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ReX

Multi-Player Implementation Help Requested

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I have completed an 11-map set for vanilla/chocolate DooM. The original intention was to only implement single-player mode, as I have no experience with multiplayer gameplay implementation. Upon further consideration, I am hopeful that multi-player can be implemented, even though that was not the original intention. Particularly for deathmatch, I have no idea on what starts & item placement would make the gameplay fun and fair. Of course, it may be too late to simply drop MP starts & items into the game; in other words, it may not be possible to implement MP without extensively changing map configurations. If this is the case, I'll release the game as a single-player experience, and forget about MP (especially deathmatch).

 

(Incidentally, Ed the Bat has reviewed the map-set from the standpoint of co-op play, and has found nothing that will break the game.)

 

So, a few questions, mainly about deathmatch:

 

1. When creating a map to include multi-player does the creator need to follow some rigorous guidelines (e.g., not too many doors or lifts, not too expansive, not too many alternative paths, etc.)? [I use the word "rigorous" to mean that if the guidelines are not followed the MP experience would most likely break down.]

2. Can a player readily tell that a map would NOT be suitable for multiplayer?

3. Can a single-player map generally be retrofit to incorporate multiplayer gameplay?

 

Would someone with experience in creating multi-player games for DooM be willing to take a look at my map-set and let me know if MP is worth pursuing? Thanks.

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1. Most likely if the map can be called medium-sized or larger than that it's going terrible for deathmatch. What some mappers that care about deathmatch do to get around this is that they create a small area outside of the rest of the map that's only accessible in deathmatch.


Lifts are also generally a very bad deathmatch experience. Doors should be used sparingly as well.


Similar to my first point about the map size you want to be able to find your opponent so a very non-linear map also isn't going to work well, even if it's rather small.
There's more to this but one would have to see the map to be able to tell how deathmatch-friendly it is.

 

Coop/survival is much more forgiving in this regard. Basically, if the map works in single-player and there aren't too many narrow passages, it's going to work in coop as well. However, there is some stuff to avoid, like W1 teles and locking a player in a trap which makes it impossible for the players outside the trapped area to progress in the map if the player inside dies.

 

2. Yes, an experienced player definitely.

 

3. Sometimes. Much more easier for coop than deathmatch. Strongly depends how many "sins" I mentioned in my answer to the first question were committed.

Edited by Keyboard_Doomer

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The biggest thing with multiplayer is making sure that you haven't included any "one time entry" or "it closes behind you" sections which will render the map impossible to finish if the player who goes through them dies

Simple example: walkover lines around a key that close all the exits and then open monster closets, and the closed exits can only be opened with the key itself.  If that player was the only one in the room and then dies, the map can't be finished because the other players can't access the key any more.

 

Multiplayer generally profits from more space in general, since there are more players trying to fit into the map.

Especially avoid 64-wide corridors (IMO, you should avoid these anyway). 

Try to avoid open/close doors and too many elevators.  Definitely avoid slow up/down moving floors.

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1 hour ago, ReX said:

1. When creating a map to include multi-player does the creator need to follow some rigorous guidelines (e.g., not too many doors or lifts, not too expansive, not too many alternative paths, etc.)? [I use the word "rigorous" to mean that if the guidelines are not followed the MP experience would most likely break down.]

2. Can a player readily tell that a map would NOT be suitable for multiplayer?

3. Can a single-player map generally be retrofit to incorporate multiplayer gameplay?

 

Would someone with experience in creating multi-player games for DooM be willing to take a look at my map-set and let me know if MP is worth pursuing? Thanks.

1. View this, I'd say right off your most valuable tool is actually playing DM as well. Take a look at successful DM wads here. Keep in mind DM has changed quite a bit over the years in terms of what is conventional or not, and what is balanced/unbalanced.

2. Yes, it's very obvious very quickly. We can also tell very quickly if the map is meant to be SP.

3. Not usually, but Hobomaster has done a great job in some maps here

 

Yes, post the wad.

 

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Another note: one way to make DM work better in a level originally meant for SP is to limit the accessible area in DM play.  You can do this by making the SP start area inaccessible in DM mode, and then putting up barriers around the map that are lowered by walkover lines in the SP start area.

 

You can also make areas that are only accessible in DM mode via basically the inverse of the same method: they start accessible but are then closed off by walkover lines in the SP start area.

 

I used both methods in this map.

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In all honesty, it's very rare to see deathmatches on turf designed for sp or even coop. I personally find it fun to implement DM support, but it's likely to go unused. If you are interested in making an alternate version to be bundled in for DM only, that may be a better option as you can remove lifts and doors as well as reshaping sectors as you see fit thus improving gameplay/player willingness to host your map.

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Worth remembering that due to using completely separate starts, you can just flat-out copy a portion of the map into the void and build that into a deathmatch-focused variant without disrupting the main part of the map at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only reason why this technique isn't used more often is because people don't care enough to make deathmatch variants of their maps.

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Many thanks to all the suggestions and advice, from which I gather the following:

 

1. Unless one sets out to incorporate multi-player right at the start of designing a map, it will likely lack some of the key elements needed for a fun MP experience.

2. Some factors that dilute the MP gameplay experience include: the use of too many doors and lifts, maps larger than small-to-medium in size, slow-rising sectors, high degree of non-linearity.

3. Factors that can break co-op gameplay include: W1 teleport lines (which at least one of my maps does have), traps that can lock other players out from making progress, overly-narrow corridors.

4. Retrofitting an SP map to incorporate MP might not work well, unless changes to the map are made (e.g., limiting the DM accessible areas).

5. It might be worthwhile to either create a separate set of maps (based on the SP maps) designed specifically for MP, or to create subsets of the maps for DM and include them in the same maps they mirror.

 

Let me think about this a bit more. If I think it might be worthwhile pursuing this further, I'll come back here for more advice.

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Don't concentrate on increasing fun. Concentrate on decreasing annoyance, and the map will be more fun in DM. So, what's annoying in DM?

 

  • Getting stuck on walls/decor. DM games are all about speed: Getting back to the fight after getting fragged. Getting revenge!
  • Taking too long to get back to the fight. A strategically placed door can actually add lots of fun. Imagine a door between a lit room and a dark room. Players can hide in the dark room, and see the door open from afar. Doors are sometimes also good for blowing up a rocket launcher-wielding DM foe. But, most often, they slow down gameplay. That why they've been highlighted in this thread as being generally bad. So, doors and lifts aren't bad, slow is bad.
  • Lots of camp spots. It gets very boring if your opponents can successfully hide from you for extended periods of time.
  • Big maps. Again, you should be able to find a fight quickly, and consistently. If the map is too big, everyone will be running around bored. Exceptions would be hub-like designs, where all areas are quickly accessible from a central point. A general rule can be to ask the question: From each DM spawn, how much time would it take to get to another player's location, no matter where they are? If it's more than a few seconds, players will get bored. That's why SP maps usually don't work well. SP maps are generally bigger, which means it might take too long to get back into the fight.

In SP, the monsters generally wait for the player to approach, so big maps allow the player to explore and encounter interesting fights along the way. But, in DM, the opposite is true: The same areas get repopulated as players respawn. There's no time (or reason) to explore. Everyone quickly becomes familiar with the map layout. The fun comes from devising a strategy for taking out other players, and surviving.

 

It's these opposite goals that make it difficult for a good SP map to become a good DM map. Previous posts offer good ways to mitigate this issue: Spawn DM players into an area of your SP map not accessible to SP players, and build a nice DM area there. Or, if you're slick, manage to achieve the same effect by dynamically closing off certain areas, and spawn the DM action inside the SP map.  Good luck!

 

 

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