- Every enclosed polygon has a ceiling height and a floor height
- The table in the middle of the room? It's just a polygon with a higher floor. The room around it has a comparatively lower floor.
- A door is just a polygon with a ceiling height that matches the floor height. When you use the door, the ceiling raises. Combined with the textures being pinned, this makes the door seem like it's going up.
Super simple. Also: play my wad, it's awesome. I did most of the level design on my 386, my buddy stitched them together on his 486:
(yes, that's a working toilet)
Now, if he just had time to do the book he was going to write... I'd seriously pay $100
In high school a group of friends would all create their own maps and then before classes started we would play test them on the computer lab LAN. Our favorite editor at the time was DEU.
None of us being map making geniuses, we'd always end up with something that didn't play well but did have a few "fun spots". Eventually someone had the idea to just cherry pick all those fun spots and Frankenstein together a single map using our individual parts. This map ended up being the most fun we have ever had in Doom.
I'm not sure if Doom was the first, but it was the first for me to instill the idea that a game should be moddable if you want to make a great community and give the game a very long life after the developers have moved on to the next thing.
That's exactly how Half-Life has been made: http://gamasutra.com/view/feature/131815/the_cabal_valves_de...
Moving to constructive solid geometry (CSG) map editing was really hard for a lot of people, myself included. I ended up learning on Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, which was subtractive and a lot more like how Doom felt to me.
DCK (Doom Construction Kit) was a huge game-changer when it arrived IMO. One of the most user-friendly DOS applications I had ever used. I just loved working in DCK. Only the Build Editor managed to rival it. Ben Morris later went on to work on WorldCraft/Hammer at Valve.
I also have a friend in a somewhat similar place, although last we met he seems to have gotten a bit of a better grip on his life (managed to find some freelance work as a programmer, as far as I know he was never able to hold a "normal" steady job before).
If we didn't have happen to be into computers as kids I'm pretty sure things would have been worse.
If I recall things right my editor was a DOS program simply named "Doom Editor". Can't seem to find any info on it though... http://doom.wikia.com/wiki/Doom_Editing_Utilities
Then again, the difficulty in getting DEU to run on modern OSes might be an even greater challenge than learning a new, awkward tool.
The only other game that I found that reach this level of simplicity and powerfull level making, are the old good Unreal Tournamet, and the Unreal Tournament 2004. It's like levels for DooM but is real 3d, thanks to substractive booleans.
I guess I know what I'm going to do this holiday :D
And this piece of crap, was how I got a email from ID software : http://www.moddb.com/mods/unreal-doom
I still have the (unfinished) wad I created back in the late 90s using WADED from the Tricks of the Doom Programming Gurus. Barely rescued it from a floppy disk over a decade ago that reported the file size as over a gig. Now that I think about it, I hope the CD I recorded to is still good.