Complex maps

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Atina
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Complex maps

Post by Atina »

Maps that made you sit down longer than usually cause you wanted to try something new or more advanced or tricky. Maybe not the best maps. Maybe even the worst cause they crumbled under the complexity. Maybe the first time working with teleporters, switches, floor & ceil textures, tricky floor codes, smooth player room progression, difficulty levels or just cool room shapes. Maps that might drive you insane the process of making.

I think I haven't done so many maps and not sure if I can call any of them really complicated. I guess most thinking was done for Untergang since we needed the maps to me somewhat surprising for the players.



Untergang - Level 2
The stretching corridor map doesn't look very impressive when you play it. You need like 5 seconds to beat it. If you don't think about how it was done you probably won't be able to imagine how the map for it looks like:

Image

The effect was made by simply teleporting player with each step onto next corridor. It's a very very simple gimmick but it took me a while to build it up and to set up teleporters in a way they dont screw up. I am still kind of proud of this map cause I made it just using walls and teleporters. Ridiculous effort for a few seconds ><

Untergang - Level 10 (Inside the walls)
Image
Here the challenge was to flip my imagination to make walls into floors and floors into walls. The idea was that player found a hole in the wall and decided to use it to escape. It turned out kinda funny looking, very confusing to find a way in the wall (which i kinda imagine how it feels to try to navigate from inside of the wall). But it would look very stupid to just see textures through whole map, so I made few holes from which you can jump out of the wall into the normal rooms to look around and try to grasp the architecture. I was amused by how doors and boss fight turned out in this map.
The tools i was given for this were: Hollow walls and invisible walls

I started drawing a wall, placing invisible walls all around it and removing collision from the wall (ugh I have no idea how to explain it simply). You might wonder what happened to the doors? Funny enough you could still open doors from sides and walk over them from one hollow wall to next one behind, which changed doors into bridges. I thought it's kind of cool. The boss room was kind of a standard room with boss in middle but he can't hurt the player if he is "hiding" from inside the wall, so the way i saw it it turned out to be a Tom and Jerry fight, where you take a peak, jump out to shoot and run back into the wall.

It kind of sounds insane when I try to read what I just wrote but you just need to play that map to understand it. Maybe some maps were more complicated than i remember them to be ><'

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Here are Nexion's picks.

DHW Mapping League 1 - Cave Creep
Image
* Run n Gun map in which you are chased by a wall. Similar to level 5 in DeathTrigger. In Untergang level 11 you are the one to chase a wall in slow-motion all across the map.
* In the 2nd section (big room) the room comes after you while you dodge death traps.
* In the 3rd section (top left) the entire level moves and tries to kill you. You fight enemies and dodge the level meanwhile. The concept of an alive map. As you can see on the image it's an total [Censored] of icons and almost every tile is used up. It was hard to keep an overview of all things.

Untergang - Level 4 (Dead and Alive)
* It got some symbolic room shapes. You start inside the Quake symbol. Later on you crawl through a humanoid shape that gives birth to you so you can pick up a key and crawl back inside.
* It got a teleport hub zone that is like Scooby-Doo cartoon. You step into one door way and come out of another.
* There are 2 infinite loops where you have to pay attention to the surroundings. They have marks somewhere to give you a tiny hint. The second one was a trickier setup due to the dead/alive enemies and directional combo. Biggest challenge was to make it as smooth as possible (so the player won't notice) with only a handful of tiles while not making it too easy.

Untergang - Level 17 (The Abyssal Void)
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* A black hole - dark and confusing and everything is twisted inside. A spiral into madness and probably hated by anyone who ever played it.
* A bit of everything from all the Untergang maps combined into a single one.

There are tricky parts where you have to dodge ghosts and a boss.
Other parts such as: plenty of holo walls, brief infinity loops, spawns, teleports, 5 out of 2 keys required, tons of active/passive enemies, broken enemies you absolutely have to follow, invisible areas.

The second half of the map brings you to the +hub area at the center which allows you to tackle the 3 paths in any order but you need to do all 3 to beat the map.

Hidden messages:
Binary on bottom (01001110 = N) and right side (01000001 = A) which stands for Atina and Nexion and was more of a message for Atina to discover.
PNX2 (aka Planet Nexion 2) on the top right. So the map can be a mini-sequel to Planet Nexion.
A ring planet with a tilted N (see above) on the bottom left which keeps the boss trapped after the start.
Map had to be redone twice at some point due to WDC crashing.

DeathTrigger - Level 7
Image
* Map name is 'A N-Experiment' for various reasons.
* Atina designed the insides of a few rooms.
* Two moving trucks as choke points
* Several ways to beat the map (with or without killing anyone). You could follow the guard at beginning to the end since he makes a circle. Wait a minute at the start and another guard will come from another direction to open the exit for you.
* Two puzzle pushwall sections that have a blood sign on the floor to shape after and enable alternate routes. For one you got to shape N+A and in the other you have to turn the N into A. You could follow the guard to the first puzzle, run into the room, lock the door behind you (pushwall) and then solve the puzzle to get out at the other end of the map.
It's more of a love letter at times.




Those are at least from released projects. No idea about unreleased ones at the moment ><

What are your complex maps or some you know?
"Nexion and Atina are one in the same. Set apart by time and space, but they'll be one again" - WolferCooker (11/10/2010)
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serpens
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Re: Complex maps

Post by serpens »

Image

Green Arrow map 4. This is the absolute peak of my mapping. You have to see it in-game to experience it, but playing with the lighting engine was extremely fun, and while the progression is rather straightforward, it has some surprises and is very atmospheric. No false modesty, this is simply a good map.
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Re: Complex maps

Post by wolf3d4all »

I've made a puny 70 maps in my entire life, most of which ended up in the trash bin pretty quickly.
Thirty of them appeared in my first and only released mod (which was awfully boring for the most part, obviously).

Then came Spear Resurrection. AReyeP was kind enough to grant me the right to fill the first slot. It was supposed to represent an outdoor area, more specific some kind of forest to show off the outdoor textures and sprites, the black diamonds and the guards being blown up by standing on their own landmines. And of course, it wasn't supposed to look "blocky".

I really can't remember how many hours I've spent on it, but believe it or not, I was quite happy with the result. To me, it didn't look complex at all. Less than a handful of floorcodes were used, and I beat the level several times under 25 seconds.


Image


After the release of the game, the shit hit the fan. Nasty emails and PM's flooded in, the level was waaay to complex, too maze-like, a hitscan enemy behind a tree how dare you, yes even you ruined Steve's masterpiece before it has even started et cetera. They couldn't get past level 1, yet they did know there was a masterpiece on its way, go figure.
Fortunately AReyeP, being the Mr Nice Guy that he is, always backed me up on the thing, and I ended up distributing savegames with 100% ratios while standing before the end level elevator upon request, in an attempt to ease their pain a bit.

Yes those were the days. Fond memories.
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serpens
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Re: Complex maps

Post by serpens »

wolf3d4all wrote: Fri Apr 19, 2024 7:52 pm and I ended up distributing savegames with 100% ratios while standing before the end level elevator upon request, in an attempt to ease their pain a bit.
You were much too kind. No remorse, no repent!
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Thomas
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Re: Complex maps

Post by Thomas »

You really set the bar for the oft-unavoidable outdoor opening maze level. I must admit I always thought the opening of Spear Resurrection being somewhat difficult fit the entire mod perfectly, as you really had to work to get somewhere. The suicide clones always taking the piss in just appearing seemingly out of nowhere... The clever ways that guards can sort of stack each other up on landmines... Yes, that has stood the test of time (almost a quarter of a century now!) quite well. I really need to give Wolfenstein Collection a proper spin again (I seem to remember making it to level 7 or 10 upon playing the original back in 2003)... But yes, some of those opening levels are incredibly difficult and easy to lose track in as it's all gray stone. I loathed those maps back in the day. But lately I have found myself going back to levels in that vein and hope to one day be able to make proper complex maps without any hangups. More keys in secret areas, solved by puzzles or arrived at by logic. Holowalls. Guards you need to keep a lookout for in case they can open a door you cannot ever open. That sort of thing.

I am currently replaying Project: Weltuntergang and OMG fell into the same trap I did twenty years ago in E6M3. You need a guard to open the gold key door to get somewhere in the level! Unlike the original E4M7 where you can either get the key somewhat easily or guards aplenty open the door in full view first thing, Kuki's E6M3 here shows no mercy. And I kinda like that. Not to mention original Spear of Destiny level 20! I must admit, it being a secret level and all, it really is vicious and really takes time and demands a lot from the player. Kudos.

As for my own "complex" maps... I'm going to need some more time. I have made some pretty nasty maps in my day but never in the way of trickery or anything like that as I quickly reckoned people didn't like that. But I really need to stick to my guns sometimes. Great thread idea.
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Re: Complex maps

Post by ack »

@MCS – for what it’s worth, I liked your MCS Collection. Playing through sets like yours helped give me the encouragement to release some vanilla stuff back in 2003. Good times.

I’ve never had any issues with the opening level of SR. In another thread I mentioned the importance of memorable start levels. You succeeded. I really loved how you used the rock facing to make narrow paths and the way you introduced the mine field. And the suicide clones? For something brand new and shocking, you didn’t overdo the effect which gets huge marks from me. Simply put, I think your level is tasty. When I attempted my own levels based on your engine, I racked my brain how I could put my own spin without copying your opening level too much. I decided to make a level that played easier going counterclockwise than the standard clockwise method used by most players. I too got hate mail since apparently it’s illegal in most countries to expect players to think outside the norm. While you helped people with save games, I emailed people Lego coupons instead. You’re a gentleman. Me? Not so much.

But, to get back on topic, I’ve never designed a complex map. Hardly know the meaning of the word.
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Re: Complex maps

Post by gerolf »

nazimastaba.gif
For me it would be the second level to my GSDM 2021 set, titled Nazi Mastaba. This level has a few traps within it such as there is an area with a chaingun that appears lightly guarded, but if you rush to the chaingun you will be ambushed by the SS guards that are hiding in strategic places nearby. This is near the bottom left area of the map. Plus, the area you find one of the keys gives off a maze-like illusion that will feel daunting to a player, but there isn't really a maze at all, it is a looped area that you will either find a key or chaingun first. There's also an area much like this where you find the other key that is heavily guarded and easy to get shot from behind. The exit area utilizes the unused SOD endtrigger, but for this set I repurposed it as an end-level trigger. This allowed for the player to escape to an outdoor area instead of using an elevator, but if the player is not careful here they will trigger one last SS ambush that could be fatal.

I don't want to include screenshots since this mod is more recent, but pretty much all of the maps I made for Orka's DMBF are levels I'd also consider to be complex. I was able to stray away from following DOS limits there and took advantage of the ability to place more enemies and doors than usual. It was a nice change of pace.
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Re: Complex maps

Post by shodan »

wolf3d4all wrote: Fri Apr 19, 2024 7:52 pm I've made a puny 70 maps in my entire life, most of which ended up in the trash bin pretty quickly.
Thirty of them appeared in my first and only released mod (which was awfully boring for the most part, obviously).

Then came Spear Resurrection. AReyeP was kind enough to grant me the right to fill the first slot. It was supposed to represent an outdoor area, more specific some kind of forest to show off the outdoor textures and sprites, the black diamonds and the guards being blown up by standing on their own landmines. And of course, it wasn't supposed to look "blocky".

I really can't remember how many hours I've spent on it, but believe it or not, I was quite happy with the result. To me, it didn't look complex at all. Less than a handful of floorcodes were used, and I beat the level several times under 25 seconds.

After the release of the game, the shit hit the fan. Nasty emails and PM's flooded in, the level was waaay to complex, too maze-like, a hitscan enemy behind a tree how dare you, yes even you ruined Steve's masterpiece before it has even started et cetera. They couldn't get past level 1, yet they did know there was a masterpiece on its way, go figure.
Fortunately AReyeP, being the Mr Nice Guy that he is, always backed me up on the thing, and I ended up distributing savegames with 100% ratios while standing before the end level elevator upon request, in an attempt to ease their pain a bit.

Yes those were the days. Fond memories.
Hmm, I don't think I ever knew that was your map and not AReyeP's, but those are some wild reactions to what's actually a really well-done map. I suppose it was fairly inventive and out there for its time, but still - I never experienced anything remotely like the kind of frustration that would lead me to get angry about it, let alone angry enough to send rage-filled emails about it :?.

Edit: Also, it's the first level - it's not even really that hard on IADI, although the suicide clones are definitely good for a startling surprise if you aren't aware of them, but if that's so big an issue... the F9 key is right there, and it's the first level so it isn't a big deal to restart it anyway. Sounds like a skill issue :wink:.
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shodan
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Re: Complex maps

Post by shodan »

As for me, I don't know if I really have any maps I'd call all that complex, although the map I did for Zombie's Map Jam is a bit of a "choose your own adventure" deal.

Image

I designed it so that you need both keys to exit, but I don't enforce an order to acquiring them - the gold key is from Hans, and he isn't locked behind a silver door, nor is the silver key locked behind a gold door. The map also uses a central loop - roughly triangular in shape - and progression is only required through two of the sides, with several non-critical extra areas. You'll note that not only do I enforce defeating Hans without a chaingun, but I hide the only chaingun in a secret that's inside Fatface's lair - fortunately for the player, though, the boss doesn't have to be alerted first before acquiring it. I really leaned into the enemy health tweak of that event by cranking up the enemy count (134/150), which is why I caution players not to leave the mutant area for last - if that's the last room cleared, those mutants have a lot of health and they are very tough to handle that way. Ask me how I know :lol:.
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Re: Complex maps

Post by Orka »

I didn't make too many maps yet, but there are 2 instances where I was sort of thinking outside the box.

The Last Stop is my 2nd from the LZWolf Open Invite Map Set, and it takes place on a moving train. I would show an overview of what it looks like but I don't have the mapdefs anymore so... that's a bit of a problem. Anyway, it's mostly just visual and map border expander trickery. (It's wider than 128 maybe more 256 I'm not quite sure tho, but it was the max size that WDC allowed me to use). Despite the wide dimensions I still had to limit myself to how big the separate train carts would be. In this case the interior would be 15x7 for each cart and 3x5 for the rooms connecting them.

Another map I thought of that is quite recent as well would be map 3 (... Into Madness) from Project: Liftwaffe.
Image
At first glance this might seem nothing sort of unusual but at a closer look we can see some anomalies here. Some entities I'm not using all that often.
Pacman ghosts! (And enemy blockers.) A simple yet effective use of these two entities allowed me to make a quite hazardous course within Wolf3D's blocky world. It definitely took more time to make this map than usual and I think it shows. There were some areas I had to alter a few because they just simply wouldn't work, but in the end I still managed to make something that's more complex than the rest.
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Arielus
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Re: Complex maps

Post by Arielus »

A fair number of Poet's maps come to mind that would fit this description well. What a unique mapper he was.

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Ariel
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