Level design tropes you dislike

Tvtropes lists causes of fake difficulty:

 

Bad technical aspects make it difficult. (really, really sloppy mapping.)

The outcome is not reasonably determined by the player's actions (aka hit a random texture that's a switch.)

Denial of information critical to progress. (aka. what did that switch do or where the hell do I go? Also having to conserve ammo trough multiple maps to have a chance at the later ones.)

The outcome of the game is influenced by decisions that were uninformed at the time and cannot be undone (an invicisphere on the open, later you open a door to a very long damage floor section with no radsuits or other stuff around.)

The game requires the player to use skills or knowledge that are either incorrect or have nothing to do with the genre (In very old wads, not marking your key doors, or labeling them with incorrect colors.)

Edited by 94's the best style
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7 hours ago, NuMetalManiak said:

 

  • And of course, platforming in general, especially if you fail and have to spend minutes getting back to where you were.

So you're not a fan of the level The Chasm I take it? lol jk  Neither am I...

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38 minutes ago, 94's the best style said:

The outcome of the game is influenced by decisions that were uninformed at the time and cannot be undone (an invicisphere on the open, later you open a door to a very long damage floor section with no radsuits or other stuff around.)

I think a more apt description of the example would be something like, "You go into a room and there is an invulnerability artifact but no threats, when you leave the room, the door cannot be opened from the other side, and the next room has a long damaging floor section."

 

I can picture this in my mind and, yes, it would be ridiculously annoying.

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@Xaser I reckon a lot of maps like that are too segmented. Like each area is a separate smaller map, and the hub room is a level select. Just a very boring way to use the keys.

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TBH, I've always been fond of the "level select" approach. Especially when it takes the form of a "get any two keys" setup in the center hub, and each of the three keys is its own mini adventure.

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2 hours ago, Chewyninja69 said:

So you're not a fan of the level The Chasm I take it? lol jk  Neither am I...

The Chasm doesn't even have the kind of platforming I was talking about.

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@Cynical I'm a bit more forgiving if the keys can be obtained in any order, yeah.

Edited by Mason.

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10 minutes ago, Cynical said:

TBH, I've always been fond of the "level select" approach. Especially when it takes the form of a "get any two keys" setup in the center hub, and each of the three keys is its own mini adventure.

Now, this is just fine. Also just fine (if not overdone in a larger mapset): Maps that technically follow the exact same "3 locked doors in a central hub" approach but actually put some effort into designing the hub. It's the full-on square*, a la Baron's Lair and Collider Complex, that drives me batty. :P

 

 

[*not to be confused with The Adventures thereof. Though it also drives me batty sometimes for entirely different reasons. ;]

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14 hours ago, SOSU said:

So what I am doing right now :D

 

15 hours ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

People putting stuff in their maps, because they think it's popular, while they have no clue about what they're doing at all. I remember someone who put a "slaughter fight" into a map without knowing anything about slaughter, other than it involves more than a dozen things being active at once, for example. The end result was dull, to say the least. But the funny part was that the mapper in question didn't like slaughter at all, quite the contrary was the case. So, the worst trope for me personally would be trying to copy a supposed trope poorly despite not liking said supposed trope at all.

Me too @SOSU 😁 Though I'd like to think I have enough experience now to kind of know what I'm doing though my only completed maps so far have been speedmaps but I'm hoping to change that soon

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Overuse of pop-up archviles, especially if there's an easily discernible logic to the placement of them.

 

At first: "OH JESUS IT'S A FUCKING ARCHVILE"

 

Later: "Dear God, another archvile?"

 

Later still: *stands near exit door* "Archvile?" *presses W gingerly"

"teleport sound*

"(sigh) Archvile."

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Huge maps where it takes forever to get back to the fight in Coop.

Huge maps where it takes forever to find ungrabbed health/ammo.

Huge maps where it takes forever to get back to a key door.

Huge maps which can slow down gameplay at times.

Huge maps in which I can't tell how to proceed.

Huge maps I get lost in.

 

I really hate huge maps... I tend to get lost easily, so I spend so much time navigating that it gets boring. I like to be shooting shit every 10 seconds or so. Now a big map can be good if there's a central area that I can go back to, to find my way.

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13 hours ago, NuMetalManiak said:

The Chasm doesn't even have the kind of platforming I was talking about.

My bad

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23 hours ago, NeedHealth said:

How would you use Barons of Hell effectively ?

Replace it with two hell knights.

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4 minutes ago, Woolie Wool said:

Replace it with two hell knights.

I actually genuinely find myself doing things where like one difficulty has a Baron and higher difficulties replace it with two Hell Knights.

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  • Fighting multiple Barons/Knights in a teensy-tiny box, dodging puke-green fireballs like dancing between raindrops.
  • Taking unavoidable damage from paths covered in nukage/lava/blood/potato water, no radiation suits in sight.
  • Random sudden crusher trap #4587.
  • heehee hoep u liek revnants :)
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With the number of PWAD maps numbering in the thousands, following design tropes is unavoidable. Yes, modders do produce maps that are innovative, but the vast majority of maps will use level design principles that have been used extensively before. This doesn't bother me, but then again, my palate for user-made maps has generally not been terribly discerning, as long as they are fun to play.

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From my experience people don't seem to be particularly fond of walls that lower or raise slowly to hold the player back from accessing the next area when they should be doing something else in the meantime like fighting enemies. Then again I've probably just been implementing them wrong lol

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On 29. 11. 2017 at 9:24 PM, 94's the best style said:

Tvtropes lists causes of fake difficulty:

 

Bad technical aspects make it difficult. (really, really sloppy mapping.)

The outcome is not reasonably determined by the player's actions (aka hit a random texture that's a switch.)

Denial of information critical to progress. (aka. what did that switch do or where the hell do I go? Also having to conserve ammo trough multiple maps to have a chance at the later ones.)

The outcome of the game is influenced by decisions that were uninformed at the time and cannot be undone (an invicisphere on the open, later you open a door to a very long damage floor section with no radsuits or other stuff around.)

The game requires the player to use skills or knowledge that are either incorrect or have nothing to do with the genre (In very old wads, not marking your key doors, or labeling them with incorrect colors.)

This list covers all the most important things that I dislike in wads. I also have a few less important ones:

-Symmetry.

-Linear progression.

-Obviously grid-like architecture.

-Completely abstract shapes and curves everywhere.

-Revenant hordes, but mainly just for their obnoxious screaming.

That's just off the top of my head.

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lol i actually really like hordes of revenants, probably more so than HKs - theyre a bit more squishy and theyre just inherently comical in large crowds

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The one thing that honestly does annoy me are maps that seem to be designed more-so to look at than to actually play. An overabundance of detail and really, really boring fights scattered all over the mess that is sectors and linedefs on the digital canvas. Maps like that I find are commonly (perhaps) (sometimes) neat to look at but are incredibly boring to play. I also don't like maps that have a lot of custom content thrown in for the sake of it just being there. Things that are not themed well with your map or mapset bugs the hell out of me. Whenever you add something you should ask yourself "why do I want it and what will it add?" Also show some restraint.

 

I agree with 40oz, when somebody that clearly loves DOOM makes a map, and I mean really LOVES it, I can feel that love. It doesn't really matter what it looks like or how it plays, I just get the sense that the person who made it really tried, and cared. So I hope threads like these don't scare away people who are new to mapping or maybe want to give it a shot. Keep going at it, perfect your style, and if you get good enough you can make almost anything "cool" or interesting.

Edited by CARRiON
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I dislike doors that are locked but are not key doors. I would prefer mappers instead use bars as a visual clue that they are actuated by a switch.

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The problem there is bars are mechanically different -- monsters can see and shoot through them, sound propagates through them, etc.

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Another one that's strictly a dislike and not in any way a seething hatred or a will-not-play or anything quite so strongly felt:

 

Exits that the player only finds at the very end of the level.

 

Yes, I know that the exit marks the end of the level; the player arrives at the exit room, hits the switch or enters the teleporter, they're done, show me the score and give me the next map.  But an exit that isn't seen until the very end of the level, that exists only to tell the player "okay, you're done here, congratulations!" can feel like a missed opportunity.  The signature door and trim textures, the familiar exit signage, can enhance the usefulness as a landmark of an exit that can be seen but not accessed, whether that's because it's locked with a key that must subsequently be found, or due to a gap that must be bridged or a lift that must be raised or some other obstacle that the player can be shown, providing direction and purpose.  Smaller or more straightforward levels can readily do without this, but in larger, more non-linear, or more complex levels, introducing the exit early and making it part of the puzzle or problem that the player must solve can turn it into a genuine aid to navigation rather than just a finish line.

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Death exit that blows your eardrums. These should be considered a form of vanilla-compatible terry trap by now.

 

That obligatory cornice. Because apparently every building is supposed to look like that. In Doom, at least. Underdetailed otherwise.

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MAP30s which feature intense and long (I repeat: intense and long, not intense yet short) battles, with hundreds and hundreds of enemies, before you can confront the Icon of Sin itself. When you advocate playing with no saves, having to replay the entire map after defeating so many enemies and discovering so many secrets, just because the most annoying monsters (archviles, pain elementals, arachnotrons...) were spawned unfortunately while fighting the Icon of Sin, really sucks.

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1 hour ago, Cynical said:

The problem there is bars are mechanically different -- monsters can see and shoot through them, sound propagates through them, etc.

True, but there are ways of dealing with all that.

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2 minutes ago, Litrivin said:

MAP30s which feature intense and long (I repeat: intense and long, not intense yet short) battles, with hundreds and hundreds of enemies, before you can confront the Icon of Sin itself. When you advocate playing with no saves, having to replay the entire map after defeating so many enemies and discovering so many secrets, just because the most annoying monsters (archviles, pain elementals, arachnotrons...) were spawned unfortunately while fighting the Icon of Sin, really sucks.

I've never really got my head around this point of view.  Doom features saving specifically so you don't have to replay vast amounts of the level.  If you deliberately avoid using a feature, you can't really be unhappy when you end up struggling with the specific thing that feature exists to prevent.

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1 hour ago, Bauul said:

I've never really got my head around this point of view.  Doom features saving specifically so you don't have to replay vast amounts of the level.  If you deliberately avoid using a feature, you can't really be unhappy when you end up struggling with the specific thing that feature exists to prevent.

Saving also makes casual play (of most maps) a lot less fun and exciting for many people. 

 

So the choice of being required to use saves at the outset, or risk losing all saveless progress in a legitimately unfair scenario (e.g. unmarked voodoo doll telefragged traps), will make playing such long maps at all a lot less appealing -- at that point, there's no way to really enjoy it casually. Saves = zzz. Saveless = maybe argh. Speaking in general, not elaborating on Litrivin's point.

 

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