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Melee Do's and Dont's

Discussion in 'Tutorial Submission' started by Nudl9, Apr 20, 2019.

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  1. Nudl9

    Nudl9

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    This thread will be more of an ongoing project to document things i find good and bad about melee maps. It's pretty loosely written and i try to state areas that i feel are more subjective. This is to help other melee map creators not to fall into certain traps and give inspiration in some areas as well. It will cover common things as well as more subtle details i want people to notice.


    I'll use some of the maps in the current ladder pool. Some of these maps are made by people from Hive so it may seem like harsh critisism, but they are played competitively on Bnet so i feel like they deserve every right to be reviewed under scrutiny.

    Northeren Isles

    By: Filmting

    This map is currently in the WC3 ladder pool as of 20.04.19.
    It's a map i really hate because it's missing a lot of quality of life changes, that i'm not sure if the author or blizzard is to blame for.

    Stresstest Aggro Range

    This is something you should do with every single creep camp in your map. Drop 12 knights on the map and make them run past the camp. Because of their speed you can test it quickly, because of their collision size the pathfinding is extrapolated and extra bad. If the path they're walking is diagonal the pathfinding will be even worse because of how it's calculated and executed.

    More Space.jpg
    Pathfinding2.jpg



    Archway AOW spots:

    When making AOW spots make sure there is clean access to trees. Give enough buildable ground so there is room for error when you try to build AOW. Ladder players are already stressed out, so make things easy for them. As you can see build it requires precision, when you ideally want to just throw these AOWS down fast. Give more buildable pathing here. Theres also a problem with not having equal opportunities. Since this is a chokepoint, trying to scout with a wisp would be invaluable here.

    Equal Opportunities.jpg
    More Space.jpg


    Asymmetric pathing:

    When making a map you really want to avoid 1x1 (16) paths. Especially when it comes to trees and doodads. Since it creates an unequal opportunity to flee away from units that can't pass. However in this picture it's actually ok and could create for some interesting situations where a player tries to save his units by placing them behind the hut. Since the hut can be destroyed it's fair. I'd rather call it an interesting quirk. Don't add a ton of quirks to your map though.

    More Space.jpg



    Dead space

    After you've placed all the doodads on the map, check pathing on the map. Don't leave dead space hanging in crowded doodad areas like this. Now this usually won't do any harm since only casters, footman can be dropped in 1x1 tiles. It can be abused with sentry wards though, making the wards inaccessible to get rid of with melee units. Your map should be consistent with what is displayed visually, a mass of rocks - in the players mind units aren't supposed to fit there, so why can they? Use pathing blockers to fill the empty gaps. Too many maps in the ladder pool are lazy about it. Lets settle for quality please.

    Dead space.jpg
    More pathing.jpg

    Heres an example of something that can happen ingame if you don't fill these spots.
    The picture was taken from a reddit thread:
    1.png
    Keep in mind this is a Blizzard map on ladder, the quality of these maps are absurdly bad.



    Regular Movement

    Heres another aggro related problem. When you send your units across the map you should be expected that they won't aggro, but on this map they do. In fact this is why the map is so awful to play on. DK runs into 2 camps that will aggro on his way. The gold mine should be set to camp or further back. The Goblin Lab. camp should be placed further back and be more closed off. There are exceptions to the rule which i'll get into later.

    Aggro.jpg


    Building Pathing

    This is one thing that grinds my gears ingame. Single small tiles of rocks that obstruct pathing. It can be hard to tell where you can build ingame. These decision makings should be made in miliseconds. If something obscurs that decision, such as a single tile, bone doodads, etc then this will frustrate the player. So if you want an area to remain unbuildable make it abundantly clear to the player. I'll first show you how not to do it and then how to do it.

    Build pathability.jpg
    Buildable OK.jpg




    Swamped Temple

    By: Anomines

    Tavern Wisp Tree

    This is like a small quality of life thing. Whenever your map allows it, mechanically or aestethically, please add a tree by the Tavern. Overall tavern hero players have to do less clicks. And the less actions required to do a job the better!

    While you're at it, add a buildable spot for humans to build a farm. It's the small things in life!

    Buildable OK.jpg
    Farm.jpg



    The Howling Pass

    By: Nudl

    This is my own map, but i have some ideas worth sharing.

    State Your Intention

    This is one of the things i like to do with my maps. Streamline everything when you can. If somebody asks me where the AOW spots are in my map i tell them to look for the flowers. The flowers usually stand out by color are therefore great for indicating something through visuals only.

    For example heres an AOW spot:
    State your intentions.jpg

    Heres a more subtle approach. The info the flowers give is less important, so i didn't use as such strong color. Since if anybody wants to creep this red camp they probably don't care that much about aggro range:
    State your intentions 2.jpg

    Here i use terrain only, in the form of rough dirt to show whats buildable or not. As you can see i've left a large area blank with dirt and i've use rough dirt where the buildable pathing meets the water. Ingame you probably won't even notice, until you actually want to build there and then it helps a lot.

    State your intentions 3.jpg




    The Concealed Hill

    By: Unbekannt

    Make cliffs obvious

    If the map concept wasn't obvious enough, the concept of the map is actually that the hill is not defined and actually hidden. Now i personally believe this is a flawed concept from the begining and i'll explain why. Entering high ground with no vision is one of the deadliest things you can do. The enemy gains both reaction time advantage and uphill advantage - where the low ground player has 25% miss chance attacking someonone higher. Not to mention the high ground player might have hidden extra surprises where the low player cannot see.

    So obviously knowing where the hill starts and stops is important. But the cliff is hidden and not defined so you don't. The only way to find out is to actually open the editor or look at the subtle signs in the doodads. To make matters worse the cliff has a variating shape, it's not just straight.

    So my advice is, be transparent with the game mechanics. Don't obscure the hill edges or any other important visual cues that indicate that there is a hill. Players need to understand on an intuitive level that they're entering a dangerous area.

    No Hill.jpg
    Do this.jpg




    Amazonia

    By: Nery

    I really really don't like this map and i'll try and explain why. This is more of an opinion piece so take this with a grain of salt.

    Open vs Closed

    When making a map you should really ask yourself. Is this map too open or too closed. I like to think a map should have a variating of both spread around the map. But lets look at this map, it's just really open. Nothing is closed off.

    There are 2 main traits with this map and that is that it's very small, fast to rush and have large spaces which makes mobility units very strong since they have space to move. Generally having lots of space means freedom and freedom of movement. That in turn means more possibilities and more possibilities i consider more fun.

    The detriment to a map that is exclusively open is that there aren't any strategic vantage points. There are no chokepoints where you can defend with your 10 archers against a 100 man army of footman. You can't flank either since visibility is very open. Information is given too easily with vision. So it's like playing with your cards folded for your opponent to see. I feel like a map should be planned around having fun fights in certain areas. On this map the fights can occur anywhere and they play almost identical. So to make maps fun i feel its essentiel to have the terrain impact how fights occur, through tree formations, high advantage or formations of doodads.

    Too Open.jpg



    Chopping Into Aggro

    On this particular map this is sort of a non-issue, but it has the potential to become an issue. If the peasants start chopping the wood and you let them run for some time by themselves they will eventually aggro the nearby camp. I feel like this is minor detail that should be fixed on all maps.

    Too Open.jpg

    Heres a way you can fix it. When all the trees are chopped the workers will meet a wall of obstacles that prevent further blocking. The player will suddenly notice a bunch of idle workers and redirect them to work on a different place to farm wood. More clicks required, but at least the player didn't lose peasants to aggro.

    Non-aggro.jpg





    Echo Isles

    By: Blizzard Entertainment

    This map is actually pretty good and plays out in way separate from most maps. I haven't found much fault with it really.

    Deadends

    This is not an error specific to this map, but a lot of maps. Particulary bad ones. When you make a creep camp, give the player two if not more escape routes. Otherwise players simply won't do the creep camp because it's too risky. If they do it and get attacked while doing it there are three outcomes: TP, they fight back or GG. It makes for very anti-climatic games, which in turn means less fun.

    Deadend.jpg




    Pockets of nothing

    This is an abstract concept, but when you design a map, try to add seemingly meaningless pockets. Players will probably ignore it 99% of all games. However its packed with potential if you look at it from a creative perspective. That 1% of the time when it's actually used, it will be so worth it.

    Pocket of nothing.jpg

    Heres some ideas:
    -You can hide mortars there and launch at the gold mine.
    -You can hide your units there in the treeline away from sight.

    These areas are also great excuses to make the map prettier without obstructing gameplay.

    Pocket of nothing 2.jpg




     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  2. WolfFarkas

    WolfFarkas

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    @Nudl9

    I cant hardly believe that this was wrote in april 19 and I am the first in say great tutorial!!. Very helpfull.

    Agree with all, and mostly with the unbuildable tiles/water, they look good very beautifull , but when it comes to build pathing, either you are perfectionist or you screw it.
    I already want to fix some things in my maps regarding AOW after reading this.
    And I was thinking in being paranoid with those gaps only for wisp scouts, glad I was paranoid.

    I hope you will continue with this proyect. If you wish to use my maps, it will be an honor, I value balance above all.

    I hope this tutorial may get approved. It could be in the general mapping tutorial, I found it by luck in vm link.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
  3. Nudl9

    Nudl9

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    Cool, glad that you like it.
    I might put out more stuff if i come up with some new ideas.
     
  4. WolfFarkas

    WolfFarkas

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    Melee Mapping Contest #4 - Poll


    "Design is a subjective thing though.
    Not everything has to be explained with a million words.

    I agree with Meerel on tilesets, Outland, Dungeons, Underground shouldn't be used because the tilesets are bad.
    If the tileset is too dark certain units can't be seen well like Undead, this goes for Underground, Dungeon, Felwood type tilesets.
    Tilesets with lots of blue actually damage (particulary azure color) your eyes and should be avoided at all cost.
    Underground, icecrown glacier and northrend tend to turn out too dark or has so much blue hurts your eyes.
    With Outland, Black Citadel and Underground it's more of a color theory thing.
    Red is a color used in sports to signal aggression and you'll see that it's popular among top teams/players.
    It's hard to tell how much of an impact it has on mood, but it's generally better to steer away.
    Unlike other colors green is actually relaxing to look at.
    It's used in hospitals to contrast the red/blood.
    I don't know the specifics, but if anything the ladder map pool seems to back up that people prefer green.
    So why use subpar colors when you can add some green to your maps?
    It's like picking a bottom tier tileset for the sake of doing something different.

    edit:
    I think if you really want to use these tilesets you have to compensate by adding some flavor.
    -Lordaeron Fall/Village Fall is a pretty drab and depressing tileset because the orange is often overwhelming and the doodads are usually depressive in nature, but if you add some contrasts or flavor it can be used to a strong effect (1)(2).
    So if you want to do an Outland map you might want some green or neutral colors.
    -Underground, some sand would be good.
    -Dungeon, you'll be looking towards less dominant colors since red is so strong.
    -Icecrown/Nortrend, just dont use too much snow in areas that matter, Northeren Isles is a great example since snow/ice is used sparingly and only in less important areas. Another good example is the new version of Lost Temple, which Blizzard turned white and now everybody hates it.
    -Felwood you'll need to contrast the dark and depressing colors since it affects mood. The tiles themselves are really bad looking in general. I'm still not sure why people insist on using this tileset, it's by far the worst one when left alone.
    -Sunken Ruins: Great tileset, but ugly ass trees and the standard ruins tile is quite obnoxious to look at and generally hard to look at if you're units are running on it. So just use the trees in a way that make them look good and use the ruin tile sparingly. Sunken Ruins maps tend to suffer from too much sand as well."

    you could add this: I copy paste it to a word to have it, thanks to this:
    1-I put ashenvale trees in sunken ruins map.
    2-green tiles in outland map.
    3-few snow in snowy maps.