I just finished this thing up, and while it kept me interested enough to finish all 11 maps, I did feel like there was a lot of room for improvement.
It seemed to me that in a lot of places monster placement was pretty poor. This was for a variety of reasons. One main reason is that there is a lot of combat taking place from a 64 to 128-sized entryway. Rooms full of high-HP beasts waiting their turn to be blasted. Most of the times the monsters couldn't even fit through the space I was standing in, and with corners to abuse it was rather ho-hum murdering them all, as they were powerless to do anything about it. Other times there were fireball-type monsters above or below, or through bars. Thus they would simply shoot the ledges or bars when trying to hit me, making them totally impotent and beyond-easy targets for my shotgun or chaingun. Demons were the worst victims of these phenomena, as stairs, 64-sized halls, and ledges always render them toothless shell sponges. But it was certainly true for mancubi, hell knights, arch viles, and all manner of things, all of which at least have some trouble with ledges, stairs, and especially 64-sized halls.
Here are a few shots of just such locations that are pretty prolific in this WAD:
This sort of thing might not have been such an issue if it wasn't for the tremendous amount of ammo that allowed me to snipe from afar without concern for missed shots. Ammo is quite prolific, especially cells. This really takes the edge off of just about any combat situation in this wad, as any time I felt a tiny bit of a pinch I would just bust out the plasma and mow fools down.
Tightening up the ammo would create more need to scramble for those dropped shotguns, and adds tension as your ammo count ticks down and the monsters keep on coming. It compels the player to be more up front and personal with the enemies in order to make each shot count. And it leads to a wider variety of weapon use, which I think simply makes the game more fun.
So less ammo is one way to help reduce the affect of ledge, small corridor, bars, and corner abuse. Other ways are to make good use of painful floors, lifts, jumps, and teleporters, forcing a player into an area without a pathway to hide in.
Another other issue I had with this wad was the oh my god look at all the switches. There are a lot. Half of 'em I didn't even know what they did. I would just be hitting switches and running around til I heard monsters. My suggestion would be to try laying levels out so that these actions are triggered by walking over lines instead of hitting switches as often as can be. By changing them to walkover, the flow of the map tends to be better, as hitting switches constantly just slows things down. Plus if a player is walking over a line to make things happen, you can oftentimes have the player looking directly at what is changing in the map, as opposed to having him looking at a switch.
My final suggestion would be to ease up on the 'deaf' flag for monsters. I'm pretty sure every monster I encountered that wasn't teleported in was flagged deaf, even those in crow's nests or other situations where they weren't going to be going anywhere regardless. This can lessen the gameplay in my view because it makes it easy for the player to know what he's up against by always hearing the activate sounds once he's in eyesight, cluing him in to his environment. In most rooms, after casually sniping monsters from the doorway, I could always find a few stragglers that simply didn't see me until I fully enter the room, and really I feel should have been part of the main crowd. Other times there would be corridors full of monsters that would be activated a couple at a time, posing little to no threat when faced with my trusty double barrel. Monsters that have been activated prior to the player entering the general vicinity makes for more random and tense encounters. Monsters tend to attack with less delay when they've been activated for a while, giving them a bit more of an edge. And don't worry about them finding their way to the other side of the map due to their active state. DOOM pathing is pretty terrible. I would suggest exploring what you can make happen with the 'block sound' linedef flag, instead of just spamming deaf on the monsters.
All that being said, I really did find the layout aspect of these maps highly creative. It's what kept me playing through. I always like pretending that a DOOM map is a bit of a puzzle box, with moving pieces and changes that transpire as the player progresses. You show great strength and ingenuity in this aspect of level design for sure. I think you're a great mapper, with more passion for creating interesting environments then just about anyone else in the community. So keep up the good work for sure, but perhaps think a little bit about the issues I've raised here.
Last edited by NaturalTvventy on Jan 5 2012 at 08:51