Advice on gameplay

I find if you can rationalize in words the gameplay logic behind any given encounter and make it sound interesting, at least to yourself, then you've got something.

Likewise, I like to build the other way around; by thinking of a gameplay idea in terms of mechanics first, and then tweaking layout, monsters, items to serve that idea.

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Outside of Phml's good suggestion my advice would be to play a lot of maps (or replay maps you like) and study the elements of gameplay that you enjoy so you can apply it to your own levels. Not steal setpieces wholesale of course, just working out the mechanics of why the setpiece worked well.

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One good goal is to have almost every room be a unique encounter. Memorable rooms and fights make for memorable maps.

Also think about how different enemy types can compliment each other. And definitely try to place enemies where they're actually dangerous, not just randomly or to "fill" an empty area. Trying to get the most out of every enemy you place makes for a more powerful level.

Another big one is to make sure it's easy for the player to know where to go next, avoiding "what did that switch do?" syndrome. Kind of obvious but still so easily overlooked.

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Dangerous monster placement is good but not every monster has to be a threat I think. Sometimes it feels good to just smash a pack of imps into gibs with rocket launcher in a totally safe area. Barrels have especially high fun factor, map15 from btsx comes to mind: in that level you can sometimes kill huge armies with one efficient barrel chain explosion. Super easy but very satisfying.

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It depends upon the map, but I agree with Memfis. Interspers(sp?) some challenge with rewards after big fights. Weapons should also be followed with an immediate example of their strength (I.e. Remember picking up the magnum in Half-Life 2? Yeah, everyone does:).

Exceptions abound, but I think those two things are almost always enjoyable.

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schwerpunk said:

Interspers(sp?)

Very close: "intersperse". You were just missing an 'E'.

Honestly, this thread's making me rethink the enemy placement for my 5 Rooms of Doom map. I had exhausted the more thought-out places to put enemies and still had a lot of dead space to fill, so I was just kinda throwing whatever in there... I think I'm going to do that over briefly. Maybe nix some of the heavier enemies like Mancubi or Hell Knights and fill it up with more of the weaker ones like zombies, Imps and Pinkies? I dunno.

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The monster tips so far have been good (I've got to make a barrel heavy map one of these days), but don't forget about making the level itself dynamic. Plats that drop you into hoards of monsters, or drop monsters into the room you're in as you approach. Monster "closets" that are actually the next area to progress through. Chunks of level that change appearance between visits. These things are all really cool to me and add to the map's fun factor versus a static map (most of my maps are static, coming from a game where changing level geometry isn't possible, it's something I need to work on myself).

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I dunno if your in the same boat as me because you didnt really provide any background but this is something I have to keep reminding myself: Dont be afraid to play dirty. Give the player some armor, a rocket launcher, a super shotgun, and or berserk pack and he is pretty much a nuclear powered death machine. Archviles, chaingunner closets, revenant squads, and infinite imp swarms are pretty acceptable during these circumstances

for me, sometimes it helps to initiate thing placement by providing gratuitous amounts of health ammo and weapons first, then start placing monsters in offensively difficult positions until the items become just enough to survive.

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And if you're looking for maps that look good (without adding loads of trimmings or anything) AND have awesome gameplay, then you could study the Plutonia Experiment maps!

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