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40oz

Can monsters make a map impossible?

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Assuming a map played with -nomonsters on has at least a single functioning path to the exit, is there any number of monsters that can be placed on the map that would definitely make the map 100% impossible?

Even if the map has no ammunition or health or weapons, the player always has a fist that can theoretically deliver an infinite amount of damage. All monsters have one thing in common -- if it bleeds you can kill it. That said, even though monsters and resource starvation can make the possibility space of a map microscopically small, (which is congruent to the amount of fun the player may have playing it) it can never actually make a map completely impossible, right?

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Sure.

At least I think nobody would have the patience to get past the SM blocking the very start of E2M1 in that "mod" by waiting for the imps to accidentally kill it. The player cannot deal any damage other than the initial 50 pistol shots, and I'm not sure the imps are actually damaging it, either. And that's just ONE spot.

Without going to those extremes (let's go to others, hah!), placing a sufficient number of monsters on any map, especially large numbers of archviles who can send the player flying and even keep him airborne (!), provides effective area denial, unless the player is given at least temporary invulnerability and can reach a safe spot.

But really, it doesn't take much to pin a player down: just try playing Chillax, there's a map where the players teleport inside a pillbox in the middle of the map, surrounded by HR-like mobs, but having only shotgun and chaingun (with only 8 shells of shotgun ammo available in the pillbox, at a time). It's very easy for the players to get caught in a long siege, or worse, an unwinnable situation if archviles start roaming around. Exiting the box is made impossible by the crowd and architecture, and archviles get a clean shot at at least one exit, plus they negate whatever kills the player can do (slowly).

In any case, those are all ragequit scenarios. It's not fun to find out if you can kill 200-or-so monster with 8 shotgun shells at a time, before you can even make a run for it.

Edit: now that I mentioned Chillax, that's actually a perfect example of maps that are "possible" only if you know precisely what to do, can execute it perfectly, and have no disruptive Coop noobs/trolls sending everything titties up. Though I'm sure that a few maps are impossible to even survive the initial area without carryover weapons. There's even one where you must know how to induce a specific movement pattern to a horde of pinkies to even have a chance to survive the first 3 seconds.

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A more interesting question is, would it be possible to make a map impossible even for a TAS because of monster placement?
The answer is probably yes. Have the player start in a center "room" that is about 72x72 with short hallways branching off in every direction. Place an exit switch at the end of one of those hallways, and cyberdemons in every hallway. With no room to maneuver, even a tool-assisted demo would fail.
Of course that makes for a particularly shitty map, only a step above having messages threatening the player's anal virginity flash on the screen while they're bombarded with rockets.

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Yes?

Simplest example I can think of is to have the player stuck in a 32x32 impassible line sector, only able to hit a S1 door open switch with hundreds of cyberdemons around him. The switch will activate a long voodoo track that is all about floors lowering to lowest floors that take the maximum amount of time the Doom engine allows to complete, but this is duplicated several thousand times so by the time the voodoo doll reaches the W1 exit line, the player will be long dead. I think the possibility of hundreds of cyberdemons not firing for several hours would be so infinitesimally small that there wouldn't be a seed the TAS could utilize to complete it, therefore rendering it 100% unbeatable.

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What about map07 monster activated tags where the monster in question is in a sealed room?

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You can use the monster's ability to trigger DR doors and W1 lifts to close mandatory doors the player would have to walk through or prematurely trigger mandatory non-repeatable lifts before the player can get to them.

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Actually before anyone beats me too it, I made a map where there's two rooms with a 64 width hallway between. Player start in one room, exit in the other. In the middle of the 64 width hallway is a 64x64 square with the floor -32000 units below and a zombieman at the bottom. Infinitely tall actor blocks the exit; cant punch or shoot him. :/ (at least not without a rocket launcher.)

Guess this was a silly question. I was playing a few 1994 maps and even though the levels were so confusing and littered with inescapable pits, huge amounts of damaging floors and way more monsters than I have ammo to enjoyably kill, I did however believe that the window of opportunity, while frustratingly small, was certainly able to be completed.

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Put 32768 cyberdemons on a 64 x 64 pedestal bridge thing that can easily be sr50'd across with -nomonsters. Put it above a pit full of nukage that deals -10/20 HP. The player will not possibly be able to damage the cyberdemons without dying himself due to falling in the nukage, and even if he could via the -fly cheat for example, the computer running the game will be dead long before that many stacked atop one another can be punched through.

Really cool little Doom mapping riddle, honestly! Its interesting seeing the various answers people came up with.

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dobu gabu maru said:

Simplest example I can think of is to have the player stuck in a 32x32 impassible line sector, only able to hit a S1 door open switch with hundreds of cyberdemons around him. The switch will activate a long voodoo track that is all about floors lowering to lowest floors that take the maximum amount of time the Doom engine allows to complete, but this is duplicated several thousand times so by the time the voodoo doll reaches the W1 exit line, the player will be long dead. I think the possibility of hundreds of cyberdemons not firing for several hours would be so infinitesimally small that there wouldn't be a seed the TAS could utilize to complete it, therefore rendering it 100% unbeatable.


but even if the player dies they could just leave the game open and the voodoo doll would eventually cross the exit line, right? :p

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If you're gonna use a voodoo doll on a conveyor belt, just have the doll be blocked by monsters standing on the side of the conveyor...

I think a more interesting question would be: what is the longest possible time it can take to beat a vanilla Doom map? As in, what sort of layout / structures would make it take the longest time to speedrun a provably beatable level.

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^ Slow raising/lowering floors + slow lowering bars (both 16 384 units high) on every square meter, of course! A long linear path of them, having to be followed forth and back repeatedly due to a thousand switches at both ends of the path, each one unlocking a next switch on the opposite end.

EDIT: An even better idea: A system of many perpetual crushers and perpetual moving floors, placed at different heights behind a small hole in a wall, which the player is supposed to shoot through in order to hit a mandatory gunfire-activated switch. At the beginning of the map, he would be forced to activate them all at once. They would physically block player's shots for most of the time, but their exact heights and timing would allow the player to find a brief moment when it's possible to shoot through the hole as far as to hit the switch, and this moment would be set to happen once in a million years or something.

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I suppose that trivially, creative use of tags 666 & 667 could do this on MAP07. Place a manc between doomguy and a group of arachnotrons to induce infighting so the manc gets killed and thus a platform gets raised to make the path to exit blocked.

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You could always have a pit where the only visible access point is via a window and down in the pit would be a GR tagged switch. The only way to shoot the switch would be to abuse Dooms auto-aim function and shoot through a zombieman with the shotgun or SSG which when fired would have a chance of hitting the switch (the switch would obviously have to be in an alcove to prevent the infinite height of the switch being activated when shot).

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A large room, packed full of cyberdemons. In the middle of it, the player spawns are placed in a nukage crusher zone bordered by monster-blocking lines, so the crushers will never damage the cybies in any way. There are no health, weapons, armor, or ammo on the map. The dense crowd of cyberdemons prevent the player from exiting the nukage crusher zone. Assuming the player has infinite patience and is playing in solo net so as to respawn without resetting the monsters, it is possible that the cyberdemons could all be punched to death, eventually. If the player does that, he also has infinite bullets, respawning with 50 bullets each time. So, we need to fix that.

We have a door which blocks the exit and cannot be opened at all. The door starts open, but will close after the player crosses a linedef or something like that. The door is blocked, however, by a barrel that prevents it from closing, but the barrel is guaranteed to get blown up by a cyberdemon, or a player attacking the cyberdemons: perhaps you can have a barrel chain surrounding the player spawn point (just outside the nukage crusher, leaving only one small opening). You can make a whole maze of tightly-packed barrels this way, in nomonster mode the player has to navigate it in the big room, but in monster mode the barrels explode pretty much immediately.

And yeah there's also the possibility of using tags 666/667 creatively. You don't even need infighting, you can kill a manc, arach, or Keen doll by using crushers.

While we're there, another design: exit can only be reached by riding a big (32K units) elevator, elevator only has a 40x40 area for the player to get put, there's a boss spawn point right in the middle, elevator is the slowest possible, there's a boss spawner that sees the player as soon as the map starts, and it's on MAP32. The idea is that the player is guaranteed to be telefragged while trying to reach the exit. Though this'll need dehacked to give the monster flag to the boss spawner, of course; because otherwise it'll be impossible even in -nomonsters mode.

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Why not a map with an inaccessible platform with a shootable exit switch on it? The player starts at a platform on the opposite end with a clear view of the switch in NoMonsters. In UV place a cyberdemon that can't be moved in front of the switch. The player has no way to reach the platform and needs to shoot the switch and doesn't have enough ammo to kill the cyberdemon.

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Linguica said:

I think a more interesting question would be: what is the longest possible time it can take to beat a vanilla Doom map?


Remove rocket launcher from e2m8 and few additional hours of playtime are guaranteed.

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j4rio said:

Remove rocket launcher from e2m8 and few additional hours of playtime are guaranteed.


The wiki has a link to a UV Tyson run in 28:10, so not even half an hour.

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That's c-n time. I'm fairly certain general public wouldn't be able to achieve that in half an hour.

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A map in the Great Bicycle Mystery had an end area where you needed to clear out some 7-8 archies to even step in it, but even if you played very conservatively and abused infighting during the entire map, plus carry-over ammo, you simply ran out of ammo by the end. Then again that mapset had quite some issues with ammo distribution.

By that I mean that it's not necessary for a map to be pathologically designed in order to be or become unwinnable. That's what a little thing called "playtesting" is for.

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Jaxxoon R said:

Fill every square inch of every room with spiderdemons.


Actually that could turn out to be pretty survivable, due to the infighting. The player would literally just have to hide behind one SM, shielding him from any hitscan attacks, while the SMs duked it out among themselves. Of course, he'd have to change cover in order to advance, or as the SMs died one by one.

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Azuruish said:

Want some impossible? Check Chillax.wad

That wad is absolute blasphemy.
I mean, any wad where every map is stolen, then crammed with the most annoying and tedious of monsters, is not for me.

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If you place the player in the center of a giant 1024x1024 square room and fill every 32x32 spot in the room with imps, the map would certainly be impossible.

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Marnetmar said:

If you place the player in the center of a giant 1024x1024 square room and fill every 32x32 spot in the room with imps, the map would certainly be impossible.


Even if the player is made to spawn on a BFG, backpack, 600 cells and a megasphere?

Also lol@Chillax h4t0rz ur not 1337 l0l

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