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MangaMan9999

Advice on Building Doom WADs

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Hello to my fellow Doom fans on the Doomworld Forums!

I am a fan of both Doom with an interest in game (particularly level) design. As such, I am wanting to learn how to build Doom WADS. I've played around with Doom Builder 2 a little bit, but every map that I've started either I've been dissatisfied with and deleted or never finished due to a lack of time and/or commitment. I think it would help me a lot to get some tips from people much more experienced in Doom editing/hacking.

Specific points of advice include (but are not limited to):
1. Architectural techniques
2. Enemy and item placement
3. Texture usage

Thank you for taking the time to view my post and I look forward to hearing your advice!

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Check out the Doom Editing subforum here, there's plenty of topics on the subject. There's even some handy tutorials there. Some basic advice is to start small, get familiar with the base engine. Make maps centered around other maps that inspire you. Study the iwads carefully. Don't be in a rush to create anything really, go at your own pace and map only for your enjoyment. Don't get hung up on ambivalence, or what anyone might think. Welcome aboard!

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There are no specific right or wrong way to do things. Just about everyone here who has made a map is self taught. There are things most people generally agree on but I could tell you how what I find to be the best and fastest and most efficient way to make a map and I can be certain that someone will chime in to say they completely disagree.

My best suggestions for a new mapper is to not get too deep into an ambitious super-megawad project. The project will be your baby and you'll love and nurture it until its done (which could take years if you're an inexperienced perfectionist) It will hurt you badly if people dont love it like you do and of its really bad you might never want to make maps again. So start with some basic single maps to give people something to play so they can see what you're made of. Post them here with a couple screenshots. Make what you think is fun, and let others try it and tell you their thoughts. You can be sure they will assess something about your mapping that you didn't think of on your own.

For many mappers, their worst critics are themselves.

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MangaMan9999 said:

1. Architectural techniques


This page is a pretty good guide to technical mapping stuff, in my opinion. But really, you can pick up almost everything just by mapping in Doom Builder. And for the few other things that aren't obvious, just go and look at other people's maps :0)

2. Enemy and item placement
3. Texture usage


Make things you have fun playing. Make things you like looking at. I don't think anyone can really give you advice about that.

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Enjoying your time building a map, altough you perhaps look at other people's work and think that yours look very bad compared to it. Try not to let it affect you too much. Keep your own style but also be open for some helpful critisism. Don't copy someone else his mapping style, try to stay original with your work, altough its fine to draw inspiration from other maps. We all do I guess. Don't be affraid to try out that one super crazy idea you have, who knows it will turn out really cool. And also never, ever throw away your work, save all of it. In a couple of years from now when you're very experienced you might turn that bad map into something really cool.

But foremost enjoy what you are creating, enjoying building a map is a good starting point.

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My adviec is to come up with some things that will be unique to your style. It could be something as simple as every map having a tiny crate in the corner of the starting room. Try to establish a unique character in your levels.

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MangaMan9999 said:

Hello to my fellow Doom fans on the Doomworld Forums!

I am a fan of both Doom with an interest in game (particularly level) design. As such, I am wanting to learn how to build Doom WADS. I've played around with Doom Builder 2 a little bit, but every map that I've started either I've been dissatisfied with and deleted or never finished due to a lack of time and/or commitment. I think it would help me a lot to get some tips from people much more experienced in Doom editing/hacking.

Specific points of advice include (but are not limited to):
1. Architectural techniques
2. Enemy and item placement
3. Texture usage

Thank you for taking the time to view my post and I look forward to hearing your advice!


I'd start by asking you to probe into what sorts of Doom maps you enjoy as a player and want to make. General advice in the three categories you mentioned might be useless to you if it doesn't really fit the type of map you want to make. There are many different architectural techniques, many different styles of enemy and item placement, and many different ways to use textures -- sometimes two perfectly valid approaches can be in direct opposition to one another.

Anyway, I agree with 40oz.

Also, step #1 is to make and complete some maps!

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40oz said:

There are no specific right or wrong way to do things. Just about everyone here who has made a map is self taught. There are things most people generally agree on but I could tell you how what I find to be the best and fastest and most efficient way to make a map and I can be certain that someone will chime in to say they completely disagree.

My best suggestions for a new mapper is to not get too deep into an ambitious super-megawad project. The project will be your baby and you'll love and nurture it until its done (which could take years if you're an inexperienced perfectionist) It will hurt you badly if people dont love it like you do and of its really bad you might never want to make maps again. So start with some basic single maps to give people something to play so they can see what you're made of. Post them here with a couple screenshots. Make what you think is fun, and let others try it and tell you their thoughts. You can be sure they will assess something about your mapping that you didn't think of on your own.

For many mappers, their worst critics are themselves.


I agree 100%. This is what happened to me. Although I am quite pleased on my results it took me way WAY too long to finish AND it still has plenty of lingering issues that I forgot to fix or simply didn't have the energy for.

Regarding big maps: When you are starting it you might get a period where you get these really cool ideas that you execute very quickly followed by a long period of making square rooms and staring at them like a moron, which is what happened to me.

I wouldn't make the maps very small maps like E1M1 or Map 01 though. Start somewhere along the lines of E1M2 or even E1M3.

Oh and one more thing, playing a map for inspiration and looking at it in Doombuilder are very different things, at least in my experience. I recently started analyzing WADs in Doombuilder and I found it to be very helpful.

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I made a post on the subject some time ago. Some of the tips sucked though, so I'm omitting those.

Basically,
1. make pointless stuff that only you might like, because you can. If the player doesn't like it, he can go to hell. You have to enjoy mapping. I mean, you don't really have to, but you got the point.
Crates? Toilets? Sector furniture? Sector text? Making a WAD which represents your house? Terry WADs? Retarded traps that nobody would expect and that will most likely kill the player? Mmm yes. Players will curse you, that's sure. Give you 0-star ratings, definitely. Write not really flattering reviews, perhaps. But you had loads of fun making the level. That's what matters.
Though, do make sure your map doesn't have any (unintentional) bugs.

2. choose the music for your level wisely. Try playing E1M5 with the E1M9 music. It's a completely different level!
3. secrets are awesome
4. doodle random stuff when you don't feel like mapping. If it sucks, delete it, if it doesn't, keep it. It can't hurt you, heh.
5. Well done lighting rocks. At least make lamps bright.
6. Implement cool things you saw in other maps into your map. Your map should be cool to you, remember?
7. rather important: vanilla maps should work in Chocolate Doom, limit-removing maps should work in PrBoom+ -complevel 2 (or Crispy Doom), Boom-compatible maps should work in PrBoom+ -complevel 9, etc. It really sucks when people make "vanilla-compatible" maps which are not.

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AnonimVio said:

Remember: You can still make shitty maps even after years of practice. Mapping isn't for everyone.


But also remember, that a 'shitty' map may only be shitty to one person and not another. take all critique, good and bad and improve your map with it. Ultimately, map for yourself because if you're mapping for everyone else its never going to be something you're happy with.

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