Cartography Committee

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Postby Banana Stomper on Wed May 24, 2006 6:45 pm

If the committee does exactly what lack does, they are doing something. They are taking a load of work off of lack's shoulders.

According to what andy has said. It seems like the idea of the committee would merely be the group to give the final thumbs up. They would not be the group saying, do this, or do that. They would be quality control. They wouldn't say "no", but "not yet" They would not say to the map makers, do this or do that. They would say, take it back to the forum, its lacking in this area, get some ideas from the forum.

Just because this work is sorta free, it doesn't mean that there is an obligation to have maps put into place. We can all agree that it is possible for a map to be submitted that is not playable, or up to par graphically. If you can acknowlege that happens, then there must be some sort of review. I know what you might be thinking, There already is a review, lack does it! But thats the point. Lack does enough already. Let him get one more burden off of his back.

This isn't a new step. There isn't a new barrier between a map in progress and map in play. All that is being proposed is a group to take over lack's role of giving the thumbs up.
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Postby Mr. K on Wed May 24, 2006 6:56 pm

But from what i've read, lack isn't giving up his final thumbs up. The idea is that the committee decides on weather or not the map gets sent to lack. So he's still doing the same thing, the only weight taken off his shoulder might be that maybe he doesn't have to check the XML or something. Still lack makes the final decision as always. So indeed, this is a new step.
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Postby thegrimsleeper on Wed May 24, 2006 7:33 pm

But this site is growing at such a rapid pace... There are more maps in various stages of production right now than there are available for play. That's not likely to change anytime soon. At some point you've got to start thinking about quality control. It's all good to say "Oh, the more maps the better," but honestly, at what point do you draw the line? Once there are 50 maps on the site? 100? More? For me (and I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of the players as well), it's about quality, not quantity.

To use the Middle East map as an example: As of now, it is 1 map out of 16. And given the choice between its current version or none at all, I would certainly take it rather than leave it. However. If there were 60 maps on the site, and the author was unwilling to take any further steps to improve the graphics, or allow another community member to do so, I just don't see it as a blow to the site if we have 60 other maps of a high quality.

As of today, a committee or ratings system may be unneccessary. But by August, I guarantee you that the quality controls on this site are going to have to become much more stringent, or we're going to have a flood of poorly-designed, slapdash maps on our hands, cluttering up the Start a Game screen. The sooner we get some sort of quality control system in place, the better off we'll be when there comes a time when we will need it... And we will. Count on it.
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Postby Banana Stomper on Wed May 24, 2006 7:33 pm

From what i've read in andy's posts, it appears as though the final thumbs up is being handed off. Andy said, "If said map did not reach up to standard benchmark quality, the Foundry Foreman and the community would ask for some revisions. Once reworked and finalized again, a new poll topic would be created to rate the newer version of the map. Once it has reached the set standard benchmark, it would be allowed to make it on the site for live play." "The Committee will oversee a more final debate before a map is up to play." Note: before a map is up to play, not sent to lack. Nothing andy, the founder of the idea, has said indicates that this is an additional step between the forum and lack.

Andy says nothing of it then going to lack for approval. He speaks as though this is the review for the map. I mean, the map will still probably go to Lack, strickly because lack has to put it up on the site...

I think the best set up is to do the committee. have a few well respected individuals who will either approve the map for going up, or redirect the map back to the forums for more input.

Ratings systems...i tend to not like. I have trouble doing them. I never feel like my responses are true. Its easier to say what you think rather than to apply a number to it.
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Postby AndyDufresne on Wed May 24, 2006 10:19 pm

Perhaps to simply throw this idea out there...


---If we keep with a traditional 'committee' of sorts, it would not 'rule' over anything. This committee would have no authoritative power over which map gets put on the site. It would merely be an advisory committee of valued members who share their insight into the map making process. Obviously this would be done in the open Foundry forum as usual, but map makers would take special heed of their suggestions, as they were chosen for being certain 'experts' in the map making process.

---I didn't propose this idea earlier, because while playing Devil's Advocate I assumed many of you would see this as strictly more red tape. Final map approval would fall into the Foundry Foreman's hands. I would take notice of the suggestions made by the Foundry posters, but especially of those on the advisory committee. When the Foundry and the advisory committee has come to an agreement that a map is finished, the advisory committee would also take on the role of proofing the map for xml errors. Once there is a 'Foundry Brand' on it, I would consider it done and ready for live play. Final submission to Lack would ensue, barring and extravagant errors or flaws.

I mostly feel like I'm going circles, but I want to make it known that as I said before, I'm here to work with the Foundry. I want it to be the best place it can be, and I will strive my best to make it that. That said though, I also must ensure that the site has quality and unique maps. As long as we all work together, I believe things will work out.

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Postby Banana Stomper on Wed May 24, 2006 10:56 pm

Haha, all of this going in circles is making me dizzy. I'm not even sure if i know what i'm defending anymore, so i'm just going to put out there what i think should be established and why.

Conquer club is growing rapidly. There will come a time when we are going to have too many maps in our future. If a committee or council or whatever isn't established now, one day we'll try to do this again and it will be almost too late, and the committee will have to over all of the maps and will a lot of work on their hands to catch up. Right now, when the site is young, its time to start implementing the features that we are all going to come to rely on in the future. We need to make our mistakes now when it doesn't take as much to fix them, when the community is small enough to get a good feel what everyone thinks about the goings on. This is when things are tweaked and perfected, not later.

I don't think that the council should be too much. They shouldn't have the power to say no, only not yet. The committee should merely give its stamp of approval for the map, and send it on to lack(with veto power, its still his site) for it to be put onto the site. If the map isn't ready, it should just be given back into the hands of the forums, where everyone in conquer club has the ability to go in and voice their opinions.

Perhaps part of the committee's process could be to have the ability to play maps without them being on the site. I think this would be a very powerful tool in ensureing the best maps are put on the site. It would also give new, innovative ideas a grounds to be tested on before a huge committment is taken up by the map maker.

I really like the idea of the committee, andy. It is something that conquer club will definitely need one day, so i think it should be created now.

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Postby lackattack on Wed May 24, 2006 11:41 pm

Here's my point of view:

I don't want to have to approve anything. I just want to know when to take the files, do a little optimization and upload them.

When a map is in development, at any point one could ask whether the map should go live now or after more polishing. So far it's been up to the author because I didn't question anything, just did some basic tests and installed the map. Should the timing be up to the author? Up to the Foreman? the community? Ideally some combination of all three, I think! What is the mechanism? Committee is justifyably unpopular, polls for rating maps is one possibility... maybe the foreman should just discuss readyness in the thread, guage the opinions of the critics and the author and decide?

As for keeping out weak maps, I think the all maps we have are better live than dead. Sure some are better than others, and I could sort them by usage to put the "weaker" ones on the bottom. But generally I'm not interested in deciding which maps are worthy, just when they are ready.
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Postby Mr. K on Wed May 24, 2006 11:42 pm

Step 6). Submission—Send your final work to the 'Catorgraphy Committee'. Send the XML to the Committee for the final evaluation of errors. After the final go ahead is given, the Committee will send your map’s XML file to Lack at info@conqeruclub.com. With the final stamp of approval now on the map, it will be up and ready for play when Lack has both the time and energy.

:oops:

It appears I misread this. My bad.

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Postby rocksolid on Thu May 25, 2006 9:32 am

Banana Stomper wrote:I think one of the first steps to do in making this thing work, is to change the name from committee to council or advisory or something. Something less like, "we are a governing body", and more like "we are here to help", because thats why its being put in place.


I think this is huge. I was thinking if instead of having a cartography "committee", the people performing whatever function it is could have the title "Foundry slave" or "Foundry elf" (or I guess "Foundry dwarf" would be more appropriate). I doubt it would hurt the pride of those bearing it, and could go a long way towards communicating their role to newbies.
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Postby vtmarik on Thu May 25, 2006 9:35 am

rocksolid wrote:I think this is huge. I was thinking if instead of having a cartography "committee", the people performing whatever function it is could have the title "Foundry slave" or "Foundry elf" (or I guess "Foundry dwarf" would be more appropriate). I doubt it would hurt the pride of those bearing it, and could go a long way towards communicating their role to newbies.


Is that your somewhat roundabout way of saying that Orcs can't work in a foundry? You racist!
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Postby Finsdale on Thu May 25, 2006 2:16 pm

I was going to suggest banana stomper's idea but he beat me to it. having a group (or groups) of people who played the maps to test readiness.
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Postby lackattack on Thu May 25, 2006 3:55 pm

I'm not interested in setting up test maps or beta maps at this time. If you really want to test it out make a printed version and play on a table. Besides, you can always update your map after it goes live.
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Postby Banana Stomper on Thu May 25, 2006 4:47 pm

Yea, i thought of one problem with testing the maps after i posted that. that would require someone to write the xml for it without it being done, and who knows what would change and everything. It would probably just end up being too much work, or at least a huge pain in the ass. xml is not the fun part of map making.
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Postby Nobunaga on Fri May 26, 2006 1:54 am

.. The ConquerClub Map Committee . . .

... Lack is a programmer, not an art critic, and I understand that he would benefit much from having the maps go through some manner of serious critiquing before they are sent on to him. But the Map Foundry already performs that function...

... While I was making the British Isles map, to cite an example, the helpful criticism I found there helped me produce a map that I believe, in humble confidence, is worthy of the site (even had it stolen by another site at one point).

... There is, however, a major flaw in the system. I could make a map with Paint, or even with crayons and then scan it, then submit it to the Map Foundry. It would get trashed by anybody with any sense, but I could simply ignore your comments, write up the xml and send it on to Lack. Now, I am of course exaggerating about the crayons, but Lack might very well follow the "As many maps as you can shake a stick at" philosophy, and make it live.

... Moderators are given some authority on the site. In my humble opinion, a Map Committee should be given authority as well. They should be given the authority to decide (through discussion with the community at large, and within the committee... whatever) what maps will be sent on to Lack, what maps need seriously re-worked, and what maps are a waste of screen space.

... That's really the only way I can see it working with any effectiveness.

...
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Postby AndyDufresne on Fri May 26, 2006 7:16 am

Lets see what I can do to bring a conclusion to this all...


---Obviously a standard ‘committee’ idea is one that isn’t too favorable, for reasons of hindering the spectacular Foundry atmosphere.

---And a poll option isn’t any higher favored also, due to sheer complexity. Of course we’d like to make this a clean, and streamlined process, which this would not be.

---After much discussion and many ideas shaped and reformed, I’ve come to a new and less dictatorial method....


    ● Developmental maps will be discussed in length in the Foundry, in their respective topics following the refurbished guidelines in the ‘How To Make A Map’ thread. Business will go nearly as usual. Now I wish to address one thing to the cartographers: be open to any advice and suggestions. Be sure that if you do not implement said advice you must have logical reason for doing so. This rebuttal must be stated either by you, or argued by another Foundry poster who sees the drawbacks or shortcomings in said advice. I’ve added this simply because I think a few cartographers have no logical reason for not addressing certain suggestions with anything else other than ‘It’s my map, let me do it my way.’ I hope this will alleviate the problem of premature maps being submitted early, without addressing major suggestions. Waiting for feedback on your map is the one of the most important parts of development.

    ● Once the Foundry agrees that the respective map is finished, the Foundry Foreman will make a quick check to make sure that all major suggestions have been either implemented or refuted with logical reasoning. If said map has not addressed certain aspects, it must engage in discussion again before it will be deemed playable and ready for live play. Once all suggestions have been addressed the Foundry Foreman will put his ‘Brand of Approval’ on the map. The map will then go through XML testing. If errors are found in this stage, the cartographer will be notified and the errors must be fixed before it is given final approval for live play. Once all noticeable errors have been cleaned up, the map will be submitted to Lack for live play (barring any veto by him). Any errors found during the map’s live play on the site must be attended to promptly (I.E. no longer than one month) or else the map will be taken down until said errors are fixed.

---I think this idea is perhaps the simplest of them all, but it is one that fits with the current Foundry atmosphere. I, and Conquer Club, trust that the Foundry will root out any maps repetitive maps, and those with extravagant imbalances or errors.

Now to open it up for discussion once more... ;-) And if this takes I'll get to work readjusting the 'how to make a map', etc.


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Postby Jota on Fri May 26, 2006 8:47 am

That works for me. How will maps that have already been submitted and are awaiting approval fit into this?

(Impatient, me? No, of course not...)
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Postby Nobunaga on Fri May 26, 2006 9:14 am

... Excellent summary there, Andy. I think we can all live with those guidelines.
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Postby rocksolid on Fri May 26, 2006 12:00 pm

Sounds good to me - very close to what's already in place, but cuts off the option of the mapmaker just telling everyone in the foundry to piss off.
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Postby AndyDufresne on Sun May 28, 2006 12:41 am

Alright, well I'm glad we could all come to an agreement on this! I think this is the simplest, yet purest way of implementing this all. I look forward to working with everyone.
Jota wrote: That works for me. How will maps that have already been submitted and are awaiting approval fit into this?
(Impatient, me? No, of course not...)


---I think I will use the two maps that have been awaiting approval as a little test, though I know that both have addressed pretty much every major issue. The real test will come when a developmental map is ready soon. I will post in the respective threads of the two long waiting maps just making sure that there aren't any glaring flaws in anybody's mind.

    ---And just to throw this out there, what do cartographers feel is enough and just time for any Foundry users who express last minute concerns over maps, after they've reached the 'Final Forge' stage? Perhaps 2 days and if no one posts any concerns it would be given the final 'Foundry Brand' of approval.
---Also in the 'How To Make A Map' page, I've added:
AndyDufresne wrote: ***Note*** Any errors found during the map’s live play on the site must be attended to promptly (I.E. no longer than one month) or else the map will be taken down until said errors are fixed.

    What does the Foundry feel is sufficient time? I'm thinking perhaps changing it to 2 weeks (but certainly nothing less than that), but also probably nothing more than 1 month. Perhaps in the middle, and say 3 weeks? ;)

---Lastly, does the Foundry feel the need for a 'Developmental Map Atlas' or something similar, that lists links to all the maps currently in development (incase they slip away due to the cartographer being quite busy)?

Look forward to hearing back from you all!


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Postby SMITH197 on Sun May 28, 2006 12:51 am

sounds like a plan to me...

will you post new "how to make a map" information or will you make every new map maker sift through that old thread?
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Postby AndyDufresne on Sun May 28, 2006 12:54 am

It of course would be updated and edited regularly, though perhaps not the instance a map went live. But once a map is up for live play, it would be taken off the 'Developmental Atlas'. And any new ideas that are taking shape would be added.


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Postby Banana Stomper on Sun May 28, 2006 3:16 am

Two weeks for the max fix time. It shouldn't take longer than that.
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Postby Jota on Sun May 28, 2006 5:44 am

Two days sounds about right for a map to wait for last minute objections. I'd personally give two and a half or three weeks for fixing errors, just in case someone is going on vacation at the wrong time (although I'd hope most errors would be fixed within a week). And while I can't say that we need a developmental atlas, it does sound like it'd be handy.
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