Lunaran.com Matthew Breit Level Designer | Texture Artist
Mon, Jun 5th, 2000 | 7:00am
What a week. Doom2000, Steed, the Beginner's Mapping Tutorial, semester finals, college entrance exams, Blitz, and, of course, drinking beer and shooting things. I'll go in order.
While few of the original Doom team members are still there, what does that matter? id has new blood that's just as skilled if not more so than the original team (do you really want Doom2000 taking as long as Daikatana?), so we sure as hell don't have to worry about D2K looking bad. Plus they've got Graeme Devine, whose skill with game design is incredible.
I have plenty of confidence in Graeme and the rest of the team to find the best balance of gameplay, striking a note between the Quake1 kind of gameplay--the kind that draws 100% of the satisfaction from the action, but not so much as to reduce the game to keyhunts of Unrealesque proportions--and the Half-Life kind of gameplay--with some actual story (but not too much), that makes you think and draws you into the world, but not so much that the player moves at the speed of erosion and watches more of the game than he plays.
They're still going to need help making it as perfect as it can be, and the only way they're going to meet all the expectations of the community is if they really listen to them. Are you listening?
Flynn's next trip to Phobos is going to rock.
I've already got plenty of articles I've pulled out of me butt about gameplay at the Encyclopedia, but most of them are a bit too advanced for the everyday mapper. Someone who's just made a cualk-pink maze of quads and thinks it's great isn't going to get much out of those articles.
My idea is this:
Write a multi-page tutorial for the average blow taking them through each step of the process of making a simple, 2-atrium deathmatch map. They start with putting two oblongish circles on a piece of paper, connecting them with lines representing halls in different colors to represent levels, remind them of vis-blocking, maybe get a bit more technical at the end with optional teleporter, dead-end, or side room, and then sum it up with a quick analysis of how the example map would flow.
Then they follow the tutorial through coming up with a simple architectural/ texturing system that they can apply to building every area of the map, walk them through the first atrium and the first hall to show them proper scale and texture alignment, give them a bit more info about lighting properly and putting in the occasional detail, and a blurb on the all-important vis-blocking.
The final step is adding items and spawns. I take some simple principles of balance and fun and show how stuff is scattered around the map in a balanced and fun manner, do's and don'ts, as well as tips on how to gauge the weapons and amount of ammo, health, and armor, that should be included.
This certainly isn't designed to make a great map, or possibly even a releasable one. The intent is to give newbie mappers a really strong message and a helping hand about how deathmatch maps should and should not be made. Something to quickly teach foundation skills that most of us take for granted.
Outline coming sometime this week, so all you l33t mapper d00dz can give me plenty of useful feedback, which I'm sure you're all just dying to spooge all over me. :P
I'd give you a raw completion percentage, but they're just too damn hard to estimate with any accuracy (one of my best friends). So, I'll put it this way: construction is about 70% complete. One of the two major atriums is built, and both minors are also finished. All I have to do is finish the last one and kill all the remaining sparklies of death, and construction will be complete. Then comes item placement, reeducating the bots, completely redoing the item placement because I fux0red it up the first time, having to rereeducate the bots, then I send it to my beta testers, who tell me the item placement is terrible and the bots play the map like gerbils.
It'll be worth it when it's done, I swear. Hopefully that will be soon, so I can get back to work on Blitz ASAP. Speaking of which (I love these segues!)...
With that out of the way, Blitz is going to turn out great. I'm working together with than and Killer of KT-ImPaKT fame/infamy, as well as CyBeAr, Kanaeda of the Fresh Team, and Skull. We've made it a rule that every map must be strongly and uniquely themed (kinda like Coriolis Storm). As such, almost all of our maps will be almost all custom textures and/or unique combinations of id textures. We'll be releasing texture packs as bonuses while we work on the mod.
Blitz's gameplay is a rather nifty combination of Domination and speedrunning: there are several contact points scattered throughout a map, and both teams have to run with an item--an artifact, we're calling it--to certain points as the computer chooses them at random. The twist is there's a timelimit: if your team can't get the artifact to the contact point in time, you lose out and a new point is chosen. This offers plenty of opportunity to add lots of tricks and shortcuts in the maps, and you probably won't be able to make it from one point to another without at least a rocket jump, unless you're the only one playing.
No website yet, as we're all either working on maps of our own (cough) or textures/maps for the mod. Themes we are making textures for or plan to make textures for are classical Greek architecture, urbano-industrio-metallico, a high-res conversion of the Waste e2u3 set, an Arctic set that's on the shelf right now, a much more Midieval and hellish Gothic style, plus another conversion I'm sure a lot of people will be excited about which I won't divulge at the moment.
Odd bit of trivia: Blitz originally started with just me and than wanting to bring a little Doom to Quake3 deathmatch.
Whoever suggested I make the lun3dm1 music into an mp3 just for download so that the user can thenceforth translate it to .wav with WinAmp, your idea rocks ass, and I'm sorry I haven't done it yet. Even if it's not worth it since there probably aren't many people downloading it any more, it'll save space and I'll probably do it with lun3dm2 as well (if I get some music for it).
The "comments and addendi for each article" idea is on the shelf, since I'd have to bother with php3, and ASP doesn't seem to be working out as well as I'd like. Sometime ... that's the magic word.