Cartography Committee

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Cartography Committee

Postby AndyDufresne on Sun May 21, 2006 3:43 pm

Ahoy and Good Day to you all!

To ensure that both the quantity and quality of maps is up to par with Conquer Club, I'm going to establish a 'Cartography Committee'.

The Committee's main job will be to dissect the map in both areas of game play and visual appeal, before a map is posted on the site for community play. Of course these Committee members won't take over the role of the normal community user in the Foundry. The Foundry posters will still be there (and encouraged) to give advice, suggestions, and debate about all maps in the developmental process. The Committee will oversee a more final debate before a map is up to play. I tentatively see 5 members of the Committee (one including me). This is to ensure that one person isn't controlling the map approval process and gouging out all personally disliked ideas, and also so that there are enough minds attempting to see each map from every possible angle. That said...

If you would like to apply for a position in the 'Cartography Committee', please send an application to me via PM. Please include a description of what you can contribute to the Committee and anything else you would like to mention. I'll be talking a closer look at the Foundry also. A more detailed explanation of the Committee's workings and methods of analysis will be discussed once things are up and running.

Thanks for your time! I look forward to hearing back from many of you.


--Andy
Last edited by AndyDufresne on Wed May 31, 2006 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SMITH197 on Sun May 21, 2006 6:46 pm

i love the idea andy, but i have one minor modification...

The idea of having 5 members of the committee is great, but could we also maybe have some rotating committee members? Kind of like the UN security council. In other words, we'd have 5 permanent members of the committee, and say 4 temps, that serve a 3 month term.....


Just my input, keep up the great work!
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Postby MrConfigT on Mon May 22, 2006 7:53 am

I'd be able to help out....
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Postby Mr. K on Mon May 22, 2006 11:11 am

I don't mean to be rude, but is there really a need for this? Has there been any problem with this in the past? Since when have any majorly bad maps gotten past lack? (Aside from small XML errors that can get fixed easily no problem)

If you decide the gameplay on certain maps isn't good enough because it doesn't match some standards you may use, whose to say it still wouldn't be an interesting map. The only job I can see an official committee having is telling people things like that. If you don't do that, then it seems like you wont be doing anything at all, and the committee is kinda useless. If your job is to help people in the process along the way when they need help, then why does there need to be a committee for that? You can do it anyway without being formal and you wont be any less valid.

Really I just don't see any purpose for it, and the only possible purpose I see as being harmful more than hurtful.
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Postby Hoff on Mon May 22, 2006 2:12 pm

I kind of agree with Mr. K. If there are 5 ppl in the committee then there will be a narrow view of maps. We have plenty of maps that in general have the same play feel. If we are trying to introduce new concepts and ideas that the community might enjoy to play on, the idea could just be brushed aside because the 5 like a more traditional layout of a map.

I think the map foundary in its self does a really nice job at improving maps. I do agree that some maps seem like they might have been rushed in production. So maybe you can have some control over what gets sent to lack or not. If you notice that the majority of the community is unhappy with a map, then tell the maker to go back and work some more. If the majority of the community likes the map, then send it on to lack. A simple poll in the map foundary could accomplish this. A committee would just be breading maps designed for their likings, not of teh community as a whole.

just my 2 cents...
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Postby Mr. K on Mon May 22, 2006 2:17 pm

The way I see it, the only good reason for this kind of thing is to take a little load off of lack in not having to test the XML and other minor stuff. You don't need 5 people to confirm that all the coordinates are correct or that the border countries are all working fine. If the job goes beyond that, than its just limiting creativity. If its not limiting the creativity, then the committee isn't really doing anything.
It would be good if there was a person designated to check to make sure the map is working properly before sending it to lack, so that way lack doesn't have to. But beyond that, lack has to confirm the map in the end anyway, so why make more hurdles for it before it can even get to lack?
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Postby thegrimsleeper on Mon May 22, 2006 2:33 pm

I don't know how you guys feel about the Middle East map, and I don't know if you were lurking in the Foundry around the time it went live, but it was quite controversial when it did. Marvaddin, SuperMarcol and myself had all been working quite hard on our own maps, trying to get the graphics up to the level of quality of the original three. And after saying that "something that looked like it was designed in microsoft Paint might not make the cut," for lack to put that Middle East map through as-is was kind of a blow.

I don't know about you, but I can't imagine a committee without Jota, who is arguably the most dedicated to implementing new and revolutionary ideas to the way we play the game. The crossword map shares borders. Space has warp routes that will really open up lines of attack. United States of Apocalypse is going to really shake things up if a decision can be made as to how the negative bonuses will work. So I think your fears of creativity fascism are unfounded.

Also, if a map is too closely following another concept, it may be redundant. The Battledome map that has been suggested would, IMO, too closely resemble the crossword map to make the cut.

At the end of the day, everything is just an experiment. If a committee doesn't work, then it doesn't work... But why not give it a try and see how things go?
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Postby Mr. K on Mon May 22, 2006 2:40 pm

Well I really see no purpose for it. Like I said, if its not being a very controlling body, then it really isn't doing anything at all.

Personally, I love the middle east map. I'd love if it was done better, graphic wise. It would be awesome if it was spruced up and a lot cooler looking and all that. But if the author was unwilling (or unable) to do that, then I'd rather have the version thats up now than nothing at all. If you're saying that the Committee would have done us a favor and prevented the map from going live, then thats a great reason why I don't think the committee should exist. If the committee reported back to the author of the middle east map and said "sorry, you have to make this look nicer" and the author didn't want to, and we never got a middle east map period, i'd be upset.
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Postby kevinc on Mon May 22, 2006 5:37 pm

C'mon, seriously. Talk about Red Tape!

Just make sure people's maps have some basic common sense applied to them, and have a decent production value, and everything will be cool.
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Postby rocksolid on Mon May 22, 2006 7:49 pm

I'm kind of with the K here. When there are beefs about graphics of existing maps or aspects of existing maps, they can come up in the foundry and gather consensus or not gather consensus. People distrust committees, and they have a way of poisoning good community dynamics, which I think exist right now in the foundry. The only real problem case seems to be Middle East, and I think that's mostly because the author doesn't seem to be around much (I've never played a game against Spiegelprime). And while I think it's only fair to ask an author to overhaul something rather than doing it yourself, if the author is scarce it seems to me that someone else can do the job in good faith.

The CC community has its own solutions and risks draining them of vigour by putting a committee in place. I trust Andy's ability to moderate the foundry, but I think a decision-making board would be a mistake.
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Postby Banana Stomper on Mon May 22, 2006 10:37 pm

I don't know. One thing it offers at the very least is 5 final sets of eyes taking a look at the maps instead of one. I mean, the committee always existed, but in lack alone. So nothing new is being proposed here, just an improvement on the system.
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Postby Marvaddin on Tue May 23, 2006 6:16 pm

Im with you, Banana... its an improvement of the system, and its a good idea...

I like the Middle East map, and I would love it with better graphics... But, if I was lack, I would say "sorry, you have to make this look nicer"... If the map was not posted? Well, surely the maker could improve it, or another player could do an even better job, we dont know. Its nothing compared to Indochina map, that is still unfinished, by the way. If we will have a committee, no way to get things like that again... "Ah, but I love it" - maybe it could be better, no?

The committee will point the problems, suggest some things... something that could pass, like the fact Battledome is alike to Crossword, and people have little interest. My comment about little interest was the 9th in the topic, and the map was done to be sent... So, I think the purpose is produce a greater reflexion and be more aware to some great errors... The committee will not design the maps, definitely.

Im with you, Andy.
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Postby Hoff on Tue May 23, 2006 6:22 pm

If there was a committee it would only limit the creativity of the map. There would be no new ideas coming out. Every new map would be exactly alike. The committe could favor having a map like the classic, but everyone else might like whatever is different about this new map. But because the committee doesnt like the idea it will never get anywhere.
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Postby haha on Tue May 23, 2006 6:25 pm

its a good idea and it cant hurt but maby it should go throught the comunity first
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Postby kingwaffles on Tue May 23, 2006 6:38 pm

I think that fact that there are so many people saying that they think it will limit creatvity and stifle new ideas show that it most defiently will not. If there are this many people who want new ideas then how do you think we are going to get a commitee full of people who cling to the classic as the only good map? :D
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Postby Marvaddin on Tue May 23, 2006 6:41 pm

The committee will obviously not forbid an idea the players like, Hoff.
And, of course, Pedronicus will not be a member... :lol:
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Postby thegrimsleeper on Tue May 23, 2006 6:51 pm

Marvaddin wrote:The committee will obviously not forbid an idea the players like, Hoff.
And, of course, Pedronicus will not be a member... :lol:


hahaha that was a good one marv 8)
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Postby rocksolid on Tue May 23, 2006 7:03 pm

I think the fear here is that the committee may turn out hunky dory, but it may not, and that that's an unnecessary risk. Whenever you get a group of people in a committee, even the greatest people in the world, they have a nefarious tendency to feed off each other and develop an internal "prevailing wisdom" fed by self-supporting eye-rolling. If I eye-roll alone, someone can persuade me otherwise, but if I'm on a committee that eye-rolls in unison with me, it's going to be very difficult to persuade us to change our minds.

One way to deal with this would be to have the committee do all its deliberations or communications in public, and I think this would solve the problems, but my fear is the motivation behind creating a committee is antithetical to this kind of m.o. - the impetus for this idea seems to be the putting of a valve on what gets put up to be played, not to increase the number of maps that get put up, and to find a way to stop maps from going up other than objecting to them out in the open in the foundry, which is the way things work now. We all know Marv hates the Indochina map, so if he wants it changed, he can start a thread saying "Kill the Indochina Map", and get support or not get support. As it stands, he exercises his choice not to play it, and the world continues to turn nevertheless. If there's a committee, I imagine the new option would be back-door shenanigans where someone would send a pm to a committee member, the committee would discuss it in pms, and send a pm to the map author. I think doing this via threads in the foundry is a lot better, and also (to me) makes the committee redundant - we're all on the committee right now.

There was a poll a while ago in the foundry about whether people think there are too many maps or whether they want more, more, more. I think the poll was heavily conclusive that the vast majority want more maps than they can shake a stick at. But there were still a surprising (to me) number of people who think there are too many. Maybe I have the wrong idea, but I think the sort of people who would want to be on the map committee would self-select as people who want to limit map insertion rather than sponsor it - and therefore be unrepresentative of the desires of the community to foster a chaotic swath of maps erupting from the foundry that can thrive or fail on popularity.
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Postby Hoff on Tue May 23, 2006 8:08 pm

Maybe Andy can give us a better idea of what he had in mind. And who he was going to select to be on the committee.
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Postby haha on Tue May 23, 2006 9:13 pm

what je ne sais pas
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Postby Banana Stomper on Tue May 23, 2006 10:33 pm

I don't think there is much of a risk of people opposed to new maps being selected. I don't know about you, but andy usually seems pretty supportive of new maps....I doubt he'll select the pedronicus' out there. All he is proposing is a group of people who will look at the maps, just as Lack does. Make decisions on them. i think that you guys are being a little presumptuous in assuming that the committee would limit creativity. i don't see why you're jumping to conclusions that the committee would be full of one track minded bafoons.

This idea isn't putting a valve on the maps coming in, its not changeing anything other than the number of eyes considering the map. It'd be foolish to think that every map submitted thus far was instantly put on a one way track to being played. I've seen Andy's posts on maps. They are very good, very objective, and he's very open to ideas. He thinks everything through, i have faith in his system.
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Postby rocksolid on Tue May 23, 2006 11:04 pm

I don't think that the committee would be one-track-minded buffoons - my concern is that even the best people would make a bad committee. I cheer whenever Grim throws out his Burger King motto about you do your map your way, and I think he'd make an excellent committee member. And like I said, I have faith in Andy as a moderator, and have never said anything against his character or good will as a moderator, and think he'd make an excellent committee member, too. I just think the institutionality of a committee would de-democratize the foundry by its mere existence - imagine yourself as a new member of CC wandering into the foundry a week from now with a decision-making committee in place of people you don't know, and compare it to you wandering in to the foundry the way it is now, and realizing that nobody runs the show except you. In which environment are you more likely to dive in and make a map yourself?

In fairness, though, I guess we need to hear what the committee is supposed to do. If it's just to ensure that more sets of eyes look at maps in the making, I don't see how a committee is needed to accomplish that goal, or how the existence of a committee would enrich the contributions that Andy already makes. The vagueness as to the decisioniness and delegated authority of the committee - i.e. what exactly is meant by a "map approval process" - is making this discussion a little hysterical, mostly because of me. To what extent does the "overseeing" of debate involve the declaring of a victor?
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Postby Jota on Wed May 24, 2006 8:06 am

I think we can give Andy the benefit of the doubt, at least for the time being. He seems pretty on the ball, and I'm sure he's following along with what everyone's saying here, so he'll be aware of people's concerns. If it does turn out that the committe does more harm than good, I think he'll be objective enough to be able to see that and to do something about it, whether that means disbanding it, or re-organizing it, or whatever he ultimately decides on. But until then, I don't see anything wrong with at least trying it out.
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Postby rocksolid on Wed May 24, 2006 10:27 am

Can't argue with you there.
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Postby Mr. K on Wed May 24, 2006 12:26 pm

Excellent posts, rocksolid.

The committee will point the problems, suggest some things... something that could pass, like the fact Battledome is alike to Crossword, and people have little interest. My comment about little interest was the 9th in the topic, and the map was done to be sent... So, I think the purpose is produce a greater reflexion and be more aware to some great errors... The committee will not design the maps, definitely.

If the committee is just there to point out the problems, then why is there any need for the committee at all? When I made my map, I had all sorts of people pointing out little problems all over the place that I would have never even considered. There are pleanty of eyes within the community already taking very close looks at the new maps. Theres no reason for five guys to get together and talk about the maps.

As is, individuals come in and point out what they see wrong and what they may like to be fixed. The author reads them and makes a decision. If theres a committee, five official guys all come together, and make official decisions on what needs to be changed. Then the author feels very pressured to make a decision a certain way.

For example, when I made my map, everyone was bitching at me to bump up the countries to 42. I didn't want to, and in the end I didn't. But if there was an official revision committee that reported back to me, "We feel this map would be better off if you added 2 more countries," i'd feel obligated to do it that way.

But I really see no purpose for this. People have said that it will not limit creativity in any way. The only argument so far seems to be that the Middle East map and the Indochina map wouldn't be in the current state they are in. Personally, I enjoy both maps, especially Middle East. Indochina has a very different gameplay, and thats interesting. You argue that with a committee, the Middle East map would have been improved before being sent to lack. But what if the author is unwilling to make any changes? You say that he could definitely make it better. What if he can't (doesn't have the tools), or simply doesn't want to? Then theres nothing you can do but take it or leave it. I would personally definitely take it (which is ultimately lack's decision). A committee would leave it, because they would report back to the author telling him/her to change it, but the author would never reply back with changes. And then a map is lost.

If the author IS willing to change it, than that can be accomplished without a committee. Everyone will bitch at the person telling them how ugly it is and how it needs to be fixed pronto, and the willing person will go ahead and make the changes.

As rocksolid mentioned, I had little to no experience with the CC forums when I started making my map. I came in, saw hoff was doing it, read lacks thread, and it seemed like a very open experience. I just had to make it, review it with the community, and send it to lack. As a new guy, I don't know if I would have made my map had there been more (and inherently intimidating) steps to take.
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