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Map design art.
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Poet
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:24 am
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I've been looking through some of my old hint manuals and stopped by this level made in 1999.
Did anyone of you ever make maps that look artistic in the editor. Smile If so it would be nice if you posted the layouts here.

I sometimes make maps have shapes that reflect the concept, the idea or even the name of the map.
The example below is one of the instances I wanted to make a map look artistic in itself.

This is the only map I ever made as a replacement for the original Spear of Destiny hell level. It's from Wolf-Extra II, the Nightmare. I wanted to make it look like a real hellish nightmare and felt free to give it what shape I wanted free from any demands of realism.

In the center is an evil, literally speaking bloody heart, shaped like a tilted swastika, with the devil himself in the center like a spider in a spider's web.
In the corners there are identical demon heads or masks but positioned differently, and with doors positioned differently, to make each corner unique.
Visually blood seems to be seeping out from the center of the map to the lower, mouth part of the demon masks.

There are only two wall patterns, the blood wall and the blue skull wall.

There are three ubermutants (you only have to kill the southmost one but it is difficult to avoid being seen by the two others), lots of specters and hordes of mutants.
The SDL version of this map is probably the most difficult map I ever made. With the original DOS version I considered the fact that the specters could be killed if you shot them a sufficient number of times, in the SDL version you can not.

In addition to looking terrific, in my opinion at least Smile, the map also plays like hell, literally. Smile It's very claustrophobic and gives the player different strategies to choose from and having enemies coming unexpectedly at the player from any direction all through the level.

Did anybody ever beat the SDL version of this level? If so, did you notice the pattern?

If you never played this 'classic' Smile Spear of Destiny mod you find the SDL version here:

http://www.poetsoftware.no/mods/wolfenstein/wolfxtra2.html




Last edited by Poet on Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:18 am; edited 4 times in total
Thomas
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:08 am
   Subject: Re: Map design art.
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I'm afraid I've been making levels for such a long time that I put more emphasis on its outlook from an editor rather than actual gameplay, which is what you shouldn't do. But I do love tasteful designs that pay off nonetheless... The screenshot you posted, for example, is indeed a work of art, as is the original E6L3, whichever secret Wolf Skevos-Jones level was a facsimile of the Toten-SS logo... That sort of thing. It's fun to mess around in MapEdit... Can't come to think of any level I can post a shot of right now though.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:44 am
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I don't know, does this count?

Some of my old, old maps made for the Nocturnal Missions of my first mapset involve a lot of neat symmetry and careful selection of textures, which tends to look neat in the editor. Usually, though, I always put in-game aesthetics first. If the result looks goofy in the editor, then so be it.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:52 am
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My first mod's E6L5. An SS guy fighting Hans Grosse. I win.



Starring: SS as SS, Hans Grosse as Hans Grosse, machine gun as machine gun, gatling gun as gatling gun, ammo as ammo.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:03 am
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Haha nice one Military.

I remember this one, the story was that you got eaten by Chokster, and have to go out his ear to escape...



I think it was probably the 3rd or 4th level I ever made. The full (ridiculous) story is in the readme somewhere.

Thomas wrote:
I'm afraid I've been making levels for such a long time that I put more emphasis on its outlook from an editor rather than actual gameplay, which is what you shouldn't do. But I do love tasteful designs that pay off nonetheless...

I think the guys who did Spear Missions 2 and 3 did that a lot. There seems to be a lot of "overview art" in their maps anyway.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:12 am
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I did little things like Poet's post in my oldest maps, but they usually covered a small area of space. "Retro Shapes" (MMC) had a hallway shaped as a tic-tac-toe board. Then there was this collection of circular pathways with doors going into each one. Then there was a hexagon shaped-structure, and there were several doors leading inside, with objects and guards placed beyond each door. Finally, there's the opening sequence, where two halves of a circle are reversed, creating this unique hall and three rooms inside these offbeat structures.

It's a rather uneven map IMO, and I hardly consider it to be a gem. But it did have some elements I thought were interesting. Smile
Barry
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:18 pm
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The secret level in Wolf Forever is like this and I think it turned out very well. Not sure I want to post it yet being that the mod isn't out yet but I am looking forward to people's opinions on it.

Usually I focus on realism being that its difficult to create a map that is a work of art in the editor and also plays well, but on the secret level I decided to have a little bit of fun.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 3:26 am
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Those two are more recent and on the first one I had some unused space so I ended up making some pixel art just for the heck of it.

Poet
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:37 am
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Thanks for all the contributions. Smile
Nice art work Military. Smile

Thanks for the comment Thomas.

Serpens, your example sure is a visually aesthetic map, as well as looking like a good one.

Your level sounds very interesting Tricob. Smile I think I have to try that one.

In my opinion it does not need to be an opposition between having a level look good and play well, sometimes quite the contrary, especially if the player will be able to notice it when in it.

What are some key words I think for good gameplay in a level are variety, unpredictability, and, if you give the player multiple choices, replay value.

Elements for achieving this are many. Enemy positioning, and how you use deaf guards and bosses, positioning of doors and locked doors, creative use of pushwalls (open one passage, close another), how you position items and blocking objects, and advanced use of floor codes, whether using many floor codes or few or how many you want, etc. etc.

And I think you can achieve this with any style of design, whether realistic, semi realistic (like original Wolfenstein), completely surrealistic, pure fantasy style or artistic layouts.
I've done everything, and sometimes combining different styles in one and the same map.

Here is another and more recent example from me which in my own humble opinion both plays well and looks well.
It's one of the two levels I contributed to Beyond Mutantstein Special Edition - Anniversary Edition. It's as circular as it is possible to make a level and I called it 'A Dish of Death'.
It's also a bit of a reminiscent of my level from the first Beyond Mutantstein with a big outdoor area surrounding a castle, only in this level you start on the outside, not the inside, of the castle.
The inside of the present level has several confusingly similar rooms but with varied, and fast, gameplay and a couple of subtle shortcuts for you if you manage to discover them and use them at the right moment (depending on how you get the enemies to move).

Tricob
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 3:56 pm
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Poet wrote:
Your level sounds very interesting Tricob. Smile I think I have to try that one.
I'm happy to hear that; thank you for your interest. Smile This map would be in the July 2007 mapset, and it's found here.
Poet
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:32 am
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Thanks for the download. Smile I always liked the originality of your level design ideas.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:52 am
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I just made this level today. I put it together really quickly, yet it came out surprisingly decent. Three silver keys and four exits. The locations in this mod are too secret for elevators, so they have to be accessed through a series of manholes instead.



Also, here's a similar-looking map from Wolfenstein Intensifies (this one has been actually released):



It bears resemblance, but plays much differently. In particular, it takes more time to complete. It's also more linear, save for one secret route...
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:14 am
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You're an awesome mapper Military!

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AlumiuN
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:41 am
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This was one I made for the old MMC but that never got included in anything (until the Anthology):



One from the 2013 MMC:



One from the 2014Q1 MMC:



One from the Lost Episodes set:



I like making levels that look pleasing in the editor :3 Sadly the sets using the map tiles as data points for other things doesn't help them much xP
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:01 am
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Those are some interesting shapes AlumiuN! The levels look like pretty fun to play too. It makes me want to try creating some shape-based levels.
AlumiuN
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:27 am
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Sadly the second one wasn't amazingly fun to play (the outer shell was really boring). The last one turned out fantastic, though.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:26 am
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This was supposed to say "XMAS" but I ended up sacrificing the visuals for gameplay.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:00 am
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Now that it has been out a while, I will post this. Here is the secret level in Passage to Hollenteufel.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:08 am
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Hahaha love it Barry! Long live 8-bit and the good old retro days. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:31 am
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Looks nice for sure... I wonder how well it plays? The 8 digit seems to have some inaccessible crowns.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:08 am
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Military wrote:
Looks nice for sure... I wonder how well it plays? The 8 digit seems to have some inaccessible crowns.


It's not the best level I've ever created from a gameplay perspective, but it works fine for the gimmicky secret level that it's supposed to be. Ratios are not calculated on that level, so the inaccessible treasure isn't a problem.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:23 am
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I love this topic! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:26 pm
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Wow that's some amazing stuff.

Now the question is, does the player realize in what "styled" maze he is, when he is "inside" it? Or is this art only for those which would open the map in a editor or even only for the creator?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:40 am
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In the case of my second and third maps it'll be pretty obvious pretty quickly. The fourth isn't really a maze, I just like how it turned out.
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