(in the post, I’ll be writing my thought process when hearing about the monthly map contest, which will draft on to realizations of map making, and further. Maps can be a parallel example to a lot of other work. In the chance of this interesting anyone, I’ll share.
BTW: When I refer to “map” I mean a simple “killing map”, whereas the objective is to kill one another, and the map’s feature is the layout itself
BTW2: Click on the post title name to properly read this lol
Seeing the best map of the month challenge, I initially felt disinterested.
I figured it would turn out like some sort of “Maxs’ ego thing”.
“He hasn’t made a map in ages, now he just wants to grab a quick prize.” they would say.
I could foresee the heat. If I actually won, or get a lot of votes,
That would be because of my reputation and influence. Not the map itself.
I could fuck up the challenge.
That wouldn’t be so clear if the challenge was to create something complex,
A map that was obvious it was superior to the others.
A map with trigger-systems nobody thought of before.
But the challenge was to create a simplistic warfare map. “Be a simple map”.
How am I supposed to create a so obviously superior map… Yet simple?
And how can I make it so superior there wouldn’t be a doubt I won because of the map;
And not because people would vote for me, because of my name…?
I felt attracted to the challenge.
First, I cannot just start creating a map like I’ve always had.
It cannot be just another “well-rounded”, “balanced”, “good looking” map.
That wouldn’t cut it.
I have to figure out a such genius, simplistic design, that would be superior
To the other maps, because it’s so simple. Yet so good.
How do I come up with something so simple, that’s never been done before?
I accepted the challenge.
I quickly realized I had to unlearn 4 years of map making.
I had to unlearn what made a good map.
After 4 years of PB2, killing maps were fundamentally the same.
You have your layers, layer meeting points, layer combination points,
potential hotzones, travel zones that end up to hotzones, restzones, etc.
(Only weirdos like myself, named these, and systemized them)
Seasoned map makers have a subconscious restriction to their map making.
They have an “inner idea” of what a successful DM/Coop map is.
They follow unconsciously or consciously other map layouts, with their own twists.
Take Eric gurt-railwars1 for example. The layout is so simple,
Yet it worked so well. It defined what 5,000 other maps look like.
After writing that. I went on to study Eric gurt-railwars1. I want to make the new type of maps people will look up to and replica, Max teabag-[???] will be the next simple, with such design
That is so original, and will be remade over, and over again.
That map, I will enter the contest with.
But I realized one thing.
It’s not the map itself that is so brilliant.
It’s the amount of hours people have put into it, perfecting the play of the map,
That has defined what it is.
What can be argued is that any map that has ever been created,
Can be seen as an absolute piece of genius,
If, for example,
PB2 players were restricted to playing that map
And that map only for a year.
People would find the strategies, counter-strategies, specifically for that map,
And regardless of its design, people would master navigating the map, memorize and discover nade spots,
Making it seem like the map maker planned everything…
The map would turn into gold.
Of course, saying ANY map could be turned into gold, would be false.
But I’d say the bare-minimum quality of the map for it to happen, isn’t very high.
The map wouldn’t need an intense amount of planning, or map-maker experience.
Just enough space and complexity for a year of people continually making strategies.
Typically, you’d say a map is finished once the map maker pressed “save” and “publish”. I’d argue that’s far from the truth.
The map is FAR from finished after the map-maker is done with it.
After the map maker is done with the map, It’s a SHALLOW, EMPTY, map. It’s just a layout.
“A combination of walls, entities and logic”.
The map is actually being made when the map is being played.
What the map-maker has made, is merely a blueprint, asking the community if it wants
To build it, to make it alive.
It sounds weird, I know, but bear with me…
The more a map is played,
The more unique strategies, unique maneuvers, tactics are born.
The more popular the map is, the more valuable these unique skills for the map become.
The more skills the people have in one map, the more they appreciate the map’s layout.
The more they appreciate the map, the more they play it…
It’s a circle, creating the genius of the map.
To conclude, the power to create a memorable, genius map,
Doesn’t lie in the hands of the map maker, but the players.
The layout isn’t really important at all.
That’s why I think this contest is partly bullshit. How are you supposed to judge
Which “shallow”, “empty” map is the best? All you can judge by being the Layout. I guess mainly the contest will be judged on visuals and who made it then.
(“A combination of walls, entities and logic”)
When map makers play-test their map, we tend to fix minor things over and over again,
Me included. I haven’t realized before that it doesn’t matter actually.
It’s what the players make of the map that matters.
Despite all of what I said. I DO think some maps are better than others.
As in better I mean they provide more space to develop
(“Unique strategies, unique maneuvers, tactics”)
And that they’re fair. And that they are original.
By original, I’d say the map provides spaces that haven’t been seen before
And that the player develops unique skills for that map particularly.
If a player can dominate in a map because they are an expert in a similar map,
I’d say the map isn’t “original”.
So, after all, am I going to enter the contest? With the idea presented here,
I cannot make a map that dominates in layout.
All my cards would have to be on:
“Creating the most with as little as possible”.
A whole new type of layout presented. A fundamentally different map from what we’ve seen
From 2011 up to this point. Actually, not only PB2 maps, but 2D-sidescroller maps in general.
Before I go any further to figure out how to unlearn everything,
I feel like I have to reflect on what makes a map enter that sweet,
sweet circle that I described earlier. How does one map become
played, popular and loved. While others are left in the dust,
untouched, ignored, but still offers the same?
I decided to study Max teabag-sniperwars, and Stryde-sniper.
When the new sniper-rifle was added the game, I hurried to make
a map that featured this new gun. As expected, the map turned
popular, only to last a few days. The map was essentially
Eric gurt-railwars1, with twists to fit the penetrating bullet factor of the sniper.
Stryde made a map a few days later, also similar to
Eric gurt-railwars1 and borrowed parts of my sniperwars. But this map
over-shadowed my sniperwars, and all the other sniper maps.
It became intensely popular. How? Why this map, and not any other?
Was in the background tile choice? The extra walls in the middle?
Was it the ID of the map?
It’s hard not to think that
Randomness plays a big part in deciding what maps fire off,
And what maps doesn’t.
Maybe Stryde understood something I didn’t, or maybe
He just got “lucky”.
With the popularity of Stryde-sniper, players committed to mastering
the sniper rifle, sword and grenade combination.
Seeing people play this map today, it’s incredible what level of skill
these people have with that weapon dynamic, on the map.
Why did people commit to learning the new gun?
Maybe they were bored of the same old railgun…?
Maybe they saw the potential skill-limit?
How can I make a map that people will commit to learning?
There are already 1,000s of “simple” RvB maps out there.
I’d imagine people are bored of the current layout regularly
in the maps that we all play today.
How do I make a map that’s refreshing? That’s so original?
That people want to commit to learning… Like the layout
itself, is like a map with a new gun…
But instead of a new gun, it’s the layout that’s new.
I have to unlearn 4 years of map making.
I have to forget all the 1000s maps I’ve played.
I have to forget all the principles of map design.
I have to think outside the box.
I need to find inspiration.
I began looking at things in my living room (that was convenient for me)
Inspecting shapes and the symmetry on the carpet.
How the relation between the furniture is to each other.
I started imagining little Plazma burst 2 characters
running around the room. Seeing them climb these shapes.
In my head, I modified the size and shapes of things
around me. Until it looked like something that would
be possible on a 2D-platformer.
After piecing everything together
I went on PB2, and I made it in the editor.
Naming the map: “room”
After finishing. The map looked whacky. The layout wasn’t
nearly anything that’s out there. But still, I couldn’t help
myself, but to add some traditional PB2-flavor into the mix.
I couldn’t help myself but to give an extra opening here
and there. Just because it makes so much more sense.
I realized I already lost. But I’m not redoing anything.
I decided to go nuts.
I copied the maps several times, all copies had
different rotation horizontally and vertically,
and different scales and positions.
Now I started to delete certain pieces of the map.
The end result was kind of a playable map.
But it was far from simplistic.
There were LOTS of random pieces of walls, scattered across the map.
So I overlapped the map with bigger pieces of walls, that would define a more
solid map, per say.
As I playtested the map, I forced myself not to fix spots that would “help” gameplay.
Except for one wall. Lol.
The map turned out to be hard to navigate, which a lot of people would view as a weakness. Look. In my opinion, if EGRW would be published today,
people would complain about how easy it is to fall down and die at the bottom,
today…experts at EGRW have developed the skill to avoid this.
The only reason EGRW gets away with it is because of it’s dedicated players.
It doesn’t really matter if the map is hard to navigate, if the map comes in the
circle, whatever you wanna call it, people will learn how to skillfully
navigate, and use their specialized skills on this particular map to dominate others.
The map offers a high skill-ceiling especially with the grenades and port nades added.
Train enough on the map and you’ll be exploiting the gaps like a pro.
There it is, here’s the design. Here’s the empty map, waiting for the opportunity to become something.
It didn’t turn out to be a genius-simplistic design… because really, there’s nothing that defines what’s
good design and what’s bad. This is me providing an opportunity to the PB2 people… to master
‘something’. I don’t really know why you’d pick this instead of any 100,000 maps floating out there.
This is my submission: Gujhuj-jub