DOOM is blood and metal; it rips and tears and leaves only viscera in its wake. The campaign is a frenzied triumph of old-school design that’s built on the pillars of violence and speed – basically, the kind of shooter that just isn’t made anymore. But with SnapMap, it doesn’t have to be. Instead, the possibilities are, within some memory limitations, pretty much whatever you want – including the hilariously stupid.
I have to admit, I didn’t pay much attention to the idea of SnapMap when Bethesda announced it at last year’s E3. The two minutes or so they devoted to this mode during the press conference was used to show the kind of custom gameplay that, at a glance, looked like it might still be within set parameters.
Sure, deathmatch and horde mode are fun, but for the kind of level editor that SnapMap really is, a stinger showing off something a little more insane, like, say, a cacodemon dating sim (theoretically possible if done modestly, with the way the mode handles design logic) might well have done a lot more to earn some extra buzz.
Since you could argue that no one really knew how DOOM was going to turn out as a whole before it was released; to me SnapMap was just one more question mark, albeit one likely to have a community. (Bethesda did actually talk a bit more about the kinds of weirder things you could make – like a full-sized Big-style piano – but it was on their official blog, so it was easy to miss).
Of course once I figured out that you could make an enemy demon’s A.I. ignore you by making it walk around in a circle via a looping command path, accomplished by just placing the path points on the physical map and connecting it to an activation parameter, I was hooked. (That was about 10 minutes into the tutorial session).
Having grasped the basics in 15 or 20 minutes without any programming background, I was ready to dive in and create my own weird single-player level. Despite not having much of an idea about what I wanted to do, I came up with the dumb idea of making a stacked level of endless hallways you have to run through. Not as a good pitching woo to a demon, but satisfying enough for a first attempt.
With that idea in mind, I started LEGO-ing together map pieces. After about two hours of tinkering, I had something mostly functional and so long you could actually start to wonder if you were actually making progress.
Not that there’s much to it. You have to pick up a shotgun behind a locked door that you come across about halfway through the map and getting to the other side means hoofing it the rest of the way. Getting there takes a full seven-and-a- half minutes. Then you can kill the single demon hiding in the level. What a thrill!
That’s just one example of something wonderfully idiotic you can do using SnapMap, (and the only thing I’ve had time to create). What’s beautiful about it is that you can set up the game’s logic parameters to go way outside the comfort zone of a shooter; I’m already planning on some kind of a simulator where you’re stuck behind a crowd of slow-moving demons.
I can only hope that it patches in more memory and faster level loading times for use on the PS4 Neo, and adds some additional map types and such. It may be a blast to see the genius of id in the game proper, but being able to make my own bizarre ideas a reality on a console is worth every penny on its own.