Doom into LoG: Part 1 - E1M1 Hangar Prep

As I mentioned a week ago, I am on a crusade to recreate as much as possible (more of an homage) the entirety of the first Doom game within the Legend of Grimrock Dungeon Editor. Today, I stand on the eve of progress!

Over the last week, there has been a lot of research to do. The first question was important: how do I take the fast and frenetic pace of Doom and make it work within a grid-based RPG like Grimrock? The one thing about Grimrock is that it doesn't necessarily lend itself well to the idea of a ton of enemies coming at you all at once. Moreover, since it's all grid-based, getting swarmed makes things incredibly difficult to handle. Luckily, as I played through the actual Grimrock game a bit more than usual over the week, I noticed a few ways that Almost Human (the developers) handled multiple enemies within any given space: chokepoints and pull chain doors. These were two very important things that I had to begin utilizing within the making of the first stage, E1M1 Hangar.

Last night, I finally sat down to start working on E1M1. The cool thing about the Grimrock Dungeon Editor is its ease of use. If you've never done any type of modding or anything before...even construction in a game, this Dungeon Editor is so fucking simple that even a novice could make something awesome! Every asset that was made for the game is listed on the left hand side. Your actual grid map is in the middle. In the top right hand corner, you have a Preview screen, where you can literally hit play and PLAY THE LEVEL YOU ARE DESIGNING to see if it is working. That part was INCREDIBLY helpful for me. Last is the bottom right portion of the screen. This is where, after selecting any property within the map that you've placed, you are able to manipulate that. Say you have a hidden door that you need to open after someone hits a particular pressure plate. Typically, getting the "logic" to work between these two would be pure madness and lines of coding. Luckily, the editor makes it simple: click on the pressure plate, "add selector", then click on the hidden door or whatever prop you want it to interact with, and PRESTO! Instant logic.

The other issue I've had with designing this dungeon is making sure that the OPTIONS of Doom are not lost on it all. When it came to Doom, you either tried to murder every damn thing there was and get every secret...or you did hard speedruns. I've been debating on whether I want the options to speedrun the dungeons to be available. I mean, it IS an RPG, so you kind of need to level up. However, do you want people to play it that way? Doom is all about speed and twitch gameplay, which this cannot really do either of in a great way. Thankfully, Doom's level designs are interesting within the Grimrock system, even if you cannot do other levels of elevation and such. Therefore, big platforms and sets of stairs are something I'm having to play around with a little bit to make more interesting yet still be kind of visceral.

That's the main thing I want to keep: how visceral of a game Doom is. If you are getting swarmed with enemies in Doom, you still feel like a badass but you know that there is a high probability of death. I want you to feel the same way when you go through these dungeons.

The blue arrows are showing how a hidden button opens a pair of secret doors. I am utilizing some pressure plates and monster closets as well to ensure precise timing for swarms of enemies to hit the player. Enemy count will be as accurate to the actual number of enemies at any point in any given level. For instance, at the beginning of the actual E1M1 Hangar, there are three enemies in the room directly to the left. With this, I have placed two enemies within one monster closet and one other enemy in a separate one. The green dots are actual items (gear, herbs, etc) for the player to pick up.

With all that said, here is my first "screenshot" for the dungeon. This was a piece of early work that took me about an hour and a half to design. It's the grid layout for E1M1 Hangar, as well as some work done in the first couple of rooms. Handfuls of hours after I took this screen cap, I can say that I am almost completely done with the level. That's right - E1M1 Hangar only needs another couple of hours worth of work and I should be able to upload the .dat file for people to download and check out for themselves. I just have a little more playtesting to do with it to make sure it's just right.

Next week, I'll have the level completed for sure, possibly the second level...and will try to get the .dat file available for people to play for themselves!

Until next time...

P.S. - Happy Samhain/Halloween to everyone!

17 Comments
18 Comments
Posted by jakob187

As I mentioned a week ago, I am on a crusade to recreate as much as possible (more of an homage) the entirety of the first Doom game within the Legend of Grimrock Dungeon Editor. Today, I stand on the eve of progress!

Over the last week, there has been a lot of research to do. The first question was important: how do I take the fast and frenetic pace of Doom and make it work within a grid-based RPG like Grimrock? The one thing about Grimrock is that it doesn't necessarily lend itself well to the idea of a ton of enemies coming at you all at once. Moreover, since it's all grid-based, getting swarmed makes things incredibly difficult to handle. Luckily, as I played through the actual Grimrock game a bit more than usual over the week, I noticed a few ways that Almost Human (the developers) handled multiple enemies within any given space: chokepoints and pull chain doors. These were two very important things that I had to begin utilizing within the making of the first stage, E1M1 Hangar.

Last night, I finally sat down to start working on E1M1. The cool thing about the Grimrock Dungeon Editor is its ease of use. If you've never done any type of modding or anything before...even construction in a game, this Dungeon Editor is so fucking simple that even a novice could make something awesome! Every asset that was made for the game is listed on the left hand side. Your actual grid map is in the middle. In the top right hand corner, you have a Preview screen, where you can literally hit play and PLAY THE LEVEL YOU ARE DESIGNING to see if it is working. That part was INCREDIBLY helpful for me. Last is the bottom right portion of the screen. This is where, after selecting any property within the map that you've placed, you are able to manipulate that. Say you have a hidden door that you need to open after someone hits a particular pressure plate. Typically, getting the "logic" to work between these two would be pure madness and lines of coding. Luckily, the editor makes it simple: click on the pressure plate, "add selector", then click on the hidden door or whatever prop you want it to interact with, and PRESTO! Instant logic.

The other issue I've had with designing this dungeon is making sure that the OPTIONS of Doom are not lost on it all. When it came to Doom, you either tried to murder every damn thing there was and get every secret...or you did hard speedruns. I've been debating on whether I want the options to speedrun the dungeons to be available. I mean, it IS an RPG, so you kind of need to level up. However, do you want people to play it that way? Doom is all about speed and twitch gameplay, which this cannot really do either of in a great way. Thankfully, Doom's level designs are interesting within the Grimrock system, even if you cannot do other levels of elevation and such. Therefore, big platforms and sets of stairs are something I'm having to play around with a little bit to make more interesting yet still be kind of visceral.

That's the main thing I want to keep: how visceral of a game Doom is. If you are getting swarmed with enemies in Doom, you still feel like a badass but you know that there is a high probability of death. I want you to feel the same way when you go through these dungeons.

The blue arrows are showing how a hidden button opens a pair of secret doors. I am utilizing some pressure plates and monster closets as well to ensure precise timing for swarms of enemies to hit the player. Enemy count will be as accurate to the actual number of enemies at any point in any given level. For instance, at the beginning of the actual E1M1 Hangar, there are three enemies in the room directly to the left. With this, I have placed two enemies within one monster closet and one other enemy in a separate one. The green dots are actual items (gear, herbs, etc) for the player to pick up.

With all that said, here is my first "screenshot" for the dungeon. This was a piece of early work that took me about an hour and a half to design. It's the grid layout for E1M1 Hangar, as well as some work done in the first couple of rooms. Handfuls of hours after I took this screen cap, I can say that I am almost completely done with the level. That's right - E1M1 Hangar only needs another couple of hours worth of work and I should be able to upload the .dat file for people to download and check out for themselves. I just have a little more playtesting to do with it to make sure it's just right.

Next week, I'll have the level completed for sure, possibly the second level...and will try to get the .dat file available for people to play for themselves!

Until next time...

P.S. - Happy Samhain/Halloween to everyone!

Posted by mandude

Installing LoG now. This looks fucking awesome.

Posted by august

You are doing God's work, sir.

Posted by jakob187

I do try, gentlemen. I do try.

I did playtest what I had already finished last night for about an hour. Some areas are going to have a bit of a different...aesthetic. For instance, the big ass room in the middle of the map on the original E1M1 Hangar is big, wide-open, bright as hell, pool of water in the middle. In this LoG version of it....not so lit up. = D

Posted by Tim_the_Corsair

I think it's more about the feel than needing to be a 1:1 recreation.

I'm not all that interested in Grimrock (I never got into that style of RPG back in the day), but I'd legitimately consider buying it to play this, as it sounds awesome and I love the concept.

Posted by jakob187

For reference, here is the actual E1M1 map from Doom. I wanna give a shout to whoever runs the site Doom Maps, as them having the maps fully available has been incredibly helpful.

Posted by Ravenlight

@jakob187:

Looking pretty sweet so far. Will you be able to post a test run through the dungeon?

Also, are you limited in the total size of a dungeon? E1M1 is more of a rectangular shape, where your creation is decidedly square. Is this a limitation of the editor, or a stylistic choice? Either way, you rock!

Posted by yoshisaur

Man, I need to go pick up LoG now :/. Once I get the cash to lay down I'll definitely be waiting for you to finish this!

Edited by jakob187

@Ravenlight said:

@jakob187:

Looking pretty sweet so far. Will you be able to post a test run through the dungeon?

Also, are you limited in the total size of a dungeon? E1M1 is more of a rectangular shape, where your creation is decidedly square. Is this a limitation of the editor, or a stylistic choice? Either way, you rock!

It is all limitations. You can only do so many squares, and the whole setup is a square. Literally what you see in that picture of the dungeon is the entire grid-space to work in. This has me slightly worried for the bigger areas in the game, but I like a challenge.I really tried to get things to be more "to scale", but it's just not going to happen.

Right now, I'm playing around mostly with general perspective as you walk through the level. Does it seem like the right distance from where you would think it is? Does whatever is there look enough like what you would see there (barrels, corpses, etc)? Also, since the enemy types in Grimrock are vastly different (there aren't exactly imps and grunts and such in it), I have to base everything on "what enemies are of the appropriate level for this particular place". Even that is making me look at the gear I'm putting into dungeons or how much of it I put in, how to make secret doors work and secret areas work. It's a lot of thought process going into each level.

Like I said, a lot of it is about being an homage more than a flat-out remake. I want people to go into it, immediately see a room and say "I know this room" even if it is a bit different in general visual aesthetic and possible scale. So far, I think the part I'm having the most issues with the top right area, where it's got the winding corridor. That part in the original E1M1 Hangar is actually a bigger area where there is poison all around it. In looking at something like that, I have to think about it like this: what's the important and iconic part of that area? It's the zig-zagged brown pathway. Therefore, I need to make that pathway rather than the massive open area and find a way to make that area just as terrifying as it can be on Ultra-Violence or higher in Doom.

So yeah, it's a constant loop of thoughts going through my head on how all of it will work. However, I think that what I have built of the level right now is pretty good. A few more playtests (which I have a couple of friends that are going to help me with that stuff) and some decoration dressing on the areas (dirt, vines, tombs, etc)...and I think it'll be ready.

Posted by jakob187

I thought about it last night as I was going to sleep...

If making this can get more people to try out what I think is one of the best games of the year where they wouldn't have before, I feel like my mission has a stronger purpose. Thank you to those supporting me on this endeavor. I will do everything I can to not disappoint you.

Posted by Tim_the_Corsair
@jakob187

I thought about it last night as I was going to sleep...

If making this can get more people to try out what I think is one of the best games of the year where they wouldn't have before, I feel like my mission has a stronger purpose. Thank you to those supporting me on this endeavor. I will do everything I can to not disappoint you.

Thank you for doing it my good sir. Your insanity is a credit to the human race!

Out of curiousity, is there any modability to the Grimrock engine? Would there be potential in future to be able to put in new models, textures, sounds, etc?
Posted by Ravenlight

@jakob187 said:

I will do everything I can to not disappoint you.

I already own the game, but if you screw up, I'll torrent three copies :P

Edited by jakob187

@Tim_the_Corsair: I honestly don't know about any possible modding capabilities with the game. To be honest, this is the first time I've ever done anything like using an editor or modding or whatever with a game. It was just something that seemed like it NEEDED to be done! However, it would be cool if that was possible, or if Almost Human would even expand on what is available in the Dungeon Editor as well.

@Ravenlight: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Posted by Tim_the_Corsair
@jakob187 Hmmm, might be something to think about for the future. Even something as simple as putting the level music in there would serve to make it more instantly recognisable I think.

(that's not me telling you what to do by the way, or saying its an important consideration now, just making suggestions based on my own modding/level editing/total converting experience, such as it is)
Edited by jakob187

@Tim_the_Corsair: As far as I know, you CAN put custom music to it. That is DEFINITELY one thing I'm trying to get into the game, but I also want to make sure that there aren't any type of copyrights to the music. I mean, granted...all of the music was just MIDI forms of Pantera music, so it may not be a problem since I don't think they needed copyrighting for those in the first place. Still, I want to make sure there's not really any way for someone to go "hey, cease and desist".

Also, everyone should know this: I am MORE THAN WILLING to take in any suggestions. This isn't just a project for me to make, but a project for others to enjoy. I want this to be as faithful as possible while still retaining qualities that make both Legend of Grimrock and Doom totally awesome as shit. Therefore, if there's anything I could add to the game which I'm not noticing or catching onto, please let me know!

Posted by Tim_the_Corsair
@jakob187

@Tim_the_Corsair: As far as I know, you CAN put custom music to it. That is DEFINITELY one thing I'm trying to get into the game, but I also want to make sure that there aren't any type of copyrights to the music. I mean, granted...all of the music was just MIDI forms of Pantera music, so it may not be a problem since I don't think they needed copyrighting for those in the first place. Still, I want to make sure there's not really any way for someone to go "hey, cease and desist".

Also, everyone should know this: I am MORE THAN WILLING to take in any suggestions. This isn't just a project for me to make, but a project for others to enjoy. I want this to be as faithful as possible while still retaining qualities that make both Legend of Grimrock and Doom totally awesome as shit. Therefore, if there's anything I could add to the game which I'm not noticing or catching onto, please let me know!

Good point on the copyright stuff, although most mods don't attract that sort of notice provided they aren't making money.

There is a rich history of using Doom assets on other games, and it was made free a while back was it not? It might be worth looking into that, as I'm sure many people have wanted sick midi guitar and grunted "heeeey" noises in their mods.
Posted by jakob187

@Tim_the_Corsair: I'll be honest: as a die-hard Pantera fan, I would love to just use straight-up Pantera songs for the levels themselves. I don't know if that would be a distraction or not, but it just seems proper, ya know? This is in a much higher-end graphics engine, so why shouldn't the music be in a higher-end format as well?

At the same time, part of the allure to Doom was Dimebag's riffs converted to MIDI format, ya know? There's something about first loading up Doom and hearing that goofy MIDI playing that just gets you fucking pumped to kill the minions of Hell.

I do know that the game has been open source for a while, but with the way they have handled the BFG Edition of Doom 3 and then taking down the vanilla version of Doom 3, I'm curious if there would be an issue with doing this.

I don't know. I'll have to research some stuff, but for now, I'm going to hunt down those MIDIs (in mp3 format, most likely...gotta find out what the Dungeon Editor requires for use) and see how the level plays with that inserted.

Right now, I've got work all day Friday and Saturday, so the next possible time to do anything with the map would be on Sunday...and that's if the girlfriend doesn't want to hang out or anything. Regardless, next week is my short week at work (four days off, WOOT!), so I should get some good work done on this project over the next seven days.

Posted by jakob187

Another thing I should mention: Almost Human recently teased on their website that they are working on a Mac version of the game as well. I'm waiting to hear back from them about whether any dungeons made in the Dungeon Editor will work within both versions or not. I'd really hate to make this whole thing and then not have Mac players able to check it out.

Not going to halt the project, though. Just something I'm curious about.