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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby ender516 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:19 pm

Well, perhaps I should have said "too risky to the general wellbeing of the site if performed by the genpop." Some people complain bitterly and unceasingly about beta maps, and an exploit in a map, say, like in the early version of Rorke's Drift, can do drastic things to the scoreboard. Imagine the chaos if an even more exploitable map appeared under alpha test.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby army of nobunaga on Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:55 am

degaston wrote:
ender516 wrote:... The issue that army was trying to address was the valid concern that testing maps at an alpha stage might be too risky for the genpop.

And these risks are... what, exactly? :-s


To be frank, people like yourself for example... under 200 games, yes awesome rank yadda yadda.. but would you know the main difference between an Austerlitz and a US Sentate? I mean what reall makes the maps both different.. No and I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you.

I remember in my first degree I had to take some class called music appreciation.. I thought "What a lame ass class, easy A" .. Well I learned there is SO much more to music than I had ever any clue about. And I learned enough to know that I STILL do not have any clue about music.

Take my knowledge of CC... I promise you.. I swear to you, it pales besides the knowledge of a LFAW or a King Herpes.. I mean those guys have forgotten more about the intricacies of CC than I have eb\ever known. It takes games to know what is up, it takes playing against cooks to conquerors to know what is up.

It is dangerous to have OUR site vested from general population of dumdums that do not even understand how much they do not know.

And this is our game and our site. I have invested thousands of dollars and double that in hours. The map makers have invested their talent and thousands of man hours... We are all vested.

And thus to conclude... We deserve a continuing better process of map development, and we deserve the player 'experts' of CC that know more about this game to help in the process... And that is what we all deserve. This game that is just a game, can end at any time. I have played games that I was vested in, that ended.

We are all entitled to trying to make sure lack makes enough damn money and grows this business, to ensure the continual life of our vestment. And that is fact.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby degaston on Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:31 am

ender516 wrote:Well, perhaps I should have said "too risky to the general wellbeing of the site if performed by the genpop." Some people complain bitterly and unceasingly about beta maps, and an exploit in a map, say, like in the early version of Rorke's Drift, can do drastic things to the scoreboard. Imagine the chaos if an even more exploitable map appeared under alpha test.

Which is exactly why "alpha" games should be unrated. Imagine the lack of chaos if there were no points riding on these games and it was clearly explained that these maps were not finished and this was just testing.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby degaston on Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:38 am

army of nobunaga wrote:
degaston wrote:And these risks are... what, exactly? :-s

To be frank, people like yourself for example... under 200 games, yes awesome rank yadda yadda.. but would you know the main difference between an Austerlitz and a US Sentate? I mean what reall makes the maps both different.. No and I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you.

...It takes games to know what is up, it takes playing against cooks to conquerors to know what is up.

It is dangerous to have OUR site vested from general population of dumdums that do not even understand how much they do not know.

And this is our game and our site. I have invested thousands of dollars and double that in hours. The map makers have invested their talent and thousands of man hours... We are all vested.

I'm not trying to get into a pissing contest with you, I'm trying to improve the map-making process and the site.

This started with a discussion about the declining quality of maps being produced. I think the reason for this is that the existing map-making process stifles creativity and innovation because it doesn't allow for experimentation (or at least makes it extremely inefficient). I don't claim to know everything about the maps or map-making, but as a programmer, I know software development, which is what map-making boils down to. If programmers could not test their applications throughout the development process, software innovation would stagnate, and we would still be stuck in the "dark ages" of DOS.

Obviously, good players should be involved and their opinions given more weight, but anyone can make valuable suggestions. Testing needs idiots to make maps "idiot-proof". Inexperienced players may try "illogical" strategies which can uncover problems that the experts would have missed. An elitist attitude that only the best of the best are qualified to judge new maps is inefficient, narrow-minded, and makes it difficult for new ideas to ever have a chance. That is the real danger.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby thenobodies80 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:04 pm

I understand what you are trying to say here, although I have serious doubt it can happens without implement other things that i'm still waiting.

But I have a strange question that goes in an opposite direction: Why maps should be tested first? How many maps had to pass through a graphics overhaul because the gameplay had flaws? When this happened? I remember that Das Schloss introduced the Beta stage, it was done to not wait the conclusion of all games, not to test if the map work in the proper way, the purpose was different imo. Then after that map the worst beta test was rorke's drift and in that case we had to close the map because it was the first time we had to reduce the number of territories and lackattack was forced to change a couple of things in the database to do that, so it wasn't possible to change the map with ongoing games.
Honestly I don't remember a map released by CAs and approved by the community at large that had so big flaw to set a testing process to ensure that your gameplay is fine.

Speaking frankly, the Beta stage is not test the map and see if it works before to launch it, but ensure that everything works in the right way before to not allow more changes on it. It's different.
If someone is not willing to apply some minor changes to a map after that is released, then....don't start to draw a map at all, at least here on CC. Sorry but this is the flat and real truth.
If someone is not able to choose a type of gameplay and go in that direction, then that person probably has not understood our guidelines and how we do maps here.

When and if I'll be able to upload for you all the files and when and if the owner of the site will be open to have a testing ground for maps, then this discussion will have a sense, for now, in my opinion , we are just discussing about nothing. Moreover this was suggested several times by people and also CAs and I doubt that a game testing phase, a part what we have now, will happen in the near future.

Said that, if it was asked to me (and in general new foundry additions are asked to us, the CAs), I would push for have new xml features instead of a place where i can test the same old things, so don't expect I will put this on the top of the list of things to do/to have.

Certainly the process can be changed, refined, and to be honest we're discussing something on this line behind the scenes (we will go with a public review this time since we want a process that suit for you all and not only for us), but add a stage just for the sake of a person that wasn't able to find out the best gameplay for his map....sorry not at all.

I'm not trying to argue with you, just trying to speak frankly since I know how things work here and how much difficult is to have things for the foundry.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby Gillipig on Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:20 pm

army of nobunaga wrote:
degaston wrote:
ender516 wrote:... The issue that army was trying to address was the valid concern that testing maps at an alpha stage might be too risky for the genpop.

And these risks are... what, exactly? :-s


To be frank, people like yourself for example... under 200 games, yes awesome rank yadda yadda.. but would you know the main difference between an Austerlitz and a US Sentate? I mean what reall makes the maps both different.. No and I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you.

I remember in my first degree I had to take some class called music appreciation.. I thought "What a lame ass class, easy A" .. Well I learned there is SO much more to music than I had ever any clue about. And I learned enough to know that I STILL do not have any clue about music.

Take my knowledge of CC... I promise you.. I swear to you, it pales besides the knowledge of a LFAW or a King Herpes.. I mean those guys have forgotten more about the intricacies of CC than I have eb\ever known. It takes games to know what is up, it takes playing against cooks to conquerors to know what is up.

It is dangerous to have OUR site vested from general population of dumdums that do not even understand how much they do not know.

And this is our game and our site. I have invested thousands of dollars and double that in hours. The map makers have invested their talent and thousands of man hours... We are all vested.

And thus to conclude... We deserve a continuing better process of map development, and we deserve the player 'experts' of CC that know more about this game to help in the process... And that is what we all deserve. This game that is just a game, can end at any time. I have played games that I was vested in, that ended.

We are all entitled to trying to make sure lack makes enough damn money and grows this business, to ensure the continual life of our vestment. And that is fact.

I know eggsactly what u taking bout, like craazy dude, that meth was niiice!!! :lol:
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby DiM on Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:34 pm

thenobodies80 wrote:Why maps should be tested first? How many maps had to pass through a graphics overhaul because the gameplay had flaws? When this happened? I remember that Das Schloss introduced the Beta stage, it was done to not wait the conclusion of all games, not to test if the map work in the proper way, the purpose was different imo. Then after that map the worst beta test was rorke's drift and in that case we had to close the map because it was the first time we had to reduce the number of territories and lackattack was forced to change a couple of things in the database to do that, so it wasn't possible to change the map with ongoing games.
Honestly I don't remember a map released by CAs and approved by the community at large that had so big flaw to set a testing process to ensure that your gameplay is fine.



you fail to see the point of a testing site. it is not just to iron out kinks and flaws but most importantly to encourage wild creativity. even if i'm not anywhere near as active in the foundry as i used to be i often find myself thinking of various map scenarios that are generally very weird. with a testing facility in place and an easy intuitive interface for defining terits and bonuses (like landgrab has) i could draw up a sketch, define the bonuses and have a game ready for testing in a matter of minutes. test the idea and see if it's bullshit or genius.

at this moment most maps don't stray too far away from the classic recipe, hence beta only caters to minor changes. whatever maps vary to much will most likely have flaws. some easily fixable via the xml (like aybabtu) others harder or even impossible (like rorke's drift). on rorke's drift i feel even with the new bonus scheme and gameplay changes the map is completely flawed from the start. one of its biggest problem (chieftain bonuses) still exists and whoever gets the first chieftain will win the game 99% of the time. but changing this will require some big graphic changes and we might not even get the solution the first time, hence i won't bother pursuing it further since it will mean a lot of potentially unnecessary work for koontz. these things should have been figured out and fixed long before the graphics phase.

anyway, the idea is that without a testing facility many people are too afraid to try completely new things for fear of having to do massive changes and scratch a lot of their work so they just stick to classic variations and that's it.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby natty dread on Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:59 pm

I've had the experience that I've created a map with a certain kind of gameplay in mind, and when the map went to beta, it turned out the map didn't actually play out at all like I had imagined. But at that point, since the map is in beta, making adjustments to the gameplay is really stiff and inflexible - since every small change requires you to wait for it to be uploaded, then wait for the new version to be played by people, hearing feedback, complaints etc. - I really had no choice but to "discard" the idea I originally had of the gameplay and just tweak the map enough that it plays well and is balanced.

Sure, with experience you get more of a hang of what plays like what, but this only applies to gameplay elements you're already familiar with, and certainly does not encourage to innovate or create something new or unusual. Ultimately, it will lead to stagnation, especially with the scarcity of new xml updates.

And even if we do get new xml updates, and they are something that allow truly new kind of gameplay, how do we know how they actually work for the gameplay when we don't get to test them? Every new feature requires mapmakers to just stumble on blindly, since there's no collective experience on using the feature, and the more complex features we get, the more chance there is that the first maps using that feature are going to be flawed and imbalanced.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby degaston on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:32 pm

Thanks, DiM & natty - you guys get it.

And don't worry, thenobodies80. I've seen enough threads around here about things people would like to have, but never get, to know that this discussion is purely academic.

Though I will add that
...but add a stage just for the sake of a person that wasn't able to find out the best gameplay for his map....

and
If I will have a card to play, I will not burn it for a single man, but I choose the card that can make happy more people mapmakers.

seem to be contradicted by
Moreover this was suggested several times by people and also CAs...
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby ender516 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:40 pm

Degaston makes an excellent point about needing a wide range of users, and I agree that unrated games would be useful for this and other reasons (solitaire games to build skills, for example). But lackattack will have none of that. Ah, well.

On a different note, I can scarcely believe that I have been involved in this discussion this long and forgot to mention the Map XML Wizard. It has a test play feature which allows for at least some experimentation. Unfortunately, as chipv is no longer supporting his tools, it is not completely compliant to current XML features. The biggest missing bit is the optional maximum on the number of starting positions per player, which makes difficult to explore the ramifications of drops and starts, which is one of the most common topics of gameplay discussion, namely, how do we ensure that the game is not over before it has scarcely begun.

I wish I had the time to reverse engineer and reproduce chipv's work.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby thenobodies80 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:20 pm

degaston wrote:Though I will add that

...but add a stage just for the sake of a person that wasn't able to find out the best gameplay for his map....


and

If I will have a card to play, I will not burn it for a single man, but I choose the card that can make happy more people mapmakers.


seem to be contradicted by

Moreover this was suggested several times by people and also CAs...


No, it's not. This because I have a list of things that was asked, and that one is not at the top. XML new features are instead. ;)
Anyway, I'm not saying that your idea is bullshit.
I'm fine with having the possibility to test maps, just it won't happen, at least in the near future...trust me. I hadn't a way to test Africa II, and it's supposed to be a "special map". Do you think that this possiblity would be given to everyone? For what I know the only map involved in a sort of test was Colosseum, but I didn't take part to it, so I can't help you with details.


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edit: ender made a good point about xml wizard.....if only lack will implement it (and update)....it can be used to test map.

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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby koontz1973 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:12 pm

ender516 wrote:I wish I had the time to reverse engineer and reproduce chipv's work.


I know this may seem a silly question but has anyone tried to ask him for the code?
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby natty dread on Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:39 pm

koontz1973 wrote:I know this may seem a silly question but has anyone tried to ask him for the code?


Yes and I don't think he wants to part with it. There's, btw, yet another person who was contributing hugely to this site, and eventually got frustrated and left due to lack of support from the top... sound familiar? Hell, there's a whole another website of people with the same story out there...

thenobodies80 wrote:I hadn't a way to test Africa II, and it's supposed to be a "special map". Do you think that this possiblity would be given to everyone? For what I know the only map involved in a sort of test was Colosseum, but I didn't take part to it, so I can't help you with details.


Yeah, because you're only the foreman of the 2nd-class foundry... really useful features, like playtesting, are reserved for the super-special secret foundry...
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby ender516 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:33 am

koontz1973 wrote:
ender516 wrote:I wish I had the time to reverse engineer and reproduce chipv's work.


I know this may seem a silly question but has anyone tried to ask him for the code?

I believe I asked for a peek long before he left, and he was shy about it then. I doubt that he would be feeling more open now.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby koontz1973 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:44 am

ender516 wrote:
koontz1973 wrote:
ender516 wrote:I wish I had the time to reverse engineer and reproduce chipv's work.


I know this may seem a silly question but has anyone tried to ask him for the code?

I believe I asked for a peek long before he left, and he was shy about it then. I doubt that he would be feeling more open now.

Without knowing the first thing about programming, how hard would it be to do this for the site in case chips one goes off line permanently? Add in what has been said, a testing procedure and what we then have is a guaranteed xml writer and testing programme for the map makers to play with.

I can guarantee, if it ever did go off-line, the amount of maps produced and complex large maps would almost cease overnight. Only the hard core map makers would continue.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby DiM on Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:02 am

koontz1973 wrote:
ender516 wrote:
koontz1973 wrote:
ender516 wrote:I wish I had the time to reverse engineer and reproduce chipv's work.


I know this may seem a silly question but has anyone tried to ask him for the code?

I believe I asked for a peek long before he left, and he was shy about it then. I doubt that he would be feeling more open now.

Without knowing the first thing about programming, how hard would it be to do this for the site in case chips one goes off line permanently?



the real question here is: "how hard would it be for lack to do it?" :roll:
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby degaston on Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:44 am

DiM wrote:
koontz1973 wrote:
ender516 wrote:
koontz1973 wrote:
ender516 wrote:I wish I had the time to reverse engineer and reproduce chipv's work.

I know this may seem a silly question but has anyone tried to ask him for the code?

I believe I asked for a peek long before he left, and he was shy about it then. I doubt that he would be feeling more open now.

Without knowing the first thing about programming, how hard would it be to do this for the site in case chips one goes off line permanently?

the real question here is: "how hard would it be for lack to do it?" :roll:

A lot easier than it would be for anyone else to do it.

I saw an old interview with him that indicated that he quit his job to run this web site. Is he still actively involved in this, or is it just kind of running on autopilot and the free labor of people who want it to be better?
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby koontz1973 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:12 am

Lets get this back on topic now.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby natty dread on Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:20 am

koontz1973 wrote:Lets get this back on topic now.


Hm, odd. I never noticed you had become a moderator...
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby koontz1973 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:21 am

natty dread wrote:
koontz1973 wrote:Lets get this back on topic now.


Hm, odd. I never noticed you had become a moderator...

Not become one but why go off topic. If that was the reason for this thread, it would of been named differently.
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby Gillipig on Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:39 am

natty dread wrote:
koontz1973 wrote:Lets get this back on topic now.


Hm, odd. I never noticed you had become a moderator...

It's still his thread!
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby natty dread on Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:44 am

Why? The discussion goes in the direction it goes... you can't restrict the flow of ideas, man.

On that note, I've always thought this one-dimensional threading paradigm of most internet forums is a kind of flawed concept... It's so limiting - the "threads" are basically just strings of posts in a linear fashion. A multi-threaded discussion would be much more elegant, where each new topic could fork down to multiple different conversations, and you could conveniently follow any of the lines of discussion you'd like in whichever order you'd like...

No more splitting posts to new topics, no more worrying about "off-topic posts" - each poster could conveniently fork the thread to different directions. Kind of something like on reddit or most blogs, but a bit different - the blog-style threading system allows "multithreading" but it still flows in a linear fashion. My system would be more like hypertext - you could actually "spawn" new topics from the original topic, by choosing at the time of replying whether you want to stay in the original "thread" or fork a new one, and then anyone who starts reading from the op could follow the different threads in parallel or one at a time or however they like... and the different threads could later merge, join together with other threads from other original topics, and the whole system would be a criss-cross of references...

Think how a system like that would affect the foundry for example, you could comment on one map thread, the discussion would go to a subject that would benefit another map, and the thread could be forked over to the other map thread, and so on.

Ok, that might be confusing for some people at first, but after getting used to it, I'm sure people would wonder how they ever got by without it...

Anyway, you were saying?
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Re: Map thread - anything goes as long as it is maps ;)

Postby koontz1973 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:53 am

All right then. Renamed the thread so anything goes now as long as it is maps. Lets keep the bashing to a minimum and turtle out of the roasting pit. ;)

Wanted to post this in a new thread so why not here.

If chips xml wizard goes off line, how many of you lot would continue making maps?
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Re: Why can maps not be tested first?

Postby degaston on Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:36 am

koontz1973 wrote:Lets get this back on topic now.

I think the original question has already been answered: Maps cannot be tested during development because lack doesn't want them to be tested during development. (and no one else wants to put in the effort when there's no support from the site.)
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Re: Map thread - anything goes as long as it is maps ;)

Postby koontz1973 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:39 am

Which is why the thread and topic have changed.
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