The official "Ignore Hell!" thread

Doom can't exist without hellish theme. And yes, indeed: Doom1-2 hellish levels were great. Doom 3 hellish levels were too.

But somehow I feel that it was enough. With some extraordinary exceptions (AV, Scythe1,2 hell levels, Jade Earth, etc.) I have enough of every hellish/gothic-hellish levels. I prefer eveything else! (e.g. base, outdoor, town, ancient ruins, outpost, space, surreal, etc.)

How about you? Let's discuss it! Hell is not allowed here! =)

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I tend to have a big knack for techbase or episode 2 techbase levels, not to mention I can make decent maps with that style (See levels Tech Crazy for Doom 2 or Cold Steel for Doom1 for example)

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I agree with Katamori, I don't really enjoy most of the hellish maps out there, but I think it's because they're lacking in imagination and execution. For the last 20 years a hellish map was a map with red stones, lava, marble and metal.

Come to think of it - Doom 1 and 2 representation of Hell was more original than most of the PWADS that followed. We really need more imaginative infernal productions out there.

That said, my personal favourite wads are definitley tech based, like Darkening ep 2, RTC 3057 and now BTSX which I'm so far enjoying greatly.

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for whatever reason I still enjoy the redrock/lavfall levels.


anyways, my favorite theme at the moment is forest-esque, vibrant blues/greens/browns are nice

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Aw I actually love the Hell episodes of a megawad usually the most. It's something about that bright, vibrant red mixed with a nice assortment of flesh textures and marble structures that gets me all giddy and ready to fight. For this reason Whispers of Satan has my favorite hell levels due to atmosphere and level layout alone, constructing what I think is a really damn good vision of hell.

However I do think other megawads should have a right to skip/change it, just as they should skip/change any other classic Doom theme. I would enjoy more projects that have a crazy progression, like say desert -> forest -> space, as all of us have probably seen our fare share of techbases and redrock for a lifetime. I think few projects tend to deviate from the standard theme due to complacency, plus the Doom 2 palette naturally supporting its staples.

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You took the words right out of my mouth!

Jesus, I've had enough of all the hellish maps as well. There are already too many samey episodes 3: the sky is red, the floor is red, everything is red, repetitive textures and so on, and so on. It's no surprise that episode 3 often happens to be a huge let-down in so many supposedly great megawads, Speed of Doom could serve as a great example.

When I played through Inferno the first time, I was really impressed, but it's too much now. I prefer (mega)wads that don't follow the techbase-hell convention to the letter, even if they're just random collections of maps.

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There were some hellish levels that I liked, like Doom 2 and Plutonia's last episode. But I have to agree otherwise that I feel like it's a reason for people to spam red rock caverns with randomly-jagged sectors and whatnot. It feels like slightly different variations of a Spirit World wannabe. Hellish levels are probably my least favorite theme because of this. It's especially tiring when each level holds hordes of monsters in slightly different looking red cave levels. At that point it usually turns me off completely. That's actually why I wanted to make it a point to change the last episode theme of Reverie when I was working on it. Doom Core's last episode was originally hellish, but it didn't really work for some of the levels I eventually used to fill the blanks to complete the megawad.

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I agree on that hellish style became an exuberantly overused phenomenon throughout the less-than-20-years of Doom's history. Since none of the IWADs made perfect example on how to create a true Hell map, all of the following authors tried to show an example on how they themselves feel Hell would look like. From nonsense, all-orthogonal and filled with meaningless 64-grid-mazes boring maps to truly badass themes that really, REALLY represent a hadistic environment, many buildings have been born, but once when a record on it (WOS.wad) was made, everyone became angrier and wanted to prove they can do better. This resulted in producing even more shitloads of these, not caring about how they stink of the sweat of unnecessary efforts in them. Both authors and players have had enough of it I assume.

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Totally. Hell levels are often ok, but what makes it worse is that they always come at the end. It feels like in all the best megawads (Speed of Doom, Whispers of Satan, Jenesis, etc.), the most creative and beautiful levels are in the middle, and then after these climactic scenes you're just stuck with...ten red hell levels. Even if they're really well done, it's often frustrating. I'm not exactly in a rage about it, but it would be nice to see more megawads with no hell or with the hell levels earlier on and a more creative finish.

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Not Jabba said:

Totally. Hell levels are often ok, but what makes it worse is that they always come at the end.


Counterpoint: that's because it actually makes sense to do it that way. The natural progression of an episode is from easy to difficult. The easier monsters are the former humans, and the more difficult monsters are the various demons. A tech level at the end, populated with only hellspawn would look weird as would a hellish level at the start populated with troopers and shotgunners.

That being said, I actually prefer a progression where tech levels gradually get more and more corrupted by evil over outright hell levels.

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I'm not tired of Hell levels, far from it. I'm tired of horrible Hell levels though. There are only few hellish maps that are right up my alley.

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janvknn said:

A tech level at the end, populated with only hellspawn would look weird as would a hellish level at the start populated with troopers and shotgunners.


I somewhat disagree. We've all played so many Doom levels that we're not thinking too hard about this anymore. However, if you want a more logical progression from hell to base, the earlier levels can favor imps, demons, and lost souls alongside troopers, while the later levels can use sergeants and chaingunners alongside the hellspawn and leave out the troopers.

Also, hell could be the middle levels rather than the early ones.

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I feel kind of the opposite. It seems almost all the really cool looking hell levels I want to play are too hard for me to beat! I'm kinda sick of killing zombiemen and imps in regular techbases, and I feel as though revenants and hell knights and arch viles don't belong there. Still yet I'd like to get a better feel for hellish levels accompanied by the type of gameplay you should expect from hell, but usually I'm just getting my ass kicked before I get to experience the whole thing.

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I like "plus Hell" levels because they're rarely done well. I like the idea of our world being ripped apart by a portal to another universe. I first got a real sense of that with Invasion UAC. Ultimate Doom didn't do it for me; it felt like a mish-mash of themes, which should be apparent given the focus on layouts instead of realistic settings.

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I love Hell-themed levels. Techbases and city levels feel too bound to pseudo-realism to go wild with architecture but whenever it's Hell, you get to see some crazy stuff. Not to say that authors working in more grounded themes don't take risks.

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I like using flesh textures. ^_^ I guess I usually steer away from the generic Hell design and more into nightmarish imagery. And if I'm perfectly honest, I seem to see a lot more techbases than Hell maps nowdays.

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janvknn said:

A tech level at the end, populated with only hellspawn would look weird as would a hellish level at the start populated with troopers and shotgunners.

That being said, I actually prefer a progression where tech levels gradually get more and more corrupted by evil over outright hell levels.

Then Memento Mori II is your best choice!

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I love hell levels and wish there were more of them, though I enjoy both the standard red-and-black gothic look and those that try to break away from that theme. Base/terrestrial levels I greatly prefer to have showing signs of hellish corruption or encroachment, or to give way to hell sections. If it's a sci-fi base that just happens to have demons in it, I get bored.

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Obsidian said:

I like using flesh textures. ^_^ I guess I usually steer away from the generic Hell design and more into nightmarish imagery.


I, for one, have no problem with that. I'm mainly just sick of everything being fire-engine red and marble-green.

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Hell theme is the shit, I don't care what anyone else says. It has the least amount of rules attached to it, which usually allows for a slightly more abstract approach (something I never really attempt, oddly enough). There's also an abundance of diversity, whether you make a sort of haunted, wooden theme, GSTONE, gothic castle, hellish cavern, or some flesh-covered craziness, there's tons of routes one can take.

Outside of the ancient ruin/garden theme, it's probably my favorite.

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Snakes said:

Hell theme is the shit, I don't care what anyone else says. It has the least amount of rules attached to it, which usually allows for a slightly more abstract approach (something I never really attempt, oddly enough). There's also an abundance of diversity, whether you make a sort of haunted, wooden theme, GSTONE, gothic castle, hellish cavern, or some flesh-covered craziness, there's tons of routes one can take.

Outside of the ancient ruin/garden theme, it's probably my favorite.

In the light of all above, I warmly recommend you to play Hadephobia MAP19 once the wad is on /idgames ;) But apart from self-advertisement, well, the major diversity is because being hell-oriented, texture artists put a great effort on making textures for maps that converge the hellish theme, seen in the Claustrophobia series and so on.

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In my opinion, tech theme can be really hard to get into. I can't just explain it, but trying to make (useless) machinery, container vats, special storage areas or some random control room is just as easy as rolling boulder uphill. (Doesn't still mean I wouldn't keep trying. :P) It is definitely not mandatory, but some ZDoom stuff can make lot of cool stuff and make it more automated, more lively.

Hell theme, even if it is very easy to get into, requires still good amount of creativity to do. Probably problem is, what to create.

As for other sets, like ruins, outdoor areas, and other types of buildings, they kinda fell into mid-area.


As a little pondering... Could Hell Ground considered to be hell themed, or just the end levels? :3

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CorSair said:

As a little pondering... Could Hell Ground considered to be hell themed, or just the end levels? :3


Well, that's another extraordinary exception for great Hellish WADs. Hell Ground is my weak point at "Ignore Hell!", because I just became an addict of that stuff recently! Eternall is amazing...

TL;DR

I think Hell Ground can be defined as a "hell themed" WAD. =)

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I heart mapping me some hell levels. It's where you can start getting a bit crazy, explore gothic architecture, and make things really creepy. Bleeding walls, twisted worlds. Awesome shit.

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Katamori said:

Doom can't exist without hellish theme.


Tell that to David Callaham and Wesley Strick. :P


Actually, I basically agree with your post. As a general rule, the maps I enjoy the least are the hell themed ones. Of course, there are exceptions but the rule holds true for most hell maps.

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Since the hell theme's features are 90% commonplace, hardly anyone is able to make something accessible.

For the tech and brimstone/Plutonia-esque mapping, I'm still in process of gaining inspiration, wherever possible.

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My favourite Hell maps are those that combine with a Gothic or Tech feel (like some of the later maps in SCYTHE.WAD). "The Eye," by Mouldy is another example of a Hell map that I like.

Basically, I like Hell maps that make sense, or have some kind of identifiable theme. Even if that theme is pure Dadaist abstraction and missing sidedef artefacts, lol.

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Cell said:

In the light of all above, I warmly recommend you to play Hadephobia MAP19 once the wad is on /idgames ;)


Which ironically takes place on Earth not in Hell :-p

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I like base maps and nature maps.

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purist said:

Which ironically takes place on Earth not in Hell :-p

Have you ever heard of replication? :D

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