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Doom Levels That Influenced You

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We've talked about Doom levels a lot in a variety of ways. Best this, favorite that, mapping style, techniques, favorite wad authors, etc. But as I was messing around in DB2 the other day, I realized that a very heavy influence in terms of atmosphere and style for me are a select handful of the Master Levels that were ported into PSX Final Doom. Some that come to mind, Attack, Combine, Catwalk, Fistula, Geryon, Minos, Nessus, Subspace, Subterra and Vesperas. Honorable mention goes to the subterranean area in Canyon (although I don't care for the rest of the level that much). In fact, it'd be easier to name the Master Levels ported over that didn't strike a chord with me. I don't know what it was, exactly, but the tone, the lighting, the music that was selected for them just struck me in a way that never really left me. There were other levels from that game that made an impression on me too, but to a lesser extent, such as Crater, Nukage Processing and Ballistyx.

The funny thing is, although they're great levels in their own right, they're actually outdated by our modern standards of mapping. And yet I still find myself reaching out to that recollection, that experience, more powerful than the levels themselves, for inspiration and direction in my own mapping. It's as though I'm trying to re-capture that experience which remains most potent in my admittedly inaccurate recollections. What levels or map sets, canon or not, molded your perspective of Doom and mapping in such a dramatic and meaningful way? I'm curious how many of you feel similarly and what levels still stir those emotions for you even now.

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While I don't draw directly/consciously from Sandy Petersen anymore, his later e2 maps and d2 map16 were the foundation to my interest in mapping, and definitely I stole tons of stuff from him in my early maps.

The main pwad authors that affect me still today are Paul Schmitz (artifact, eternal), Richard Wiles (crusades, slayer, monolith), Gaston Lahaut (mordeth), Gusta (pl2)

I try to look to Jim Flynn's body of work a lot for general outside-of-the-box-ness but never manage to do it as well as he does.

For some reason I cant think of much modern influences on my current efforts. Maybe iori (songs, dripfeed) and Castle (NRFTL) if you can consider those "recent"

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I think Demonfear was one of the wads that influenced my own style to a large extent. Aside from that, though, it's impossible for me to name any specific wads, since pretty much every map I make is inspired by a different level - or, alternatively, by a random idea that pops up in my head.

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Gusta's work in Plutonia 2 made me realize that linear maps are at a very serious disadvantage compared to nonlinear ones.

DTWID wads were pretty meh, especially the second one, but their discussion threads showed that imitating the classics doesn't mean simply using same textures or whatever.

Nicolas Monti's work, especially Favilesco Alpha episodes and Erkattanne with their wacky approach to everything and wonderfully silly music choices, fully proved that oldschool style mapping completely destroys most fancy modern stuff.

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Rylayeh, Sunder, UAC Ultra and Stardate are all very inspiring to me. Interestingly, in an order reverse to their "completedness". Stardate is pretty much perfect so there's little to iterate on, Rylayeh is rough on the edges and leaves room to the imagination.

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Memfis said:

Gusta's work in Plutonia 2 made me realize that linear maps are at a very serious disadvantage compared to nonlinear ones.

DTWID wads were pretty meh, especially the second one, but their discussion threads showed that imitating the classics doesn't mean simply using same textures or whatever.

Nicolas Monti's work, especially Favilesco Alpha episodes and Erkattanne with their wacky approach to everything and wonderfully silly music choices, fully proved that oldschool style mapping completely destroys most fancy modern stuff.


I second this, though I've had fun with the DTWID haha Still, playing Monti's work opened my mind a lot about gameplay, non-linearity and how to make really interesting layouts with very "basic" shapes.

I hope he's doing something new, since it has been a lot of time that he released Mano Laikas. (you too should try something, memfis! lol - its been a while I don't see a wad from you)

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I'd barely started mapping when a map called Tunnel Run was released, and seeing the detailed tunnels and excesses of support girders in, well, SUPPORT3 and some custom derivatives -- it was the coolest thing!

Except I didn't really understand the map on more than a superficial level. It actually ruined my mapping for the longest time; I quickly got into the habit of detailing EVERY passageway with metal supports which cramped my mapping style so badly. No wonder I got mapper's block right after Murderous Intent in 2001!

Lately, after replaying the original Doom about a million times in different ways, I'm all over Sandy Petersen. Not 'The Chasm' Sandy, might I add. But there's something really magic about something like Mt. Erebus, The Suburbs, The Courtyard; all maps that can be really fucking short if you know them well enough, but long and intense if you don't.

I mean, sure, that's a low bar to aim for aesthetically (so I don't, instead preferring to carve my own sculptures in that area) but the way I see it, Mt. Erebus is the pinnacle of Doom's more open-ended gameplay; a mixture of incidental and designed encounters, more optional areas than not, and despite it all some good pacing.

I'm not mapping at such a level myself yet, but Sandy's ugly maps have grown on me over the years.

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Map 14 of Doom 2 mostly. I've picked up tricks from a few different maps of different wads over the years, but I can't remember any of them.

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Diopatra influenced me. It's lighting, pacing and openness create an incredible sense of adventure when exploring the level, that I have tried to mimic aspects of.

Crater was a similar influence; along with Deepest Reaches. (I just like large maps that are exploratory).

As I became a better player the following maps really taught me what fun a ruthless pacing can be: Stronghold, Hangar and Neuroshpere. There were a few other Plutonia maps, like Caged, Onslaught, and Speed that I found myself going back to for inspiration.

Crossing Acheron by Dr. Sleep was highly influential to me.


I know I'm forgetting a lot of maps that influenced me.

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Violence.wad by AD_79. I discovered this wad shortly before DUMP became a thing and when I decided to map for it I tried my hand at making a map in the same style. I only had four completed maps up to that point and the DUMP 1 level I made (MAP05) was a huge improvement over them. I've now got a bunch of WIP maps that draw inspiration from Violence.

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Don't beat me up for this, but I actually didn't get influenced into wanting to map until I played Brutal Doom Starter Pack. I know Seargeant Mark is a bit of a jerk, but his maps were quite excellent and the fact that he pretty much made these maps all by himself kinda got me into wanting to map. Still getting used to Doombuilder and the like, but I want to at least make something enjoyable for the community by the end of 2017.

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DRL 3.33 said:

Violence.wad by AD_79. I discovered this wad shortly before DUMP became a thing and when I decided to map for it I tried my hand at making a map in the same style. I only had four completed maps up to that point and the DUMP 1 level I made (MAP05) was a huge improvement over them. I've now got a bunch of WIP maps that draw inspiration from Violence.


You have no idea how happy it makes me to read this :)

I've likely posted this somewhere before, but Scythe is what got me into mapping in the first place. Later, stuff like Plutonia, BTSX E1/E2 (particularly Tarnsman and Skillsaw's maps) and Valiant became a huge influence on my mapping.

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Anything by Jan van der Veken. His sense of scale and architectural dynamics is unparalleled.

Good to see Richard Wiles mentioned here too, he's another great example of this sensibility. But since it's not flashy or gimmicky, these guys have received less credit than they deserve.

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I liked drawing on the style of E4, E4M1 and E4M2 are 2 of my favourite Doom iwad maps.
Other Doom levels would prob be "Club Doom" from the PSX version of Doom, and when I get right down to it, that's about it for Doom.

Otherwise, for iwads, HEXEN, particularly Shadow Wood.

Pwads, it goes on a case by case basis for themes, in which case I'm indebted to Space Tokyo from SpaceDM 9,and stock skulltag.wad maps unfortunately.
Otherwise... Usually I draw inspiration against maps from the project I'm working on with other people. I contribute a map, someone contributes another, better/cleaner/awesome map, inspires/forces me to step it up, makes me rethinking my architecture, lighting, colouring, etc.

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Basically this is a list of maps that blew me away or have some long standing impact on me, for one reason or another.

Doom E1 - these levels basically define what it is to 'play Doom' and will never lose that x-factor despite anything.

TNT, Map 9, "Stronghold" - because mowing down loads of enemies is fucking good fun.

Plutonia, Map 12, "Speed" - i adore the menacing combination of the wooden, blood-ridden structure and the unforgiving play present. Probably the most impact any iwad level has had on me in terms of aesthetic and threat. On the subject of Plutonia, i consider the Casalis to be a huge inspiration generally.

Scythe, various early E3 maps - showed me that so much can be done with such a small amount of space and enemies when a lot of thought is given to combinations and placement.

Sunder, Map 11, "The Furnace" - the sheer scale of this map is totally mindblowing. As a player it made me feel like such a small part of the experience. Same can be said of some other Sunder maps but really Map 11 is the best example.

CC1, Map 29, "Citadel on the Edge of Eternity" - again, amazing scale with the feel of a mountain to conquer, much like The Furnace, although i first played this map much earlier (back when i first joined DW in 2010). It redefined my thinking on what it meant to stack the odds against the player and make them feel alone in an overwhelming atmosphere.

No Rest for the Living, Map 5, "Vivisection" - showed me the value in recycling a central hub to give loads of action in a compact, menacing environment.

Nova II, Map 29, "Anaemia" - i could not believe the visuals on display and scale of the massive structure of this hellish fortification when i first played this. It was one of my first encounters with the very modern, ultra detailed style of mapping and really opened my eyes to what Doom maps are capable of achieving in these departments. This map still serves as a yardstick for my own mapping ability in terms of environment and atmosphere and i still refer to it constantly when seeking inspiration.

Swim with the Whales - showed me the value of completely ignoring normality and realism (for want of better words) in the pursuit of sheer gameplay and aesthetics.

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ukiro said:

Good to see Richard Wiles mentioned here too, he's another great example of this sensibility. But since it's not flashy or gimmicky, these guys have received less credit than they deserve.


Yeah Wiles changed my thinking. I used to sortof conceptualize mapping as a sort of hollowing out of a solid aether, which led to basically "room -> hallway -> room" setups where I wasn't thinking about the map as a place or structure, so lots of stuff wouldn't make physical sense. Wiles showed me how cool backtracking type gameplay could be when the player understands his location in a structure.

It's hard to explain heh. I'm not talking about "detail" at all, but the way he utilizes basic architecture in a way that teaches the player about the space they are in. That window doesn't just show a purty skybox, it shows another area you can eventually go to. These four rooms here were part of a larger whole, and now you're outside looking at the bigger structure. In the distance is a large wall with some brick shapes behind it, yeah you'll be able to go there too.

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seeing all these makes me feel jealous. i'm influenced by pictures of random wads i see on google images :/

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The best maps from Dwango 5 & 6, Brit 10 & 11 and EXEC

For SP/Coop, mainly the iwads, Scythe, Memento Mori and some classic small wads like area51, Bermuda and hellrun.

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Kama Sutra MAP18, Scythe MAP08, Scythe 2 MAP11, Community Chest 4 MAP01, D2TWID MAP04, Doom 2 MAP01-07, Ultimate Doom E4M9.

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I think Crucified Dreams, Scythe 2, and Dutch Devil's maps were probably my biggest inspirations at different points. Michael Krause's maps were a pretty big influence, too, I think. I really love his maps' giant scale and interconnectedness

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I like most of Casali bros. work. Those curvy stairs are awesome. Good using wood as support textures. Cyberdemons blocking key objects/places.

Also there are many places in Master Levels which influenced me, especially those levels which released for PSX. The Paradox have unforgettable fortess. The Attack map design do monster roaming all over the place. The Bloodsea with dark imps. Titan's Manor with some kind of mansion and dark outer area where monsters walking in circle.

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It's hard to say that any particular maps have influenced me since most of my experience with Doom is with the first half of Doom 2, and I'm still relatively inexperienced with mapping. I do like Erik Alm's Scythe maps and a lot of what was in Requiem, but I haven't really studied the maps and their design ideas. If anything, my biggest influences would be John Romero, Sandy Petersen, and my own level design intuition.

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The levels that inspired me the most are the dark marble dungeon levels of Doom 1, i.e. Unholy Cathedral, Limbo, They will Repent and Against Thee Wickedly. I even have recurring dreams of designing a sequel to the Limbo level; maybe I should just do it. I often think about making low detail maps with similar texturing as Limbo or Unholy Cathedral.

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I'm not a mapper, just a PS3 speedrunner/Doom Youtube watcher/connoisseur. And I say the biggest influences to me, the maps/games that made me want to play Doom was the Playstation version of Doom and the subsequent release of Final Doom just under a year later. Loved the atmosphere these games provided, especially since I was around 10 or 11 at the time I played these. You can just imagine how awesomely terrifying these games can be to someone at that age. I wasn't terrified, per se. But a "good" kind of scared.

Also, Doom 64 should get a shout-out as well, in my book. Great atmosphere, awesome ambience/music (especially with headphones attached to a TV; the first game to make me paranoid of my *physical* surroundings while playing).

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Some, but absolutely not all, levels that has been immensely inspiring to me as a mapper:

"Dreamscape" and "Sledge" from Speed of Doom
"Disturbia" and "Elysion" by Death-Destiny
"Arch-Violence" from Plutonia 2
"Sunset", "Crimson Tide", "Nemesis" and "Lake Poison" from Alien Vendetta
"Post Mortem" from Hell Revealed
"Plutonia" in general, I guess.

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I've never released any maps, I just make them for my own entertainment. But Level 13: Vesperas of PSX Final Doom has influenced me in regards to catching mood and atmosphere. Especially the blue key room.

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Piper Maru said:

I've never released any maps, I just make them for my own entertainment.


RELEASE THEM, YOU FUCKER. :P

Seriously, more Doom for the Doom gods, etc. Always nice to see more talent on the scene; you've more than likely something to offer and something fresh to bring to the table (as it were) even if you don't think it.

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