Single Status Update
I managed to pull myself into a state of mind with my Doom mapping that to this day I sort of regret. I don't regret it totally, because my mapping was done with the utmost respect for the community and I had acquired many different skills and understanding of the map editor as a result of it. There were rewards involved and my contributions nominated me for to become this years mapper of the year. I'm extremely happy knowing that I have made a number of achievements here that will be documented for the rest of this site's lifetime. I've also recieved a cake commemorating my achievement from a friend of mine (I love you Julie!) i mentioned in this post. I feel like I could potentially use this award as a quality in my resume if I were to look into a career in video game level design. The drawback is that I am now realizing that I could be doing better. However, it could be different than what you think is better, it's not in my agenda to care.
A common trend that I'm recognizing more now than ever before is making its mark in so many industries. movies, video games, music, and even in this Doom community. There appears to be some sort of reasoning as to why entertainment industries are doing this, being as though it is a legitimate marketing strategy and it's profitable. This trend I'm recognizing is that we allow criticism to dictate our actions. Hollywood is responding to movie reviews of old favorites and attempting to remake the same movie better, using our longlived love for the original as the initial selling point. Modern scifi military shooters are inheriting the same gameplay mechanics from each other. regenerating health, class systems, immersive storylines, cinematic visuals, limited weapon slots, etc. Almost all pop music uses autotuned vocals and features artists singing about their desire to make it big and get drunk and "baby i love you; you're so fine you're so fine" bullshit. This stuff sells so it's recycled over and over as being something that's new and different when its roots and initiative are inherently exactly the same.
There's no profit involved with Doom mapping and I'm actually quite in favor of that. With profit out of the equation, you'd think that would create a counterculture of people where there's minimal incentive to listen to what people have to say about you or your mapping, and just do your own thing. Unfortunately, the train of thought that calls for making wads for attention and notoriety, where the rewards are in the satisfaction of knowing that there are people that can respect you for following all the "directions" of making a good Doom map. All our varying opinions and criticism of each others work boils down to a very strict canonical way of mapping that must be followed to avoid harsh criticism. I think my own mapping falls into this customary category of mapping and I think that helped forward my nomination towards mapper of the year, which makes me feel undeserving of the award.
I've found that my favorite mappers are mappers that are mapping for no one but themselves. Mappers whose thought process is along the lines of "If I can manipulate Doom, this is how I want my Doom to be" instead of "this is what I think people want their Doom to be" Some of my favorite mappers, such as Huy Pham, who created Deus Vult wanted to make an epic adventure, with extreme difficulty to put his own skills to the test, because Doom 2 on Nightmare mode just isn't enough for him. Erik Alm, who is a pretty predominant speedrunner created many maps with extreme numbers of monsters that call for fantastic speedrunning tactics to survive. The makers of Hell Revealed, Hell Revealed 2, and Alien Vendetta also made those wads for that same reason. These wads are timeless despite not meant to please all audiences. Players of these wads have to revert to the ideals of the mapper's playing strategy to enjoy it, and stretches the open-mindedness of the player. There are many other mappers I am sure make maps with this same mindset. If I were more close to these people I could make more mentions, but at the moment I feel that ArmouredBlood, Walter Confalionieri, and Boon Lived meet these qualities. (Again I'm sure there are more, but I'd have to make more time to play maps by various authors to recognize them)
There is without a doubt rewards in responding to criticism with your actions. You fix bugs in your maps, make them more playable, learn to avoid annoying quirks etc. Criticism has been the most important part of the results of my mapping, but it shouldn't be. Criticism shouldn't be most important for anyone. The most important part of mapping should be the mapper's core values. The mapper must pinpoint exactly the things he/she likes or dislikes about Doom and seek to enhance the things they enjoy, and improve on the things they dislike. Not what anyone else likes or dislikes. This allows the players to see Doom through your eyes and not through the eyes of the melting pot of map reviewers everywhere, who eventually all boil down to the same likes and dislikes unless more people were to branch out and spit out their wayward views on the game. Too often I see wads that are strict about aligning textures, having safe, not-too-hard but not-too-easy gameplay, traps tied to specific events, using new resources, simplified puzzles, etc. These things may seem to be the best qualities of a wad, in fact almost all of my maps utilize these things. But I feel as though these characteristics of "good" wads are limiting. Almost as if they serve as a barrier from people outletting their creative potential, and instead conform to these ideals to avoid negative response at themselves and their wads.
I'm just not phased by negative response anymore. I'm not going to seek to make people hate my maps, but for now on I'm going to stop following routine and strive to put emphasis on my mapping strengths more so than ever. I'm gonna exaggerate my favorite things about Doom and what makes doom so great. and make maps based on things that I enjoy about Doom and less about what other people think makes the best maps. I encourage anyone who wants to make wads for Doom to do the same.
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Unfortunately, the train of thought that calls for making wads for attention and notoriety, where the rewards are in the satisfaction of knowing that there are people that can respect you for following all the "directions" of making a good Doom map. All our varying opinions and criticism of each others work boils down to a very strict canonical way of mapping that must be followed to avoid harsh criticism. I think my own mapping falls into this customary category of mapping and I think that helped forward my nomination towards mapper of the year, which makes me feel undeserving of the award.
I think you're being overly harsh on yourself here. For one, you have to actually partake in the deliverance of communal expectation and demand first in order to even realize and understand the sort of observations that you've made, as it's part of the process of becoming a better mapper. You can't really think outside the box until you know full well what the contents are, and I'm certain that anyone would be forgiven for thinking that the Doom community - a community dedicated the longevity and potential exploitation of a by-modern-standards ancient game - is a community exempt from the same trend that afflicts the mentioned industries because it's so niche an interest that passion and creativity is the only possible thing that could dictate the formation of an author's ideas and maps. It's easy to confuse this passion (and the Doom community has it in droves) with the zealous insistency of conforming to trends and techniques, and especially when it comes to criticism, so perhaps it's reasonable to suggest that it's your mapping within this trend and within that which you condone that you are finally able to make this distinction.
The most important part of mapping should be the mapper's core values. The mapper must pinpoint exactly the things he/she likes or dislikes about Doom and seek to enhance the things they enjoy, and improve on the things they dislike. Not what anyone else likes or dislikes.
Yes, yes! A thousand times yes! Now bare with me here:
The nigh limitless potential of Doom mapping I think rather constrains mappers because they are daunted by what it is they might be able to pull off, resorting instead to building upon what they know they can pull off. Of course, this is the safest way for new mappers to develop because you have to walk before you can run, but once a mapper does develop his/her skills it becomes difficult to escape the bonds that harnessed them, and since the next greatest interest of the mapper is not to learn more but to achieve more, playing it safe and conforming to the demands of the industrial trend (merely in using the skills taught by critical response and previously known methods) is the only way to fly. In the end, what this means is that a mapper’s goals and values can become highly confused. Although he/she may very well be able to pinpoint what it is they like and dislike, and how they want to shape their maps in light of these likes and dislikes, they are effectively "blocked off" by an over reliance to methods and skills brought on by a previous generation's reliance to the very same, dictated through criticism. And I guess that's the heart of the issue really: The circulation of information through critique and review.
But hey, I can talk. I've yet to even get off the ground when it comes to mapping, and thrown into the midst of it all I probably wouldn't be able to distinguish my arse from my elbow! Although that should be all the more reason for wanting to pay attention to this issue.
Also, I would respond to Hellbent's post but because of all this typing and mind-storming my brain is now refusing to respond to my comman--.....
Of course the decisions are yours to make and you should build what you want to, but don't be silly; taking criticism into account will help you grow, not limit you, as long as you accept that not everyone wants the same things as you. It can be important to consider outside perspectives, even if it's just to keep your head from getting lodged too far up your proverbial ass; considering others' opinions and ideas can help you better achieve what you are aiming for, as long as you keep your own goals in mind and don't let them be overshadowed by the considering of others' ideas as demands.