Single Status Update
Seems pretty good, but I have a couple of nitpicks (very minor, however).
I thought that IWAD was "internal WAD", not "initial WAD". I'd also say "digging your way out" instead of "building your way out", as digging implies subtracting space while building implies adding space, and I'm pretty sure you're trying to convey the concept of subtractive space. It also just sounds more appropriate for the "underground" analogy. Lastly, I suggest ordering the geometry creation list with sector, line, then vertex rather than sector, vertex and line.
And maybe this would get more exposure and be more relevant in the editing subforum? The bit about your wife being the prospective mapper is more blogs material, but the focus it seems is trying to create the ideal Doom mapping guide for total novices that know next to nothing about game design from a technical perspective.
Hmm. I get where you're coming from in making a structured plan; but at the same time, you're dropping a ton of knowledge on her at once without giving her the time to discover things on her own and truly familiarize herself with the process.
Even if it's tempting to do things "right", I think it could be just as helpful to just let her try stuff, hover around and answer any practical question she might have. After all isn't that what we wish we have, whenever we learn something new? Something or someone to deliver instantly the exact answer we need, the right amount of knowledge and not a drop more.
I know when I started, the biggest hurdle wasn't my misunderstanding of PWAD/IWAD terminology nor my misconception of Doom space, but rather... How do I start drawing stuff? Ok, now do I make a room? Cool, now how do I make a door? Neat, now let's try those stairs...
Simple questions that take only a few minutes of fiddling around to solve each, but having someone else to point you in the right direction turns those minutes into seconds and you get to the actual part where you actually make stuff and in that process learn how to make stuff, rather than learn how to use the program.
Plus then you run into problems like deleting a vertex to change a shape and seeing your whole sector disappear, and that's where it's really useful to have someone around to tell you what happened exactly and how to fix it. It's also better than to be told the right way from the start, because if you don't make the mistake yourself then it's harder to grasp why the right way is the right way.
Agree with Soda in that this would be good Doom Editing material for a general purpose guide.
Not sure I want the exposure :P
thanks for the input though, I'll modify the lesson appropriately. I went over it with her last night in a short, literally, 15 minute session that clearly covered everything i wanted to cover, and gave her a chance to interact with the editor. She got to practice drawing isolated shapes and drawing sectors to connect them together. It wasn't really clear to her what exactly what she was doing, I think. She didn't make any attempt to conform to the grid. She drew some sloppy squares and triangles and other random shapes, but i had her practice so she could get into the rhythm of right clicking to start a sector, and left clicking to plant vertices, and closing sectors. To a first-timer, i presumed this action wouldn't flow naturally at first, so having her create some "my first sectors" would solidify the process. I don't think its very clear to her the kind of worlds she wants to create. She's only played from E1M1 to E1M6, so i doubt she has a fully visualized idea of what she wants to make of this yet, unlike most of us who probably had preconcieved ideas for maps before we even downloaded the editor. I told her theres no limit to how many vertices you cany put in a sector, so I had her draw the most complex sector she could come up with, and she tried to draw a dinosaur :P
in the next lesson I'll show her how to place things, like player 1 starts, visual mode cameras, keys, weapons, health, ammo, powerups, decorations, and monsters. That way she can explore the world of testing your own creations, so she can see what her shapes look like in the first person perspective, perhaps she will have a better sense of space, and consider drawing sectors that resemble rooms she would want to play in.
When we've created some rooms and ran around inside them as the player, collecting weapons and health bonuses, looking at decorations and things and killing an imp or two, I'll load up a linear template map that I will have made that demonstrates how to use decoration things, like how some hang from the ceiling, block movement, and some examples of how to use them in ways that look nice, like torches in alcoves, and floor lamps that radiate psuedo light point sourcing with sectors. After that, demonstrate the use of items and powerups. There will be things like a marked door that requires a keycard, with the key down a hallway next to it, or a flooded hallway with nukage, and a secret door revealing a radiation suit, demonstrating that you can look for mistextured walls as a hint for secret items, and that the radsuit lets you pass through damaging floors without getting hurt. Sort of like the hazard course tutorial in half-life. (does a map like this exist somewhere already?)
Later in the map, there will be a demonstration of dooms weapons, with a single weapon in each room, accompanied by a switch that reveals a monster closet containing the monsters that particular weapon works best against. I'll probably have her go IDDQDing through it since she's not very heavily acclimated with the game yet. But that will give her some ideas of what she might like to create.
Edit: I'm thinking of designing the map in such a way that is 'unfinished' and letting her demonstrate what she has learned by attaching a starting room to the map, and placing the player start. Perhaps the gun range part of the map can be its own isolated section of the map, (maybe with windows so you can see the places you can't get to.) after we get through the first part, I could have her move the player start position in the editor to the other part and test it again. This might help to open up the fascination of the things youre capable of doing from within the editor.