Why are slaughter maps looked down upon?

I don't mind playing a slaughter map as part of a well made megawad, like Back to Saturn X 2 MAP31 but playing an entire megawad of slaughter maps is simply not my cup of tea. 

 

I remember playing SF2011 a while back and the first 7 maps gave me a really bad impression of the WAD since they felt like they were lazily made and the design didn't appeal to me at all. 

Edited by Uni
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On 7.10.2017 at 1:51 PM, Uni said:

I don't mind playing a slaughter map as part of a well made megawad, like Back to Saturn X 2 MAP31 but playing an entire megawad of slaughter maps is simply not my cup of tea. 

I tend to think that slaughter maps are best enjoyed one (or a few) at a time depending on their length, especially the more difficult ones. Trying to push through for the sake of pushing through didn't feel right for me.

Edited by Nine Inch Heels
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@Nine Inch Heels The way I feel about slaughter maps is very similar to how I feel about bullet hell shooters. I don't have anything against them, but outside of being a hearty challenge, I don't entirely understand the appeal. A lot of that is by virtue of my own personal tastes, but there are gameplay elements within their compositions that make me at least a little quizzical as to why you're as enamored with them as you are.

 

I mentioned earlier that I personally find slaughter maps to be slow and monotonous, but I also find there to be (from my experience) much less of an emphasis on exploration. One of my favourite things about first person shooters is the element of exploration. I always love discovering well hidden easter eggs, and the challenge of solving puzzles and finding my way. Not to say that there aren't slaughter maps that are very good at delineating interesting areas to explore, but when there's such an extreme emphasis placed on combat, a lot of what I love so much about Doom becomes diluted in the process. I find it far more enjoyable to come across butchery situations once in awhile, rather than having to be faced with them all the time.

 

You've stated that you don't like using gameplay modifications with slaughter maps as they bollix the intended balance, but how is that any different than using gameplay modifications with traditional Doom maps? Having played slaughter maps both with and without power fantasy mods, I much prefer them with the latter. I figure that if anything, playing slaughter maps with mods might serve as a means of easing players into subsequently playing them without mods.

 

I tried getting into a handful of bullet hell shooters, and none of them appealed to me very much at all. I suppose my main issue with them is that because the hitboxes are so small, my eyes become very strained having to focus themselves precisely where I need them to. It's possible that with time I could become better acclimated with this, but I ultimately don't know. I also kind of miss having to position my ship in strategic relation to where I want to be attacking my enemies. I understand that when there's such a massive priority on dogging bullets, it only makes sense to often have bosses that take up most (if not all) of the top part of the screen, and frequently being in possession of firepower that hits almost everything on screen, no matter where you are. This might not sound like a very big issue, but I do find myself missing positioning myself in relation to my enemies, rather than having to perpetually squint my eyes and maneuver a tiny pixel around a barrage of bullets that I find about as visually appealing to look at as someone vomiting Skittles.

 

I know I must sound like a warbling bird by this point, but I say all this because I'm fully open to re-evaluating my opinions on slaughter maps and bullet hell shooters. Given their critical acclaim, Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun, and Crimzon Clover all look like games that are at least worth trying at some point. And as much as I didn't enjoy playing the Touhou games, I really do love their soundtracks. 

 

Sorry for chewing your ear off like this. I hope you have a really wonderful weekend. 

Edited by Ajora
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map 07 is consistently a thron in megawad developer's sides because DEAD SIMPLE is the archetype of the slaughtermap right there in the commercial game. Like any map it begins with a moment to collect yourself, no matter how brief, it contains powerups and enemies to challenge the player. It's in the layout and the way the level unfolds that define gameplay to be "slaughter" or "not slaughter" as they have come to be understood. Every single map contains progression of some sort, but slaughter maps are by defenition large arenas with open space to see the opposite end of the level at a glance, small visual barriers and marble columns aside lol

 

Take a mapset like 1024, the player is not hardly concerned with all that's going on in that space, because visual field is usually heavily interrupted in small maps by necessity. Eventually the player will explore but the only exploration that happens in a straightforward arena is watching more of it unfold, or possibly another arena opening up, which raises the question of bottlenecks in 3d design... ask serious sam I guess... a maze of small tunnels is the opposite of what usually qualifies as a slaughter arena I suppose

 

I would guess that the idea of a slaughter map would only ever be bad if the vast majority of them are seemingly redundant or don't do anything new? It all depends on the person playing and their interaction with the mapper's intentions, some people love playing every possible port of a game to see all the small differences, some will only go for the most graphically slick or accessible, etc. "Personal Taste" vs. "Design Goals" 

Edited by reflex17

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2 hours ago, Ajora said:

The way I feel about slaughter maps is very similar to how I feel about bullet hell shooters. I don't have anything against them, but outside of being a hearty challenge, I don't entirely understand the appeal. A lot of that is by virtue of my own personal tastes, but there are gameplay elements within their compositions that make me at least a little quizzical as to why you're as enamored with them as you are.

The simple answer is partially the challenge aspect of them, and partially personal preference.

 

2 hours ago, Ajora said:

I mentioned earlier that I personally find slaughter maps to be slow and monotonous, but I also find there to be (from my experience) much less of an emphasis on exploration. One of my favourite things about first person shooters is the element of exploration. I always love discovering well hidden easter eggs, and the challenge of solving puzzles and finding my way. Not to say that there aren't slaughter maps that are very good at delineating interesting areas to explore, but when there's such an extreme emphasis placed on combat, a lot of what I love so much about Doom becomes diluted in the process. I find it far more enjoyable to come across butchery situations once in awhile, rather than having to be faced with them all the time

I don't quite agree with the notion that they are slow and monotonous. Some of them certainly feel that way for me, and those are maps, I usually play them a few times only, instead of feeling a motivation to sort of develop a more elaborate approach to them that makes me clear them faster.

 

One example I like to bring up is map 10 of newgothic movement 2, which has somewhere between 1000 and 1500 monsters, I don't remember the number exactly so let's lowball for the moment, and look at 1000 monsters. These 1000 things bite the dust in significantly less than 5 minutes, Ancalagon almost managed to push the map below the 4:00 margin. And I don't think that is an indication of slow and grindy gameplay. It's quite the opposite from my point of view. Even if you want to play it very safely, you can get times below 5:30 with just a little bit of practice. The reason I say this is because I get the sense that people tend to look at the monstercount and then disregard the map because they expect a long lasting grind that is going to last for half an hour, when in reality there are many slaughter maps which can be "consumed" in less than 10 minutes with relative ease. Slaughter maps certainly aren't leaning a lot towards exploration, they tend to be either freewheeling or setpiece based, or a mixture of both, if it's a larger and more complex map. But since it's down to personal preference, I don't play slaughtermaps when I want the experience of exploration, I tend to pick maps I like (or games I buy for that matter) based on what they're competent at, and in some sense I am an omnivore, because otherwise I wouldn't have done some of the "Valiant" demos I made and posted in the linked thread within the spoiler in relatively short succession:

Spoiler

 

 

2 hours ago, Ajora said:

You've stated that you don't like the using gameplay modifications with slaughter maps as they bollix the intended balance, but how is that any different than using gameplay modifications with traditional Doom maps? Having played slaughter maps both with and without power fantasy mods, I much prefer them with the latter. I figure that if anything, playing slaughter maps with mods might serve as a means of easing players into subsequently playing them without mods.

First off all, there's a significant number of slaughtermaps that won't run well if you need to use ports like Zandronum or GZDoom to be able to employ the mods you want to. These ports do more checks than PrBoom+ would, for example, hence the workload required for what can easily exceed a thousand active monsters tends to skyrocket, I am not sure as to how much additional stress things like smoothdoom or other graphic-mods may cause, but when it comes to gameplay mods there's a series of problems that goes along with them. Since slaughtermaps are gameplay-centric, regardless of how tightly balanced they are or not, anything that alters the "behaviour" of weapons in noteable ways already messes with the experience any given map delivers (or is supposed to deliver). Some mods do that more than others, but the impact is always there at some point, likely earlier than later down the line. Since gameplay mods are so vastly different, the pendulum swings to either side and to varying extent, depending on both the mod and map in question, but in either case it swings away from what the author had designed the fights around. Mappers who design their maps around gameplay-mods should tell people about that, but so far I haven't seen much in that regard. The most recent example that I can think of was SunLust, which states that UV is primarily there for uber-doomers, or overpowered gameplaymods. I certainly may have missed some maps/sets, but SunLust got released quite a while ago, and I can't think of any other set in the higher echelons of difficulty that mentions gameplay-mods at all, and SunLust in particular mentions mods which essentially trivialize most of the gameplay.

 

The reason I am against the idea of using gameplay mods as a tool to ease people into slaughter is for reasons stated above, but also because it is a somewhat inefficient way of learning how things behave under normal circumstances. So, if you run a mod that doubles your firepower, it drastically warps the perception of the different fights that you will need to manage, especially fights that are designed around congestion can get trivialized by increased clearspeed. When it comes to tightly balanced maps 10%-20% more firepower will already make quite a difference. So when you turn off that mod, you may find yourself up against problems that you may not have been able to see coming, or at least develop a good feeling for. Besides, if the mod you choose to run is too powerful, you might end up with the impression that it's all about simply mowing things down, when that's not what would normally happen to such an extent, if at all. I could make an argument by saying that playing the maps the intended way is something like minimum of courtesy towards the mapper, but since these maps are something that resembles kind of like a public domain, for lack of a better term, I'm not going there, but I certainly get some weird feelings when people evaluate the difficulty of a map in particular (or set of maps) without having it played as intended. That's where I object, and probably always will when it comes to statements about how difficult something is or isn't. But I digress...

 

If somebody wants to get eased into slaughtermaps, I think the best possible advice is not to grab maps which are high up on the difficulty scale (not all slaughtermaps are super punitive in their feedback when the player messes something up), and instead pick a set that is more on the forgiving side of things, as well as not picking UV by default, because "everybody" does that (which is a false assumption to begin with) and instead start out with HMP or lower. It's easier and much more comfortable to turn the difficultly up, because you feel like you've bested the map on a lower setting (it's a decision based on and made with confidence). Turning the difficulty down is uncomfortable, because it is a choice based on discouragement (which I would assume is part of the reason that people think of those who dare make such a suggestion as elitist, though I admittedly have an attitude that doesn't sit right with everybody for that matter). Anyways, I don't know about you, but I'd prefer the method of cranking things up when I feel confident that I can do so, as opposed to getting annihilated quite a bit before things change. Another way of getting eased into slaughtermaps is by virtue of segmenting them, which is especially good for approaching setpiece heavy maps, because you can practice each fight individually, and as often as you want, without having to start all over again should you fail somewhere down the line (repeating what you know you can do all over is annoying and in fact tedious when it happens too often). If your goal is to beat an entire map saveless from start to finish (which is what I personally consider as having beaten a map, generally speaking, but with a few exceptions), then practicing it in small bites is the best way to do it, because once you feel confident that you can beat each fight consistently enough, you will also feel much safer when you commit to a full run.

 

3 hours ago, Ajora said:

I tried getting into a handful of bullet hell shooters, and none of them appealed to me very much at all. I suppose my main issue with them is because the hitboxes are so small, my eyes become very strained having to focus themselves precisely where I need them to.

The most important rule when playing danmakus: Don't stare at your tiny hitbox all the time, develop a feel for where it is and how things move instead. Look at what's going to become dangerous for you in one second, and in two seconds to start with. That way you can forge ahead in an attempt to keep bullet patterns more organized and manageable. If you want some good literature on danmakus, "google" and download Prometheus's "Full extent of the jam", arguably one the best pep-talks ever put in .pdf format, with illustrated examples for important danmaku techniques that you certainly will want to know about, to make the experience a more enjoyable one for yourself.

 

3 hours ago, Ajora said:

I also kind of miss having to position my ship in strategic relation to where I want to be attacking my enemies.

Bullet hells vary quite a bit. Depending on what game it is, and what the scoring system is like, you either want to bring your full firepower to bear, or keep things alive for some purposes, in a good danmaku the gameplay will vary to a high enough degree that it will require you to perform both these tasks (and then some) equally well (and at the same time, even) in order to score high. Granted, surviving a danmaku isn't easy, but when you get into scoring, they become truly exciting, deep and satisfying, because not only does the game tell you that you made it through, it also tells you how well you did (and how much you have improved) by way of score. And that is amazing, in my opinion.

 

If you would like a recommendation that is (maybe) less stressful for your eyes, then go with a horizontal scrolling shmup, like "deathsmiles", which is kind of like an entry level danmaku if your goal is to just survive, and it is less punitive when things go wrong. It is less hectic, has a decent focus on aiming and dodging, a somewhat forgiving scoring system, and you can pick the difficulty for each stage you play individually as you go along. All these things are aspects that I think should make for a pretty welcoming experience. The only minor setback is that coming to terms with the different shot types and when to use them, as well as two-directional fire, are things you may need to familiarize yourself with, which takes some learning effort, especially if you want to get deeper into scoring, but you can play and practice the stages fairly well without going for such a high degree of optimization wrt to scoring right away. Just don't make the mistake of playing the "mega black label" variant on difficulty setting 999, because it's every bit as ridiculous as it sounds, considering the original deathsmiles had settings from 1 to 3. You have been warned.

 

3 hours ago, Ajora said:

Sorry for chewing your ear off like this. I hope you have a really wonderful weekend. 

No problem at all, have a good one as well. :-)

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Disagreed on starting with Deathsmiles. Game sucks.  If you want approachable Cave, it's all about the Pachis, aside from DOJ white label.

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Slaughter maps are not very nuanced, that's the problem. 

Also, it's hard to suspend your disbelief that you'd ever realistically have to face so many enemies at once, which breaks immersion completely, these maps therefore lack any atmosphere that more progression-driven maps might have. 

They probably do work as an opportunity to execrise your skill, but as complete, rewarding game experiences, I dunno. 

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1 hour ago, Xfing said:

They probably do work as an opportunity to execrise your skill, but as complete, rewarding game experiences, I dunno. 

Not everyone thinks a complete, rewarding game experience needs to be anything but an opportunity to test skill though.

 

You could argue that they're missing out on elements Doom certainly has the potential to provide--atmospherics and exploration and all that--but it's just as easy to argue that shadowy dungeoncrawler Doom levels miss out on fully leveraging the game's tight encounter and combat mechanics.

 

It's a big wide world of Doom levels out there.

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4 hours ago, Xfing said:

Slaughter maps are not very nuanced, that's the problem. 

Also, it's hard to suspend your disbelief that you'd ever realistically have to face so many enemies at once, which breaks immersion completely, these maps therefore lack any atmosphere that more progression-driven maps might have. 

They probably do work as an opportunity to execrise your skill, but as complete, rewarding game experiences, I dunno. 

Define "nuance", and then tell me when Doom was ever realistic.  Then, follow that up by explaining how realism helps atmosphere, and how a map that's all about hitting a switch that opens up another switch 20 miles away that opens up another switch another 20 miles away etc. is more realistic or more atmospheric.

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eh, realism isn't the word to use IMO. I'm a big fan of atmospheric kind of stuff in Doom, and so I mostly agree with what memfis said about hordes of monsters looking weird. If the visual theme and design isn't there to support a thousand imps, they look stupid, so you need the map to actually look like it should have those hordes so that they add to the atmosphere and don't cheapen it instead.

 

Ribbiks said in the 20X7 DWMC thread that he tries to make maps with that cold menacing feel. It's probably no coincidence then that for the most part, I did enjoy Sunlust, albeit on HNTR, although even that skill was no walk in the park for me at times.

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17 minutes ago, Cynical said:

how a map that's all about hitting a switch that opens up another switch 20 miles away that opens up another switch another 20 miles away etc. is more realistic or more atmospheric.

Ever tried gathering various required documents from different public services in order to finally submit them with an application form to yet another one? There you go :-p

Edited by Maes
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What I meant is that regular maps usually represent something and have a progression to them. That makes it much easier to get immersed. 

Slaughter maps on the other hand are usually basically just obstacle courses. Not to mention that there is usually much less detailing and lighting work. They're all about the mechanical experience, rather than a comprehensive one.

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20 hours ago, Xfing said:

Slaughter maps on the other hand are usually basically just obstacle courses. Not to mention that there is usually much less detailing and lighting work. They're all about the mechanical experience, rather than a comprehensive one.

Did you ever play Sunder, or SunLust, or newgothic movement (2), or some of the later maps in phmlspd, or any set of slaughtermaps people put some effort into? Or are you just parrotting something you heard somewhere?

Edited by Nine Inch Heels
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20 hours ago, Xfing said:

Not to mention that there is usually much less detailing and lighting work.

You should play Sunder, Sunlust, Toilet of the Gods, Disciples of Darkness, Swim With the Whales, Dimensions, Stardate 20X6 and 20X7 just to name a few.

  

It's pretty clear your opinion isn't based on fact, only preconceived notions.

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1 hour ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

Or are you just parrotting something you heard somewhere?

He watched a video of someone playing Nuts 3, that makes him an expert.

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21 minutes ago, Cynical said:

He watched a video of someone playing Nuts 3, that makes him an expert.

That... Actually that's a reasonable explanation. Kind of.

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3 hours ago, Cynical said:

He watched a video of someone playing Nuts 3, that makes him an expert.

Nuts3 is a bawdy tale that flies in the face of propriety.

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When Dead Simple is considered as a form of Slaughtermap then I have to say there is room for me to enjoy them. However, it is best to be a brief gimmicky experience rather than a ball breaking extended test of endurance. It makes for a fun little change of pace which is why I enjoy it in Doom 2.

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You can't spell "slaughter" without "laughter." It's all just farcical whimsy.

With buckshot and bullets.

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What's Nuts 3?

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On 10/10/2017 at 1:19 PM, loveless said:

Nuts3 is a bawdy tale that flies in the face of propriety.

@Xfing

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Yeah, that's not really what my preconceived notion of a slaughter map was.

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All maps are good maps unless they intentionally shred the eardrums etc., such is the battlefield that is custom Doom levels.

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On 10/10/2017 at 4:23 PM, Chezza said:

When Dead Simple is considered as a form of Slaughtermap then I have to say there is room for me to enjoy them. However, it is best to be a brief gimmicky experience rather than a ball breaking extended test of endurance. It makes for a fun little change of pace which is why I enjoy it in Doom 2.

 

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53 minutes ago, loveless said:

Set sound channels to 12 or 8, saves the ears.

I'm still running with 32 since not hearing your SSG or BFG firing sounds (heh) odd to me. Interestingly enough, GZDoom has 64 sound channels now and they don't stack to blow out your eardrums like in PRBoom+.

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Just now, Spectre01 said:

Interestingly enough, GZDoom has 64 sound channels now and they don't stack to blow out your eardrums like in PRBoom+.

ZDoom limits how many instances of the same sound can play at once. Every sound has its own limit that can be altered in mods, or something along these lines.

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1 hour ago, loveless said:

Set sound channels to 12 or 8, saves the ears.

Play with speakers instead of headphones instead of doing this.  Hearing a ton of revenants wake up at once when the map loads in AV26 is one of life's great pleasures, and denying it to yourself is foolish.

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I dislike speakers and can't bring myself to finish AV.  I can see why people have strong nostalgia for it but it's definitely not the kind of gameplay I enjoy or can force myself to continue playing.

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dlMVYvC.png

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