Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

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Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby J_Indr on Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:50 pm

I have been reading through (albeit up until very recently not commenting) on the maps going through the Foundry. There are two things that occurred to me that could help in increasing the quality / variety of maps at CC.

1) Sometimes I feel that people are dismissive and unnecessarily harsh on new map-makers. OK, that's an individual thing. However, I think that structurally it should be made more clear to say what we expect from new maps. Original idea / design / gameplay; I know. But I guess that all is not something you can expect from an inexperienced map-maker.
There seems to be a resistance to a classic map design (i.e. no special gameplay, just territories in bonus regions, at most with some special bonus in capitals). Fair enough, these maps can be tedious and, in terms of gameplay, repetitive, but why not have a variety available? Also, these are the maps that are the easiest way for novice map-makers to get involved with the Foundry process.
Would it make sense to even establish a sort of internal guidelines that would suggest that the gameplay itself doesn't need to be very original for the FIRST (or the first two) maps of a map-maker? Then you would obviously expect more interesting and elaborate gameplay...
(I'm thinking that the Papua New Guinea is an absolutely exquisite map, design-wise, although does not offer any original gameplay)

2) USA maps. I for one love the idea of Mega USA map, but I agree that it's a bit boring and unrepresentative to have such a huge amount of the USA maps. Would it make sense to have some internal discouragement of USA maps - unless they offer some very very special gameplay and theme that simply couldn't be used elsewhere?

These are just ideas. But I'd be interested in your reactions (and also on other suggestions of ways of BOTH helping novice map-makers while also having guidelines that help stimulate a creation of better maps).
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby spacewrekker on Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:53 pm

i've just posted my first map idea/rough draft in the drafting room and totally agree with 1). i enjoy more complicated gameplay maps once and awhile - but i really do prefer to bust out a few speed games some time during the day and find the smaller, straight-forward maps (like the USA-themed maps by WidowMakers) ideal for this. unfortunately, there aren't enough quality maps for quick speed games - sure, there are lots but there should be way more and wouldn't it be great to have a series of themed maps such as Star Trek: Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, (or Tour de France 2012, Stages 1-11 and Stages 12-20 :D ) etc.?

the smaller, less complicated maps are great for novice map-makers, new players! & speed games and their creation should be encouraged.
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby natty dread on Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:28 pm

J_Indr wrote:1) Sometimes I feel that people are dismissive and unnecessarily harsh on new map-makers.


Sorry, but making maps is not a right on CC. It's a priviledge, and only when you've proved that you can bring something worthwhile on the table, your map project will be taken seriously.

That is to say, everyone is welcome to try to make a map. But if they do it and put it out there, they have to be prepared to face all the criticism, feedback and suggestions with an open mind and try to better themselves. And sometimes, the idea is just really bad or stupid, and then it's best that the new mapmaker hears it straight away so that instead of wasting time on a bad idea, he can focus his efforts on a better one.

J_Indr wrote:I think that structurally it should be made more clear to say what we expect from new maps. Original idea / design / gameplay; I know. But I guess that all is not something you can expect from an inexperienced map-maker.


It helps if you don't run head-first into mapmaking. Stick around in the foundry for a while. Follow some maps, see how it's done, see how maps develop from start to finish, and you'll have some kind of idea of what it takes.

J_Indr wrote:There seems to be a resistance to a classic map design (i.e. no special gameplay, just territories in bonus regions, at most with some special bonus in capitals).


No there isn't, there are plenty of classic-gameplay maps in the foundry right now. But a new map must bring something unique and interesting to CC. If your idea is boring, and the gameplay has no redeeming qualities, then the whole map is boring.

J_Indr wrote:Would it make sense to even establish a sort of internal guidelines that would suggest that the gameplay itself doesn't need to be very original for the FIRST (or the first two) maps of a map-maker?


No, it would absolutely make no sense whatsoever. There will NEVER be more lax guidelines for mapmaking just because the mapmaker is inexperienced. That is NOT how the foundry works. The foundry does not exist to satisfy the creative urges of mapmakers (well, it does that, but that is not it's purpose). The foundry exists to create the best possible maps for the players, and if we let mapmakers make sub-par maps just because "they're new and can't do any better yet" then what's the point, we might as well rename the site to Landgrab 2.0 at that point...

However, like I said, there are plenty of classic-gameplay maps in the foundry, and there's no resistance for them as long as the map offers something new and interesting.

J_Indr wrote:2) USA maps. I for one love the idea of Mega USA map, but I agree that it's a bit boring and unrepresentative to have such a huge amount of the USA maps.


Maps of USA have to fulfill the same guidelines as any other - they need to bring something new and interesting to CC. If they do that, and there's support for having those maps, and they meet the CC standards (both thematically and graphically) - then there's no reason not to have them.
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby lostatlimbo on Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:31 pm

I don't understand all the fuss over "too many USA maps". Its a huge, diverse country!

There are tons of maps of Europe as well, and while that contains many countries its a similarly sized landmass. Beyond that many of the countries have multiple individual maps as well.

As long as a map significantly separates itself from maps based on a similar reason then it should be allowed.
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby DiM on Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:06 am

i don't like all the usa maps either. yeah it's a big and diverse place but that's not the reason we have so many usa maps.
the fact that americans form the majority of players is the true reason behind all the usa maps.

if we had a majority of french players we'd probably have dozens of maps about france and its regions and cities.

what i don't like is the fact that most usa maps are being cut a slack when it comes to graphics or gameplay, just because every time such a map is made there's bound to be some americans who relate to that map and are eager to see it in play that they push and push.

one perfect example is the usa map pack. it looks and plays in a completely bland manner. there's nothing wrong but nothing good about it either. you play it once or twice and that's it. you've already forgotten it.
all 6 maps in this pack combined have close to 90k games in almost 3 years. that's an average of almost 5k games per year per map. not a good stat at all considering it's supposed to have a really easy to understand gameplay that's clear from the start to any noob.
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby natty dread on Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:22 am

lostatlimbo wrote:I don't understand all the fuss over "too many USA maps". Its a huge, diverse country!


So is Russia. Where are the tons of maps of different parts of Russia?

Or China! Now there's a diverse country. So many cultures, all under the same flag...
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby natty dread on Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:24 am

DiM wrote:what i don't like is the fact that most usa maps are being cut a slack when it comes to graphics or gameplay, just because every time such a map is made there's bound to be some americans who relate to that map and are eager to see it in play that they push and push.


The foundry mods should just ignore those people. Just because some people want to play a map soon should be no reason to give it a fast pass through the foundry.
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby koontz1973 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:48 am

natty_dread wrote:Sorry, but making maps is not a right on CC. It's a priviledge, and only when you've proved that you can bring something worthwhile on the table, your map project will be taken seriously.


While I agree with this, I will say that a lot of map makers tend to be a bit off puttish about some of the maps posted by new makers. Encouragement should always be given to a new map maker or we may find we lose someone who could grow to be a good map maker. But encouragement should not mean stamps and letting new map makers get away with lower standards though.
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby gimil on Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:50 pm

I came in here intending on posting something of substance...But natty mega post and koontz last post have said pretty much everything I would have and covered my entire foundry doctrine!



Cheers guys,
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby lostatlimbo on Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:27 am

DiM wrote:one perfect example is the usa map pack. it looks and plays in a completely bland manner. there's nothing wrong but nothing good about it either. you play it once or twice and that's it. you've already forgotten it.
all 6 maps in this pack combined have close to 90k games in almost 3 years. that's an average of almost 5k games per year per map. not a good stat at all considering it's supposed to have a really easy to understand gameplay that's clear from the start to any noob.


I can't argue that. They are bland looking and have uninspired gameplay, but I love having them available split up for tournaments.

If you think about it, the same goes for Europe. You have the entire continent on two maps (plus several historical versions), but then you have the regions split out, and then even the countries. That sort of flexibility is awesome for building tournament themes.

The main USA map is the worst, imo. I would love it if someone redid the graphics on that. Maybe isiah can improve upon the look in his Mega map and then apply improvements to the smaller USA map?
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby natty dread on Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:45 am

lostatlimbo wrote:The main USA map is the worst, imo. I would love it if someone redid the graphics on that.


Not going to happen, lackattack is "too attached" to that map. :roll:
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby lostatlimbo on Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:51 pm

Cairns seems to be on a mission to make a map of every nook and cranny in or near Australia with 4 in the foundry and at least 4 in already live. They all have the same basic look and same basic gameplay.

Yet no one complains about too many Aussie maps?
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby DiM on Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:00 pm

lostatlimbo wrote:Cairns seems to be on a mission to make a map of every nook and cranny in or near Australia with 4 in the foundry and at least 4 in already live. They all have the same basic look and same basic gameplay.

Yet no one complains about too many Aussie maps?



cairnswk is not really the type of guy you'd want to start complaining about. over the years he's become extremely defensive and in certain aspects even vindictive.
i personally am disappointed in all the maps he keeps churning out that look the same and play the same but if nobody bothers to say anything then i won't either. from time to time he does produce something interesting but it has become rarer and rarer because he chose quantity over quality and blandness over innovation.


PS: i know cairns is gonna make me regret posting this. nothing personal mate, it's merely my opinion.
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby cairnswk on Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:57 pm

DiM wrote:
lostatlimbo wrote:Cairns seems to be on a mission to make a map of every nook and cranny in or near Australia with 4 in the foundry and at least 4 in already live. They all have the same basic look and same basic gameplay.

Yet no one complains about too many Aussie maps?



cairnswk is not really the type of guy you'd want to start complaining about. over the years he's become extremely defensive and in certain aspects even vindictive.
i personally am disappointed in all the maps he keeps churning out that look the same and play the same but if nobody bothers to say anything then i won't either. from time to time he does produce something interesting but it has become rarer and rarer because he chose quantity over quality and blandness over innovation.


PS: i know cairns is gonna make me regret posting this. nothing personal mate, it's merely my opinion.


DiM, even thought you post this here, i am aware of your opinion from other places reading those postings and between the lines. I am not going to make you regret anything, how can i, i don't have control or any other such deisre over anything you do...you're free to post what you like and do whatever you want.

You are possibly right that i do chose quantity over your (and others) perception of quality, but in my defense i have my skill level and the software i use. I can say that there are only certain things achievable with some software that i use. I can also say that i also explore different aspects i place into my maps to determine what looks good and what doesn't.
Am i going to waste my time on something that i perceive as being shitty to me? No, the same as i wouldn't expect you too.
Therefore, yes some of the maps will come out much the same..and as i have learned, you can't expect everyone to like everything that you do.

Am i going to waste my time hammering on about your maps that i don't like? No, i have my opinions on them just like you do on mine, but i don't go sharing those opinions all over the place simply because i might be disappointed in what you produce.
What you produce is what you are capable of, even if some of your maps in my mind have similar theme and graphic style of late.

Am i going to waste my time fighting battles/agruments that i know i will lose because others are overly opinionated and try to push their deisres on my creative process, or perhaps they have the right opinion? No. I'd prefer to spend the great majority of my time producing something that can be used, rather than arguing about this that or the other thing. This constant back and forward about declining standards etc etc is a waste of time to my mind, and defeat that overall purpose of being proactive. But then some people have a permanent pre-dispotition towards complaining and that's all they know how to do.

As for lostatlimbo's post, what can i say...he's entitled to his opinion.
I doubt that they all have the same basic look, however some have similar themes...as for gameplay, well, i have learned the great majority of players here prefer classic or near that style gameplay. Even you DiM, don't go very far outside that box.
So far my count is...
USA - 40 or more (including maps with USA in them)
Austalia - 10 (including those in drafts and Pot Mosbi & NZ)
He's lucky i haven't done maps for each state in Australia, and all the capital cities. ;)

I honestly don't know what all the fuss is about, except that, yes some people have come into the foundry and want to make a big noise about themselves, instead of simply getting on and producing maps in a volunteer and enjoyable manner and being happy. I can't say the foundry has been an entirely happy place of late since that has happened.
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Re: Encouraging novice map-makers & USA discouragement

Postby DiM on Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:18 am

cairnswk wrote:You are possibly right that i do chose quantity over your (and others) perception of quality, but in my defense i have my skill level and the software i use.


software or skill level is not an excuse mate. i've seen masterpieces done in paint. things that would blow your mind and you'd never imagine mspaint was capable of that. as for the skill, well, i perceive the foundry as a place to try new things and improve.you don't. i'm looking at your 2007 maps and your 2012 maps and they're basically the same. if it was nice in 2007 ok in 2008 and decent in 2009 i honestly would not call it passable in 2012.
you made rail usa in 2007. compare it to rail asia that you're making now and show me where 5 years of map making experience can be seen.
compare halloween with salem's switch. again no visible improvement in style or technique.

you have a reputation and a certain statute but in my opinion if a new guy came to the foundry today and made a map like salem or rail asia he'd never get the graphics badge.
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