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volumetricsteve

general rule of thumb with lava

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As far as vanilla doom mapping goes for single player, how fair, or unfair is it to have a chasm/lava pit where the player can fall into some rocks above/around the lava, but be unable to climb out. Their only choice from this point would be to willingly dive into the lava. Is this just as bad as falling into the lava, or is it worse because they have to choose to dive in? Is this an acceptable mapping practice?

Would it make any difference if the rocky parts served an alternate purpose before the player accidentally fell into them?

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I might expect a secret if I'd gotten to some weird ledge like that. Maybe a corpse with some ammo next to it, if it's a bigger ledge.

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As long as there is a way out of the lava, I wouldn't mind. Just slap a teleporter or lift or stairs down there.

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@VGA -

Good thought. Though this might be hard to do in the exact instance I'm referring to..I'll see if I can work it in though.

@Tosi -
Hmmmm....I can't really put a way out of the lava, part of the intention of the lava was if you fall in, you're dead, but the rocks are kinda in between. I might change the staggering height of the rocks so they can double as stairs to climb out if you've only fallen onto the rocks.

Thanks for the feedback.

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Inescapable pits are a controversial issue. IMO, for typical gameplay intending to be fun and fair, they shouldn't be ever included. One of Doom gameplay's qualities is exploration, and the player can never know if jumping into a damaging floor is the intended way to find valuable secrets or the intended way to die for maneuvering mistakes. I prefer if each pit has a way out, be it a teleporter (works best in deep pits) or a staircase or lift (in pits of any depth).

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@scifista42 -

Wow, well...that pretty much covers it. You're right, it'd be annoying to have inescapable pits that force you to kill yourself or load a save game. I think what I'll do in all cases of these lower-pits is stagger the height of nearby rocks so the player has at least one way out. I may also space them out a bit more so the odds of someone dropping in the lava is slightly higher.


Ahhh but I see now you meant inescapable pits in general, not just the rock ones.

You're all in agreement lava pits - or any pit that you can't get out of is a bad idea?

I was going to take the stance that the player should learn not to fall in the lava (it's kinda hard to fall in in the first place), but I guess learning that lesson the hard way, especially if it happens more than once and by accident.... probably won't be a ton of fun for the player. I see a potential for rage quitting here so I might nix the idea of inescapable pits...but I also don't want teleporters down there, and stairs would be a real pain in the ass to put in.....maybe a happy medium would be to have the rock-height-staggering idea follow all the way down to the floor of the pit...maybe that's the best solution.

Thanks again, guys.

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What are the most damaging sectors? 20% damage? That gives the player just a few seconds of life and he gets the message that he's dead if he falls in there, after the first time.

In The Chasm, Sandy Petersen put some Poison textures to mark inescapable pits.

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Pits and places that make the player stuck, so that the only way to continue the game is to start the game over or willingly kill oneself and then do the former, are always bad IMO, safely considered to be bugs rather than design choices.

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I'm torn....I want to have natural hazards but I don't want to piss the player off with stuff beyond their control either. I think I need to stick with the rock-staggering idea to round it out. It's a big pit and it's in the middle of the room, it's just an enormous room so it's still not super likely the player would fall in by accident.

Maybe....inescapable death pits are ok if the player can (A) know about them in advance somehow, like what Peterson did and (B) aren't likely to haplessly fall into them.

I ask because I have a different pit that's behind a staircase that runs over lava, the threat of lava-death is pretty clear...right now it's kinda easy to fall into the lava, but if I made it harder to fall in...I could see that being kind of acceptable.

Thoughts?

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scifista42 said:

Pits and places that make the player stuck, so that the only way to continue the game is to start the game over or willingly kill oneself and then do the former, are always bad IMO, safely considered to be bugs rather than design choices.

I don't see how you can make such a pronouncement when there are lots of WADs with purposely inescapable death pits. Unless you're applying your doomtwid mafia illuminati design commandments.

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@Linguica: In the statement you quoted, I was referring to places where the player doesn't mandatorily take damage when he is already there, allowing him to survive for as long as he wants, but never be able to reach the map's exit anymore. For death pits, see my first post in this thread.

@volumetricsteve: The problem is that making the player 100% reliably know that a pit is really going to be deadly and only and only deadly is not easy at all, considering the amount of wads where the player is rewarded for exploring pits that don't even look survivable, contain hazard signs and death symbols in plain sight, etc. My thoughts are the same I already told you before, even with your latest specification in mind.

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@scifista42 -

So noted....I guess to put it to terms, I can't remember ever saying "it sure was fun to die in that pit I couldn't get out of".

Perhaps, another compromise then, making them escapable but hard enough to get out of that they've done a lot of damage before the player can escape, at least then they have the choice to fight on or reload a saved game.

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Inescapable death pits are acceptable only if they do maximum damage and are prominently marked as deadly and with no possibility that they mark secrets.

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I made a huge "You shall not pass!" type chasm in my latest level which has 20% damage lava below. I might put a Rad suit somewhere in secret but the player isn't suppose to fall down there. You CAN escape - if you find one of the several teleporters which take you to the beginning - but not without taking a massive hit to your health. And don't forget about the a revenants(3) launching missiles at you and an Archie at the end ;-)

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@printz: And if what you said was accomplished somehow, the 100% death pits should also be recognizable as 100% DEATH pits before the player even gets a chance to fall into them, otherwise it would be unfair (again IMO).

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@zemini -

huh...maybe I should put some barons of hell down there to speed that death along....that'd be a little different from just falling in a lava pit, and gives a last moment of excitement before killing the player off.

I like this idea for some pits but not for all.

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Players who aim to achieve 100% kill statistics, as well as players who play in ports with infinitely tall actors enabled, surely wouldn't be happy about that.

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I have the three revenants on a tower so their rockets are there to push you off since it is very hard to dodge them when on a narrow step way.

I might make a way to reach them from the pit however - that way the cliff texture sides look better AND I can more easily kill them.

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scifista42 said:

Players who aim to achieve 100% kill statistics, as well as players who play in ports with infinitely tall actors enabled, surely wouldn't be happy about that.



You're not wrong....in this case I suppose I'd have to cut off a finger to save the hand and say people should consider turning infinitely tall actors off, but I guess I'd also employ this in more shallow pits.

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Honestly, inescapable pits are okay by me under two conditions:

1: They only appear in the first 1/4 of the map or so, that way they don't destroy any long fought progress at the very end of a level for example, and

2: They are easily identifiable, be it posted signage, a sharp increase in light level akin to glowing lava, or even the visible damaging floor at the bottom that becomes the signature "pit of death" texture for the remainder of the sequence.

But yea, if I fall into a death pit at about 90% kills or something I'm just gonna skip the level or stop playing. I think a lot of players feel this way.

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@Rayzik -

I would never have thought of #1 but it's a really good point... having fought off a cyber demon only to trip over my own stupidity and face plant into lava would be pretty solid grounds for a rage-quit.



I just spent what couldn't have been less than 4 hours adding the "stairs" to get out of the pit....I think it fixed the problem. It's not easy to get out, but it's easy enough someone could do it in a panic.

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That is why there is a save system for moments like these. Any time I go into a new area with cliffs and crazy stuff, I generally save the game because I don't know what is ahead.

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Zemini said:

That is why there is a save system for moments like these. Any time I go into a new area with cliffs and crazy stuff, I generally save the game because I don't know what is ahead.


I actually like inescapable death pits, but any argument that begins with "That is why there is a save system" shows a lack of respect for many people's preferences wrt playing with saves. I personally find it a lot more exhilarating to play without saves, if I can. If I have to use saves, it had better be due to map length or hard combat -- actual hard, not Plutonia hard or something -- not due to one or two bits of shittly dickish design amid a level that could otherwise be one-shotted without too much trouble. Otherwise I'll have less fun playing that person's level (with saves) or, more likely, simply not play it anymore (with or without saves).

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What i'm getting from all this is, different players expect different things from their experience...not a huge shock there, but it also means there's no singular true solution...just different approaches to attempting to make things fun while also not pissing off the player.

@rdwpa -

idealistically, I agree with you...but I can't personally pull that off. I'd love to play without saves, but I'd never reach the end of anything that way with the number of distractions in my day-to-day.

What do you mean by 'actual hard, not plutonia hard' ?

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I meant modern (2015 standards) hard, as opposed to what was considered hard back then. Something like Sunlust maps 15 onward on UV, which is about where I don't bother trying to play without saves, until really learning the level.

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if you want the maximum amount of people to like your level, then don't add inescapable death pits, but remember that there are some fantastic levels full of them. Check Sunder (check the amount of people that don't LIKE Sunder (check the sheer mapping liberation its author must have felt to be able to design a map according to his own sensibilities as opposed to a crowd-pleasing almagamation of safe platitudes))) and do what you feel

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Huh, I kinda liked plutonia...though I recall the agony of counting every...single...bullet, and saving games just to look around a corner. That was...something.


@yakfak -

"doing what you feel" has virtually always gotten me into trouble of one kind or another, but sometimes it's worth it. I think here, for this particular pit i'm crafting, I've got the stairs out the way I want, they're not easy to use...which I also like...it's easy to fall back in the pit once you're in. I'm thinking of adding some imps down there or something just to have something down there waiting.


I think scifista42 pointed out that people with tall actors, or those concerned with 100% kills might not love that choice, rightly so, but that might be the part of me that's "doing what I feel" to move ahead. Plus, if someone really cares about 100% kills, it's not too hard to fire down into the pit anyway...as for tall actor support...I got nothing, it's kinda tough love for them. Sorry, tall-actor people.

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volumetricsteve said:

if someone really cares about 100% kills, it's not too hard to fire down into the pit anyway...

Sometimes it's not hard, but it's pretty much always boring, and redundantly so, because this is exactly the purpose of damaging floors to keep the player away from a static area for the whole time spent in the map, whereas monsters have different (and more interesting) purposes.

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You could have the barons warp in when the player hits a walkover trigger down there. Make sure the walkover is far enough away from the edge that it can't be triggered from up above somehow. When the player reaches the exit conventionally, the barons, which should still be in their off-map sectors, should be crushed via a walkover trigger.

The player could still backtrack to look for secrets or whatever and fall into the pit, and now you won't have those barons anymore, so this will work better if the exit is non-returnable. Make sure the actual exit mechanism is far away enough from the crusher walkover trigger + point of no return that the player can't exit the level before the barons are done being crushed. The exit should also be spacious enough to imply a possible final fight, so that the player doesn't leave and go searching for the monsters left unkilled.

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