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Blastfrog

Designing a new difficulty level past UV

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EDIT: New thread title, revised OP, to be less arrogant/more accurate

 

We all know I think Nightmare is a virtually unplayable farce. We also know I also think that Ultra-Violence in the base games is relatively easy by today's standards. Why not rebalance Nightmare into something that can actually be enjoyed and not dismissed make a new difficulty level that is more of a natural continuation from where UV left off than as a major change to the core gameplay? Many (including myself, obviously) find NM unenjoyable and dismiss it for use in general play.

 

Here's how I would do it, would you do anything differently?

 

1. Monster respawn takes longer, higher tier monsters take even longer, and some (pain elemental, archvile, cyberdemon and spiderdemon) don't respawn at all. Respawning is also disabled on monsters that are used as bosses on the current map (barons on e1m8, mancubi and arachnotrons on map07, etc) No, respawning is inappropriate for this new mode. Forget it.

2. Double ammo modifier removed. Instead, items respawn like in -altdeath (ammo only, not even weapons), longer duration until respawn. No, respawning is inappropriate for this new mode. Forget it.

3. New monster aggressiveness modifier, less extreme state/projectile speed increases. Nightmare exclusive behaviors beyond just using -fast (such as immediate attack) are not included.

4. Adds more monsters (nothing else) in addition to those already present in UV by referencing the multiplayer flag (ignore the excluded from mp flag), as well as HNTR and HMP should they contain other monsters than in UV. Automatically delete any extra monsters that conflict (either collision bounding boxes intersect or they even share the same position). If there is a conflict, prioritize by which monster is the hardest (if multiplayer replaces a hell knight with a baron, choose the baron, etc).

Edited by Blastfrog

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Nightmare is supposed to be a virtually unplayable farce, although you're more than welcome to create a new sourceport that fixes it or a custom MAPINFO.

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3 minutes ago, Outrageous Videos said:

Nightmare isn't that bad on classic

it's like ultra violence in the new megawads

Nahhh. I'll admit that I kinda suck at Doom, but even BTSX on UV (which I have a hard time with) is far, far easier than trying to even play E1 in Nightmare.

 

7 minutes ago, Voros said:

you're more than welcome to create a new sourceport that fixes it or a custom MAPINFO.

Something I've been considering, yes. Actually, I created this thread to get some ideas for that.

 

I figured it might not be a bad idea to try making a proper hard mode, as opposed to jumping straight from challenging to impossible in the span of one skill level.

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11 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

We all know Nightmare is a virtually unplayable farce.

I disagree wholeheartedly. The only place in which NM is in a legitimately problematic spot is slaughter in most cases, or above average difficult stuff like SunLust. That's about all I can think of just now, maybe I'm missing something.

 

13 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

We also know that Ultra-Violence in the base games is relatively easy by today's standards.

This depends on the map in question as well as the player's skill level.

 

I absolutely disagree with item respawns in exchange for double ammo. Part of the fun of nightmare is routing the map proper, which means avoiding backtracking as much as possible and using the additional ammo to keep health in the green.

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23 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

Why not rebalance Nightmare into something that can actually be enjoyed and not dismissed?

 

NM is 'actually enjoyed' by people who enjoy it. I wouldn't change anything about it. Part of the appeal is actually the 'unplayable farce' aspect; maps can turn out to be pretty survivable with a good strategy. 

 

I would like to see a community project with maps specifically designed to be played on NM. Some of the speedrunners have talked about this. There's a lot of cool stuff you can do to make maps that are well balanced enough to FDA even in NM. Monsters that don't respawn, or respawn an arbitrary number of times (more like the functional equivalent): place them offmap in teleport closets with the desired number of W1 teleport lines. In Boom, 'Scroll Floor When Sector Changes Height' can do this too. Health and item 'regeneration', so that the player has a constant trickle of supplies if that is desired, can be done with slowly lowering floors (vanilla actions) or scrollers + teleporters (Boom actions). Maps like that where you have to explore and make progress under continual pressure -- enough resources that you don't have to leave the map ASAP but aggression is still encouraged, balanced for popular consumption on NM (say, about as hard on NM as Valiant is on UV) -- could be quite popular if done well. 

 

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1 minute ago, rdwpa said:

I would like to see a community project with maps specifically designed to be played on NM. Some of the speedrunners have talked about this.

I wholeheartedly support this idea, especially since I have been fantasizing about this myself already. Gonna be good fun for sure.

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22 minutes ago, Voros said:

Nightmare is supposed to be a virtually unplayable farce.

 

4 minutes ago, rdwpa said:

NM is 'actually enjoyed' by people who enjoy it.

 

I would like to see a community project with maps specifically designed to be played on NM. Some of the speedrunners have talked about this.

 

Well, in my opinion, it has no need to "fix" the history. This was supposed to be a joke, but humans showed that they have no limits.

 

NIGHTMARE! is something like many very difficult WADs, so it doesn't have to have a lot of audience. Sometimes a change of taste and pace would be nice, and I actually would play NIGHTMARE! from time to time now, although I need scumbag saving in certain places. I would really really like to see a WAD designed to played on NIGHTMARE!. It may have a nice taste of this.

 

If really want to modify, here are some other ideas (not necessarily good): higher monster movement speed, or higher monster health. (These are used in Serious difficulty of Serious Sam 1 and 2)

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10 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

I disagree wholeheartedly. The only place in which NM is in a legitimately problematic spot is slaughter in most cases, or above average difficult stuff like SunLust.

5 minutes ago, rdwpa said:

NM is 'actually enjoyed' by people who enjoy it. I wouldn't change anything about it.

Perhaps I went too far in saying that it's useless. It most certainly has its place and its fans, but the vast majority of players probably feel the way I do about it.

 

11 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

I absolutely disagree with item respawns in exchange for double ammo. Part of the fun of nightmare is routing the map proper, which means avoiding backtracking as much as possible and using the additional ammo to keep health in the green.

9 minutes ago, rdwpa said:

Part of the appeal is actually the 'unplayable farce' aspect; maps can turn out to be pretty survivable with a good strategy.

I hadn't considered the fact that it forces you to strategize, so it's interesting in that sense. That being said, the base maps were never designed with that in mind, so while it can work out, it can also turn out pretty badly, depending on the map design. I prefer to think of monster respawning as more of something to keep the map fresh and give you more challenge when backtracking, rather than to outright discourage backtracking.

 

As for ammo, I figure if monsters respawn, so should ammo. It's fine for ammo not to respawn if monsters don't, there's supposed to be enough to deal with everyone. If monsters do respawn but ammo doesn't, you'll be shit out of luck if you spend too much time in the map

 

I guess what I'm getting at with nu-Nightmare is that it should be for those who want a definite increase in challenge without going crazy far with it, basically being a really hard UV with some gameplay modifiers rather than a whole different way of playing the game.

 

5 minutes ago, rdwpa said:

I would like to see a community project with maps specifically designed to be played on NM.

This is a legitimately cool idea. A better use of the feature than playing maps balanced for UV, IMO.

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I'm pretty sure this thread is basically trying to ask "if you had to add a difficulty between UV and Nightmare, what would it be like?" more so than claim that Nightmare needs to stop existing or something.

 

Anyway, for me it would still be -fast but without double ammo and enemy respawn, but there's a randomizer on certain enemy types - Hell Knights have a 50% chance of spawning as a Barons, Zombiemen as Shotgunners/Chaingunners, Imps as Revenants and Demons as Spectres. In the case of enemies that drop ammo, the original ammo type would still be applied to the actor, so a Chaingunner that replaces a Zombieman will still drop a clip and so forth.

 

I'd also add a 20% speed boost to the actual movement speed of the enemies, unlike -fast which, pinkies aside, doesn't effect their actual movement speed.

 

I think it could be a kinda fun only half-serious way of adding some challenge and replayability to older maps.

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7 minutes ago, Doomkid said:

I'm pretty sure this thread is basically trying to ask "if you had to add a difficulty between UV and Nightmare, what would it be like?" more so than claim that Nightmare needs to stop existing or something...I think it could be a kinda fun only half-serious way of adding some challenge and replayability to older maps.

Yep, exactly what I had in mind. It's to fill a void that probably should have been filled years ago.

 

7 minutes ago, Doomkid said:

a randomizer on certain enemy types - Hell Knights have a 50% chance of spawning as a Barons, Zombiemen as Shotgunners/Chaingunners, Imps as Revenants and Demons as Spectres.

This sounds very similar to how the Marathon games worked. There, they just shoved everything on the map and let the engine rebalance the level upon load using some spawn/replacement chance rules as defined by each skill level it had, as well as gameplay behavior such as damage/health, speed, etc. There actually is no "pure" skill level in Marathon, the base behavior and spawns are always modified in some way by any of the skill levels, though it tends to be altered the least around the middle.

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10 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

As for ammo, I figure if monsters respawn, so should ammo. It's fine for ammo not to respawn if monsters don't, there's supposed to be enough to deal with everyone. If monsters do respawn but ammo doesn't, you'll be shit out of luck if you spend too much time in the map

That's the point. You're supposed to translate the additional ammo to faster progression as it increases your frontload of damage. Turning NM into a "everything respawns scenario" sounds like nothing short of an "infinity grinder" that recycles the map time and time again. What for?

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9 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

Turning NM into a "everything respawns scenario" sounds like nothing short of an "infinity grinder" that recycles the map time and time again. What for?

Well, my idea was that ammo would take much longer to respawn than monsters, to avoid that "infinity grinder" thing while still providing a means to complete the level. You're right about that, though, this isn't Hexen, nor should it try to be.

 

Alternately, kill off the idea of respawning entirely. One of the core elements of games like Doom/Wolfenstein is to "clean" the level. You got all the kills, all the items, all the secrets, you're cleared the map and it stays that way. That's rewarding. An infinite grind, not so much. Hexen only did it because the progression was to solve puzzles in a hub, which is fundamentally different than going from level-to-level.

 

EDIT: It's your lucky day!

 

pFT1g1x.png

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5 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

Alternately, kill off the idea of respawning entirely.

 

EDIT: It's your lucky day!

 

pFT1g1x.png

Guess we shouldn't click another like. Otherwise the lucky day is ruined XD

 

Abandoning the respawn idea, it will like Quake Nightmare, and this would be a lower entry barrier. I know the good feeling of "clearance". Even though I'm usually OCD about 100% things, NIGHTMARE! being special is not necessarily bad.

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35 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

Well, my idea was that ammo would take much longer to respawn than monsters, to avoid that "infinity grinder" thing while still providing a means to complete the level. You're right about that, though, this isn't Hexen, nor should it try to be.

There's one pressing issue with this. If you remove the double ammo, you drastically reduce the means a player has to keep on going. It doesn't work that way. When playing any suitable map on NM, you're already likely to kill less enemies than you would need to for a UVmax, because the idea is to ignore as many things as possible, while carving out a way forward. The moment you force the player to backtrack to grab ammunition, things will already have respawned, meaning you actually double-down on not having double ammo. That in and off itself is enough for me to be against this approach by way of principle.

 

40 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

Alternately, kill off the idea of respawning entirely. One of the core elements of games like Doom/Wolfenstein is to "clean" the level. You got all the kills, all the items, all the secrets, you're cleared the map and it stays that way. That's rewarding. An infinite grind, not so much. Hexen only did it because the progression was to solve puzzles in a hub, which is fundamentally different than going from level-to-level.

Making it past a map on what is dubbed an "unfair difficulty" is rewarding in and off itself, I'd argue. What makes NM stand out for me and perhaps others is that it's a game changer. If you remove the game changing aspect of it, you might as well trash the entire difficulty, and run the wad from the cmd prompt "-fast" only, or "-respawn" only, and then there's your "NM-lite", for lack of a better term.

 

I'm in favour of having more customizeability in regards to difficulty settings, since people are so different in terms of skill and personal preference, don't get me wrong here. However, the idea of "fixing/improving" NM is something I'm against, since you don't repair what isn't "broken".

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1 hour ago, GarrettChan said:

Guess we shouldn't click another like. Otherwise the lucky day is ruined XD

Too late! Oh well. :P

 

1 hour ago, GarrettChan said:

Abandoning the respawn idea, it will like Quake Nightmare, and this would be a lower entry barrier. I know the good feeling of "clearance".

Without specifically mentioning it, yeah Quake 1 NM is pretty similar to what I had in mind.

 

1 hour ago, GarrettChan said:

Even though I'm usually OCD about 100% things, NIGHTMARE! being special is not necessarily bad.

54 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

the idea is to ignore as many things as possible, while carving out a way forward...However, the idea of "fixing/improving" NM is something I'm against, since you don't repair what isn't "broken".

Yeah. I'm not saying that Nightmare has no place, just that it's really its own new game mode than it is a proper skill level above UV.

 

I guess what I'm looking for is an "actually hard hard mode" or an "ultra-ultra violence", rather than a total change in the core game design.

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Oh yeah, this title is probably way better than the last one. Actually Quake 1 Nightmare to me, is somewhat like UV -Fast in Doom. You can see Ogres just keep pumping grenades without moving...

 

Usually for me, UV -Fast is fine, but I'll state my ideas again, with some new (maybe):

  • Plus health to monsters (Serious Sam 2 did this, and I actually don't like it because it breaks the habit)
  • Plus movement speed to monsters
  • Plus damage to monsters, or just simply change 10D8 (Revenant missile and Hell Knight scrath) to 20D4, or 10(D4+4)
  • Give less health/armor when picking up stuff, or lower armor efficiency
  • Chance to double shot for certain monsters
  • Chance to have elite monsters (actually I think this is like Complex Doom or something)
  • More monsters can't be targeted by other monsters, like Arch-viles and Pain Elementals in the original
  • Corpse bullets (wait, what?)
  • Simply put more monsters...

I think I'm drunken...

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I'm gonna hit the sack now, but before I do, I want to write this down so I don't forget it:

 

Revenant missiles are always homing like in PSX Doom in this "UUV" mode.

 

15 minutes ago, GarrettChan said:

Plus movement speed to monsters

So long as the speed property isn't changed too heavily, that's not a bad idea. My issue with it is that the monster animations are designed to correspond with their speed. In one animation loop of the zombieman, for instance, he travels 64 units.

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4 minutes ago, Blastfrog said:

Revenant missiles are always homing like in PSX Doom in this "UUV" mode.

 

So long as the speed property isn't changed too heavily, that's not a bad idea. My issue with it is that the monster animations are designed to correspond with their speed. In one animation loop of the zombieman, for instance, he travels 64 units.

Probably it could be called "Ultimate-Violence" XD

 

I guess like 1.1x or 1.2x speed you may not notice it. Just a comparison to Serious Sam, I don't even know they add speed when playing on Serious difficulty before searching for info. Also, homing missiles are not necessarily harder, but could be a good idea. Actually, don't you think "monster occasionally shoots randomly" would be harder...?

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I really like how UV feels in Doom 2, rarely frantic but never relaxing & occasionally dickish ala Barrels 'o Fun. frankly the randomized monster damage in Doom always feels way too high to me. I love Hexen, dislike saving mid-level & I wanna be able to tank fifty fireballs to the face. I know Plutonia was meant to elevate everyone's skill level but I find that shit super stressful!

 

a prospective fifth difficulty level would put the level through a special algorithm which determined the best place to add an icon of sin

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Monsters move at triple speed and their projectiles at double speed (They don't spam attacks like fast), Hitscanners have increased accuracy and monsters stop infighting if either monster is hit by player and go back to focusing player. Oh well pinkies attack faster like in fast so they are more than fodder. All armors block half the max amount.

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16 hours ago, Voros said:

Nightmare is supposed to be a virtually unplayable farce, although you're more than welcome to create a new sourceport that fixes it or a custom MAPINFO.

Funny you say that, I just modified my doomcommon.txt in gzdoom.pk3 to increase spawn time from 12 to 60 seconds as a test (and re-enabling cheats for convenience/testing purposes) while changing nothing else and I'm already finding this to still be a tenser experience than UV obviously but not outright retarded.

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21 hours ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

I disagree wholeheartedly. The only place in which NM is in a legitimately problematic spot is slaughter in most cases, or above average difficult stuff like SunLust. That's about all I can think of just now, maybe I'm missing something.

 

This depends on the map in question as well as the player's skill level.

 

I absolutely disagree with item respawns in exchange for double ammo. Part of the fun of nightmare is routing the map proper, which means avoiding backtracking as much as possible and using the additional ammo to keep health in the green.

There's also some levels that are literally impossible to complete on Nightmare except maybe by world best players in the best of times.

 

It's rare, but I'm thinking some MAP07's and Keen-using levels would qualify, and maybe the rare E1M8 replacement (keeping in mind, all foos of the appropriate type have to be dead at the same time to trigger 666/667, so if it's not possible to get between all of their locations and make the kills within a 30 second timeslice, you won't be able to get whatever's locked behind the trigger).

 

I could see adding in Heretic's Black Plague difficulty equivalent to Doom though (from what I understand it's basically just UV -fast with cheats disabled?)

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