to E wall instead of N wall -- since the player can look through the bars it seems better than they cannot see the exit. It is a little awkward coming up against the stem of the '+' part when entering the room -- dunno what to do about that (no major thing).

(f) improved some stuff in the red key room.

BTW, visplanes are still ok (a bit hotter in some places, but no additional overflow areas).

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andrewj said:

(a) big one, moved the key-switch rooms in N of map to simply be in a row, not unlike how the map was originally. That whole area just felt kinda awkward, but perhaps is was more interesting before. I wanted the yellow entrance to be directly opposite the start room -- it is the first one the player sees so it seems fitting that is the first key they will get. Also changed the bars to doors, to prevent killing the monsters in those rooms.

I liked your earlier change better. Sure, there was room for improvement, but the current edit is a step backwards IMO. Changing the bars to doors is good, though. not sure why I made them bars in the first place.

andrewj said:

(c) made a simple outdoor area past the second unkeyed bars -- it is okay but nothing great, I don't mind if it gets the made into an indoor room.

How about... LAVA CAVE!? The theme of the map is pretty monotone and could use some variety. So I made the way to the yellow key into an underground lava area. Would need to made more elaborate of course, but should give an idea what it could be like

andrewj said:

(d) made grabbing yellow key open another green door (to make the loop around the central outdoor area possible again). I missed that loop when it was gone :). The other green door near the teleporter, I didn't see the point of that, so I made it jus be an open doorway (it could just be removed too).

My idea with the green door near the teleporter was to stop the player from killing the monsters before picking up the yellow key.

andrewj said:

Would actually be nice to get outside (without it being a secret).

The reworked outdoor room could hold a switch which opens the two small archways leading to the blue key.

I think we have enough situations where keys open doors. How about raising a bridge for a change? I reworked the blue carpet room with that change. Now you have to go outside to raise a bridge to get to the blue key. Again, actually getting to the switch should be more elaborate than it is in this edit. If the lava cave theme is kept maybe the outdoor area should be made into that type of cave, too.

andrewj said:

Plus we could reduce the amount of free-range monsters at the start and have more teleport-in monsters.

Right, the monsters in the yellow key gallery, the topmost level of the red key room and the small hallway between those two areas could be removed initially. But if the player choses to walk this "wrong" route first it will be completely empty. That's not necessarily bad ("where the fuck is everyone? It's a trap!"), I guess we'll have to try it out eventually.

New version: http://88.198.197.45/boris/doom/fd_map08_b6.wad

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Oh, and so that there's a color difference of the walls between the cave and the base part I changed all the brown brick to green brick.

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boris said:

I liked your earlier change better.

Yeah OK, will rework that area again (later).

How about... LAVA CAVE!?

YEAH BABY!

I think we have enough situations where keys open doors. How about raising a bridge for a change? I reworked the blue carpet room with that change. Now you have to go outside to raise a bridge to get to the blue key.

Yeah that is more interesting.

If the lava cave theme is kept maybe the outdoor area should be made into that type of cave, too.

My first thought was to keep it outdoor, but actually I think a mostly scenic cave area could look really good.

--------

Some nice changes in b6, like diagonal stairs near start room.

My changes:
(a) use BRICK7 in the red key room and '+' room, and made the tunnel between them be cavey

(b) moved the '+' room, think it just needed a bit more space for entering into it, also centralized that exit as it seemed too close to the N exits.

(c) moved the bridge switch

(d) restored green door near teleporter

BTW I think the rooms with switches in them (for yellows bars etc) should have a distinct wall texture, any ideas?

http://oblige.sourceforge.net/files/fd_map08_a10.wad

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andrewj said:

(d) restored green door near teleporter

I'm not sure what's the best solution here. There is no denying that the closed door takes away some of the openness of the map in the early stages. So I guess we have to ponder what's better for the map: more openness in the beginning or not being able to kill more enemies in the beginning.

andrewj said:

BTW I think the rooms with switches in them (for yellows bars etc) should have a distinct wall texture, any ideas?

Maybe something more clean? SHAWN2, COMPSPAN, COMPTILE, COMPBLUE?

I reworked the outdoor area south of the blue carpet room to be a cave.

Here's the map: http://88.198.197.45/boris/doom/fd_map08_b7.wad

I like the general idea that the player goes down and has to fight his way up. But the current solution is bad... the center bridge completely nullifies that vastness of the cave. Maybe the center should be mostly free (maybe with some pillars with monsters on them, and the climbing should be exclusively around the sides.

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boris said:

I'm not sure what's the best solution here. There is no denying that the closed door takes away some of the openness of the map in the early stages. So I guess we have to ponder what's better for the map: more openness in the beginning or not being able to kill more enemies in the beginning.

I think the window already limits what monsters can be put in there, so I think may as well remove the door (including the frame).

In the small rooms with keyed switches, I tried a few textures. SHAWN2 or SILVER1 looked quite good but clashes with the switch itself (and the common door frames too). COMPSPAN seemed too plain. I thought METAL2 and BROWN96 looked good.

I like the general idea that the player goes down and has to fight his way up. But the current solution is bad... the center bridge completely nullifies that vastness of the cave. Maybe the center should be mostly free (maybe with some pillars with monsters on them, and the climbing should be exclusively around the sides.

I agree what is there doesn't work well. The new way of getting out there (from + room) is an improvement though.

Let's think a bit more about that area. One question of whether to have a major battle there or not. Also it might be good to have an outdoor "buffer" between the building and the cave (or a "cave" which is mostly sky ceilings, to distinguish it from the other cave).

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