1. Updated Resource Submission Rules: All model & skin resource submissions must now include an in-game screenshot. This is to help speed up the moderation process and to show how the model and/or texture looks like from the in-game camera.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. DID YOU KNOW - That you can unlock new rank icons by posting on the forums or winning contests? Click here to customize your rank or read our User Rank Policy to see a list of ranks that you can unlock. Have you won a contest and still havn't received your rank award? Then please contact the administration.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. The poll for Hive's 12th Concept Art Contest is up! Go cast your vote for your favourite genie!
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Travel to distant realms and encounter scenes unknown to the common folk. The Greatest of Adventures is upon us with the 8th Cinematic Contest. Join in on a fun ride.
    Dismiss Notice
  5. The 18th Icon Contest is ON! Choose any ingame unit and give him/her Hero abilities. Good luck to all.
    Dismiss Notice
  6. Contestants are to create a scene set in the Stone Age. Come and see what you can come up with. We wish you the best of luck!
    Dismiss Notice
  7. Colour outside the lines! Techtree Contest #13 is a go. The contest is optionally paired.
    Dismiss Notice
  8. Greetings cerebrates, our Swarm needs new spawners that will have numerous children. Join the HIVE's 31st Modeling Contest - Spawners and Spawned! The contest is optionally paired.
    Dismiss Notice
  9. Check out the Staff job openings thread.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
60,000 passwords have been reset on July 8, 2019. If you cannot login, read this.

Aesthetics

Discussion in 'General Mapping Tutorials' started by Katu, May 11, 2007.

  1. Katu

    Katu

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    249
    Resources:
    1
    Tutorials:
    1
    Resources:
    1
    Aesthetics
    Version 3.6

    Contents
    Text
    Names
    Colors
    2D art
    Mapping tips
    Suggested reading

    I've seen a very number of maps while playing online and I also downloaded a lot to test and play and found out that even the "9.0 Gold series" type of maps can contain little mistakes like ugly, uninformative tooltips etc...

    ...and I got a lot of help from a lot of members of the Hive. One way to give it back to the community is not to help who helped me, but help who need help...

    ..so I collected (in myself) some tips for mapmakers on how to "polish" their maps by making them more... aesthetical. I'm not a pro map maker, in fact I don't have any released maps, but I have some kind of "sense of beauty". This makes me to notice small things that are easy to miss by mapmakers while they are in the middle of the toughest JASS coding or terraining. So please don't say "Why must I listen to a n00b?", although you can know a lot of things listed under, you might find some of them useful. If only one person finds one information of this tutorial useful, I'm satisfied (although I worked several hours on it, especially on collecting the suggested readings...)

    Note: I didn't want the text to be crammed with links.
    I collected all the needed (and more) useful links at the end. (So if I mention something that must be linked, just scroll down.)




    Let's start!

    Text

    General

    Don't write all your text with capital letters. It means that you are shouting, and it can make people angry.

    Example:
    001_shout.jpg
    (Click the image for a larger resolution)

    Try to compose as clearly as possible, and equally clear in every part of the map. Avoid filling usual places like the the map description, quests, etc... with information that is only important to you.

    Example:
    002_composition.jpg
    (Click the image for a larger resolution)

    Try to avoid ANY grammatical and spelling mistakes, they can ruin the feeling, especially in places that can be seen many times during gameplay, like quests in an RPG, or hero names, messages etc...

    Example:
    003_grammar.jpg
    (Click the image for a larger resolution)

    Don't use adult content (like vulgarity). It may hurt somebody. If you REALLY want to, indicate it.

    ~No example, adult content may violate children and I think it's self explanatory~

    Don't use too intellectual expressions, even if you understand them , others may not. Also, don't be too coarse. Try to always be on the same level (unless if it's a way to express a character, for example a Big Bad Boss in an RPG).

    Example:
    004_coarse.jpg
    (Click the image for a larger resolution)

    Don't use leetspeak, unless it's a feature. I personally like it, but a lot of peple do not. 13375|*34|< (4|\| 83 4 |)15(0L||2491|\|9 |*|-|4(7.

    Example:
    005_leetspeak.jpg



    Names

    Try to add names that express the named unit/building/whatever's affiliation. For example, don't give the "Sarah McDonald" name to an Undead hero, or Gro'uk Warhammer to a Blood Elven one. If you really need a name and have no idea, you can use RDZ's Name Generator or Google.
    Try to add the same types of names to the units of the same race. For example, if you give Human heroes a first and last name too, give that to all of them. It's weird to see names like "General Frederick Proudmoore The Great" and "Jo" in the same map (not in every case - you can use it as a feature to express a difference between a landlord and a poor peasant).

    Example:
    006_unitname.jpg
    (Click the image for a larger resolution)

    Although this is nearly impossible, (due to the huge quantity of fantasy stuff on the Web), try to be unique. We don't want to see another AOS hero named "Pudge".

    Tooltips

    Be as informative and as short as you can (preferably informative) in the short tooltips (you know, that one that pops up when you select a learned spell, for example). In the long tooltips, (that ones that pops up when learning a hero skill) you can write a novel or write additional exact functional information like a spell's range. Don't write all the information on the short tooltip.

    Example:
    007_tooltip.jpg
    (Click the image for a larger resolution)

    Additional Naming Information: There are two ways to name a unit/building: the functional way, or the atmospherical one. For example, in a creep-wars type map, you can give names like "Creep Sender Building" and "Target Point", but you can also give names like "Barracks" or "Gate of Last Hope" to increase the atmospherical feeling. No matter what way you choose, but keep it in mind and use the same way in EVERY part of the map, from item names to error messages.
    You can also follow a theme like the Blizzard one, for example:
    "Damage: Moderate"
    or a little bit more atmosperical:
    "Deals moderate damage."
    or the "math geek stlye":
    "Damage: 235 per second"
    or a little bit less matematical:
    "Damage: 200++"



    Colors

    Text colors

    Use one color for one purpose. For example: white for exact information, yellow for atmospherical text (like an item's history), green for hotkeys, gray for data types (like these: "Strength:" or "Range:"), and red for urgent information like: "Orb effects do not stack" or error messages.
    Sometimes less is more, don't use every color of the rainbow (or gradient text), even if they look good and colorful, they make the text heavier to read. More than 3-4 colors in a single tooltip is... a pain-in-the-ass to memorize.

    Example:
    008_color.jpg
    (Click the image for a larger resolution)

    Unit/building/doodad color

    Use team color for every player-controlled unit. (In other words, don't use custom models that lack of team color.)
    Use the same color theme for everything in the same place. I mean, if you want to create a darky atmosphere, don't just use fog/weather effects. Tint the doodad/unit color (customizing the doodad/unit properties, or with triggers, it's up to you), use nearly the same amount of brightness. It's weird to see shining white Wall Low doodads in an Undead city.



    2D art

    When designing a custom icon for a custom thing (ability, item etc.), keep in mind that you don't need to be exact, just sybolical. For example, don't use the picture "doctor heals a patient" for a healing spell. Use your imagination. An icon with a single ray of light, like in the Paladin ability Resurrection, is enough, just make sure the player associates the right way.

    Don't use 512*512 textures, they takes 4 times the space than 256*256 ones, but they don't give much more detail. (Especially in low graphics settings. Keep in mind that your map's user might use a two times older computer than yours.) A good tactics is to work on a 512*512 picture, and when you are finished, resize it (but not with mspaint, that sucks:)

    Don't use floating text, it's UGLY(and has limitations). There is a far more beautiful solution: PitzerMike's TextSplat Library. (attention: little JASS knowledge needed)



    3D art

    Must be mentioned, but it's not my business. There are far more skilled terrainers/modelers who already submitted great tutorials. Look for the Suggested Readings below.



    Mapping tips

    Pay attention to pathing. Use custom pathing maps and/or pathing blocker(s) if necessary.

    Example:
    009_pathing.jpg
    (Click the image for a larger resolution)

    Sometimes you can/must sacrifice beauty to greatly decrease map size. For further information, look at Suggested Readings below.
    If you are using custom models, try to collect/make them in the same quality and detail. Don't use crap-looking heroes with photo-realistic doodads. As in a lot of aspects of the map, try to set and hold a level of quality.
    Don't let the user to get bored. If he/she must wait (for example at the beginning of the map when the host chooses settings), let the game begin when everyone is ready. In other words, don't use minimum time to let the player choose something...
    ... but use maximum time to avoid leavers, laggers or veeeery slooooooooow and lazy men/women.
    Try to be as simple as you can. Other players can have less amount of IQ than you.
    Don't hurt beginners with messages like "This map is for pr0z! No n00bz!" or "You know what to do. No advices." They DO NOT know. If you plan a leet version of the map, plan a noob version also (and combine them in one map - this way, you will hjave a map for everyone = more popularity).

    Example:
    010_hurt.jpg
    (Click the image for a larger resolution)

    Always be informative when telling the user what to do in the beginning of the map.
    Keep in mind that a lot kinds of people will use your map, from the noobest noob to the leetest leet.
    If you are doing a massively multiplayer map like a Hero Line War or a Towerwar, - although it can be tough - make a single-player mode to let players practice. This sometimes can mean triggered computer hero/unit AI, triggered research/upgrade/item computer AI, but it's worth the effort (and you can find excellent tutorials about that). Noobs will be more likely to play your map - and become pros in one day, widening the playing circle.

    Example:
    011_singleplayer.jpg
    (Click the image for a larger resolution)

    ALWAYS avoid leaks. Use Leak Check.
    If you want a complex item equip/attack detect/assistance/whatever system but have no idea... implement someone's submitted one AND GIVE CREDIT AND REP TO HIM/HER! There are cool, nearly perfect and user-friendly systems free to use.
    Pay attention to sound sets. If you use a model for a custom unit, for example you use Jaina's model for a Sorceress, also change the unit's sound set to Jaina's. A Dreadlord saying "Work, work, work"(Orc Peon sound) ruins the atmosphere.

    I highly recommend to read further to extend your knowledge about mapping tricks and stuff (beyond this tutorial).



    Suggested reading:

    ShadowyFear's 17 Steps to Greatness
    SD_Ryoko's TD Creation tutorial
    SD_Ryoko's Pathing Maps tutorial
    Archian's Unit Attachments tutorial
    HernanG's Elven Forest Tutorial
    Archian's World Editor Doodad & Destructibles Hints
    Ralle's World Editor Tips&Tricks
    VG's Do-s and Don't-s of Map Making
    Heero's Map Resizing Tutorial

    Useful tools:
    Im_On_56k's Leak Check
    The Rao Dao Zao Name Manipulator
    PitzerMike's TextSplat Library
    (the unlinked readings can not be found at the moment, mainly because they're deleted or their site is down.)



    Credits:
    All the host sites of the linked tutorials above, for the tutorials of course.
    Wolverabid for leading me into the wonderful community of the Hive and drawing Leak Check to my attention.
    Many Hive members who helped me so much that I felt I must also help someone.
    Special thanks to Vile for creating a wonderful map (Age of Myth). It is so perfect that I could use it as a good example.

    Please report in you found an error.
    Also, suggestions/comments are welcome.
    Thanks for your attention, and good luck in mapmaking!

    Katu
    My userbars | My Aesthetics tutorial
    I'm currently working on:
    an Age of Empires 2 Total Conversion mod

    Vote for the Hive!

    Back to top
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2007
  2. Katu

    Katu

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    249
    Resources:
    1
    Tutorials:
    1
    Resources:
    1
    Can it be approved? or does it need corrections?
     
  3. Wolverabid

    Wolverabid

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    Messages:
    8,303
    Resources:
    5
    Tutorials:
    5
    Resources:
    5
    Aesthetics looks pretty good so far Katu.

    Aesthetics ARE important: even in tutorials. Could you possibly capture and upload (attach) some screen shots that would demonstrate your techniques and add "eye candy" to the tutorial? Most users really like pictures and good ones always make tutorials more pleasing to the eye.

    With your permission, I'd like to edit the document myself. It would, in my opinion, easier than pointing out the areas that need improvement. I would make a backup copy first of course.

    I think the tutorial is likely to be approved, please don't be overly concerned: tutorials often remain in the submission forum for quite some time before they receive final approval.
     
  4. Katu

    Katu

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    249
    Resources:
    1
    Tutorials:
    1
    Resources:
    1
    Thaks, and feel free to edit in any way. You can edit the tut title "aesthetics by Katu&Wolverabid" or paste lines like "Link by Wolverabid" or "Pic by Wolverabid". Because I hate to be respected more only because someone added some value to my work. If you help me, you MUST also be "repped".

    PS: I wrote this tutorial because I'm a maximalist :)
    PPS: Do you plan to edit it once and for all, or just plan to add some things to it?
     
  5. Tooolbox

    Tooolbox

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2004
    Messages:
    128
    Resources:
    2
    Maps:
    1
    Tutorials:
    1
    Resources:
    2
    I did not read this whole tutorial, mostly because I have a good sense of Aesthetics and completely concur with your observation that many "finished" maps are completely lacking in these areas. Tooltips are very often neglected, as well as Hero Names (there was a Hero Builder Arena where it spawned masses of hero-creeps, but the list of names was 13 long of course so there were lots of James Jones VI, etc.).

    I hope all the up and coming mappers will pay heed to your words of wisdom.
     
  6. Wolverabid

    Wolverabid

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    Messages:
    8,303
    Resources:
    5
    Tutorials:
    5
    Resources:
    5
    I would not wish to receive any credit for the editing (that's my job).

    Please work on getting some good screen shots to increase the aesthetic appeal of the tutorial.

    I forgot to add: could you also create a simple map that demonstrates all of your techniques? Many users learn best when they are provided with a solid example for comparison purposes.
     
  7. Katu

    Katu

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    249
    Resources:
    1
    Tutorials:
    1
    Resources:
    1
    Okay, as soon as I'll have enough time, I'll do.
     
  8. noctune

    noctune

    Joined:
    May 27, 2007
    Messages:
    44
    Resources:
    0
    Resources:
    0
    Hello, great tutorial! :thumbs_up:
    But could you please fix the link to PitzerMike's TextSplat Library?
    I can't access it right now, not even through google :sad:
     
  9. Wolverabid

    Wolverabid

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    Messages:
    8,303
    Resources:
    5
    Tutorials:
    5
    Resources:
    5
    [off topic]

    I don't believe that particular link is available at this time: our good friends at wc3c are experiencing some service interruptions right now.

    noctune: introduce yourself to The Hive!
     
  10. noctune

    noctune

    Joined:
    May 27, 2007
    Messages:
    44
    Resources:
    0
    Resources:
    0
    Well that's too bad :sad:

    Hope they get back online soon, their site rocks
     
  11. Katu

    Katu

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    249
    Resources:
    1
    Tutorials:
    1
    Resources:
    1
    Ooh I can't finish polishing it. Do I attached the images the right way?

    Ps: I can't even force vB to show up my images, they act as links.

    Found the attaching solution, but still not finished... ran out of time the third time.

    I think I'm ready with this.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2007
  12. Wolverabid

    Wolverabid

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    Messages:
    8,303
    Resources:
    5
    Tutorials:
    5
    Resources:
    5
    Yeah.

    Aesthetics has developed really well Katu. There are still some minor spelling errors here and there.
    One aesthetic issue you really should address ii the use of the color "[COLOR="Wheat"]Version 3.5[/COLOR]:
    Version 3.5
    That particular color is nearly impossible to distinguish when viewed in the Dwarven theme: please take a look at that style and consider using a slightly darker color.

    Overall this is one helpful, useful tutorial.
     
  13. Katu

    Katu

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    249
    Resources:
    1
    Tutorials:
    1
    Resources:
    1
    Okay. I'll go thru it once more and correct everything.

    EDIT: Done. Thanks for that Javascript, looks soooooo cooool.

    There is a Hungarian saying that fits here perfectly: "He beholds the mote in the brother's eye, but can not behold the girder in his own eye".

    Edit2: What's the problem with "suggested readings:"?
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2007
  14. Ralle

    Ralle

    Owner

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    11,215
    Resources:
    22
    Tools:
    3
    Maps:
    5
    Tutorials:
    14
    Resources:
    22
    I don't like all that center-alignment. It's OK for headers, but not for whole text.
    It would also be nice with a table of contents.
     
  15. Wolverabid

    Wolverabid

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    Messages:
    8,303
    Resources:
    5
    Tutorials:
    5
    Resources:
    5
    Usually, "Suggested Reading" would be most proper.

    I don't have a problem with the centered text, although some may indeed find it rather distracting.

    I'll add a table of contents for you. Will you assign a "difficulty level" for the tutorial? (A scale of one to ten for the average modder.)
     
  16. Katu

    Katu

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    249
    Resources:
    1
    Tutorials:
    1
    Resources:
    1
    I think that a difficulty level for the whole tutorial would not be proper because it's (just) a collection of tips: hard ones (like triggered AI) and easy ones.

    Does it need any more corrections?
     
  17. Flame_Phoenix

    Flame_Phoenix

    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,283
    Resources:
    11
    Tools:
    1
    Maps:
    1
    Spells:
    6
    Tutorials:
    3
    Resources:
    11
    Hi, nice tutorial, however if you don't talk about 3D, don't create a section for it, or don't mention it. I mean it is not logical to mention something that you will ignore in your tutorial. A good tutorial with good links. 4.5/5 in my opinion, because you have good images. Please have a look in my tutorial as well Creating a Tavern, Hero and Hero Chooser by Flame_Phoenix in the submitting tutorial section, i know it is not an Aesthetics tutorial but it would be nice to have your opinion. Another thing, how did you create the links ??? can you teach me please ?
     
  18. Kjiverx

    Kjiverx

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    132
    Resources:
    0
    Resources:
    0
    Actually, Jesus said that. Not to be insulting or anything, but the Hungarians got it from him. Very nice guide, by the way
     
  19. Rao Dao Zao

    Rao Dao Zao

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    1,802
    Resources:
    3
    Maps:
    2
    Tutorials:
    1
    Resources:
    3
    The RDZ Name Manipulator strikes again.
     
  20. Wolverabid

    Wolverabid

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    Messages:
    8,303
    Resources:
    5
    Tutorials:
    5
    Resources:
    5
    Tutorial Approved!

    Aesthetics is sure to help a great many mapmakers improve their projects.

    ~ Thread moved to General Mapping Tutorials.