Greetings from the nameless ether!
So it's been a while. So a lot of stuff has happened since our last issue. Lack of motivation is a killer, but never fear! We are back at it, and here's an issue filled with everything you're used to. Maps has been very busy, with the Main Foundry having the most maps I can recall the Newsletter ever covering. A Look Back showcases Oaktown's War of the Triple Alliance, a now-long-since-quenched map. The Spotlight is on lgoasklucyl and his Central America map, the eventual winner of the competition. Finally, in WCA's Tablet he lets loose some of his favorite digital art sites, all of them with tons of free resources.
On a different front, I would like to thank our latest Maps in Development Editor, sailorseal, for his work in making this issue finally come to fruition. Every map without a writeup from last issue was written by him, so give him a pat on the back when you can. Also, school has finally devoured ZeakCytho's schedule near-completely and he no longer has the time for A Look Back and the Spotlight. If anyone is interested in working on these positions, get in touch with me (PM
Promise that the 18th Issue WILL release in about two weeks,
Well, we've been scarce and entries into the competition have been even scarcer, so another two week extension (Issue 18's release) for any and all entries. The topic detailing all the requirements is
, make sure to check it out!
In this section we cover every map presently in development. Each map is accompanied by a brief description of the map's theme, graphics, and gameplay, as well as what's been happening in the last couple of weeks. Finally, a link to each topic, the map's creator(s), and what stamps it presently has are noted.
Name: Centerscape Revamp Creators: RjBeals
WidowMakers Stamps: Description:
The competition to revamp the Centerscape map has concluded, with RjBeals' entry coming in first place. WidowMakers has taken over the graphical development and made minor tweaks to the beautiful fantasy-like map. Gameplay is identical to the current Centerscape map.
XML Stamped and looking to replace the Square Monstrosity in the very near future.
Name: Golfe du St-Laurent Creators: Lone.prophet
Unit_2 Stamps: Description:
The Gulf of St. Lawrence (French, Golfe du St-Laurent) is the world's largest estuary, but conservation takes a backseat to beating the pulp out of others on this map of the gulf and its surrounding areas. It's an average-sized map with well-done textures and area-appropriate colors. Its classic gameplay is without any gimmicks and should be easy to pick up.
"5 more minutes of work" to finish it off, or so it's been said.
Name: Atlantis Creators:
Premier2k and Nemesischild
Ever want to visit Atlantis? Ok, maybe a myth, but not anymore! Atlantis is unique map that is sure to get CC gamers talking. Great layout and design, with a bounty of colors keeping it lively.
Cleaner and more polished, with gameplay alterations in progress.
Name: Balkan Peninsula Creator: ZeakCytho Stamps: Description:
This is a plain map of the Balkan Peninsula. The gameplay is classic, with numerous small continents and easy to take bonuses.
Under tons of suggestions of name changes and other region-specific additions, coming along smoothly.
Name: Battle of Trafalgar Creator: Cairnswk Stamps: Description:
The Battle of Trafalgar was a turning point in Europe during Napoleon's reign With unorthodox naval tactics, Admiral Nelson destroyed the French/Spanish fleet with no ships lost. This map strives to depict that pivotal battle, with cannon bombardments, boarding parties, and bonuses requiring most, but not all, of ships to be held. A clever model depiction and a solid color scheme help to make the map a bird's eye view of naval warfare at its height.
Working on bonus discussions and such, with comments being highly encouraged.
Name: Brazil Creator: RjBeals Stamps: Description:
The ultimate winner of the well-publicized
Brazil Revamp Competition
, Rj has created a map that simply oozes with color, fitting for a nation known for its vibrant culture. Graphics are the order du jour now.
Updated for February, and progressing slowly.
Name: Castle Lands Creators: Pikkio
Thenobodies80 Stamps: Description:
This map is a depiction of a castle under siege. The central castle is surrounded by four quadrants of terrain, each with catapults capable of bombarding the castle's tower. For the most part, however, this map has classic gameplay.
Undergoing clarifications edits to make the map more understandable, but nearing a Gameplay stamp.
Name: Central America Creator: Igoasklucyl Stamps: Description:
Fresh out of the Central America Amateur competition, this map is a representation of the Central American nations with classic gameplay and smooth tropical graphics.
Gameplay and accompanying graphical elements are under discussion at the moment.
Name: Chess Creator: john9blue Stamps: Description:
A map based on one of the oldest games, to put it simply. It's a lovely rendering of a late-game chess match, with auto-deploys on held pieces and attack routes based on piece movement. That alone makes for a different and engaging gameplay, sure to set this map apart. So grab the speed clock and claim checkmate soon.
In the main Foundry now, with very clear explanations for piece movement.
Name: Conquer Mart Creator: lzrman Stamps: Description:
Ah, the shopping mall. Home of After Thanksgiving sales, last stands against the zombie apocalypse, and armed conflict. Well, in the past there wasn't any armed conflict, but this map seeks to change that, with fights over the departments and stores of a standard shopping mall being the order du jour. An overhead view shows off the floorplan of conquest, similar to a mall directory.
It's come a long way in a short time, and still improving. Graphical and Gameplay comments are requested.
Name: England Creator: MrBenn Stamps: Description:
Green and Pleasant Land indeed. This map displays England and only England, in many shades of green. Wonderful graphics make this map a showcase of real talent unless you happen to not like green. No special features except for a inset to include London.
Currently concerned with balancing out the north and the south for bonuses.
Name: Feudal Epic Creator: Gimil
Yeti_C Stamps: Description:
The long-awaited sequel to the original conquest map, Feudal War. Whereas Feudal War was restricted to only 6 players, Feudal Epic has enough for 8 people, with wide and expansive village regions in between to clash and vanquish your enemies in. Otherwise, the gameplay is the same, if not better, than the original Feudal War, making this a certain favorite when it quenches.
A less-green look has been suggested, what the mapmaker does with it is to be seen.
Name: Gilgamesh Creator: Oaktown Stamps: Description:
This map is unique in at least one way: it grew out of a rejected revamp entry. Now divorced from the confining Centerscape gameplay, the maker has crafted a vibrant and mythologically-informed look at the Fertile Crescent during ancient times. Utilizing portions of the Gilgamesh epic, the map has both standard and special bonuses, leading to a very diverse gameplay.
Looking to be approaching a Gameplay stamp in the very near future.
Name: Greenland Creator: the.killing.44 Stamps: Description:
Greenland, you get the icy chills just from looking at it. Nothing but blue, white and a battle. Circling around an impassible zone, this map looks to give a new challenge to players. Icy graphics done by
makes this map a real looker.
Draft-Stamped and already updated post-move.
Name: Indian Empire Creator: Oaktown Stamps: Description:
Taking a cue from another, more modern attempt at India and its surrounding countries, Oaktown has taken the period of time when India was a British colony, and translated it onto a beautiful rendering of a history book (Editor's Note: he used the same book for the Brazil revamp contest). Combining simple colors and a hand-drawn look for terrain features and the like, the map is fairly simple on gameplay, with classic continents and a railway bonus to spice things up. Rewrite history for who controlled the region in the 1800's, or join those building the next railway for the ruler. The choice is yours.
Very recently Gameplay stamped, with a few graphical edits sure to be in the works.
Name: Jamaica Creator: cairnswk Stamps: Description:
Colonial style graphics on a Jamaican setting. This map takes the player to a battle where many European countries have landed on the Jamaican shores encountering neutral after neutral as the player searches for resources to give them the edge over their enemies.
Working on ironing out gameplay features and understanding.
Name: Korea Creator: the.killing.44 Stamps: Description:
A rough Asian looking map littered with astonishing mountains that divide territories. two islands interrupt the flow of the main land but still fit in amazingly. Two killer neutrals, designed to play to the north south divide and bombard routes are the only features on this map.
Has been in the Main Foundry for a while now and
is working on the Gameplay Stamp. Expect a complete graphics do-over as kill tells us that he is starting from scratch graphically.
Name: Land and Sea Creator: Edbeard
Gimil Stamps: Description:
This is a map of the world including both land and water territories. The graphics are basically non-existent right now, but the gameplay is undergoing serious discussion. The main feature of the game is that land and water territories only connect at certain points.
Nearing a forge with minor edits to be done.
Name: Long Island Creators: sailorseal
LED ZEPPELINER Stamps: Description:
A long thin block of territories surrounded by boats forking off at the end is the basic design of the map. A medium to small map with very few bonuses will give a new challenge to any player that decides to take it.
Moving through the foundry at one of the fastest paces ever receiving Draft on the third update, a highway will be added to take the places of the airports.
Name: Oceania Creators: Thenobodies80
Pikkio Stamps: Description:
This is a map of the continent of Oceania, including Australia and the numerous island chains of the South Pacific. Its graphics aren't anything too fancy, but they convey the essentials of the classic gameplay on this map.
Graphics stamped and work on the XML has begun in earnest. Comments for tweaks appreciated.
Name: Poison Rome Creator: cairnswk Stamps: Description:
The Julio-Claudian dynasty of the early Roman Empire has a family tree complicated by multiple marriages between the members of the gens Julia and the gens Claudia. This map is currently in version 8, with a unique family tree layout. It will make for some interesting gameplay.
Recently Gameplay stamped, with work on the graphics to follow.
Name: Rose City Creator: lostatlimbo Stamps: Description:
lostatlimbo has a very creative premise for this map: highlight all the unique features of Portland and turn them into gameplay features. That coupled with a bright and borderline garish color scheme creates a different map that likely will break the "limited appeal" problem that other city maps have run into.
Graphically updated but still bright and colorful. Comments are tending toward gameplay right now.
Name: Switzerland Creator: Kaplowitz
Wcaclimbing Stamps: Description:
Switzerland is famed for its bank accounts, neutrality in war, and sweeping mountains. So have a hostile takeover on this average-sized map of the country. Graphics are simple and the gameplay matches, with only classic continents and impassables.
Updates are coming along at a reasonable rate, with graphics comments encouraged.
Name: Treasure Map Creator: LED ZEPPELINER Stamps: Description:
A colorful take on a classic nautical "Treasure Map" featuring skull and cross bones with a few classic sailing ships thrown in. An objective style game play with a island hopping setting gives the player the feel they are hunting for a treasure. Arrr!
Very recently admitted to the main Foundry.
Name: Vancouver Creator: Shakeycat Stamps: Description:
This is a map of the greater Vancouver area. It has mostly classic gameplay, with attack routes between ports and special bonuses for holding various transportation modes, i.e. train lines.
Updated post-move, and in need of lots of comments.
Name: WWII: The Invasion of Poland Creator: samuelc812 Stamps: Description:
Sporting the colors of World War II, this starting positions map has many special features keeping you always interested such as planes, tanks and bonuses for commanders. Take a look at this map and you just might learn something.
Very recently moved to the Foundry.
Name: Europe 1099 Creator: Beko the Great Stamps:
The Crusades, you can hear the clashing of swords and the crying of peasants just from a glance at this map. Look closely and you will see it was painted on cloth. The setting of this battle, Europe and a touch of Africa during the 1099 Crusade. This map plays to the religious aspects of the time period and looks like it will make a great game.
Called for preliminary review, so likely to receive the drafts stamp soon.
Name: Japan Creator: InkL0sed Stamps:
Ink style graphics with a few game play twists including an inset and inter-continental assault routes. Japanese characters can be found all across the map giving it a very Asian feel. Many island surrounding the main land giving this map the full Japanese experience.
It has been said (By MrBenn) that the map needs a better sense of connection between the three parts before it moves on.
Name: Zodiac Map Creator: rsacheli Stamps:
The Zodiac has been a centerpiece of astrology for generations, enshrined most noticeably by the naming of constellations in the stars. This map portrays their constellations and has bonuses centering around the seasons and the elements those constellations comprise. It also features a super-connected Black Hole territory, allowing a lot of mobility for such a large map. The map beckons that you decide your own fate among the stars.
Presently plagued with bad image hosting, which will likely be fixed in the near future.
In A Look Back, we look at either a recently quenched map or a mapmaker who has contributed to CC but hasn't done so recently. It's a great retrospective that is certain to be an interesting feature as time goes on. This issue, we look at Oaktown and his recently quenched map (well, one of them), War of the Triple Alliance.
What is your favorite map currently up for live play? Why that one? Too hard to name one... the maps I love that I keep coming back to include Middle East, Berlin, and Europe. Lately I've been trying to play more escalating games and team games, so I have a new appreciation for the larger maps where you can hide out - ConquerMan, Rail Europe, and New York for example. What interested you in mapmaking? I was interested in maps and mapmaking before I ever came to this site... two of the first computer games I ever got into were SimCity and Civilization, both of which have mapmaking components. CS3 is a bit more powerful than the SimCity mapmaker was on my old Mac SE, but the basic principals are the same - consider how landscape is going to play, then make it look nice. How did you form the idea for this map? The Triple Alliance map was a result of a failed attempt to revamp the Brazil map, before there was a competition. I wanted to create a Brazil map with 19th century graphics, but I didn't like the way the map played so I went looking for a historical perspective. It just so happened that South America's biggest war took place at just the time period in which I was working stylistically. Done and done. How much research went into studying the actual war during the course of the development of the map? Eh, not so much. If Wikipedia got their facts wrong, so did I. And there were some liberties taken - my map covers considerably more ground than the war did. What ended up being the most rewarding part of making this map? I love maps - CC or otherwise - which tell a story and are rich in actual history. I hope that I have created one. How do you think the gameplay turned out, now that it's been live for a while? I've got to clarify the Corrientes situation (it spans a river, and i've gotten some complaints) but once you figure that out I think it plays very well. Linking the capitals via the river seems to be a hit, and the games I've played have allowed for multiple players to carve out some territory while not immediately becoming build-up games. Any other thoughts on what it was like to make this map? I would like to point out that the map thread was started by me on June 26, 2008, so it took almost exactly seven months to complete that map. There has been considerable discussion recently about how the Foundry process is too slow, there's not enough feedback, and that there is a system of favoritism. I hope that the fact that my maps are taking seven months to get out of the gate is an example of how we are all subject to the same foundry whims and delays, and that the often painstakingly slow pace of this place is not lost on the CAs.
In the Spotlight, we typically cover a staff-selected map and mapmaker in an interview. Mapmaker motivations, inspirations, and the like have been covered, with plenty of surprises in between. This issue we look at the Central American map by lgoasklucyl.
How old are you/what gender are you/where do you live? Answer specifically, vaguely, or not at all. Twenty-one year old male, living just outside of New Haven Connecticut but going to school at the University of Connecticut Storrs (go Huskies!), so that's pretty much my residence for the time being. How did you find out about Conquer Club? My friend John was actually playing it with a teacher and a few other students in that professor's class (which, if you ask me, sounds like an awesome freaking class). He passed it on to me and I was hooked rather quickly. Being a poor college student it took me a little while to afford premium, but I pulled it off eventually What is your favorite map currently up for live play? Why that one? British Isles. It was the second map I learned after Classic and I loved everything about it. The gameplay is simple yet can still be difficult if the match-up is right. For the record: I absolutely love the revamp. I think Gimil did a fantastic job and made the map superior and even more appealing than its prior version. What interested you in mapmaking? As a photographer I had played with photoshop a lot and decided to give it a shot one day. Prior to the Central America contest I had actually made a practice map of Central America. I posted it in the foundry to ask for advice on how to improve my technique, only to be told there was a competition opening up and that I should take the image down, rework it out to fit the given borders, and give it a shot. Look how that ended up! What kind of feedback do you like getting the most? Helpful feedback. Especially feedback where I can look at it and say: "Yeah, I can see exactly where he/she is coming from", make the change, look at the changed product, and realize it was a significant improvement. I suppose they are kind of 'face-palm' suggestions, because I'm almost always thinking to myself "Why the hell didn't I see that?" after it has been implemented. What "keeps you going" through getting a map through the Foundry? Honestly, the thought of seeing the map being played. I cannot wait to see it fully functional and operating as a Conquer Club map. I remember when Madagascar was first released. I started a couple doubles on it and was fortunate enough to have T-O-M jump in and play alongside me. I like the thought of being on that side of the gun. What inspired you to enter the Central America competition? I've pretty much detailed this in the 'what interested me in map-making' question. Purely coincidence. If it wasn't for Oaktown noticing my thread and pointing me in the right direction I may not have even known it was taking place! How did you decide what graphics styles to go with? When I think 'Central America' I think tropical. I tried to keep the entire thing matching this scheme. The dotted lines with the color gradient for attack routes, the bright ocean, and the color scheme were all supposed to look 'tropical'. My original intent for the color scheme was just yellow-red-orange, but the colors ran way too closely in my opinion. How much time do you spend on each update? How much of that time do you enjoy? Varies by update. For the most part I'd say 5-8 hours. I enjoy all of the time I spend working on the map. Honestly, photography has made me enjoy all the time I spend in Photoshop and it's nice to work on something completely original. Were there any suggestions that you absolutely loved? Or any that you really hated? I really enjoy any suggestions as long as they are productive, well thought out, and beneficial. I have hated a few suggestions/comments made on my map. Probably the most disheartening comments are those from map-makers saying they could have made the map in a few hours, when in reality it took me an incredibly long time to create- even in its earlier stages. I also dislike comments that come along after a good amount of the foundry have agreed on some aspect of the map and someone comes along saying these things should be changed. What do you think of the foundry process in general? I honestly don't feel I've gone far enough through the process to make judgments. I have noticed many people gripe about the length it takes to fully quench a map, but I'm sure there are plenty of reasons from the CAs for these delays. I would rather, as a player and mapmaker, it take longer and be perfect than it come out quickly and be sub-par.
After a long time without a newsletter, I'd like to present you with a few of my favorite digital art websites.
All three of these sites are great resources for any aspiring digital artist or mapmaker.
While these sites are not directly related to mapmaking, the huge number of tutorials and resources available on these sites are sure to bring your maps up to the next level.
Abduzeedo: http://abduzeedo.com/ This site is overflowing with so much digital art stuff, there is no way a person could read through all of it. It has tons of tutorials, wallpapers, interviews, basically everything you could want packed into one website. This is probably my favorite digital art website; I've spent a few hours on this site just getting lost in how much awesome stuff they have. I strongly recommend this site to anyone interested in digital art. CGTextures: http://www.cgtextures.com/ This website is a great resource for any artist. It has thousands of huge texture images of everything you can imagine, and they are all FREE to use. 3DTotal Top 100 tutorials: http://www.3dtotal.com/ps100/pstut100.html (it has two or three NSFW pics, not a big deal) Though this site doesn't have as much content as abduzeedo, it makes up for it with its great tutorials. It has everything from 3D to digital painting to photomanipulation. It would definitely be worth it to take a look around this one. There is tons of great stuff in the list. The only downsides are that the site as a whole focuses on 3D graphics and most of the tutorials are pretty advanced. Still, there are plenty of good tutorials in this top-100 list.
Until next time, happy mapmaking!
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gimil - Graphics
InkL0sed - Formatting Editor, Proofreading Editor
reelkmcn - Maps In Development Editor
sailorseal - Maps in Development Editor
TaCktiX - Senior Editor, Editorial Editor, Perspectives Editor
wcaclimbing - Graphics, WCA's Tablet Editor
ZeakCytho - Spotlight Editor, Maps In Development Editor, A Look Back Editor