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mrthejoshmon's bad advice for other new mappers looking to make a megawad.

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Now this began as a reply in this thread but rather than mong that thread with this wall of garbage I thought I should post it here.

Now I am aware that most of this is probably bollocks and just all round bad advice because I only actually made 17 out of 32 maps and had the project flop and was also a very terrible "critic" at one point but I hope it helps at least one guy out...


Chezza said:

The few reviews are saying your maps are both fun and visually nice. I am actually quite tempted to play it and see for myself.

2 reasons why;
1. I am making a one man Megawad and want to know the experience and feedback of someone in similar shoes that isn't a famous mapper - so no positive bias
2. To find out if you truly believe your project was *Edit - Some mean individuals* that unfairly criticized your work and led you to believe your work is rubbish when it's really not

Advice from me to you or any other new mapper looking to do a megawad:

- have a plan and stick to it, doing this was how I had 17 maps done (5 were also planned and do still exist, but nobody will ever see the unfinshed messes). Flyin out on nothing at all fucks ya over in the long run (when the megawad started there was no plan, the thing was a mess so I stopped and made a plan to fix it up).

- start slow, plan about 4 to 8 maps or so then when you get them made and polished up then move up to another 4 or 8, this should ease you into the mapping process and will be able to get critque for small chunks at a time so you can make the best of what you already have and be able to understand what to do and how to do it.

- Changes happen to ideas, don't fight them. If you had the idea to make an arena but decide that a maze is better then go for it...

- ... But keep the old idea around, slap the old design in a little prefab wad on the side. A lot of my maps were revisited cut ideas. Never get rid of your old shit and just store it elsewhere, you can always slap it in a map totally unrelated to the project.

- You using ZDoom? Well you got a scary bunch of scripts to figure out. A way of easy learning is load up a heavily scripted wad by someone who knows what they are doing: having a look at what script does what and how to correctly use it, see how it is implemented into the map so you can get a more hands on look than what the wiki can provide.

- Don't steal designs that you think are "popular" thinking people will like it. The important part of your map is your style. What is your style you ask? The truth is you can't tell until other people point it out, it is the quirks you are subconsciously sneaking into your maps (mine is corridors of about 128 width, hellknight spam and bonus filled corners). Don't force yourself into a style, just let it happen.

- stay consistant, it is easy to forget this part but cobblestone doesn't attach to wallpaper suddenly. If you don't like consistant "blandness" then at least try to cover the sudden contrast up with some kind of border.

- listen to advice, even being mocked can sometimes assist you, as weird as that sounds. It really depends on the target of the mocking: If your maps monster placement is being poked fun at then try and see why it got that reaction. Back in NOVA 1, I remember Tarnsman and Alfonzo (I think it was them) played an alpha/beta on stream an they took no fucking prisoners and made me look like a twat whilst I silently watched in horror, I then went back to those maps and fixed that shit right up (actually came out quite decent in the end). If I never got embarassed as fuck over that stream then WTP would probably still suck major balls, I thank them for that humiliation as it helped me improve quite a bit.

But then there is mocking like "you suck at maps". Yeah, cheers captain obvious you really helped me improve. Ignore shit like that unless followed by why you suck (because maybe that could help... Or not...)

Which brings me to:

My maps that I invest many many hours into, from the painful process of learning scripts from scratch, constant problem solving and time consuming details etc have received the occasional "It's pretty fun" from the few who enjoy it but from those who decided they don't (based on a couple commenters on live streams), absolutely spite it with harsh judgement on almost every texture, monster placement, any use of symmetry, any use of custom content, any choice of song and so on. As if I was their worst enemy and made just made a gigantic joke wad that induces vomiting. It's very off putting and breaks inspiration but I'm confident it's more their problem than mine regardless if my wad is truly average or even poor (which I believe it isn't). So if this happened to you - I feel your pain.

If you made a wad with quality that varies from average to greatness then you're claim to poor quality and unable to map is unjustified.

Why my megawad failed was not because of this, the only "bad" thing my project recieved was a very negative review on Bob Larkin's Doom Wad Station (nothing against them, I like their work and the critcism was well justified). What made mine flop was a combination of real life work, lack of interest from me and anybody else (probably like 5 people were "interested", loose term right there) and how obvious it had become to me that I was doomed to fail.

I realize that I probably fucked up by losing hope and canning it all when I actually had something that could have have actually been something more than just mrthejoshmon's failed map collection... Set a bad example there huh..

- Again, don't let harsh words stop you, if they have nothing truely nothing of value to say that can't help then they are just useless to you and noth worth getting rilled up over.

- The final advice would be never lose hope, you can make the set if you really really want to! What is stopping you? You can take years to make it if need to, it wil never change the outcome:

You made something YOU are happy with, you made the fabled full 32, you did what I couldn't... Blah blah more sentimental horse shit... You get the picture.

Anyway, good luck mate, I'll be waiting for those 32 maps...

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Same with me. Three years ago I started to make a 32 map megawad. Never finished, only a mess of thirteen maps, all shit. Chezza, this is advice from a person who has experienced it. Make small 6 (For Doom 2) or 9 (For Doom 1) maps. Or, just make one map releases.

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32 Maps does seem too long of a way - however I'm certain I would have the mapping urge for years to come. If I were to map, why not contribute them all to the Megawad?

I never really did have a plan I admit - only the very basics from particular map themes, situations the player will face and a very simple story. However occasionally an interesting idea pops up or I learn a new trick / script and I get hyped to create a map around it or edit my existing ones.

Following the path of Doom 2 - I'm thinking of creating a few short levels that are strictly based on one gimmick. Dead Simple comes to mind however I would intend it to be more Arena based with waves etc. As long as it's fun it's not required to constantly create 32 maps of traditional maps. I have a couple of unique ideas I'm pretty keen so motivation is growing again - I just need to keep it away from BD haters.

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mrthejoshmon said:

- Changes happen to ideas, don't fight them. If you had the idea to make an arena but decide that a maze is better then go for it...

- ... But keep the old idea around, slap the old design in a little prefab wad on the side. A lot of my maps were revisited cut ideas. Never get rid of your old shit and just store it elsewhere, you can always slap it in a map totally unrelated to the project.

That is some of the best advice out there and any famous musician would tell an aspiring musician the exact same thing (as noted in many interviews in magazines such as Guitar Pro), except with less Doom jargon.

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I've also started a one man megawad, which I haven't given up on but have been struggling with for some time. My strategy for avoiding failure was:

1. Short maps. Sort of between Scythe and Plutonia in length. I would employ an idea for a set piece, theme or layout and keep it succinct and to the point. This I thought would keep it interesting for me as a mapper and have the bonus that polorising experiments would be more forgivable as they won't stick around long enough to offend.

2. Keep it simple. I took inspiration from the TWID projects where cool ideas where built in simple form. I would map in vanilla format and use stock (albeit Plutonia ) textures and avoid complexeties so that the design just relies on strong fundemantals.

3. Be uncompromising. I thought the best chance of completion is keeping self interest and the best way to do this is to satisfy your own urges in creativity. If that meant inescapable pits, sector furniture or other mapping tropes that are generally frowned upon I would trust my instincts.

4. But listen to good advice. I picked on a select few trusted voices and would take their suggestions to heart.

5. Map in clusters. I would limit the megawad to 4 chapters of 20 maps split by the intermission text. Each chapter would be based on a loose theme and contain between 4-6 maps, which seemed a good length the explore without it becoming stale.

For me it first started showing signs of going wrong after the first 5 maps. These went by like a dream and whilst non of them are perfect by any means they benefit in my judgement bias from having stress free productions.

This for me is the core issue. If a map is a pain in the arse to make I will hold that against it even if the finished product is better than something I knocked together in one sitting. It sounds a little like something Memfis would say it those sort of levels where inspiration comes easy and the execution of the ideas all work first time gives it almost a feeling that it has been created by someone else and I see it more as a level to have fun with than a series of reminders of what a headache it was to make.

Level 6 was the first I was not satisfied with and I would have remade it if it didn't get the positive feedback it did. This was the first point I mind of betrayed my goal of aiming just to satisfy myself and retrospectively was possibly where the rot began to set it.

The first 6 levels where the first chapter and I was happy with the feedback I got and felt refreshed to be going into a very different theme. The problem was from here on I have pushed myself into making levels outside my comfort zone as I do not want the levels to feel samey. Chapter 2 had three out of five levels that where remade from scratch due to the first attempt being subpar and at least 2 are still not satisfactory to me. I also did not get as much feedback on this chapter and although I was looking forward to a fresh theme I was also looking back over my shoulder knowing I was disatisfied which the levs I have moved on from but not wanting to halt progress by ripping up what I have already done.

I'm now in Chapter 3, knowing chapter two does not feel right and having lost faith in my self assessment. Chapter 4 has a simple, familiar theme and only 4 maps so should be a breather for me creatively but instead I feel the need for the maps to be stronger whilst staying true to the simple and effective design style I want to emulate. The first map of the chapter was remade twice and I'm on the third iteration of the second map, which is still unsatisfactory to me. In this chapter I am trying to pair two elements of design and they feel mutually incompatible but I know this is the result of my own lack of inspiration right now and possibly due to trying to overstretch myself creatively.

Whilst it felt liberating at first to 'kill my darlings' and ruthlessly remove sections or full maps that were not working it now feels like a burden, as though the ax is hovering over any idea I implement all to ready to strike if it does not immediately feel right.

In the end, I don't know how useful this is to anyone else but it was good to get off my chest.

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I can related to various issues you faced purist. Like needing to change theme but getting out of your comfort zone for it. I can't bring myself to scrap any maps though, especially my most disliked one (Map 06 as well) since it took weeks of touch ups and forced work to finally complete it however I'm never really satisfied with it. It would feel like removing many hours of work when potentially some adjustments or thing replacements could make it more forgivable.

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Like Joshman said I've not permanently deleted anything. Fragments of rejected maps have reappeared so have not been an entire waste of time. An example is my MAP12, which I wanted to play as an island tech Base like in Deadzone or the Factory, which you can circle and run in and out of from different angles of attack. I was pairing this layout idea with the idea that the map repopulates at the end but I couldn't finish anything without betraying one of the two ideas.

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