Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

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Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby MrBenn on Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:27 pm

The idea of the design brief was originally to get mapmakers to "sell" their map to the CA team, and as a way of "bidding" for permission to enter the foundry workshops proper. (although they have never worked this way in practice)

I hereby propose that this issue be made more clear, and that mapmakers seek the approval of the Foundry Foreman before making a map. I genuinely believe this is the only way to stop the "bad" maps from reaching the forge...

MrBenn wrote:That first step should be the hardest. Maps that are perceived to be "bad" have been allowed to get to the forge because they were allowed through the drafting room doors. Rather than tell people a map is bad, we just let it amble along in the hope the mapmaker will give it up. After a while it gets too late, and and the mapmaker has invested too much to drop it and is reluctant to make further changes. This is why I believe the draft stamp should require Foundry Foreman approval.


Discuss.
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby DiM on Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:08 pm

i can't believe i'm going to write this but i believe the current system with specialized sub-forums is bad. yeah i know a few years back i used to be one of it's fans but to be honest i don't think it's working at all.
i think we should have 3 subforums:
1. map ideas/drafts - where people come and make a suggestion and propose a draft. this will have to be a rather hard place to get out of just as you pointed above.
2. maps in progress - where everything from graphics to gameplay or theme gets tackled and solved. no more mapmakers not wanting to implement graphics because they're in gameplay subforum or not wanting to change gameplay just because they moved on to graphics. it's a map maker's duty to channel his and his followers' focus onto what needs to be solved.
3. final forge/finished maps - final tweaks

a few years ago when all maps where in the same place there was a real battle to keep your map alive, to attract people to give you feedback, to update the map as fast as possible. otherwise 1-2 days of not doing anything on your map meant it slips to page 2 (or more) and nobody notices it anymore. right now there are maps where nobody commented for 1-2 weeks and they're still on page 1. the map makers just let them stay like this for months then demand to be moved forward. a few years ago a map with no comments for 2 weeks was either a quenched map or a dead map.
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby MrBenn on Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:33 pm

DiM wrote:1. map ideas/drafts - where people come and make a suggestion and propose a draft. this will have to be a rather hard place to get out of just as you pointed above.

I'll leave the rest of your post for discussion on another day ;-)
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby natty dread on Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:03 pm

DiM wrote:no more mapmakers not wanting to implement graphics because they're in gameplay subforum or not wanting to change gameplay just because they moved on to graphics.


Haha, you should be glad you never met Riskismy...


Anyway, the current Design Brief system doesn't really work, and it's probably because there's not enough manpower to address the submitted briefs quickly, which leads to the foundry mods to feel pressured to approve any design brief - also, it seems that no one is really rejecting any briefs, they're either approved or left in a perpetual limbo...

Perhaps we could gather a sort of jury consisting of 4-5 volunteers, and each map draft would need to gather the approval of at least a majority to be moved on.
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby DiM on Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:13 pm

natty_dread wrote:probably because there's not enough manpower to address the submitted briefs quickly,


both gimil and cairnswk used to be CAs. why not ask them to take that position again?
they are great guys with plenty of experience and asking them can't possibly do any harm. if they no longer have the time/interest/pleasure to do this then it;s ok but if they accept, then the foundry will benefit from this quite a lot.
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby natty dread on Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:20 pm

DiM wrote:
natty_dread wrote:probably because there's not enough manpower to address the submitted briefs quickly,


both gimil and cairnswk used to be CAs. why not ask them to take that position again?
they are great guys with plenty of experience and asking them can't possibly do any harm. if they no longer have the time/interest/pleasure to do this then it;s ok but if they accept, then the foundry will benefit from this quite a lot.


Gimil doesn't frequent the foundry a lot these days, and cairns has his university studies... It'd be great to have them but seems unlikely to me.
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby cairnswk on Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:30 pm

MrBenn wrote:The idea of the design brief was originally to get mapmakers to "sell" their map to the CA team, and as a way of "bidding" for permission to enter the foundry workshops proper. (although they have never worked this way in practice)

MrBenn, there is a certain amount of "sell" in that design brief. But the design brief is a proposal, and in the foundry the deisgn brief may change completely depending on the feedback obtained. In some ways it can become obsolete.

I hereby propose that this issue be made more clear, and that mapmakers seek the approval of the Foundry Foreman before making a map. I genuinely believe this is the only way to stop the "bad" maps from reaching the forge...

Perhaps, yes it could be made more clear of the approval process.

But i don't think the Foundry Foreman having all that power is the right way to go. It's very "Julius Caesar" - autocratic, and could lead to marginalisation of a group of players wanting a map.
(If you had been doing the "yaying" or "naying" i possibly would never have gotten Poison Rome through the process, because i think you may have misjudged what the map was about and/or how it worked (apart from the graphics). And there is now a faction that thinks Poison Rome is a very good map.)

It should be judged on a jury basis or perhaps via voting. Then again you have the trouble that the foundry has always had in that only certain people bother to participate initially, but complain at the very end.
From an initial design, how does anyone judging a design know what it is going to look like at the end.

MrBenn wrote:That first step should be the hardest. Maps that are perceived to be "bad" have been allowed to get to the forge because they were allowed through the drafting room doors. Rather than tell people a map is bad, we just let it amble along in the hope the mapmaker will give it up. After a while it gets too late, and and the mapmaker has invested too much to drop it and is reluctant to make further changes. This is why I believe the draft stamp should require Foundry Foreman approval.


If the map has been allowed to amble along then that is the fault of the "judges" who are allowing that movement, not necessarily that the map has been allowed through the drafting room doors.

The other issue that rises here, and has always been in place, is that because of player feedback, there is always that certain "subjective" judging on what is good or bad. Some people have certain standards of skill, while others just want to play, while yet another lot has aethestics in design and gameplay

Skills and software are also issues here. I for instance have to upgrade my CPU bacause at 1.4GHz, i can't run PS5 so am limited still to my current software. DiM on the other hand has very good skill with his software because he has devoted time and energy to improvement. This goes for every mapmaker who attempts a map. Some consideration has to be made for these issues and they may not arise until the graphics stage near the end.

Having been a CA for a short time, i do know what it's like to be in your shoes, but i beleive your proposed approach above is not going to make things any better by being autocratic about the door opening.
Last edited by cairnswk on Fri Jul 01, 2011 12:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby cairnswk on Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:34 pm

DiM wrote:
natty_dread wrote:probably because there's not enough manpower to address the submitted briefs quickly,


both gimil and cairnswk used to be CAs. why not ask them to take that position again?
they are great guys with plenty of experience and asking them can't possibly do any harm. if they no longer have the time/interest/pleasure to do this then it;s ok but if they accept, then the foundry will benefit from this quite a lot.


Yes DiM, thanks for the kudos, but as Natty pointed out, i am in the middle of uni studies and this time have only popped in for a short few weeks.
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby cairnswk on Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:14 pm

DiM wrote:i can't believe i'm going to write this but i believe the current system with specialized sub-forums is bad. yeah i know a few years back i used to be one of it's fans but to be honest i don't think it's working at all.
i think we should have 3 subforums:
1. map ideas/drafts - where people come and make a suggestion and propose a draft. this will have to be a rather hard place to get out of just as you pointed above.
2. maps in progress - where everything from graphics to gameplay or theme gets tackled and solved. no more mapmakers not wanting to implement graphics because they're in gameplay subforum or not wanting to change gameplay just because they moved on to graphics. it's a map maker's duty to channel his and his followers' focus onto what needs to be solved.
3. final forge/finished maps - final tweaks

a few years ago when all maps where in the same place there was a real battle to keep your map alive, to attract people to give you feedback, to update the map as fast as possible. otherwise 1-2 days of not doing anything on your map meant it slips to page 2 (or more) and nobody notices it anymore. right now there are maps where nobody commented for 1-2 weeks and they're still on page 1. the map makers just let them stay like this for months then demand to be moved forward. a few years ago a map with no comments for 2 weeks was either a quenched map or a dead map.


DiM, i don't beleive the current system is totally bad. I too was one of those who argued for a more "staged" system which is in place now, and i think it works. Afterall, as you know, any system is only as good as those who administer the system, and I can't say this system fails. It is administered quite well.

Perhaps what needs to change is the standards that the system allows. And in various threads, that discussion is occuring. IN some places the standards are maintained quite well with feedback by those providing it.

In others, yes it lacks.

But it also depends on how the mapmaker is approached. I would prefer to see encouragement and positive feedback.
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby Victor Sullivan on Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:32 am

I mostly agree with cairnswk on the matter.

First, I find it rather absurd that you would approve a map in hopes that the mapmaker would throw away the time and effort he has/will put into the map... (Though I'm sure I heard this before...) So in that regard, I guess I'm glad this is changing...

Second, yes, autocracy is by no means the way to go. It will largely slow things down (it seems you're busy a lot :-k ), and it hardly seems reasonable for one person to control the future of CC's maps. I think this could be done with the Foundry Assistants you just made a callout for. Use them plus Industrial Helix as the "Approval Committee". As design briefs are "turned in" (pardon my teacher language), they will be "graded" or "assessed" by the Foundry Assistants, who must determine whether or not they think there will be enough interest, then explain in the thread what needs to be done before draft stampage.

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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby Nola_Lifer on Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:48 pm

MrBenn wrote:The idea of the design brief was originally to get mapmakers to "sell" their map to the CA team, and as a way of "bidding" for permission to enter the foundry workshops proper. (although they have never worked this way in practice)

I hereby propose that this issue be made more clear, and that mapmakers seek the approval of the Foundry Foreman before making a map. I genuinely believe this is the only way to stop the "bad" maps from reaching the forge...

MrBenn wrote:That first step should be the hardest. Maps that are perceived to be "bad" have been allowed to get to the forge because they were allowed through the drafting room doors. Rather than tell people a map is bad, we just let it amble along in the hope the mapmaker will give it up. After a while it gets too late, and and the mapmaker has invested too much to drop it and is reluctant to make further changes. This is why I believe the draft stamp should require Foundry Foreman approval.


Discuss.


Do you have any examples? What makes an idea bad or good? If someone is new and they are making their first map, of course it may not be up to the standard as other that produce maps. But if you don't encourage these people how will the learn to be the best? There are a lot of quality map makers here but there is always room for more users to step up and learn the craft. Maybe some sort of apprenticeship could help so the "bad" ones aren't so bad. ;)
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby OliverFA on Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:45 pm

Here are my two cents about the subject. I will leave commenting on what has already been said for a second post. I know that I may be influenced by my own experience as a mapmaker, and by the way I focus mapmaking. However, that's my personal opinion:

One of the biggest features of the site is the big number of maps in the catalog. However, it is also one of the biggest issues. I personally (and repeat, it is a personal opinion) find that there are too many me-too maps in the catalog. Personally, when I look at a map, I am hoping it is not-yet-another-Classic-version. What is the point in playing Classic with different names and one or two different territory borders?

There are answers to this question. And positive ones. For example, one good answer can be "it is a classic-like map, but features a country/region not yet in the catalog". Another good answer is "It has this unique feature" or "nothing is specially original, but everything is so well crafted and put together".

The Design Brief should answer that question. Should tell why this is not another me-too map. Or should demonstrate that, despite not having anything new, it is done in such a nice and beautiful way that it deserves to be played.

But of course, there are maps that fall the other way. Maps that in their quest for originality become unplayable maps. Sorry if the author is reading this, but in my opinion maps like Waterloo should never have been made. The most relevant feature of Waterloo is that it is impossible to understand unless you have played 100 games on it. A draft should also demonstrate that this map will be easily understandable. Ideally, that a first time player can win it, or at least understand the basics, even if mastering them will require several games.

What else? a draft should also show that it will be fun playing the map. Remember, a map is made for the mapmaker fun. But also for the player fun.

Summarizing, it has to be a win-win relationship to everybody involved. The mapmaker gets to see a map in the catalog, has fun making it and feels proud of it. CC expands the catalog with a map that adds something to that catalog other than messing it. And the player gets to have fun playing it (No, asking yourself which territory is connected to which other territory, or how can you get that particular bonus does not qualify as fun).
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby lostatlimbo on Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:39 pm

I agree with just about everything cairns said, especially this bit:
cairnswk wrote:Then again you have the trouble that the foundry has always had in that only certain people bother to participate initially, but complain at the very end.
From an initial design, how does anyone judging a design know what it is going to look like at the end.


And while I have a lot of comments about this subject, I'd like to focus on that.

I truly appreciate the spirit of the foundry, being community driven and built by players of the game (rather than some third party designers). From my own experience, the PDX map looks and works (theoretically) a lot better than I'd ever imagined. That said, its been a long, frustrating process that - most of the time - feels both redundant and chaotic.

The feeling I have (from the perspective of both map-maker & observer) is this: Those providing feedback & edits expect a certain level of commitment from the mapmaker, but do not feel obligated to commit to the process themselves. Its seems more common than not for someone to poke in once in a blue moon and offer some input but never check back for progress or, if they do, expect it to be rather expedient. If this was a paid gig, the designer would have deadlines, but so would the employer in returning to the designer with timely edits.

But this isn't a paid gig, its 100% volunteer time and I'm sure I'm not the only one here with limited free time. When I first started the PDX map I tried to keep up on it, but found large gaps between updates and any significant feedback. So I found other things to do with my time (like run tournaments). Even now, the last update I posted went 3 weeks without any feedback. The free time I had in early June came and went. Now I don't know when I'll be able to make another update. Mods seem to look at the time since the last update from the mapmaker, but don't take into account the gaps in comments from the community!

The other key problem I see is too much feedback. Opinions are like assholes - everyone has one. Whether it is two mods/assistants disagreeing on a direction or someone posting every thought that comes to them and wanting to see how it would fit. This is frustrating to mapmakers and shows a lack of appreciation for what they are doing. There needs to be some clarity as to what edits to try and what to disregard. What pieces are holding the map back and what pieces are just suggestions to play with.

So here is what I propose:

  • When a mapmaker posts a brief and/or rough draft - moderators, assistants and other users can apply to be on the 'committee' for that map. By joining the committee, they are not only expressing an interest in the map, but also committing (note the same root word as committee) to see that map through to the end. That means regularly providing feedback, helping spread the word, keeping in contact with the designer - basically taking a vested interest in getting that map finished.
  • Other people would still be free to comment and make suggestions, but the committee is responsible for deciding what is important to the end goal and what is frivolous.
  • As the map advances, other experts can join the committee, but the idea would be to focus the voice of any map on a group of people that the mapmaker can trust has the maps long term interest in mind.

I can only speak for myself, but after slogging through the various stages and witnessing similar headaches on other maps, knowing that there is a group of people who actually want to see your map finished to the best it can be would be very encouraging. I don't feel like the current carousel of random posters really motivates map makers to devote their efforts and time as much as is commonly expected here.

So there - take it for what you will. If you don't like me or my maps, that's fine. But I hope for other mapmaker's sake that you'll at least take these gripes into account and consider changing the focus from "what works best for the mods?" to "how can we make the best use of the mapmakers efforts?".
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby OliverFA on Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:10 pm

The committee idea makes sense. Something like "If you want your voice to be taken into account you should correspond by actively following the map". I think that many mapmakers already do that even without realizing.
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Re: Drafts / Design Briefs [Discussion]

Postby jefjef on Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:11 pm

I hereby propose that this issue be made more clear, and that mapmakers seek the approval of the Foundry Foreman before making a map. I genuinely believe this is the only way to stop the "bad" maps from reaching the forge...


Unless I'm mistaken doesn't the process already hold up "bad" maps from progressing thru the foundry?

AND I disagree having foundry foreman/committee "approval" of a map. Quite frankly only maps that fit the taste of said foreman would progress at the detriment of good - fun maps that he may not like but many others do. I think it would limit creativity.
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