Looking Back on your older Doom Maps

Phobus said:

I can't imagine why anybody would want to take part in this rather than do the tune-up themselves to try and reach what they were aiming for back when they didn't have the skill to acheive it.

When we're talking about that... why don't do it? Let's start a new community project where every mapper takes his oldest map and improves it as much as his skills allows. I would participate :)

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scifista42 said:

When we're talking about that... why don't do it? Let's start a new community project where every mapper takes his oldest map and improves it as much as his skills allows.


I might have to make an exception and tune-up a different work of mine from ye olde dayes... I mean look at those images. Making that worth playing just isn't possible.

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Heh. Fortunately, when I was childish enough to make total nonsense, I couldn't ever get a map to work, so I started making stupid wolf3d maps instead :P My first working doom maps were pretty sensible, but I understood the concept of a PWAD too late, so I can't share them with you... I've finished a megawad and then tried to remove the IWAD content, but failed.

Anyway, you can still see my newbie-ish "style" in the map08 of MAYhem 2012.

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BaronOfStuff said:

I might have to make an exception and tune-up a different work of mine from ye olde dayes... I mean look at those images. Making that worth playing just isn't possible.

IT'S ALWAYS POSSIBLE. It's always possible to take any crap and turn it in an art. Remember that.

And I agree with you that we could be remaking other's work, randomly picked or on purpose...

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scifista42 said:

When we're talking about that... why don't do it? Let's start a new community project where every mapper takes his oldest map and improves it as much as his skills allows. I would participate :)

I'm game for that. My "Crusher" map is begging to be something worth playing, I'm sure :p

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Looking back at my first maps:

Brood of Hatred, my first map: hmmm, I guess its not bad to be a first map, but I had a run through it not that long ago and my thoughts were "omg..., wtf..., SIGH..., baaaah...". It was a fairly over ambitious piece. Should have gone for something way smaller and more simple.

My second map was what ended up as map29 in CC4. The first version sucked really bad. I deleted 80% of it and started over, so I guess it doesnt count.

I cant remember what my third map was, but I think it was map17 in pc_cp.wad, "A Vile Piece". In some ways I think its a somewhat cool map, but it`s WAY grindy and relentless at times, so...meh.

I`ve made quite a few maps after this, but they dont count as "my first maps" anymore. So yeah.

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scifista42 said:

When we're talking about that... why don't do it? Let's start a new community project where every mapper takes his oldest map and improves it as much as his skills allows. I would participate :)


I'd definitely take part in this idea if anyone else is keen. I have some junk laying around, single maps. But I've never been one to release single maps. /idgames already has enough junk in it, so it's really tough to sift through and find something awesome.

Ed said:

I emailed John Romero with something along the lines of "HOW DOES I BUILD MAPS FOR DOOM??" in which he actually responded and gave me a run-down on getting started.
...
Another one the other oldies that I have a lot of memories attached to is RC01. I was about 18 when I made that.


Wow, it's awesome that you heard from the big man himself! I really like this map Ed, it's that next-level sort of mapping style that I simply have never been able to achieve. Maybe at some stage I'll get there, but this is a great what-to-do example.

I'm going to go through and check out every single old maps you guys have provided links for. There's Some really intersting stuff here so far.. And once again, I'm game to make a refined Megawad out of it all.

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pcorf said:

First map I ever made was the map used in the first secret level of The New Adventure (MAP31), Named "A Map from 1996 Part 1" a map with no height variations, terrible texturing but somewhat good gameplay. For sure its the best level in "The New Adventure". Back then I had no clue how to make a sector within a sector and only wanted to do door to door, room to room.

I recently gave the map a tune-up and released it as Botero's Mansion. http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/?id=17085


This is my idea of a perfect Doom map. fun to play through, looks nice without having too much detail (i find over-detailing to be an eye strain) and the ammo balance is pretty much perfect. The only time I died during this was in the Cyberdemon arena, and just before it where hellknights come from behind when the 2 Barons pop out. I ran out of ammo fighting the cyber, and ran ahed into the mancubus/imp trap. I really like it when traps actually serve to help the player by replenishing health and ammo. I used this to beat he cybie and overall playing through it was really satasfying.

C30N9 said:

If you want to look at my old maps:
Redoom
Pitfalls

Redoom was my dream wad. I wanted to make a 32 megawad consisting of remade maps with different style using ZDoom actions and complication, but it ended up with 4 maps not even as good as the original ones.


Well, I liked your take on Nirvana, at least. It didn't have those 64-wide hallways too often. The bridge area with the cyberdemon is very cool, and I also liked the big lava cave, until the slightly unfair ending but with 3 Blephs and a few Pain Elementals. A good idea that has potential.

joepallai said:

first map I ever started on was "Morsel"--map03 of Endgame. It had a different start location that was lost to a hard drive crash. I stopped midway through making this make as I became lost in developing it. So I tried to make something smaller and came up with "The Gate" http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/index.php?id=10535


Your maps definitely improved over time, this is what seems to happen when people really get into it. The Gate isn't too bad, just a bit dull and brown. A few more details and you'd have a nice map here, and given that it's 13 years old, It's not too bad anyway.

The more I play these old maps, the more an idea of a compilation re-make megawad seems great..

EDIT: D'oh, I didn't mean to double post

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All my old work was created between 1997 - 1998 when I was 13 - 14 years old. I started playing Doom the year before, when Doom 2 was new and I was 12 years old. I started with the Doom engine using WadAuthor, and then moved to the Build Engine (Duke Nukem 3D) because I found the editor more flexible and forgiving. I read the entire Doom Alchemy book. Anyone else out there ever read/seen it? Towards the end of my first phase editing I realized I was becoming socially isolated and decided to drop my editor 'addiction' to pursue other interests, mainly girls, drugs, and music. As for those old WADs and Duke levels, they're long gone . . .

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scifista42 said:

IT'S ALWAYS POSSIBLE. It's always possible to take any crap and turn it in an art. Remember that.


Well, if you insist; it's barely going to resemble the original product though. Are we going to make this "make that shitty first map not shitty" project official then?

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Egregor said:

I read the entire Doom Alchemy book. Anyone else out there ever read/seen it?


I've read this book 7 times. It was something I use to do annually just to re-examine the theory. It always gave me ideas.

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glenzinho said:

Good god, a shit ton of old maps. Thank you!

BaronOfStuff said:

Are we going to make this "make that shitty first map not shitty" project official then?

Who here actually wants to do this? I'll then make up a list of people keen to donate maps/rework these old things. It doesn't have to be a full 32 map megawad, after all.

joepallai said:

I've read this book 7 times. It was something I use to do annually just to re-examine the theory. It always gave me ideas.

I've never heard of Doom Alchemy, yet another thing I have to check out.. Sounds very helpful though.

Egregor said:

Towards the end of my first phase editing I realized I was becoming socially isolated and decided to drop my editor 'addiction' to pursue other interests, mainly girls, drugs, and music. As for those old WADs and Duke levels, they're long gone . . .

Funny how interests change over time. :P I've been making DooM maps on and off for 10+ years, all the while growing to love women, drugs and music as well.. Doom mapping has always been there in the background, from pre to post pubesence. A funny thought, that!

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My very first project was a mega wad. And I didn't know how to make units smaller than 32x32 until my friend on his FIRST map said to me, " Oh that button at the bottom that says 32"

You would not believe the magnitude in which I hath slapped my own face.

It was called Hell City, got 6 maps in, lost the file, but I recently found it. Instead of being the somewhat experienced 14 year old, I was the 11 year old without a clue taking on a megawad. I can say this: I had balls.

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My first map was a Heretic map, had a few good ideas, and a few really nice rooms, but everything was 192 brightness, but it wasn't really a coherent map. I'm dissecting and touching up all the good areas out of my old stuff and rearranging them into my new Heretic maps, it's quite actually.

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First off, I’d love to join a project where we re-do our first maps. I’m officially in. I think it would be cool to include the actual first maps in the folder, so people can see what they were like.

Second, I’d be thrilled to let pcorf re-do my first map, too. I’ve been a pcorf fan since the first Death Tormention I played. On that basis, I’d be fascinated to see what he might do with that thing.

My experience with early levels is somewhat similar to pcorf’s. Every map I’ve actually finished has been released somewhere. My first, No Pity, was released to the AOL MacDoom libraries and, in its own blundering, ugly way, it lived up to its name. I also submitted this map to Clint Sago, who was putting together The Macintosh Team to produce what became the Realm of Chaos megawad. The map earned me a spot on the team – IIRC, I was the last one selected, a replacement for Two-Gun Mojo, who decided not to join. Thus, the second map I finished became Map 27 of RoC and the third became Map09, which I still consider among my best, even though it has an unforgivable design error forcing the player to find a secret door to complete the level.

I did a lot of stupid shit like that in the old days. Anything I could think of to frustrate and anger the player. Even today, I have to resist the impulse . . .

To be honest, I am fairly happy with my early maps. Indeed, to this day, I am happy, overall, with Realm of Chaos. All of the designers were, like me, complete noobs. These were our first maps! It’s funny sometimes to read comments at idgames comparing the megawad unfavorably to the Memento Mori pair, especially since people seem to think RoC was released in 1999. It wasn’t. Version 1.0 was released on Halloween night, 1996, if memory serves. It was the final bugfix that came out in ’99. We had a couple extremely young designers – Slava Pestov, now a Linux coder, was 13, and Antoni Chan was 15. IMO, their maps hold up very well. By contrast, we viewed the Memento Mori mappers as seasoned experts. Perhaps Capellan can weigh in on that one. I’ve enjoyed many of his maps over the years, and I just played the first three levels of Memento Mori 2 which, to say the least, are in a different category from the RoC maps, although Map03 had very weird progression and I had to use NoClip to finish.

When I look back on my old maps for RoC, my main disappointment is the number of times I violated Romero’s Rule about only changing floor texture when you change floor height. This was especially bad in Map27, where I did freakin’ ridiculous changes between wood and the wet slime, all on the same height floor. Looks dreadful.

Nuff said. I don’t have my first map anywhere that it can be downloaded, though if someone wants to see it, I can email it to them. It’s crazy and sometimes unfair and often stupid, but it’s not super-easy. And it does have significant height variations. I was already planning to re-do it anyway, just like I want to re-do my RoC maps, so this is a heaven-sent opportunity.

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SteveD said:
we viewed the Memento Mori mappers as seasoned experts. Perhaps Capellan can weigh in on that one


I only learned of the first MM when it came out, and the only names on it that I already knew were the Mollers (from sudtic and obtic), and Avatar (via fidonet Doom).

When MM2 was announced, you had to send the Mollers a sample of your work. IIRC, I sent them dfear5, which has levels 21-25 of Demonfear in it. The response was "you're in, as long as you make a bigger level", or words to that effect :)

So my experience was that MM (and to a lesser extent MM2) was what made people think of the authors as "experts", rather than that they were already well known before it. I definitely remember at least one person saying something like "I've never heard of this Flaharty guy before, but map05 is awesome!".

I suspect it was all just a matter of timing, really. By late '95/early '96, the Doom community had the experience, and the internet had become enough of a 'thing', that big projects like this were (a) possible to coordinate and (b) able to be promoted effectively.

I took a look at the earliest of my maps that are still in existence. My word, they're awful. Unintuitive progression, packed with unmarked traps, and very boxy in design.

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Thanks for the info about MM/MM2. To be honest, I was beginning to wonder myself how many maps the authors actually did before getting famous. ;D I guess the only thing I can say in defense of The Macintosh Team is this; on the PC side, you had tons and tons of designers to draw from. A deep bench. On The Macintosh Team, we might well have been the best Mac designers at that time. Indeed, we might have been the only Mac designers at that time. :D We sure could have used essel. And Laz Rojas, who eventually released about 151 Wolfenstein TC maps. Oh, well . . .

We know that some of the greatest levels ever made were done by noobs. For me, the coolest Doom experience remains the first time I saw the invisible staircase in uac_dead. It's the most awe-inspiring thing I've ever encountered in a Doom level, and it was one and done for Leo Martin Lim. I really do love that map something fierce.

Capellan said:

I took a look at the earliest of my maps that are still in existence. My word, they're awful. Unintuitive progression, packed with unmarked traps, and very boxy in design.


Why are "unmarked traps" a problem? I admit, sometimes I like to pull a Sandy Petersen and have a player walk into a room, have the door barred behind him, and be presented with something desirable, and not a monster in sight. I want them to think about how bad the trap is going to be. In one case, in a soon-to-be-released E1M7, they'll face a flood of 96 monsters released at once, from about 8 directions, in a room they can't get out of until they kill all or most of the monsters. I beat the trap about 80% of the time, so it's not unfair, but it is a lot of carnage. Other than that, why would I want the player to know a trap is coming? Did you mean unmarked secrets?

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SteveD said:
Why are "unmarked traps" a problem? I admit, sometimes I like to pull a Sandy Petersen and have a player walk into a room, have the door barred behind him, and be presented with something desirable, and not a monster in sight.


That's not what I meant by an unmarked trap. "The door is barred and there's a juicy item" is a clear visual cue that you need to pick up the item to leave ... and you'll probably get hit with an ambush when you do. That's a marked trap, and perfectly OK.

Unmarked traps are: "HAHA! This section of corridor that looks exactly like every other section of corridor is actually a SURPRISE CRUSHER!"

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Phobus said:

I view my mapping "career" as a continuum from enthusiasm to proficiency. These days I could use the same ideas and make something much better than I made back then, but it'd take longer and probably stagnate at some point, hence getting deleted.


Heh, you just described me.

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Capellan said:

Unmarked traps are: "HAHA! This section of corridor that looks exactly like every other section of corridor is actually a SURPRISE CRUSHER!"


Yeah, and you'll never run fast enough to make it to the end alive. Open a saved game and take another route. I get it now. Cheap kills.

I wonder how much of that is just desperation because it's so difficult to stop a Doomer if you give them enough ammo to kill everything? I used to design with the goal of killing the player 3 times in every map (on UV). By that I mean in 3 different locations. They might get killed once, ten times, or more at any one location, but it would only count as one death to me. All my RoC levels were designed on that principle. Then I quit mapping, and then DB2 came along. And then I saw the Russian masters demolishing my RoC maps on speedruns. Sav88 did a UV-Fast on RoC Map19 in only 2:48 or something crazy like that. A fairly large level with 180 monsters on UV. Yes, he had to practice a bit to find the best route, but still, it was very discouraging to me as a designer, even though I loved watching it. Again and again. ;D I asked myself how I could possibly stop someone with that level of skill without insane monster-spamming or really obtuse traps and puzzles that take time to figure out. To some degree, I've simply given up. I try to make the map look cool, and work to get the player down below 50% health for large parts of the level, and work to induce a bit of panic by dropping them below 20% here and there. If I kill them, great, if not, I hope I made them sweat.

I dunno, am I giving up too easy?

Heh, I've sorta wanted to whine about that for awhile. :D

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SteveD said:
work to get the player down below 50% health for large parts of the level, and work to induce a bit of panic by dropping them below 20% here and there. If I kill them, great, if not, I hope I made them sweat.

I dunno, am I giving up too easy?



I don't really approach level design in terms of player health or deaths. I don't really care if they finish it with no deaths, or with 50, as long as they had fun playing the level. I focus on creating interesting environments and exciting encounters, instead.

I also design with the intent that it to be possible to finish the level on the first attempt, without any prior knowledge of the map, provided the player is alert and skilled. That means including visual clues that an ambush or trap exists; ensuring there's sufficient health and ammo; and so forth.

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The biggest problem is.. well, first things first.

For me DooM - it's something unknown, mystic or terrifying. That's what I always wait from a new level to be played. Also during replay of original levels the same feelings return to me from the distant past, when I played them as a kid.

But, when I look at my own maps I see.. nothing:
I know all the layout of level like one's own palm, so there's nothing unknown (except missed bugs, ofcourse);
I know well all the secrets, so there is no mystery;
I know all the tricks and traps, so it doesn't scare me at all.

In other words, when I look back on my own levels I just... see no DooM...

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My detail stuff in 32in24-7 is pretty awful D:

the layout doesnt suck, but now I make decent layouts and mediocre detailing.

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my first map was an attempt at detail rather than gameplay, it was actually for plutonia for some reason and consisted of tight spaces and cramped gunfights...
it is now wierdly part of an unfinished collection of wads by me put into one wad called RTB.wad... nasty first map stuff in there, if any body is interested I could put up a DL...

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RottKing said:

I don't really have a whole lot to say about my past maps, but I started a photo album of my really old and really awful looking maps http://imgur.com/a/7Ask1#0


Call me crazy, but I kinda like them. ;D Is that a Duke TC or actual Duke 3D maps?

And as I've said before, Double Impact is among my fave mapsets of all time. I plan to play it again soon.

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Thanks! Yeah they're actual Duke3D maps, I made a bunch of them that I played with my friends over dial-up before I started mapping for Doom. I probably would have mapped for it for longer if it wasn't for the fact that Duke had a pretty dead multiplayer community, and also no client/server ability.

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