Is the Doom Wiki useful to you?

The Doom Wiki is a pretty cool resource for understanding Doom's bugs and features, getting information about wads and other specific information about maps, monsters, items and other stuff.

However I don't tend to find myself referring to it very much. It's got some good stuff, usually highly factual evidence, but it would be nicer if it had more encyclopedic information about level design, such as community's consensual definition of things like linearity, slaughters, or interconnectivity. I was even surprised to see things like "Lighting" or "Puzzles" not having their own page in the wiki. And of course, pages that document answers to commonly repeating threads that show up in the Doom Editing and Doom General subforums, with some indisputable information using excerpts from the Doomworld forums, The Unnofficial Wad Designer's Handbook, and the many other textual Doom resources there are laying around on the internet.

Not to say that the wiki isn't useful, and I don't think anyone needs me to point out that it is most certainly not complete, but some of these seem like common things that Doomers might want to find information about. Are there reasons why some of these things aren't in the wiki? Is it simply because no one has done it yet?

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If it's not in the wiki yet, it's because nobody's written it. If you think it should be there, then write it! :P

Having said that, this thread title/phrasing is a bit irksome to me, because it sorta carries the potential implication that the doom wiki is useless (this is hyperbole, note) and shouldn't be there. I doubt 40oz agrees with such a sentiment, of course, but I think the more pertinent question would be "does the Doom Wiki need improvement?" to which the answer ought to be "Always, constantly." That's the magic of the wiki.

A "What would you like to see in the wiki that's not there?" discussion is totally great, though. So carry on. :P

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It'd definitely be worthwhile for the Doom Wiki to take over the function that Doomworld's old editing pages used to serve, and updating the information in them to be easier to understand and more up-to-date.

The less directly technical and more subjective, style-based things you've mentioned, like lighting or puzzles, would be interesting to see some writeups on from skilled mappers.

At the same time, though, I'd anticipate grumbling from the usual suspects about the elitist mapping cabal forcing their insipid ideals upon the rest of the community. (:

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I think wiki should be about techincal information and facts rather than subjective elitist opinions. I'd recommend opening a separate webpage for that sort of stuff.

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Well for a page titled "Lighting" for example, instead of shitting out a huge opinionated document about how to do lighting realistically, and insist that everyone use the light gradient tool on Doombuilder 2 and stuff, I'd probably try to keep things civil by saying that Lighting can be used for things such as indicating secrets, complicating gameplay, or appealing as a visual aesthetic.

I wouldn't want to impose any of my own ideas on the readers. Just a friendly reminder of what it's capable of, and how its used in many different wads, using examples from the IWADs and some popular PWADs. If I did go ahead and write up something, I'd probably pick out some editors to help me keep it as neutral as possible. I don't really have much experience writing technical and purely factual informative documents though. My stylistic writing shows up in pretty much all advice I've written on Doom forums. But this page is obviously something I don't wanna do.

Also in regards to the title, I wanted to hear some Doomer's uses for the Doom Wiki. I really want to use it but I have trouble finding the kind of information I want. I think it has to do with the type of person I am. There are programmers in this community, there are speed runners, level designers, all kinds of people.

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I use the Doom Wiki for general research when looking for PWADs to play or more specifically information about the PWADs I have played when writing articles, either for general info not available in the .TXT or for sources for further investigation. It isn't perfect, or anywhere at all complete, but I'm not going to complain because I have no intention of spending any significant amount of time fleshing it out as a database except where I am incidentally drawn.

I think author writeups on the ideas of level design falls outside of the scope of the Wiki, but they would be really nice to have in one form or another.

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The last things I was looking up were: STRAIN level authors, Plutonia level authors (yeah, as until the last year all we knew was "Casali Brothers") and how to find a secret on a level (don't remember which one).

Usually when on a page, I tend to check if there's anything highly erroneous.

It's great to see Compet-N records being updated by Jartapran, for years there was data about records up to 2005 and, incosistently, sometimes newer ones. There's a great phrase "The data was last verified in its entirety on March 11, 2013" as these tend to change quite often still.

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It's useful for me. I most often used it to check which music went with which map in Doom 2.

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I love it. It just needs more use, the official levels aren't all covered yet for example.

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I agree with Memfis, wikis work best when they stick to hard data. Anything subjective, like game design opinions or consensual definitions, is best kept to other places in my opinion, so the wiki can stay as that one place of reference, the spot you go to when you want pure, unadulterated fact.

Improved Doomworld's editing pages could definitely find their home there, but pieces on level design from people who believe, say, 90° angles are the root of all evil would indeed make me smirk. I could go to my friendly neighborhood Apple store if I wanted that kind of objectivity.

I use the wiki for checking Doom 2 level music and weapon/monster stats.

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Very useful, especially when I want to check some music used in wads, the favourite one.

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The wiki has worked best when it's stuck to hard data. There have been some efforts to expand its uses to cover things like tutorials, but as you can see that was never particularly successful.

I wouldn't mind seeing some subjective opinions on pages as long as they're clearly delineated (eg. in a colored box set by a template for subjective content). That might be useful for eg. reviews of levels, or to show contrasting opinions on certain subjects that are inherently subjective ("I think STARTAN is really ugly!"). But the majority of it should remain objective.

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fraggle said:

The wiki has worked best when it's stuck to hard data. There have been some efforts to expand its uses to cover things like tutorials, but as you can see that was never particularly successful.

At least there should be references to other sites containing editing tutorials to help bit.

Well, we got some sort enlistment for someone to fill this, way or another. :P

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vdgg said:

It's great to see Compet-N records being updated by Jartapran, for years there was data about records up to 2005 and, incosistently, sometimes newer ones. There's a great phrase "The data was last verified in its entirety on March 11, 2013" as these tend to change quite often still.


Gah yeah..I really need to get back to work on doing those for a select list of PWADs. I'll get back onto it next month I guess...

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fraggle said:

The wiki has worked best when it's stuck to hard data. There have been some efforts to expand its uses to cover things like tutorials, but as you can see that was never particularly successful.

My babby. I'd like to think it's helpful, but the only time I've seen it linked here is when I've done so myself.

One thing I'd like to see go up on the wiki are some of the analyses of id's maps and each designers' layout, texturing, lighting, and thing placement styles that were done for DTWID.

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I think I'm gonna volunteer myself to use the wiki to help answer questions that I often ask myself when designing levels. I'm going to go forward and create articles for many of the common Doomworld buzz words that float around these forums on many wad release pages. Only because I believe these pages would be beneficial for level designers who may receive criticism on their maps using words whose definition has yet to have gotten a consenting agreement on by everyone in the community. Some of the ones that pop in my head are:

1.) Linearity
2.) Slaughter, or Slaughterfest
3.) E1-styled (as well as the other E_-styled's)
a. E1-styled gameplay
b E1-styled visuals
4.) Interconnectivity
5.) Traps
a. Monster Closets
b. Teleport Ambushes
6.) Catwalks
7.) Crowd Control
8.) Repetition
a. Repetitive gameplay
b. Repetitive visuals
9.) Puzzles
10.) Labyrinths
11.) 1994 PWADs (there's already a page for this but I'm going to refine it)
12.) Height Variation
13.) Progression
a. Thematic Progression
b. Gameplay Progression
14.) Cramping (in terms of cramped rooms and hallways; restricting movement)
15.) Quality Control
16.) Playtesting
17.) Symmetrical Thing Placement
18.) Gimmicks, or gimmicky gameplay
19.) Scripted Gameplay
20.) Obstructive Detail

I'm going to attempt to do some serious web searching to find who coined some of these words or phrases, as long as they aren't too broad to determine who the inventor was. I'm probably going to have to read a lot of /newstuff reviews and search high and low for Doom editing FAQs and informative Doom related forum threads for citations. I'm also going to cite quotes from award winning level designers and reputable playtesters for some guidelines and rules-of-thumb. These articles serve to help define and elaborate on the terms we generally use when classifying specific details about wads. They are going to remain strictly informative and unbiased as with the rest of the Doom Wiki, and avoid any subjective or opinionated material. (You won't be reading any "this = bad" paragraphs) so that readers can form their own conclusion about how they feel about these things.

These are some of the things that I believe most Doom level designers retreat to the Doom forums to ask about. I think it would be highly beneficial for all of us if the Doom Wiki at least touched on some of these things.

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40oz said:

List


It might be better if you just throw those all into one article and divide them into sections. Makes it easier for everyone that way.

==Linearity==
*linearity stuff*

==Slaughter or Slaughterfest==
*Slaughter or Slaughterfest stuff*

And so on.

Edit: Divide things like 3a and 3b with 3 '=' rather than 2.

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A useful service I'm sure, esp. in cases where the term or phrase has really taken on a semi-technical meaning that's internal to the community, e.g., 'height variation', or 'thing placement' (no 'monster placedment' entry?).

Though I think things like 'repetitive gameplay' and 'repetitive visuals' are maybe so self-explanatory as to negate the need for an article - it's not clear to me what more you could say besides 'gameplay/visuals that are repetitive'. Perhaps I'm missing something though.

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Dragonsbrethren said:

My babby. I'd like to think it's helpful, but the only time I've seen it linked here is when I've done so myself.

This looks really good! I can think of various ways to expand this - it's missing stuff about replacing flats and sprites, and also some more obscure things like blockmap and sidedef limits (which some BSP builders can work around using packing).


One thing I'd like to see go up on the wiki are some of the analyses of id's maps and each designers' layout, texturing, lighting, and thing placement styles that were done for DTWID.

Indeed - this sounds interesting. I wonder how much similar content is out there that might be turned into wiki pages. I wrote an in-depth analysis of E1M1 last year that might be reasonably turned into a wiki page.

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durian said:

Though I think things like 'repetitive gameplay' and 'repetitive visuals' are maybe so self-explanatory as to negate the need for an article - it's not clear to me what more you could say besides 'gameplay/visuals that are repetitive'. Perhaps I'm missing something though.


I see what you're getting at. As far as a player, I think we all know what it feels like to be playing something that looks or feels repetitive. But from a level designer's perspective, I doubt anyone is seeking to create a level that feels this way. I, for one, have received numerous complaints about my levels feeling repetitive and it can be very discouraging without the proper guidance to help eliminate that feeling. I'd like to dismiss this as people 'not playing my levels right' but there's more to it than that. After some lengthy discussions with some chosen people from my playerbase, it sincerely helped me understand more about why my levels feel repetitive to some people when that feeling didn't hit me or my playtesters much at all and I think it would be worth sharing on the Doom Wiki as a point of reference.

I was thinking something along the lines of:

Repetition

Repetition is best defined as a feeling of which a player is performing or witnessing a large volume of similar or seemingly similar events in rapid succession. The feeling of repetition can come from a perceived lack of variety throughout the experience of a Doom level, or come from a missing feeling of progression.

Repetitive Gameplay
Repetitive gameplay is a term used to describe an experience with a level that involves the player repeating nearly identical actions over and over. This mitigates the level of difficulty or brainpower required to perform these actions, often resulting in an experience that holds the players' attention less and less as the actions repeat further. A level that is described to have repetitive gameplay may benefit as a practice level for beginners, but be less desirable to more seasoned players. Repetitive gameplay actions can be as immense as fighting a wide arrangement of monsters with one type of weapon (which can occur over the course of an entire megawad), or as subtle as having to open many doors. A repetitive gameplay experience often comes from a level that makes gratuitous application of one particular obstacle to overcome. An example in many cases, is a level that is heavily dependent on the player using a weapon as well-rounded as the Super Shotgun to defeat his enemies. A reason a player may describe such a level as repetitive is because the level stages monster combat to be in close quarters where the super shotgun is most effective, as opposed to arranging monsters in groups on tall towers or in distant windows, where a rocket launcher or chaingun may be a preferred weapon of choice to kill them. The player having to apply many or all of his resources on the level will most often result in a more varied gameplay experience, such as having to utilize all of his/her weapons. Overcoming physical obstacles such as a puzzle or an environmental hazard, useful application of Doom's many powerups, or using elements of gameplay progression may also help reduce feelings of repetitive gameplay.

Repetitive Visuals
Repetitive visuals is a term used to describe a level or set of levels that has a very similar appearance throughout that is lacking in some sort of thematic progression, embraces a distinct type of visual detail many times, or has abundant use of a particular texture that visually repeats due to texture tiling.

(to be continued.[when i feel like finishing it])

Hows that sound?

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I lurked here in the forums for a long time to get a sense for this type of thing. I think having a document like this would be a huge help to new mappers, even if a lot of the content will have to be subjective.

As it stands, the wiki is good for learning engine tricks, monster stats etc. but could use some sprucing up in terms of editing guidelines. As far as I know, the 'Romero's Rules' article is the only one like that up there now.

Thanks for doing this 40oz.

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On the subject of Romero's mapping rules, it's worth noting that Romero completely ignored many of them in his own maps.

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fraggle said:

I wrote an in-depth analysis of E1M1 last year that might be reasonably turned into a wiki page.


Or more probably it would be a "Design analysis" section in the E1M1 article.

esselfortium said:

On the subject of Romero's mapping rules, it's worth noting that Romero completely ignored many of them in his own maps.


They're more like guidelines.

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Gez said:

They're more like guidelines.

He still ignored most of them. :P

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is reading essays about joe shmo's opinion on mapping really a good way to learn (aside from trying to emulate Romero, or something)? I'd wager the experience of playing many good wads, and poking around with them in doombuilder would be a lot more fruitful. Maybe I'm missing the point though, tutorials for basic stuff / engine tricks / etc definitely makes sense, but I'm not sure it's worth writing about higher level design stuff that's largely subjective. If there are people out there interested in reading about that sort of thing... then sure why not. but I don't think I could ever muster the enthusiasm to read through an article entitled "repetitive gameplay"

also doomwiki rules. I love monster stats, damage distributions, etc. puts a smile on my face whenever I get smacked in the face with a 10-dmg rev rocket

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Well, it's a good way to learn what the community-at-large doesn't like anyway. In my early mapping abortions I tended to put things like medikits or berserk packs in narrow hallways or in front of switches because it didn't bother me. After lurking through the last few 'megawad club' threads I won't be doing that unless I have a very good reason.

I think it's a good idea if you want other people to enjoy your work. If you're just mapping for yourself though to each his own.

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esselfortium said:

He still ignored most of them. :P


not sure i agree with that. also wrong thread.

Anyway I'm doing the best that I can to make this sound informative with as little subjective opinionated material as possible. I hope I'm on the right track.

I'm not insisting that this is a list of "if you do all this and dont do any of that then you will have created an irrefutably perfect level," these are just clarifications on words that are, as durian put it, internal to the community. These are many of the things that I searched for in the Wiki that it couldn't provide for me, which made it decreasingly useful for me as I had more questions about level design, and less resources to use.

If you are a Doom Level Designer, and you make a map, and someone had -blank- to say about it, you should be able to refer to the Doom wiki to get a clear understanding of what they meant. Of course, being on the wiki, it's not set in stone and can be edited by anybody and everybody, Our scope of these definitions will probably change over time as the future lies many more Doom wads ahead.

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40oz said:

If you are a Doom Level Designer, and you make a map, and someone had -blank- to say about it, you should be able to refer to the Doom wiki to get a clear understanding of what they meant.

Asking them what they meant will probably produce better results than putting words from some wiki in their mouth. :) The latter might very well lead to a complete misunderstanding.

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Possible, but even then you could say "do you mean like in <insert wiki link here>?" and then if that's not what they mean they're likely to explain more precisely what they had in mind.

Anyway, the more people contribute to the doomwiki.org (and not to wikia) with articles that can be useful to people in the community (even if not 100% of everyone), the better. I mean, there is information in the wiki that I personally do not care about at all; but nevertheless it has relevance for others, so as long as there is no quality control issues I just leave it alone and look at the parts that do interest me.

Getting a broader scope can therefore help getting a broader appeal, which means more readers, which leads to more contributors.

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But at the same time I would gather a lot of mappers are making their levels around the criticism that other wads receive. I mean a newcomer asking stranger about what they don't like about someone else's wad isn't totally out of the question, I'm not sure why documenting my understanding of these things in a wiki that people can add or revise poses a problem. These resources weren't available to me when I needed them and I often spent weeks dabbling back and forth with people to gain enough information to draw some conclusions on such things. I don't think you should have to make friends with people in the community and go that deep into conversation to be included in this type of information.

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