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MAZES -- How do we feel about them?
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Zach
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:09 pm
   Subject: MAZES -- How do we feel about them?
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On reddit there's a popular thing called CMV, change my view. You post what you believe with the desire to hear opposing arguments in order to make clearer the subject in the OP's (and of course any readers) mind. Awesome idea, sometimes some very interesting topics.

Anyway, I always feel like everyone hates mazes in Wolfenstein: They're a chore; searching for secrets in them is annoying; it's hard to keep track of islands; they're ugly -- etc, etc. I realized I also automatically assume others will feel this way, too. But I wonder, does anyone actually like mazes? Find them scary or unpredictable, or puzzling? Anything?
Thomas
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:19 pm
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I can't come to think of any tasteful mazes in mods. There's a bit of maze work in E6L7, which I don't mind, quite frankly it's one of my favorite levels ever. But there are some stuff like Projekt Vertilgung level 16 (lol), level 8 in The Golden Episodes (forgot the episode) and a handful of stuff of my own that is just atrocious and lame and a waste of time. Mazes are not funny, they are not scary, they are not artsy-fartsy design or interesting - they're just an excuse for lack of imagination or proper buildup.

Calling them a chore pretty much sums it up. It's almost expected that down the line in some mod, you'll be running around a maze for no reason whatsoever simply because the mapper in charge did not have the imagination to make the maze exciting or build a proper challenge in a series of rooms instead. Here I'm talking about maps where 3/4 or more are nothing but maze. Small sections of mazes in between maps, in a doable manner, are perfectly fine by me.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:50 am
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Thomas wrote:
Small sections of mazes in between maps, in a doable manner, are perfectly fine by me.


That pretty much sums it up for me. Too big, and they just become a nuisance to the player. A nuisance that disrupts the flow of your mod.
Thomas
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:19 am
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A nuisance that disrupts the flow of your mind! You keep winding up and down... And yes, I clapped the walls in Projekt Vertilgung level 16 all over 'cause I did not know about MapEdit then.

I know people are going to kill me, but there are many aspects of Wolfenstein Collection level 1 that ruins it for me, including the mazes and the bleakness. This is one mod I never got to discover full-out as much as I wanted to, getting stuck in level 7 because of - you guessed it - mazes.
Zach
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:21 am
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Thomas, do you have any non-exe modified mapsets? I would like to play some of your stuff, but as silly as it may sound, I am utterly spoiled by ECWolf's ability to let you use WASD modern controls. I can't go back, haha XD Feels like you drive a tank (a Hovertank??) instead of a William J.

Also it would be extremely helpful if the Dome or another site listed mods by author, so I could see a big list of your works.
Thomas
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:55 am
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From my Haven profile:

My mods:

Abandon (Dec 2004)
Operation Achtliebe (Dec 2004)
Project Wolfgeist (Feb 2005)
Abandon 2: Purgatory! (Apr 2005)
Secrets of Offenbach (July 2005)

Nazi Operation (Jan 2006)
All This & Wolf 3D (Jan 2007)
Castle Assault (Feb 2007)
The Bitter End (Apr 2008)
W.O.L.F. (Dec 2008)
Endlösung (May 2009)

NovoWolf (Dec 2009)
10 New Ones (Oct 2011)
Spearfishwolfbones (Jan 2012)
Time to Kill (Mar 2012)
Odds and Ends (Apr 2012)
Thomas' Wolfenstein 3D (Aug 2012)

All of my mods were ported to SDL last year. These links are for the original versions, perhaps I should update... Everything from NovoWolf and down is SDL though. Anyway, the only actual map set (the only thing I've released with nothing but the GAMEMAPS and MAPHEAD files) is the August 2012 "Thomas' Wolfenstein 3-D".


Last edited by Thomas on Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:28 am; edited 3 times in total
ronwolf1705
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:00 am
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Thomas wrote:
I know people are going to kill me, but there are many aspects of Wolfenstein Collection level 1 that ruins it for me, including the mazes and the bleakness. This is one mod I never got to discover full-out as much as I wanted to, getting stuck in level 7 because of - you guessed it - mazes.


It's well worth it, though it has been years since I've played it. And I probably had more patience for mazes then compared to the present Laughing
Zach
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:02 am
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Thomas, thank you very much. I actually downloaded and played a little bit of your Thomas' Wolfenstein 3D. Can I ask, is the idea that you re-created all Wolf3D episodes in your own style? If so, that's really cool. It's clear to me your high degree of practice has made you very good at this. This thing in the E1M1 where you catch these guards in cells so that they only emerge when you move into that area: excellent touch. And keeping the player relegated to only a pistol for a long time, very nice as well.

This might edge into rambling territory, but I've always really loved the survival aspect of Wolf3D. You know the original Die Hard? I don't know if it's just my imagination, but I feel like the game was highly influenced by that movie in particular, or at least it's a coincidence that they both have similar action. I mean, what's the famous line "Now I have a machine gun..." haha, it's almost exactly like BJ grinning like a madman when he gets the chaingun. Same attitude, same sense of "Ok, now the game is mine, motherf*ckers" after some period of struggling just to stay alive (cutting feet on glass/drinking blood). Brilliant formula, both the movie and the game.

I have a handful of maps I want to release soon and if you'd like to play them I'd be very interested in your thoughts.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:23 am
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Zach wrote:
This might edge into rambling territory, but I've always really loved the survival aspect of Wolf3D. You know the original Die Hard? I don't know if it's just my imagination, but I feel like the game was highly influenced by that movie in particular, or at least it's a coincidence that they both have similar action. I mean, what's the famous line "Now I have a machine gun..." haha, it's almost exactly like BJ grinning like a madman when he gets the chaingun. Same attitude, same sense of "Ok, now the game is mine, motherf*ckers" after some period of struggling just to stay alive (cutting feet on glass/drinking blood). Brilliant formula, both the movie and the game.


That's a pretty apt comparison, I like it. I love the survival aspect as well, and it's really something I would love to truly revolve a mod around. Not just in the action department, but with other elements as well which, as you mentioned, Die Hard does. Thumbs Up
Thomas
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:01 am
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Zach wrote:
Thomas, thank you very much. I actually downloaded and played a little bit of your Thomas' Wolfenstein 3D. Can I ask, is the idea that you re-created all Wolf3D episodes in your own style? If so, that's really cool. It's clear to me your high degree of practice has made you very good at this. This thing in the E1M1 where you catch these guards in cells so that they only emerge when you move into that area: excellent touch. And keeping the player relegated to only a pistol for a long time, very nice as well.

This might edge into rambling territory, but I've always really loved the survival aspect of Wolf3D. You know the original Die Hard? I don't know if it's just my imagination, but I feel like the game was highly influenced by that movie in particular, or at least it's a coincidence that they both have similar action. I mean, what's the famous line "Now I have a machine gun..." haha, it's almost exactly like BJ grinning like a madman when he gets the chaingun. Same attitude, same sense of "Ok, now the game is mine, motherf*ckers" after some period of struggling just to stay alive (cutting feet on glass/drinking blood). Brilliant formula, both the movie and the game.

I have a handful of maps I want to release soon and if you'd like to play them I'd be very interested in your thoughts.


I actually had a mod out recently which I withdrew because of its lack of cohesion, but out of the 9 levels released, the chain gun never appeared, the machine gun was only physically available by level 6 - if you played on skill 4, you'd greet an SS on level 5, so you'd get your machine gun there... Otherwise, the SS had appeared hitherto, but behind barrels, plants, you know, domestic shit that keeps him out of the walking area, the pickup zone. So I am definitely with you there... When I made the map set, I slaved my best to make them as true to the original environmental chronology as possible. No officers outside episode 3, using the same textured as the original maps did - that was my set of values for that particular piece of work. I loved making these maps. They all stemmed from the fact that I had played the original Wolfenstein 3-D in full, on skill 4 (which I always use in any mod I play) for the first time properly since 2003. A lot of stuff I remembered, but a few oddities came about I had not recognized before. For example, I had never played E6L2 in earnest before, as any computer I used moved 3 squares rather than 2, which blocks out the vast secret areas that the level holds.

I hate mods that have chain guns and all other stuff coming at you at level 1. It's fun for shoot 'em up types of games, but in the long run I like a challenge. If I could have my way, I'd make a mod like this, speaking of availability of the weapon:

Level 1 - knife
Levels 2-7 pistol
Levels 8-15 machine gun
Level 16-20 chain gun

And I would love to play some of your new maps and see what's happening. I assume these are your first since 2002 (or something)?
Zach
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:45 am
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Yes sir, first in a vryyy long time, lol. I like that concept a lot actually. Eventually when I get where I want to be with coding I plan on making the knife basically a one-hit kill weapon, a la more modern FPS'. Some things just work. One-hit kill melee is one. Reloading is another.

I was also thinking, even if you didn't intend it (though maybe you did) I bet just that Wolf3D level re-making alone did a lot for your craft. Even just getting the aesthetic and gameplay concept of ALL SIXTY MAPS I would think would inform your map-making ability significantly. That's partly why I'm seeking out good mapsets lately.
Thomas
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:32 pm
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Yes, it was both re-living and expanding on various ideas I had had in mind for a long while but I never had the patience or confidence to say, maybe I shouldn't replace these sprites, these guards etc. and not use seamless level flow. It wasn't until I made the map set I felt I could pull through convincingly. This, coupled with a monster project named Wolf Overkill, aptly enough, for which I made 200 levels (as it was slated to be a 100-level mod, and I made two separate atmospheres - eventually I shelved it and lost it in a hard drive crash) - all this both drained me for ideas and made me rethink what a map should contain.

But right now I don't really care about concepts, thinking stuff through - I just like making maps, whatever comes to mind is all right by me.

If you want good map sets, seek out Ipank7000 and Dark Wizzie.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:37 pm
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Regarding the maze-structure, I'd have to say I'm less partial towards it than I used to be. Even the pathway in E3L7 doesn't really do it for me anymore. If you wander around a large-yet-tight area where everything looks the same, it doesn't take long before it gets tiresome. Sad

My advice - if you choose to put the player in an area that takes some time to figure out, do something to give the map's layout some variety. Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:26 pm
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Bringing the topic back to mazes, their obvious flaws have already been mentioned by Thomas, so I'm going to play a bit of a devil's advocate here and say something about their possible positive qualities. For a beginner mapper who's still excited about the game and mapping possibilities, mazes offer an undeniable allure. It's not just that mazes are easy to make and don't need any planning. They also (at first) feel like a neat way of making your level more interesting and varied. The twists and turns eventually lead you to a distant, detached part of the level. The slime-covered walls widen a bit, dried blood stains the floor, vines obscure the view. What lies beyond the rusty door? It creates an atmosphere of mystery, for the first few times at least.

I believe the idea hails back to the earliest PC RPG games like Wizardry or Might and Magic, where the player is also forced to navigate rather complex, confusing maps in first person view, except much slower, since you have battles every X squares. It's a slow, difficult and often frustrating affair. Mapping the entire level on paper, by hand, is pretty much necessary, and frequent Total Party Kills make things even slower. Still, overcoming the challenge is very satisfying and you get to satiate your curiosity of what rewards await at the end, or what areas you get access to. Players loved it. Some hardcore fans still do.

So much for theory. I guess mazes don't work as well in Wolfenstein simply because it's the wrong type of game. The player wants action and making a maze that involves fast paced action and a balanced challenge is very difficult, if not impossible.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 3:10 pm
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Now that I think about it, sometimes what a maze is happens to be a matter of perspective. More than once, I've devised a layout which has two halls of the exact same size and shape connected to each other. They look similar to each other, and if you don't look closely, they appear to be exactly alike. The layout is made so that a player's "force of habit" makes him go through these two hallways without even thinking about it. And the second hallway contains rooms he needs to go through in order to complete the level. So he may end up going around in circles several times before he realizes what's going on.

That sort of characteristic is part of what defines a maze IMO, and I imagine different people will have different ideas of how often this can occur in a map before it's considered a maze. The "grey area" can be very, vary large when you think about it. Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:32 am
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I think my opinion has been made very clear in a number of mods I've reviewed at the 3D Blog!

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:36 pm
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I think mazes are appropriate leading up to the elevator to the secret level.

Beyond that, I avoid true mazes.

serpens wrote:
Bringing the topic back to mazes, their obvious flaws have already been mentioned by Thomas, so I'm going to play a bit of a devil's advocate here and say something about their possible positive qualities. For a beginner mapper who's still excited about the game and mapping possibilities, mazes offer an undeniable allure. It's not just that mazes are easy to make and don't need any planning. They also (at first) feel like a neat way of making your level more interesting and varied. The twists and turns eventually lead you to a distant, detached part of the level. The slime-covered walls widen a bit, dried blood stains the floor, vines obscure the view. What lies beyond the rusty door? It creates an atmosphere of mystery, for the first few times at least.


I completely agree with this. In my first few sets I used mazes quite often for this reason. Looking back, it was more because I just wasn't good at level designing back then and mazes were an easy way to add variety to my levels. After the 'Labyrinth' section of the Six Depths of Terrorism, I haven't been super fond of mazes unless they serve a purpose. There is also a gray area as to what is considered a maze. I think something like in E6M7 is acceptable, while something like in E3M7 isn't if its a required part of the level.
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