Earlier this week we reviewed id Software’s Doom, a modern but faithful take on the historic series which virtually birthed the FPS genre. The campaign is excellent, the gameplay hard to fault, and the multiplayer a good dose of fun in its own right, but there’s a new kid on the block and his name is SnapMap.
SnapMap is Doom‘s all-new game and level editor, a mode that puts all the creative tools in the hands of the player, points them in the direction of the nearest open space and says “build something spectacular!”… a call which has been answered in earnest.
The beauty of SnapMap is that its entirely accessible to players of all ability levels (and laziness levels). The veteran level builders in the community will be welcomed into SnapMap with a plethora of precise editing tools allowing for object-by-object adjustments, lighting changes and even game logic. On the flipside, the more inexperienced players who may be intimidated or even overwhelmed by complex level editors will find solace in the more simplified elements of SnapMap such as modular map builders allowing pre-made rooms to be clicked together as easily as Lego bricks.
There is, however, a third breed of player who is simply too lazy to build things, even with excellent tools making SnapMap more accessible than breathable air. As a proud member of this species I’ve not spent the last two hours building Doom levels, but rather exploring the wacky, challenging and obscure experiences that Doom developers and players alike have been crafting – as I’d implore everybody else to do so. In fact, here are a few of my favourite creations I’ve come across so far – bear in mind that whilst many of these are developer-built, they were entirely built in SnapMap, meaning equally amazing modes can be built by anyone!
You’re fighting the hordes of Hell in a secluded base on Mars when suddenly you come across a room headed “DOOM Arcade”. You’re curious what this could possibly mean, so you enter, greeted by an ATM machine on your left dispensing “coins”, and a large display directly in front of you. You can’t refuse free money so you take the coins, but you’re a silent Doom Marine on Mars with seemingly no other human soul in sight – you have no need of money. You can’t just waste the coins though, now can you, but oh… there’s a coin slot in the monitor attached to the unusual display in front of you, so you take the plunge.
Suddenly, you know what you have to do. Demons begin to pop out of gaps in the display in an apparently random order and arrangement, and the world makes sense again. You were born to rip and tear, and that is what you will do. You fire your shotgun in earnest as the demons begin to appear in greater numbers and frequency, but this is no bother, you’ve faced bigger challenges. Eventually the onslaught ends, the score counter at the top updates, and you return to the hellish crowd outside who have, most oddly, waited patiently as you engage in a more literal take on an old Earth game known as Whack-a-Mole.
Can you count to 10? [id Software]
More a proof-of-concept of the variety of things players can create in SnapMap than anything you can soak a lot of time into, this mode is exceptionally simple but a fun little challenge worth trying out.
The premise is simple, there is a lone target in front of you, and the game begins to count upwards from zero. Once the counter reaches two, it stops – your goal is to shoot the target exactly when the counter would have reached ten. If you mistime your shot, 2500 is taken off your starting score of 25000 before restarting the trial for you to attempt again. A simple game, but it’s a solid reminder of the amount of options open to the player in designing a level.
Harvest DOOM [Bears]
Yes, this is totally what it sounds like. Despite Doom being a game which allows players to rip demon faces apart with just their hands, somebody managed to pretty darned well pull off a Harvest Moon-esque farming simulation game. Take a break from killing Satanic armies, holster your guns, have a cup of tea, and get that farm going. Perhaps the most industrial take on a farm, Harvest DOOM sees the player raising demons, growing crops and visiting demon-manned stores to trade for better crops and demon stocks. A surprisingly satisfying experience in the most unlikely of places, Harvest DOOM is worth your time.
The Memory Game [id Software]
Shooting not really your thing? Buying Doom was probably not your best decision, but thankfully it’s not all about shooting in the world of SnapMap. The Memory Game does exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a test of your memorisation skills. You enter a room with the sole aim of memorising every detail about it, whether that be number of a certain item within the room, how they’re laid out, colours of walls and more. Once you’re done, head to the exit where you’ll be greeted with a question about the room like “How many health packs were in the green room?”, with further exit doors acting as multiple-choice answers. Get it right and you’ll progress to a new memory room, get it wrong and it’s all over.
Music Maker 9000 [id Software]
A working keyboard, drum sequencer and manual cowbell all-in-one, Music Maker 9000 is there for the budding musicians out there staring down Hell itself. You know the drill – get that drum beat all set up, let it run free, then get on those keys, get your melody going and for good measure… MORE COWBELL!
Survival Arena 1-4P Coop v1.3 [Vindicator]
One thing that was missing from Doom was a core co-op survival experience, but perhaps that was left open intentionally for the players to design their way. There are multiple survival modes already built by players, varying greatly in layout, rules and complexity, but I’ve singled this one out for being just a simple, one-hit experience, much in the spirit of the Doom series itself I suppose. You spawn in a room with every weapon available to pick from, and right from the get go, even in this room, you’re set upon by all manner of demons. Be quick, resourceful and forward thinking and you’ll go far. Drop the ball, and it rolls away, taking your success with it…
E1M2 Tribute [id Software]
Of course, a good level builder would be incomplete without a die-hard fanbase recreating & reimagining their favourite missions and maps from previous titles. Whilst this particular level was built by the developers, there are other excellent recreations out there. Give this one a go and maybe it’ll give you inspiration to try and build your own!
There were just a few of the fun levels I’ve had the pleasure of toying with thus far, there are plenty more out there and more appearing all the time. I seriously underestimated SnapMap as “just another level editor”, but it’s easily so much more than that. Give it a go – I promise it won’t disappoint!
Have you got any SnapMap favourites? Have you built any yourself?
Be sure to let us know in the comments or on our Subreddit!