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The importance of a Description

Discussion in 'General Mapping Tutorials' started by ap0calypse, May 10, 2009.

  1. ap0calypse

    ap0calypse

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    The Importance of a Description



    Index:


    1. Description on the Hive
    2. In-game Description
    3. Loading Screen

    1. Description on the Hive



    A. Why waste time on a description?



    At first, a description on the hive may be obsolete if you've made a very good list in-game.
    Adding a description on the site, is one of the rules when uploading a map, so your map can get rejected if you did not do so.

    The reason why a good description is necessary is to encourage players to play your game.
    It will grip the attention of people who (accidentally) pass by, attention is one of the basic things a map must have, otherwise it will be forgotten in the thousands and thousands of maps on battle.net.

    Every time someone passes by your map and pays attention to the description, is a step closer for your map to get famous soon.
    Not only will it get famous: more people will respond, more people will find bugs, more people will try to help you and not only the map will get better, but it might be possible that you improve your own mapping skills.


    B. What should I add/avoid in a description?



    The most important things to say are what your map is about, what genre it is, the original features, anything that makes your game different from other maps.

    Never forget to add the credits in your description!
    Credits encourage users to help improve your map!
    Any models, skins, systems, ... you didn't do yourself must be mentioned in the credits.
    If you've gotten help from someone (from testing your map to coding it), add him/her to the credits.

    Sum up the basic info of your map, like how many heroes, items, what systems are available, which races, how many abilities (and if they're custom or not), whether the map is protected or not, ... (This can change from map to map, if your map is an altered melee, you do not need to say anything about the heroes, for example).

    Add a changelog (If you upload your map for the first time, add the changelog and say "First upload", or "No changelog yet", or something like that.
    Note: Put your changelog between hidden-tags to avoid a long description.

    Do not avoid the known bugs in your map, if you know there is still a bug, or something that isn't as it should be, try fixing it first (you can refer to tutorials, or post a thread on the hive's forum).
    If you cannot fix it, add a list with the known bugs.
    It may also lead to a user solving that bug.

    Screenshots and videos are an excellent way to attract someone's attention, especially when the terrain is well developed.
    If you upload a video, do not spoil any surprising things of the story.

    Avoid a complete lifestory of the map, your changelog will contain all points in a compact and easy way.

    Avoid an extremely long description, descriptions are supposed to give enough information to know the basics of the map, not to know everything there is to know about the map.
    Descriptions which are too long will only be read partially by a lot of players.
    Note: Creating points (with list-tags) instead of paragraphs can make the description look shorter.


    C. How can I make my description appealing?


    • Well-written english is very important when making an appealing description
    • Never overdo color codes, they're good for headers in a description, but not for sentences or anything else.
    • Use hidden tags for screenshots, the changelog and other minor things you wish to mention
    • Use a box or a table for the description
    • Bold, Italic and underlined text are a good way to point something out, but don't use them too much.
    • Aligning your text differently (e.g.: centering the text) can make it more structured and therefore look better.
    • When summing up a list, use one of the list-commands (like this list).

    Examples of a good description are:

    • The Last Samurai - Introduction - An okay description, containing every necessary information (Made by xDeathKnightx)
    • Gravity Hook - Example of a good-looking description without color-tags (Made by Deaod)
    • Vampirism Nightmare - A complete description, containing all information, yet appealing (Made by Child_0f_bodom)

    Now you will need some knowledge about the BB-codes, you can find a list of the BB codes when you reply to a thread and click on "advanced", it will appear above your text-box.
    The full list of Codes used on the hive can be seen on this page: BB-Codes


    Now you know everything you need to know about the description on the hive.
    If you use this tutorial, your map will probably be downloaded, reviewed and played more often.


    2. In-Game Description



    A. Why add a description in-game if I have one on the hive?



    That's obvious: not all players get your map from the hive, when your map is played on battle.net, other players can join the game and have not read the description.
    Of course, you can direct them to your map on the hive, but it is not the player's job to find out how the game works, it's your job to tell them.

    When the in-game description contains everything needed to know, the game will run smoothly without players leaving because they dont get it.


    B. What should I add/avoid in the in-game description?



    The in-game description is more compact, because you need to use quests for this.
    The best way is to seperate the "Main Quests" and the "Otional Quests" when creating an RPG, you can name one of them "Info" and the other one "Quests" (Advanced -> Game Interface).

    Create a new quest for every topic that is important, do not write too much in one quest.
    Create a quest for these topics:
    • Victory/defeat conditions
    • How to get gold/lumber and what you can do with it
    • The commands you can use
    • The credits
    • The changelog
    • Every system you use (e.g.: bank system, save/load-system, ...)
    • Map-specific topics (e.g.: Item drops, hero attributes, unit spawn, ...)

    In-game messages are a good way to warn players, but if they contain important information about the map, be sure to write that info in a quest as well.


    C. How can I make my in-game description appealing?



    An in-game description is harder to make appealing than the description on the hive, since you can only use color codes.
    Add a color code for the title in the quest (not necessarily the title of the quest itself) and add a fitting icon for the quest.

    Structure is the most important way to make your text look good in-game.
    Don't create a large block of text, but add a color code for the important info and describe that with a few words.
    (See screenshot for an example)

    Screenshot Examples

    Good Example:
    Taken from the map "DoomRaiders ORPG", created by ap0calypse_DaM.
    [​IMG]


    Wrong Example:
    Taken from a map I've quickly put together to show you how NOT to create quests.
    [​IMG]


    Of course these are only examples, you can add structures in several ways, as long as it's easy to read and not a boring block of text.


    3. Loading Screen



    A. Why repeat everything on the Loading Screen?



    A loading screen is a vital way to give information to players.
    Most of the time, when loading a map, the player doesn't have anything to do but read the loading screen.
    Not all loading screens can be used to give information, though: When your map has a very short loading time, don't put too much on it.

    A loading screen is something that the player has to see before he can play the map (except if the player minimizes, but he can only predict when the loading is done with additional programs, yet they are illegal and you can get banned by using them), so most people will read it if you can draw the user's attention.


    B. What do I add on the Loading Screen?



    Basically, that depends on your loading time.
    If you are creating a large map, like an RPG, your loading time will be higher than the avarage map, so you can add more information.
    If your map is self-explanatory, add a short credit-list and a basic how-to.
    The basic how-to is so that newbs can play the map without any troubles at the start.

    When your map's loading time is longer than avarage, explain the crucial systems in a short, effective way.
    Do not type a very long text that the player cannot read in the time he has.

    Keep in mind that players with a faster PC will load the game quicker, always make sure you have a little 'break' between you finishing reading the description and the game starting, unless you have a brand new, fast PC.


    C. How can I make it draw the player's attention?



    An appealing loading screen may draw the attention of the player and therefore will be more effective.
    The base of an appealing loading screen is the picture.
    Googling a picture and importing it is usually the "easy way out" and is most of the time not as good as a picture that has been made especially for your map.
    Keep in mind that the image must fit your map, importing a beautiful image of a dragon in a map without dragons is a bit of a downside (how amazing that image may look, it just doesn't fit the map).

    Note: The quality of the image will be reduced, make sure that - if you add text on the image itself - you can easily read it!

    Don't use too many difficult words, make sure you explain everything in simple English, that way most people will be able to understand the description.
    Creating lists is also a good idea, as in the Quest-log. (Use color-codes for the topics and describe it shortly).



    When you have trouble with your English, ask someone to do it for you (as well as the rest of your map perhaps).
    English is the common language, poor English will make your map look like it isn't finished.


    That concludes my tutorial of the description.
    If you've used this (and I hope you will), the chances of your map getting higher ratings and being played/downloaded more is a lot higher.

    Credits

    Zelda.Alex: Pointing out mistakes, missing information and typos.
    Dj0z: Pointed out a mistake about the loading screen
    Child_0f_Bodom: Creator of an example-map
    xDeathKnightx: Creator of an example-map
    Deaod: Creator of an example-map
    ap0calypse_DaM: Creator of this tutorial...
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  2. ap0calypse

    ap0calypse

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    I have seen a lot of maps with a lacking description, so I've decided to create this tutorial.
    If I have forgotten anything, or something is wrong, please point it out for me.

    (Do I need to add the list of BB-codes, or is my information enough?)
     
  3. a7xpwns3

    a7xpwns3

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    Holy...

    This is epicly epic.
     
  4. Pyritie

    Pyritie

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    I like this.
     
  5. Linaze

    Linaze

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    The formatting works.
    Good grammar & spelling.
    Easy to read and follow.
    Overall good and useful.
     
  6. ap0calypse

    ap0calypse

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    Thanks, after a lot of maps with a lacking description, I thought this could be usefull, even some professional mappers sometimes forget this, which makes their map miss that extra bit of effort that adds the finishing touch.
     
  7. Slaydon

    Slaydon

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    I favorited this page, +rep :)
    Sadly, i cant rep you again yet :S
     
  8. Zelda.Alex

    Zelda.Alex

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    I went to read the whole thing. Nicely done but can be improved at some small places. +Rep When I get over the 5 users after the previous rep.

    Spelling Check

    Mentioning that it encorages users to help the map maker will make credits seem more worthy to the map maker.

    Adding that placing the changelog in the hidden tags can save the unnecessary length of the description can help here.
    Spelling Check

    Adding here that making points instead of paragraphs can make the description look shorter.

    Capital A ap0

    Add this link here. Explains the basic nicely.
    http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/site-discussion-97/vbulletin-code-guide-28955/

    Capital letters for first alphabets.
     
  9. ap0calypse

    ap0calypse

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    That is really useful, Zelda, thank you (+rep when possible).
    I wasn't sure if I had to use capital letters in a list, so I didn't do it...

    I didn't find the list of BB codes on the hive, since I had searched for "BB codes" instead of "vB codes", so that is really useful.
    The spelling check is also very good, I never noticed those typo's.

    I will add/change everything in your post + make an index.
     
  10. TheBlooddancer

    TheBlooddancer

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    I'd aprove if i could.

    Bear in mind how usefull color tags are; Ingame and in on hive.
     
  11. Slaydon

    Slaydon

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    For those who wonders how you can change the title, go to Advanced-Game interface-Text-Optional Quests and Quests, and Simply edit them to, Game Info, and Objectives or something else :D
     
  12. Pyritie

    Pyritie

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    They stick out like a sore thumb.
     
  13. bounty hunter2

    bounty hunter2

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    I like it aswell. Perhaps stick it in the map rules or something. I'l talk to Rui, try polishing it up as best you can until.
     
  14. Zelda.Alex

    Zelda.Alex

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    Wouldn't adding your own map's link be considered as advertising? Ask a mod because I am not sure about this.

    Odd thing is that it should have been typos. A typo in typo.

    Wouldn't "if" be a better word here?

    Capital P

    You can add here that it may lead to a user solving the bug for you. That way it won't look worthless to the map maker.

    Capital C
    English always has a capital E even if it is in the middle of sentence.
     
  15. ap0calypse

    ap0calypse

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    Thank you, I was planning to add a part about the loading screen (because it's also a vital way of showing information about your map to the players).

    I don't know, but you could also say that I'm advertising Brotherhood of Kenji and Gravity Hook.
    Those are just maps that (in my opinion) have a good description, the creator and quality of the map itself doesn't matter (at least not to me).

    Capital letters after a double point? I don't know... I'll change it, though.

    Yet again, thank you for your help
    I'm also going to add credits to this thread (of course).
     
  16. Zelda.Alex

    Zelda.Alex

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    It doesn't matter to me either. As I said I am not sure if that goes against rules or not.

    Videos.
    Also adding here that avoid showing any spoilers. Some surprise elements help the map.

    Spelling check
     
  17. Pyritie

    Pyritie

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    Approved, because all that's changing are some spelling and grammar fixes. The content's good so it's approvable.
     
  18. ap0calypse

    ap0calypse

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    Well, I've added a little info about the loading screen, but if there is anything else that needs to be said, please say so.
    I don't know if there is more to say about the description, though...

    Thanks for approving ;)
     
  19. Ricardo Irving

    Ricardo Irving

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    Nicely done. I don't need this tutorial, but useful for some - + rep.
     
  20. Dj0z

    Dj0z

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    This is very helpful, and i have just used it to improve my map's description. It looks much better now, thanks to you.

    I feel like pointing out a just a small detail though:
    Some players can actually know exactly, through the use of banlist and such programs, or when the windows cursor suddenly teleports to the top left corner of their screen (not sure if that works for other people, and mac users).