How much of Doom 3 was made using prefabs?

Doom 3 is so hyperdetailed I have often wondered what the level design workflow for the actual official level designer looked like. Did they do everything by hand? Or did they just use prefabs they made to piece the levels together?

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If I remember correctly, there were a few Hell setpieces that were models you could slap into your map as creating them in the mapping tool would have taken far too long. 

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5 minutes ago, Bauul said:

If I remember correctly, there were a few Hell setpieces that were models you could slap into your map as creating them in the mapping tool would have taken far too long. 

Yea I know but that isn't really what I meant. I actually did create a few maps for Doom 3 years ago so I know how the editor works. But I am interested in is how much of the original maps were actually created manually piece by piece vs how many areas were copy/pasted.

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Somehow I have trouble believing they used prefabs at all, apparently aside from what Bauul mentioned.

Edited by MFG38

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4 minutes ago, MFG38 said:

Somehow I have trouble believing they used prefabs at all, apparently aside from what Bauul mentioned.

That doesn't seem possible consider the insane amount of complexity on each level.

 

Anyway, I am trying to get Doom3Ed to work but it won't. I type editor into the console to make it work but while it starts at first I just get a crash afterward. Even when it doesn't do this all the editor windows are white and don't seem to work as intended. Anyone know how to fix this?

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58 minutes ago, hardcore_gamer said:

But I am interested in is how much of the original maps were actually created manually piece by piece vs how many areas were copy/pasted.

From what I remember of Doom 3 and Doom 3 ROE, there wasn't much that could have been copy pasted (read: setpiece reuse) to begin with, aside of the "revisited" sections, of course. Most of the areas were pretty diverse, and I don't remember there being anything in the way of "I have seen exactly this room here a few maps earlier". I guess the only copy pasting that would be obvious is minor stuff like office rooms, or teleporter chambers or so, where it actually makes sense for those to look similar.

 

I never looked into how long Doom3 was in development, or how many people did the mapping there, but if I were to make a guess, a lot of the output was down to having highly performant editing tools aside of "full-time-mappers", for lack of a better term.

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27 minutes ago, hardcore_gamer said:

That doesn't seem possible consider the insane amount of complexity on each level.

 

Anyway, I am trying to get Doom3Ed to work but it won't. I type editor into the console to make it work but while it starts at first I just get a crash afterward. Even when it doesn't do this all the editor windows are white and don't seem to work as intended. Anyone know how to fix this?

Insane amount of complexity in each level... I have a feeling you answered your own question with if they used prefabs or not. I think it was all geometry. Maybe they copied and pasted that geometry a lot.

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41 minutes ago, geo said:

Insane amount of complexity in each level... I have a feeling you answered your own question with if they used prefabs or not. I think it was all geometry. Maybe they copied and pasted that geometry a lot.

My point was merely that creating everything in Doom 3 completely manually seems too much work to be realistic. I also disagree that there are no areas that don't look similar.

 

Anyway, if anyone knows how to get Doom3Edit working I would be extremely happy. So far I am not having much luck :(

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Keep in mind that modern game levels are not designed by one person the way classic FPS levels were. Doom 3 maps likely were the work of teams of people, not an individual designer, and many assets were made specifically for a certain area instead of being general-purpose textures like classic Doom has. That amount of work is far more feasible when you have multiple environmental artists, a geometry designer, a scripter, a sound designer, and a lead designer to coordinate everything. Possibly other people as well. Doom 3 was fairly early in this process, and level design has become even more complicated and collaborative in the years since.

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26 minutes ago, hardcore_gamer said:

I also disagree that there are no areas that don't look similar.

Who said that?

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I think yes, most of doom 3 is "prefabs" but I dont have any idea if any of them are used more than once.

 

What I mean is, the level designer probably did minimal brush work. Most of the fine detail of scenes were probably done by modellers and imported into the bsp format somehow

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Yeah, I looked over several of the stock maps and the majority of the maps tended to consist of models that had been imported into the maps.  There was some brushwork but it was quite minimal.

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This is because of how mapping is Handled in most Modern engines, BSP for basic level layout and Meshes (Models) for Decoration and details.

Edited by dmg_64

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37 minutes ago, ENEMY!!! said:

Yeah, I looked over several of the stock maps and the majority of the maps tended to consist of models that had been imported into the maps.  There was some brushwork but it was quite minimal.

 

35 minutes ago, dmg_64 said:

This is because of how mapping is Handled in most Modern engines, BSP for basic level layout and Meshes (Models) for Decoration and details.

Then this would explain why 90% of custom maps for Doom 3 were nowhere close to the quality of the base game. It simply isn't possible to create the same type of levels with just the level editor.

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They didn't use that many models, TBH. Many of them are generic enough to be reused many times. Aside from organic stuff, maybe.

 

As for the editor, maybe you'll have better luck finding a Radiant with Doom 3 support.

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Okay, so I think a few of you may have it a little backwards.

 

On prefabs vs. brushes vs. models

The prefabs can be both brushes and models. It's really just a small map that you can import easily and move around.

 

On brushwork vs. models

Almost everything in Doom3 consists of handplaced brushes and/or patches. There are quite a few models and besides the obvious ones like doors, advanced geometry (the heart generator thing) etc there are a few, seemingly mundane, details that looks as though they might as well have been brushes or patches. Well, that's because they most likely used to be and then they exported them to models. Why? Rotation. Doom3's level format only has matrix transformations for models and other entities. The primitives (brushes and patches) are controlled entirely by modifying the plane equations for the brushes and the control points for the patches. Because of floating point (in)accuracy, it's almost impossible to get a good result when rotating a collection of brushes. The obvious exception is of course large portions of the Hell map(s) as modelling organics in the editor is just inefficient at best.

 

This is also how we do things for Phobos. We build almost everything in the editor and then extract selected detail objects and turn them into models. A few other more advanced constructions are models from the inception.

 

On insane detail

Actually it's not that bad. It appears completely insane when you open up the maps in the editor, but upon further inspection the levels are somewhat scarcely laid out and only appear to be heavily detailed. Take an advanced room like the delta2b start room. It looks like a room you would spend a month on, but look closer. The surrounding walls are made up of basically just 3 box-rooms. The ceiling has even been told to render black (the black texture). Then you have ~4 intricately detailed groups of patches. They look really nice, but to be honest they probably wouldn't take much more than half an hour to craft for a skilled designer and the density  (#elements vs volume) is really low. The reason this looks so detailed is because id (and they relied on this heavily) used cleverly placed detail textures in between the geometry. This is something id was absolutely amazing at doing and something I'm, to this day, extremely impressed at. They're still good at it. Doom 2016 does the same. They use details where it matters and leave huge bare walls where it does not. Things aren't always what they appear and that is certainly true in this case.

 

The maps we have in Phobos generally have 50% higher density in the brushwork for levels that are 2-4+ times bigger. It's definitely possible. Which brings me to...

 

DOOM3Edit making it impossible

I would probably have been inclined to agree with that back when I started out, but to be honest today I would probably say the exact opposite. I do think orchestrating the levels is absolutely horrible in D3Edit, but the actual level building is good. The basic tools themselves are simple, yet powerful. If you know what you're doing you can make nicely detailed geometry in the editor that holds up to the models. I can think of a few features that would dramatically increase the ease of use for certain things, but overall DOOM3Edit is pretty damn good when it comes to level building.

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@Shaviro

 

I actually want to transition from Classic Doom mapping to modern, 3D mapping. I am very interested in making maps for the Dark Mod. Would that be a good place to start? The reason I want to do this is because it has a lot of pre-made models that can be arranged in a new and creative ways. Very similar to Skyrim. 

 

What is the difference between a brush and a model? They seem the same to me.

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A brush is a raw piece of geometry (starts off as a textured cube) that you lay down in the map editor.

 

A model is an art asset made in a dedicated modelling suite and imported to the map. They usually have rudimentary collision and don't participate in lighting quite the same as brushes, and probably various other quirks.

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A lot of people start in something like UE or Unity today and that's totally fine. Dark Mod (Doom3) is of course somewhat antiquated today, but the same general skills still apply. I don't see why it would NOT be a good place to start. The most important thing is that the project interests and motivates you while supplying you with the fundamental challenges of building playable stages.

 

A brush is collection og plane equations (Direction, distance from 0,0,0. Often referred to as a normal and a D or x,y,z,D). These planes iteratively split the space into halfspaces until you're left with a convex shape. A box would comprise of 6 planes, resulting in a mesh of 8 vertices, 6 faces, 12 triangles, 12 edges.

 

A model (or mesh) is a precompiled shape resulting in a soup of triangles. Models loaded into the game generally tend to be more efficient than brushes because you only need one instance of the mesh and then just render it several times. They're usually also containing less triangles than the model would because the external tools often give you the option to cull out extranous polygons. In a hypothetical modern version of DOOM3Edit there is absolutely nothing standing in the way of having the internal brush/patchwork be just as efficient as the models. It's mostly a question of the map format and the options of the tools. It all ends in a list of vertices (and possibly a list of indices) for the GPU.

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4 hours ago, Vorpal said:

A model is an art asset made in a dedicated modelling suite and imported to the map. They usually have rudimentary collision and don't participate in lighting quite the same as brushes, and probably various other quirks.

I found it easier to just build levels out of Models I Import after crafting them on Blender, they're affected better by shading and lighting than BSP, in fact people kept suggesting me to use those rather than level BSP for better results and it indeed helped alot, It's probably just UE though.

 

I tried once to build a level completely just out of BSP (during my first trials) and it didn't go well, visual glitches, lighting an shading issues occured.

Edited by dmg_64
omg I sounded so selfish lol

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9 hours ago, Vorpal said:

They usually have rudimentary collision and don't participate in lighting quite the same as brushes, and probably various other quirks.

In Doom 3, models can have a dedicated collision mesh, IIRC. As for the lighting - an important part of the engine's philosophy was to subject all visible geometry to the same lighting pipeline, so this doesn't apply to Doom 3.

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Yes, so much detail... remember that weird huge crap in the toilet? Lmao. 

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On 9/17/2017 at 1:09 AM, Shaviro said:

On insane detail

Actually it's not that bad. It appears completely insane when you open up the maps in the editor, but upon further inspection the levels are somewhat scarcely laid out and only appear to be heavily detailed. Take an advanced room like the delta2b start room. It looks like a room you would spend a month on, but look closer. The surrounding walls are made up of basically just 3 box-rooms. The ceiling has even been told to render black (the black texture). Then you have ~4 intricately detailed groups of patches. They look really nice, but to be honest they probably wouldn't take much more than half an hour to craft for a skilled designer and the density  (#elements vs volume) is really low. The reason this looks so detailed is because id (and they relied on this heavily) used cleverly placed detail textures in between the geometry. This is something id was absolutely amazing at doing and something I'm, to this day, extremely impressed at. They're still good at it. Doom 2016 does the same. They use details where it matters and leave huge bare walls where it does not. Things aren't always what they appear and that is certainly true in this case.

 

Agreed 100%. And honestly, I think this is one area where the sparse lighting and heavy shadows they caught flak for actually really worked in their favor---it's easy to believe a wall or ceiling is much more detailed than it actually is when it's only illuminated by a dim, flickering light, as opposed to a high-power bulb. The Alpha Labs, the Delta Complex and the CPU levels use this trick in spades, and it really pays off. Although, Delta and CPU really do feature some truly complex brushwork as well. One of the reasons those are among my favorite levels of the game.

 

 

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