As you all know during Lack’s last update we spruced up the forum with many needed sub-forums. And here in the Foundry we got our share: the Map Ideas forum and the Final Forge forum. The sub-forums are a part of our plan to restructure and organize the Foundry even more. So, let’s get into it, shall we!
The Map Ideas forum will be place where all new map ideas, new maps, and REVAMPS start. A map will start in this ‘Heating’ phase. When map production starts we will be looking for a few things:
- a. the map, first and for most, must have some sort of clear plan of how production will go. Most of the time, this is pretty self-explanatory for basic maps, but as we are stepping into realms all the time in the Foundry with more and more complicated maps, it’s best to find a plan and make it work early, rather than trying to find one mid-way through production.
b. the map must have a working image (either of the small or large map). This working image must be beyond the ‘rough draft’ state. I.E. the working image can’t be a pencil/paper drawing or an MS paint image. We’d like to see at least two graphical updates while the map spends it’s time in this early stage of the Map Ideas forum. And from the ‘How to Make a Map Thread’ the image must follow these guidelines:
Include a working legend with speculative bonuses, tentative border divisions, names, barriers, colors and textures, aesthetic images (I.E. compasses, picture designs, etc), and background image (I.E. ocean or something to discriminate the playing field).
A map should be ‘inherently unique either in game play, location, or style’ . Maps that aren't just the same tried and true formula from the Classic Map disguised will be more successful.
Every effort should be made to acquire express written consent for a map based on Copyrighted works. In the event that no response is given by the Copyright holders, the map can still be made, but must consist of completely original artwork.
Host the image using Photobucket.com or something similar. The type of image file must be PNG, GIF, or JPEG. You must design two versions (eventually) of the map: a small (up to 600 px wide), and a large (up to 800 px wide). Height is flexible, but it is recommended that you do not exceed 350 px on small maps and 600 px on large maps so that users will not need to scroll down to attack.
c. the map (or the post) must also include a few basic things for easy reference such as: number of countries currently on the map, the number of continents, descriptions of any unique features or areas, and the title of the map must indicate the page with the latest development of production (I.E. ‘Update – Pg 3, and please, no use of [brackets]: use (parentheses), --dashes--, or “quotes”).
d. the map must have some honest and interested discussion. If no one seems to support your idea or it lacks much appeal, it most likely won’t make it to the next stage.
And in the main Foundry forum the process will stay relatively normal. All maps will need to create good working images of both the large and the small maps (following the guidelines of course). Each map will go through the Foundry Process as they have been (I.E. comments/suggestions/advice/criticisms/etc). Once the Foundry Process is starting to slow and dwindle, if all guidelines have been met, it will be ‘Final Forged’ and moved into the next, and last, stage of development in the Final Forge forum.
And in the Final Forge forum all maps will need to work out the XML code needed for the map. If the map has army shadows for the coordinates, all coordinates must be centralized and accurate. The cartographer must check and make sure there aren’t any errors in the XML (I.E. missing/broken borders, incorrect bonus values, etc). The map will undergo any last suggestions and changes. Once everything has been finalized maps will need to supply text links to both the large and the small maps, along with a text link to the XML. Once the map is finished, it is then Quenched and awaits addition to the site for live play (barring any Lack vetoes). And that is the end of the line.
Or is it? If a Quenched map up for live play has any kinks, bugs, errors of any kind, the cartographer will be asked to fix the problems pointed out. Once everything is fixed and in normal working order, make sure to post text links to latest versions of the maps (if it was graphical) or the XML (if it dealt with the code). Then I can get Lack to get the proper and fixed version up for live play, and the map can live happily ever-after. At least for now.
All Quenched maps will remain in the Final Forge forum as a record of production. It also allows everyone to comment on new live play maps easier, and also suggestions or any older maps. Maps that were put up for live play before the ‘Quenching’ system was in place are marked [Done] rather than [Quenched].
But wait, there’s more!
We will be closing down the old *Map Ideas* thread. It has served it’s time, and was a great idea by Jota. Unfortunately it has devolved into more of a garbage heap rather than a helpful aid. We will lock the thread and move it to the Map Ideas forum, and start anew with a brand new sticky. You may retrieve the text or link images of any ideas from the old thread and post them in the new. This thread will be for ideas you’d like to see as a map or in a map, but don’t have the time/care/talent to make. It will follow the old thread’s original outline with a few tweaks. When you make a new idea post in the new thread you must follow these guidelines for it to be added and cataloged on the first page:
Description: <Here will be the description of the idea (via text or image link).>
Why? <Why you’d like to see this idea as a map or in a map>
Pretty simple, eh? It’ll make cataloging everything much easier and make this thread perhaps of actual use to budding cartographers looking for an idea to pursue, or for old veterans looking for a new and interesting idea to try next. I hope this adds a little more organization to all countless ideas we received in the Foundry. And remember, keep them coming!
But wait, there’s more!
For now, the main Foundry forum will be the place to discuss the “How To’s” of map making. I will make a new post/perhaps add to the map making tools thread, the great tips and guidelines cartographers have for one another (I.E. how to make army coordinates, how to centralize army coordinates, how to <insert topic>, etc). I’d really like not to add another sub-forum to the Foundry, as I think we are nearing the limit of *too many*, but if this grows and grows it may become its own sub-forum in time. But for now, let’s try this!
Alright, so I think that’s it. The growth of the Foundry is astounding and exciting. Every time I see a great new map in production, it always makes me feel terrific (much like a delicious banana does). So lets get back to cartography and world domination! Remember, smile, be happy, and eat a banana.
But wait, there’s more! See Keyogi’s post.