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Dgemie

So what are we going to do with the maps?

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I'm pretty sure that Catoptromancy, Amarande and wesleyjohnson (and maybe others) hate to think that maps they put heart and soul into might end up rotting in the attic or something like that. So do I, because I prefer mappers who design maps for themselves (if you haven't guessed already). But quite a few regulars to this forum don't think so, and for them, removing maps by all three authors is only a matter of time. Maybe I can understand them too: such acquired taste maps are probably not the best addition to an IWAD. But still: how about finding a point of agreement?

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Before I dump a wall of text, this issue concerns the new vanilla limitations, and their need to be downconverted from Boom-compat? Or just their playability and enjoyability in general?

Okay, hoping the answer doesn't make this irrelevant--

Without being terribly familiar with the maps in question and their respective authors, I have been watching talks about these things. To my understanding, the main issue is the play-quality of the older maps, yes? I don't see why, in the case that the authors don't want to see their work removed, they wouldn't try to update their maps.

Freedoom seems to take whatever assets it can get at the time, and then reassess their value later, as possibly better assets become available. I can see both sides of the story--this sort of 'use and discard' mentality surely rubs people the wrong way down the road, but competition can only be healthy for the end product and user. If someone made an asset ~8 years ago, and something new and flashy comes along to try to replace it, well, hopefully in that time the person has gained skills to improve the original work and remain competitive.

Idea: What about having the older maps as an additional episode? "No Rest in the Attic?"

Idea: What about having the newer maps as an optional IWAD? then the old maps could be used for vanilla, and the newer ones could be retargeted for Boom, Zdoom, or preferably even GZDoom/GZDoom-GPL(the most liberally licensed source port being currently updated)? I don't see the point of throwing away all these very old Boom maps and then having a need for many new maps to be made, in vanilla. That seems like a turnoff to all but the most hardcore '93-era Doom modders.
AFAICT it would be easier to convert the older maps, and easier to get mappers for new maps without targeting for vanilla only. Kick me if I'm wrong about this because I have no interest or experience in vanilla mapping. There are a lot of new modders coming into the fray this year, myself included, and I'd guess almost none of them are targeting for DOS/Chocolate Doom, and I'd assume that the older mappers would have more knowledge and interest in things like visplane monitoring. I'd much rather check out DTWID than try to make it myself. I respect my elders but I'm out for new horizons.

Either of these are basically the same idea, to functionally split the project into "Freedoom Classic"(or "Chocolate Freedoom"), and "Freedoom EXtended", wherein the old assets and maps would remain as a static installation whereas EXtended would continue to grow and mutate.
The number one problem with this (besides fragmentation) is those contributors might see the Classic variant as a distributed Attic of sorts, that their work still goes largely unseen in favor of the new content. I think the specific port-targeting could help allay that feeling, it's not "old deprecated Freedoom," it's "Freedoom's vanilla compliant episodes."

I'm the wrong person to sympathize with this because I'm using the project for its assets, so I've gone through the attic, I've thrown away a couple new sounds and sprites in favor of the old ones, I have copies of most of the old WADs. The good stuff in the attic isn't rotting, it's just waiting to be needed. The discarding of old material benefits me greatly because it brings new material into availability, while retaining the old assets somewhere accessible, so I have a bigger pool to work from. If someone decides tomorrow that the Aquatex textures look like $h††, because they found something barely slightly better, I'll be happy to keep the Attic well-dusted.
I realize that has nothing to do with the actual maps, but if I was somehow reusing the maps for a project, it would.

What is the *overall* playability of the maps in question, versus what they could be replaced with? Most of the maps I've played through (that are complete) seem fine at a cursory playthrough, maybe not stellar, but target port affects that. If that's the general consensus, it gives a stronger argument for them to not be outright replaced.

Back to your post, what is the definition of an "acquired-taste map?"
(Serious question, again I'm not super familiar with the maps)
I often don't see the point of making any art "just for yourself." This seems like a crutch to negate criticism. "I didn't make this with the idea of someone else enjoying it besides me in mind... but please use and appreciate it."
Nope, things like this don't belong in a game, a song, a movie, unless you intend to be to sole audience of the product, and if so, I think the licensing is needlessly liberal in this particular case. XD
The fact is that you should ALWAYS be designing maps for yourself, as the best judge of what's FUN, not as the only person who understands the work's intention well enough to criticize it, and then refuse to do so.

But maybe people just don't agree with the difficulty or the playstyle or something. Some doomers like different things, more slaughtermap, less keyhunt, etc.???



Freedoom means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The best solution is to include all those things, and all those people, as much so as can remain reasonable for the project. A lot of my points are not simplicity-friendly.
I am all for keeping the old maps in as long as they remain fun and playable.
I think reframing them under vanilla limits, if possible, might increase their perceived value to players.
I also think that if the original authors can be reached, but they don't want to continue working on their maps to fix whatever might cause them to be replaced, then it probably doesn't matter at all. There's nothing stopping them from releasing their own favored version as "Freedoom: Director's Cut". They could even sell it on Steam or to Martin Shkreli for a million billion dollars.


Personally, I think Freedoom should release a final version of Phase 1/2 as soon as it can, and then move on to a full sequel, targeted for OGL ports, in UDMF, with no lump limit, no need for support of DOOM1.wad, and a focus on being the best game it can be and providing the most and best assets, rather than a straight 1:1 conversion.
Of course, everything I say comes from the lens of the end-user, rather than as a contributor. But for myself, I'd be willing to contribute some new Actor code if that ever happens(as of now, the project would simply have no use for it), and of course I'd be far more able to contribute a map, working in the modern style I'm more familiar with.
Once Freedoom reaches a certain point of progress, it can't do anything new besides cannibalize itself.

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Mapping for (vanilla) Doom is not hard at all. It's only if you're trying to do fancy stuff or constantly pushing the limits that you're going to run into hard problems where you need to use Visplane Explorer or similar tools.
The rest is just following the basic rules described in editing tutorials like the one by Dr. Sleep (John Anderson) or this book:
http://cd.textfiles.com/instantdoom/EBOOK/DOOMGURU.PDF
Probably most new mappers now have an unbalanced view of what a Doom level should be like (because they spend all their time playing Boom or ZDoom stuff with mods pilled on), and trying to implement really fancy stuff in vanilla engine will be a recipe for disaster. A lot of impressive stuff can actually be done, but the cost is high in terms of time and effort. Whereas a basic Doom map can be thrown together in a matter of hours, even with an old 90's editor like DCK. Maybe in fact newer editors are a liability, since they give you a lot of options and entice you to push the limits and lay on the details real thick. Fine if you have self-control, but otherwise...
Btw, Doom (the 3-episode game) originally ran under much lower limits in version 1.2 and prior. If your design target is lower than the final release, then you shouldn't have any problems. The difference is your tolerance margin.

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hex11 said:

Mapping for (vanilla) Doom is not hard at all. It's only if you're trying to do fancy stuff or constantly pushing the limits that you're going to run into hard problems


This is the double edged sword. People do not want to map in vanilla because they are afraid of going over the limits or need a few extra linedefs to create their masterpiece, but the maps that are made could (usually) very reasonably be converted to vanilla.

I have played very many random maps on idgames. So many boom/zdoom wads could very easily be vanilla. Many times there is a single boom linedef, or zdoom action in a map that is otherwise perfectly playable in vanilla or boom. Without the freedom of port mapping, maybe a noticeably stripped down version would have been created.

People should ignore vanilla as they map. Vanilla issues can be dealt with later. Mapping to ensure never hitting a VPO will create a simple map, maybe overly simple. Vanilla limits do not need to hold back mappers. Only large wide open areas with lots of side details, doors, and windows are problems.

MAP22 is an excellent example. There is a boom version on the repo and I have posted a vanilla version. Casual players would probably not even notice a difference. MAP18 has a more noticeable vanilla conversion, but with careful testing and thoughtful design the "feel" of the original map is still there. Both maps have identical gameplay and look good, even if a bit more simple.

Some vanilla or port mappers go for a vanilla style, which is simpler yet looks good. The entire episode 4 is made in a vanilla style, but made for limit removing. If vanilla was the main goal, many maps would have likely been toned down. All episode 4 maps were easily and unnoticeabley converted to vanilla, except for one. In E4M7 two open areas were connected, but luckily there was a choke point in middle. Building 2 walls, still allowed players to travel between sides and also blocked the visplanes. Out of 16 maps so far, only one needed it's gameplay to slightly change to make it vanilla.

All of Zok's maps are limit removing with tons of detail. E2M5 is exit-able in vanilla but has a nasty HOM problem in wide open areas, with several doors and windows. Still very much of the map was detailed without being held back by vanilla so looks very good. The very detailed small rooms work flawlessly in vanilla, while the open areas need to be simplified. MAP15 and MAP28 will be tougher to tackle. The wide open areas in those also affect gameplay.

Limit removing maps converted to vanilla tend look much better than made-for vanilla, since mappers had the freedom to do what they wanted. Then maps can be gently simplified so that changes are unnoticeable.

Then there is vanilla-pushing maps. Vanilla target maps that were over-made, then simplified. av.wad is full of them. I imagine the mappers worked hard to make the maps look great, then carefully adjusted them to make sure they play in vanilla. Wide open areas look more simple, smaller areas more detailed. Wide open areas had less windows/doors to begin with...or door/windows were less detailed inside.

I did not mention the original subject of thread, but will later probably. I felt like going on a vanilla rant.

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agenten said:

this issue concerns the new vanilla limitations, and their need to be downconverted from Boom-compat?


I've been looking for an answer on this and failed so this seems as good a place as any to ask: why was there considered to be a need to downconvert the maps to vanilla?

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Not just all ports, but all systems capable of playing doom. Vanilla maps are also less resource intensive, so all systems that can run a doom port would be able to handle the maps.

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hex11 said:


Holy f†††. This is exactly what I needed. It's hard to learn the new GZDoom stuff without a solid grounding on the original engine. Thank you so much.
I'm looking also at the wealth of resources on Dr. Sleep's Apothecary, but I'm not sure the exact document you refer to, could you point me in the right direction?
Either way you've set me down a rabbithole I won't soon see the light of day from.

Catoptromancy said:

Vanilla stuff


This is all pretty fascinating, though I really didn't expect it to be. It also clears up a couple of confusions and makes the whole process sound less terrifying. Thank you.

Very well, I will read this 900 page book and start a small vanilla map on the side. If it turns out to be any good, Freedoom can have it, but it will mostly just be a learning experience for me.

Ooh. Sorry to derail the OP.

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Dr. Sleep made a WinDEU guide/tutorial that's in the idgames archives under /docs/editing. Looks like there's two formats: wdeuguide.zip (Word DOC) and wdeuguidep.zip (PDF). Maybe not 100% relevant if you're using other editor, but it covers the basics. The Doom Guru book is more comprehensive though.

Other interesting info:
https://redmars.org/mirrored/www.rome.ro/lee_killough/editing/index.shtml

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Voros said:

so that Freedoom could run on more ports.


Yeah - one more than if limit removing was made the goal. If you want to downconvert at least be honest about the motivations. 'Being able to run on more ports' is not it, that's for sure.

I still think it's going in a wrong direction right now. Instead of fixing the ugly and badly playing maps all the energy is wasted on the good looking and well-playing ones, it seems. Can it just be that nobody wants to look at the rest because they are so depressing? I think the first step should be to have something that looks and feels like a complete game, and right now Freedoom is far from that, judging on a recent playthrough.

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Graf Zahl said:

Yeah - one more than if limit removing was made the goal. If you want to downconvert at least be honest about the motivations. 'Being able to run on more ports' is not it, that's for sure.

I never said that's the motive, just that I think that's the maintainers' goal. Judging from the announcement thread, it seems like that was the point.

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Graf Zahl said:

all the energy is wasted on the good looking and well-playing ones


I am fixing the easy ones first, simply to have a hopefully fully vanilla release soon.

Second I am fixing the best maps, because these are the maps that are going to stay and need to be vanilla.

Then fixing the worse maps just enough so they are exit-able in vanilla, hoping they will be replaced soon. I ordered up some new placeholder textures for these maps in another thread. https://www.doomworld.com/vb/post/1705323

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I guess I didn't phrase the OP correctly, so let's add to it so that it will make more sense. Basically, it seems to me that there are 4 problems with maps:
1) not having all maps;
2) having pointless maps (I mostly mean the likes of MAP14);
3) having vanilla-incompatible maps;
4) having maps with gameplay "sacrificed for the sake of realism" or otherwise experimental (read here or here).
Yes, my post was supposed to be about the latter. IMO, "sacrificing gameplay for the sake of realism" is not really a valid complaint (that's the "acquired taste" part). Maybe it was not a good idea to bring it up before the vanillafying and the "Aquatex mapping experiment" are finished, but I wanted to think that it can as well be for the better.

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Dgemie said:

I guess I didn't phrase the OP correctly, so let's add to it so that it will make more sense. Basically, it seems to me that there are 4 problems with maps:
1) not having all maps;
2) having pointless maps (I mostly mean the likes of MAP14);
3) having vanilla-incompatible maps;
4) having maps with gameplay "sacrificed for the sake of realism" or otherwise experimental (read here or here).
Yes, my post was supposed to be about the latter. IMO, "sacrificing gameplay for the sake of realism" is not really a valid complaint (that's the "acquired taste" part). Maybe it was not a good idea to bring it up before the vanillafying and the "Aquatex mapping experiment" are finished, but I wanted to think that it can as well be for the better.


2) MAP14 has already been replaced, so no worries. And the ones filed under 4) are also about to be replaced soon. I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill.

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Well, the entire point is that I'd rather play maps rejected for "sacrificing gameplay for the sake of realism" than maps that will replace them. And well, maybe it's not important for the team, but it was important for me to post about it, heh!..

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Dgemie said:

Well, the entire point is that I'd rather play maps rejected for "sacrificing gameplay for the sake of realism" than maps that will replace them. And well, maybe it's not important for the team, but it was important for me to post about it, heh!..



A map that plays badly is bad. It's no fun to fight monsters in cramped corridors. It's also not fun if a map is so obsessed with its layout that the resulting gameplay doen't work. I think these two sentences aptly describe MAP13 and MAP19 respectively

The other maps that got replaced simply were bad all around. There's really no point keeping bad maps if better ones become available. BTW, I still have a 10 year old Freedoom version lying around which also contains several maps that were dumped for quality reasons.

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Well, for me even stuff like "fighting monsters in cramped corridors" is not a big problem if I can get immersed into the environment. I indeed will be annoyed somewhat but will try to beat the map regardless, and will be satisfied after finishing it. And my playthrough of MAP13 actually turned out like that!

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