What makes a good *a map?

What makes a good *a map?

Discuss maps & map creation - from concept to execution to the ever elusive release.

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smoth
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What makes a good *a map?

Post by smoth » 28 Nov 2015, 17:21

We have 100s of maps, I want to make maps but I can scarcely see the point of pouring the effort into future beautiful maps which will be ignored. Some of you will say why do you care Smoth? Because in the decade long history *a kiddies constantly show up and instead of spending the time to get a map the change them to these hideous aged maps.

So I have to look at building maps with *a in mind. For years I altered my grts maps to support *a gameplay. (River valley(river nix, now) surpassed a 20th release.

As far as I have seen no one mapper ever cracked the *a formula, it seems like a crap shot on what is popular. However all of that being said, no one has asked directly, what is it that makes a great *a map? What makes these maps stick?



I am excluding dsd and speed metal.

Everyone is an expert but gives no real constructive feed back. So 1 map per post, discuss a *a map, what you like about it, what makes it better than others?
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bobthedinosaur
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by bobthedinosaur » 28 Nov 2015, 20:04

Pretty textures, balanced on at least 2 fold symmetry, large, multiple ramps and paths for routing?
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smoth
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by smoth » 28 Nov 2015, 20:16

I need a map name. I am looking for example maps and what makes that particular map worthwhile.
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Jools
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by Jools » 29 Nov 2015, 01:23

As we already have some maps named something with Isis, it would also be nice to have maps named something with Daesh
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PicassoCT
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by PicassoCT » 29 Nov 2015, 01:23

there seems to be a golden proportion between defendability-diameter and distance
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Beherith
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by Beherith » 29 Nov 2015, 03:13

Clean visual ibdication of pathing.
Symmetry
Defendable higy ground chokes to bases.
Large distance between teams.
Some open areas that provide area contesting battles.
As much external mexes as starting mexes.
Clearly definable roles for each starting spot.
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smoth
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by smoth » 29 Nov 2015, 03:17

Beherith wrote:Clean visual ibdication of pathing.
Example maps to look at? Did I do this well with gantelope?
Beherith wrote:Defendable high ground chokes to bases.
So limited entrances for a hilltop base? why are pit style bases bad(river nix, cooked well)?

Beherith wrote: Some open areas that provide area contesting battles.
How big? example maps?
Beherith wrote: As much external mexes as starting mexes.
How many expansions? what about lesser expansions?
Beherith wrote:Clearly definable roles for each starting spot.
Roles?
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PicassoCT
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by PicassoCT » 29 Nov 2015, 09:34

Lets be clear about something first. This style of maps is a consequence of the "physical realism" of spring. Means you inherit if you dont alter the physics of spring completely. And it makes absolute sense that it occurs in the real world too.
Of course you can deactivate it, by gamedesign decisions. It is just not done.
You could for example make a circular shield, that stops every bullet going above or below its height level, and thus negate the fact that enemy heighground and a long way towards it, shells the crab out of you in reality too.
It boils down to cutting a spring feature (realistic bulletphysics) to allow for a diffrent style of maps.
So limited entrances for a hilltop base? why are pit style bases bad(river nix, cooked well)?
Cause they are hard to defend?
Beherith wrote:Clean visual ibdication of pathing.
Example maps to look at? Did I do this well with gantelope?
FAs DesertMap- the cliffs have a diffrent terrain colour. Also important- not to colourfull, units have to stand out from the map.
Beherith wrote: Some open areas that provide area contesting battles.
How big? example maps?
DSD. SpeedmetallCenter. Throne.
Beherith wrote: As much external mexes as starting mexes.
How many expansions? what about lesser expansions?
Beherith wrote:Clearly definable roles for each starting spot.
Roles?
Tech-Up (SimCitizens) , Aggro, Defender, SneakyBackStabber (Jungler?)
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Silentwings
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by Silentwings » 29 Nov 2015, 09:58

I've thought about this a fair bit in the past, so here's my two pence worth... this is roughly the set of instructions I'm giving myself to design a big team game map, e.g. http://springfiles.com/spring/spring-maps/arena, http://springfiles.com/spring/spring-maps/barbary-coves, http://springfiles.com/spring/spring-ma ... ic-plateau, http://springfiles.com/spring/spring-maps/enclaves, etc.

The most important aspect of all big team games is social. People need roles to play, based on but not fully fixed by the design of the map, and they need ways to interact while playing them. There have to be ways for players to slip up, and ways for a good player able to win a fight to bring an advantage to their whole team. This is sitting behind most of what's below, and also means there is a huge amount of randomness is which maps become popular and are re-played.

Starting positions should be clearly defined and all have an approximately equal about of metal. Most, but not all, of the starting positions should come with clear delineation (from the layout of the map) of which area its occupant is expected to fight in. It's important to have ways for people to easily help other, sometimes by travelling sideways across the map, but they routes they use to travel sideways shouldn't be suitable for large scale fighting.

The "precious areas" (metal/geos/highground) layout should draw people forward into conflict. The design of the maps around bases should offer some protection; so when one allyteam dominates part of the fighting area, the retreating team still has future chances of a come back. This is best achieved through long wide slopes and curved cliffs, without any explicitly visible chokepoints - chokepoints makes the game dull and predictable, but protection given to bases by more subtle means is important to have.

The fighting areas (middle ~60% of map) need variety in thir structure, to match the variety of ability of the players. There needs to be at least one large open flat-ish area which can contain a 3v3+ sized battle, and one or two more interesting areas with ramps/cliffs/hills/valleys/etc for experience players to play strategical games with. Within the fighting areas, there should be lots of options for players to choose how they control their region of space.

The bases, especially those with more built-in protection, should have space for expansion, and should be flat enough that someone can build without caring about slope. The protection given by ramps/cliffs/distance to bases should mean some bases are dependent on each other of help when invaded, and others are not. The map should be designed so as its ~equally advantageous for well protected bases to (a) sit and eco, share t2/etc and (b) pick an area to join in the fight. The less well protected bases should be forced to fight to win space, and at least one or two should be vulnerable to complete destruction if the enemy allyteam wins the fight in a large-ish central area.

The whole terrain should offer easy movement; we no longer have issues with units getting stuck on jagged areas so impassable cliffs can look as naturally formed as one likes, but the ramps and general ground should be smooth (and this should be obvious from the texture map). The potential impact of all the starting positions on the outcome of the game should be approximately, but not exactly, equal, but only in the long run - for some positions, their impact might not show at all in a game that ends fast. It should be obvious from the height/metalmap that both allyteams fight on even terms. There needs to be a bit of pressure on the amount of available space to fight in, but not much.

I'm not sure how fair it is to think of "a good *A map" as working for all *A games - I've not played or even spectated any other *As in literally years, but having occasionally looked at stats of which games pick up and play my maps, BA and ZK both seem to do so quite often, and all others almost never. Maybe the other games have evolved different styles that mean my idea of a good team map doesn't fit, idk.
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Orfelius
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by Orfelius » 29 Nov 2015, 11:52

Imo there is no *A formula. Every Spring game is different thus some maps work better with certain games, some worse. For example Evo works great on Fetid Marsh but on ZK? Its meh because its much easier to porc. Having that in mind in my opinion maps should be specifically tailored to the certain game instead of appeasing everyone, but at the same time still making it possible for other games to be playable.

However even the map plays good it is community who chooses which ones are going to be played. Compare 2 biggest Spring games, ZK and BA.
ZK players often play different new maps and are constantly switching between them. These folks just love to try new maps (I got like 20 people telling me how IoG was great after its release).
On the contrary you have BA community, which is not prone to change and prefers to stay with older classic ones like DSD or Comet Catcher (which both make around 50% of the total games played), In turn I do not believe there were ANY BA games being played on IoG or Zed or Akilion Wastes or Siberian Divide and so on and so on.

The very same BA pattern continues in other *A games: XTA, TA and NoTA. These are ever more so unlikely to try new things.
Then there is S44, Evo and Jauria that only include new maps specifically made for said game.

In the end the conclusion is that if one makes a generalist map for Spring chances are that its going to be played only in ZK (if its deemed good enough).
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smoth
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by smoth » 29 Nov 2015, 14:37

I'd like to see more map specific examples though. Didn't we use to have a listing of games played and what maps played where somewhere?
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Jools
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by Jools » 29 Nov 2015, 23:09

Orfelius wrote:
The very same BA pattern continues in other *A games: XTA, TA and NoTA. These are ever more so unlikely to try new things.
Then there is S44, Evo and Jauria that only include new maps specifically made for said game.
I wonder whether that's a fact based on something or just the intuition? It might be that a map like duck is a little bit over represented in xta games, but that's only because it's a fast map and therefore easy to get a game on it.
Image
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smoth
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by smoth » 29 Nov 2015, 23:23

So filesize is STILL a factor in this day and age or is it that the map is small as far as playable area?
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Jools
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by Jools » 30 Nov 2015, 00:13

No, not filesize. But smaller maps are faster to play, so it's easier for people to commit to them. You can play 10 mins of duck and then catch the bus...
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smoth
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by smoth » 30 Nov 2015, 02:58

Would you guys like some smaller maps? if so what are good sizes?
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1v0ry_k1ng
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by 1v0ry_k1ng » 30 Nov 2015, 11:22

My 2c on teamgame maps

No dimension larger than 16x, and generally one dimension 2-4 smaller so the map is rectanguar. 14x12 can be fine.

Symmetry.

Think in terms of little battlefields with paths inbetween. Battlefields are big open spaces or contested hills & cliffs.

Build roles into the start positions - eg. an air spot. a defensible eco spot with a geo

Build sneaky back routes into the terrain that are not desirable to build on but provide alternate routes - see the edges of Titan Duel.

Do not include much water (water gameplay is bad), largely use ramps and cliffs rather than hills (use hills as impassable areas) as they play better.

Make it visible and simple to see where attacks come from. provide mutiple angles of attack to each defensible zone to prevent stagnation.

Wide frontlines, (corner starts can work well) with only some defensible places or ramps.

Uncomplicated terrain - people dont want to fight the terrain, so dont get fancy.

Bland textures - pretty is fine, but keep the contrast and noise low so units are visible

dark & reasonably long unit shadows - assists visibility of units.

Titan v2 is a great example of a large map, and Titan Duel is a great example of a small one.

Don't put in too many metal spots as the micro to build them gets very tiresome when they are dense - use small clusters of 1-3 with reasonabe spacing between.

A few small holes, bumps and spires can add a lot of changes to play on even basically flat terrain.
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Anarchid
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by Anarchid » 30 Nov 2015, 12:20

Do not include much water (water gameplay is bad), largely use ramps and cliffs rather than hills (use hills as impassable areas) as they play better.
Water is bad where it is bad because people's idea of mixed maps is "designate some areas as ship vs ship and make them unable to interact with anything else". Splitting water into a separate dimension from land is what *makes* water bad.

My suggestion for water is: small ponds, shallow rivers instead of seas and oceans. Like Nuclear Winter or Isle of Grief.
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1v0ry_k1ng
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by 1v0ry_k1ng » 30 Nov 2015, 12:25

Downriver v1 mixed in sea with the land to the max and is still hugely queer to play. Safer just to avoid situations where ships happen :-)
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Silentwings
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by Silentwings » 30 Nov 2015, 14:02

E.g. Small Supreme Battlefield, Folsom Dam, Barbary Coves, Tabula, all have many replays and (at least in BA) important water-land interaction. Nuclear Winters water is irrelevant though, its tiny and not even deep enough to slow units.
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smoth
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Re: What makes a good *a map?

Post by smoth » 30 Nov 2015, 14:07

What about features? forests etc? Those used to be fun in AA back in the day. I remember a good few maps with forests because they provided cover for smaller units to attack areas from tree cover. Why is it people so strongly dislike features?
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