This article is a Work in Progress or WIP for short .
Feedback is, as always, very welcome but I'd prefer the feedback over Discord and keep the comments of the article clean for when the article is finished. I'll credit you accordingly if we both agree that it seems right to do so.
There are no requisites for this article.
The goal of this article is to define jargon for discussing a map on a more abstract level. We'll describe an objective measure that applies to all maps. In turn this objective measure can be used to identify the audience of your map, similarities between maps. or for your personal reasoning as to why you (do not) like a map.
For this particular article we'll look into an objective measure that can help you define the complexity of your map. The term 'objective' is important in that last sentence: whether or not a low or high complexity makes your map better depends on whom you ask. By saying this I am explicitly trying to steer away from the discussion on whether a map is 'good' or 'bad'. I am also asking you, the reader, to take away your notions of good and bad when we discuss the case studies and instead be critical on the jargon introduced by the article.
This article is inspired on a talk from Andrew Yoder on the GDC conference of 2018. You can find the talk on YouTube:
Andrew describes how you can define casual and competitive maps from various objective criteria. In its essence these criteria describe the complexity of the map. We'll discuss them separately and try to apply them to the context of Supreme Commander.
A strategy heavily depends on the number of options a map provides. Many factors can add in additional options. Examples are reclaim, mass extractor locations and the paths one can take to get to another location.
TODO: rework this bit
We'll start with analyzing a few maps that provide a limited number of options.
The GPG map Winter Duel
Our first example is the map Winter Duel. Its design provides you with only one approach to the other spawn location and therefore from a strategic perspective the number of options is limited at best.
One can argue that air units can easily fly over the north and south mountains and that therefore there are in fact two routes. In practice, a tech 1 radar will cover both paths and therefore there is no real difference.