How to plan a map on paper

I think I'm going to start doing this more often so I can jot down ideas quickly before I even open the editor. The last map I actually did this with was my Plutinya 1024 submission. The final version changed quite a bit from the original draft, but it gave me a starting point to work from.

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Summary Notes

The above is the complete map-building process, which will vary from person to person. Essentially, the part that takes place on paper is the following:

 

1. Sketch out some map layout diagrams, involving various sized circles/ovals/amorphousblobs as "rooms" connected with lines, or "paths" in and out of each one. Since these don't take very long to make, it's best to spitball a variety of differently sized and shaped diagrams. I usually make ~10 of them and pick which one works best for me.

 

2. Make a short written list of fun events that can take place in Doom. I watch doom videos and lets plays for ideas, or steal ideas from maps I've played that I can make better. It's probably smart to keep the events specific and within the scope of Doom's toolset. So things like "cacodemon swarm" or "teleport ambush from 5 angles" will probably make more sense than "castle on fire" or "commandos rappelling from a helicopter"

 

3. Begin drawing a more detailed draft of the chosen diagram, where the actual shapes and structures of the rooms are a little clearer. I keep them pretty scribbly and basic, as these things are likely to change during map testing. The idea is to have a layout as a visual reference of the complete map to refer to during the map building process to keep your mind on track. Write some quick notes pointing out specific events from your list to use as a reference, and designate other important details like locations of keycards and the doors they operate, where certain guns are acquired, and where traps and puzzles are located.

 

4. Try to avoid being too specific about measurements and drawing details on the map layout, as doombuilder (with the grid, and line lengths displayed on screen) is a much better tool for that kind of stuff vs. using a ruler and graph paper. It might be fun to do for practice drawing cool shapes for rooms, but generally I find it makes the layout too stiff and difficult to manipulate when transcribing it to the editor which isn't very useful for making a complete map.

Edited by 40oz
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I like mapping on paper because of 2 reasons:
1.I get a lot more ideas on paper,if i open up doombuilder right now i wouldn't have any idea what to make on it whereas on a piece of paper my cretivity flows like "insert something that flows a lot here".

2.It feels much faster compared to the usual way.

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6 hours ago, SOSU said:

if i open up doombuilder right now i wouldn't have any idea what to make on it whereas on a piece of paper my cretivity flows like "insert something that flows a lot here".

2.It feels much faster compared to the usual way.

To me it's the opposite, as my creative process largely consists of adjusting/redoing what I've drawn (either just now or at any point before), and this is easier to do directly by moving or deleting geometry in a map editor, as opposed to using a rubber eraser on paper that doesn't even work 100% effectively and the paper soon becomes dirty of badly erased pencil and hardly usable for further drawing. Also 3D mode and convenient testing. :)

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I remember doing something like this back in high school... Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away.

 

Though that was the pre 9-11 era, so let's just say it's better if the "Maps" I drew back then never see the light of day. It was more something to pass time when I was bored in school.

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A little late to this thread, but I did do something similar to this when I first started mapping. Except the maps that resulted from those drawings were all shit. Without exception. I mostly made those drawings before I had Doom Builder, and stopped after I started actually mapping for some reason. I should dig them out of wherever it is they ended up, assuming they weren't thrown out. But, as a neat side note, I drew them on old printer paper! (the stuff that's all connected into a single, long sheet that's easy to tear with holes punched down both sides)

 

Also planning out the maps beforehand would probably have helped immensely with some of my more recent unreleased works, my most recent Doom map is pretty good in my opinion, except for one part that just sucks ass because I didn't have a solid idea for it when I was making it.

Edited by Skeletonpatch

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