The recent update to the new DOOM‘s SnapMap level editor got me to finally take a look at what people had made so far. Despite it being one of my most anticipated features of DOOM, I didn’t think much of SnapMap in the final game initially and I’m still not really sure what kind of longevity it will eventually have compared to how people still make maps for the original Doom and Quake 20-odd years later.
The update finally allows people to build whole campaigns out of custom levels and I think adds a bunch of other things to SnapMap like co-op and more creation tools. Maybe I’ve just slept on SnapMap for too long, but upon booting it up this week I was able to pretty quickly find some creations that did a good job of providing more what DOOM is good at.
What initially disappointed me about SnapMap was that at first it seemed mainly focused towards building multiplayer maps. I think the general consensus has been that few people really care about the multiplayer in this game. Furthermore, from time-to-time I would search lists of the best SnapMap creations and would mostly find off-the-wall stuff like a Harvest Moon-style game or something else that builds a whole other genre out of DOOM. That stuff might be proof of just how extensive SnapMap’s creation tools are, but personally I just wanted… more DOOM maps.
I went in expecting more stuff possibly akin to the work TeamTNT did with the old Doom games or how MachineGames up and made new episode of the original Quake earlier this year. I just wanted remixes of the core game’s already great mechanics. I expected the user-generated content to be the vector through which DOOM retains players as a service-oriented game instead of the multiplayer which developer id seems determined to keep pushing.
I only tried out a handful of levels and campaigns, but what I did try gave me the indication that this community could really extend my enjoyment of DOOM as a fantastic singleplayer shooter. Regardless of whether I find creations with level design as complex as what id created in the main campaign, what I’ve found already recreates the intensity of the campaigns combat encounters. The most praiseworthy thing I can say about some of these SnapMap creations is they’re making me think about playing DOOM again whenever I’m not playing it.
What has me a bit concerned is I haven’t heard much chatter surrounding SnapMap. I haven’t heard people talk about famous creations outside the sphere of the game’s community the same way people talk about Skyrim mods or Super Mario Maker levels. Was keeping the entire user-generated content community for DOOM within the game itself and publisher Bethesda’s own service a good idea? Letting their mod communities run free across the whole internet is probably what allowed Skyrim or original Doom fan content to grow the it they did. Right now SnapMap’s longevity depends on how long Bethesda plans to keep it up. Maybe I’m just underestimating the health of relatively quiet mod communities though. You never hear mainstream gaming press talk about ArmA mods and I’ve gotten hundreds of hours of fun out of those.
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