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rdwpa

Heretic design tropes

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It'd be interesting to hear what people more knowledgeable about Heretic have to say about its tropes. I'm not even sure if there have been enough maps designed for it for any tropes to be codified. But if so, what are they?

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The only thing that really comes to mind is that Heretic maps are typically not very abstract. In Doom you can get various degrees of realism vs. abstraction in maps, in Heretic it tends toward a common "low-fidelity medieval realism" design.

Beyond that there are a lot of IWAD conventions, which sometimes get repeated in maps, and I guess some good ideas for gameplay in a way that distinguishes it from Doom, e.g. artifacts are fun so give them out fairly liberally, but then don't make too many assumptions about what the player has/doesn't have in their inventory.

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Not sure if it's what you're looking for, but the official maps used a few conventions like yellow-green-blue key progression, wood doors are unlocked while stone doors are locked, while the big demon face doors are remote activated, etc. A lot of PWADs ignore all that, though. Also, I get the impression that the official levels were a lot more liberal with light flicker/blink/glow sector effects compared to the Doom IWAD maps or modern mapping.

As far as custom levels go, the notion of "chicken tunnels" seems to have been popular for DM maps (where there are spaces with low ceilings that you can only get into when morphed.) Raven went on to use the concept in one of Hexen's secret levels though I don't know if they got it from Heretic WADs or arrived at the idea independently.

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It's more a gut feeling than a detailed analysis so maybe I'm completely wrong, but it seems to me that in Heretic maps, the geometry is used more than in Doom for "macro" details and the various props are used more for "micro" details.

A simple example: locked doors. In Doom you use "locked door" textures, in Heretic you put key gizmos next to the door. Another example: ceiling lights. In Doom you'd use a flat texture with some lamps in it; in Heretic you put a chandelier.

On the other hand, you'll use sector-based shapes more to make, as plums says, "low-fi realism". The houses and churches and towers are less abstract than they'd be in Doom (just look at all this shadow casting work in the start room of E1M1) but the price of this extra detailing is paid by having less of a budget for micro detailing. If you have a bland corridor, you can't break up the monotony by copy-pasting some prefab ceiling light, but you can instead put some wooden beams for support. And then attach some chandeliers to the beams.

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For me, ineffective use of ghost monsters and powerups. There are also, like plums mentioned, many reliances on designs similar to the iWads, like the semi-realistic medieval theme. I thought some iWad maps did change key-progression and door textures, though, particularly in the later episodes, though I could be mistaken. The stock textures are more interesting than Doom's, so most Heretic maps I've played have had less interesting and abstract architecture when compared to Doom, but that could be due to less people mapping for it and/or mappers trying to fit Hairytick's theme rather than making their own, like with many Doom pWads.

The biggest trope in Hairyschtick's mapping is that people decide to map for Doom instead; there really isn't enough Heretic maps.

I kinda liked the idea of chicken tunnels; always thought itd be cool to have an enemy that turned the player into a chicken for Herechick; shame the devs didn't add one in for SotSR.

*edit*

I think you're 100% right, Gez

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