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Rook

Sucker Punch [9 Small Maps for Doom II, Now on idgames]

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476340965_SuckerPunchTitle.png.819782941cff45547c2e8a5d3116224d.png

 

Sucker Punch features 9 small single-player maps for Doom II, tested in PrBoom+, ZDoom, GZDoom and Doom Retro. The WAD is made up from three mini-episodes of three maps each which escalate from easy (with green details) to harder (yellow) to hardest (red). The maps should take no longer than two or three minutes each to play and are designed for pistol starts. Difficulty settings are implemented.

This WAD was originally shared in January 2016 with three maps; this version has minor improvements to those three, six additional maps in two new themes, and some new custom graphics (a TITLEPIC, level names, etc.)

Currently Sucker Punch requires the Community Chest 4 texture set to be loaded alongside the WAD.

 

48748746_SuckerPunchCollage.png.e09f5b3e9894b18dbd3ff87186f563ef.png

 

Maps and Music

Title music: 'Main Title' from Eternal Champions
Intermission music: 'The Selection' from Rolling Thunder 2

MAP01 - "Maintenance Run" ('Warhead' from War Gods)
MAP02 - "Attrition" ('Regeneration' from F-Zero X)
MAP03 - "Those Who Wait" ('Chinese Revolution' from Chamber of Shaolin)
MAP04 - "Assault and Battery Acid" ('Jetta' from Eternal Champions)
MAP05 - "House Full of Bullets" ('Act 1' from Crack Down)
MAP06 - "Rev-olution" ('Stage 7 Bellon' from Zero Wing)
MAP07 - "Compression" ('Fire Field' from F-Zero)
MAP08 - "Nothing Dead Will Go" ('Descent into Cerberon' from Quake II)
MAP09 - "Hardpoint" ('Gravity Well' from Quake II: The Reckoning)

Thank you to all those who played MAP01 to MAP03 in 2016 and offered suggestions, to all CC4 texture artists, and to gaspe who playtested MAP04 to MAP06.

I don't plan to make major changes to the maps, but would appreciate bug reports and suggestions for minor alterations before I make the WAD final. I'd love to see demos and videos!

 

// Download via idgames //

 

// Read my design post-mortem //

 

Edited by Rook : Added idgames link, July 18

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Fun little maps! Have some FDAs.

MAP01 was nice and easy, a good intro. Not much to say about it though! MAP02 was a nice step-up, and unless I'm remembering incorrectly was the only map I died on, near the start. Again, not much of note. MAP03 ended up being surprisingly easy due to the load of supplies given and the fact that it was rather predictable! Didn't die once there.

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Fdas!

Very nice small maps! They were really fun to play. MAP03 has too many supplies, and the red alcove before jumping into the arena seems to be exploitable.

Edit: The secrets are allrigth, though in MAP02 the soulsphere is OP in a small map like that.

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Oh man, this is great. Love your sense of visuals and consistency. The difficulty is casual/relaxing (which is not wrong), and some fights could be a bit more engaging, other than that it's awesome. The set have everything that I like.

Please, MAKE MOAR!

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Just finished all 3 maps. Good straightforward fun so far, neat visuals as well. Go make some more maps!

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Difficulty is easy overall, but it's the kind that keeps you on your toes, so that's a good thing. I don't think all "challenge-oriented" levels need to be hard to be valuable.

FDAs: http://www.mediafire.com/download/54jycpkcsi1djdj/skp_rdwpa.rar

Just woke up so I played a lot worse than usual in the reflexes-and-movement department, but managed to get through without any deaths (one close call in the last level though).

You have a reasonable eye for design, and like me, you enjoy using timed and multi-stage fights, so I'd like to see more maps!

Criticism:

1) Levels are very small. Okay, not a bad thing, but I was like, "Hmm, this is it?" Would be a good starter to a Scythe clone, though!!! :D Basically, I mean that I would have expected (and welcomed) 7+ levels, given the size of each one.

2) Third level: it's usually a very good idea to hand out a single shotgun before the action starts when the player runs the risk of picking one up during a fight at an inopportune moment, and the shotgun is of no particular value as a weapon. Always annoying to have to deal with unwanted pick-ups mid-fight.

3) A bit stronger lighting contrast would have been welcome. Light levels seem to be mostly bright. Darkness (lls of 128 or so, with some directional lighting cutting through in places) would have been nice in the slime area of map02, for instance.

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Good stuff. I always appreciate tiny maps, and I agree with rdwpa that these would be a great starter for a megawad along these lines.

1st map I liked a lot. Found both secrets relatively easy, though I was also specifically looking for them as I went along. I like the RL one in particular because of the clue (box of rockets - surely there is a launcher somewhere?) and it's useful for the AV fight (as opposed to being a random blur sphere or something).

Didn't find the 2nd map to be that much harder, to be honest - I did come closer to dying, but that was more due to sloppy play on my part. Also thought the soulsphere secret wasn't much of a 'secret' since the texture used is typically a door texture anyways (admittedly I hadn't seen the one on the other wall).

Given that the first two maps are relatively similar in difficulty, the last one is definitely a bit of a spike, though there's nothing wrong with that. Died once here (with only two monsters left, gah) but it's a lot easier once you know what's coming next. I think you did a good job with the timing, several waves came in right as I finished off the last straggler from the one before.

I agree that the lighting could use some more variation in places, it's a bit flat for the most part. I also found the light strips a bit illogical between levels - in the first level, yellow lights indicate the yellow door, but in the second level, they're just coloring for the level. I like consistency between levels, though I know you were going for the whole green-yellow-red thing. Maybe just use something else for the yellow door in the first level?

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Thanks everyone for your comments and demos - when I have time I'll post a revised version incorporating as many of your suggested change as I can (as well fixing some other problems I have noticed). I'm really pleased that you enjoyed the maps.

In the meantime, more feedback always welcome!

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And here is map 03. Quite a spike in dificulty compared to the last 2 but still manageable. Took me a few tries but only one try while recording ^^

Noticed something though, dunno if it's the fact that I was playing in zdoom but it seems that one imp doesn't teleport (happened to me on all tries) and as a result, it was impossible for me to get max kills.

Keep it up though man :)

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Many thanks for the videos, The_Trigger! I haven't been able to replicate or explain the missing imp in ZDoom - I don't know if anyone can help with that?

I've just posted an updated version of the WAD with the following changes:

- Fixed some minor texture issues in MAP01
- Fixed a situation in MAP02 whereby the RK could be acquired without using the switch
- Altered one of the secrets in MAP02
- Removed some resources from higher difficulties in MAP03
- Changed the start of MAP03; players now teleport, rather than use a lift, to access the main area. This creates more surprise (at least for new players!), gets the action off to a quicker start, and eliminates abuse of the red alcove, now removed

I'm now thinking of adding some more maps to the WAD. What I thought I'd do is to add three more maps, then get some more feedback, make alterations, and continue until it's a nice 9 or 12 map WAD and then sort out a final release. My one worry is that it might be hard to balance for continuous play. Any thoughts?

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I'm always a fan of smaller, bite-sized maps, so seeing these three was great, playing them was even more of a blast.

I played on a lower difficulty to get a feel for it, then tackled it more seriously on HMP to see what changed for the difficulty levels. I suck too much to do UV just yet lol, it's been ages since I've properly played Doom.

From what I saw, the maps were all tight and concise and generally just fun to play. My personal favorite would have to be MAP02, if just for the background music. It's great for getting pumped up and it sets the tone of the mapset well for me: fast-paced in your face goodness.

I did notice that MAP03 did indeed turn out to be quite the difficulty spike, both in comparison from the first two maps and from the lower difficulties to HMP; going from a few Barons at the end to a full-blown Baron and AV encounter made for a bit of a surprise that killed me a few times. Thankfully the BFG helped mitigate the pain a little. All the same, it was still great fun even if I died the most on that map.

If you do add on more maps to the set, that'd be pretty awesome. I can't get enough of the smaller maps myself, so seeing more would be cool. Great work my dude!

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I thought I'd play as well, here is a little packet of FDAs (skill 4, PrBoom+ -cl 2, Jan 30 beta). As projected, the runtime for the whole set can't be much longer than 10 minutes, if that, and I tend to waste a lot of time futzing about when I play to boot. Had no real struggles clearing the levels, though apparently my zerk-fu sucks today, think I took more damage stupidly trying to show off against the revenants in map 02 than anything.

Well, unlike the other posters, truth is I am not particularly inclined towards bitesized levels as a generality (always exceptions though, of course), I find they tend to struggle holding my interest over the course of multiple maps because they either don't pack much variety in combat (only so much you can do with such a limited space/runtime), or, on the other side of the spectrum, shoot for a ton of variety but never really flesh anything out because everything's over so quickly. So, as the 'cold' part of your audience in this case, I guess my analysis is this: in terms of fight design and pacing, everything I see here is fundamentally sound and sensible, but also very predictable, in the sense that pretty much every substantial bit of combat proceeds in neatly regimented and conceptually symmetrical segments--this is most obvious in the timed waves and step-by-step escalation of monster strength in map 03, of course, but the series of closets/switches in map 01 is also an example of the same thing, for instance. Another example is that it's quickly established that doors (rare as they are) always have some drooling thing directly on the other side, which again quickly establishes a set pattern for approaching them. Lacking in scale as tiny maps naturally are, these designs will quickly hit a ceiling on what you can do with them as far as escalating difficulty/pressure goes (unless you want to move into batshit-crazy niche stuff ala Swift Death, I suppose), and so my advice is that if you want to add 6-9 more maps to the set before calling it complete, be aware of these tendencies and try to buck them, or even subvert them, every few maps or so, which you can do with things like rocket-centric maps (which are tricky in tiny spaces, of course), tyson-centric maps (I'm pretty sure there's a law somewhere that says you have to have at least one of these if you're going to call your mapset Sucker Punch), maps that have some looming threat you can't immediately dispatch, or the like.

Aesthetic variation over the course of a dozen or so maps will also help, as well; what I see in these three maps is very clean visually but also somewhat repetitive in air, even for the short duration, given the design restrictions imposed by the tiny scale--sort of makes things look more 'generic' than they probably really are. A good way of working around this without overhauling your core design goals might be to take a page out of the 1024 book and occasionally have stuff to look at outside of the playable area, e.g. a map set up like 03 here could be set on top of a tower with some other towers or mountains off in the distance or like.

Balance comments:
*The spike between maps 01-02 and 03 is fairly pronounced, but not in a way I'd see as problematic, personally, if we view these three maps as a 'minisode' with 03 as a climax before settling back down a bit into something else in a hypothetical map 04. What might be more of an issue, IMO, would be trying to smooth over the spike by trying to make a gradual gradient of difficulty by having a bunch of maps after 02 before seeing something like the current 03 in a much later slot; it's here that you risk the issue of repetitiveness, I think, so don't be afraid to have an erratic difficulty curve, I reckon this is one of the greatest freedoms you afford yourself in working with small/short maps.
*There are too many rockets in map 02, but it's not a very significant issue. There are also too many cells in map 03, which is more significant--I think you could add interest to the BFG play + time pressure scenario by affording the player fewer shots with the big gun, which would encourage wrangling the monsters into groups (which involves more dodging/maneuvering) before cutting loose. As is I felt like I whiffed a few shots at the end and still had more to spare, which means in theory that someone could spam the weapon and get away with it, undercutting the encounter design. I think you supply enough health/armor here to be able to make someone who uses the BFG irresponsibly sweat more at the end while still having a reasonable chance at victory.
*As for continuous play vs. pistol-starts, I reckon you're right to think it would be hard to balance something like this for both. My honest advice is to not even try to support a delicate continuous balance in a set of maps like these 3; doing that you run into the issue of slow-gradient repetitiveness that I mentioned earlier, and again, the ability to show a bunch of specific little concept-based vignettes (which launch most naturally from a pistol-start) is one of the greatest creative advantages of doing a set of maplets (maplings? mapettes?). If you really want to support both types of play, you could try death exits every 2-3 maps or so, I suppose, but of course those tend to upset certain types of players, so....

About the secrets, I didn't find them remarkable in any sense, all were fairly easy to locate and used pretty textbook methods of concealment. This sentiment sounds sort of negative I guess (and in fairness the DWMC just played a mapset with really unusual secrets, so perhaps my palate is skewed a bit at the moment!), but the other side of the coin is that this also means they are sensible and intuitive by PWAD standards, and thus not something I can imagine most players ever having any real objection to. At no point did the rewards from the secrets seem like they could break a given map's basic balance, so that's good, as well.

My overall impression is that this was something like "Micro Simplicity" in look and feel, which I reckon is something a lot of people would greatly enjoy playing for a span considerably longer than 3 maps. For my part, you'll need to show me some more conceptual variety to retain interest over the course of multiple maps like this (that, or get freaky savant-good at microsetpiece design, I suppose), but of course, ultimately the one you need to entertain is yourself. ;)

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Hi Rook, I remember you from that Heretic map. I just played these, I liked them, here's some random notes in no specific order:

  • The secrets were pretty easy to find, but that's fine. They help the player without being essential.
  • Difficulty curve was good.
  • Despite being called "Sucker Punch" I did not really feel surprised ever. The sudden monster reveals were pretty predictable especially after the first one or two, and only in the last map did you ever have to deal with things from more than one direction at a time. Two AVs in front of you suddenly is a bit of a scare initially, but then you can just back off and plug away at them as they get occupied resurrecting corpses. If some Hell Knights also appeared at the far side of the hallway at the same time, things might be a lot trickier and thus more engaging.
  • Your design for these levels is kind of this samey, box-room style with some clean, light detailing, which was similar to your Heretic map. It totally works here, given that the mapset was small, but you should start to try to break out of that style for the future, I think.
  • The buttons don't animate or make sound (maybe they do in ZDoom?) because those things are hard-coded to Doom 2's switch texture names. You can fix this by renaming the switch textures if you merge the textures you used from CC4-tex into your map. If you want to take the easy way and settle for sounds only, put a normal Doom switch texture as the upper or lower texture on your switches.
As a 3 map set what you have here is good if quite quick to get through. A whole megawad of this kind of map, or even an episode, would definitely need to vary things up some more.

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Apologies for taking a while to respond to these last comments - thanks to plums, DotW and Jimothy for your thoughts. Before I get on to responding I'll say that I have begun making a second sequence of three maps for his WAD. I'm trying to vary things up a bit and incorporate people's suggestions where possible. I have a tyson-oriented map which I may restart (I'm not overly familiar with or hugely fond of this style so it could use some work) and a solid start to what is intended to be MAP05. The visual theme I'm using for these I am calling a "necropolis" aesthetic - brick, grass, moss, and decorative corpses and skulls aplenty (!).

OK, so some more comments based on your feedback and extra playtesting of my own:

- Regarding the issue with the imp The_Trigger noticed: I've now been able to replicate this once in ZDoom, but am still not sure as to the cause.

- plums mentioned the switches and texture names. I'm interested to know which port you used, as these work for me in PrBoom+ and ZDoom.

- The observations of few of you have made about the geometry of my rooms is really about me trying to stick (for now) to what I feel I can do fairly well. I've tried to do outdoor areas before, for example, but have struggled.

- I definitely agree that the maps can lack the element of surprise. I feel I've made some progress on this with the map I am working on currently.

Again, thanks for all your thoughts. I'll hopefully be able to post an updated 6-map version of the WAD in the next couple of weeks, which will make some very minor changes to maps 1-3.

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Nice, I haven't played these so it'd be nice to play the improved versions.

Please make the tyson mmap small so it doesn't outstay its welcome :D

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Rook said:

- plums mentioned the switches and texture names. I'm interested to know which port you used, as these work for me in PrBoom+ and ZDoom.


I used Crispy Doom. cc4-tex.wad has a Boom-style SWITCHES lump in it, and I guess PrB+ will use it even using -complevel 2?

Crispy Doom has no Boom support and so can't read that lump (though maybe I will put in a feature request for it now!), but I guess most ports will use it fine. So you probably don't need to worry about it too much. Adding a stock Doom 2 switch texture as an upper texture to switches might be a good failsafe idea though.

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Sorry to bump this but what is the state on this? :)

I really enjoyed th first three maps and would really love to see new ones. Hopefully, this hasn't been dropped?

Anyways, sorry again for the bump but I really am interested in this wad ^^

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The first two maps are pretty fun. Taking a difficult break for 3, but it's a fun set so far. Thanks for the bump, The_Trigger.

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Posted (edited)

It's been two and a half years, but Sucker Punch is now updated! The WAD now has nine maps spread across three themes - please see the first post for details. It'd be great to get your feedback, demos and videos.

 

// DOWNLOAD (Updated July 6) //

sckrpnch.zip

 

See July 9 update in OP

 

Edited by Rook : Updated WAD

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23 minutes ago, Breezeep said:

@Rook your mapinfo doesn't have the 'sky' property for maps 8 and 9.

 

Thanks Breezeep. I'm assuming your screenshot is of GZDOom. Can you explain how I resolve this? I've added the sky property below at the start of MAPINFO but it doesn't help:

sky1 sky1 0

I also tried to specify the sky property within the information for the three last maps specifically, but that also didn't work.

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Oh, glad you made other maps. My fdas: suckerpunch3_gaspefdas.zip

MAP07 is solid, sorry if I don't have so much to say but it's a nice "map in miniature". I really liked the concept of MAP08, it's very well executed. On MAP09 idk, I guess it changes a lot if you dare to let the cyberdemon alive or if you don't know how to kill it effectively in a such tight space. It's a similar concept of MAP03, but that map puts more pressure: you face homogeneous waves but you have less space to move and you have to clean the place quickly. On MAP09 the mixed horde will mostly wipe itself with infighting, it isn't really a great finale. Perhaps you can switch those maps?

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Thanks for playing gaspe! Personally I think MAP08 is probably the strongest in the set. It can be approached in a few different ways which hopefully makes it a nice contrast with the more linear maps. It's also fun to let rip with the rocket launcher.

 

It's interesting that you feel that way about MAP09; personally I find it harder than MAP03 because there are fewer resources and it's possible to become cut off from additional plasma cells. However, I think it could be made a more dramatic finish. I'll consider making some changes.

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28 minutes ago, Rook said:

 

Thanks Breezeep. I'm assuming your screenshot is of GZDOom. Can you explain how I resolve this? I've added the sky property below at the start of MAPINFO but it doesn't help:


sky1 sky1 0

I also tried to specify the sky property within the information for the three last maps specifically, but that also didn't work.

 

I think it goes like this:

map MAP01 "Renewed Faith"
{
	titlepatch = "CWILV00"
	next = "MAP02"
	secretnext = "MAP02"
	sky1 = "SKY1"
	cluster = 5
	music = "$MUSIC_RUNNIN"
}

(taken from Cchest4.wad)

Make sure you include the = sign when you're tying to use a certain sky.

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Posted (edited)

I've tried various different permutations of that, still without any luck in GZDoom. It's still fine in PrBoom+ and Doom Retro. If anyone could shed any more light on this, I'd appreciate it.

Edited by Rook

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Posted (edited)

Sucker Punch has been updated, with the following changes:

 

  • Custom sky now displays properly in ZDoom and GZDoom (thanks Breezeep and Kappes Buur)
  • Fixed an issue with the blue key in MAP02, which I'd somehow reintroduced along the way
  • A trap in MAP08 can no longer be avoided by taking a specific route
  • Several improvements to balance on lower difficulties have been made
  • MAP09 has been altered slightly for a tougher and hopefully more climactic end

 

EDIT: Further Changes on July 9

 

  • Difficulty of MAP04 and MAP06 has been toned down slightly
  • A door in MAP06 now has the correct linedef type

 

I'll hold on in case anyone finds any more issues, before I finalise the WAD. As ever comments, videos and demos are very welcome.

 

// DOWNLOAD (Updated July 9) //

sckrpnchjuly9.zip

Edited by Rook : Updated WAD, July 9

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