Decline in map standards.

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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby DiM on Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:07 pm

ViperOverLord wrote:
DiM wrote:northwest passage, thailand, transsib, lunar war, hive, rail africa, austerlitz, gilgamesh (atlantis, monsters mentioned earlier) are just a few maps the last 2 and a half years that in my opinion look really bad and should have never been quenched. and no, i'm not judging by current standards, i'm merely comparing to other maps made in the same period. some of those maps would probably fail the the foundry standards of 2007. ;)


Obviously, I don't come at it from a bonafide map maker (or even artist's) p.o.v. But I'm relatively pleased with the maps you mention. What exactly do you find wrong with those maps?

I'm happy with the layouts and themes and bonus structures of those maps. I'm guessing you find something aesthetically bad with those maps?



generally my comments are related to graphics. i can't judge the gameplay of a map without playing it and if the graphics suck i will most likely avoid it.
there are also maps that look good but are a mess to play (for example 13 colonies).

anyway, yes aesthetically those maps are subpar. monsters looks like somebody discovered clipart and bevel and abused it like hell. graphically speaking is atrocious. maybe it plays well, i don't know and hopefully i never will.
hive is absolutely disgusting in all aspects, ranging from the chromatic choices to the execution. i'm actually very very surprised widowmakers made it.
lunar war has some really badly executed elements. like the blurry moon or the bad little windows of the legend. also you have blue space void in the legend and then it's all black on the map.
rail africa actually looks poorer than rail usa which was made years before.
northwest passage looks very blurry and undefined. like all the territs are mooshed together into each other. and all that glow on the terit names...
transsib looks blurry and i don't know, poorly executed which is actually weird because natty had already made orient express several months before and that looks a lot better and is one of the nicest ones of that period.

and again, i'm not comparing those maps to the current standards or some imaginary standards i have in my head. i'm comparing them with maps from the same period, maps like the first nation series, dawn of ages, macedonia, flanders, napoleonic europe, cyprus or middle ages. these look much better and more importantly the technique and execution is better.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby natty dread on Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:13 pm

DiM wrote:transsib looks blurry and i don't know, poorly executed which is actually weird because natty had already made orient express several months before and that looks a lot better and is one of the nicest ones of that period.


I had just changed softwares between those maps. Orient express was the last map I made with Paint.net, Transsib was the first I made with GIMP. In retrospect, I probably should have spent more time on transsib, but what's done is done.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby The Bison King on Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:30 pm

I really don't feel like you nee to make excuses for Transsib. I think that map looks fine. In fact I'm playing it right now.



... lunar war though, ehh...
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby The Bison King on Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:34 pm

... ok looking at it now I do see a bit of the blurriness that was mentioned, but It's not a deal breaker by any means.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby DiM on Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:52 pm

The Bison King wrote:... ok looking at it now I do see a bit of the blurriness that was mentioned, but It's not a deal breaker by any means.


deal breaker is a very subjective term. whether one person would play it or not is up to his own taste and standards.

i'm not saying the map is unplayable, i'm merely saying that some maps for various reasons (blurriness, pixelation, inconsistency etc) are of a lower graphic quality than other maps from that same time frame.
i'm not even talking about theme or style cause those are also subjective things.
just technical aspects that can be measured and quantified.

for example the hive map is pixelated and the transsib map is blurry. first nation americas is neither. same for dawn of ages or the other better maps i mentioned.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby thenobodies80 on Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:01 pm

I don't think that the topic of this discussion was where you're pushing the current discussion guys! What koontz asked was to talk about the possible objective causes, if there are, of the declining of the foundry standards, not to compare maps.

i've lost the count of time in which I've said that compare maps is the most stupid and useless thing in the world. I can stay here and spent the next 30 mins to explain once again the reasons, but I want to give a reply to the original topic so I just give you two pics to look at. One is a 1955 car, the other a 2010 one. Then think and ask to yourself which one is the best car...if you can give an answer, then think if your answer it's just matter of personal taste or an objective one. If you can say it's an objective answer, then you are a liar! :mrgreen:

1955 car
2010 car

Now look at the two pics and keep the answer for yourself, instead please give me a chance to bring this thread on-topic and use the next minutes to write an answer for the original koontz "question":

It has been said, and many agree with it, that the standards within the map making community for conquer club has declined over the past year or two. If, and this is a big if, is this true, and who is to blame for it and what can be done about it.


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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby DiM on Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:27 pm

actually not comparing maps would be the stupidest thing in the world ;)

in fact the very rules of mapmaking stipulate that maps must be unique in style, location, theme, whatever. how can you establish the uniqueness if not by comparison?

yes you can't say a map's theme is better than another's and claim that to be the absolute truth. there's bound to be some other guy who thinks differently and he wouldn't be wrong either cause it's a matter of personal taste.

but you can clearly say that this map is pixelated, that map is blurry, or that one map has wrong shadow directions that don't correspond to the lighting, or that some borders aren't smoothly drawn. there are tons of technical non-subjective aspects that can be quantified and used for comparison.
if in 2007 a map with pixelated borders was accepted i don't expect that to happen several years later when the standards are supposed to be higher.
style and theme may or may not change, but one thing that must always evolve is the technical aspect. if 5 years later your borders are still pixelated then the theme or the style don't even matter because you haven't evolved.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby thenobodies80 on Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:11 pm

ok. Now, i think that give to your question a perfect answer is almost impossible. But certainly if there's something I don't want to do is to blame someone for the current situation.
Things happens for various reasons and i think that try to find a person or a group of person just to point your finger at him/them doesn't solve the problems, if there are problems. Certainly I don't pretend to not know what are the objective causes of the current problems but i think that everyone in the foundry, in the past or in the present, is partially responsible of what has happened. The foundry isn't just a forum, it has no tangible parts or elements, it is just what we want it to be. This is a great thing, because if something is wrong we have just to talk and decide what's wrong and change it again. The important thing is to discuss things and remember to try to speak with the others on the same level, there's no mapmaker that can have a community knowledge to decide what is 100% right or wrong for the foundry. certainly experience can help you to stay on the right road, but sometimes a new guys, with no maps produced can propose a great idea to solve numerous problems.
All those words just to list the first issue I see in the foundry, the lack of communication. It could seem something not related with the current standards quality, but this is not true. If mapmaker "welcome" every CC users treating him and his thoughts like the last person they have to take into account, the community interest for the foundry can only die. And if the communiyt interest for the foundry will die, the mapmakers community will become a closed group in which everyone has the same opinions and the same ways to do things....and we knpw that this certainly doesn't help to grow.

to grow, grow is certainly the second weak point and cause. we know that the old foundry group has left the foundry (probably becuase they were tired to listen to people who don't know about maps) some time ago. Some people can easily says that the standards started to decline exactly in that period. Let me say that it is partially true. The reason is that the old crew didn't explained to the new guys how to do things. I think that the current mapmakers are learning and soon the quality of maps will reach a level we never had in past. But mapmaking is not just "how good you're at draw things"...there's much more in it that use a graphics software or calculate some bonuses. When I say that the old guys didn't explained to the new ones, I'm not saying that they didn't suggest how to draw smmother borders or things like that. Just they didn't give to the new group of people the opportunity to understand how the foundry was supposed to work. When I posted for the first time in the foundry, i discovered in few time that the only rule that there was here was the darwin one: just the stronger survive! at that time that was the only way to have a map quenched. And I'm not saying you had to be so much stubborn to continue with your map project, but instead that you had to stringly believe that your map was worth to be made.
Nowdays I see many users that try to produce a map just because it could be fun or just for the medals or just because a map has never be done. Unfortunately not everything can be done in this way. Do maps requires passion, sacrifice and i think that mapmakers should try to think again that their maps should be produce to be "sold" to the CC business. In the old times if the "business" (CC) wasn't interested, you had to find a way to make your map interesting or your map would have no chance to have a future. Let me say that through the years this thing has been lost.

This bring us to the next weak point: the lack of updates. The foundry is a creative place and the worst thing you can do with creative people is to not give them new toys to play with. If the mapmakers have almost the same features to use for 3/4 years the creativity, the introduction of new ideas can only be a sweet dream. Nowdays we live in a foundry in which see the foundry foreman or a CA announcing a costant flow of updates is just an utopia. What I can say is that probably this year will be much better and probably thing swill be better in the future, but in the same time it's a cartain thing that the lack of updates has contributed to bring the foundry and their standards to the current ones. When we have always the same things we can try to map every place on Earth, explore any ideas, but in the end all the maps will look the same, specially when the foundry has produced more than 200 maps. I'm strongly confident that if we would have more updates the things would be different and we shouldn't be here now to write about this topic and we wouldn't have to read in the forums post by people complaining about the "flat" maps of the last (at least) 2 years.

The lack of updates bring us to the next point, the CAs. I think that the CAs lived a period of disillusion and they "passed" this sentiment to the mapmakers. this has caused a general feeling of stagnation in the foundry,like we draw maps just because this is what we do. One thing I really like to do is to try to have more active CAs, that push mapmakers to develope the best possible maps, not let the mapmakers have to think about standards, it's not their role to think about standards. It's up to CAs to ensure that maps reach the CC standards. I think that recently i read too much the foundry goers use the phrase "your map doesn't reach the foundry standards", when instead i would like to read different things.....share ideas, thoughts, opinions....
This is my 1st priority and I'm working to solve it, mapmakers and foundry goers has not to do the CAs job and if they do the CAs job probably it's because they should apply for a CA position ( :mrgreen: ) or maybe the CAs are not doing their work in the right way. And if the CAs are not doing their work in the proper way it's impossible to ensure that the standards are met, even if you have raffaello, michelangelo, leonardo (and all other ninja turtles ;) ) around in the foundry to draw maps. With the new year I asked to myself and to all my CAs to do their job smiling and in the proper way....if not... we're not paid and we can leave when we want.

On the counter part, the people....I know that all mapmakers have a great ego, but another issue I see that cause a different percepition of the standards is the fact that many mapmakers think that they are arrived, that there's nothing that they can learn from the others. They find hard to listen and accept suggestion from the others. This is a wrong thing, here no one is a professor, no one is god, no one knows everything about mapmaking. I don't care if someone has produced zero, one, ten, thirty maps....there's always space to learn soemthing. Like I said earlier we, all, should try to talk and listen each other thinking to be all on the same level, because if you can explain something to a new mapmaker, the new mapmaker, maybe can explain something to you. With discussion the foundry works and the standards stay high. With the silence or with the fear to say something just because "you're too new" the standards can only decline and the foundry die.

I clicked the preview button right now and I realized I typed a lot and that it's 1:00 am. Since all my clones are off becuase they need some repairs and that my brain usually play tricks on my during the late hours, it's better if I click the submit button and postpone the rest of this probalby long topic for tomorrow.

Good night and Good Valentine Day to everyone
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edit: DiM, I understand what you're trying to say, but it's not the original topic. ;)

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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby natty dread on Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:37 pm

thenobodies80 wrote:On the counter part, the people....I know that all mapmakers have a great ego, but another issue I see that cause a different percepition of the standards is the fact that many mapmakers think that they are arrived, that there's nothing that they can learn from the others. They find hard to listen and accept suggestion from the others. This is a wrong thing, here no one is a professor, no one is god, no one knows everything about mapmaking. I don't care if someone has produced zero, one, ten, thirty maps....there's always space to learn soemthing. Like I said earlier we, all, should try to talk and listen each other thinking to be all on the same level, because if you can explain something to a new mapmaker, the new mapmaker, maybe can explain something to you.


I think this is a really good point to make and we should all take this to heart.

I know that personally, I always strive to learn new things, and I hope that I never stop learning new things... I don't think anyone can ever become so good at something that he can no longer learn anything new about it.

And yet, even given that I'm willing to learn things... when someone gives a suggestion that I disagree with, I often catch myself thinking "that guy is just a noob" or "that guy doesn't know what he's talking about" or stuff like that... I try to avoid thinking like that, and I try not to let it affect my decisions... but I think it's impossible to prevent it alltogether.

It's like a fundamental part of human nature: when you get good at something, gain experience, it's easy to get "overconfident" with that knowledge... of course it's not always a bad thing, after all it's also good and necessary to have pride in your work. So, I think the best anyone can do is to try to recognize when one starts to get thoughts that are not constructive, and try to not let them control one's actions.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby RjBeals on Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:35 pm

ViperOverLord wrote:... Some people might wonder what's going on when they see maps made based on cows...


i liked the original cow beef map.

And if anybody is allowed to start a map, and is persistent enough to follow it for a year or two, then their hard work is paid off with a quench. That's what the foundry is. Always has been. Most people don't have the patience.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby natty dread on Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:41 pm

RjBeals wrote:And if anybody is allowed to start a map, and is persistent enough to follow it for a year or two, then their hard work is paid off with a quench. That's what the foundry is. Always has been. Most people don't have the patience.


No, that's not what it is, and it's not what it should be.

Working a certain amount of time or doing a certain amount of work absolutely should NOT be enough to get a map quenched. There's maybe been a time when that has been true for some maps, but if that was how the foundry was supposed to function, then we might as well retire all the CA:s and just have an automated script uploading maps from threads that have been on the forums for a certain time.

Frankly, I'm not even sure what you're trying to say with your post, because it doesn't make any sense to me at all.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby RjBeals on Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:58 pm

maps are consistent in quality here. I don't see the decline. Some are better than others, but a good bell curve.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby DiM on Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:11 pm

RjBeals wrote:maps are consistent in quality here. I don't see the decline. Some are better than others, but a good bell curve.


the fact that you don't see the decline doesn't mean there's an increase either.
an ideal foundry should be constantly increasing the quality of maps produces.

so even if we assume the quality of maps has not decreased it has actually decreased compared to what it should have been.

here's a quick graph.

quality over time
red represents how the ideal foundry should be. constant increase where each new map is better than the last.
blue is how i see it. increase at first followed by a slight decline with a more recent slight increase.
green is how others seem to see it. increase at first followed by a plateau (consistency)


Click image to enlarge.
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby koontz1973 on Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:36 pm

DiM wrote:the fact that you don't see the decline doesn't mean there's an increase either.
an ideal foundry should be constantly increasing the quality of maps produces.


Going to step in here DiM and point some things out to you and the others. How can a foundry keep getting better under the current system. Your graph only shows it for people who have stayed here for the whole time. The foundry does not work that way and never should. Anyone is allowed to have a go.

Right now, apart from the first post or two, this thread has been this map verses that map. This is not what I asked in my original post. I asked 3 simple things. Hijacking the thread into what CA cairnswk or natty would make is not in the list of questions. At no point did I ask for a list of maps that are bad. I can make a huge list of maps that should not be here but that would serve no purpose.

Has the standards decreased - yes or no.
Is anyone to blame - yes or no.
Can it be fixed and how - ?

Here is my own personal opinion on some of these questions.
Have standards decreased - no, over the last few years, they have increased a lot. It can be said that maps in the foundry today look like early maps, but these are maps made by new comers. If a map maker who has produced 3 or 4 maps keeps coming up with the same stuff, then maybe he should be encouraged to try something different. natty made the point that some of the early map makers left the site and the new ones have tried to catch up. New or old map makers should never be allowed to pass of sub standard graphics/gameplay.
Is anyone to blame for this - if anyone is to blame, a lot of people, the experienced map makers on the site. If they are not willing to share there knowledge, then roast them over an open fire. ;) Inexperienced map makers need to take the blame also, they need to learn and push the boundries, not rely on what has come before, so we can stuff them with chestnuts and put them on the fires also. ;) Can the CA's take the blame, by far, this is te group that has the least blame. They do the job which is intended for them to do. Can there be more of them, yes, can they post more, yes, but do they let maps that look crap into play, no. Remember, this is a subjective thing - looks. What some may not like, others love. What you consider trash, others may consider a masterpiece. But do the CA's let maps into play that have bad graphics, no (and yes for the odd one that does slip through the net). Can the community take some blame, most certainly, if they do not post, how can we assume it will be played.

Can it be fixed? Yes...... but there is no point of me answering my own thread.

It has been said, and many agree with it, that the standards within the map making community for conquer club has declined over the past year or two. If, and this is a big if, is this true, and who is to blame for it and what can be done about it.

Now guys, please stay on topic. :mrgreen:
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Re: Decline in map standards.

Postby DiM on Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:04 am

koontz1973 wrote:
DiM wrote:the fact that you don't see the decline doesn't mean there's an increase either.
an ideal foundry should be constantly increasing the quality of maps produces.


Going to step in here DiM and point some things out to you and the others. How can a foundry keep getting better under the current system. Your graph only shows it for people who have stayed here for the whole time. The foundry does not work that way and never should. Anyone is allowed to have a go.


first of all the red line was the ideal foundry. basically impossible to achieve but something to strive for.

koontz1973 wrote:Right now, apart from the first post or two, this thread has been this map verses that map. This is not what I asked in my original post. I asked 3 simple things. Hijacking the thread into what CA cairnswk or natty would make is not in the list of questions. At no point did I ask for a list of maps that are bad. I can make a huge list of maps that should not be here but that would serve no purpose.


i already pointed in my first post what i think the reasons for the decline are and how this could be solved. i merely compared maps because some people said map quality has not declined. i wasn't trying to hijack the thread.

koontz1973 wrote:Have standards decreased - no, over the last few years, they have increased a lot. It can be said that maps in the foundry today look like early maps, but these are maps made by new comers.


that's the lamest excuse ever. if all the map makers that we have now suddenly leave and tomorrow a bunch of new guys that can only use mspaint replace us, will mspaint maps be accepted?

when i came to this site i barely knew how to use mspaint. i had to learn everything from scratch and i wasn't cut a slack just because i was new. i had to nitpick every little pixel and make sure my map was up to par. nobody said "hey he's a new guy, leave him be and let's ignore some of his graphic issues cause he'll probably get better on his next map"
in retrospect, had i been cut some slack i probably would have never gotten better.

koontz1973 wrote:If a map maker who has produced 3 or 4 maps keeps coming up with the same stuff, then maybe he should be encouraged to try something different. natty made the point that some of the early map makers left the site and the new ones have tried to catch up. New or old map makers should never be allowed to pass of sub standard graphics/gameplay.


and yet they are.

koontz1973 wrote:Is anyone to blame for this - if anyone is to blame, a lot of people, the experienced map makers on the site. If they are not willing to share there knowledge, then roast them over an open fire. ;)


actually while i agree that sharing knowledge would be great i don't think this is actually a big issue. if somebody wants to learn the best place is google. for any kind of image editing software you can find hundreds of thousands of tutorials. sure it's nice to see how a fellow map maker did this or that but that won't help at all if you don't already know the software by heart and that can only be achieved by dound some of those hundreds of thousands of tutorials.

koontz1973 wrote: Remember, this is a subjective thing - looks. What some may not like, others love. What you consider trash, others may consider a masterpiece.


i doubt anybody considers pixelated or incomplete borders a masterpiece. or that anybody prefers a blurry washed out image over a nice crisp one.
style or theme are subjective. technical execution is not.

just look at natty's transsib map. this is the current map with blurry borders and this is his new version with borders redrawn in 15 minutes. a simple 15 minute change and the map is all of a sudden looking good. why wasn't this mentioned back then? you can't possibly tell me it was impossible to do. perhaps he didn't know how to do it, but he could have been pushed to find out how. the fact that nobody bothered to push him, for me signifies a decrease in the standards of that time.
“In the beginning God said, the four-dimensional divergence of an antisymmetric, second rank tensor equals zero, and there was light, and it was good. And on the seventh day he rested.”- Michio Kaku
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