Map making and evaluating tips

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Iluvalar
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Map making and evaluating tips

Post by Iluvalar » 28 Feb 2011, 09:00

As seem to ask me to comment their maps . I tought it would be great if i gave some advices for maps. As mapmakers will be able to avoid some flaws in there design and maybe players will learn to reconize and use them at their own advantage.

First of all I would say that the game mechanisms are pretty robusts, the research and design part make choices nearly infinite. Out of them, some will fit better in the map layout and other will do less well. The goal here is to make a map where different choices are egally attractive. So people will want to try different strategies around. During that post, I'll say "DO" and "DO NOT". This is not totally true, no map will be purely balanced some will be known and played especially for their specificity. Like over-water, narrow paths. So if you feel like doing a specific idea and doing one of my DO NOT this is perfect. There is no particular order to that list. feel free to give more advices.

Avoid truck rush
A truck _rush_ is when a player send a truck far away to take oil and probably build mg tower just at the beggining of the game. There is a timing to do that, everybody will take ground. But the game will be unbalanced if the ground taken like this worth too much then the strategie will be tried hyper-early and most strategies in the game that rely on something else the building a CC as third building and rush will fail.

DO : desertify the middle of the map from oil well. If you want to put oil in the middle, put them far from the closests paths between players and disseminate the oil around so nobody can actually cover all them with a single of a few defensive structure.
DO NOT : Put half of the map worth power in the middle of the path (or oil drum... you would encourage dummy rushes)

Hover
Hovers are bad units, they worth around 70% of a tracked unit (for the same power) your map must do something to give them a chance. That can be wide open area or long alternate paths so they can stay grouped and in the same time cover two spots (this is the best choice because it also give chance to wheel and half-track to subsist), making shortcuts over water or in the worst case, at least build an island to give one or two well for people that do the research.

DO NOT : Give half the map worth of oil on an island, do not make a maze in water (so the only unit that can actually move is hover or drop the bases in an infinite flat grassland and call it a "map". I repeat it's 70% and it doesn't take into account the speed. So it's just a matter or giving hover a little something more.

Vtols
Vtols are for mountain as hover for water. Straight map will make them less attractive. But as hover, you can exagerate. It's also kind to think a little about borg transport and how they could take high grounds and do something interesting with it. Dropping a tiny bit of oil on it can also give your map another twist. Again, same thing as island and hover.

Mortars
Height and curvy roads is also mortar friendly. They are weak on the front line, they also rely on good spot on the map and again it's easy to overdo it.

Bases
This will also overlap the "frontiers" chapter later on, but it's fun to have a good base something that is not all open with holes everywhere (i suppose it have a correlation with the wall HP balance). Give players a chance to turtle themselves when everything else fail.

Power
Power is a matter of taste for a big part, look to me like every power level is enjoyable (i hope devs will give more choices in the future). But think about this : I you don't put power (or not enough) around there will be no battle for it. All players will tend to turtle and/or build a single one huge strike attack into there base during 15:00 minutes and then end the game before 18:00 (not my favorite game experience). The reverse effect is also quite possible if too much of the oil is away. Then no defensive stance is possible and everything is too much moving (killing the time necessary to clever designs, research, buildings and focusing on units micromanagement).

One more thing about power : the game _must_ end. There must be a way to get the major part of the oil at once. This is 40 oils for a player alone. If there is soooo much oil around that everybody p-gen are full this might lead to stalemate position where the game last hours apparently with no goal. Even in team, try to keep a good space free for more oil for each player. In that NTWmax2 is a fail compared to NTW2. If a single player get disconnected or have to quit, the whole game is spoiled. There is no hope at all for the other team to get the power left behind. And unless there is a big amount of noobeness in a map, there is no way to win a pure 3vs4 in term of power.

Distances
Global distances will be affected by the map size, the general mazelikeness of the map and the amount of space accessible. It will affect the time the game will last. This will also be a matter of preference, but keep it somewhat reasonable. People generally don't like losing during half an hour or after an enormous building time, being crushed by a player that just happen to be stronger then them. For network play, try to keep that in mind. Whenever you choose to make huge map or mini map, keep in mind that the balance of the game is not infinite, you will have to stick more carefully to the other points listed here if you don't want your map to become a mono-strategy map (which is rapidly boring).

Width
The width of the passages can break balance. Some low cost designs are intended to fight in group like a flock of borgs, some others cost a lot and are definitively superior in 1 on 1 situation (think of a python heavy cannon on tracks). This is where map situation affect optimal design and strategy. Keep in mind that high cost units are generally speaking already stronger. Give space for more quantity over quality strategies. You can also arrange the map for different layout in a way there is open AND close spaces so it give a sort of terrain advantage to different model and units numbers (hence timing for optimal performance).

Frontiers
Let's talk about frontier and map area. the game Risk is nearly working just on that principle (and it's a quite deeply strategic game). One player will try to minimize the length of his frontier he will also want to avoid completly the more players possible (having a long frontier again one player is probably preferable to be between 3 of them through narrow paths). Think about players army like liquid/gel that spill into your map starting from bases.

If you want your map to be enjoyable with more then 2 forces in play, you will need to take good care of frontier. If a player can grow his territory (more exactly oil,we don't care about empty land here) without facing more and more players and spreading his frontier. He will not become a target for any of the player that can't see him (as he should by growing and becoming a menace) he will grow and grow and it's already too late. Those kind of map will give certain victory to the first to grab the smallest amount of land. that will create a syndrome of "sorry to win, my neighbor was noober then yours". The game will be nearly entirely played by the host in the lobby by the position of the players.

I guess you can't avoid that totally. Players can and will be lucky and take more ground faster then others, but you can arrange the map so they do so by increasing their contacts with other player. At some point, if a player grow too fast, it will become notorious that he become a strategical target. In a ideal map, he will grow without even killing anybody (at least at first) if the players are good enough they'll know that they have to push a bit more again bigger player and the forces will equilibrate instead of growing like wild fire.

more to come (?)
I'll post more ideas as mero will do some uberflaws :P
don't hesitate to post your. I'll probably build a wikipage or something out of that...
Last edited by Iluvalar on 23 Mar 2011, 00:46, edited 1 time in total.
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milo christiansen
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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by milo christiansen » 28 Feb 2011, 18:14

Well thought out. My next map will be the better for my reading this. :)
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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by NoQ » 28 Feb 2011, 18:58

Yeah, hope it will help me as well. That's an excellent checklist! (:
Those kind of map will give certain victory to the first to grab the smallest amount of land. that will create a syndrome of "sorry to win, my neighbor was noober then yours". The game will be nearly entirely played by the host in the lobby by the position of the players.

I guess you can't avoid that totally. Players can and will be lucky and take more ground faster then others, but you can arrange the map so they do so by increasing their contacts with other player.
I see, so that's what we were talking about during that game. This map is bad for FFA, even though all start locations are absolutely identical. The player placing issue is unavoidable when there are at least 4 players/forces, but there are workarounds! So the topology of, for example, Squared, is much more suitable for FFA (even though it's a crap for many other reasons). By the way, this list needs more examples :)

This also makes me want to make a 6-player FFA map, because it can be played 2x2x2 without having to pick one team to be put between the two others.

_________________

I would also like to have a few more topological discussions. Like single choke vs. two chokes vs. three chokes vs. 8-shaped, ring vs. star vs. wheel-with-spokes, etc.

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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by Merowingg » 01 Mar 2011, 21:51

Good stuff man :) Thank you for uploading :)

I have learned something more from it too :)

We do learn whaole life dont we ?? ;)
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Iluvalar
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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by Iluvalar » 12 Mar 2011, 21:15

NoQ asked me for some exemples. So here is about frontiers some images.

Here you have my brand new impactV2 :
Image
If i were asking you where it's the more efficient to build defensive struture (frontier) you would be a bit confuse. You would find that :

4 oils = 1 frontier
5 = 2 frontiers
6 = 3
7 = 4
8 = 5
...
15=12

Unless you push enough to kill someone where you'll find better solution :
9 oils = 3 frontiers (with 2 base)
12 = 5
15 = 7
...

There is no way you can really get away with that. You'll get closer to others players as you grow in strenght.

Compare with token ring :
Image
In that map, any big you become, you always have only 2 frontiers. Once you become stronger, most players have not even a chance to slow you down.

Or in squared :
Image
where you have one frontier until you have... seven.

Conclusion: Both tokenring and squarred are extremes that should be avoided. On the other hand, I think impactV2 is one of the best possible application of that rule. So in that it's quite extreme itself, there is plenty of room for good map design between all of these :) .
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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by NoQ » 22 Mar 2011, 15:15

One more point.

Flamers.
Wide and open maps without narrow chokepoints favor early flamer cyborg rushes. On more closed maps, one can use walls to make an effective defense against them.

(leaving further investigation to Iluvalar :roll: )

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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by Andrie » 27 Jun 2012, 16:42

Thanks, but it dosent realy learn you to create a map. :wink:
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Merowingg
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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by Merowingg » 27 Jun 2012, 18:24

Hey I am famous :)

Ilu used my Squared as a bad example :lecture: admit you knew if you use zydonk's he would kill you :bruce:

Both famous and disgraced poor Mero again ;)

Of course I couldn't stop myself from making this joke :3
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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by NoQ » 27 Jun 2012, 18:45

Uhm 1 year 3 months ... epic necro bump >_<
Read the documentation available in the FlaME thread to know how to create a map, that does it.

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Merowingg
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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by Merowingg » 27 Jun 2012, 18:54

But it was there! awaiting to be turned into light!

NoQ I think Flail13 shoud make VERY BIG SENTENCE AT THE VERY TOP OF THE PAGE WITCH WILL BE SAYING FLAME MANUAL HERE!!!

As it is amazing how I thin now hundreds.. miss the manuals..
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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by Iluvalar » 27 Jun 2012, 19:17

Dont worry Merow. I have a fully operational 286x286 8 player natural looking height map called "ravine" lol. We all make mistakes. Learning from other mistakes is just a shortcut ;) .
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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by NoQ » 27 Jun 2012, 19:27

a fully operational 286x286 8 player natural looking height map
lol gj nice (: (: (:
No way to compact it even a little? :(
Last edited by NoQ on 27 Jun 2012, 19:28, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by Merowingg » 27 Jun 2012, 19:28

die die die!

Did I just thought it or typed it? Ilu Mero plese my friend Mero :)

All ok, but accidentally I landed here and thought what the hell? :)

And what mistakes :) speak for yourself :P you know me, nothing is without purpose :)
“Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, and ideas are bulletproof.” - V

"Mark my words boy, Mark them well, I have survived your predecessors and I will survive you." - Merovingian

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Re: Map making and evaluating tips

Post by Iluvalar » 27 Jun 2012, 20:29

NoQ wrote:
a fully operational 286x286 8 player natural looking height map
lol gj nice (: (: (:
No way to compact it even a little? :(
No :(
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