Smaller or Larger maps in megawads?

After playing through hundreds of WADs throughout the years, we've all came across megawads that have huge, sprawling puzzle maps with hundreds of monsters; taking about 20-30 minutes to complete (Eternal Doom?)  However, on the other end of the spectrum, you have megawads that incorporate smaller maps that are short and sweet, "Bite Sized" if you will, (Scythe 1).

 

So the question on my mind lately is which is better? This may seem like I'm just asking for everybody's opinion however, I would like to see the different kind of perspectives from WAD author and players alike, then see what determines whether or not the author decides to stick to a smaller canvas for their map, or keep expanding onto it. As somebody coming back to this community after leaving in 2013, I would love to get some insight on map size and what to be aware of when choosing between smaller or bigger maps for editing.

 

I listed Eternal Doom and Scythe 1 as great examples of these two mapping styles, mostly because these two come to mind whenever I think about creating maps with larger or smaller sized, and because these two mapsets are the most memorable for me in this regard (personal preference I guess), the discussion really doesn't have to be about the difference between these two WADs, but rather just giving you all an idea of what map sizes I'm referring to.

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I depends on the moon

 

Sometimes I want to explore big maps, have epic fights and spend some time with it

 

but sometimes I just want to rest with some small piece

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From a map-making perspective, smaller maps are easier to complete a lot of in a shorter amount of time. Yes, and water is wet. But my point is that from the perspective of the creator, the process can be rather labor-intensive. To make an interesting Eternal Doom-scale map takes time to draw, then more time to texture well, and then even more time to place things for an optimal experience. Then, after all of that, you still need to test it. And given that you need to try to test as many aspects as possible, that would be an even bigger investment of time. To do a good job on 1 map like that would be a beast. To do it on 32 maps of similar sprawling size and complexity COULD become a chore.

 

For a smaller map, you still have to do all the same things, there's just less of the map to do them in. So, it's easier, on it's face, to handle that level of commitment for 32 maps.

 

Either way, as you said, it really all comes down to personal preference. And, to paraphrase @skillsaw, why would anyone be enough of a masochist to do a second 32-level megawad, whether it's Eternal Doom epic or Scythe epic?

 

(Which is ironic, given that he has both Valiant and Ancient Aliens to his credit.)

Edited by Pegleg
Add last paranthetical statement about irony.

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I like maps that start out small and then unfold themselves as you go, dynamically becoming much bigger than you ever imagined they'd end up being. Mostly because doors open and reveal just how massive the initially cramped looking level gets.

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Whatever size is fine for me, taking your example for smaller maps, Scythe was a case where I got bored in the first 5 maps and quit, right after finnishing Final Doom for the first time. When I gave it another try, I thought that the size of the maps was not my main issue but because I was in the mood for something similar as Plutonia blah blah, turned out Scythe gave me what I needed, after map 6 lol... but previous Scythe were Requiem and the Memento Mori series, each case having a bunch of short and easy maps, and I was ok with them because that's what I was expecting. Now talking about larger maps, Plutonia 2 had bigger and longer maps than Plutonia in general, but I also enjoyed them as well.

 

Those examples I gave are from my early days with custom wads, and I was looking for specifics, nowadays it all comes down to >>>> mood. Despite being open to pretty much most styles in the game, if I'm not in the mood for a wad with all huge maps I'm not even bothering, same with every other type of map. 

 

In regards to my most preferred styles of gameplay, when it comes to large maps I like them more in the exploratory side, like Central Processing from TNT or any big map from BTSX, and for smaller maps I like action and a bit of claustrophobia, in which case each map takes me no less than 9 minutes blind, like anything in Going Down. It's not like I don't like action in bigger maps, but I'm not a fan of filler-ish situations (incidental monsters where it's obvious no thought was put into threat), and so I rather look for secrets and keys maybe. A big map with no secrets or just 1 is a huge miss imo. Also, if it adds something, bigger maps with smooth chill music, and smaller ones with punchy midis (except big slaughter maps where any midi should elevate your killer instinct).

 

Hope this answered your questions.    

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Short and sweet!

 

My favorite maps are non-linear slaughterhouses, but not as large as most slaughtermaps. Some of the stuff in Newgothic 1, Scythe map 30, and Scythe 2 map 24 all come to mind. Enough space to get that "epic" feel, but not big enough to get lost in. (And I'm pretty good at getting lost.)

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I like both equally as much.. but shorter maps have a higher chance to be tolerable for me.

 

Longer adventurous maps lose me a bit into the map if what I see is only hitscan or a few higher tier monsters bunched up at a time (I have passed the test of killing a few revs or barons at once). I actually start dying more because I’ll just start punching dudes with or without zerk or fuck around with monsters in order to keep me invested in the map (I caught myself doing this while playing grime today and god it was annoying rocketing imps over and over in sf2012 map30). This doesn’t really mean these are bad maps, I had a lot of fun overall with grime and like sf2012 map30 a lot, but, rather filler in larger maps sticking out much much more to me (I prioritize gameplay over visuals/atmosphere).

 

Because I prefer gameplay generally shorter maps are my preference when playing wads I don’t already know I like (however running maps is a different story for me). Fewer areas I need to get through in order to get to the stuff I might find interesting.

 

Both lengths can be done equally well.. but if there is a longer map full of non-threatening/non-lethal gameplay then the visuals can’t save it for me no matter what.. and at which point I would prefer it just be a shorter map.

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8 hours ago, K3K said:

we've all came across megawads that have huge, sprawling puzzle maps with hundreds of monsters; taking about 20-30 minutes to complete (Eternal Doom?)

'aight, 'aight, hol up there. 20-30 minutes is considered huge and sprawling? That sounds like your usual mid-sized map to me, if you're trying to kill everything and find the secrets. When I think huge and sprawling, I imagine something taking over 40 minutes to fully clear. Scythe map30 is an example, as it's very long during casual play.

 

To answer the thread: I prefer the above 20-30 minute mid-sized maps. They manage to stay memorable compared to their shorter counterparts while not succumbing to burnout which can happen during very long levels.

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Smaller. esp better for multiplayer. Huge sprawling map megawads take a ton of time both to make and play, probably better off as only a few of those maps per pack.

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Experience of play says that a megaWAD of epics works if they're all good maps, but you're much better off with mostly small-medium maps with the occassional titan. Particularly if it's a one-man megaWAD, as Mini-Level MegaWAD and Khorus' Speedy Shit were fantastic because you got a real sense of achievement from nipping through each short, sharp shock and enjoying the range of themes and challenges. Thinking back to Community Chest 3, where it really was a collection of Magnum Opus attempts punctuated with the occassional mid-sized map, it's not one I could see myself going back to play just because it'd take so long, even though I remember it by and large being a very solid set.

 

Of course, as I've seen come up a couple of times as of late, the actual MegaWAD format itself may be a bigger issue than what maps it's comprised of.

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5 hours ago, Spectre01 said:

'aight, 'aight, hol up there. 20-30 minutes is considered huge and sprawling? That sounds like your usual mid-sized map to me, if you're trying to kill everything and find the secrets. When I think huge and sprawling, I imagine something taking over 40 minutes to fully clear. Scythe map30 is an example, as it's very long during casual play.

 

To answer the thread: I prefer the above 20-30 minute mid-sized maps. They manage to stay memorable compared to their shorter counterparts while not succumbing to burnout which can happen during very long levels.

Anything over 15 minutes is huge, anything beyond 30 minutes is either really obscure secrets or busywork.

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if i had to pick i lean more towards smaller, but its a spectrum isnt it?

basically anything thats taking over 15 minutes to uv-max is a 'big' map to me.

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One to eight large maps is enough for me. And only one Eternal Doom map takes more than 20 minutes for me, the rest are a lot shorter than people give it for.

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I prefer the bigger maps and the more complex a level is the better. The weapons and monsters are one thing in Doom but I absolutely love the puzzle aspect of the games.

Flicking a switch and hearing it do 'Something' somewhere and trying to work out what - is a huge reason I play it.

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Depends what is understood by "big" . If we're also talking about complexity I prefer something in between. I started playing Memento Mori today and can't help but notice how some maps just drag on terribly. If it takes over 15-20min. at normal speed to complete then that's not ok for me.

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Large maps work when they feel like an adventure where the player's curiosity is regularly piqued and every section of the map fits logically into the whole. 

 

Maps that are large only because the author kept tacking on random areas upon random areas are bad.

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It completely depends on the author(s). Maybe they like making the earlier maps small, and the endgame ones real big, like in Alien Vendetta.

Edit: Oh yeah, but I prefer small maps

Edited by AsianMammoth

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For some reason I don't like huge maps as much. Stuff that takes +30 minutes to clear when played at a fast pace oftentimes is just trying my patience, or becomes a mental excercise. If I play a map that takes a long time to finish, then it's because I have a peculiar kind of interest in it. Ironically, I can pull a 2-ALL in DDP-DFK without ever getting bored in spite of knowing everything ahead of time, and a 2-ALL can take quite a while, especially with boss-milking.

 

I know I'm fangirling too much, but the reason I love Miasma so much is that, even though my first playthrough took me like 42 minutes, I never felt like I would get tired of the map. It constantly managed to hold my attention due to nice variety both visually and in terms of gameplay.

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

Anything over 15 minutes is huge

Anything how?, speedrun, blind, slow, cheating...?

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31 minutes ago, galileo31dos01 said:

Anything how?, speedrun, blind, slow, cheating...?

UD sized maps, where you have an idea of where to go.

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It really depends on the flow (or pacing) of the map. To put into perspective:

 

Some great small levels can be found in Scythe or, to use more specific examples, MAP07 from Vanguard, for example. Short, sweet and to the point. And then there are maps like MAP21 from the original DOOM II, which isn't necessarily a bad map in my opinion (though I'm aware many hate it), but feel rushed.

 

Some great big levels include some of the maps Mechadon has made (like Atlatl from PRCP, or Tricyclic Looper from BTSX), but take a look at Hellbound: that has a lot of big maps, and the pacing in them feels way too slow and unexciting. Put MAP15 of Hellbound (The Vault) next to Tricylic Looper: the former almost forces you to go at a slow pace, even when speedrunning, which the latter has enough hectic traps to keep you on your toes despite the rather large surface area.

 

Personally, I prefer shorter maps, but that doesn't mean I dislike bigger ones. It all depends on preference, really.

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I don't think the problem with big maps is that they are big maps. They are usually choke full of sniper towers and other annoying shit that cover every single inch of the map. Maps need slower segments and down time, 24\7 action on a map that takes an hour might be fun every now and then but it is very draining at the same time.

 

Edit : Of course not every single map needs this.

Edited by Pegg
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Posted (edited)

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