Sandy Peterson (sic)

I feel that Sandy Peterson has done some of the most memorable WADs which are both good (such as Suburbs and Downtown) and worst (Deimos Anomoly) levels in both Doom I and II. How do you feel about Sandy?

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Better than a lot of people give him credit for. He clearly put a lot of effort into his/Tom Hall's maps, but people can't see past some of his texture choices.

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Sandy Peterson? That guy sucks!

Sandy Petersen, on the other hand, is a great level designer who was always full of ideas and trying to push the game in new directions. Romero, Hall, and McGee tended to have a set design formula that they relied on for all of their levels, but Sandy's maps are predominantly defined by experimentation. Some of his experiments were successes and others might be considered failures, but he brought a massive amount of variety to Doom 2, and is responsible for the majority of the levels in everyone's favorite game.

Plus, he was the original speedmapper :)

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esselfortium said:

Plus, he was the original speedmapper :)

Yeah, it always amazes me how many levels he was able to crank out in time for Doom's release.

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esselfortium said:

Sandy Petersen, on the other hand, is a great level designer who was always full of ideas and trying to push the game in new directions. Romero, Hall, and McGee tended to have a set design formula that they relied on for all of their levels, but Sandy's maps are predominantly defined by experimentation. Some of his experiments were successes and others might be considered failures, but he brought a massive amount of variety to Doom 2, and is responsible for the majority of the levels in everyone's favorite game.


This. Co-incidently, I wrote mostly the same thing in a thread asking which episode people liked best a couple of weeks ago.

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I like most of his stuff. The weirdness and strange texture usage in E2-3 makes a lot of sense, given the background story. Whether it's "ugly" or not was never an issue for me.

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I don't like very many of his Doom 1 levels, I think he hit his stride with Doom 2.

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Khorus said:

I don't like very many of his Doom 1 levels, I think he hit his stride with Doom 2.


Agreed.

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Underrated. He gets criticised quite a lot but I can never understand what people don't like about his work.

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DoomUK said:

Underrated. He gets criticised quite a lot but I can never understand what people don't like about his work.


While his maps ARE fun to play, they are often very ugly(Episode 2 and parts of EP3 are the exception).In Doom 2 most maps are brown, brown and...more brown!Even the brown is brown! His city maps don't even remotely look like cities and often don't make any sense. His maps are one of the reasons I dislike Doom 2 - because aside from better gameplay and some new stuff it doesn't feel like a sequel, more like an xpac. At the very least they could have reskinned the weapons.

There are some of his maps that I really enjoy(Tricks and traps) but a map has to look good in order to keep my interest and his maps are anything but aesthetically pleasing. Even the guys at Id thought so.

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I think what some people don't realise about Petersen's maps for Doom 1 is that he joined ID 10 weeks before Doom was released, and in that time he had to do 19 levels, although some were started by Tom.

For Doom 2, some extra aesthetic detail wouldn't've gone amiss, but there we go.

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His city maps don't even remotely look like cities and often don't make any sense.

I disagree. Downtown was quite innovative at its time. If it hadn't been for Downtown, such maps as Odyssey of Noises or City in the Clouds could've never come into existence. And the rest is history.

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DooM_RO said:

While his maps ARE fun to play, they are often very ugly(Episode 2 and parts of EP3 are the exception).In Doom 2 most maps are brown, brown and...more brown!Even the brown is brown! His city maps don't even remotely look like cities and often don't make any sense. His maps are one of the reasons I dislike Doom 2 - because aside from better gameplay and some new stuff it doesn't feel like a sequel, more like an xpac. At the very least they could have reskinned the weapons.

There are some of his maps that I really enjoy(Tricks and traps) but a map has to look good in order to keep my interest and his maps are anything but aesthetically pleasing. Even the guys at Id thought so.

From a list like this, it sounds like you must really hate McGee's and Romero's maps too. Tons of brown and none of them have any resemblance to real places. They're all abstract videogamey structures that don't make sense outside of that context. Sandy's maps were generally the more vivid and colorful of the pack -- McGee used a lot of browns, and Romero used predominantly desaturated color combinations. So I'm confused by this post :P

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esselfortium said:

McGee used a lot of browns

Funny, since in an interview he said that he hated the Aztec texture pack in Quake because it was too brown for his taste. :P

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MAP14 has got to be the brownest level in Doom II. Everything is brown: walls, floors, support beams and lifts... Only a few short grey brick walls stand out, and of course the water. Good thing it's not in E1, or else the sky would be brown too!

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Shortly after I started the Pandemonium Project I had the idea of starting The Petersen Project. I think that would be pretty fun. Basically a offshoot of DTWID but focusing specifically on Petersen's style. One thing I really liked about Petersen's levels (especially in Doom 1) was his frequent use of high ceilings to great effect.

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I like Petersen. A lot. You see, his levels seem to consist of both my favourite and my most-hated; and that kind of polarisation means that in my estimation he's a designer with a hell of a lot of range.

For every E2M4 (love it) he's done an E2M6 (hate it). For every Courtyard, a Chasm.

Unlike Romero, whose maps I 'like' without fail, Sandy's maps give me mixed feelings. And that's interesting to me.

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Hellbent said:

Shortly after I started the Pandemonium Project I had the idea of starting The Petersen Project. I think that would be pretty fun. Basically a offshoot of DTWID but focusing specifically on Petersen's style. One thing I really liked about Petersen's levels (especially in Doom 1) was his frequent use of high ceilings to great effect.

You mean like Doom II The Way id Did...?

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Petersen brought more ideas to the table than any other id mapper, both in terms of map design and general gameplay. American, Tom, and John made some great maps, but I don't think from the perspective of being unique, Sandy's the stand-out. A lot of people will call them gimmick maps, but Barrels o' Fun, for example, presented a change in approach that no one else could duplicate.

When he was mapping, he was just as awesome as anyone else.

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ye of little faith, kneel and repent! sandy is the father of invading hordes (map16) and half the other gameplay mechanics you cherish so much nowadays.

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esselfortium said:

From a list like this, it sounds like you must really hate McGee's and Romero's maps too. Tons of brown and none of them have any resemblance to real places. They're all abstract videogamey structures that don't make sense outside of that context. Sandy's maps were generally the more vivid and colorful of the pack -- McGee used a lot of browns, and Romero used predominantly desaturated color combinations. So I'm confused by this post :P


But this is different! Yes Romero's E1 maps are very abstract and don't look like real places but they still give the IMPRESSION of a place while Petersen's maps don't really feel like anything at all.

Also, Romero's maps are usually quite vibrant. Take the first room of E1M1 for instance, there's a lot of color in there.

Bottom line: his maps are indeed fun and innovative but he should have invested much more in aesthetics. E2M7 is one of his best his best maps and ironically my favorite Doom map of all time. There's lots of interesting details like the damaging blue corridor the part where you get the yellow key and the satanic chapel, he should have made more of his maps like this. Om their own, these details might not have been very interesting BUT combined they give the level its unique flavor.

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While he might have had lots of cool and weird ideas, his maps turned out dreadful, imo.

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esselfortium said:

You mean like Doom II The Way id Did...?

Well, I was referring to Doom 1 since I like his maps in it more than his less constrained Doom 2 maps. But I nevertheless probably should lend a hand to that project. :-/

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DooM_RO said:

But this is different! Yes Romero's E1 maps are very abstract and don't look like real places but they still give the IMPRESSION of a place while Petersen's maps don't really feel like anything at all.


I think you are confusing 'impression of place' with 'looks vaguely like our reality'.

To go in universe; Doom's tech bases were built by humans for humans and therefore feature many similarities with present day human structures.

Hell was not.

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^
Bland & repetitive texture/flat choices, usually.

Anyway, he sure made some ugly stuff, but importantly it more often than not played well. And really, that's what matters most. I'd rather have 32 ugly maps with memorable layouts and fun gameplay over 32 maps that look fantastic but play like shit any day.

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I would love for people to post some screenshots of some of Petersen's work they think was ugly. I always thought his texturing style was neat and distinctive.

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