Odds & Ends - VG's Map Making Suggestions

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First I will go into how to judge your own map before you post it. Please look over everything. When I rate a map, I split it up into indidual catagories with each with its own varying degrees

Terraining (how well the map looks in-game)
Good- Very realistic, use of lots of doodads with a good use of a variety of textures all layed out logically and integrated/flowing well with the map layout. (example: trees used for decoration, but double as obstacles that guide units to certain areas).
Decent- Wide use of textures and doodads, but not logically. Some doodads may be mis-used or textures painted in a way that things simply look odd. Terrain not really integrated with the layout, but just mere decoration.
Bad- Solid texture landscape, very little doodads. Poor map layout. Terrain not integrated with the layout.

Inginuity (How well did the author manipulated triggers to create unique effects?)
Good- Unique use of complex triggering to create effects never really thought up of by the game developers. Wide use of JASS and variables. Goes far beyond basic GUI functions.
Decent- Complex triggering through knowldgable use of the trigger editor. Use of lots of variables.
Bad- Very basic GUI with very little thought put into it.

Replay Value (Is is worth coming back to after completing?)
Good- Repeatedly played. The kind of map you keep permanantly in your map folder.
Decent- Map is fun, but largely the same game every time you play it. Fun but predictable. Might keep in an archive somewhere on your Hard Drive.
Bad- You delete it after playing it once.

Fun factor/gameplay (How fun the map is actually fun to play?)
Good- Extremely fun
Decent- Moderatly fun
Bad-- Not fun

Use of imported matierial (Were imported models/skins implemented properly?)
Good- A good selection of models/skins/icon/music was selected for the map that helped enhance the theme or overall uniqueness of the map. Models are loaded correctly and properly scaled. Imported material file size has been reduced as much as possible, such as .blp file compression iincreased or music quality lowered. "Z" offset for projectiles is properly set.
Decent- Good selection of imports, but are not optimized.
Bad- Materials uploaded blindly without a single alteration. Scaling is off (why is that helicopter 4x the size of that battleship while the fighter plane next to it is 1/4th the size of the ship?) Unit "Z" offset is not peoperly set, so projectiles are emitting from the wrong area of the model. (lasers spitting out from 3 feet above the turret, ect). No regards to files size. Poor selection of skins and models and do not fit the map very well.

Rouph Edges (Green icons, spelling mistakes, ect. and other small things easy to look over were fixed? this typically shows how much time was put into a map, if there arent any)
-Good Absolutely no flaws
Decent- Overall rouph edges fixed, but many missed just though generaly overlooking them. Leads to more versions of maps coming out to fix them. Some minor spelling mistakes or typos.
Bad- Green, unfixed disabled icons, spellig mistakes or flat out improper grammer, units have upgrades even though there is nothing to research them, proper and accurate tool tips for new units or units that have been heavily modified (i.e. a custom here with a new model, name and spells with the default hero description still intact), spells that still have their default melee description even though they were altered into new spells.

Single player compatabiliy (Can it be played by myself?)
Good- Can be layed single player with just as much fun as if it were multiplayer
Decent- Can be played single player, but is not as fun wihtout human players
Bad- Can not be played single player, or triggered so a single player game can not be started (seen in some RPGs). Cannot function without human players.

AI support (Was AI implemented so a full house of human players is not needed to create a worthwhile game?)
Good- Well made AI wether through the AI editor or though triggering) that gives players a challange when additional human players are not available. Slots not filled with humans can be filled with computers to keep good gameplay. Versatile map.
Decent- Ai is only done through triggering. AI may be dumb or unchallanging, but better then nothing. Faily versatile map.
Bad- No AI support. Non-versatile map.

Originality (is is a new/fresh idea that no one else has explored?)
Good- Unique new Idea that no one has though up of before or not been heavily elaborated on. A map that stands out from the rest because there are no others of the same genre.
Decent- Map idea has already been done, but your has elements that bring it to a new level. Mixes pre-existing ideas to create something new.
Bad- Completely unoriginal map. Stolen or copied ieas with little to no improvment over the already existing ideas. Little or no care to wether it stand out to other maps of its kind. A "me too" map. (see the end of this post)

File size (Is the map B-net friendly?)
Good- A good file size for easy b-net transfer with heavily optimized imports (if any are used) All imported skin files heavily compressed. Knows that imported material should not get in the way or map playability.
Decent- Imported matieral used conservativly.
Bad- Fize size is bloated. People exit because the tansfer takes too long.

Balancing (is the map fair and does not give certain players unfair advantages?)
Good- No one player has a distinct advantage. Good learning curve so newbies are not screwed and discouraged from playing the map again.
Decent- Steep learning curve for newbies, map is generally fair provided that once knows what he/she is doing.
Bad- Very steep learning curve. Map is unfair. Map is rigged.

Optimization (not to be confused with optimizers...was the map optimized for online play, such as memory leaks plugged?)
Good- Good triggering and management of import files sized leads to small file size even though large number of imports used, no memory leaks.
Decent- Little memory leakage provided that gameplay is kept short.
Bad- Memory leaks bad due to sloppy triggering.

Finished/Play tested (Is the map complete and free of bugs?)
Good- Map is 100% completely finished. Absolutely no bugs. Fair and balanced through rigorous play testing. No further updates needed ever. Map is "Gold".
Decent- Map received occasional updates. Map is balanced through play testing, but still may have a few bugs that have yet to be found. Map is likely to be updated. Map is near completion or is in very high beta stages.
Bad- No effort put into play testing. Needlessly imbalanced. Map is rushed and/or is updated too frequently. Map is submitted though it is still in low beta stages, or even worse, in alpha.

Packaging (does the map look appealing to those browsing and/or gives an appealing description?)
Good- Good looking minimap preview and compelling description that catches one's eye when browsing. Makes potential players interested in trying your map.
Decent- Fitting, but low quality mini-map. Basic information given in the description
Bad- No minimap used when one really should be used (does not apply to melee maps). Poorly made minimap (such as a simple screencap with MS Paint words scribbled over it). Descriptin has unrelated information on it, such as shoutouts or version numbers. Simply says "best map ever". No description.

Credits (Does the author give proper credits for imported meterial?)
Good- Gives proper credits to all those who made the resouces used in the map, along with what they made. Used a button in the quests or put in the ending credits of a map.
Decent- Resouce makers mentioned, but not what they made. Names are flashed only in temperary on-screen text and cannot be used as reference later on.
Bad- Credits are not given/

Theme (Did the map try to meet a specific theme? How well did it do that?)

Good- If based on a movie, has the perfect, most accurate feel of the movie, uses imported matierals or music, accuate layouts, makes the game feel completely different from the original WC3, but an accurate representation of the movie/game/series it takes after.
Decent- Some imports or music used. Maps is close enouph to tell what movie/game/series it takes after without having to look at the title.
Bad- Essentially a WC3 map with the names changed to fit whatever theme. Little to no imports used. (i.e. a star trek map where Captain Kirk is nothing but a normal WC3 villager named "Captain Kirk".

Protection (Is the map protected?)
Good- Map is unprotected, watermarked, or has open map protection (people can open the map and view triggers, object editing and the such, but cannot save the map)
Decent- Map is protected, but the author left an email address or other contact info so people wanting to learn can ask.
Bad- Map is protected and the author is selfish about map secrets.

Overall effort/Quality (Does it look like the map had a lot of time and effort put into it?)
Good- Map is excellent, with a great deal of work put into it. Lots of thought, planning, and consideration put into everything. Maps stands above the rest.
Decent- Map meets the standard quality of its peers. Some original ideas or themes that set it apart, but essentially more of the same. Much effort put into it
Bad- A five minute map. No effort put into it. Essentially a piece of garbage that does nothing but spam the map archive. A "Me too" map.

Now in this topic is will discuss not specifically how to, but just some basic tips to bring the standard of your maps higher.

-IDEAS

Thinking of an idea for a map that no one else has done before is probably the hardest part of map making. People look for virety, but certainly not redundancy. If they feel you map has nothing to offer over those similar to the genre, they simply wont play it for long. If you plan to make a map of a specific and commonly covered genre, such as AoS, Tower Defense, ect, the object is to add some spice that no one has seen before, or sets it apart from the norm. Thats what gets regular players. The world editor is very expansive...I've seen so many different kinds of game....FF style RPGs complete with pop up menus, random battles, turn-based fight....space invaders, pac man, pong, tetris, chess, sports games, 1st and 3rd person shooters, overhead scrolling shoot'em ups, traditional text-type RPGs, racing games, various mini game maps and so much more...obviously creative minds are at work out there. The world editor is a powerfiul tool that can make anything within the limits of Wc3's game engine...so BE CREATIVE. Before you say you are finished with a map, ask yourself: "does my work really stand out above, or at least on par with everyone else's work?...or am I just saying "look! I can make a map, too?" Don't submit a map just for the hell of it....work on it...and work on it some more until you are very proud of it.


-MAP VERSIONS

There always seems to be 50 different ways to list what version your maps is. I will go over the textbook way of doing it. Version numbers should be no more the 2 digits and a letter, for example: 1.1a, 1.1b, 1.1c, 1.2a, ect. It is quite needless to use more digits then that, as well as an eyesore to the user browsing it and an unprofessional looking mess to the downloader.
Common terms added to the end of a map are "alpha" "beta" and "gold". I will go over what properly defines these.

Aplha-stage maps: an alpha map is a map that is simply incomplete. it may be an RPG with no quests added in, or a map thats only terrain, or a map that has a lot of holes in it...in short, something that is unplayable....a mere work in progress. Starting soon, Alpha stage maps will not be welcome on wc3sear.ch.

Beta-stage maps: a beta stage map is a map that is fully complete, just not perfected due to lack of play testing by other people. The map is 100% playable, but just may have bugs and imbalances that the author did not forsee just due to not enouph 3rd party play time put in it. The differance between early and late beta stages: early stages are when the author KNOWS that there are bugs and imbalances, but just wants to see what pops up during play testing to know what they are. Late beta stages is when the bugs have been fixed, believe that the map is free of bugs, but is just making sure one last time.

Gold-stage maps: a gold map is a map that is 101% complete, and will be receiving no further updates. An absolute finished piece of work. There should never be a version number attached to a gold map, since it has no more needs for updates for people to keep track of. Updating a gold map is almost a sign of incompatency in my opinion.


-MINI MAPS AND LOADING SCREENS:

Despite what idealists say; people DO judge books by the cover. You minimap image is important for people browsing. Make sure it, too, has effort put into it, but don't let it kill your file size if you decide to use one. Make sure it is relevent to the map topic. Loading screens: I stronly urge people to use .mdx loading screens as opposed to .tga ones. They are much lower quality, but a fraction of the size. A map has to be less then 4 megs big to be played by more then 1 player. A .tga loading screen is usually about 1.5 megs! thats almos t half your file size right there, as well as an extrea minute to your transfer time on b.net which would surely make players impatient and leave...there's no reason to sacrifice so much just for a screen that players will look at for only a minute while the loading bar progresses- Its silly. .mdx loading screens (which can easily be found in the models section and edited) can have their .blp skins reduced in quality until the file size suits you, which is very convenient. Like .tga loading screens, .mdx loading screens are composed of 4 parts, with each part assinged in the model's .mld file. So you will need the wc3 file converter and the war3viewer or the .blp tools to make a loading screen .mdx file.


-TERRAINING:

Here's a little on terraining. The best advice I have is it to open pre-existing Blizzard maps. They have among the best terrainers. I'm not so impressed with the multiplayer maps...what I'd focus on is the single player campaign maps....thats there the best terraining lies. I learned terraining through taking screencaps of areas that I thougt looked great, and what I wanted to do myself. I went ot the world editor and tried mimicing what I saw in the screencaps....such as studying how they morphed the height, placement of doodads, layout of textures...and with some practice, you can easily accomplish the same thing by learning from the masters.

A little on doodad placement: Non pathable doodads are your friends, especially in the environment section of the doodads list. Cattails, shells, shrubs, muchrooms, all can gratly enhance the aesthetic of your map. One trick I like to do is alter the color tinting of shrubs to they match the thick grass of whatever tileset you are using, so they then blend in very well, but still make for a great vegitation effect.

As far as cliffs- I tend to avoid using them when possible. I like to raise terrain, then use doodads and pathing blockers to guide where the player can go. I dont think the cliffs were well done in wc3...they look too un natural to me.

Rivers- shallow rivers are best done if you start your map covered in water, then raised the terrain out of it- that way it makes nice, clean, smooth rolling shores. All you have to do is use lower terrain to make deep areas that cannot be entered by ground units...all while keeping a gradual fluidity. Cat tails, lillypads and rocks make great shore-liners.

Textures: In real life, the lower the terrain, the thicker the grass, since thats where the water flows during rain and the such. In warcraft I like to reverse that, and leave the thick grass in the high ground, along with the trees, the use gradually thinner textures, such as thick grass--> normal grass--> grassy dirt --> dirt--> rouph dirt. In that order until you reach the center of the trail with then slightly overlapping eachother at random points. That way the terrain appears "worn down" by heavy traffic or movement, ect, and the havy vegitation is around the trees, where the most shade and moisture is.


-BALANCING:

Never, never, NEVER make you map a full-house-only game. Proper balancing takes time, so don't feel so rushed on a map that you do that. Getting full-house games on any map on b.net more then 150kb is nearly impossible as it is, especially if its a map people never heard of. Also, NEVER make a map that cannot be accessed single player. If I load a map and am immediatly kicked out with a "cannot play solo" message, I immediatly toss it in my recycle bin. How is a player supposed to play test it so they know what to do when they host in on b.net? Do you honestly expect players to randomly host a map they cannot even play? Think about it. If its an online RPG...well, if you know enouph about triggering to make a save-load code, you should know enouph on how to break it if only 1 human player is present. For a shining example of this, see Dark Lineage Owen in the maps section.

Here's how to cater to varying number of players. One way is the use of handicaps. If you make a trigger that counts the number of human players present, say, 2, you can set the handi of the enemies to 50%, if it counts 4, set it to 75%...if it counts 6...set it to 100% and so forth. That way smaller numbers of players have easier enemies.

Another way, such as in TDs and such is make conditions that check to see if certain player locations are occupied. For example that could be used in a TD: make a trigger that makes it so any unit that enters the initial spawn region moves to the next region, then add maybe a periodic or other event triggered trigger like this:

Conditions: (player#) slot status is equal to (playing)=True

Action: Spawn X# creeps at (initial spawn location)

and repeat the trigger with every player, so the more players are present, the more creeps will spawn and move...so the map is playable with any number of players and will still be fair and challanging. This can be applied to hero seige maps and so on. Maps without versatility in the number of players it can fairly support also do not last long in my book.

-ROUPH EDGES:

Rouph edges are what I call tiny, insignificant but eye-sore errors in a map. Prime example of this are custom spells that do not have their tool tips altered to reflect the changes in the spell, or faulty color codes that leave a mess of text across the screen, or spelling/grammer errors, or icons that werent loaded right and have their disabled icons show up as green splotches. These take the longest time to iron out of a map, but is also what truly shows how much time you put into a map. If you edit a blademaster, for example, with new spells or models, be sure to change the unit tooltip to whatever the new unit reflects, not leave it what it says about it original spells, ect. It does not hinder gameplay in the slightests, but it does look a bit sloppy and unproffesional.


-REDUCING MAP FILE SIZE:

Map file size can be a big problem if you want to keep you map under a mere 4 megs. It severaly limits how much you can import. Here are some tips to keeping file size low even with large amount of imports:

-Sound files. OGG converters (just use goolge) and certain other sound programs are great for reducing the quality of sound files, particularly mp3. Sounds are often the biggest space hogs on maps. You can cut sound file size greatly with those.

-Loading screens. if you MUST have one, I'd suggest .mdx loading screens, as I explained before. Thats over a meg off the normal size of a loading screen right there!

-Icons. If disabled icons are expendalbe- expend them. This is not recommended for hero spells, but other things can live without them.

-Portrait files. That actually quite a bit of space there. less then half a dozen portrait files are up to 500kb! And 86ing them wont generally hinder map gameplay.

-Skin files. This is what I do the most. Use war3viewer or the .blp tools and reduce the quality of skins. You can often shave off half the file size and not lose too much in-game quality! Highly reccomended!

-GIVING CREDITS:

The resource makers of this site and other have worked hard to bring quality resources to the community and for your use. The very least you can do is give these autheors credit if you use their materials in your map.

Some people put credits on their loading screen, but I understand if that cannot be the case, since complicated maps that have very important information that needs to be put out really need that initial space. The ideal method is to create a "quest" that had a button and description on the quest menu that lists the names of resource makers.

The nextr most common method is simple having periodic on-screen text. This is not recommend. Fist, its easy to miss. If its periodic (re-occuring) text, its obnoxious. I strongly suggest using the "quest" method in giving credits.


Well, thats all I have for now. I will likely add more in the future. Thanks, all!
-VGsatomi



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Just as an added bonus, here is my previosly buried rant about the epidemic of the "me too" virus.

I entitle this "The disease of Me Tooismtm"

What exactly is the Me Tootm virus?

What is Me Tooismtm? Its quite simple. Its the "Me Too" affect that commonly sets in after the introduction of something new to an already well-established environment or community, and members of that cvommunity rush to create their own variations of that new idea regardless of their low quality results. It works in all fields, music, art, drama, academics, recreation, computer hard & software, food, dance steps, cars, appliances, brand-name breakfast cerials...but this aspect I will solely focus on Warcraft 3.

Me Tooismtm in Warcraft 3: Is it an epedemic?

No, but it is an uncrontrolled and slow-spreading outbreak. Probably the most shining example of this is skins. Skinning in 3D gaming is very difficult work. Quite often you have to UV map already existing models just to outfit your new skins, so not only art talents, but 3D program usage would also be required. Since warcraft skins are already drawn and wrapped, 90% of the work is already done, allowing for those who do not put forth a fraction of effot to be able to partake in this activity.

When I first came here, the skins section was rather small...only about 3 pages or so. However, once the tutorials came out, and people realized just how easy it was to edit skins, Me Tooismtm hit epedemic proportions on level of that of a mass bio-chem attack on a major population center reminiscent of Saddam Hussain-era Iraq, and then hordes came in.

What seperates Me Tooismtm from simply a rush of artists to a newly discovered resourse option?

Easy. Someone submits a high quality resourse...lets just say for sake of arguement, a zombie druid skin...its an awesome skin made by somebody who put hours of effort into it. Next few days/months you see more zombie druids....only the quality is a mere fraction of the original, or is a simple recolor with "blood" spraycanned onto it. That, my friends, is Me Tooismtm at the peak of its vicious cycle within its host. The infected dont care if its better, they dont care if its worse, they dont care if it was already made by somone else, they just made it to say "Me Too!" Especially since the method of Me Tooismtm entering the body was made so much more contagious with the introduction easy-to-do-skinning-in-4-simple-steps-with-pre-made-templates to the public. A deadly pathogen it is....

Is Me Tooismtm reserved only to skinning?

No, my friends it is not. There is no section that has a strong enouph immune system against the Me Tootm disease. There is a strong vaccination, but unfortunatly it is called "elitism" (Nn.- El~eet~izum, Ref: world dictionary). Approx 250 milligrams would do the trick, but it has nasty size effect, most prominant being site death, or "web death".

Could laziness be attributed to Me Tooismtm?

Laziness is another disease altogether, but its part of the same strain, and can inhabit the same host in tandum with eachother. For a good example of this, go look at the "weaponless" models.

Just how bad is the map section infected with Me Tootm?

Infected badly. However there is one glimmer of hope. A skin can be made in seconds. A finished map, even disturbingly low quality, still takes a little time, so generally a map made while under the effects of Me Tooismtm will still yield better results then a skin. However that is definantly not always the case. The current outbreak of Me Tootm in mapping is among "Life of Peasant" authors. However that changes on a weekly basis. In short: A five minute map is better then a five minute skin.

So are you saying if I make, say, a Dota-syle map, only imporved over all similar maps, even built from scratch, I may be infected with Me Tootm?

Heavens, no! Inspiration has to come from somewhere. Only few have the talent to come up with completely original ideas, especially this day and age when almost every idea has been used up. On the contrary, revamping and making an idea far superior, through hard work, persperation, and dedication, can actually acheive results far exceeding that of original idea. That is not Me Tootm. That is actually it's bane. We in the mapping business call it "effort" (Nn. Eff~urt Ref: Random encyclapedia). What Me Tootm is, if you want to make a dota map, not care about its quality or how well it compares to others of the same gener, you just want to make a dota map...that is Me Tootm. Example: I personally have never made a TD map and I rarely play them, so I don't know how to make one better and more balanced then the existing high-quality ones on the site, but lets say I made a "VG TD" that completely sucked, using my unpolished ablilities at TD making, just to say I have the versitility of being a mapper that can make TD's...that would be Me Tootm knocking at my door...

Oh my god!! Is there a cure for Me Tootm??

Yes, but unfortunatly it is hard, controversial, and could fall in under elitism...it involves not submitting any resourses unless you feel it is better then the other works of the average joe. This does not, does not, DOES NOT mean not making them at all...in fact, hands on and practice is how one learns...I just mean not submitting your "test runs" to the public as independant maps...they are laced with the Me Tootm virus and can easily spread. Curing Me Tootm is exceedinly difficult given the bias people look at their own works with. A resourse can carry Me Tootm and the author may never actually be aware of it...thats why it is dangerous...that is why a 3rd party is always needed to truly rid your body of Me Tooismtm, by evaluating your work from a different perspective. Just make sure that third party has proper credentials, not victems of the ever-so-persistant N00btm virus, such as Wormskull. (dammit, there's my disqualification...oh well, mods shouldnt be allowed to participate in contests anyway...)

That's good to know, VG! Were you ever infected with Me Tootm?

Yes, I was. In fact, half of my own maps were built under the effect of Me Tootm. However I was able to cure myself. I became an elitist toward myself. I would not let myself post another map unless It was proven to be at least par with the rest of the works put out by the community. I have many finished, yet unsubmitted maps, but I most not let Me Tooismtm further fester on my computer, and must purify and bury them with the proper rituals so their vengeful spirits dont come back and haunt me.

Why is Me Tootm so less prominant in the models section then everyhwere else?

Thats due to the difficulty of obtaining good modeling programs. If 3dx max was as easy to get as .blp tools and MS paint, you'd expect the models section to look very much like the skins section.

Damn, where did Me Tootm come from?

Its a mutation from the Laziness virus. I failed to mention that before. Sorry. Although there are signs of it having come in contact with the N00btm virus, thus futher altering its evolution.

Is Me Tootm have the most hosts in the Wc3 community as oppsed to other RTS gaming communities?

Most seeminly yes. I was/still am a member of the C&C community. Me Tootm had its roots set in there, but it was a controlled spread. Why? Because map making programs did not come with the games. People actually had to go and dig for it. Warcraft and starcraft and the such have built-in ready to access map editors that come with the game, allowing for anyone, wether talented people with lots of time on their hands, or Me Tootm hosts that only have about 5 minutes to spare, to start mapping.

Are there any symptoms of Me Tooismtm that I should look out for?

Absolutely! Follow this list:
[ ] Are you more worried about spreading your name then you are earning it?
[ ] Do you make resourses that have already been made by others? But feel your slightly different variation will be popular?
[ ] Do you not care if you can or cannot match, let alone exceed the quality of the resourses made by others?
[ ] Are you too impatient to receive feedback on your work before submitting?
[ ] Was your resourse made out of boredom?
[ ] Are you merely editing someone else's work, but feel that the edit is sufficient enouph for the credit of the resourse to be given to you?
[ ] Do you not care if your map has anything unique about to set it apart from the rest of its kind?
[ ] Do you not care of your resourse is useful?

If you checked any of these boxes, then you are infected. If you are, immediatly pull your chair away from your computer, stand up, go to the kitchen, make yourself some very strong coffee, take an ice cold shower, slap your face a few times to wake you up, cancel all appointments to free up some spare time, then sit back down and spend all free time on ONE resourse. Not two, not three....ONE. And when you think you are finished, repeat the steps above. Repeat until you receive only favorable feedback from testers.

Is Me Tooismtm against the rules on this site?

If you actually have to ask that....

-One very late-night grouchy VGsatomi




**Me Too(tm) is a trademark of VGsatomi, no rights reserved. Only one actual name was used/harmed in the making of this post, all others names/personages do no intentionally represent anyone living, dead, or undead.

***N00b(tm) is trademark of Wormskull, ALL right reserved, and has full ownership of property and commercial copyrights.
 
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Level 3
Joined
Nov 21, 2004
Messages
73
I agree with you on everything posted here, except one area, the versions. Your opinion that using more than two digits is unprofessional, seems quite silly. How many digits do they have in the WarCraft 3 patches? 3. I find 3 digits to be a happy medium, it lets you, god forbid, release many versions without hitting the dreaded 2.0.

Also, later you go on to the state that the gold version should be the final version and no further changes should be made. This is also, while at first thought correct, also silly. Patchs come out every now and then and break maps, this, in my opinion, justifys a revision of a gold edition.

Anyways, besides, in my eyes, those two problems everything is quite well written and helpful. Another neat hint to get a worn down path is to lower the terrain on the most walked part, ie dirt in most tilesets.
 
Level 4
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
Messages
90
the one thing that i hate in maps is when custom units still have normal upgrades such as, a custom unit having the iron forged sword upgrade, it just looks n00bish!
 
Level 2
Joined
Sep 18, 2005
Messages
10
A different versioning system (the one I use).
In this system, you can easily tell what each version means. For example, 2.0 can mean it's actually version 2, or it can mean you added Yet Another Bugfix adter version 1.9, see my point. So my way uses the system x.y.z (and I didn't invent this system).

x changes when the program loses backward compatability, or in Warcraft 3, when the map gets a MAJOR change. A good example would be having terrain change completely. This doesn't change often.

y changes when there are chenges made that are large, but small enough for it still to be essentially the same map. An example would balancing alot of unbalanced heroes. (DotA needs a y change. :twisted: )

z changes when a bug is fixed, a spell gets a new icon, etc. These happen all the time. An example would be ironing out some of the "rough edges" VG was talking about, or some spelling or grammar mistakes are fixed.

Sometimes a small letter is put after z, eg. 1.1.2c. This means an extremely small fix was made, like fixing one tooltip or a couple spelling errors.

Do not be scared if z is 2-digits, for example phpBB is currently on 2.0.17. It's when you're on version 1.49.684 that you might want to consider going up to 2.0(.0) for the sake of cleanliness.

Note that a 2-digit system is fine, as is another 3-digit system. This is just a suggestion. (Though having a universal system would be great.)
 
Level 7
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Aug 5, 2005
Messages
218
I don't see why you complicate yourself on version numbering. I just start at 1.00, followed by 1.01 and so on. And if you want, you can make a quest that describes what changes were made in each version, which is even more specific than a bunch of organized numbers.
 
Level 10
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Los_Tacos said:
I don't see why you complicate yourself on version numbering. I just start at 1.00, followed by 1.01 and so on. And if you want, you can make a quest that describes what changes were made in each version, which is even more specific than a bunch of organized numbers.

a questlog would take up alot of space when you have 10-15 versions, would it not?
 
Level 4
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May 15, 2005
Messages
79
The thing i did find very helpful in your advice was about alpha, beta and gold.

p.s: i hate it when people "noob" maps. For instance, take battleships. Didn't you all like the old vers? the simple ones? but now some freaks have gone and added about 5 more shops, loads more weaps, chamged all prices, made more unesesary stuff, and now its all complicated.

There are vers with loads more ships, lava vers, sheep versions, versions with flying mercheants, versions where you start of with 3000 gold, versions where youreceive tones of gold all the time, versions with overpowered ships, versions with custom models, versions with stronger towers . . .

And all i want is a normal battleships! i dont want some ver where they changed water to lava and made all ships look like sheeps.

***** versus god

This is the worst example of a noobed map. I'll get straight to the point:

normal game like life of a peaseant

then its life of a peasent death and god ver, where there are imba heros that can kill all in one shot. If there is one thing i hate, its imba heros, so i never join any "vs god" games.
 
Level 1
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Oct 10, 2005
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4
Re: Odds & Ends- VG's do's and dont's of map making

I wanna agree with you...but it's too long to read....I'm only agree with those part I can see... :shock:

{EDIT}
technically speaking, you've show us some amazing theory for map designing.. personally speaking, I'm still working on it , try to read a bit more some other time....'Cause it's really long article. I apreciate your works. :shock: :eek:
 
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Level 3
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Jul 12, 2005
Messages
48
I really liked your Me Tooismtm" section. I found funny, yet true. If only more people could cure themselves from Me Tooismtm.... :roll:
 
Level 3
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Nov 21, 2004
Messages
55
Another thing i hate in maps is in maps like Sheep Tag where on side (shepards) are made just so the other side can play and they are really bad to play as.
 
Level 2
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Apr 26, 2005
Messages
13
Thank you VGSatomi! You saved me from this deadly disease before it was too late!

Only problem is I must now actually spend a crapload of time to get my map right...damn. Oh well, better'n Me Tooism.
 
Level 4
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Feb 12, 2006
Messages
99
Bobhellbringer said:
Another thing i hate in maps is in maps like Sheep Tag where on side (shepards) are made just so the other side can play and they are really bad to play as.

I actually find it fun to play as a shephard. Thanks for this article VG, you remind me of how horrible my old maps are :p
 
Level 3
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May 6, 2006
Messages
44
I think that the Versions with letters should be only when you fix minor bugs, yet big.

Lets say for example:
a heroe's skill wasn't working the way it should.
then if the version before was 1.00, the next would be 1.00a
but if other major improments are made, it goes to 1.01
and only go to 1.10 then 2.00
imagine...version 1.99 .... it would take along time...

but this tuturial is VERY good , :) i like it.
 
Level 40
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Dec 14, 2005
Messages
10,532
i dont agree with the whole "Gold" thing, because sometimes a map is better BECAUSE it is updated alot, and therefore is constantly adapted to make people happy

About Protection and Crediting I totally agree, exept 2 things

1) dont scream at people that havent given credit for every single icon

2) why 1)? because its mot like you can snap your fingers and have the people automatically credited ( like me ). it takes time, so when you make a map, you usually credit the Big Picture ( models for main chars, etc ) first, then move down.

I've always wondered why people bother saying Plz Give Credit, because either

1) Most People Won't

2) If you do, you would anyways...

truly, if you dont like people stealing, DONT MAKE YOUR STUFF PUBLIC.

Also, i am completely for the x.y.z system, though i dont use it because my maps dont usually EVER have major changes. ( that is if they are ever released, which only one ever has been )

Also, with your comment on Captain Kirk, maybe it was in a map like Anime Fight, where the size would be 2.5 mb BEFORE imports. Maybe the map author wants to keep the size below 4.0 mb.
 
Level 1
Joined
May 28, 2006
Messages
5
Version Numbers

I've been involved in programming and scripting for many years... I learnt to script in BASICA, then QBasic, VB, and so on. Scripting in maps such as Starcraft and Warcraft are also among a hobby of mine.

Whenever I write a version number, I find it relly helps to know WHEN it has been released. so typically my version numbers look like dd.mm.yy.

So if I made a map today it would be called Abraxas'map.28.5.06.w3x

I suffer from the elitism VG talked about previously... except that I have a different notion of betas. sometimes I'll release a map with one complete race done, along with all the base triggers I need for a whole game... followed a week later by another race, and a week later by another.

Also, date version numbers let people know how active the map maker is with his map, and whether there is sence in contacting him for any reason.

Suffice to say, date version numbers tend to work better for betas then simply numbers.

Once the map is completed though, date version numbers could be clunky. sometimes, the creativity of the author is endless, and he\she doesnt want to end the beta phase.

depends on one's perseverance to a single idea.
 
Level 2
Joined
May 28, 2006
Messages
6
I'm in the middle of a campaign, and I want to post some of the maps, but it's so long that with the five maps I've made so far, the story doesn't seem to be going anywhere yet. AND I've tested them so many times they don't even seem fun, and I wonder if anyone else will think the same thing. ALSO- everytime I code a new map, I have to spend lots of time updating the previous ones, because of--"Crap, why didn't I think of that before?" I look back on the second map I did- it is a twenty minute long movie- and I did it without a single variable. Now, I can't imagine how the hell I pulled it off. In my fifth map, I finally started experimenting with sound, and custom models. Now, I have to go back and update the other maps to make the campaign flow smoothly.
My plan so far, is around every other map, you play a different set of characters. They converge of course, but not before you come to love and respect each set. Then, they gradually seperate into good verses bad whether you like it or not. One problem of course, is before I decided this I didn't carry over imported data between the maps. So when they finally converge, I'm going to have to make everyone from one set of characters from scratch. ...damn... And that's just the tip of the ice berg.
My advice in making the campaign of a lifetime, is come up with a story line, characters, and anything custom first. Then, define your strength with the editor, and try to stick with it to the end without changing anything to avoid going back to previous maps over and over. Planning would've saved me alot of time as well as learning how to use the editor before I undertook this thing, instead of in the middle of it.
 
Level 3
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
38
Coming from the perspective of art/tech and programming, those are also the only two things I look at differently...version numbers, and completeness. Anyone who's ever put lots of time into art knows that something may never be complete, you just get it to a state where it's acceptable to yourself and your employer or audience and go with that.

In the case of making maps as a hobby though, and many other things, you have no "final" deadline where the check is written, or the painting goes on the wall, so changes and improvements over time are nothing to be feared. This also goes hand in hand with programming, as an se/cs major I know that programs will never, ever be bug free. Ever. Even if you had a thousand monkeys with a thousand keyboards for... you get the idea :wink:

The important thing is knowing how to balance update frequency with the quantity and importance of the content actually being updated. Releasing 20 new versions for minor bug fixes after a "gold" version is not the way to go - you save them all up for one patch.


Version number preference is pretty minor, but I know what probably bugs you is just all these crazy versioning systems like "blue" and "emerald" that are out there. On the other hand, it's a pretty common convention to number computer programs with the x.y.z system, representing major versions, minor versions, and individual builds of a minor version... I just use it out of habit.


A note on singleplayer compatability: some things don't really inherently lend themselves to be played solo. To give an example from another commonly-played game, groups in WoW are with other people. Instances aren't designed or intended on the most part to be run by one person...if you can't solo Stratholme because it inherently isn't ment to be solo'd, that doesn't mean it's poorly designed, or should be penalized in ratings for that reason :)

On the other hand, the number of players in the map as a whole should be taken into account, since obviously you might not always be able to, or want to, play a map with the ideal number of players. If it lists 2-9 players, the gameplay should be relatively consistent across that range.
 
Level 2
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
9
Yeah this is about the version thing.

ok so basicly if you start with version 1.00 and then have version 1.01 thats kinda stupid, ok so your gonna be using the numbers after the 1. part and this would be your next version is 1.01, that means you've just started on a game and already on your 101th version.

Now the way I do maps is I do them with 0.01 and then 0.02 and so on, now dont tell me its the wrong way because yet again it works, and also it kinda makes sense.

O and one more thing, true there is updates but now there isnt that many and they dont really screw up maps, and also all you do is you fix what ever problem there is and still keep numbers out, and just put it out as a new gold versioned map, ok.
 
Level 32
Joined
Oct 23, 2006
Messages
5,299
Jaakko:

1. If VG wants to participate, it might be arranged.
2. There might be such a section in the future.
3. Virtually no contribution here at The Hive (so far.)
4. You should edit your post and provide an opinion on the Odds & Ends, which I have always used as my guide when evaluating maps.
 
Level 8
Joined
Feb 4, 2007
Messages
389
i know this will sound like the n00biest thing on this thread but... what is a memory leak? broken triggers or what?... yes i've been making maps for a while but I'm not familiar with the lingo.

As everyone seems to be ignoring panda.. Memory leaks are the result of poor triggering. They cause lagginess in your map and can (if there are an abundance of them) cause crashes from slowing down the game. A good way to prevent Memory Leaks is by using Im_On_56k's LeakCheck program.
 
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