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TheNerdTurtle2

What makes a map an intro map?

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I hear people constantly saying things such as: "this is a perfect intro map!"

In your opinion what makes an intro map a good intro map? I'm going to be making one for my upcoming mapset and I need some inspiration :)

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A sandwich just isn't a sandwich without the tangy zip of miracle whip.

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Azazel Bloodfucker said:

The music needs some dooh dooh dooh dooh doodoo do do do doooooo. So even if it's a bad level people can think it's a great level because of the music.


Honestly d_runnin needs to be eradicated from existence. I've heard it just one too many times hahaha

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Keep it short and simple. Also, don't blow your whole wad when it comes to monsters and weapons. Plutonia did that and, while it's objectively the best IWAD, there wasn't much in regards to enemy and difficulty progression. That's really more for longer episode or megawad type stuff.

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Thematic constants are introduced in an intro map. You get the player into the mode of thinking "how do I succeed at this pwad". Thematic constants are switches and how they are marked, what a door looks like, the amount of cunning required to find the secrets, and how consistently is the player supposed to wallhump every linedef because it has an odd detail or inconsistency that signals a secret.

It could also have to do with rhythym. Acclimate the player to the difficulty of the pwad as a whole. How much punishment is going to happen if I play aggressively instead of defensively? Well, that can be established in an intro map.

An intro map can be about 101 different things mixed into a proper formula

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TheCupboard said:

Thematic constants are introduced in an intro map. You get the player into the mode of thinking "how do I succeed at this pwad". Thematic constants are switches and how they are marked, what a door looks like, the amount of cunning required to find the secrets, and how consistently is the player supposed to wallhump every linedef because it has an odd detail or inconsistency that signals a secret.

It could also have to do with rhythym. Acclimate the player to the difficulty of the pwad as a whole. How much punishment is going to happen if I play aggressively instead of defensively? Well, that can be established in an intro map.

An intro map can be about 101 different things mixed into a proper formula


Yeah that makes a lot of sense :) I'm trying to think of an easy way to introduce my mapping style

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TheCupboard is totally right.

The first level will introduce the player to the type of puzzles, pacing, objectives and monster behavior that will help mold their understanding and play style of the wad. Do you need to shoot switches to unlock puzzles? Do monsters sometime spawn around you from an empty room? Can you clear rooms or do you often need to run to survive?

Most of these factors should be demonstrated in the intro level in a reasonably direct but subtle way. Usually the level is short and sweet with the easiest obstacles / puzzles to overcome. This is probably another good reason why people make their first level last.

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TheNerdTurtle2 said:

What makes a map an intro map?


Short and to the point. It ought to introduce some WAD-specific concepts as well. Study E1M1 for a very good example.

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The contents of the map don't matter much, but it needs to have an intro-like midi that has the mood of something new beginning. Mano Laikas, Infinity and Sunlust are perfect examples.

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I enjoy intro maps, so long as it's not a "here's a berserk pack, now play the rest of the level"-type map. I can appreciate it as a gimmick but it never has staying value in my mind. You've seen it once, you've seen it all.

Between E1's warm-up of shooting lesser-tier monsters and Plutonia's kickstart, it mostly depends on what you're going for with the mapset. In my mind the thing that those two share with each other is the intro level is pretty short; and I find I often prefer that as well.

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A good intro map

- Defines the visual theme for the following maps in an interesting way
- Is easy to navigate, so that you can get accustomed to the new environment
- Provides some low-tier enemies and basic starting weapons, to enable a good progression from thereon
- Is more linear than the following levels to create a sense of forward pushing progression, and that complexity and non-linearity can evolve in later levels

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The actual contents can vary quite a lot -- small bases staffed by zombiemen and imps are passe, so feel free to be brave and use, like, arch-viles or hand out the BFG. One of the main prerequisites is what I'd call a "cinematic start": something like Ancient Aliens has a more elaborate example of this, but it can be as simple as a nice view (e.g. Sunlust) or a pretty start area that might hint at some sort of narrative (e.g. SD20x6/SD20x7). Another is that it should be a good map! Yes, I'd unpack "good intro map" into "a good map that happens to have an introductory feel" rather than "a map that is good at introductory stuff".

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John Romero said that E1M1 was the last level he made in the Knee Deep in the Dead. The reason being that by the time he had completed the episode, he was really good at making levels, and you want to show everyone your best work first to rope them in.

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If it's on MAP01 or ExM1.

MAP01 of plutonia is a big and harsh map, so most of the arguments here are invalid.

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In comparison with subsequent maps, an intro map should be smaller, shorter, simpler and easier, keeping room for increasing size, complexity and difficulty progression. On its own, an intro map should be fun, appealing, and free of any frustrating elements unless the whole mapset is meant for masochists those who specifically seek top hard and/or unconventional maps.

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joe-ilya said:

MAP01 of plutonia is a big and harsh map, so most of the arguments here are invalid.

I guess you're right. But then again, the rest of the maps are even more harsh.

So technically, an intro map would have to fit the theme of the WAD and considered "the easiest", even if its not exactly easy. As long as the player can understand what the rest of the maps will be like judging from the MAP01/ExM1.

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To me a 'standard' intro map can be defined by:

- having very low tier enemies / quantities in comparison to the contents of the rest of the mapset.
- A pleasant soundtrack (fuck you doom 2)
- Often remains pistol only, or pistol + shotgun.
- Very short in comparison to other maps in the mapset.
- Sets the location / story.


Good projects with great intro maps:

- Going Down
- Scythe 2
- Ultimate Simplicity
- Ancient Aliens


I'd contest some people's opinions

- "If it's on map01" - That would mean my project, "Skulldash", doesn't have an intro map then, since it's on map02... and there's also the tutorial on Map32 iirc. :P

- "not a berserk pack intro map" - I've honestly only seen this in Final Doom from my memory. Maybe you're right, it doesn't leave a lasting impression, but I'd like some examples that use this!

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Dragonfly said:

- "not a berserk pack intro map" - I've honestly only seen this in Final Doom from my memory. Maybe you're right, it doesn't leave a lasting impression, but I'd like some examples that use this!


Vanguard map 01 is mostly a Berserk punching map.

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Resurgence MAP01 is also primarily a berserk map too.

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Dragonfly said:

"not a berserk pack intro map" - I've honestly only seen this in Final Doom from my memory.


Yeah, but even Final Doom was generous enough to provide weapons and ammo if berserk punching wasn't your thing.

Another thing I think can drag down an intro MAP01 is if you have mid-tier monsters with only a regular shotgun/chaingun. I don't have a whole lot of patience for that sort of thing and it's not something that would immediately grab my attention when it comes to being introduced into a mapset.

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I think Romero said it best; you should wait until you've made every other level to make your first level. You take all the best parts of your levels, and incorporate little bits and pieces into the first level to show them what they'll be getting more of later.

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untilitdies said:

I think Romero said it best; you should wait until you've made every other level to make your first level. You take all the best parts of your levels, and incorporate little bits and pieces into the first level to show them what they'll be getting more of later.

Just don't take that advice the same way the Marathon Infinity devs took it.

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Sodaholic said:

Just don't take that advice the same way the Marathon Infinity devs took it.

I take all of Romero's advice quite literally; such as introducing myself to important people by telling them I'm going to make them my bitch.

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There are no restrictions about map length. Dont be dogmatic. Do it big, non-linear and long, if you want. Only thing what matters in Map01 is "opening screen" - I mean - you click on New Game, then Ultra-Violence, and then map loads and you dont move. What you see initially ingame is what I mean by opening screen. You are just looking at a door 64px from you and dont see anything else? That sucks arse. Show some good layout, more open space and take more care of detail in the starting place. Also theme must be original. "Another base" and "another hell" are boring. Come up with your own texture combination and architecture, at least at the start. Generally people here are true - enemies should be low-tier, weapons weak, and music slow and chill, if the map is bigger then do first rooms totally without monsters ... but thats all optional. Opening scenery sells.

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