Map drama and some suggestions

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Map drama and some suggestions

Postby lostatlimbo on Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:48 am

There are an increasing amount of complaints (my own included) about the map process. I can see the frustration from both sides. Mapmakers and CAs alike are here because we love the game and want to contribute to the map aspect of it in some way. Whenever I get frustrated to the point of giving up, I have to remind myself that we are all volunteering our time and yours is just as valuable as mine.

That said, perhaps some discussion would help the cause? I don't suspect that the process will ever be perfect, but I have a few suggestions to improve it:

1. Rewards
I think one of the biggest pain points is lack of ongoing motivation. All the work we (mapmakers and CAs) devote to the process and too often all we get in return is grief. Sure, if all goes well, in the end we will see a map we created or influenced playable. But that is no guarantee. Its human nature to desire ongoing motivation beyond some distant goal.

Suppose mapmakers received 1 month of premium for every stage they got a map through?
Suppose CAs received 1 month of premium for x number of maps attended or x number of months in the foundry?

Would that help ease anyone's frustrations?

This website is already profitting plenty from our work. They promote the wide variety of maps (one of the main reasons this site is superior to the online Risk game). They sell merchandise with the map designs. Surely they can afford to hand out premium time or some other small token as a reward (medals are a joke imo. I'm not 5 years old). Money would be better, but premium is better than nothing.

2. Voting
There's lots of maps in the process and determining the potential and priority of any given map should not be left up to the opinion of just a few. Neither should those few be demanded to prioritize their volunteer time over real life or their own work in the foundry.

Currently the only way for anyone outside of the mapmakers and foundry regulars to show their support for a map is to comment. I know there are plenty of folks who like to see whats coming, but aren't invested enough to learn the ways of the forum or maybe just have nothing constructive to post. I've had a few people comment about the maps in games but they don't post on the thread.

There's a definitive gap between the super users and everyone else. To resolve that, I propose a voting system.

The best implementation of this I've seen is here: http://www.threadless.com/submissions

Anyone can submit a design, anyone can vote. The designs with the most votes get made into t-shirts.

I'm not suggesting that this will in anyway REPLACE the existing foundry process (the constructive feedback is invaluable), but a simple voting system to allow casual users to show their support for maps that interest them without fully investing into the foundry could help immensely.


This is all of course, just my $.02, but I hope it spurs some further discussion and eases some of the tension that is escalating in the threads.

(PS - I am leaving town tomorrow morning and won't be back until the end of the month, so I won't be able to further comment right away, but will check back when I return!)
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Re: Map drama and some suggestions

Postby natty dread on Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:34 am

We already get a year of premium for each map.
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Re: Map drama and some suggestions

Postby gimil on Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:25 am

Lostinlimbo,

both your suggestions have been brought up before. Firstly map makers already get rewards for their COMPLETE map. But in my experience extrinsic rewards do not help with motivation and productivity. If people are not doing things in the foundry for the love of it and the intrinsic value of finishing a map (or running the foundry process) then perhaps the foundry isn't the place for them.

What the foundry does is art, artist have to be committed for the love of doing art, not because they are being rewarded for doing it.

On voting,I hate voting in the foundry (or any other forum for that matter). By voting on an issue you simply get 100+ people saying yes or no. While the current feedback system demands valuable input through what others have to say. You seem to think that the map process is controlled by the few (CA's) but in reality the foundry is run (or at least used to when I was CA) like this.

Everyone who contributes to the foundry is of equal value (including the CA's). Everyone's say on a map should be treated equally. The CA's are really just here to move a map along once everyone is satisfied part of the process is done.
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Re: Map drama and some suggestions

Postby DiM on Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:07 am

i have to agree with gimil. premium doesn't really matter. in fact i have donated more than half of the premium i earned on this site that's how much i care about it. it doesn't matter if i'm promised 1 year or 10 years or even lifetime premium, if the foundry process is faulty and map making doesn't prove to be a quick and fun process then i'll simply stop doing it.

and i especially agree with these words:
Everyone who contributes to the foundry is of equal value (including the CA's). Everyone's say on a map should be treated equally.


on more than one occasion i've seen a map maker reject a feedback saying: "unless a blue man (CA) comes in to request this i'm going to refuse your input and go ahead with my version" as most of you know i've been away for a long time. i don't know how this situation started and who's to blame for it, but CA's feedback is supposed to be of equal value as any other feedback, otherwise we should just kick everybody out and transform the map makers into some kind of robots that respond only to CA commands.

The CA's are really just here to move a map along once everyone is satisfied part of the process is done.


with the mention that they're supposed to do that as soon as possible. once the majority of people are satisfied then move along that map, don't wait for 1 more month just to see if somebody comes and says something. the map maker will be frustrated, the people that regularly helped that map will get frustrated and the whole process suffers. if you think a map is really that bad and it's not worth moving forward then come in the thread and say what you think. tell the map maker his map is crap at least he'll know where he stands. by letting him wait and wait you're making him more and more anxious and at some point you will HAVE to move the map forward because you're been leading him on. so in conclusion, once the general consensus on a map is that graphics are done a mod should come and take a look at the map. if he agrees the graphics are done he stamps the map and moves it forward. if he thinks the gfx is not done and he has something to say he simply posts his concerns. and if he thinks it's not done but really doesn't know what or how to say it then put the map on a 1 week deadline. if nobody steps forward within that week to sa something then the map gets stamped and moved forward.

the map making process should be just as simple as that.


PS: am i the only one that sees the irony in getting 1 year premium for working on a map for more than a year? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Map drama and some suggestions

Postby TaCktiX on Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:29 am

Over time, we've gotten cautious about stamping (at least, I have and the CAs presiding over stamps I was getting were). Mostly because if we stamp something, we're saying "it's good to go, the most that'll have to be done is some minor tweaks." I'll example my own map (Research & Conquer) for where the logic goes from there. Someone said recently they don't understand how on earth the map got its graphics stamp, implying that the CA who did it didn't really look at it closely. So we end up with situations where we can be thought of as incompetent, even if we're not. To counter that the current rhythm of being happy with it, then giving some timeframe (most recently in the Main Foundry it's been 48-72 hours) for final comments before stamping. It's caution borne of being called out.
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Re: Map drama and some suggestions

Postby DiM on Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:08 am

TaCktiX wrote:Over time, we've gotten cautious about stamping (at least, I have and the CAs presiding over stamps I was getting were). Mostly because if we stamp something, we're saying "it's good to go, the most that'll have to be done is some minor tweaks." I'll example my own map (Research & Conquer) for where the logic goes from there. Someone said recently they don't understand how on earth the map got its graphics stamp, implying that the CA who did it didn't really look at it closely. So we end up with situations where we can be thought of as incompetent, even if we're not. To counter that the current rhythm of being happy with it, then giving some timeframe (most recently in the Main Foundry it's been 48-72 hours) for final comments before stamping. It's caution borne of being called out.



everybody makes mistakes and i'd rather see 1-2 maps out of 100 getting stamped prematurely than to see 98 being held back just for the sake of being cautious.
furthermore i'm firmly confident that if a map is stamped too early than the community will step in and voice it's opinion, then the stamp can be taken back and the map fixed. it happened with quad cities and it's happening with R&C. so i still don't see what's the problem and why all the need for such extensive cautiousness. if people ask for a stamp and you also agree it deserves a stamp then give it and don't worry about it. if both you and the people that asked for the stamp are wrong and all of a sudden a mass of people provides massive feedback on how to improve you simply take the stamp back and allow the map maker to do his thing.
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Re: Map drama and some suggestions

Postby gimil on Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:53 am

TaCktiX wrote:Over time, we've gotten cautious about stamping (at least, I have and the CAs presiding over stamps I was getting were). Mostly because if we stamp something, we're saying "it's good to go, the most that'll have to be done is some minor tweaks." I'll example my own map (Research & Conquer) for where the logic goes from there. Someone said recently they don't understand how on earth the map got its graphics stamp, implying that the CA who did it didn't really look at it closely. So we end up with situations where we can be thought of as incompetent, even if we're not. To counter that the current rhythm of being happy with it, then giving some timeframe (most recently in the Main Foundry it's been 48-72 hours) for final comments before stamping. It's caution borne of being called out.


The problem with this is that quality can actually dwindle if you make people wait. A good map is a good map. Stamping it sooner rather than later (assuming t is still very good quality) maintains the map makers motivation and confidence. And as DiM said it is better to let a few through the net occasionally.

At the end of the day I think there needs to be a balance between ensuring quality of maps vs keeping the process streamlined so that map makers do not loose their motivation for map making. At present I am getting the vibe that the balance isn't quite right.
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Re: Map drama and some suggestions

Postby Gillipig on Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:19 am

I agree with DiM and gimil! If a map has gotten a stamp without deserving it nothings been done that can't be undone! However if the waiting time gets too long and the mapmaking process stagnates the map maker might give up! Another thing is that when a map DO get a stamp it's as if no criticism is allowed for that part of map making anymore. Because that stamp was so hard to get the thought of going back and changing something becomes very frustrating for the map maker. He might have to wait a long time to get another stamp if he changes something he got a stamp for. All this is doing is making the stamps unnecessarily authoritative and the mapmaking process less smooth!
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Re: Map drama and some suggestions

Postby gimil on Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:04 pm

Gillipig wrote:I agree with DiM and gimil! If a map has gotten a stamp without deserving it nothings been done that can't be undone! However if the waiting time gets too long and the mapmaking process stagnates the map maker might give up! Another thing is that when a map DO get a stamp it's as if no criticism is allowed for that part of map making anymore. Because that stamp was so hard to get the thought of going back and changing something becomes very frustrating for the map maker. He might have to wait a long time to get another stamp if he changes something he got a stamp for. All this is doing is making the stamps unnecessarily authoritative and the mapmaking process less smooth!


The stamp should never be seen as a tool to suggest that an aspect of a map should be changed. Just because your gameplay is stamped doesn't mean you can ignore genuine concerns, nor if you have a graphics does it mean your graphics are finished. That was never the case (and should have never become the case). I think it needs to be stressed that stamps are not a seal of completion, but recognition that a map is ready to progress.

Map making is more or less an art form, and a good artist never thinks a piece of work is finished. It can ALWAYS be improved upon.
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