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A.Gamma

Differences in design between tech and hell levels.

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It's a truth universally acknowledged, that hell levels in Doom, must be harder than the tech ones. So, in order to achieve this, does a mapper needs to approach them differently? Does the very fundation (layout) of a hell level has to be radically different than that of a tech one? What counts as a "hell textured techbase" and what doesn't? 

 

I ask mostly out of curiosity, but also because I have never created a hell level in the time I've been mapping and my approach to castle or medieval themes tends to be similar to my bases, just with bigger architecture; and I can't help to think that this may be the wrong approach.

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9 hours ago, ETTiNGRiNDER said:

...is it?  Hell levels tend to go at the end of megawads since they tend to follow a similar plotline to the original Doom/II and thus tend to be called on to be harder that way but I never heard anything saying that individual hell-themed levels have to be harder than individual tech levels.

To me there are two things that epitomize Doom hell, and those are marble dungeons and Petersen acid trips.  Or better yet marble dungeons with Petersen acid trips inside them, hah.  You have more freedom to put in wacky room designs and strange texture themes because hey, it's hell, it doesn't have to make sense in the same way something designed by humans would be expected to.  That's what it means to me anyway.  It seems popular to make custom levels set in hell be medieval in style with castles and stuff but I feel like that trope was influenced more by sources outside Doom than from ones within it.

It's actually been a while since I last played a non-medieval hell level actually; maybe I'm just playing the wrong wads. What would be a good modern example of the classic Doom hell levels then?

And while we're on it, would you consider whacky stuff Ribbiks/Dobu/Xaser/some other I may be forgetting, put out could classify as "Petersen acid trips"?

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On 1/13/2018 at 6:05 PM, A.Gamma said:

It's actually been a while since I last played a non-medieval hell level actually; maybe I'm just playing the wrong wads. What would be a good modern example of the classic Doom hell levels then?

And while we're on it, would you consider whacky stuff Ribbiks/Dobu/Xaser/some other I may be forgetting, put out could classify as "Petersen acid trips"?

Well, I'm not really the best person to be asking when it comes to modern WADs, but the one that would have come to my mind is Cyriak's "The Eye" which mostly fits the "marble dungeon" category but has some trippy stuff as well.  Mostly in the form of guts areas which are a bit of a predictable addition for Doom but it's also got little techy bits peeking out here and there.

 

Regarding the other names you mention, let's look at a few...

dobu gabu maru - "Saturnine Chapel": Yeah that fits.  Lots of unorthodox texture use, pulsing lights, scrolling stuff, colorful etc.

Ribbiks - "Swim With The Whales": Not really, if anything it's more like a Quake hell (or well, Quake "evil dimension" since I don't think Quake really referenced hell) with all that black/dark brown metallic stuff interspersed with blue (albeit quite a more scrumptious blue than Quake's) and Quake mappers do seem to love their towers-in-the-void maps.  It's surreal but not in what I'd consider a Petersenesque way.  Too orderly, not enough contrasting colors.

Xaser - "Sharp Things": Rather more "conservative" to original Doom as it were but does come off as being a bit of a tribute to Petersen style.

If you had other ones in mind, name them?

 

I guess I should list a few things that I would consider characteristic of the sort of thing I'm thinking of, it'd be things like:

- Animated stuff (scrollers, frequently faces or skulls or dead bodies but possibly other odd things spinning around columns like in Pandemonium.  Animated textures, like nuke/blood falls, FIREBLU, puking gargoyles, etc.)

- Contrasting/clashing color combinations.  Green/red, green/orange, red/blue tend to be the usual suspects.

- Mixed themes, level doesn't have the same sort of rooms and textures throughout and going through a door or down a lift might take you to a place that looks wildly different from the one you were just in.

- Tech stuff merged with more traditionally hellish themes and/or used in bizarre architecture (see, for instance, The Chasm).  Tends to work especially well with some of the more greeble-y tech textures that don't make a whole lot of sense to begin with.  The wires-through-dead-bodies texture (SLOPPY I think the name is?) is a great one for this kind of stuff too.

- Weird stuff that's weird in ways that are intended to be creepy or unsettling.  Gory/Satanic stuff, but not forgetting the other points on the list.

Now you don't need to tick off every single thing on that list to make something that captures that sort of weirdness, but those are the characteristics that come to mind.

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9 minutes ago, ETTiNGRiNDER said:

dobu gabu maru - "Saturnine Chapel": Yeah that fits.  Lots of unorthodox texture use, pulsing lights, scrolling stuff, colorful etc.

To quote @dobu gabu maru himself, "you're penetrating into a dead man's emotionally damaged unconscious, and the remaining scraps of his fraught mind will fight tooth and nail to keep this hallowed dreamscape alive."

 

So, yeah, I can see how you could get to trippy here.

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Keep in mind that in the classic Doom games, techbase and hell maps were often one and the same. E1, E2 and E3 suggest a slow descent into hell, with the transition not being complete until near the end of E3. In Doom 2 this is also the case, where the second half of the game gradually becomes increasingly hellish.

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I know exactly what you mean when you say "hell textured techbase" and those things always drove me crazy. Scythe 2, Whispers of Satan, and Ultimate Simplicity had a few of these. I've noticed there are some mappers that can make really good techbases but can't make a good hell map.

 

its kinda confusing to explain what's in a hell map. The best ones exceed your expectations and do a lot of unnatural and uncomfortable things. Massive pitfalls, excessive darkness, super tall towers, etc. You really want to get past any comfort zones youve made for yourself when mapping and just create a warped and twisted sort of place. And use a lot of decorations. Theres a lot of hell themed ones.

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2 hours ago, GoatLord said:

Keep in mind that in the classic Doom games, techbase and hell maps were often one and the same. E1, E2 and E3 suggest a slow descent into hell, with the transition not being complete until near the end of E3.

That's really not true though. It's not gradual at all. There's virtually no hell elements in E1 whatsoever, and by the beginning of E3 you're balls deep in hell already, and it's made fairly obvious. The transitional period is E2 when the two worlds are brought together.

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On 15/1/2018 at 4:19 PM, ETTiNGRiNDER said:

I guess I should list a few things that I would consider characteristic of the sort of thing I'm thinking of, it'd be things like:

- Animated stuff (scrollers, frequently faces or skulls or dead bodies but possibly other odd things spinning around columns like in Pandemonium.  Animated textures, like nuke/blood falls, FIREBLU, puking gargoyles, etc.)

- Contrasting/clashing color combinations.  Green/red, green/orange, red/blue tend to be the usual suspects.

- Mixed themes, level doesn't have the same sort of rooms and textures throughout and going through a door or down a lift might take you to a place that looks wildly different from the one you were just in.

- Tech stuff merged with more traditionally hellish themes and/or used in bizarre architecture (see, for instance, The Chasm).  Tends to work especially well with some of the more greeble-y tech textures that don't make a whole lot of sense to begin with.  The wires-through-dead-bodies texture (SLOPPY I think the name is?) is a great one for this kind of stuff too.

- Weird stuff that's weird in ways that are intended to be creepy or unsettling.  Gory/Satanic stuff, but not forgetting the other points on the list.

Now you don't need to tick off every single thing on that list to make something that captures that sort of weirdness, but those are the characteristics that come to mind.

 

2 hours ago, 40oz said:

I know exactly what you mean when you say "hell textured techbase" and those things always drove me crazy. Scythe 2, Whispers of Satan, and Ultimate Simplicity had a few of these. I've noticed there are some mappers that can make really good techbases but can't make a good hell map.

 

its kinda confusing to explain what's in a hell map. The best ones exceed your expectations and do a lot of unnatural and uncomfortable things. Massive pitfalls, excessive darkness, super tall towers, etc. You really want to get past any comfort zones youve made for yourself when mapping and just create a warped and twisted sort of place. And use a lot of decorations. Theres a lot of hell themed ones.

When I read these, I couldn't help but to picture the Divine Comedy, the descriptions of hell given by Dante Alighieri are quite bizarre and uncomfortable. If I were make a hell themed level in the future I'll definitely take this into account.

 

Hell textured techbases have been a pet peeve of mine for quite some time; I find it incredibly annoying when a hell map could become a techbase just by retexturing since the same design elements are present. (also why I haven't made a hell map yet, I fear falling into this trope myself)

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By "Hell-textured techbase," are we talking about castle maps? If so, I'd tend to view those as Goth maps rather than true Hell.

 

I personally like to mix tech and hell elements into the HellTech or Corrupted Base theme. Among other things, it gives you a license to crank up the nasty in fight design.

 

But for a true Hell map, well, rather than expound, here's an example of a famous mapper who clearly avoided the "Hell-textured techbase" problem.

 

 

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I don't even know how many times I got my ass kicked in Deus Vult II... Still an awesome mapset.

 

Anyway, what I mean with "hell textured techbase" (and I assume @40oz too), is a hell themed map which you could easily repurpose by means of texturing and thing replacement (no architecture editing) to a techbase one. 

 

To illustrate this, I present evidence A:

 

fc9aNC9.png

 

Does this map seem familiar to you?

 

Spoiler

It's Whispers of Satan Map 28

 

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@A.Gamma That's a wonderful example of what I would call a Goth map. I guess it all depends on how you look at it. Are there buildings in Hell? Maybe the community has come to view these Hell-textured base maps as actually Hell, but I would disagree with them. Castles are buildings, with no real difference from a techbase other than the absence of computer panels and light strips. But the Hell textures can serve well enough to give a Goth feel, though if you're pointing out that this particular map lacks architectural features one might expect from a castle -- defensive walls, towers, perhaps a giant central room, etc., then that's a different kettle of fish.

 

I suppose that this thread is, at least partly, an effort to define what a Hell map is. To me, a Hell map is what I showed -- abstract architecture based primarily on rock textures, with an organic, nonlinear layout. It has lava, because Biblical Hell has a Lake of Fire. It might have wall structures and alcoves made of Gstone or Marb and its derivatives, but it really should not have formal buildings. Especially, there should be no castles, and absolutely no buildings with a techbase structure covered in Hell textures.

 

I'm okay with a Goth/Castle map being a thing of its own, with rectilinear structure, but such a map is not a Hell map. It can serve as an entrance to Hell, and if you have a multi-map set, you can start with your Goth buildings and tweak them in succeeding maps so they get more hellish -- i.e., -- have more and more abstract/organic areas dominated by rock textures and perhaps some glowing pools of lava.

 

Maybe I'm being too restrictive. It just seems apparent to me that a map which has a defined structure as some kind of building simply cannot be Hell, no matter what textures you splash on it.

 

Btw, I've never played a single Deus Vult map, but I did play your Hadephobia map, and really enjoyed it. It seemed like a hellish cavern kinda thing, very abstract in architecture and kinda spooky. IMO, you won't have any trouble creating a successful Hell map.

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Well, to me a Goth map has some more epic architecture than a regular techbase (a wonderful example is imo, Forsaken Overlook by Snakes), so a map like the one I showed is neither a Goth map nor a hell map, it's a hell-textured techbase, at least for me.

 

While my intention whit this thread was to satiate my curiosity, I think it has indeed become an effort to define "Doom Hell", and am actually glad to see that at least some people share my opinion that a hell should be it's own thing and that a goth castle is not equal to hell.

 

P.S. I'm happy that you enjoyed my Hadephobia map, even if I don't consider it any good by my new standards; and even if that's in fact, the very definition of "hell-textured techbase".

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@A.Gamma Bingo! That's exactly what I'm talking about. Great example too. 

 

These maps aren't inherently bad btw. I wasn't moaning and groaning the entire time I was playing it. In fact, the later maps in Whispers of Satan were quite fun. But to me, the hell theme begs for so much more. Hell is a tricky theme to get down. The best I can suggest is to do your best to break the player's expectations for your kind of mapping style.

 

The IWAD Doom and Doom 2 maps don't really have very good examples of a good hell map. A lot of them kinda fall under the umbrella of a hell textured techbase.

 

- E3M2 Slough of Despair has an ashy charred desolate wasteland look until you find out it's just a hand with a bunch of C shaped sectors in it.

 

- E3M6 Mt. Erebus kinda/sorta looks like a mountain, or maybe the summit of a mountain. You really have to use your imagination for this one though.

 

- MAP28 The Spirit World is pretty cool exept it's textured all sorts of crazy. It's got a lot of parts that wouldn't be textured well into looking like a good techbase though.

 

- MAP29 The Living End is probably one of the best in Doom that I can think of, with the blood ocean, the massive pitfalls and giant vistas you can see over.

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TIL that despite having no idea how to design or texture a techbase that both maps I've released are secretly techbases with different wallpaper.

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This topic should be a mapper battle. One person creates a map in one of the styles and challenges everyone else to retexture it in the other style. If nobody succeeds, he won.

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12 minutes ago, Gez said:

* I'm not going on a meta level here. Yes, all levels are designed by humans (the mapper) and to serve the purpose of offering gameplay. That's not what I'm talking about.

OBLIGE says hello ;-)

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16 hours ago, Impie said:

by the beginning of E3 you're balls deep in hell already, and it's made fairly obvious

Thank you, Sandy Petersen. His vicious streak really fit well with Hell.

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1 hour ago, Gez said:

Regardless of why you need to swim through nukage to reach the door, a techbase shouldn't look like it was designed to have personnel routinely swim through nukage to go through service doors. On the other hand, this kind of things is perfectly justified for a hell level. Crushers, sharp drops, lava pits, etc. Demons don't care about functionality. Demons aren't trying to do some research or production job. Ideally, each hell level should seem impossible to exit normally and require some superhuman effort to beat. Climbing, jumping, crossing through lethal obstacles, and so on. Hell doesn't want you to progress.

 

A switch hunt or key hunt is a typically "techbase" obstacle. It's a "bureaucratic" obstacle in that you have to accomplish a simple but formal task before you can do another. A row of crushers or a trek through damaging floor is a typically hellish obstacle. It's not a question of procedure to follow, it's just trying to hurt you and kill you. The level doesn't want you to puzzle out what the workers had to do and then imitate their tasks; the level just wants to stop you.

I think these are great design philosophy ideas, and I will implement them in my Hell maps, and to some extent, in any Goth maps intended to precede the descent into Hell.

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9 hours ago, 40oz said:

These maps aren't inherently bad btw. I wasn't moaning and groaning the entire time I was playing it. In fact, the later maps in Whispers of Satan were quite fun. But to me, the hell theme begs for so much more. Hell is a tricky theme to get down. The best I can suggest is to do your best to break the player's expectations for your kind of mapping style.

 

I agree, the last maps of Whispers of Satan where fun as hell (heh), but visually they could have been so much more.

 

4 hours ago, Memfis said:

This topic should be a mapper battle. One person creates a map in one of the styles and challenges everyone else to retexture it in the other style. If nobody succeeds, he won.

So like Battle: Switcheroom? That's not a bad idea actually...

 

3 hours ago, Gez said:

Regardless of why you need to swim through nukage to reach the door, a techbase shouldn't look like it was designed to have personnel routinely swim through nukage to go through service doors. On the other hand, this kind of things is perfectly justified for a hell level. Crushers, sharp drops, lava pits, etc. Demons don't care about functionality. Demons aren't trying to do some research or production job. Ideally, each hell level should seem impossible to exit normally and require some superhuman effort to beat. Climbing, jumping, crossing through lethal obstacles, and so on. Hell doesn't want you to progress.

 

A switch hunt or key hunt is a typically "techbase" obstacle. It's a "bureaucratic" obstacle in that you have to accomplish a simple but formal task before you can do another. A row of crushers or a trek through damaging floor is a typically hellish obstacle. It's not a question of procedure to follow, it's just trying to hurt you and kill you. The level doesn't want you to puzzle out what the workers had to do and then imitate their tasks; the level just wants to stop you.

 

* I'm not going on a meta level here. Yes, all levels are designed by humans (the mapper) and to serve the purpose of offering gameplay. That's not what I'm talking about.

Those are some wonderful desing philosophies, and while I try to think about the "employees" when designing a base (not all the time mind you), making a hell level bent on killing you is something I'll definitely implement.

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Has there ever been a mapset that started in hell and then progressed through hell-spawned tech bases and then to Earth-like layouts?  (I assume so, but I'm most familiar with the IWADs and a select few custom mapsets...)

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I think it was the plan for TNT2, starting you basically in the ruin of the final level of TNT, and fighting your way back out of Hell.

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3 hours ago, Dirk said:

Has there ever been a mapset that started in hell and then progressed through hell-spawned tech bases and then to Earth-like layouts?  (I assume so, but I'm most familiar with the IWADs and a select few custom mapsets...)

Resurgence is sort of like this, but iirc it's Hell, then techbases, then hellbases, then back to Hell at the very end.

 

ETA: Also, keep your eye on Nova 3. The progression is Hell, then jungle ruins, then moonbases.

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3 hours ago, Dirk said:

Has there ever been a mapset that started in hell and then progressed through hell-spawned tech bases and then to Earth-like layouts?  (I assume so, but I'm most familiar with the IWADs and a select few custom mapsets...)

 

Memento Mori II was probably the first major project to do so, but I'm sure it is far from the only one.

 

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I was always under the impression that there were factions in hell trying to avoid being assimilated into the technotronic hellscape.

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On 1/17/2018 at 1:55 PM, Gez said:

The main difference between "techbase" and "hell" theme is the nature of the design. A techbase was (fictionally*) designed by humans to serve some purpose,

The only way to reach the red door is to take a swim through the nukage pool. That's not practical design.

That sounds a lot like a certain official Episode 1 map, doesn't it? :D

 

maxresdefault.jpg

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I suppose a question that this thread dances around is that, if we made a megawad that starts in Hell and ended in a techbase, would our level design change? Like, an easy Hell level could become less grandiose and open, perhaps with less environmental hazard, whilst the techbase would feature less corridors and have more complex progression and traps. With the boss monsters being more technological and most other hard enemies having elements of this, it might be interesting to adjust enemy placement to go with this altered design philosophy. Perhaps one to try out by an aspiring megawad author one day.

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