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Jannak

Does anyone find Tech Base maps boring?

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I notice that majority of maps created for Doom are mostly tech base levels which in my opinion are boring well maybe compared to City maps or even Hell maps due to the reason that they're not only abstract but also they inspire nothing and there's nothing interesting to look at with those maps no matter how detailed it is.

I wonder if anyone here feels the same? Or rather what makes the map more interesting and what are the ingredients to mix it in?

Well at least for me, what makes a map interesting is not only based on or resemble real locations, but also if they're also references to Horror/Sci-Fi movies not to mention Carnival/Amusement Park or Haunted Attraction style maps or maybe even a suburban neighborhood with a Autumn/Halloween feel (with Halloween decorations in most of the houses especially if some of them have home haunt attractions) would be far more interesting than a tech base level for at least in my opinion.

For example, Bloody Pulp Fiction's "Nuthouse" and "Backlot" levels fit these criteria and I'm surprised no one has made Doom levels like those.

Or another example of interesting maps would be surreal or bizarre maps like this or even ones like Beyond Reality or Engima 13 for example.

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User made maps have a tendency to be based or inspired from the source material. It should come as no surprise that the resources in Blood contribute much more heavily to the creepy horror movie atmosphere you get in the levels from that game, while Doom's best maps which are mostly tech bases inspire more techbases to be made.

I dont find techbases to be as particularly engaging, but it doesn't seem like they are made as often as they might have 5 years ago either IIRC.

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Jannak said:

they're not only abstract but also they inspire nothing and there's nothing interesting to look at with those maps no matter how detailed it is.

Well, it's the most generic theme, precedented by the first episodes of both Doom 1 and Doom 2, so if one feels like making a map without putting too much thought or care into its visuals, the techbase theme seems ideal to pick. It's also harder to create distinctly outstanding landmarks in this theme, in comparison with for example the hell theme, I think. But I don't generally find techbases boring, because to me, the main interesting-ness (and inspiring-ness) comes from gameplay rather than visuals (and obviously, the quality of gameplay varies a lot among different maps, regardless of sharing the same theme), and also, techbase textures apparently make me feel "comfy" in the map, even if I don't pay conscious attention to them (this is probably a nostalgia thing, but a powerful one). So, I can see where you're coming from, but can't empathetize with you.

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Techbases are the best theme for Doom, nearly all my favorite maps use it or a variation of it. I find hell maps mostly boring because very few mappers can manage to turn this into something interesting.

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Well, I do personally have an marked aesthetic preference for themes well outside of the traditional techbase oeuvre, but I don't reckon there's anything intrinsically dull or unappealing about techbases per se. The notion that occasionally comes up in discussion, and that I think is probably pretty close to the mark, is that traditionally (pure) techbases tend to be found in the earlier parts of mapsets, where gameplay traditionally tends to be more casual/subdued in pitch and often less conceptually driven in nature; more unusual ideas are often attached to more unusual themes (which also tend to invite more unusual/grandiose architecture and layouts), and for this reason the most memorable parts of many mapsets are found outside of the techbase theme. A similar phenomenon has tended to hold sway in single map releases, where standalone techbases are often framed in more modest ways, if not always as abjectly 'classic leisure affairs, then often with a certain measure of directorial restraint, which again seems to be a nod to the techbase's traditional role as an 'opening' theme. As others have said, that many of the most enduringly popular maps from the IWADs themselves are set in techbases or industrial bases also naturally tends to deepen/drive this phenomenon.

All of this is purely a matter of folkway, of course. There's no reason techbases can't be spooky, haunting, grandiose, surreal, realistic/representational, gimmick-driven, hyperviolent, oppressive, or anything else, and of course there are countless exceptions in the history of PWADs to the general tendency outlined above.

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I tend to find city maps in Doom to be very unconvincing; while the techbase, corrupted base, and hell themes are enhanced by the abstract designs that work best with the engine.

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Doom's engine blocky design renders map creation for square based locations far more simpler and appropriate to pull off. Hence tech base. But I suppose that's a reason for why they get made instead of whether I find them dull or not.

I like Tech based maps the most as I usually find them the easiest to navigate and track. Also it's very Doom like so I feel right at home. Also it makes sense to have all zombiemen and cyborg based Demons included.

But true that the aesthetics aren't often awe inspiring.

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Yeah, tech bases are boring if they just use stock Doom 2 textures and conventional layouts. I prefer to be amazed when I play Doom, and realistic tech bases by their definition can't do that. To be interesting, a level has to be surreal, infernal or space-themed (if it shines like in Star Wars, great!). Or -- please -- have more kinds of enemies and hazards, especially ones fitting with tech bases, such as gun turrets or electric imps.

Too many authors think it's okay to just create overdetailed rectangular rooms with dark metal beams, lamp posts and crates, then fill them with demons and revenants. It's too repetitive to be worth playing, especially when you can't be surprised by anything new.

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A lot of my favorite maps are tech base themed. Honestly I haven't found many I've really disliked. It's a simple theme that allows for a lot of unique perspective and creativity, but can easily be expanded into incredibly detailed and complex maps as well.

From the mapping perspective, tech base maps are probably the best way to learn how to map and progressively learn how to design more complex shapes and layouts. Because the theme is fairly simple it gives a lot of opportunity to experiment with all aspects of mapping and figure out cool things that can be used in other map themes as well.

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Doom was created with techbase as the basis for levels, while hell and some castle stuff was also in, albeit they would still be infused with techbase architecture.

The reason you don't see these levels in Blood is because Blood was designed with similar levels to those; creepy mansions and a carnival. If you saw a techbase like level designed for Blood, it would be unique to that game because they weren't in it; vice versa, if you see a carnival level in Doom with these victorian/gothic graphic sets, it could be really great!

It takes a lot more effort to go beyond the original scope of the level themes which is why you see such an influx of techbase.

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I like tech base maps, they can sometimes be interesting and fun, but I mostly care about how fun a map is unless its clown puke in its texturing and Doom II city textures suck ass

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Tech base maps really capture the moon base theme of the original Doom. Which was a huge part of the "story" if you will. They've always been a key thematic component to the Doom series, and I find the clean layout visually appealing as well as easy to navigate. Maybe not the best map style, but a good one.

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LordShadowZ said:

From the mapping perspective, tech base maps are probably the best way to learn how to map and progressively learn how to design more complex shapes and layouts. Because the theme is fairly simple it gives a lot of opportunity to experiment with all aspects of mapping and figure out cool things that can be used in other map themes as well.

I think surreal maps are easier to draw, because tech bases still require you to keep textures and scales reasonable and to make sense.

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What "saved" E1 tech maps IMO was the presence of enticing outdoors areas, where you would always be certain to find some interesting item or powerup, and/or imagine that there was something else beyond that base. Or simply to get some "outdoors time" in an otherwise enclosed map. An entirely closed techbase OTOH, meh.

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Actually, even E1M4 gives you a glimpse of the sky through a generously sized courtyard at the beginning. None of E1's maps is fully enclosed (except E1M8 at the beginning, and even that one opens up at the end. Besides, it's not even a techbase proper, looking more E3-themed).

But yeah, E1M4 kinda breaks with the theme by only having an open space/view of the sky in one portion of the map.

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Doom never gave us too many specific assets to work with, and it shows in our struggle to find clever ways to repurpose them. Doom is supposed to be set in military bases, research and development labs, control stations, refineries and more. We don't get that impression from the somewhat all-purpose textures, other than a handful of computers and monitors. So I share the somewhat nonplussed reaction to a lot of techbase themed maps, and I think maybe this could be remedied by throwing in some Duke 3D textures that fit the theme.

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I find boring tech base maps boring.

But that said, techbases were always my favorite. They always felt the most 'explorable.' E1 was always my favorite Doom episode, and if Doom2 lacked anything, it was genuine techbase levels. (Oh it had them, but not like Doom had them.) I think this is also why I prefer Evilution to Plutonia, despite Plutonia being better gameplay-wise and design-wise.

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If you smell what the Rock is cooking boring tech map - please be patient and tolerate to him. It was a joke, just squash it with your pickle.

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I don't particularly like techbases that unimaginatively imitate the Knee-Deep in the Dead levels, you know the ones, where the mapper has stuck some distinctive structures that are clearly based on structures that appear in an E1 map into otherwise bland layouts. It seems like a good handful of these "tribute" WADs popped up over the years which might contribute to the notion that the style is "boring".

Otherwise, techbases are fine.

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