Moses’ tips for team map design

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Some of you will hate this, but I still want to put this out there. This is for the maps targeting getting played in the current FAF custom games scene. Team match maker maps can be different IF the wait times for getting games is different.

First remember the primary rule of team map design. You want to get players to the middle game. Early deaths in team games ruin team games.

Here are some tips for team map design that I think are useful...

  1. Choose large bases with a large surface area over expansions.

  2. Use pools or some other device to allow coms to escape one another early on.

  3. Use reclaim fields to give people something exciting to do early on... but remember that your goal is to prevent early com deaths because early com deaths ruin team games.

  4. If the map is too turtley, and the games go too far into a late game scenario... consider making the map asymmetric. By building local advantages/disadvantages you should be able to shorten games in the average case (the advantages should mean that one side kills the other faster on average). Some people hate this, but most people will accept it.

Here's my justifications:

  1. Large bases are attackable and difficult to defend so players can't just turtle. It means that attacking is viable... which is important if you aren't making a pure gap/astro clone. The larger the base, the more spread the mexes the better... but you don't want expansions because expansions are an easy to see indicator of who is ahead and who is behind. People don't like playing from behind. Its difficult to get team maps to fill, and difficult to get people to host them, so give your map every chance you can and avoid making a map where one side feels the frustration of playing from behind.

Its also worth noting that people quit pretty often in team games if they seem to be going badly. Anything that proves to players that the game isn't going in their favor might drastically increase the number of games where a player drops. If you're making an 8 player map... it really matters.

  1. Early com battles are fun, but games tend to essentially end the moment one player dies. With the amount of waiting required for a team game, this really isn't acceptable.

  2. I think the primary use of reclaim fields is adding excitement to an otherwise boring opening sequence that everyone plays through over and over again on your map. Most team maps have this, its worth pursuing... but remember that you're playing chicken here. Bring coms too close together and you've ruined your map as every game ends in a com death at the 4 minute mark.

  3. Sadly, the kinds of maps that make for good games emphasize safety, and that safety can mean that people will just sit in their bases and eco until they have a game ender. That does not make for a good map for many players - particularly higher rated ones. There aren't a whole lot of tools available to you to get around this issue. You MUST get players to the middle game safely, and that does conflict with the idea of having an exciting game.

Local map asymmetries in mex placement or reclaim placement can change this in the average game by giving players local advantages that can lead to won games. Consider carefully what kind of advantage you want to offer.

Your goal is to give one side an advantage that doesn't have a meaningful game impact until the middle game, so be careful when experimenting with this.

There are three primary means of creating meaningful map asymmetries:

  1. Terrain
  2. Reclaim
  3. Mex positions

Terrain asymmetries can make your map more interesting, but at least in my experience probably won't be meaningful enough to change the meta of a map from turtley to scrappy. I think terrain asymmetries are best used in combination with reclaim or mex asymmetries.

When creating a terrain asymmetry with the purpose of changing how a map is played or encouraging an advantage for one player over another, go for a strong asymmetry.

Can you make a "one way valve" via terrain? Can you make it easy to place defenses such that one player can move units through a pass but another cannot? Again, in my experience small terrain asymmetries don't have enough of an effect to significantly shift the strategic meta of a map, so if you intend to use them for that purpose, really exaggerate the terrain advantage.

Reclaim can be immediately converted into an advantage either economic or military... but you have to delay it somehow if it threatens to promote strong early rushes (again... gotta make it to the middle game). You can make the area only accessible by air, but then you have issues of reclaim theft and requiring a complex opening.

Mexes are perhaps simpler, as they provide an advantage, but aren't particularly meaningful until they've "snowballed" into a significant economic and then significant military advantage... which might not happen until late middle game.

If I were to build an asymmetric map today, I'd use a combination of all three. Asymmetric terrain offering local imbalances along with secure reclaim that is slightly delayed - perhaps only accessible by air - along with a modest number of additional mex positions. Perhaps 1 or two.

Anyway, I hope you find these tips useful if you aim to make team maps, and I hope that perhaps these ideas will ignite a creative spark inside some of you that refuse to make these kinds of maps for one reason or another. The realities of lobby put a lot of constraints on team map design, but I believe there IS room for creativity if you're willing to make the effort.

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Your title reads as everyone in the community is in consensus with your tips. Yet, there is another topic (https://forum.faforever.com/topic/180/understanding-team-maps) that clearly shows that this is not the case.

I think the title would be more appropriate as 'Moses the Red's vision on map design' to clearly indicate that this is your opinion.

Besides that - I am happy that you wrote it out. All this can do is spark new discussions either on the forums or through other channels and that is what matters most. Discussions allows one to place his / her understanding or vision of the topic at hand in a new perspective.

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@Jip said in Tips for team map design:

Your title reads as everyone in the community is in consensus with your tips. Yet, there is another topic (https://forum.faforever.com/topic/180/understanding-team-maps) that clearly shows that this is not the case.

I think the title would be more appropriate as 'Moses the Red's vision on map design' to clearly indicate that this is your opinion.

Besides that - I am happy that you wrote it out. All this can do is spark new discussions either on the forums or through other channels and that is what matters most. Discussions allows one to place his / her understanding or vision of the topic at hand in a new perspective.

The people that contest these points are simply wrong. Some of them don't even understand the basic forces at play in making a successful team map. You can see it in their posts when they talk about "global rating" or whatever to explain why people play the maps they play. You can see it when they talk about aesthetics as if that's a primary concern in getting people to play your map.

You can see it in how they dismiss popularly played maps as valueless, and the people that play them as low rated morons.

What is correct is not determined by vote.

Do you ever see those people actually joining team games? A lot of them are ladder players that don't understand why successful team maps are structured differently from ladder maps.

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@moses_the_red said in Tips for team map design:

The people that contest these points are simply wrong. Some of them don't even understand the basic forces at play in making a successful team map. You can see it in their posts when they talk about "global rating" or whatever to explain why people play the maps they play. You can see it when they talk about aesthetics as if that's a primary concern in getting people to play your map.

Wow, you are so full of yourself. It's just sad.
Could we maybe have some moderation on this post? I agree with Jip and if it's not stated that this is just a personal opinion of Moses then some people could treat these guidelines as official and that would be just a disaster.

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I love how you switched to saying successful from good maps sense your last thread

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I'm not gonna repeat myself to much from last time, my take away from what you said is to make a map unbalanced which isn't fair, perhaps you mean lane asymmetries as opposed to map asymmetries, and i think the reason astro/gap fill so quickly doesn't have anything to do with map design but its a vicious circle that people get trapped in, people see astro/gap hosted loads and fill so that's what they learn to play and then host that themselves.

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I don't have too much experience with communities but I don't think they work like this. I'd like a moderator or perhaps even @biass to step in - portraying subjective information as a fact while that is not in consensus sets a dangerous precedent.

As I mentioned before - posting an opinion is all one can ask but the title should match that it is an opinion.

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@Tagada said in Tips for team map design:

@moses_the_red said in Tips for team map design:

The people that contest these points are simply wrong. Some of them don't even understand the basic forces at play in making a successful team map. You can see it in their posts when they talk about "global rating" or whatever to explain why people play the maps they play. You can see it when they talk about aesthetics as if that's a primary concern in getting people to play your map.

Wow, you are so full of yourself. It's just sad.
Could we maybe have some moderation on this post? I agree with Jip and if it's not stated that this is just a personal opinion of Moses then some people could treat these guidelines as official and that would be just a disaster.

The reason that's ridiculous is that EVERY post here is just someone's opinion.

You want to label my post an opinion, when every damn guide is filled with opinions, because you do not agree with me.

The default mode of posting on this or any other forum is of course centered around the post author's opinions.

Doesn't really matter to me either way. Get yourselves wound up over nothing if it makes you feel better. Treat the post like its titled "Official consensus guide to team maps" if you want.

The only moderation this thread needs is to remove comments intended to derail the thread.

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@MadMax Yeah man, when I say "local asymmetries" I certainly don't mean for people to make the map globally unbalanced.

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@moses_the_red said in Tips for team map design:

You can see it in their posts when they talk about "global rating" or whatever to explain why people play the maps they play. You can see it when they talk about aesthetics as if that's a primary concern in getting people to play your map.
You can see it in how they dismiss popularly played maps as valueless, and the people that play them as low rated morons.

You can just refer to me by my name if you want.

@Jip said in Tips for team map design:

I don't have too much experience with communities but I don't think they work like this. I'd like a moderator or perhaps even @biass to step in - portraying subjective information as a fact while that is not in consensus sets a dangerous precedent.

I don't particularly mind people making guides and recieving feedback on their "input". It's easier now with this new forum to verify the experience and authority behind the speaker (because you can't hide under a different forum alias) and if someone cannot see the:

  • Level of seething rage pouring out of every sentence
  • The amount of backlash
  • The attempts at a response

And still blindly follow along without thinking critically, they were never going to be good at mapping to begin with.

But you do have a point, most tutorials focus on a single example, or a method of achieving a goal with examples to prove it. There hasn't been a post about some "rule of law" that will bring success and there is a reason behind that - one does not exist.

I don't have mod powers though. 😑

Maybe just change the title from "tips for team map design" to:
"My tips for team map design" ? I think people wouldn't have as much of a problem.
I don't particularly want to be the thought police so this should be a good middle ground.

And my personal advice: remove the attempts to pre-emptively deflect criticism, it's just plain cringe.

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@moses_the_red said in Tips for team map design:

Its also worth noting that people quit pretty often in team games if they seem to be going badly.

I don't think that is the case at all.

Larger team games, the lobby can take a tiny bit of time to fill so the incentive to play it out is there. Rarely do I find people leaving during the game, even when doing badly. If it actually does happen, it is very easy to not have them in your game anymore (the community isn't THAT large).

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@scytale This is a fair point. I may have overstated it.

I mean, the community isn't terrible, and you're right, it could happen more often.

But with the wait times to get a team game, any amount of quitting is too much. One in 10 games is too much. If there is an uptick of games with quitters though, it will make it harder for your games to fill. Competition is pretty stiff in the team map space from old, well loved maps.

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You can just refer to me by my name if you want.

I was summarizing the arguments made by several people. You were one of them, but certainly not the only one.

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I've renamed the post under further advisement.

@moses_the_red said in Moses' tips for team map design:

The default mode of posting on this or any other forum is of course centered around the post author's opinions.

If you're going to make a guide, I need you to have created proper examples of the practice working / or achieveing the goal it's set out to achieve, or the alternative is just a simple rename to make it appear more "unofficial" which has been done here now.

Rohai is an example?

Rohai has 1086 plays and as of yesterday, you were present in 592 of those games, most likely as the host.

Because of this inorganic inflation of plays, it cannot reasonably be considered a fair test enviroment. I haven't heard anyone else but you disagree with this so if someone objects to this ruling, let me know now.

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@biass said in Moses' tips for team map design:

I've renamed the post under further advisement.

@moses_the_red said in Moses' tips for team map design:

The default mode of posting on this or any other forum is of course centered around the post author's opinions.

If you're going to make a guide, I need you to have created proper examples of the practice working / or achieveing the goal it's set out to achieve, or the alternative is just a simple rename to make it appear more "unofficial" which has been done here now.

Rohai is an example?

Rohai has 1086 plays and as of yesterday, you were present in 592 of those games, most likely as the host.

Because of this inorganic inflation of plays, it cannot reasonably be considered a fair test enviroment. I haven't heard anyone else but you disagree with this so if someone objects to this ruling, let me know now.

Be gone troll. You aren't even quoting me, you're just being annoying, both with the post renaming (I moved the name back, if you have a problem with this show me some kind of community rules that I broke) and with the false quotes.

Again, aside from remasters from already successful team maps, how many plays do any of your maps have where people intentionally chose to play the map outside of ladder?

Beyond that, hosting does not result in a filled map. My hosting the map does not negate the choice that 5 other people made every time it was hosted to join it...

You seem to be embarking on a strategy of annoying me, I guess until I go away and quit challenging the ridiculous status quo here. You can do that I guess, but I can sure as fuck point out that it IS indeed what you're doing.

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Show me the rules?

Yes, you’re not to post anything knowingly false or misleading, furthermore faf admin receives the rights to edit any posts at any time.

I’m going to just change it back again, please don’t revert admin actions, I’m happy to leave the thread open and argue for all eternity as you know -

but if it’s going to be displayed in a way as the community has expressed their concern about: misleading new content creators, I’ll just lock the post. I’ve been civil in my requests here and feel justified in my action.

plays

I don’t need to stoop down to epeen comparisons no matter how hard you stack the deck in your favour, I believe my ability to map for the community is well documented.

quotes

It’s not a quote, and doesn’t say that you said it anywhere. You can use the text device without quoting anything.

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moses in his everlasting quest against the faf patriarchy

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i wish we could have a civilized discussion about this topic instead of it turning into a pissing match, it's certainly an interesting discussion to be had, one that if we could come up with some solid answers would benefit all

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@MadMax said in Moses’ tips for team map design:

i wish we could have a civilized discussion about this topic instead of it turning into a pissing match, it's certainly an interesting discussion to be had, one that if we could come up with some solid answers would benefit all

Clearly some of these people want the pissing match.

I think perhaps they were on the wrong side of this argument early on, before the explanations of it became convincing, and at this point perhaps they feel they're losing face by even having the argument made.

So rather than attempt to refute anything posted, they're just coming in and pissing all over everything. "Change the thread title", "None of this is proven your map's 1000 plays aren't enough etc.".

At the end of the day, this is your community too. Its easy to see who is being constructive and who is trying to shut down discussion and use whatever authority they have to discredit the post.

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