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Battle_Korbi

Levels of detail, how much?

Preferable level of detail in maps  

106 members have voted

  1. 1. Preferable level of detail in maps

    • Lemme have the newest CoD, please.
      8
    • Ehh, it is the 2017s, some extra detail could be nice.
      52
    • I couldn't care less, to be honest.
      32
    • I like my Doom like my Wolfenstein 3D. Anything too detailed is disgusting.
      14


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I'm never too bothered, as long as I find it fun.

When somebody sets a map somewhere, or tries to make a thing and ends up pulling it off and resembling what they are trying to, be it realistic or arty or a blend of both, it makes me feel fuzzy.

But on the other hand, when things don't look like things and everything is just abstract all the way I also enjoy it as it is something cool too look at, it is after all, meant to be another world, things will be different.

Of course there are styles I don't like, but as far as level of detail goes I can handle it either way as long as gameplay isn't hindered. Maps to me can look cool with or without lots of detail, including interactive things.

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With the limited way it renders lighting (versus, say, the Source engine), the Doom engine doesn't handle highly detailed environments particularly well, I don't think. I sometimes get the feeling in my brain that there is more going on than I can process, because I'm not aided by more comprehensive shading, as happens during real life, when you never have to deal with fullbright.

BUT this doesn't mean there isn't an effective style to be found in more intricate Doom maps. Levels can use architectural logic to handicap for the other weaknesses of the engine. Mappers like Ribbiks who use detail well succeed because it's part of a cohesive vision, and so the player isn't trying to integrate a bunch of noise.

Each approach to detail -- low, higher, whatever -- comes with its own challenges, just as minimalism, whatever -ism in any creative form comes up against strength and limitations. In the year 2017, we've lost the ability to play a super-low-detail map with the same eyes as someone in 1995. We look at it from a greater remove and notice that there's less detail, and think about that, even if it's to say, "That's fine, I don't really care about detail." (This framing and re-framing happens to the classics themselves, and some have aged poorly as a result.)

My general feeling is because there's a close union in Doom between the player and the surrounding geometry due to the importance of maneuvering, it's hard to separate visual design from gameplay. If I play Vanilla-delight Reverie and Sunlust, and compare the two, something more is happening to my play experience than the stimulation of my eyes.

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I love having a ton of detail in maps, however, I like it most when it isn't in my way. If you're making little sidings on the floor to the wall, and I keep hopping up on them while trying to move around, that's really annoying. But otherwise, I find detail to be very nice in maps

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A good mixture of detail and gameplay is vital. Always take the IWADS as an example. I have a doctrine of large, open arenas connected by small corridor sectors and inter-connected tunnels.

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I like the "details" in a doom level to be defined more by the level's architecture and texture usage, rather than fine-tooth kind of stuff like sector furniture or sector blood puddles underneath a dead player sprite or bumpy floors/ceilings/walls. This kind of detailing almost always makes a scene look too busy and can detract from the big picture. A simple but elegant bone structure that flows naturally between areas coupled with meaningful texture choices is what really inspires me.

 

A great recent example would be Brigandine by Viggles, which showcases some of the very best curvature I've seen in a Doom level. While there are details in here that would constitute the "sector detailing" I described, these are very minimal and used very tastefully. At its core is the beautiful and shapely architecture, that could easily stand on its own without any further detailing at all.

 

EDIT: I should be clear that I don't mean I prefer all levels to be as maximally beautiful as Brigandine. I used it as an example to highlight that its strong architecture provides the perfect foundation for those extra details to be built upon, allowing them to add layers to the scene rather than detract. Often times you can see "detailing" that's really just a rectangular room with rectangular borders drawn around everything. The basics have to be good first and foremost.

Edited by Pavera

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15 hours ago, Pavera said:

I like the "details" in a doom level to be defined more by the level's architecture and texture usage, rather than fine-tooth kind of stuff like sector furniture or sector blood puddles underneath a dead player sprite or bumpy floors/ceilings/walls. This kind of detailing almost always makes a scene look too busy and can detract from the big picture. A simple but elegant bone structure that flows naturally between areas coupled with meaningful texture choices is what really inspires me.

This aligns with my vision as well. Things I value in a level are clean lines, interesting shapes, height variations, good proportions, deliberate contrasts to draw attention to things, interesting texture combinations, good lighting choices,... Not every object has to be fringed to the N-th degree to be interesting, and more often than not I find that superfluous detail detracts from a level rather than it adds. 

 

I think in the end for me it's more about attention to detail than about the granularity of the vertices and sectors. 

 

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16 hours ago, Pavera said:

I like the "details" in a doom level to be defined more by the level's architecture and texture usage, rather than fine-tooth kind of stuff like sector furniture or sector blood puddles underneath a dead player sprite or bumpy floors/ceilings/walls. This kind of detailing almost always makes a scene look too busy and can detract from the big picture. A simple but elegant bone structure that flows naturally between areas coupled with meaningful texture choices is what really inspires me.

I agree with this. Back to Saturn X would probably qualify as a good example too, especially considering its fantastic original texture set and keeping within vanilla's limits.

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I like more basic looking levels. Kinda like the vanilla Doom levels of detail but more polished. What I mean is evident in my own level design, though I typically go for Quake looking levels hence why I use the color brown a lot. 

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