Moses’ tips for team map design

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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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Understanding where this thread is at is almost a study. I fundamentally do not agree with the majority of your points. Allow me to quote:

Level Design Workshop: The Holy Grail of Multiplayer Level Design: Casual and Competitive Maps

(at 10:00)
Ways to support casual play

  • Rebounds and chaos
  • Easy to learn
  • Limited tactics
  • Sandbox play
  • Single-scan arenas (easy overview)

(at 12:00)
Ways to support competitive play

  • Multiple valid options
  • Resilient options
  • Multi-scan arenas (harder to get overview)

With that in mind, one can easily argue that Astro falls into the casual type of map. It is easy to learn, there isn't much tactics available, it can feel sandbox-isch because you generally don't do a whole lot with your opponent and it is easy to have an overview of the map. Up to an extent Gap fills these criteria too.

Maps that you argue are 'bad' because they don't fill. Generally these maps are more competitive and therefore they belong to a different audience - and there is less of that audience. Hence, the lobby fills slower.

With our audience in mind, let us talk about design. Allow me to quote:

Ten Principles for Good Level Design

And to quote one of the comments:
04:23 - Good level design is fun to navigate.
06:47 - Good level design does not rely on words.
10:46 - Good level design tells what to do but never how to do it.
13:35 - Good level design constantly teaches.
16:06 - Good level desing is surprising.
21:07 - Good level desing empowers the player.
25:16 - Good level desing is easy, medium, and hard.
28:13 - Good level desing is efficient.
32:55 - Good level desing creates emotion.
37:26 - Good level desing is driven by mechanics.

And I think we can easily argue that a map like Astro doesn't teach the player anything, is not surprising after 10 rounds or more, doesn't empower the player in any form and is only easy because of the huge crater that you are in with only a single point of entry.

In comparison to a competitive map which tries to constantly teach you new approaches, can surprise you because of that, can be both easy, medium and hard depending on the players (whether or not a player can 'utilise' the core principles of the map), can make a player feel empowered (when the player matters, and / or after a struggle takes out an expansions - or even snipes a ACU early on with some T1 that got caught off guard) and up to a point tells you what to do (clear expansions, etc).

As others have argued before, a map like Astro is of poor design. According to the original creator it was made in a matter of minutes and most of its re-productions don't have much more time spent on them. Let alone that a lot of what you learn in Astro is not applicable to any other map and may even make you play worse on all other maps in comparison to the moment when you started to play Astro.

When we hook back to our audience: this is fine up to an extent. Astro is for casual players that want to play easy and casual games. Learning a new map, especially when coming from Astro, is a daunting task and hence people play maps like Astro.

About the objective and / or subjective notion - take note that a lot of these points can be objectively determined: a map with multiple paths, multiple expansions, clear guidance with reclaim or other mechanics can, up to an extent, objectively be called of better 'style' or more competitive than other maps using the criteria of the last video. Just as some games are objectively better than other games.

And I'd like to end with that just because I think Astro is of bad design, doesn't mean that the map won't fill. Of course it fills - it takes the game, runs it through a grinder until that the game was intended to be is crumbled to dust and you end up with a more simplified version of the same game. Less tactics, less thinking, more casual. Which is fine on its own, but should certainly not become more common than it already is.

Last but not least: the original GPG maps are almost all competitive maps with expansions, clear guidance, reclaim at interesting locations (such as the center) etc. That is how the original creators intended the game, and that is the type of game that I, and many others on this forum, wishes to play. If I wanted to play something else then I would divert to another game.

Also - to everyone else reading this: please participate in the discussion or don't participate at all. Sending in memes or one liners of any kind is not helping anything or anybody.

Now please, it is your turn in this game of endless chess.

Disclaimer: the video's are with FPS games in mind, but to me RTS games aren't that far off when it comes to gameplay design.

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watched the first video very interesting the second video is in my to watch list, i think the astro phenomenon is not really healthy for the game, hopefully with tmm coming and the map generator having undergone massive improvements (thanks sheikah) this will start to negate the new map anxiety, players can feel when leaving their astro comfort zone, as it's a new map for everyone and tmm will have a map pool like ladder with maps chosen on merit

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

Maps that you argue are 'bad' because they don't fill. Generally these maps are more competitive and therefore they belong to a different audience - and there is less of that audience. Hence, the lobby fills slower.

When I say that a map is bad, I mean that it is a bad map for the space it targets.

I'm not saying that maps geared for short games are completely valueless. I'm saying that they aren't particularly useful for custom pickup game players. They may be great for ladder, or they may be just fine for team match maker whenever that drops...

But they are not well suited for team matches as the game currently exists.

My purpose here has never been to disparage anyone, or put down anyone's maps. My purpose has been to explain why so many maps get ignored, and what map makers can do if they want to give their map a chance on the custom team game scene.

This post had to break through the elitist bullshit that permeates the community. I attempted to do that by objectively defining maps as good or bad based on how well they serve the community, how often they are played, to hopefully shift people's perceptions at bit away from a state where no one was even attempting to make new team maps for the pickup game space.

I was never looking to piss on other people's work, I just wanted to try to shift people's mindset to where they might consider not only taking up a team map project - but consider it and approach it such that the project has a chance at success.

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there are so many maps in the vault the choice is almost endless, if you can think of it chances are it's been done already, so what needs to change then to get players playing on a variety of maps? well this is where i think we hit a dead end because players choose maps and trying to force a change on to them will end badly.

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

there are so many maps in the vault the choice is almost endless, if you can think of it chances are it's been done already, so what needs to change then to get players playing on a variety of maps? well this is where i think we hit a dead end because players choose maps and trying to force a change on to them will end badly.

Is that where we're at?

No one wants to make a map targeted at the team game space because if it isn't blessed by the guys that pick ladder maps then you believe it has no chance of being played?

I mean, if that's how people feel, I get it. Its difficult to put a map out there that the team game community will accept, even if you build the map with an understanding of the realities of the lobby sim. There is a huge gulf between making a map people are willing to join and play, and making a map people are willing to regularly host. Believe me, I know.

I came in here with the perhaps naïve belief that people are out there that want to continue to make innovative team maps, and that are willing to put in the effort even if there is no guarantee that their work will be appreciated.

If I misunderstood, and everyone is just making maps with the hope of getting them into the ladder pool... then perhaps my efforts here have been wasted.

Or perhaps I'm attacking the problem from the wrong angle. Map makers have no decent means to showcase team maps to the team map community, and thus there's no incentive to make new innovative team maps.

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What percentage of map makers here make maps targeted at the ladder pool because they feel like otherwise their maps will never be played? Is the map making community dominated by the ladder pool?

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personally i'm on a break from mapping, but if there was a better way to promote maps to the custom games space i think i could be inspired to start again, but it's kinda disheartening to put hours of effort into a map for it only to be buried in the vault never to be seen again or played, i know biass is making steps towards vault changes that will hopefully make a difference, i don't mean to be down on it all, but if i may liken it to a drug addict, the community is stuck in a cycle that's not healthy imo and while we can try and convince them that this is bad, at the end of the day the community has to make the decision its self to change.

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Ladder maps are not more difficult to make than teamgame maps. Over 7 years I’ve seen top mappers make good maps for both types of games. Some can even make maps that are good for ladder and teamgames.

Getting maps played in ladder is certainly something that attracts mappers. Not only was your map recognized as good and interesting by the ladder team but it also very quickly lets you see your work played.

These are ultimately the feedback mechanisms that encourage people to make new maps in mind for ladder and improve their craft as mappers. It’s why I get two dozen decent ladder maps before I get a single new, decent 2v2+ map currently.

I would absolutely say the veteran mappers on FAF tend to gravitate towards ladder.

It’s actually hilarious how few good 4v4s exist when 4v4 is one of the most played game modes. When I made my list of maps I’d even be willing to consider for 4v4 tmm, I didn’t even get over 40. Meanwhile my 1v1 list has nearly 300.

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

Or perhaps I'm attacking the problem from the wrong angle. Map makers have no decent means to showcase team maps to the team map community, and thus there's no incentive to make new innovative team maps.

Physically cannot believe you actually managed to hit a nail on the head.

Consider the following:

As everyone has been trying to tell you, The popularity of Astro is not because it is "good" but because of outside factors. Those factors of course being inertia, Promotion, comfort zones, etc.

Flip this around now:

if you make a teamgame map that is "inherently good" it still might not get played, due to those same outside factors.

I always preferred making 1v1 maps because ranked ladder was my "thing". But for getting a decent run as a mapper, you were rewarded for making your maps better by having them appear more often, a higher score, and having them actually recognised by "FAF" as a system.

Not wanting to make teamgame maps (Or at times, more ladder maps) because there was not enough incentive to do so is something i've always believed was a problem.

TMM sort of solves this by applying the same incentives as ladder to teamgames. But it's now my job to work on providing you incentives as well. You can read about all of that in that election proposal document I posted recently.

If you have some insight on what might incentive you as a "teamgame mapper" to actually bother making your maps better I would love to hear it, but leave your hero complex at the door, thanks.

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

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

Or perhaps I'm attacking the problem from the wrong angle. Map makers have no decent means to showcase team maps to the team map community, and thus there's no incentive to make new innovative team maps.

Physically cannot believe you actually managed to hit a nail on the head.
Consider the following:
As everyone has been trying to tell you, The popularity of Astro is not because it is "good" but because of outside factors. Those factors of course being inertia, Promotion, comfort zones, etc.
Flip this around now:
if you make a teamgame map that is "inherently good" it still might not get played, due to those same outside factors.
I always preferred making 1v1 maps because ranked ladder was my "thing". But for getting a decent run as a mapper, you were rewarded for making your maps better by having them appear more often, a higher score, and having them actually recognised by "FAF" as a system.
Not wanting to make teamgame maps (Or at times, more ladder maps) because there was not enough incentive to do so is something i've always believed was a problem.
TMM sort of solves this by applying the same incentives as ladder to teamgames. But it's now my job to work on providing you incentives as well. You can read about all of that in that election proposal document I posted recently.
If you have some insight on what might incentive you as a "teamgame mapper" to actually bother making your maps better I would love to hear it, but leave your hero complex at the door, thanks.

Yeah, I think the issue now is the artificial influence of frankly you and FTX on map promotion.

I'm looking through the "M&M Team Top Picks", and while those maps are absolutely gorgeous, well made and obviously done by people with great talent, I don't think I'd host any of them, or join a game on any of those maps.

And the reason is that I can look at a map and tell whether its the kind of map I want to play, and the maps I want to play are team maps that work well in a pickup game setting where you spend significant time in the lobby sim.

And it would be silly and spiteful for me to pretend that there isn't a more to it than that, you're a minor factor in the stagnation of the team map scene, but I tend to think your part of the problem. We have a toxic community culture that disparages maps people enjoy playing - where we refuse simple things like an objective scoring system because an astro variant might make the cut and god forbid we make some Astro players happy by introducing them to a variant of that map they might enjoy.

And all this is just making the game shittier than it has to be.

I think more should be done to try to push good team maps into the spotlight, but the first step is for the people responsible for handling that to stop intentionally pushing away maps that don't look like they were originally intended for ladder.

I hope you consider implementing an objective measure of map quality for use in promoting maps to people, because if your goal is to get people to play ladder maps in pickup games you're just going to fail and leave the custom team game scene with an even harder time innovating.

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

Yeah, I think the issue now is the artificial influence of frankly you and FTX on map promotion.

lol, funny that.

The current list in the client was made by Morax, i had no say in it.

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

where we refuse simple things like an objective scoring system

Please feel free to explain why the ladder scoring system, when applied to teamgame maps, is bad. It's what is being used for TMM and your maps will score poorly on it.

This inability to recognize the conflict of interest - that being artificially inflating your map playcount and then asking for playcount to be more significant - is borderline psychopathic. I'm not introducing a system that benefits you when you are the person abusing it. 300 more posts of a circular argument is not changing this stance. It is not "objective scoring" and you are living proof of why it is not.

If you want your maps put in the spotlight. you need to make maps that are not garbage. Lots of semi-decent maps for teamgames appear every week and don't get featured. You will never be able to justify why your clone of another map, that barely passed over the old gatekeeping rule for low quality content, should be featured.

You can claim for an eternity that you're an outsider fighting against some kind of ladder elitist group, but pretty much everyone in the thread is just a much of - and a better - teamgame player than you. I don't think that anything else needs to be discussed here if you're unable to grasp that. Think of better suggestions instead of claiming you're some kind of victim.

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

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

Yeah, I think the issue now is the artificial influence of frankly you and FTX on map promotion.

lol, funny that.

The current list in the client was made by Morax, i had no say in it.

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

where we refuse simple things like an objective scoring system

Please feel free to explain why the ladder scoring system, when applied to teamgame maps, is bad. It's what is being used for TMM and your maps will score poorly on it.

This inability to recognize the conflict of interest - that being artificially inflating your map playcount and then asking for playcount to be more significant - is borderline psychopathic. I'm not introducing a system that benefits you when you are the person abusing it. 300 more posts of a circular argument is not changing this stance. It is not "objective scoring" and you are living proof of why it is not.

If you want your maps put in the spotlight. you need to make maps that are not garbage. Lots of semi-decent maps for teamgames appear every week and don't get featured. You will never be able to justify why your clone of another map, that barely passed over the old gatekeeping rule for low quality content, should be featured.

You can claim for an eternity that you're an outsider fighting against some kind of ladder elitist group, but pretty much everyone in the thread is just a much of - and a better - teamgame player than you. I don't think that anything else needs to be discussed here if you're unable to grasp that. Think of better suggestions instead of claiming you're some kind of victim.

Buddy, my maps don't need recognition. They get played. I have regulars, I don't have to wait long for them to fill. I don't know what the unique player count is for Rohai, but I imagine its in the hundreds. People know about it, have seen it, and are happy to join it whenever its hosted.

The problem is we can't get more maps like my maps, we can't encourage maps of the type that people actually play in custom team games, because of the elitist bullshit attitude you and others possess.

You are putting your hands on the scale and discouraging maps of the type that people might actually want to play in a custom team game setting. Perhaps before you weren't knowingly doing it, but now you're definitely knowingly doing it. Its why you don't want any kind of objective measure to determine map quality. Such a thing would allow maps of the kind you do not like to receive recognition, and you're too much of an asshole to allow such a thing.

You're like a country music musician that wants to stop his local bar from putting Nirvana songs on the jukebox. Its not good music, they only use three chords, that's the kind of bullshit arguments you use to justify keeping your foot on the scale when it comes to map design.

The map leadership's current take on map design is "Build the maps the way we like, or don't expect to see them featured" and its asinine childish bullshit.

Its in large part why the custom map scene is so stagnant. If you make a 1v1 map, you might get it in rotation and receive some degree of recognition. If you make a custom team map of the type that people choose to play then map elitists will ensure that it doesn't get recognition of any type. Its highly likely to disappear into the vault.

What a broken fucking community.

People voted for you (I assume) so that you could attempt to fix this.

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

If you want your maps put in the spotlight. you need to make maps that are not garbage.

I want to make this clear.

I don't give one shit about whether my maps get featured.

So here's the deal I'll make with you.

I 100% give you permission to blackball any and all of my maps from any kind of featured section that currently exists for showcasing maps, or that ever will exist - aside from having it turn up in search results of course.

I give you permission to hard code that into the feature maps section, IF you'll implement an objective "Featured Maps" showcase.

This isn't about me or my maps. If there were more team maps of the type that people play being produced, I wouldn't have to bother making them myself.

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I checked your maps and I have to say, just from the previews they look like trash. Made in 10 minutes with 0 effort or ideas.

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This isn't about me or my maps. If there were more team maps of the type that people play being produced, I wouldn't have to bother making them myself.

Barely anybody plays your maps though?

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@FemtoZetta

This post is about getting more support for the kinds of maps you are playing. Warzone, Dual Gap... maps in the style of popular team maps.

Take a look at the current M&M Team Picks. The style of map showcased there is not the style of map that you are actually playing in team games. The types of maps that you're actually playing in team games likely wouldn't make it into that section, they would be blackballed. Aside from one Dual Gap remaster, I didn't see a lot that looked like the kind of team maps that get played.

I'm trying to help guys like you by ensuring that the types of maps that you actually play might get a shot at being supported by the community.

But by all means, come in and throw stones. Perhaps you just want to continue playing Dual Gap and Warzone until the end of time. I have nothing against that, but I'd like to see a greater variety of team maps entering circulation myself - and whatever impediments have been set up to prevent that should be removed - meaning moving towards an objective maps showcase.

NOTE: The maps in the M&M team picks page are gorgeous and well thought out maps. My intention here isn't to disparage anyone's maps, its just to give the kind of maps that people tend to pick in team games an even playing field. If your map is on that page, congratulations, it means you have a gorgeous and interesting map. I just think its maybe not well targeted at the peculiarities of the pickup team game scene - which doesn't mean it isn't a fantastic map.

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I think the majority of the community are more casual players, rather than competitive players. Including me 🙂 . Take for example the original GPG maps: they do not meet your definitions of what a map can be either but that is how the makers intended maps to both play and look like.

With that said: the majority of maps in the featured section are aimed at competitive players. Including my maps, I make my maps for the competitive scene because there is nothing better than seeing high-ladder players beat each other to dust through various angles, smaller and larger skirmishes and more advanced tactics. And then imagine it is on your map 😄 !

I don't think calling the list artificial is fair in that aspect. There are maps that are more interesting to play for players with higher rating. And that is what we want to feature as a community - take for example the tournament at the end of the year. The maps played there are generally more competitive maps too. If you'd want to prepare for that tourney then you have better chances with the featured maps than maps like Gap as your training grounds. Without judging on either side.