Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

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Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

Postby Sarzac » Sun Jan 10, 2021 3:58 am

Update 1/31/21

Made several changes based on feedback I received here as well as some other things that I think improve the map's quality. I'm planning to go back and rework some of the early green rectangular rooms since I made those as I was figuring out the whole Doom Builder/ACS process - that will probably take me a couple of weeks to complete so I'll post another update once I've made those. For now, though, here is what has changed in version 1.2:

WAD Version: 1.2
- Added new sky texture (from Hexen) to fix issues with previous one.
- Added fog effect (from Hexen) and weak moving wind to outdoor areas.
- Added a Dragonclaw along with some ammo pickups throughout level.
- Changed some encounters by moving around teleported monsters and adding new monster closets.
- Updated graphics on water well in courtyard area.
- Reduced the amount of torch items in level.
- Lowered platform Iron Liches are on - they were not firing their tornado attacks for some reason.
- Removed a time bomb pickup.
- Made fire pit trap a bit more obvious.
- Changed dynamics on boss encounter - the boss now teleports into the room once the player enters it and the door
behind player shuts, unable to be unlocked until boss is defeated. Also added light effect in boss room.
- Some light adjustments on sectors I overlooked.
- Adjusted the hitbox height for the stool object.
- Adjusted placement for several wall torches so they did not look like they were floating.
- Added some ambient sound effects.

Updated map: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jvinwjpwpvnhww6/templeentrance.zip?dl=0

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

Update 1/22/21

I made some changes to the wad, which improves it in my opinion. Those changes:

- Fixed some misaligned textures.
- Removed tentacles at beginning of wad - Iron Lich tornadoes were moving them places they did not need to go.
- Made some changes to the temple's entrance area in terms of decor and textures.
- Reduced the number of torches available in level. Added some quartz flasks and a time bomb in their place.
- Added some Hexen 2 archers from Realm667.
- Made some secrets a little easier to find.

Feedback greatly appreciated! :-)

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

Hi everyone!

New guy here! :) Heretic has been a favorite game of mine every since my dad picked up the Shareware version for me way back in the 1990s. I decided a few weeks ago to finally try making my own map for it after some nostalgia overload from playing Doom 2016 and Eternal.

I've been working on this map in my spare time since late November. I designed it in ZDoom (Heretic in Hexen format) with Doom Builder 2 and Slade. I would like to go on to make a nine-map episode from this and would really like some feedback here. The general setting is that Corvus (some years after Heretic 2) has learned of a dangerous cult obsessed with D'Sparil, and has arrived right outside their temple as the map starts. The map covers the ground level of the cult's temple and ends with Corvus accessing the stairs to the next lower-level. If I do go on to make a full episode, this map will likely appear as the 2nd or 3rd one. The map is intended to be single player, but can support up to four players for co-op. There are a variety of player-created/edited new assets (monsters, props, textures, etc.) as well (thanks and credits are given to the individual creators in a readme.txt included with the wad).

Making this was a totally new experience for me. I know I got better with the various tools as I progressed, and that can probably be seen in some of the early areas vs. the later ones. One problem that I know is present is that I tend to have a habit of making square sectors. However, I am interested in any criticism you can offer - anything you think that could improve the wad as well as my overall skills would be greatly appreciated. :-)

You can download the map here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jvinwjpwpvnhww6/templeentrance.zip?dl=0

Here are some pictures. :-)

Spoiler:


Spoiler:


Spoiler:


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Spoiler:
Last edited by Sarzac on Sun Jan 31, 2021 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

Postby Sarzac » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:14 am

Okay, so first-timer mistake here - I just noticed that the version of the WAD included in the zip had the starting point about 2/3 into the map (I was doing some testing late at night and forgot to remove that before uploading to DropBox). I've fixed that and now the download will begin you at the beginning of the map. Sorry!
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Re: Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

Postby Sarzac » Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:44 am

I made some changes to this wad, which I described in the OP, that I think makes it a bit better. Any feedback greatly appreciated. :-)
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Re: Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

Postby Zedonk » Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:02 am

I've put my feedback inside the spoiler so as to not the ruin the map for anyone else. I'm not an 'experienced' tester by any stretch of imagination so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Spoiler:
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Re: Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

Postby Hisymak » Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:54 pm

So I gave it a try.
First of all, I noticed you mentioned you do not know about the origin of MIDI music. I recognized it immediately, same track was used in Alien Vendetta MAP22. Doom Wiki says "briefing music from Descent II's MIDI soundtrack". Hope this mystery was solved for you.
Then about the map. Not really bad, but indeed far from perfect as well. What I liked was use of custom assets - new decorations and new monsters. I appreciate when I see something more than just vanilla. Shooting the coloured potions was quite fun. Also there was some scripting, but very basic. The places I liked were the corners with bookshelfs, potions and decorations, and the area before green-key door.
Then the main issues. The sky was not parallax (like normal sky in Doom and Heretic) and that looked bad, especially when amplified with torch. Try to make it a normal parallax sky. The layout of rooms was rectangular and orthogonal for the most part, walls were quite flat with not much detail and the green brick texture was overused. But that's something you can improve in future, seems to be quite common problem beginning mappers have. You could also give player a dragon claw. There were really lot of goodies, items and ammo, I never got short of health or ammo (playing on 4th difficulty).
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Re: Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

Postby Sarzac » Sat Jan 30, 2021 8:17 pm

Thank you so much for the really helpful feedback, Zedonk and Hisymak! A lot of really good points you both brought up that I agree with here. I'm just now checking the forum so I'm going to go through both of your comments in detail and get back with both of you. Thank you again! :-)
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Re: Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

Postby Lagi » Sun Jan 31, 2021 2:34 am

You put lots of effort. I never do map myself so i can only complaint from player perspective.

" The general setting is that Corvus (some years after Heretic 2) has learned of a dangerous cult obsessed with D'Sparil, and has arrived right outside their temple as the map starts."
By playing your map, it doesn’t feels like a story. I cannot really tell there is some cohesion between rooms, its more like "my first map, i spend 1000 h on it so it must by awesome". I start in forest, which looks like a room, but i roleplay in my head "oh ok it is a forest, because tree deco and wall texture".

Immediately you drop ironliches, could be nice trick to give some pickups on top of the first building. so you need to use tornado to get there (200 armor).

the map feels flat. like if vertical dimension was not taken into account.

i like there are decorations everywhere.

the fight feels like generated by random algorithm, that put whatever monster it have.

crossbow from the start. its boring. all heretic levels are fight with crossbow.

right from the start 200 armor, its a powercreep. why not start with silver shield?
there were not enough artifacts. Heretic main strength are the items, which help to go through spongy with HP enemies.

I was killed in the lave pool with quiver in the middle, which was cheap. I know in RL lava is insta kill, but in this game player are used to that liquid fire is little more inconvenience than cold water.
I think i dont want to play again.

--------
Please consider making another map from scratch (even the same). Now you have experience, so during the design stage you could come with better solutions.
i start modding with modifing brutal hexen, but then i see my work would always be a turd. So i start fresh. I would still say my second work is poor, but its infinitley better from first.

===========
and before you all jump on me that im dikk head, it is not easy to give honest feedback, ok? (i spend more time contemplating the submit button than writing this)
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Re: Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

Postby Sarzac » Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:01 pm

Zedonk wrote:I've put my feedback inside the spoiler so as to not the ruin the map for anyone else. I'm not an 'experienced' tester by any stretch of imagination so take what I say with a grain of salt.


Hey Zedonk, thanks for the thoughtful playthrough and reply – I really appreciate this!

I agree with a lot of what you wrote here, especially about variation with texture color and ceiling heights. I’m planning to go back and rework a lot of those early green rooms – most of those were designed with me figuring out the whole process of just making simple rooms, and as such I feel that they are bland, especially compared to some of the later encounters and areas. I also really like your idea about adding sectors around light sources like torches so I am definitely going to work that into a later update.

I’ve already made a bunch of changes based on your comments, though the more substantial ones, like redoing certain rooms, will come later since those will take more time. First thing I fixed was the skybox. I ended up replacing it with a more appropriate one from Hexen and think it looks better now. I also fixed the fire pit by making it deeper. When I rework that area more, I think I might add a switch or something that causes the lava to drain, allowing the player to go in and grab the ammo. I also reworked the Decorate on the stools – not only can you now shoot over them, but you can also run over them, which gives some more maneuverability in those cramped areas where the stools are abundant. There’s also now a Dragonclaw that now appears in the area where you find the yellow key, with ammo pickups appearing throughout now too.

I definitely see your point about door camping / behind player monster closets so I reworked some encounters. The outdoor area you pointed out now has about half of the teleporting spawn appearing behind the player instead of all in front. I also added a second monster closet to stop door camping in that one area which releases a bunch of undead warriors and golems. Finally, I also reworked the boss encounter substantially – the boss now teleports into the room, which seals itself, once the player enters, so no door camping there.

For the iron liches, the idea behind that encounter is that the player really shouldn’t waste time/resources on them, rather that he should try to avoid their attacks while dealing with the gargoyles and weredragon until he can get inside the temple. They are there to make that first encounter more intense, but they really shouldn’t be engaged, if that makes sense. I do know a lot of players go for 100% kills, though, and there is more than enough ammo in the level to make sure they can be killed, especially if the player does a little backtracking. With the Dragonclaw now in place, hopefully this will be a bit easier and less tedious to do. I also might take your suggestion and add a switch or something that causes them to die. I’m also not sure what was causing the issues with the iron lich tornados. Out of the blue, they just stopped using their tornado attacks on me, though it looked like they were trying to fire them. I lowered the platforms they are on a bit and now it seems the tornados are working as intended.

I am going to be working on more of what you suggested (room levels, texture coloring, lighting, etc.) in the next few weeks as I go back and rework those early areas. I think it is pretty obvious what I designed first and last (the disciple encounter from the blue key area was the last area/encounter I had originally designed).

Thanks again for everything! :-)
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Re: Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

Postby Sarzac » Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:02 pm

Hisymak wrote:So I gave it a try.
First of all, I noticed you mentioned you do not know about the origin of MIDI music. I recognized it immediately, same track was used in Alien Vendetta MAP22. Doom Wiki says "briefing music from Descent II's MIDI soundtrack". Hope this mystery was solved for you.
Then about the map. Not really bad, but indeed far from perfect as well. What I liked was use of custom assets - new decorations and new monsters. I appreciate when I see something more than just vanilla. Shooting the coloured potions was quite fun. Also there was some scripting, but very basic. The places I liked were the corners with bookshelfs, potions and decorations, and the area before green-key door.
Then the main issues. The sky was not parallax (like normal sky in Doom and Heretic) and that looked bad, especially when amplified with torch. Try to make it a normal parallax sky. The layout of rooms was rectangular and orthogonal for the most part, walls were quite flat with not much detail and the green brick texture was overused. But that's something you can improve in future, seems to be quite common problem beginning mappers have. You could also give player a dragon claw. There were really lot of goodies, items and ammo, I never got short of health or ammo (playing on 4th difficulty).


Hey Hisymak!

Thank you so, so, so much for the information on that song. I literally had no idea what it was from. Even when I downloaded it, which I got off of my old Ultima Online guild’s webpage way back in the day, I wasn’t sure of anything about its origin. Never would have thought it came from Descent II. I’m really happy to know where it is finally from!

I’ve fixed the issue with the sky by replacing it with a standard sky texture from Hexen. I think it looks a lot better now. I also added a Dragonclaw near where the player finds the yellow key so hopefully that makes things a bit more interesting.
I agree with you 100% on the green brick texture / tendency to be rectangular. Most of those rooms were designed first, as I was learning Doom Builder and ACS, so I am planning to go back and redesign most of those.

Again, thank you so much for the feedback! :)
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Re: Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

Postby Sarzac » Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:05 pm

Lagi wrote:You put lots of effort. I never do map myself so i can only complaint from player perspective.

" The general setting is that Corvus (some years after Heretic 2) has learned of a dangerous cult obsessed with D'Sparil, and has arrived right outside their temple as the map starts."
By playing your map, it doesn’t feels like a story. I cannot really tell there is some cohesion between rooms, its more like "my first map, i spend 1000 h on it so it must by awesome". I start in forest, which looks like a room, but i roleplay in my head "oh ok it is a forest, because tree deco and wall texture".

Immediately you drop ironliches, could be nice trick to give some pickups on top of the first building. so you need to use tornado to get there (200 armor).

the map feels flat. like if vertical dimension was not taken into account.

i like there are decorations everywhere.

the fight feels like generated by random algorithm, that put whatever monster it have.

crossbow from the start. its boring. all heretic levels are fight with crossbow.

right from the start 200 armor, its a powercreep. why not start with silver shield?
there were not enough artifacts. Heretic main strength are the items, which help to go through spongy with HP enemies.

I was killed in the lave pool with quiver in the middle, which was cheap. I know in RL lava is insta kill, but in this game player are used to that liquid fire is little more inconvenience than cold water.
I think i dont want to play again.

--------
Please consider making another map from scratch (even the same). Now you have experience, so during the design stage you could come with better solutions.
i start modding with modifing brutal hexen, but then i see my work would always be a turd. So i start fresh. I would still say my second work is poor, but its infinitley better from first.

===========
and before you all jump on me that im dikk head, it is not easy to give honest feedback, ok? (i spend more time contemplating the submit button than writing this)


Hey Lagi!

I didn’t for one moment think you were being a jerk here. Criticism sometimes has to be given honestly and directly – that’s what helps us improve whatever skill we are trying out. I’m a teacher by profession and there are times where I have to be direct and to the point with students on the quality of their work. So yeah, it’s no biggie and I appreciate all of your feedback here. :-)

For the story elements, I mentioned in the readme that I am planning on doing more levels that will tie this into sort of a story about Corvus dealing with this corpse. When I get to that, I’ll probably have text screens appear after every level or two that update the player on those elements, but for right now I’m simply trying to get a good grasp on map design, since ultimately gameplay is what gets people into shooters like Heretic. As for the boxy forest, yeah I totally agree with you there. I hate the way that looks because even though it is supposed to be a forest, it looks like a green box. This is going to be the first thing I fix when I start revamping the early areas. I’ve played several forest wads since I finished the first version of this one and have some good ideas on how to make this part seem more like a forest than a box.

I think trying to use the tornados to get on the platforms where the iron liches are could be a little too difficult and random to pull off, but I really do like your idea about putting a high value item up there so I’m thinking of adding a Wings of Wrath late in the level that the player can then use in the iron lich area and then access the platforms and get those items.

I definitely agree with you about the map being flat. This is something I tried to change in later sections of the map, but the early areas (with the green texture) definitely need to be revamped with more height variances.

In the update I just posted, I’ve added a Dragonclaw that appears near where you get the yellow key (about 1/3 into the map) so hopefully that will breakup the monotony of the crossbow.

That’s a great point about the 200 armor right at the start so I’ve replaced it with a silver shield.

And you are right about the lava trap, it is cheap and needs to be reworked. For right now, I’ve made it deeper so it looks more obvious as a trap to the player, and will probably rework it further (when I rework that entire area) to where the player can access the ammo there by flicking a switch without going into the lava.

Thanks again for your feedback! :-)
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Re: Heretic: Temple Entrance (my first WAD)

Postby Zedonk » Mon Feb 01, 2021 8:04 am

Sarzac wrote:Hey Zedonk, thanks for the thoughtful playthrough and reply – I really appreciate this!

I agree with a lot of what you wrote here, especially about variation with texture color and ceiling heights. I’m planning to go back and rework a lot of those early green rooms – most of those were designed with me figuring out the whole process of just making simple rooms, and as such I feel that they are bland, especially compared to some of the later encounters and areas. I also really like your idea about adding sectors around light sources like torches so I am definitely going to work that into a later update.

I’ve already made a bunch of changes based on your comments, though the more substantial ones, like redoing certain rooms, will come later since those will take more time. First thing I fixed was the skybox. I ended up replacing it with a more appropriate one from Hexen and think it looks better now. I also fixed the fire pit by making it deeper. When I rework that area more, I think I might add a switch or something that causes the lava to drain, allowing the player to go in and grab the ammo. I also reworked the Decorate on the stools – not only can you now shoot over them, but you can also run over them, which gives some more maneuverability in those cramped areas where the stools are abundant. There’s also now a Dragonclaw that now appears in the area where you find the yellow key, with ammo pickups appearing throughout now too.

I definitely see your point about door camping / behind player monster closets so I reworked some encounters. The outdoor area you pointed out now has about half of the teleporting spawn appearing behind the player instead of all in front. I also added a second monster closet to stop door camping in that one area which releases a bunch of undead warriors and golems. Finally, I also reworked the boss encounter substantially – the boss now teleports into the room, which seals itself, once the player enters, so no door camping there.

For the iron liches, the idea behind that encounter is that the player really shouldn’t waste time/resources on them, rather that he should try to avoid their attacks while dealing with the gargoyles and weredragon until he can get inside the temple. They are there to make that first encounter more intense, but they really shouldn’t be engaged, if that makes sense. I do know a lot of players go for 100% kills, though, and there is more than enough ammo in the level to make sure they can be killed, especially if the player does a little backtracking. With the Dragonclaw now in place, hopefully this will be a bit easier and less tedious to do. I also might take your suggestion and add a switch or something that causes them to die. I’m also not sure what was causing the issues with the iron lich tornados. Out of the blue, they just stopped using their tornado attacks on me, though it looked like they were trying to fire them. I lowered the platforms they are on a bit and now it seems the tornados are working as intended.

I am going to be working on more of what you suggested (room levels, texture coloring, lighting, etc.) in the next few weeks as I go back and rework those early areas. I think it is pretty obvious what I designed first and last (the disciple encounter from the blue key area was the last area/encounter I had originally designed).

Thanks again for everything! :-)

It was a pleasure.
Looking forward to version 2. : )
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