Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
40oz

it's not the monsters, it's the linedef actions

Recommended Posts

For many years I've played many amateur 1994 wads and many megawads and killed many monsters. Ive killed over 150,000 monsters in the last two years alone. I give any standard Doom or Doom 2 wad a chance.

Lately I've been playing doom pretty analytically, and trying to make note of patterns in maps that are more interesting to me than not. I'm a pretty good player when it comes to improvising, not so much on scavenging for items or secrets or being cautious and surgical in how I engage my targets. I've observed the monsters themselves don't contribute much to the fun or difficulty/challenge of the map. I've killed tens of thousands of mancubi, arachnatrons, revenants, chaingunners, and archviles, so fighting another hundred thousand isn't going to be much different. The fun and challenge lies in the technical engineering of the map. The cause and effect of maps that goad the player into doing something and using it to plant the player into a precarious situation never ceases to be interesting to me.

Though I often can make an exception for slaughter-maps that present many many monsters in a given area at once and provide weapons with strong destructive power to kill monsters at a very fast rate, I will always consider the use of linedef actions to warp monsters in via teleport or enter through monster closets or instantly raising floors to be a much better presentation of monsters than for them to be incidentally standing there.

I consider it to be a problem when gameplay of maps that have many monsters (300 or more) feature the majority of the monsters placed so that they incidentally see the player when the player steps into the field of view. This sort of gameplay is not only chaotic, but sloppy and tired for a seasoned player such as myself. The inner machinations of a map that trick or confuse or surprise the player is what I'm playing maps for. Not the monsters themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
40oz said:

I consider it to be a problem when gameplay of maps that have many monsters (300 or more) feature the majority of the monsters placed so that they incidentally see the player when the player steps into the field of view. This sort of gameplay is not only chaotic, but sloppy and tired for a seasoned player such as myself. The inner machinations of a map that trick or confuse or surprise the player is what I'm playing maps for. Not the monsters themselves.



Strange. I see it the exact opposite way. It's the chaotic part that makes this interesting for me, monsters teleporting in and monster closets make the entire game feel mechanical because it's all too predictable for repeated playthroughs.

Share this post


Link to post
40oz said:

This sort of gameplay is not only chaotic, but sloppy and tired for a seasoned player such as myself.

Of course it is.

Share this post


Link to post

What about a monster closet or teleport trap that sends a horde of monsters against you, and the only place you can run away from them is to a new elaborate area with many monsters randomly and chaotically roaming around? Point is: I like the variety and combinations of predictable versus unpredictable monster encounters in Doom.

Share this post


Link to post

On one hand, not using linedef actions for gameplay purposes gets stale quickly, but on the other, it can get overly mechanical and limiting. I'm all for middle grounds.

Share this post


Link to post

Don't blame the traps for being predictable; blame the map designer for following a clear trend and/or not instituting back-up systems for their traps. A good back-up system can totally change an encounter, especially for someone with preknowledge of the "main" setup. One perfect example is when a teleport trap operates off of sound; well don't fire and profit. A back-up system could prevent pacifist trolls ^^ while also giving monsters a second place to enter the fray. Combined with intelligent craftsmanship, this back-up could be tweaked to work in additional, specific ways, as well as influencing any randomness within the setup.

<3 traps

Share this post


Link to post

Also deserving a mention: Normally placed monsters that get activated outside of the player's vision, and begin roaming. Depending on how long a player spends in each area, these critters can really be shocking when they appear "out of nowhere", or in a new location compared to last time you loaded. They're my favorite types of creature for their unpredictability, but for maximum effect they require a map designed with long and wide monster-roaming in mind.

Share this post


Link to post

Wow, it's like level design and gameplay are linked somehow.

THE FOLLOWING ASSUMES YOU PLAY NIGHTMARE OR -FAST OKAY

Sarcasm aside: Give a player infinite space, and save for one monster (archvile) the chance of being damaged is very, very little. Try it. huge box, one monster, and just a shotgun - easy. now throw a hallway in that is just a little wider than two baron widths, with a lowering platform on one side, and a closed off wall (from a previously triggered linedef) on the other. Plop two barons in. Oh shit, rite?

Here's how you remove this "slog":

Eliminate all areas that allow the player to round up hordes of monsters and take them out from an easy vantage point. You know what I'm talking about - places where the player can easily dodge projectiles and mow down monsters with little effort. If you find that in your map, redesign it until you can't do that anymore.

American McGee traps. Notice how MAP02 has areas that are fun to mow down monsters but then pulls a fast one on you as you race to the red key. If you don't know about the secret area, you get three surprises: the imps and demons, the shotgun guys in the hallway, and the ones at the starting point. For added fun, take the SSG out of the map entirely, or replace it with another shotgun. have fun! Also, notice how the red key switch is positioned to the right of the teleport line for the shotgun guys in the megaarmor secret area, leading them to it, to pop up just outside. Open door, get buckshot in the face. Just study McGee levels, all I'm saying.

All of this can be achieved using purely monsters and level designs, no monster teleport boxes, or monsters hiding in the floor. Now the floor trick is a good element of surprise so the player will trigger another action to trap him in the room before knowing of the two barons ahead. But that same difficulty could be achieved through monster block lines and a small opening connecting the high-level monster area with the rest of the map. If he can't strafe back and forth at the doorway, the player has to go into the room and increase his chances of being hit. Add a linedef to shut the door if the player tries to pull a fast one and open the door, backstep, and plink with a shotgun.

And I want to make this crystal clear: Don't abuse teleport traps.

You know what teleport traps make me do? they make me save before hitting an obvious trigger, reload the save, and disable the trap. Because I don't have the patience to deal with teleporting revenants behind me anymore. If you're going to do this, make the trap open something up in the map, or teleport the monsters elsewhere so I hear them before I see them. That's how you create anxiety. Constantly using nearby instant teleport traps on objectives required to progress is punishing the player. There's no risk vs reward if the object is required. Nothing worse than going through a bunch of bullshit, grabbing a key (the reward for said bullshit), only to get ambushed by teleporting revenants. That's a way to make me hit the F10 key.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×