Hello foundry regulars, enthusiasts, and newcomers,
Another issue is upon us! I know, they seem to come so quickly. Things have been fairly quiet in the foundry of late, as some behind the scenes work is improving the quenching process and the way the Final Forge is run. Activity seems to be hitting the mid-summer doldrums, so you'll notice that the slate of maps we cover in this issue is a bit shorter than previous ones. Regardless we've had some map movement, some newer maps added to the list, and some older maps back and active after a short hiatus. We've also got a short editorial from the "outside" of the foundry, from well-known player Blitzaholic. The Spotlight this issue is on our Gameplay C.A. Oaktown and his map of the Eastern Hemisphere. Finally, the Perspective asked people what maps they like giving feedback on. As always, I know you'll enjoy this issue.
Gimil here to drop you a few short lines of news again.
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who took part in the Brazil REVAMP competition. All entries were spectacular, and turnout to vote has been outstanding. However, if you haven't voted yet, there is still time! Head on over to the Foundry (clicky above) and post your vote now!
In other news, a large part of the Brazil REVAMP success has been the introduction of the new News Headlines that now appear on the homepage! This is an excellent update from lackattack himself and will be used a lot in future business of the Foundry, including future competitions, Newsletter releases and for maps that reach a certain stage in the Foundry process (still to be determined fully by the C.A. team).
Any cheers for listening and I hope you enjoy this issues of the Foundry Newsletter!
gimil and the cartoes.
We didn't have any maps quench these past two weeks, see our previous issues for what has been but hasn't reached live play. Perhaps we'll have some better luck next time.
Name: British Isles Revamp
Description: One of the most beloved maps in the game is getting a makeover. The creator has redone the look of the map to be much cleaner and geographically accurate to the Isles.
Present Development: Stalled, but more or less complete.
Name: CC City Mogul
Description: The dice have been complained about since the birth of CC. This map aims to make that a non-issue by making every single bonus 5 times the normal size. Craft a shopping empire on this blueprint-styled map, and erect a manor and shopping mall to declare your mercantile victory.
Present Development: Final images are posted, the Quench is expected very soon.
Name: The Citadel
Description: What better place to have a military takeover than at a military college's campus? That is the premise of The Citadel. Based directly off of the campus and its buildings, this medium-sized map goes for fairly straightforward gameplay, with a couple of quirks.
Present Development: XML has been checked and a stamp is expected shortly. Comments have slowed down significantly since Forging.
Name: Conquer 4
Creators: gimil, KEYOGI, and yeti_c
Description: In some ways, Conquer 4 is a simple map: all bonuses are determined by only two rules. But every territory can attack 8 ways and bonuses are where you make them. This map will certainly be crazy to play, with bonuses coming and going simply by conquering one territory.
Present Development: Despite the monumentality of the task, the XML has been posted, though as yet unchecked.
Name: Golfe du St-Laurent
Creators: Lone.prophet and Unit_2
Description: The Gulf of St. Lawrence (French, Golfe du St-Laurent) is the world's largest estuary, but conservation takes a backseat to beating the pulp out of others on this map of the gulf and its surrounding areas. It's an average-sized map with well-done textures and area-appropriate colors. Its classic gameplay is without any gimmicks and should be easy to pick up.
Present Development: Aside from a few muddlings about the map's title and a yet-to-be-checked XML, this map is winding down to a close.
Name: Imperium Romanum
Description: The Roman Empire was one of the most powerful empires that ever existed. This map encourages you to build that empire for yourself by commanding legions, cities, and ships to gain an edge on your foes. Graphics are vibrant and eye-catching, with lots of Rome-related paraphernalia on the edges.
Present Development: Recently moved to the Forge. Weird text warping effects between the Small and Large versions are being addressed.
Name: Nubian Egypt
Description: In what the creator calls the third map in the Egypt Quadtych, the lesser-known part of the Nile, Nubia, is getting covered. It's a small map with fairly easy bonuses, and a dedication to the Egyptian theme that cairns has cultivated in his other Egypt maps.
Present Development: With the current rate of this map's completion and the stallout of quenched maps going live, it looks like all three new Egypt maps will get posted at the same time.
Description: Calling Oasis a phenomenon would do it no credit. This graphical feast has taken the Foundry by storm, leaving several regular commenters drooling for the next update. It's based around a central objective Grand Oasis surrounded by decaying desert, and lots of one-territory bonuses sprinkled throughout. Watch out for this map, it's certain to change the way objective maps are made.
Present Development: XML is posted but army coordinate positions are being nitpicked at present.
Name: Poker Map
Creators: yeti_c, Coleman, and WidowMakers
Description: Go all in with this take on a poker game. With a mixed-up deck spread on a well-rendered poker table, gameplay will revolve around creating poker hands through force. No bluffs here, this should turn out to be quite an interesting map.
Present Development: XML has been posted, and the text explanations on the map are being fine-tuned for easier understanding.
Name: San Marino
Creator: Ruben Cassar
Description: The Ruben Cassar formula to a T: a simple map based around a small area. It's attractive to the eye, and while being average size has plenty of bonuses that should be easy to get and hold onto.
Present Development: Making small continent color changes to make the map seem more uniform.
Name: Supermax: Prison Riot
Creators: mibi and Coleman
Description: Rival gangs are at war with each other in a maximum security prison. They're willing to bribe guards, use weapons, and even take over the entire prison to accomplish their goals. This detailed map offers dozens of ways to build forces, and its gameplay is like no other on CC right now. Take a look at this one before it takes you by surprise.
Present Development: A finalized XML version has finally gotten posted, and checking should happen shortly.
Creators: ZeakCytho and Mjinga
Description: A small chain of islands is at war! This fictional archipelago is fought over by the players in a simple classic-style map. The sharp graphics go hand in hand with the lack of gameplay quirks, a driving impetus behind this map.
Present Development: Recently received its Graphics stamp. Feedback to improve the map is, as always, being encouraged.
Name: Baltic States
Description: This is a map of the three Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The graphics are still looking for a definite style, but significant improvements have been made from version 1. The gameplay looks to be mostly classic, but also utilizing a system of continents and subcontinents.
Present Development: Gameplay elements are being looked over right now, as well as the accompanying graphics.
Name: Das Schloß
Description: This map is unique in several ways. For one, it is the only map that can only be won by completing the objective. For two, it's gone back from quenching into the foundry with a major rework of the map's mechanics to fix some unforeseen balance issues.
Present Development: Discussions about the bonuses and the reworked gameplay are the main focus right now. Once issues are resolved on those, the map will get re-quenched.
Name: Eastern Hemisphere
Description: What happens when you slice the world in half then age it 90 years? This map showing the far side of the world around 1910! It's the time when the great European empires are crumbling, and the creator has worked hard on making gameplay appropriate to the time setting. Expect a fresh world experience soon.
Present Development: Changing text so it's thematically accurate and various other tweaks are the topics of discussion right now.
Name: The Era of the Three Kingdoms
Description: After the Han dynasty fell, three kingdoms arose to fight for dominance in China. Re-enact that bloodthirsty time period with this simple recreation of the region. The map is of average size, but the subcontinents make getting and keeping bonuses fairly easy and gameplay fast.
Present Development: Development has slowed by a fair margin, though comments are still rolling in to improve the map.
Description: The creator set out upon a simple goal: make a map about the way Europe really is, even down to Vatican City. He's stayed true to that vision, and the map reflects it, with a clean look to all the countries no matter their size. The map makes good use of natural boundaries to create impassables, adding to the clean feel of the map.
Present Development: A new composite title is being worked on, and the map recently got its Gameplay stamp.
Name: European Revolution
Creators: Gimil and yeti_c
Description: The Dark Ages were a time of political turmoil, with empires nonexistent and whole kingdoms subject to the occasional peasant revolt. That's the premise of this map, that offers a novel game play twist in the form of a mini-map, or rather the fact that the mini-map has attackable territories. Unite through force your kingdom then assault the other kingdoms when your armies can do so. Dark, yet simple graphics accentuate this darker time in Europe's history.
Present Development: The workability of the gameplay is a cause of concern. Small gameplay and graphics issues are being discussed aside from that.
Name: Forbidden City
Description: The Forbidden City has always been an interesting part of Chinese history since its construction in the Ming dynasty. So the most quenched mapmaker has taken a unique bent in portraying it. Instead of just featuring the City itself, he has added outsiders from all over history that have tried to take over the City in some way. Add to that the simple, illustrative graphics reminiscent of Chinese culture circa 19th century, and you've got the whole enchilada.
Present Development: Lots of little tweaks to improve the look and feel are driving the comments right now. Graphics have been improving with every version.
Description: This small map shows the nation of Haiti, the western half of the island of Hispaniola. The simple and clean colors and font choices reflect the purely classic gameplay used in the map.
Present Development: The bonuses are currently being hammered out in detail. Because of the map's small size, it is necessary that the bonus values be very balanced.
Name: Holy Roman Empire
Creators: Grayhawke and Pamoa
Description: The Holy Roman Empire has been said to neither be Holy, nor Roman, and most certainly not an Empire. At least CC players can fix the last part by building their own on this map detailing the HRE and surrounding nations. Taking a combination continent/influence bonus gameplay, the map tries to bring out some of the history of the HRE, all the while backing it with simple, solid graphics.
Present Development: Slightly slowed due to a vacation by Pamoa, but looking to be getting back into gear.
Description: Another small map in the pipeline, this time of the island nation of Madagascar. Gameplay is straightforward, and the territory naming accurately reflects the regions of the country. Graphics are fairly simple, which helps the appeal of the map.
Present Development: Small graphical issues are getting addressed, making this map look very likely to enter the Forge soon.
Name: Maze Craze
Creators: WidowMakers and yeti_c
Description: This map is big: 454 territories big. And it has a very novel gameplay revolving around neutrals that reset to much higher values when they're conquered. This is definitely a map to watch as it develops further.
Present Development: After a short hiatus, the map is back to the grindstone, working toward finalized graphics.
Name: Rail Australia
Description: Cairns is becoming a master of serial maps. Following up Rail USA and Rail Europe is this third map, Rail Australia. It brings, as expected, the rail system from Down Under into vivid color. Unlike the other two though, there are added twists to the map that should make play very interesting and varied.
Present Development: Improvements to graphics to improve map understanding are happening on a very consistent basis.
Description: Switzerland is famed for its bank accounts, neutrality in war, and sweeping mountains. So have a hostile takeover on this average-sized map of the country. Graphics are simple and the gameplay matches, with only classic continents and impassables.
Present Development: Ongoing concerns about the "Swiss-ness" of the map are being fielded.
Name: War of the Triple Alliance
Description: This map captures the War of the Triple Alliance, South America's bloodiest war, fought on one side by Paraguay and on the other by Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. The muted colors and faded images help make this map truly feel 19th Century. The gameplay is classic, lacking any sort of twist or gimmick.
Present Development: The gameplay is being hammered out right now, along with a few graphical tweaks. Some stamps should come in the near future.
Name: WWII Europe
Description: Long stalled due to its large size, this map has undergone a weight-loss program and now fits within the size requirements. Taking his WWII Eastern and Western Front maps and meshing them with a Central front in the middle, this is a map that covers the entire theater of the war in Europe. With a large scale, and lots of opportunities, it will definitely be the WWII map to play when it's quenched.
Present Development: The map is showing significant improvement and input is being requested on map abbreviations on the small and large versions.
Name: Bering Strait
Stamps: [Advanced Draft]
Description: This is a geographic map of the region of the Bering Sea. Half of the map is in Asia, half in America. The game play is all classic, with the minor exception of a few territories that are not part of any continent. The graphics are fairly simple, and capture the cold feeling of the Arctic.
Present Development: With an amazing 100% approval rate, this map looks poised to skyrocket straight to the Final Forge! The only issue at the moment is in making the color scheme cool, but differentiable to colorblind players.
Name: USA 6 Region Map Pack
Stamps: [Advanced Draft]
Description: This project is bold. WM is aiming to create 6 maps based on the 6 regions of the USA map, all with the same essential mechanics. The graphics are simple and effective, reflecting the colors and territories of the USA map while keeping a new set of flair. It's sure to be perfect tournament material, as well as an interesting set of maps to play with friends.
Present Development: Four of the six maps have been posted, and the combination capitals/interstates/continents bonus scheme has been settled upon. Discussion over the bonus amounts for the posted maps is the main topic right now.
In this issue of the foundry newsletter repected community member Blitzaholic wrote a short piece on his opinion and respect of the foundry.
Blitzaholic wrote:I guess what strikes me most about the Map Foundry is that there are many hard working people that put forth a great deal of time and effort into the details of making a map. There is a large variety of maps to be played and the fact that CC players have some suggestions and ideas on these maps, with the map makers remaining open, is great. The fact that the Map Foundry allows for collaboration on new projects only enhances this area of CC. Also, the vision, techniques and development is carefully crafted before Final Forge's, with a lot of input. Finally, the Map Foundry offers anyone guides on how to make a map, providing tools and map hand books for anyone interested in growing in this area. They are all very supportive and will aid the process for anyone willing to to create a new map.
Want to write an editorial for the Foundry Newsletter? Send a PM to TaCktiX (clicky) with either your intended topic, or the full editorial. We request that you keep it related to the foundry in some way, but there is no word limit or censor (common courtesy still required).
This week resident hippo, C.A. and old (real old ) friend to many has taken time out to be a part of this weeks spotlight. Oaktown kindly accepted to be quizzed on himself and his map, Eastern Hemisphere:
How old are you/what gender are you/where do you live? Answer specifically, vaguely, or not at all.
Let's just say that I bought the Thriller album when it came out. And I'm in the process of moving back to Northern California (Oaktown!) from Southern California. Can't say that I like one better than the other... oh, yes I can - the Bay Area kicks ass. Go A's, go Bears.
How did you find out about Conquer Club?
My roommate and I broke out an old Risk board and by day three of our game we decided there had to be a faster way... we found it on-line. Actually, I started at another such website but the software you had to download wasn't Mac compatible (which may explain why their maps look like pastel turds).
What interested you in mapmaking?
Another friend of mine started making the first Monopoly map, and I figured I could do at least a good a job as he. He never finished his - so I win. On that note, I should probably see if he still has the Photoshop files and knock it out for him.
What was your first map? Why that one?
Chinese Checkers... and I have been asking myself "why" ever since.
How many quenched maps do you have?
Four I think... does Seas count? Quenched, but in Forge limbo - that would be five.
What kind of feedback do you like getting?
Any kind that gives me a sense of what I should do next.
What "keeps you going" through getting a map through the Foundry?
Now that I've been through it a few times, and seen all of the rest of you go through the process, I know that it does, indeed, have an end. It may not seem like it, and that first map is a nightmare, but it's worth it when the map goes live.
Could you explain the premise behind this map?
That would be Eastern Hemisphere... well, in case somebody hasn't noticed I like making maps with a historical perspective - Berlin, Duck, Seas, now this. I wanted to make a map of the Eastern Hemisphere because I though it had the raw material for a good map, and the period leading up to the first world war was a pretty active one across that half of the world. Empires fell in Europe and across Asia, and the scramble for Africa got bloody. Once you have a theme and an era, the map makes itself.
What inspired you to create this map?
How did you decide what gameplay and graphics styles to go with?
I tend to like the classic style of play, but if I can throw a twist or two in to make the game interesting I will. People at this site keep playing Classic because it works, and it's what we know. Complex maps have their place and I'm glad we're getting creative, but make a map too complex and you lose some players, or it can seem gimmicky.
As far as graphics go, I look at a lot of old maps. There are good resources on the web for this, but I actually think it's more fun to look at books... you know, bound stacks of printed paper. It's important to have a good library nearby.
If you have a unique gameplay style, why?
Not so unique... the Trading Companies on the map are intended to represent the role that European trading companies were playing at the turn of the century: they could operate on their own or as arms of their government when needed, and they had the power to disrupt political and economic life in some regions.
How much time do you spend on each update? How much of that time do you enjoy?
Love updates... sometimes it'll just be a few minutes, sometimes I'll spend and hour or two pouring over the little details. On this particular map I actually enjoy busting out the tablet and drawing rivers and roughening up coastlines. Yup, I'm a geek.
Was there anything in the Foundry that you found surprising or unpredictable concerning your map?
I find the split on the mountains a bit disconcerting... they've been described by someone as "shit hot" while to most I suspect they're just "shit." The effect I'm going for works on old maps, less so on a monitor at 72 ppi.
Were there any suggestions that you absolutely loved? Or any that you really hated?
The suggestions around the Trading Companies really improved the gameplay. It took three or four stabs before we got it right - thanks everybody.
The suggestions that really make me hit my head against the table are the suggestions to completely redo something major that I, in the back of my mind, have always known needed to be redone. You know, something that will take hours to correct, but instead of doing it right I've just been patching it up. I haven't gotten that kind of comment yet on this map, and I while don't know what it might be it's got to be coming.
What do you think of the Foundry process in general?
This is where I'm supposed to make some snide remark about how bad the CA's are, right? That would be too easy. Instead I'll say that the process can be frustrating - when I have time to devote to a map, others might be busy on vacation and I don't get the feedback that I'm hoping for. Then when I'm busy for a week or two a wave of comments come in that I can't act upon. It's part of being in a community - we rely on each other, and we're stuck with each other.
But I have to say that compared to the rest of the CC forums, the Foundry is like a safe haven for the sane people around here. Let's try to keep it that way.
Most people seem to give feedback to all types of maps. The next largest group comment only one the ones they like, while others comment on the ones they think need it the most. Surprisingly, one person said that they comment on the ones they like the least! It seems that the largest reason for a lack of feedback is not community disinterest, since most people try to comment on all maps, but rather a lack of time to comment.
fireedud wrote:I give feedback when I'm in the mood. I don't think it's good, but that's how I do it.
bryguy wrote:I try my hardest to comment on every map. Yes, on some days (or weeks) I fall behind on commenting, and when that happens, I comment only on the maps that are not in the main foundry, and my favorites. The rest of the time tho, I try to comment on all of them
Kaplowitz wrote:If I really dont like a map, I will let it work itself out. Although sometimes, I like the map so much (like Charleston) that i have no clue what to say...even when its still adv. idea!
oaktown wrote:I'm glad you worded the answers as you did. I certainly "try" to give feedback to all maps, but I found it's not something I can do as often as I'd like... that's where the map lickers come in.
T-o-m wrote:I try to give feedback when i can, but i only really give in depth feedback when i'm not half asleep and i like the map a lot. I generally just point out things in maps that need changing, which i know is very annoying to receive that kind of feedback.
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See you next time!
TaCktiX & Editorial Staff.