How did you guys learn how to map?

Did you just jump into Doom Builder and hit buttons until you made a masterpiece? I can't find too much for documentation or tutorials other than a handful of videos on Youtube and some wiki articles. I assume that everybody here is close with each other and doesn't mind passing off some knowledge to another, but I feel like that's still few and far between. 

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I started by watching tutorials waaaay back until I started mapping 10 months ago...

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I started mapping even before landing on doomworld. I downloaded some editor (the first I used was WinDEU) and started drawing lindefs and sectors and checking the results. After some trial&error I was able to create something playable.

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By learning the basics then checking how other people maps are made (yes by opening them on Editor), I think it's the best way to understand how decoration and how complex or good looking stuff are drawn.

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Trials and errors.

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Chubzdoomer.

 

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I'm totally unqualified to be answering this question, because I've never actually released a map, but here I go anyhow...

 

I tried reading this book, but it's hard to learn something as advanced as Doom editing just from a book. Besides that, the book is quite dated. Nonetheless, some of the theoretical stuff, like the quirks of the Doom engine, I learned here, so that's why I mention it.

 

After that, I just opened up Eureka (the best editor I could find for Linux... I don't recommend it!), and started by making a room with a start, an exit, and some things. I eventually added a switch, a door, a lift, a keyed door, a linedef that opens an imp ambush, etc., etc. Each time I had a question, I would first see if I could find the answer on Doomworld or Doomwiki, and if not, then I'd ask.

 

Once you know how to do all the things, it's just a matter of putting the things in the correct places. ;-)

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I am surprised no one posted that Terminus' video. In all seriousness, tutorials, experiments, trial and error, repeat.

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It helped me to ease my way into it by figuring out smaller modifications to existing wads for awhile before I tried to make my own. Creating a "vaccinated" version of Valiant before skillsaw made the official one, adding a few types of custom zombies throughout Darkening 2, doing personal bugfixes when I caught a bug that was missed in a final release, even just changing the music in a few levels of a megawad -- knowing how to do this sort of basic stuff made actual mapping a lot less overwhelming when I tried it, though it was still a lot to figure out at once. If you really want to get started with making levels and you know what you want to do, then it may not be worth it to be that patient, but if you're just messing around for now, I'd recommend doing it in backup copies of other people's wads first so that you can see hands-on how they made everything work.

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You look at this page:

https://www.doomworld.com/forum/53-editing-tutorials/?page=2

You check all of Linguica's editing tutorials in order of numbers, and try these steps on your own. Once you've done that, you can venture into boom mapping if you want. Linguica's tutorials are what enabled me to make maps to begin with. The knowledge he provides there is priceless. If you want to learn, that is where you start.

 

If you are able to make a map that functions, the question will be wether or not it is any good. That depends a lot on how good you are at the game. In my opinion, the better the player, the better the maps will be. Not because they are necessarily more difficult as a result, but because a good player has a better understanding of how things in doom work in practice.

Edited by Nine Inch Heels
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3 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

You look at this page:

Nice! I didn't even know that stuff was there! :-)

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As a general rule of thumb, I highly recommend to start with the map's basic geometry first. Then you add gameplay, and make sure it works properly. When the gameplay is in place, you can start detailing the playable area of your map. Do not make the mistake of doing all detailing, making things look fancy, split sectors for lots of lighting gradients before having gameplay in place. The more detailed your map is the harder it becomes to make edits in regards to gameplay. If you end up with a beautiful yet unpopulated empty husk of a map, and start cramming in things so you have something there, you have done it wrong, in my opinion.

 

1. Basic layout

2. Gameplay

3. Gameplay

4. Gameplay

5. Details

Edited by Nine Inch Heels
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I think I learned the stuff on my own, sometimes mashing buttons, but it was a shit-ton of experimenting, like, A LOT of experiments. Not much senseless trial-and-error, as imagining a thing, then going snooping and taking notes. I guess it helps that I worked on rather amateurish Warcraft III and C&C maps a lot as a kid. Then I tried out the Hammer Editor for Source, but ended up making maps for Doom (without ever releasing one, although one person here had played two of my maps) because, well, it is quite simple to form shapes here, legitimate shapes here, not nonsensical game breaking stuff.

 

It was mostly setting up a real perspective. When mapping in Doom, it is important to imagine carving holes inside a stone from the inside, then from there, imagine veins stretching from there, where they intercept, where they divide, where one is statistically higher at one point than the other, etc. Then, rough sketches, bases, estimated amount of space used. Basically, every videogame map is inside a box, no matter how open they appear (yeah, nihilistic I know), except for procedually generated endless maps like in Minecraft (altough even that game has a end, not The End, but... look up Far Lands on internet), and it is important to think like that, but to make it look to regular people that they think  they are "outside" the box.

 

One of the things I would like to do is to create a endless map for Doom, where the player can walk or run for miles before reaching something, then running even more. Basically, a exploration map with enemies. That requires some coding magic I won't dabble into yet, just so that it can run on some low spec computer, and not require a soul-powered sentient super computer to run it.

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As an additional note, I would also advise you not to start with something super large. Early on, when you are still learning things, it may be a lot more enjoyable to make smaller, simple maps that you can finish within like one or two weeks perhaps. The better you get at working with your editor of choice, the faster you will become. Once you have a better working pace going, you can opt for something bigger and more intricate. Do not make the mistake of starting super large with a millions of great ideas but no practical experience in mapping. You will notice, even in smaller maps, that oftentimes things may seem good in theory, but they do not as expected in practice. Keeping things limited in size early, will help you learn to transfer your ideas to something playable on a more bite sized basis, while keeping frustration to a minimum. The gist of it is not biting more than you can chew.

 

Doing the basic layout first, and then putting gameplay in on a room by room basis also allows you to alter your work-ethic a bit. If you know that a room is finished, and gameplay does not need to get touched anymore, but you don't feel like doing more gameplay, which also involves testing, you can start detailing a room that is finished gameplay wise, so you have some diversity while you work on your project.

Edited by Nine Inch Heels
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I learned the old fashioned way of 'work it out for yourself'. I downloaded Doom Builder 1 back in 2005, clicked around and suffered through the confusion of learning. Hell, I was mapping before I knew how to add the IWAD to the resources, my my 'maps' were untextured, unplayable messes.

 

After a while I took to looking at these forums for the basics (such as how to load textures, make a door, that kinda stuff) and after taking a few basic pointers I then went back to learning on my own.

I can say without any shadow of a doubt, the way I learned the most was to study other people's maps, that included studying the maps from the IWADs. Learning of ways to make certain architecture, finding good texture combinations, ways to use monsters, etc. It's a long process but after a year or two of regular effort, you should be able to make some decent maps. :D

 

One bit of advice - keep it basic. When you start mapping you may be super ambitious - write these ideas down and revisit them later, for now look to making basic, vanilla / limit removing maps only. Don't trouble yourself with Boom, ZDoom, etc - more features than you need to begin with.

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18 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

As a general rule of thumb, I highly recommend to start with the map's basic geometry first. Then you add gameplay, and make sure it works properly. When the gameplay is in place, you can start detailing the playable area of your map.

This way of making maps, mods, and even full blown games is even used by pretty much all professional developers. Just complete the most basic core gameplay first. They have dots or balls or whatever as the player or enemies or things to interact with and put only the absolutely necceassry features first. That way they can evaluate and change the concept in the earliest development stage. And the changes they need to implement are so easy to do because there arent like hundreds of details or connected features they have to care about. Graphics and all the stuff can also be ready very early, but thats because big developers have huge manpower that have designated artists and so on that work parallel to the development of the game itself.

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At starting my biggest problem was to get textures... I hadnt understand where to get...

 

You create new map, add on game configuration "doom 2" and add ressource "original Doom2.WAD" - you have textures :) 

And dont rename level name!!!

 

Other things is easy ;)


ffgkpimcxl82r.jpg

Edited by CrazyDoomguy

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Some Russian tutorial (by nprotect if I'm not mistaken) taught me most of the technical stuff like what are sectors, how to make lifts, etc. But I had to ask some questions on the forums too. I'm not too familiar with English tutorials but I've heard that many people learned from the one written by the famous Dr Sleep, so maybe look it up.

 

I can't recommend the "basic geometry first" approach. It seems professional and totally boring to me. Looking at empty barely functional rooms is not fun at all, you immediately want to go and decorate them.

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Trial and error, that and looking at other custom levels (and the IWAD maps) in the editor I used prior to Doom Builder 2, which was Doom Construction Kit (or DCK for short) in the mid to late 90s. This was before the era of YouTube, by the way.

Edited by Glaice

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Well, when I discovered that you could do maps for doom, I was overjoyed and decided to get ahold of the different editors and shit. First editor I ever downloaded was of course the first doom builder. 

I had absolutely no idea how to use it but, after a few trials and errors, I finally managed to set up the different configurations. I lauched a new wad file and well, I then also had no idea how to do a map. 

I drew a few lines here and there and eventually made a sector haha. Was kinda proud of myself but it looked like ass (obviously). I tried making doors but, since I had no idea how to do them, I just put midtextures and gave it a door_open action. I was like YAY, this looks cool and then, the entire map rose. I was like, what? How can this be? What am I doing wrong? I couldn't figure it out. Then, one day, I stumbled across a french tutorial that basically gave you the basic training on how to make your first map. It had section on doors, teleporters, lifts, etc... Anything you would find in a newbie tutorial :D 

Then, I followed the different steps and, eventualy, managed to make a functional map (which I did not release haha). I opened a few maps that I found cool in the editor to see what made them so cool and basically, took a few ideas here and there. I mostly opened maps that I knew had cool tricks in them that I wanted to recreate and again, on a trials and errors basis, I managed to implement them. I eventually released my first map on idgames which was an e1m8 remake in zdoom format (had slopes, lighting effects, etc...) and well, looking back at it, it sucked... I was so happy back then, as anyone would be when they finally decide to take that one step forward of uploading your work haha but yeah. 

Anyhow, since then, I basically made maps for fun. Gradually discovering new tricks (sliding doors, swinging doors, scripting, etc...). Yeah, I used to map for zdoom quite a bit, not something I would recommend for a newbie unless you know exactly what you are doing which was well, not necessarily the case with me haha. I only recently moved on to the boom format after playing wads like lunatic, vanguard, valliant, etc... basically skillsaw wads and I've been loving it so far. 

TL;DR

I learned to map through experimentation and self-learning (tutorials mainly), I guess it worked pretty well for me on the long run.

There is no sure free way to get into mapping, just do what makes you happy I guess and experiment alot. Start simple and eventually, you will get there. Also, be patient, extremely patient. 

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So what I'm grasping here is stick to basic format, use textures from Doom2.wad, and just get a basic geometric layout of a map before adding anything crazy. 

 

Does this mean I should avoid lights, details, doors, elevators, etc. until I have a frame to go by? 

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7 minutes ago, Yugiboy85 said:

Yeah, I used to map for zdoom quite a bit, not something I would recommend for a newbie unless you know exactly what you are doing which was well, not necessarily the case with me haha. I only recently moved on to the boom format after playing wads like lunatic, vanguard, valliant, etc... basically skillsaw wads and I've been loving it so far. 

I still have you on FB I believe so once I get started, I'll probably be bothering you with questions :p I played through your maps and you know your stuff.

 

Also, can you make slopes, advanced scripting, swinging and sliding doors, etc. in Boom format? Or does that all require ZDoom? 

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7 minutes ago, stru said:

Does this mean I should avoid lights, details, doors, elevators, etc. until I have a frame to go by? 

Make lights effect is easy. You need learn make function - doors, tag (linedef/funktion. On "tag" you able make a lot think for example elevator, teleport, exit), traps.

 

More specific mapping is adding new texture, add map-name/music, change sky, add new monsters/waepons/items

Edited by CrazyDoomguy

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1 minute ago, CrazyDoomguy said:

Make lights effect is easy.

Last time I tried making lights, it looked like asshole. Just blocks of lighter texture than the rest. I've gotta learn proper mapping concepts for making things look more practical and realistic.

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I watched Chubzdoomer, and then started piecing things together by myself. My maps were absolute garbage at first, a couple of blocky rooms. I worked on them until they looked decent.

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Dont make realistic things in Doom, unless you want to find out how deep the zDoom rabbit hole goes... Doom likes abstract spaces.

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6 minutes ago, stru said:

Also, can you make slopes, advanced scripting, swinging and sliding doors, etc. in Boom format? Or does that all require ZDoom?

Slopes are a ZDoom thing. The rest of what you mention was done in Hexen, but I think you still need ZDoom to make it work for Doom. (I've heard of something called "Doom in Hexen format," but I don't really know anything about it...). None of these can be done in Boom, though.*

 

 

*Scripting can be simulated in boom by putting voodoo dolls on moving floors, and having them pass over linedefs that can trigger actions. But there is no actual scripting language or code writing involved.

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14 minutes ago, stru said:

I still have you on FB I believe so once I get started, I'll probably be bothering you with questions :p I played through your maps and you know your stuff.

 

Also, can you make slopes, advanced scripting, swinging and sliding doors, etc. in Boom format? Or does that all require ZDoom? 

Sure man. Anytime ;) 

And like 42 said, no. You cannot make these in boom. But trust me, it's best to keep away from those advanced editing tricks until you really feel confortable with your mapping. Try simple and you will get to these eventually ;) 

Boom can do a ton of fun things though. 

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I mainly learned through trial and error. Later on I looked at different maps for examples on how to do certain things and went from there. I didn't really rely too much on tutorials, though there were some things like transfer heights and the boom functions where explaining & showing how they actually worked helped out a lot.

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1 hour ago, stru said:

Does this mean I should avoid lights, details, doors, elevators, etc. until I have a frame to go by? 

Anything that affects gameplay should go in as you do gameplay, and that includes functioning doors, lifts, and bars that block off areas and get lowered later, as well as certain kinds of basic details like pillars that the player will use as cover, raised areas that monsters will be on, and even basic ambient lighting. Those are the sorts of things that are on the border between geometry and detailing. For your first maps, it's a good idea to hold off on things like wall trim, individual computer panels, spotlighting, and other "micro" details that don't affect gameplay. As you get more experienced, you can evolve your order of operations -- iirc, Mechadon does geometry, then detailing, then lighting, then thing placement, and he's one of the best mappers around.

Edited by Not Jabba

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