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ella guro

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  1. ella guro

    Favorite "Creepy" Map?

    Sacrament Map 13
  2. is this named for the artist Forest Swords? i like his music. anyway will probably be checking this out
  3. @dobu gabu maru Memento Mori 2 Map 05 is a minor masterpiece imo (though map 27 is the real masterpiece). i like you can approach that map from different angles and while it breaks the scripted feel it makes it feel more like it's own world. that was one of my favorite things about Doom 1 episode 2, particularly E2M2 and E2M7 which feel like they should be mostly linear but have moments that break that progression. i wish Paul Noble ever really did anything else. i'd say the level design trends in the Doom community often reflect larger design trends in the industry. 90's maps are all over the place, of course, but tended to have tighter spaces and more trap-oriented gameplay which reflects the design of 90's FPSes around technological limitations and just trying to wring as much out of the limited scope as you can. in the early 2000's a lot of maps tended to be higher detailed sets of corridors and hallways, like increasingly tightly-scripted linear action games of the 2000's. Or the spaces became much more open and filled with enemy activity and infighting, echoing how more games of that period became about big open spaces and a lot of emergent gameplay that came from that. and now i see way more people talking about "flow" in a level's design than ever before, which also echoes the game industry's increasing self-consciousness about design with independent games, and game design theory terms entering the popular lexicon via bloggers/youtubers/games writers/etc. obviously there are many things that don't fit into these trends, but the general patterns tend to echo how game design has been conceptualized more broadly pretty well. i'm not sure whether that's bad or good? i think it's easy to be dismissive of things which don't meet a checklist of "good design", and that's something that i try and challenge as much as i can. on the other hand, being more able to critically talk individual elements of a level's design has been a really good thing for the Doom community and videogame spaces as a whole. and of course, improving how a map feels via iterations, testing, and feedback can certainly be very beneficial too, though it can help certain types of levels a lot more than others. btw, the link to the podcast episode @Linguica mentioned above is here: https://archive.org/details/beyondthefilter17doomisanartscene_andrewstine
  4. glad you guys enjoyed it! that article took forever to write. i had thought about posting it here but also felt like it might attract some kind of controversy on here so i didn't end up doing it. i'm happy someone did share it though. and yeah, i had written a previous article about A.L.T. for Unwinnable but there were a lot of ideas i wanted to go into more detail on that i didn't really have a chance to on the first article, so that's the reason why there are two different articles.
  5. ella guro

    What's up with Doom 2 maps?

    Doom 2's maps are all-over the place in terms of quality and often super janky and even kinda lazy. American McGee's early maps introduce an atmosphere and thematic consistently that never really goes anywhere afterwards. too much work fell on Sandy that he didn't really have the quality control to be able to carry, in spite of being an interesting designer. Romero's maps are mostly really good but too mixed up in other stuff to turn around the direction of the set. it's a unwieldy, too-long mess with flashes of brilliance, unlike the strong sense of place you get from most of Doom 1, esp the first two episodes. i've learned to love Doom 2 because of all its ideas, but it is not a cohesive work at all.
  6. ella guro

    Most favorite Level from Episode 1

    no one ever seems to say E1M6 for these things but it's my favorite.
  7. ella guro

    Your dumb Doom habits

    - OCD ammo/health micro-manging to the degree that it actively distracts me from thinking about the combat - saving constantly - trying to do dumb shit with chainsaw because i just gotta save more of that ammo - forgetting to use plasma/BFG - rocketing lost souls - wasting a lot of ammo on an enemy super far out of range on the map because i wanna be a cool sniper
  8. from my post on the other thread about E2M2:
  9. ella guro

    E2M2 is the best map that ever existed!

    Wolf3D had some really underrated and honestly great level design. if you compare it to a lot of the raycast engine style games that came after (like, say, Blake Stone), there's no real comparison. the design is way better on so many different fronts. there are so many more ideas and distinct moments in Wolfenstein 3D levels, and so much playing with expectation. probably the best examples of this are in Episode 4 floor 5 (which is genuinely disturbing and plays absurdist 4th wall tricks) and Episode 3 floor 8 (which is incredibly suspenseful and unpredictable) which are among my favorite videogame levels. both are designed by Tom Hall, of course. i will say i've never cared for Spear of Destiny as much as other people because it's less brilliantly unpredictable i its design, but it does also have that strong sense of place that his best maps do. i think people forget about Wolf3D 1) because it's so flat and 2) because Episode 1 mostly sucks and that's what people mostly played. Episode 1 is these lost, long hallways that do genuinely feel like a prison but aren't entirely captivating from a gameplay perspective. Episodes 2-6. though, all have a lot of classic moments in them, even though they can be scattered. even though 4 is my favorite for how truly bizarre it is, i think Wolf 3D Episodes 2 and 5 are the ones most worth playing overall. in spite of the fact that he can be inconsistent, Tom Hall was and is one of my favorite game designers, and i even felt that from playing some of his Mario Maker levels back a couple of years ago. he doesn't make the self-contained aesthetic contributions that Romero does but i feel like he's the more brilliant and versatile designer, especially at his best. his maps tell stories that are really captivating and multi-layered. E2M2 is abstract in the way the best Doom levels are, but it has a fully realized sense of place. it actually feels like a functioning base of some kind of while also being an engaging experience that introduce strange elements into the mix - no small feat. the whole idea of a base overtaken by otherworldly and hellish elements is felt strongly the map - no ingame storytelling is needed. so many ideas are contained in what might initially seem to be a flat and boxy layout. it's like the level tells an entire story as you go through it (another thing you can feel very much in particular with episode 2 map 4 of Doom 1). it also feels labyrinthine but in a way that is exciting and interesting to unpack, and not as complicated as it might look. the fact that the crate maze is a central feature of the level but you can largely bypass it because the map points you to the critical path by the berserk pak is also really brilliant. i'm glad this map, and Tom Hall as a designer, is finally getting the love it deserves from the Doom community. i think E3M7 is almost as brilliant of a moody puzzle-style map with its own very distinct sense of place that i've still seen very few maps ever touch, though it may not wow like E2M2 does.
  10. ella guro

    WADs: Most Overrated/Underrated, Most Surprising/Disappointing

    i'll skip overrated/disappointing Underrated: A.L.T. Surprise: NOVA: The Birth, in spite of being a set for mostly new Doom mappers, turned out to feel pretty fresh and be one of the better sets i've played. re: slaughter discussion, i think it's easy to just say that a lot of mapsets tend to lean too hard on a certain kind of difficulty stemming from enemy encounters that can grow stale and repetitive, regardless of whether you'd characterize that as "slaughter" or not. that often stems from hardcore gamer "git gud" sentiments that tend to be common in modding communities, and also the idea of challenge as a marker of quality.
  11. ella guro

    The Given - A large, monsterless, puzzle map (on /idgames)

    just played through this - ending up completing 4 of the 6 puzzles. i have some quibbles about the puzzle design but otherwise this is EXTREMELY my shit and would love to see more of this. and of course the theme of the world itself/all the details were really great though sometimes i think the detail did undermine the puzzles because it was pretty hard to tell if something was just world design detail or a hint for the puzzles.
  12. i was born in 1987. a lot of stuff came out that year (Zelda 2 & Mario 2, the original Metal Gear and Final Fantasy) but i'll pick an obscure one and say Bubble Ghost (though the GB version that came later is better) also Maniac Mansion is in second.
  13. ella guro

    Is there anything in Doom you find truly archaic?

    navigating the level via color-coded keys, the episodic structure (though i see that coming back in indie games more in recent years), the fact health/ammo isn't portioned out but it's all or nothing, and having no real easy way to tell what hitting switches does. also the labyrinthine level design of Doom is something a lot of people who are less fond of Doom will say makes it dated, but that's easily one of my favorite parts of it (and it's one way that i'd say current standard industry practice is a lot worse than it used to be).
  14. ella guro

    Megawads vs Megamaps

    megawad of short to medium size maps with a lot of variety and different themes/design styles explored in them is my preference.
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