Decline in map standards.

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Decline in map standards.

Postby koontz1973 on Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:56 am

Decline in map standards is going to be an article in the foundry dispatch section in a couple of weeks. Wanted to grab some points of view before I write it.

But before I do, I want to make it clear to everyone, that I am asking this from a very neutral perspective and do or do not believe in what is going to be written.

If you have an opinion either way, express it, but I warn you, I may quote you. ;)

Here is the opening question for the article so you can all see how I intend to approach it.
It has been said, and many agree with it, that the standards within the map making community for conquer club has declined over the past year or two. If, and this is a big if, is this true, and who is to blame for it and what can be done about it.


This is not meant to be a witch hunt, or an attack on any person(s). Please do not make it so.

Debate, argue, whatever, it is in your hands now to express yourselves as only the map makers can. :lol:
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby DiM on Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:24 am

well it can't really turn out to be a witch hunt or an attack on anybody because there's not 1 person to blame or even a small group. in my opinion everybody is to be blamed for the obvious decline.

in no specific order here are the guilty parties:
1. the map makers. some are lazy, some are poor, some are gone. people come and go that's a natural process. the foundry lost some great map makers and unfortunately hasn't quite managed to recover. yes, new people came but they either weren't capable of extraordinary stuff or they were ill educated and despite having potential they didn't fulfil it. some map makers have either reached their graphic plateau or they're simply not willing to improve since nobody is pushing them and that's were party 2 is to blame
2. the CAs. there was a point were the CAs were pushing everybody to do better and better, sometimes to the point were the atmosphere became tensed, but in the end it all was for the better of the foundry and maps were constantly rising in quality. then it came a time were for some reason nobody kept pushing and the map makers became slackers. people that were decent stayed decent cause they had no incentive to improve. and even worse, people that were great started to become just decent because if the others were cut a slack with their average maps then they wanted a piece of that slack, too.
3. the community. there was a time when the community wasn't afraid to talk, when the foundry was actually a community in the true sense. people were talking to each other and in most cases they were trying to be as honest as possible. right now many map makers stick to their own maps and that's it. they come in do an update and don't even bother looking at other maps or if they do they don't comment. more and more people have adopted the "if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it" policy. and frankly that's the most idiotic thing ever both in the foundry as well as in real life. sometimes things aren't milk and honey and the ugly truth needs to be told. if nobody steps in to say it, then it comes a point when that crappy map everybody stayed away from gets quenched. and this happened a lot of times so far.

years a go when a map was made it had 1-2 names on it but in fact 90% of the map makers in the foundry had somehow contributed.
right now when a map is made it has 1-2 names and maybe the contribution of 20% of the foundry. at this moment each map has it's set of fans which in most cases aren't even foundry regulars or other map makers.

when this place will become a tight community again, when CAs will rule the foundry with an iron fist (velvet glove optional) and when map makers will try to do their best and constantly strive for something new, then we'll have a proper foundry.


PS: i've tried my best not to include names even though i'd love to slap around some people. but then they'd get defensive and this whole thread will be nothing but constructive.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:02 pm

Here is a humble comparison of maps that I enjoy from 2011, compared to say 2009. 'Standards' is a difficult and ambiguous term. Graphically? Gameplay? Both? Greater input from the public / vs a map maker's vision?

I could go through the maps of 2011 vs the maps of say 2009 (to pick a random year), and compare, but the terming as you have described it is haphazard to a degree.


--Andy
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby DiM on Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:21 pm

AndyDufresne wrote:Here is a humble comparison of maps that I enjoy from 2011, compared to say 2009. 'Standards' is a difficult and ambiguous term. Graphically? Gameplay? Both? Greater input from the public / vs a map maker's vision?

I could go through the maps of 2011 vs the maps of say 2009 (to pick a random year), and compare, but the terming as you have described it is haphazard to a degree.


--Andy



where?
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby natty dread on Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:27 pm

I would say that I partially agree with DiM, althought not totally. Currently, I think the standards of the foundry are on the rise, compared to what they were a year ago or so. However, this doesn't mean that we shouldn't work to bring the standards further up.

I think a big reason for the decline was that so many of the old, skilled mapmakers left the foundry, and it's taken a while for the next generation to catch up. I think we are catching up though, there are currently several skilled mapmakers in the foundry who are creating very nice looking maps. However, we need to ensure that we pass the knowledge on to new mapmakers, and make sure that they grow to their full potential.

Another reason is lack of feedback. Especially gameplay. We need more people commenting on maps, giving honest feedback and suggestions, analyzing gameplay. We also need to get mapmakers to comment on other mapmaker's work. I myself try to give feedback on as many map projects as possible, but I also admit I could do more...

Then, the lack of dedicated CA:s. Don't get me wrong, we have some good CA:s, but we need more of them. We need more CA:s who are truly dedicated to the foundry, and check the map threads at least once a day. I myself read every new post posted in the foundry, and CA:s should be expected to do the same - at least, it should be a reasonable expectation that every new post in the foundry is read by at least some of the CA:s.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby DiM on Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:04 pm

natty dread wrote:Then, the lack of dedicated CA:s. Don't get me wrong, we have some good CA:s, but we need more of them.


we need at least 2 graphic CAs and 3 gameplay CAs.
and not the kind that log in once per week and post twice per month.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby cairnswk on Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:13 pm

DiM wrote:
natty dread wrote:Then, the lack of dedicated CA:s. Don't get me wrong, we have some good CA:s, but we need more of them.


we need at least 2 graphic CAs and 3 gameplay CAs.
and not the kind that log in once per week and post twice per month.


I had offered to be a graphics CA, but it was declined....and i am online everyday :)
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby natty dread on Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:15 pm

cairnswk wrote:I had offered to be a graphics CA, but it was declined....and i am online everyday :)


I think you'd be better as a gameplay CA.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby cairnswk on Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:34 pm

natty dread wrote:
cairnswk wrote:I had offered to be a graphics CA, but it was declined....and i am online everyday :)


I think you'd be better as a gameplay CA.

:o Ooh, natty, i have to disagree there.
Graphics is my much preferred option. :)
On the other-hand, i think you with a proactive stance would also be a great graphics CA. you do have a great understanding of it all from what i see around the place.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby The Bison King on Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:56 pm

I really don't think that there is a decline in map standards. On the whole I think that trend has been towards improvement. Just looks at some of the early maps, they would never pass through the foundry today.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby ViperOverLord on Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:05 am

^^^
Agreed. Map standards are improved. Some people might wonder what's going on when they see maps made based on cows, quilts and baseball fields. But, I think the layouts, graphics and themes have trended in a good direction.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby DiM on Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:10 am

The Bison King wrote:I really don't think that there is a decline in map standards. On the whole I think that trend has been towards improvement. Just looks at some of the early maps, they would never pass through the foundry today.


yeah some of the early maps are crap. some were even made when there was no foundry in place. or it was a very rudimentary foundry.
but compare a map like keyogi's middle east which was done in may 2007 with an atrocity like monsters done 3 years later. compare iceland done in 2008 with atlantis 2010.

sure there were ugly maps in 2007 and 2008 but you'd kinda expect that from a newly born foundry. but 4-5 years later i honestly expect to see absolutely no ugly maps. and yet they seem to be even more.

northwest passage, thailand, transsib, lunar war, hive, rail africa, austerlitz, gilgamesh are just a few maps the last 2 and a half years that in my opinion look really bad and should have never been quenched. and no, i'm not judging by current standards, i'm merely comparing to other maps made in the same period. some of those maps would probably fail the the foundry standards of 2007. ;)

and the problem is that many people have been let to slip through the cracks with the excuse that others have done it before.
the maps i enumerated above are just some really awful ones but there are plenty more that barely barely barely can be called decent.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby natty dread on Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:18 pm

Like I said, part of the reason is that so many experienced mapmakers left the site at the time, and left the newer ones to learn things on their own. And yeah, I'm not satisfied with all of my early maps, maybe I'll revamp some of them again if I have some extra time... ("in my excuse" though, lunar war was made with paint.net and transsib was the first map I made with gimp... in retrospect I wish I had worked on them longer but meh, can't help it now)

But I think now we have an opportunity to raise the standards again. Just because there are some bad maps made earlier, we shouldn't let those maps be used as an excuse to do sloppy work. We should instead learn of those instances, how NOT to let things slip, and how to enforce standards better.

We need some stern CA:s, who are not afraid to tell to the mapmakers - be they old or new - when something is not up to standards. And we need mapmakers and other CA:s to defend those CA:s in those cases, because enforcing those standards helps us all. If some mapmaker is not happy with the rules and standards of the foundry, we should all collectively tell him that he needs to play by the rules or leave.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby ViperOverLord on Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:51 pm

DiM wrote:northwest passage, thailand, transsib, lunar war, hive, rail africa, austerlitz, gilgamesh (atlantis, monsters mentioned earlier) are just a few maps the last 2 and a half years that in my opinion look really bad and should have never been quenched. and no, i'm not judging by current standards, i'm merely comparing to other maps made in the same period. some of those maps would probably fail the the foundry standards of 2007. ;)


Obviously, I don't come at it from a bonafide map maker (or even artist's) p.o.v. But I'm relatively pleased with the maps you mention. What exactly do you find wrong with those maps?

I'm happy with the layouts and themes and bonus structures of those maps. I'm guessing you find something aesthetically bad with those maps?
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby cairnswk on Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:28 pm

koontz1973 wrote:...
This is not meant to be a witch hunt, or an attack on any person(s). Please do not make it so.
....

Sorry koontz1973, you already have and it is has been for sometime.
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