Mastering the art form.
While Wolfenstein 3-D is a simplistic game by today’s standards, and creating levels for it is technically very easy, there’s a certain magic to it. Like any great art form, it requires a certain touch — learned only through repeated trial, error and experimentation — to create a true masterpiece. In this section, I’ll reveal some of the secrets, guidelines and ideas I’ve lived by during the course of my thirteen years of level design experience.
The Wolfenstein map-maker’s bible: MAPTIPS.TXT
Every budding level designer should start in the same place I did: By reading “Tips for Creating/Editing Wolf3D & Spear of Destiny Designs,” by Warren Buss. It’s a simple guide to mapmaking, explaining the core basics, telling you what to watch out for, and providing a solid foundation of knowledge. Due to its importance, I’ve archived this document here.
Download MAPTIPS.TXT by Warren Buss
B.J. Rowan’s level design guidelines
Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away I wrote a document of beginner-to-intermediate level design tips for Wolfenstein. The section on consideration of ceiling colors in the overall aesthetic of your level was particularly memorable and elicited numerous comments from the community who found it helpful. This entire document is now largely anachronistic — these days most people making Wolfenstein mods are using texture-mapped floors and ceilings, for example — but in the interest of history, I’ve preserved it exactly as it was.
Read B.J. Rowan’s level design tips