- Jan 26, 2007
The Importance of a Description
- Description on the Hive
- In-game Description
- 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)
Taken from the map "DoomRaiders ORPG", created by ap0calypse_DaM.
Taken from a map I've quickly put together to show you how NOT to create quests.
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.
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...