The Joy of Mapping


The Joy of Mapping (aka. JoM) is a series of Doom mapping tuition sessions hosted by me, which harness the power of instant messaging and live-streaming to help new faces come to the Doom mapping and modding community; ones who might be shy or inexperienced and have a real need to create something and finish it.

At first, the Joy of Mapping sessions sought to talk mappers both old and new through a casual, step-by-step process over the course of a few hours, that was streamed live through my Twitch channel, a process inspired by the work of the late hero of television Bob Ross, and his show The Joy of Painting. JoM has since moved on to being much longer mapping “jams”, which are more casual and less daunting for the students, and enable anyone to participate at any point throughout the allotted time period.

Mappers can use whichever mapping format they prefer (Vanilla, Boom, Hexen, UDMF etc.), but there is an emphasis on letting the participants discover new ways to be creative through limitation, i.e. following a specific set of guidelines or working to a designated theme for an episode with a pre-made set of textures. There is no pressure to impress, there are no superbly high expectations of the students – all levels submitted get a pass if they have gameplay, and an exit. Quality control is still a thing, of course, with playtesting periods taking place after the initial mapping that permit students to make any necessary changes, say if they’ve submitted a half-working map by mistake, and allows them to gain constructive feedback from myself and the session tutors if their level’s gameplay or visuals need extra polish. At the end of the session, the project is compiled into a ZDoom-compatible PK3, run through internal and external testing, then released.

The Joy of Mapping #1

Released: August 1, 2016

The inaugural session. Streamed live, it featured more than fifteen people on call. It was playtested and review many times over livestream by fellow Doom players who offered feedback that the students were then able to work from to improve their maps even more. A very promising start.

The Joy of Mapping #2

Released: September 17, 2016

Our second session was started a month after the first, although evidently this would not become a monthly event. It gathered about as much interest overall as the first, and saw a few more submissions. More tutors were employed to assist me with talking through the mapping process on call.

As well as attracting new blood, this session brought on board a few more veteran mappers, whose works can be found towards the end of the episode – the difficulty spike for this collection of maps is considerably steeper because of this.

The Joy of Mapping #3: MANDATORY JOY

Released: April 6, 2017

The last session I did in the “focused speedmapping session” style. It was livestreamed to Twitch like the previous two, but the VOD was of such poor quality that I didn’t bother saving it. (The blues of living with Australia’s internet speeds…)

This was a highly successful session, certainly of a higher bar of quality overall, perhaps because it saw a far lengthier playtesting period.

The Joy of Mapping #4: Summer School

For this session I changed things up quite drastically.

  • This session lasted for a full week instead of a few hours. Initially planned to last 7 days, it ended up being extended to 9.
  • It is an episodic levelset. Mapping students were divided up into teams. Each episode is accessed through a hub map designed by me.

This was a mammoth undertaking that even with my best efforts took an entire month to get into a finished state, by which point my free time then plummeted, and hence the compilation is still not yet finalised and uploaded to Doomworld.

The Joy of Mapping #5: Winter Weekend

After JoM4 saw a slew of new blood and some quite lengthy maps made over the allotted session time, I opted to shorten the session time to 3 days. The first few days of December 2017 were spent creating this, and even despite the shortened time limit, we still ended up with a staggering amount of submissions. Clearly word gets around.

I may change the formula up again after this session – it’s clear that the interest is quite high and large-scale megawads can be hard to get through. With roughly 14 maps per episode, there is a lot of content here.

  • Source Ports: GZDoom 3.2.0+ only
  • Map(s): 55+ (across 4 episodes)
  • Status: Incomplete
  • Download: TBA
  • Links: ZDoom thread / Doomworld thread