THANK YOU for responding. To address your disagreements:
Natty: Polls are not useless because they're "disregarded by cartos" (which they aren't). Polls are useless because they provide next to no value whatsoever to the mapmaker.
VS: Okay, so you're saying they aren't useless but they are? I'm not following your logic here...
Natty: The only situation where polls can be even remotely useful is when you have a map draft and you want to know if there's enough support for it to go through. Even for map drafts, the situation varies - not every map needs a poll. If a poll becomes mandatory, it quickly becomes even less useful.
VS: This is exactly what the polls would be used for. If a poll becomes mandatory, how does that lessen its value?
Natty: Problem with other polls is, not enough people vote in them for them to provide any valuable input for the mapmaker. And even when they do get votes, the votes only come from those who frequent the foundry and take the time to vote on polls - actually, most post-drafting room polls only get votes from people who are already following the map thread.
VS: Yeah, I understand that. I figure the polls would be primarily to determine interest in the early stages.
Natty: As for pointing out flaws in the new system, come on, it's only been a few days, there's no way you can make any objective evaluation of the merits or flaws of the new system vs. old.
VS: But this is the old system, and it clearly didn't work before.
Natty: The foundry process is slow. This is a fact of life. As long as it keeps being run by volunteer power, I don't see any rehaul or redesign changing that. And do we really want maps to come out any faster? Already, there are often so many maps in beta at the same time, that they have to compete for attention among the players. If maps came out faster, it would mean more flaws would go unnoticed. More good maps escaping the notice of the general public.
VS: That's why I suggested more cartos - more quickness, but same efficiency. And it's better to have in the map waiting in Beta, in play
, than rotting in a Workshop.
VS: The Melting Pot seems so tucked away now, and new map activity there has plummeted
MrB: It's been 10 days since the changed structure has been in place. The focus of the move is to bring the attention of early development onto making a map draft, rather than discussing ideas that often lead to nothing substantial.
VS: Is it? I feel that's not conducive to first-time mapmakers, which you should be promoting. Many maps have started out as just text on a page, then develop into a draft.
VS: I respect your Foreman decisions, but I also feel responsible to say when I think something's not quite right. I think a re-haul of the system may be in order
MrB: Like I said, it's been 10 days since the change has been in place. Let's wait and see how things pan out, and how the "other things in the pipeline" effect things. If after a couple of months you still don;t think things are working, then I'll be open to consider further suggestions for how to improve things.
VS: That's not entirely true, you tried this for a duration of several months before, right? Like I said before, it changed for a reason, and I suspect the same issues that called for a redesign of the Drafting Room/Melting Pot will come up again. How can icons possibly make enough of a change to solve previous problems?
VS: I think it's worth discussing with your fellow cartos.
MrB: Indeed it is. Every change that takes place is subject to discussion long before, during and after the fact.
VS: I would hope.
VS: The Drafting Room left for a reason, and it came back for another, making me think that the system isn't working properly.
MrB: You weren't active in the foundry prior to the big reshuffle that took place over Christmas in 2009, and so are unable to make an informed judgement on how things previously worked. The big change was moving map threads from the top-level Main Foundry into the Gameplay and Graphics workshops. When I merged the old Drafting Room and Map Ideas subforums, I also introduced the Design Brief - which has never worked as it were intended, and in that respect you're right. The reintroduction of the Drafting Room has been made as an easier way to separate map drafts and ideas with potential from those that have none (ie 'Middle Earth/Star Wars/Nintendo/Sperm Bank/Pencil/Plasagna map anyone?'). Some of the plans in the pipeline relate specifically to this aspect of the foundry.
VS: If the Design Brief never worked, then why didn't you change it earlier? There's a fine line between dragging something out unnecessarily long and making a well-informed decision. It seems in most cases you prefer the former, for whatever reason. I'll comment further when I see what these icons do.
VS: The Foundry process crawls along at an incredibly slow pace, some due to the mapmakers, I'll admit, but some due to the cartos as well.
MrB: The speed of the foundry ebbs and flows depending on a number of factors. While some maps do move very slowly, this is predominantly due to the mapmaker. However, it is important to note that none of us are paid for our time here, and so we all fit in our mapmaking or other foundry tasks around our (often hectic) real lives -- Some of us do have lives beyond the internet! However, just because most maps crawl through the foundry doesn;t mean that all maps do. The Quad Cities map is on the brink of the Forge after a quick couple of months, and the First Nations map will probably make it in a quick couple of weeks!
VS: It's sad that a quick map through the Foundry takes "mere months", and First Nations is just a combination of two already quenched maps, so that's hardly an example. And Quad Cities is in the Graphics Workshop - God knows how long it'll be before Final Forge. And I do realize you have a life, I should hope you do, but there are responsibilities to uphold if you accept a volunteer position. If the hands on deck aren't enough to steer the ship, then the Captain needs more crew members.
VS: I've noticed in the Gameplay Workshop, I haven't seen TaCktiX or iancanton comment on a single map in ages.
MrB: I shall dock their wages accordingly
On a serious note though, Evil DIMwit is going to be massively missed in this area of the foundry. However, here's a challenge for you: when was the last time you posted an *in-depth* analysis of the gameplay of a map? Gameplay is one of the hardest things to comment on - even more-so when your insight is ignored or otherwise disregarded. I would encourage more and more people to spend more time thinking about how maps work than thinking of witty one-liners. If your post makes no contribution towards map development, then it is probably not a post worth making. Anyway, this thread is supposed to be about the Drafting Room.
VS: And yet I find MarshalNey is quite consistent in that area, as well as EvilD when he was on the force. I'll admit, in-depth analyses aren't easy, but I dare say I have done it before on multiple occasions, though mostly in the map's early stages to make the populous aware of the map and so that major gameplay edits that may affect the concept can be hammered out. And don't give me crap about going off-topic, please, this is quite relevant to the change in the Foundry.
VS: In the Graphics Workshop, maps are held up by the most frivolous edits, and other times the mapmaker's style is completely de-railed.
MrB: This is an interesting topic that may be worthy of further discussion elsewhere. This thread is supposed to be about the Drafting Room.
VS: Yes, yes it is worth discussing. I hope you talk to your Graphics people about this. And are you trying to find a reason to ban me? Seriously...
VS: In Final Forge, XML stamps are extremely slow for no apparent reason, considering many maps are waiting a long time even though Forza gave the OK already.
MrB: There is more to the XML and Beta stamping than the check that Forza very kindly carries out for us.
VS: Like what?
VS: My suggestion is to add more cartos
MrB: I've already mentioned that Evil DIMwit is going to be missed - in part due to the dearth of decent and regular gameplay commentators around the place. This has been a persistent problem in these parts - for some reason people seem to forget that the purpose of a map is to play a good game. This element aside, I'm pretty happy with the balance of the team at the moment. Way back in the day there was a single Cartographer... when I was a foundry newb that had increased to 3 but dropped back to 2 for some time. There are now 8 fully-blue cartography assistants - any more and we may as well make everybody who posts a carto!
VS: Har de har... There being only 2 cartos back in your day doesn't justify having a lack today, even if there are more now. Needs change, MrBenn. And I'm fully aware of the importance of gameplay. If you don't think the job's getting done, you could always post in the Gameplay Workshop for a change
VS: [and to] structure the Foundry on a step-by-step basis rather than a categorical basis (thus the graphics, gameplay, etc. are developed simultaneously).
MrB: Even before we had the different workshops, gameplay was supposed to be approved before the graphics. It's nonsense to suggest otherwise. For the most part, I agree that the two elements can be developed simultaneously, but too often people forget that the aesthetics of a map must be utterly subservient to gameplay. Without this differentiation, then we'll be back to the awkward times where mapmakers would "finish" their graphics with imperfect gameplay, and this impasses more critical than foundry drudgery.
VS: For the most part, gameplay and graphics go hand in hand. Graphics give clarity to the gameplay and the gameplay and concept help to develop the graphics. I think by allowing comments of all types, the Foundry will be more welcoming to other potential commenters. And having a step-by-step organization of the Foundry doesn't necessarily have to come to finished graphics and unfinished gameplay if structured carefully. Even so, minor graphical edits to clarify the new gameplay changes is by no means detrimental to the map's future.
VS: Also, I think polls need to play more of a part in a map's development, especially at the very beginning, because if no one's gonna be interested enough to follow the map through the grueling process of the Foundry, is it worth it?
MrB: Polls across the site (not just in the foundry) will never give a balanced view. You allude to the possibility of "weeding" maps at the initial development stages - this is exactly the purpose of the Drafting Room... but instead of allowing a whimsical poll to decide whether or not a map will make the grade, the Senior Cartographers will be expected to use their expereince and professional judgement to make that call.
VS: But if only the cartos like the map, why allow it to continue? Polls will get people more easily involved, allowing them to simply vote than taking the time to comment, if they're feeling lazy.
To sum up, the focus needs to be on the mapmakers and the freely-choosing commenters, not the Cartographers.
I'm offended that you say I'm not posting. I will admit my post rate is not one/day in map topics. That is intentional. I am not a "follow every map" or even a "follow a few maps" CA, and I never have been. I intentionally pop into a map, typically mid-stage, toss at it all of my first impressions AFTER it's gotten some revision work done to it, and see what the mapmaker's responses are. I was convinced over to the Gameplay Workshop by virtue of the fact that I always put a fresh perspective on any map I post in. That perspective is borne from having no inherent bias from having followed the map for several weeks or months.
Oh yes, and since I'm not posting at all:Struggle for Oil, Bucket ListGondwanaland, Clerical Errors
Cuba and Chinese Civil War I am deliberately not posting on, since I have been solicited in private for my feedback several times.
Though your strategy is not one I agree with, I'll admit to the two you've listed. But your last post of substance was almost a month before the earliest of the two you listed and the one before that was almost another month (I'm not including R&C, for the record):
2 Jan 2010: Colonial Africa:
TaCktiX wrote:The overall idea is solid and there's a good foundation for Gameplay. I'd say my only complaint is the relative mess that the connecting lines and impassables look like. I realize that you do a watercolor draft with a near-finished graphical look, but if you could make the lines cleaner I'm cool wit...
9 Dec 2010: Philadelphia:
TaCktiX wrote:As I'm reading it, you won't ever collect the underdog bonus, as losing conditions trigger with each territory conquering. I'm reading it as "less than 4 and you're gone," yet the underdogs reward 1, 2, and 3 territories each.
And neither of these are astounding, in comparison to the ones you've listed, so you can't say my accusation is without merit, TaCktiX.