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What is your definition of a good level ?
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Loki
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 4:04 pm
   Subject: What is your definition of a good level ?
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Ok, it's an old question, but I want make good levels.

So,

for you, a good level it's...


Last edited by Loki on Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:06 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 4:12 pm
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I'm not gonna give you only one definition, but sixty:

http://www.belowe.com/acktung.zip

You are welcome.


Ariel.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 3:10 am
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@Ariel: Well said - nothing more to add. Cool

@Loki: A good level for me is a realistic level. A level that isn't an useless labirynth, but a level that imitates the inside of Nazi bunker as good as it can with it's 64x64 walls. Take a look at, for example, Project Totengraeber - there are some kitchen areas, sleeping rooms, dog areas, even some torture rooms or cells for prisoners. That stuff makes Wolfenstein look like Wolfenstein. This is the first thing that makes level looking good. The second one, very important, is guard placement. Damn, playing a level with twenty SS guys around every corner isn't a pleasure for anyone, right? But intelligent and surprising guard placement make the level more exciting - the best one would be the one which will bring the sh*t out of the player and scare him with "SCHUTZSTAFFEL!" scream and big, blue guy going out from the place you checked fourty times, right? So - second thing is guard placement. The third one would be, for me, differential. Playing level which is made from straight corridors isn't fun. Creating level, which combines small corridors, cell area with blue brick that could be wicked, official areas that are symmetric with many decorations and objects makes more fun for player. There are many more and more things that are really important, like difficulty, secret areas, texture variation and more, but I bet you know what I am talking about. Thanks for bringing up such a cool topic - haha I hope discussion will be very good. Cheesy Grin

Wanna see good levels? Check out Acktung, Project Totengraeber, some levels from "Remake", Secret of the Grauburg Dungeons or Spear Ressurection.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 9:50 am
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Let's see, ack Wink.

The BJ Rowan's tips are available in FloEdit's help, ( help -> help) in "tips & tricks" section (Designing Good Maps). There's also a second very good document I've read. It was in MapEdit's ZIP package (a TXT file, called Wolfsod.zip or something).

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 10:08 am
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You might try accessing it not through floedit, but through the HLP file in it's folder.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 11:17 am
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I may have not released any levels, but I have played plenty. I think the most important part about levels are choices and cues.

You want to give player's the choice to take a hard route with tons of SS's and a medpack, but you want to make sure that there is a way out of it too, and a cue to let the player know how to avoid or access that area. Same with mazes and secrets. You want to only give people mazes if they want to have mazes by making the mazes as secrets. Also always cue people on ways out or in the mazes and cue people as to where secrets are located. This way you can please almost everyone by giving them choices as to where to go and what kind of experience they want to have.

How do you do cues? Item placement is one way.

Put lots of skeletons and dead bodies near an area where there may be lots of tough enemies.

Put a little treasure in a room, and then have a secret area in the same room that leads to tons of treasure. The player thinks,"where there is SOME treasure there may be more."

Walls are another way. When using the filthy walls I find it best to have a pushwall that is clean. It makes sense. If the wall has been used before the filth will have rubbed off.

Put Walls with warning signs around areas that have hard battles.

I personally like to have metal walls around areas with lots of treasure and or weapons. It gives the area a "vault-like" feeling. Also remember where there is lots of treasure there are usually lots of guards protecting it.

Reward people for tough battles, and reward them for taking the time to find secrets.

I think you should always, always, always give some kind of hint as to where the secrets are! Never put them in an area with out any clue as to the fact that they are there. People don't want to spend hours checking every wall for a secret.

Most checked areas:

Walls that are set in.

In between two blockable objects.

In small empty rooms.

On walls that have a decoration that stands out from others.

Decorations that are in the "center" of a wall.

Last but not least - make every area in a level unique so a player can remember it easer.

That's all I got. I hope that helped see ya.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 12:09 pm
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Just a few things to add to what has been mentioned already:

Make the most of the different types of guards. There's normal guards - they will react when they see you or if you fire a shot from a square with the same floor code. Moving guards - react as normal guards, but their positions when they see you will be more variable. Deaf guards - react only when they see you but have better vision and can see through 'gaps' in walls.

Floor codes - vary the numbers of rooms with same floor code. Sometimes using one, sometimes two etc, you can make the levels less predictable. Using this along with using different types of guards you can get a lot of variation.

There's another hints and tips guide called 'Wolftips'. It doesn't go that deep but it explains in more detail than I have above. It's at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~brlowe/WOLFTIPS.DOC

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 1:25 pm
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That's cool, Brian! I remember some more documents about level designing... wait.. take a look at this:

http://www1.linkclub.or.jp/~clubey/Mac%20Wolf/text.guides.html

Haha, I never visited Clubey's before ;]

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 1:54 am
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@ack: no problem.

You are right, ack. Very oftenly in original Wolfenstein 3D, the secrets are marked in some way - for example with a light in the corner, or with barrels that make a passage for the secret. Take a look at some levels, where secrets are between two pots, after a wall with decoration. It's a pretty cool way to show the player that "something may be here", and damn, this was the most funny part for me in Wolfenstein playing. The secrets in Wolfenstein are really important - it could be a last resort for a player that's friggin' hit by someone. And uh, did someone notice that in some levels of Wolfenstein, you've got to open a secret and go through it to finish the level? These ones are pretty good marked - for example, they are just in the end of an empty corridor. There were some maps like that.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2003 2:34 am
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You are completely right out there. Deaf guards is another point that is needed. I thought the deaf guards were made specially for those famous tricky areas, where there is a straight corridor with one missing wall, and deaf guard hides in there. In e1m1 there's something like that.

About all those deaf guards specifications - yeah, I also noticed that, but I didn't have an idea that their shots take more damage. I only thought that they are just deaf, and have better eye-vision. Nevermind, eh Wink.

Hey - check this one out. It will be pretty long, but it's funny and cool to read.

Quote:

Two Strategies on Creating Wolf Levels

The strategy or the goal one aims toward when playing Wolfenstein can ultimately be expressed in either of the following two ways.

1) A Time Trial.
2) A Perfect Massacre (and a perfect treasure hunt)

The purpose of the first method would be to reach the goal in the shortest amount of time. In this case, you must rush to the level goal no matter how many secret doors or enemies or hidden treasures are yet to be revealed.

On the other hand, the motive to the second method would be to visit every checkpoint possible before proceeding to the next level. In other words, you are to acheive 100% in every category given. This would include finding and conquering secret levels, collecting every treasure and killing all bosses, regardless of their number. I even consider picking up ammo a must condition though it never counts on the perfection percentage.

I guess most people combine these strategies, not really recognizing which method they are employing. But very likely, one would have to put the priority on either of the methods to thoroughly enjoy a really good and long scenario, or else, you'd lose your motivation in play and soon get bored.

Tastes differ, but I like the latter strategy better. Really, it doesn't matter which way you choose if you're only going to PLAY a level. But if you're to DESIGN one, I'd absolutely recommend a person to take on the second method. Of course, I have reasons for this.


1) For the sake of both type of players:

It's always easier to put together the two orientations when you choose the Perfect Massacre Plot because one can always challenge the clock in any type of scenario. Good Massacre levels are complex, full of traps and should be dellusionary, misleading and intertwining. And this is definitely a condition which also makes a Time Trial level a challenging one. Both methods co-exist in these types of levels.


2) Simple Time Trial traps are sometimes boring:

When a less concentrated author designs a Time Trial level, they most oftenly make their levels into meaningless mazes, a set of long stretching branches leading to nowhere, and with no interconnection whatsoever.

Don't you think this is ridiculous!? When someone is playing under the perfect massacre strategy, the person will go to every passage and corner of the level, which makes the player consume time in vain. But this doesn't mean he/she is being meticulously misleaded; they're simply being mistreated. Now, this is really boring. Especially when the formula is to just choose the right passage by chance.

In other cases, those tiresome branches lead to a key: just simply that. This makes the boredom an obligation and makes the levels worse than the former type. If it's neither intellectually nor technically challenging, then, labourous levels are deemed to be boring. So, don't think of this as a solution to the above problem.

The same goes with mazes. Even if the maze is designed thoroughly well, if the passages in a maze weren't interconnected or just there for one to wander for a key, I wouldn't classify the level a superb one. Actually, it's quite better than the two examples I gave above, but you know, not good is not good.

Also, though, long and complex mazes are always difficult, a designer should try to avoid levels where the difficulty only lies in their mazes. It's simply boring to run around in a maze for 30 minutes. And even if you still decide to use a giant maze, try to use one only once in every 5 levels or something.

In short, prolonged levels with no content is hardly of any fun, and when you have the Time Trial in mind its easier to mistake and confuse a sophisticated level with a dull and boring one. (Though a mediocre author may make the same mistake even when designing Massacre types)


3) I want to pick up every single item!!

This is a very egoistic reason, but yes, I DO want to collect every piece of everything that I possibly could! Time Trial levels set their Par so low, that if you explore every single room, check every secret, open every door, then you would never be able to clear the time limit. I once played a very long and boring level for so many times to check every corner with scrutiny, and then went on to challenge that level at the fastest speed ever, played it for a hard thirty minutes and found myself ten times over the time limit. Now this is very discouraging and also very unfair for those who aim to finish a perfect round route. A perfect feeling of achievement and satisfication only comes when you know you've done everything possible, not when you turn your back and flee to the lift like Thanksgiving turkeys!

It's very simple for authors to avoid making the players face the two way contradiction of choosing between the faster goal and the perfect one. All one has to do is to interconnect their rooms and alleys, sometimes just letting people see through the barriers, and make the level lift near the other side of the starting point. Going back and forth through well designed rooms full of challenge and wit is not at all annoying, but rather, enhances the fun. Authors should not confuse such levels with levels that are just long and boring.

I know some people express their boring levels as taunting, but I can't agree. To taunt someone is not to make them go for nothing. A must condition that you can see but cannot easily reach, but can always reach and have to reach the hard way; this, I think is the ideal of a taunting level.

Now, besides the debate concerning which of the two plots one employs, I have several other suggestions and preferences of my own.

They are as follows.

TOP




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Other Sub-Strategies


1) I like picking up every damn thing! :

Some authors put objects, and sometimes doors and enemies, in corners where we can never reach them. Besides when utilizing the south-east corner trick (can be used only in the 3rd Encounter), I don't like this. The awesome feeling of achievement cannot be attained through such traps. They should look unreachable, but should end up not. Recollecting ammo from those whom I've killed is one of the utmost pleasures I hold in playing Wolfenstein levels, so enemies in unreachable locations make me feel utterly deprived. And even those who believe that taunting wouldn't exist if not for the unreachable settings, I'd say right and wrong. If you could make the trap in such a taunting situation and still not let the player collect an item, the feel of taunt and irritation would be greater if the player knew that somehow that area was accessible. Wouldn't you feel so? What are secret walls for? Think well, and make the best out of the means you own. Making a place impossible to reach is just easier to make for an author, and easier to give up on for the player.

TOP


2) How to use Ghosts :

As I've said, I like killing every damn villian....

If you were fighting the Nazi's, wouldn't you want every single bad guy dead before you're granted any medals of honour? Wouldn't you and your kids sleep more comfortably if you knew you've exterminated them all? At least that's the feeling I have. Therefore, the utilization of Ghosts is a very delicate agenda for me.

I like all-star castings in Wolf 3D scenarios, hence want the ghosts, all four of them, in the game. But on the other hand, since these whackos are naturally invincible and indestructable, I can't fully welcome them in.

My neutral idea is to use them effectively, and not too randomly. The geography of their location should be well calculated, less dependant on mere chance. This means let's not make a bunch of one unit cells filled with ghosts triggering a chain reaction of ghosts sliding out of their rooms, if it's not avoidable in a reasonable way. These kind of halls only test your luck, not your ability to execute a fine operation. Of course if its playable, its good. But too many enemies left roaming about doesn't comfort my satisfication nor the PowerPC problem.

You know, after all, ghosts SHOULD be DEAD, shouldn't they?

One more thing to add. Ghosts exist only in the 3rd Encounter and up. Don't put in ghosts if you're making levels that you want to be playable with the 2nd Encounter also.

TOP


3) Let's be aware of the Power PC problem :

First let me briefly introduce the Power PC compatibility problem.

As Josh Mills has given out in one of his archives, the Wolfenstein 3D game seems to have problems when played on the PowerPC: it freezes sometimes. I'm no computer expert and I can't tell you what's wrong or how to permanently fix it, but I can share some tips that I know of.

First, though in the above archive the problem is introduced as a PowerPC one, I know personally that it had no problem when played on PowerPC CPUs as PPC 603 and 603e because neither my Performa 6210 nor Power Macintosh 4400/200 initially had any problems. (My Performa 6210 had other problems though. Look in the troubleshooting area of my FAQs). I checked the code using several simple native code detecters and the result was that the game had both 68K and PPC codes built in. This should mean that the progammers at MacPlay knew what they were doing with the then new technology. And most convincingly, the early years of the PPC heard few claims of trouble from Wolf 3D users (As far as I've heard of).

I initially experienced the problem immediately after installing a G3 card from Interware in my Power Mac 4400/200. First I thought it was a bug related to the Interware card, but soon heard voices from official G3 machine users. So, it seems rather to be a G3 problem and not a PPC one. If wrong, please inform me.

The followings are some of my ways to avoid them :



a) If I play the game with no extensions the problem rarely occurs.
But, you can't use the cheat and save the game.

b) Keeping my number of extensions small drastically decreases my risk.
It scarcely happens when using MacOS default (OS 7 & 8 family).

c) Lessening the number of doors is one solution.

d) Try to jamm some doors by killing enemies right in middle of the door.



Now, let's look into these solutions individually.

The first two, a) and b), don't have much to discuss about in themselves. The problem, or annoyance, is rather clear. Because I believe very few people use their Macs only as Wolfenstein playing devices, it's quite obvious that turning off every optional (i.e. non-Mac OS default) extension you usually use would illustrate a very uncomfortable situation for a personal computer user. I myself, almost never resort to these two ways of bypassing the PowerPC problem because it renders my computer useless for other activities without restarting it.

So it comes that I usually try to utilize the last two strategies, c) and d). But as Josh Mills has referred, the c) solution takes a whole bunch of challenge out of the game, and besides, it alters the original game. The problem seems not to reside in the number, but the many simultaneous openings and closings of doors which seem to lead to a multiple bus error.

As I've already said, I usually try to jamm the doors by killing the guards right in it. But if you do this too much, a secondary problem rises. Sometimes this strategy leads to you having too much objects in one room (because the doors don't shut, several rooms begin to count as one). Of course, this ends up in having invisible and invincible enemies. So you have to be good at this, and know the map really well. And because enemies can't open locked doors in the Commercial version, the decision whether or not to jamm the locked doors sometimes prove crucial, too. (You sometimes MUST jamm the door in order to escape the attack of a boss quickly). Also, though it's not the best solution, sometimes you can alternate the locked doors to the plain ones to avoid random openings of them. (Of course, this too takes a bit of challenge out of the level map).

Now, the best solution we have and what authors of Wolfenstein scenarios should make sure of is to design our levels so that it lessens the risk of the game from freezing.

That means :



a) Don't make too many doors and rooms that mean nothing,

b) Try not to position more than one or two enemies who could cut themselves loose to wander into a corridor full of doors,

c) Try using a locked door every once in a while,

d) Don't use the sound area tool too much, and never use it if you're not aware of the PowerPC problem.

e) Don't just fill in a room connected to two or more doors with lots and lots of enemies; that's not the smart way to make good levels.

f) Above all, test your own levels thoroughly as possible, and remake them every time you encounter a problem!!


TOP


4) Let's make levels with nice wall settings

This is kind of obvious, but some authors of original levels seem to get careless when designing them, and start to use every wall texture, and they use them most everywhere they can!!
Now, let's not do this. It's downright stupid, and above all, just plain ugly.

I can give simple directions on this.



a) Always use only one family of wall textures in a single room unless it's absolutely necessary.
A family is constituted by a basic wall texture (eg. the stone wall) and walls with certain accessories on the same base texture (eg. stone walls with the Eagle Arch, the Nazi Cross Banner, Hitler's portrait).

b) Try most of the time to make wall textures of neighboring rooms have realistic relations.
A room with heavily mossed stone walls right besides an office room or a hallway with wooden panels just isn't right (unless it's a secret passage or something).

c) Try to build on a story when you pick your textures.
(eg. From level 1 being an underground dungeon to the last level being a cozy study or headquarter office where Hitler resides).

d) If you're making a scenario with more than 4 or 5 levels, it's better not to use more than 2 or 3 families of walls in a single level (there are 15 wall families in the original Wolf game) if you're a beginner.
This is because it's difficult to maintain an aesthetic coordination when there are so many textures on a single level, and it's not realistic either. Another reason is that you will run out of textures if you're building a story with the walls (see the above table category). Yet another reason is that if you use a lot of wall textures all the time, you're going to be very repititive, which will definitely make your levels boring. Of course, large levels tend to be capable of having more textures than smaller ones.

e) Try to use the daynite texture so that the player cannot directly approach it. It doesn't look right when you stand in front of it. If you could make the player not see the both edges or corners of this texture, it'll be even better!

f) Please be aware that the North-South side of the daynite wall correspond to the daytime texture and the East-West side to the night texture.

g) Please be aware that the level lift block will look identical to the lift wall textures (the one with handbars on it) when seen from the North-South side. Only the East-West side looks like the lift control panel. Both sides will still work the same, though.


TOP


5) Let's make levels realistic!!

This is really simple. If your levels make the player feel like he is in a castle or dungoen or somewhere, then you're doing good. If the player feels he's just moving through dull boxes you're doing bad. I've played such bad levels before and they made me feel like I was playing Sokoban 3D rather than Wolfenstein.

To avoid this just put in objects so that it looks like somewhere.



a) Use the light every now and then.

b) Put in objects that match the room. A lot of wooden tables in a stoned room is wierd.

c) Don't put too much objects into a room either.
If you go over the 64 limit, strange things will happen. But even if you don't go that far, basically keep the numbers reasonable. You usually don't see rooms in real life with 10 lights, 11 chandeliers, 12 tables, 15 saucers of food on the floor, 14 planted trees and a drumcan, do you?



Sorry if this one was too long to read, but I think it is pretty good-written and interesting.

It is flom Clubey's webpage - there are some many cool tips. It is about Mac Wolfenstein, but there are many similarities.

http://www1.linkclub.or.jp/~clubey/Mac%20Wolf/editing.tips.html

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2004 2:55 am
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Ok. Very interresting. I'm glad of yours answers. Well, in this moment i try use yours tips. It's difficult. If i make a bad work with that it's very sad ! Sad
Thanks everybody for yours advices. It's very nice. Razz


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 9:21 am
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I good source of inspiration for Wolf 3-D levels has to be DOOM. Put lots of nooks with enemies in them next to doors, so when the player enters a new room, the enemies are behind them. I used that a lot in Dead World Rising. I got pretty good comments on the levels. Also remember the golden rule...never put too many deaf guard codes next to each other. It can cause major problems. And check your floor codes! Mr Green
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2004 5:36 am
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GreatWasabi wrote:
Also remember the golden rule...never put too many deaf guard codes next to each other. It can cause major problems. And check your floor codes! Mr Green


Good point there re "deaf guard codes"! I call them "guard posts", probably because I think that's what the creators of Mapedit used to call them I think. Never place one of these directly in front of a door, as the door will be rendered invisible. It's always wise to have a "guard post" connected to at least one space containing the floor code of the room it's located in. The coders among us would no doubt be able to tell you how & why this feature works the way it does.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2004 8:24 am
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Yeah, the invisible door thing really aggravates me. I didn't find out that it happened until after I'd been modding for a while.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 5:03 pm
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I haven't posted in awhile - so forgive me for bumping this older thread up.

I've always tried to strive to make the "perfect level", but I really think there is no way to acheive that - even the original Wolf had levels that were shoddy in a few places. But perhaps the level that inspired me to start wolf editing was episode 3 level 8. So I looked at everything I liked about that level - the ominous secret door at the beginning, the swasktika-shaped hallway, and just generally the large variety between the types of rooms that still all had this intense feeling to them. And basically, I just tried to recreate the level. That taught me that variety in layouts of rooms is extremely important - don't always litter your levels with rectangle-shaped hallways with millions of doors connecting off of them. I've seen that way too much and it really just gets tiresome. You also don't have to make something really non-linear to make it challenging or big. There are plenty of very straightforward levels that are both extremely tough and well designed - you just have to know how to keep the players on their toes without irritating them.

...and that's all I can juice out of my head right now. I hope someone found that interesting.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 5:07 pm
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Since Wolfenstein's level format is a lot more restrictive than later FPS games, the original levels are about as good as it can get in terms of graphical detail. You can't make the Wolfenstein equivalent of those 10,000-linedef super-detailed Doom levels made by the likes of Chris Lutz. So you basically have to focus on gameplay and ambience. A good level must keep you excited from beginning to end and look nice within the technical restraints the engine places on us. It's more of an art than a science, and when you get it right, a level will just seem like magic. A good level should leave the player satisfied at the end but not give him the "am I at the end yet?" feeling.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 7:03 pm
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Executor wrote:
Since Wolfenstein's level format is a lot more restrictive than later FPS games, the original levels are about as good as it can get in terms of graphical detail.

Executor, I agree with you on everything but this one statement. In my mind, the design of the original levels didn't look very professional; walls would change designs right in the middle of the room (at least until the Nocturnal Missions, or later levels of SOD), the object placement was - for the most part - sparse, and there would be curious "gaps" in the map whenever you played on skill levels below 4, which were made by missing Difficulty 4 guards.

Try running either of my add-ons (either "Operation: Kill BJ!" or SOD-RMK) and you'll see these problems fixed. And remember, *all* these levels have less than 400 Static Objects total.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 10:19 am
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I was speaking from a technical standpoint. Many modern Doom levels have literally 10 times as much detail as an original map (an original Doom level had 1,200 linedefs at most. Many modern ones have more than 10,000). However, you can only put so much detail into a Wolfenstein level. So therefore you must rely on gameplay and atmosphere instead of the OMG EYEKANDY detail extravaganzas used by many other game mappers.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 11:06 am
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Something extensive, with realistic level design (a complex complete with labs, bathrooms, weaponries, and rest places, maybe offices), well placed enemies that fit the level, you know where I'm going with this.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:37 pm
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As said before, a realistic designed oned...
Something that gives impression that one could actually live in this place.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:31 pm
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WLHack wrote:
As said before, a realistic designed oned...
Something that gives impression that one could actually live in this place.

At the same time though, you wouldn't want to do this to the point that the level becomes too predictable. It's still a cool thing to keep in mind, though; I often forget it myself. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 6:02 am
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.....


Last edited by Thomas on Mon May 30, 2011 8:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:23 pm
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IMO a good level is something that the player isn't going to expect or hasn't played a hundred times before in every other mod. I'm not saying that everything has to be changed but just be using some imagination and trying to visualise a level when making it is important.

I can't stress enough that for me level design is pretty much the most important thing in making mods. No matter how good your walls, sprites etc. look if you've got really crappy, sameish, repetative levels then i'm not likely to play through all your levels.

There are fantastic games out there like Schabbs 2000 that have no new walls, sprites or anything but are as good as anything you'll play for one reason... great level design.

Please if you are making a mod spend more time on level design, there have been so many mods come out that i've been excited about only to lose interest once i start to play through the levels solely because of really crappy level design.

Good thing in levels i like?

1. Levels that show that the mapper has thought before they mapped, that they have had some sort of plan of what the level is going to be.
2. Levels that have a theme and stick to it.
3. Levels that use walls that go together, if they don't then don't put them together on the same level.
4. Mods that have levels that change it up, don't have every level look exactly the same.
5. Levels that look realistic (To some degree)
6. Mods that have maps in order (Don't have nice looking levels on level 1 then prison levels on level 7)
7. Levels that appeal to different types of wolfers. Too many times i play a mod and it's obvious which style a mapper likes, because every level is the same.
8. Levels with ceiling colour and walls that go well together, that show some thought before started.
9. Levels that have objects that match the style of the room, don't go putting pools of blood and skeletons in nicer areas.
10. Creativity, something original.

One piece of advice that works for me to help other mappers?

If you get an idea at ANY time write it down, even if it's only 1 small thing like a wall layout or a sprite idea. I have a folder full of bits of scraps of paper of things i've written down. If stuck for ideas then you've got some ideas just sitting there.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:32 pm
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Excellent comments, Dean. Thumbs Up

Dean wrote:
6. Mods that have maps in order (Don't have nice looking levels on level 1 then prison levels on level 7)

I understand exactly what you're saying here, but I did break such a rule in one of the levels I did, simply for the sake of making it more effective. It was where I reversed the theme for Level 1 of Episode 1 by having the player fight his way through the outside and make his way back *into* the dungeon at the end of the level, where the elevator was. It didn't quite end up being as effective as I originally pictured it, but it's still a good enough level to keep, even now when I'm revising my levels for the TC version.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:50 pm
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How a good level SHOULD look like? There are several different ways we could approach this question, as there are several different type of levels:


- A common level should equally consists corridors and rooms, separated with doors. Small rooms ,big rooms, narrow corridors, wider corridors. Avarage amount of everything: Ammunition, health increasement items, enemies, treasure, and 2-3 secret areas. Locked doors aren't necessary, except if you're designing big levels, and you like to complicate things a lil' bit...

- Real levels are a lot harder to make. Not only because it demands more time to spent with, but it's near impossible to design them properly without implementing new walltypes and static objects. The basic set of walls and static objects painfully limits the level builder's possibilities. You can't design a proper kitchen ,because there are no ovens or fridges in the original object collection. Same goes for WC or bathroom. You have two wells and some puddles of water, and there, build a proper WC. Not to mention the lack of windows. I don't want to mention that all the food are on the floor, this game's engine cannot afford eating from a table, but not having proper static objects for designing real levels is a VERY serious problem. You can't make realistic levels just using tables, wells and some pile of bones...

- Bonus levels (Secret levels) should differ from original levels. The Pac-man level and AReyeP's special levels (Mirror Rooms, Clone Wars, 123 you're dead) are shining examples. Secrets levels should have unique aspects, that will make'em players seek them out, and think about them as secret levels, not just a fifth wheel.

- Deja vu levels are a common favourite. It's very important for these levels to be an exact copy of a well-known level from another game. Mostly game builders choose the very first level of Wolfenstein 3D.

- Boss levels are mostly focused around the boss itself, symmetric, and hold lots of powerups, such as ammunition and first aid packages, and of course - secrets, which may ease your task a bit. Hiding keys behind secret doors is a very wise thing to do, but I'd also recommend secret vantage points, where the boss cannot go, and you can make a few cheap shots on him without worryin' 'bout he'll chase ya down.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:42 am
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What makes a good level is being inspired. Floors with hallways/hubs/dining rooms and average opposition, with every such room having its own code, tend to become boring, especially if they're decorated nicely.

Sometimes I think it's better to create a larger outer room that covers a structure of smaller rooms, and have Nazis patrol it non-uniformly, to also create a bit of randomness. It helps if several rooms are (or get to be) connected at a time, so many guards will pour in. If done in a multi-connected map, they'll appear at any door, thus increasing the tension of the level (not for the faint of heart, especially when there are SS. Ouch).

Secret doors should be placed judiciously, so the player who lost a life and remained with a pistol and 8 bullets can hope for help and rub the walls to find more first-aid or crowns (to get a new life).

Realism shouldn't be required, but it's better if levels gradually become weird and unrealistic. Don't reveal too many tricks (as I had read in another thread...)

Also, using a custom exe helps hugely, unless you happen to be a trickmaster or very good mapper I think... It helps if the player is presented with new challenges at every level. Coding the exe really helps here (and it's fairly easy to set up, thanks to Schabbs's site). Don't make it predictable and instead scare the crap out of the player who encounters a Grosse or whatever in levels like 8, which usually tend to be creepy.

I also don't get the reasoning behind using four keys in a level, other than that it merely can be made. Levels are usually small and hard enough to accomodate using two keys only... but I've only played one mod with four (actually six) keys so far... I thought it was kinda predictable, with all levels looking the same, and using that texture I personally hate, the bright orange lighted stone...
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:22 pm
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ioan wrote:
Secret doors should be placed judiciously, so the player who lost a life and remained with a pistol and 8 bullets can hope for help and rub the walls to find more first-aid or crowns (to get a new life).
Agreed; having you restart a level with a Pistol and 8 Ammo is pointless unless the map accommodates this circumstance. I think a lot of mappers forget that. Smile

Quote:
I also don't get the reasoning behind using four keys in a level, other than that it merely can be made. Levels are usually small and hard enough to accomodate using two keys only... but I've only played one mod with four (actually six) keys so far... I thought it was kinda predictable, with all levels looking the same, and using that texture I personally hate, the bright orange lighted stone...
It's not so bad if the doors have *some* indicator of what key you're supposed to use in it. When there are four different keys to get, and every type of locked door looks exactly the same, it's irritating for me. Having it say which key you need *when* you try to open it doesn't always work well; you can either be ready for action, only to find out you've got the wrong key, or you have no idea whether the key will work, and when it does, you're caught off-guard by the enemies behind it. IMO, not a good gaming experience. Sad
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:32 am
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What's your concept for outdoor areas? Maybe, if someone would want to create an outdoor level for a winter-add-on (like me). Or I say something better: a green field level would be ideal, especially with textured floor and ceiling. Outdoor areas must be different, especially when I think about secret doors...you can't just "open" a bush wall Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:36 pm
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Another thing to keep in mind for outdoor areas - portraits hanging on the walls are quite inappropriate, IMO. You're hearing this from someone who's made this very mistake himself, and it took me months, even years, to figure out why it didn't seem quite right. Hanging pictures on a wall - be it in Germany or North America - is a tradition done indoors, not outdoors. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:08 am
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For outside areas I prefer cyan ceilings and brown weave if WL6, or those special SoD textures. Mountain blue sky might work too, see E2L5 (disregard any ceiling lights).
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