doom vs quake

i’m sure in ’96 there was a lot of talk about this kind of thing, but i thought i’d talk about it from a mapping perspective and what it means for the community after having worked on a doom map for a month or so now.

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i got my doom map tested!

apparently, it sucks.  heh, ok, not really, but it really highlights my inexperience with the doom gameplay mechanics.

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doom2 sp map update 3

new canyon area

this is probably a better method of showing new areas vs old ones.

here’s the current version of the canyon now.  it’s got some kind of castleish thing down on the bottom right which gives access to some lifts that bring the player up high enough to reach the ledges that lead back up north.

the yellow key is in that small room near the bottom.  they player will have to back-track a bit to get to the yellow door, so i’ll have to open up some new areas or something to keep things interesting.  and likely spawn in another horde of monsters, of course. ^_^

the giant grassy area on the right has no purpose atm.  i want to use it to just connect some areas a bit more just to open the map up a bit.  i may spawn a ton of monsters here and having the opening will allow them to spill out into other areas better…  but i’m not really sure.  i may just leave it as decoration or something.

doom2 sp map update2

was supposed to finish off the cavern by building the button area that enables the gateway in the center to be used by the (A), but mapper’s block happened so i dropped it for now.

instead, i started on the outdoor canyon area (B).  i had to rework this area before i finally settled on what’s there.  the first time, i had some problems integrating the new area with the first outdoor section above it.  that first area had a ceiling height of 128 but with the sky at 0, so anything had to be below 0 which the original area wasn’t. (i wanted to create a mountain above the ground height).

i settled on making nominal ground height far above sea level, so when the player appears at point (B), they are actually about -1024 down.  as they work across the canyon (following the red line, roughly), they eventually come back to 0 height.

i added a tower (C) out in the ocean to act as a sort of landmark for the two ‘windows’ i added through the rock walls shown by (D).  this will give the player something to place themselves with (without having to look at the map).

current plans for expansion…

so the whole point of this thing was to blog the map itself, so here’s my current plans:

i’m currently building around the brown section in this image.  the gameplay of this cavern is pretty much done at this point.

but just to explain a bit:

the player enters this cavern on the right side.  they move to the center and hit a button.  the button simultaneously starts a timer that releases hundreds of monsters out of the teleporter in the middle of the cavern and also unlocks the passageway at point ‘A’.  the player is safe from the gigantic horde of monsters once they start to work their way around the perimeter of the cavern.

along the way, they pick up boxes of rockets that they have to use to thin the horde out (they are safe from counter attack).

eventually, they make it to the brown unfinished area above with a button that will ‘recalibrate’ the gateway ‘to allow human transport’.  uhhh heh, well, it lets them use the teleporter.

it’s not on that image, but the teleporter would take them to some small/medium outdoor area with a completely different theme.  the obvious choice here is ‘hell’ since it’s doom after all.  so either those weird tentacle textures or the brimstone rocks or something.  it’s not really important, the point of it is really just to put some contrast in what the player’s seeing.

anyway, they work through this small area and teleport ‘back to the real world’ (…heh) into the green section.  this is planned to be outdoor, and i’m not sure on the size or exactly how it’ll look.  currently, i’m thinking of like big canyon type thing with a blood river meandering down the center of it.  the cavern is inside a giant mountain anyway, so it should be fairly consistent.

in any case, they pick up the yellow key which they use…

over here.  of note, the area ‘B’ is currently a decoration area, it’s not reachable and just has trees (and a teleporter pad where flying monsters come out of).

plans here are fairly vague but everything past the yellow door is likely to be marb textured with some courtyards.

area ‘C’ is the current start point, but i want to expand that northward a bit with a proper start (instead of just appearing in the hallway inside the map already).

time to switch editors

ugly isn’t it?  well, it’s definately misaligned.  thing is, i have no idea why.

every single instance of this texture (and the support texture on the far left side) are misaligned like this.  i had to go through the entire map resetting the x offsets for something like 200 support trim textures… -_-

my best guess is this is a bug with SLADE’s auto texture alignment.  normally, when you tell it to auto align textures, it will only align textures in the same general area and only textures that are the same.

but somehow, it went and ‘aligned’ these textures over the entire map.  :S

i think i’ll give doom builder a shot now and see how it goes.

map direction and method

i instinctively map with a method i call ‘tumor mapping’. this really just means i plan nearly nothing ahead of time except for a vague direction i want to head in (ie: “this map is going to be cramped”, “this will be a slow moving but scary map”, etc).
i call it tumor mapping because my maps grow like tumors. you start off with one or two rooms to establish your theme and general feel and atmosphere. from there, you essentially pick random areas to ‘grow’ your map. you pick one corner and you extend it 768 units out. in this new area, pick another corner and extend that another 512 units out.
i can hear the professional level designers scoffing right now. ^_^;
a professional will tell you that you need to plan your map out in triplicate before putting down a single brush (or linedef, or whatever terminology your particular engine uses). they will tell you you need a solid plan of action in mind and you should stick to that plan as much as you can.
they are right. you would not believe the amount of times i map myself into a corner, with no room left to expand or a significant problem with gameplay that can’t be resolved with the current design. but i’ve also found my most creative maps were made this way.
in quake (or any true 3d engine), this isn’t always the end of the world. it has reared it’s ugly head a few times already in doom.

in quake, you always had the option to go up or down and pile passages and atriums on top of other passages and atriums.
doom is different from quake and engines that came after it because it’s not really 3d. the level geometry is bound by very restrictive rules, the most important of which is that one room cannot be on top of another.
this means, if my tumor map grows itself into a corner, my only course of action is to either create a teleporter (not a good solution as teleporters break up the flow of a map) or rework the entire area (this sucks because you are essentially throwing away the time you already spent on that area and it’s very annoying).
on the up side, moving around whole sections of map is much easier in doom than quake. thankfully, after a couple of close calls, i’ve been more careful about it and haven’t had to rearrange significant portions yet.

Sorry for the absolutely ridiculous image quality here…  i had to photoshop the hell out of it just to get it to be intelligible.  -_-

anyway, sometimes planning things out works too.  i can tell you it speeds things up by a lot.

on the left is nesp16, the geocompish map.  interestingly, that map turned out the most compact and efficient (with use of space) of anything i’ve made.  contrast to, say, ne_doom or nesp04 where i just winged it.

and then there’s the happy medium.  somewhat tumourish and somewhat planned.  i think ne_tower was probably the best example of it of maps i’ve released, but ne_lend was also a good example of that mix.  but more just because ne_lend was based off an existing map which was the ‘blueprint’.

i think spontaneity can play a very important role in the creativity of a map.  there’s something to be said for winging it sometimes.

at least in a hobby environment.  you’d probably be shot if you were on a commercial team.

why doom2?

over the last week, i began creating a map for doom2 even though i usually prefer to create content for quake or doom3.  quake, because creating content for the engine is fast and straight forward.  doom3 because of the powerful scripting engine and access to more modern tech.
in fact, i was working on a couple of great projects for those engines.  –am i allowed to call them great even if they are my own?–   in particular, the quake project called “ne_cath”, was my largest effort to date and had 6 nearly complete, large sized maps, tons of new audio and an expansive, coherent story.
it was stored on a seagate es.2.  google seagate es.2 firmware for info on that disaster.

in any case, about a year’s worth of work was gone and i just didn’t want to open up either engine for a long time.

enter doom2.  it’s interesting that i never mapped for this game earlier.  most of my early quake maps were modeled after doom2 gameplay, with emphasis on horde combat.  my first modified monsters emulated doom2 monsters and i often used doom2 textures.

ne_marb holds a good example of what i liked most of about doom.  for me, when i think of doom, i think of green marble, iron and wood.  oh yeah, and blood seas.  santa knew wtf he was doing when he chose green and red for christmas.  having the majority of your map vivid green only to be offset with vibrant red is a great combo.  the neutral wood and dark iron trims work for the bright colours, breaking them up and giving your eyes something to follow.

aside: something i just was thinking about.  why did q3 block10 + purple metal work so well?  easter is awesome too.  it’s surprising how those colour combos we might at first think of as garish can work out well.  of course, q3 block10 goes great with red (read: blood rivers) too.  see czg07c.

in any case, as you can imagine, this doom2 map i’m working on is both marb and woodmet.

mapping for doom is different.  i actually did a lot of it back in the mid 90s, but i was just a kid back then and i sucked at it.  it’s a blessing and a curse to be working with sectors and not brushes.  it’s fast, but limited and i’m still getting used to it.  there are some great editors these days too.  back when i originally mapped for doom, there was dck (which i used) and a handful of others.  but one thing they all lacked was a 3d preview.  (when duke3d came out, i remember being excited about the game/editor integration.  sadly, the monsters and themes of the game never really held my interest).

3d preview in doom mapping is new to me and damn is it awesome.  i use the SLADE editor (because the site for doombuilder was down when i wanted to get it…).  it’s easy to jump back and forth between 3d and 2d and the editor itself is easy to use for the most part.  also, the editor is a lot more intelligent about vertex merging, line splitting and sector creation than the old dck was.  it makes me wonder what the id software team could have done with doom if they had had access to today’s tech.  the obvious answer is they would have made doom3. :P

anyway, i’m rapidly becoming bored with this so i’m going to end here.