Hey, guys. I'm an aspiring map-maker. I've been lurking around the WADs & Mods section of this site for a short while, and decided that this was a good place to post some of my map ideas.
I noticed that, in general, people were posting screenies and talking about their design processes. So, I'm going to post screenies to the first eight levels of my first PWAD ever here, and include a download link for those levels in a single PWAD. The PWAD is unnamed at the moment, so any suggestions are welcome, but I'm looking more for gameplay design advice. Are my traps good? Is health distribution alright? Are easy / medium / hard actor placements reasonable and fun? How do the maps look, texture-wise? Any feedback on anything like this is welcome.
Before you continue reading, know that there are some spoilers below this point. There is a download link for the PWAD at the bottom of this post, so if you don't want to read over my goals / ideas for each level before playing them, please scroll past everything.
So, to begin, here are some screenies. Please note that some of these - especially the overview maps - are outdated, since I have since added additional secrets and passages to the maps. None of these maps are configured for multiplayer, and I'd also like some advice on how to go about doing that. Also, these screenies were taken with Brutal Doom.
As you can see, MAP08 looks significantly different from 01-07, since it's a change of style. The player goes to hell at the end of level 7, and winds up in a cavernous area, in contrast to the structured areas of the former seven maps.
These are shots of what the player will first see upon starting the level. Again, MAP08 looks way different from the others, as it's part of the 08-11 level set. As you can see, the first level is at night, and the ambient light levels become greater over time, with the exception of MAP08, which is cavernous and therefore dark.
Now, I'll move on to screenies of the levels themselves and elaboration on what I tried to accomplish on each level.
The first level, currently named "Docks," introduces the style of the first seven levels - structure-laden areas with wooded areas and such, which are cut down on MAP04 and onward. I was sure to add a few places where aggressiveness is prudent as opposed to shooting carefully around each corner, since I know some players like to do that. Nothing too hard, being the first level, but with its fair share of monsters and health and ammo. The traps on this level are predictable enough, but the secrets may be a little tricky to find. In one of the screenies, you can see the end-level walkover pedestal. In the updated version of the PWAD, its lights are on like the one at the beginning / end of the second level.
UV Maxed w/ degeneration & pistol start on Vanilla and Brutal DOOM in less than 3 mins.
MAP02 is a significant boost in difficulty from the first map. The first part of the level involves moving along a long pathway with monsters in front of you and other monsters occasionally teleporting behind you, using trees and other monsters as cover while scrounging for ammo, as does the second half of the level. Between those halves is a courtyard fight. I think this level is significantly harder than a bunch of the other ones in this PWAD, but that might just be me. Died about as much as I did on the other maps during the final tests, it just seemed harder is all. Enough times to be challenged, not enough to be annoyed or anything. The player is kinda forced to use ammo wisely and even run past some demons / imps in order to get more before running out. I prefer not to fight the monsters appearing behind me; I will ignore them and press to the courtyard, where a secret contains the Super Shotgun.
UV Maxed w/ degeneration & pistol start on Vanilla and Brutal DOOM in less than 5 mins for Vanilla and less than 4 for Brutal.
In contrast to the previous level, MAP03 is comprised of one large arena battle. Very shortly into the level, a bunch of the walls open up, and the player has lots of room to run around and shoot things with the SSG. Still as straightforward as the last one, though much more simple.
UV Maxed w/ degeneration & pistol start on Vanilla and Brutal DOOM in less than 3 mins for Vanilla and over 2 for Brtual.
Similar to the last level, since there's plenty of room to run around and multiple layers to the arena, but on this level the player will dart into rooms along the side (like the one in screenie 4) to drop the barriers in the center of the map, releasing more monsters, but also granting access to new keys. Doors will shut behind the player, and they will need to go in one direction in order to get back to the main arena. Just as well, entering new areas in the side-rooms will spawn health and armor in the arena to accomodate the player when fighting the new waves of monsters. The secrets on this map aren't really secrets, but a little backtracking will be necessary to get both of them. By the end of the level, the entire courtyard will be accessible, as shown in screenie 2, along with a shot of all of the monsters that will come out box by box on UV mode as the barriers in screenie 3 are lowered.
UV Maxed w/ degeneration & pistol start on Vanilla and Brutal DOOM in over 4 mins.
MAP05 is similar to the previous map in the sense that the player goes in one direction, making a full circle around the map to complete the level. The middle of the map opens up at some point, however, making it more like the one before the previous map. I'm very happy with my archvile trap, shown in screenie 2; the player is forced to dance between limited cover and behind the archvile so the archvile doesn't incinerate the player. In the updated version of the PWAD, a wall is behind the chaingunners, preventing the player from proceeding for a number of seconds. Thus, it's ideal to release both the archvile and the chaingunners at the same time, and also ideal to try and make them die at the same time.
UV Maxed w/ degeneration & pistol start on Vanilla and Brutal DOOM in over 3 mins.
This map clearly has a similar feel to the last one due to the chaingunners on the ledge and the archvile in front of them, but the player is not in danger of the chaingunners so much now. More-so the archvile. Kinda like the one on Plutonia's MAP01, I suppose, where the player needs to dart between cover to get places. This map has a whole bunch of backtracking, and some sneaky monster placement, including a second archvile trap in one of the secrets.
UV Maxed w/ degeneration & pistol start on Vanilla and Brutal DOOM in less than 4 mins.
I'm pretty happy with how this map turned out. The arena changes shape several times over the course of the level, revealing more and more monsters. There isn't a moment for a while after the player lowers the starting wall where they'll be able to find some peace; this level has a lot of running around, a lot of ducking behind improvised cover, a lot of LoSing, and stuff. A player looking to take it easy by clearing out all of the mancubi on the ground level before activating any of the switches will get a surprise in the form of a Spider Mastermind right in their face. Screenie 3 is a decent shot of what the arena looks like in its final stages, although the generous amount of health lying around has been reduced in the updated version of the PWAD. The majority of health on the level is now obtained from soulspheres and megaspheres, and there aren't very many of those lying around at all.
UV Maxed w/ degeneration & pistol start on Vanilla and Brutal DOOM in over 5 mins.
There are plenty of moments on this level where the player is surrounded. Brutal DOOM players will be accompanied by the three captured marines seen in screenie 4 of the MAP07 candid shots. To compensate, Vanilla DOOM players will benefit from a blur sphere in the middle of the large room later on in the level. Screenie 5 sums up the style of this level rather nicely: Cavernous with marble structure built into the rock walls, and torches lining the blood river that runs throughout the path of this level. In one of the screenies, you can see the only wood part of the level. I expect to add plenty more wood-style areas on maps 9, 10, and 11.
UV Maxed w/ degeneration & pistol start on Vanilla and Brutal DOOM in over 5 mins.
The first screenie here shows the end of MAP08. The end-level walkover line is right in front of me there, and the reason why I took that screenie is because MAP09 isn't yet designed, but the beginning of the level will look just like the end of the previous one. Unlike the first seven levels in this PWAD, maps 08-11 will appear continuous. As you can see, I have yet to find a different sky texture for the next set of levels, so expect that to change. You can also see that the next level in the 08-11 set will be a little different in style from the last one, and that style will continue to evolve over the course of this next level set.
The latter screenie is a template for the text screen that appears just before level 7. It's a work in progress.
All of that being said, here's a download link to the PWAD thus far, which includes the first eight levels:
Again, I'm looking for constructive criticism on my map-making skills. What am I doing right? How, and why? What's wrong with these maps, and why do those things take away from gameplay? How do I go about fixing them? Favorite moments playing through this WAD? Least favorite? And so on.
I look forward to reading any responses that come around. Thanks for any feedback you can give me!