Staredit Network > Forums > SC1 UMS Mapmaking Assistance > Topic: Some design considerations for mapping in 2021
Some design considerations for mapping in 2021
Feb 9 2021, 12:10 am
By: sethmachine  

Feb 9 2021, 12:10 am sethmachine Post #1



Hi,

The player base and community of SC1 custom maps has become smaller and smaller. Back in early 2000s, you could host almost any custom map and the lobby would fill instantly. SC1 was an oasis for super interesting custom games (I'd argue we've been replaced by Steam more or less)--the bar to make new maps is super low, so we'd always get awesome new content. In 2021, it can take an hour or longer to fill even a popular game. While there are many fewer players, those who still play custom games are generally higher quality players--more patient and willing to try new ideas. Nevertheless, given that filling a lobby takes a long time, I'd like mappers to consider design principles that help deal with the drastically reduced size of the community. This applies to both new maps and old maps being reworked.

The goal of these designs is to keep players in the game which means keeping them happy and engaged. It means not punishing people severely for mistakes (e.g. misclick and lose an important hero unit forever). It means games work well even if you're missing one or two players. It means not forcing players to leave the game even if they've "lost".

1. No elimination/defeat/kicking player triggers. This means if a player loses, they should not be forced to leave the game. This is a massive flaw in most maps, because it means everyone trickles out one by one and you lose your whole group. Instead, at minimum, allow losing players to observe. For more creative play, allow losing players a 2nd chance, or to play as an adversary to the existing players in the game (e.g. in a Zombie map they'd become infected instead of just eliminated). This gives players an incentive to stay in the game and keep your lobby/group together, so when the game ends you don't have to wait an hour to play another game. Players are forced to leave once another play gets victory.

1. No permanent death of heroes/key units, etc. Number one rage quitting is if a player loses a hero and they can't revive them. Instead, provide a way for a player to revive their dead heroes. Can be done by making it expensive (but not impossible) or take a long time. Personally I like a timer approach, hero revives automatically (for very low cost) but is out for maybe 2 minutes. This still punishes players for losing their hero but doesn't punish them enough to make them lose the game or have a massive disadvantage.

2. No more "required" slots. Many games have "required" slots, if they aren't filled the game usually ends immediately. Or, if the required player leaves, the game ends, ruining it for everyone. There are many design patterns to deal with required slots without ending the game. E.g. designing triggers that detect when a player leaves, and if possible gives units their ally.

3. When placing units for all players, place units only for computers or extended players, then use triggers (location + give units) to give each human player their assign units. This allows you to build trigger systems that respond well if there is a missing player (e.g. simply split their units among the remaining players, etc.).

4. Build maps that have fewer human slots (4-5) and more PvE interactions. 8 lobby games are pretty much dead unless you have a fanatic group of friends. I recommend making new maps only to suit 4-5 human players max and make up with it by having more CPU/environment interactions. This makes lobbies easier to fill.

5. No maps with absurd victory time limits like 1 hour. I'm talking about defense maps like Helms Deep, Minas Tirith, etc. Nobody is going to play these maps for 1 hour just to sit out a timer. If you have a map where time is a victory condition, I'd aim for no longer than 30 minutes.

6. For PvE maps, consider publishing 2 versions: one where it's just PvE and another where the computer slots are now human slots. This greatly improved replayability. Of course you need to add triggers/balance when a human is controlling the environment.

I'll edit and add more design considerations as needed.

Thoughts? Any other ideas?

Happy mapping!



None.

Feb 9 2021, 2:07 am Dem0n Post #2

ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

A big issue is that many people still playing Starcraft are just dumb and will quit a game after 30 seconds for no reason if the slightest thing goes wrong. They lose one unit? They quit. Also, so many players on the US servers are non-English speakers who don't understand how to play any of the maps, and because they can't speak English, they can't learn, which makes them leave as well. So you end up just having the same old maps from the early 2000s (defense maps, fastest, etc) that people recognize and don't need more than 5 seconds to understand how to play.




Feb 9 2021, 3:03 am Zoan Post #3

Math + Physics + StarCraft = Zoan

Quote from Dem0n
A big issue is that many people still playing Starcraft are just dumb and will quit a game after 30 seconds for no reason if the slightest thing goes wrong. They lose one unit? They quit. Also, so many players on the US servers are non-English speakers who don't understand how to play any of the maps, and because they can't speak English, they can't learn, which makes them leave as well. So you end up just having the same old maps from the early 2000s (defense maps, fastest, etc) that people recognize and don't need more than 5 seconds to understand how to play.

Some things never change, it seems.

For real, that is a good thing to keep in mind. IMO considering the crowd of players - if you want people to play your map, I think these two things are important to keep in mind:

1. Make it easy to understand. Don't give vague indications of what to do and how to do it. But also don't steal their screen suddenly at the start with a tutorial that jerks your vision all over the map pointing out different mechanics as if the player is understanding the info dump being poured on them (they don't). Introduce players to new mechanics in natural ways.

2. Have a good "hook" at the start. Basically, make sure the first 5 minutes at least of your map are engaging/captivating or whatever and make the player invested in the game.



\:rip\:ooooo\:wob\:ooooo \:angel\: ooooo\:wob\:ooooo\:rip\:

Feb 9 2021, 4:44 am armitage Post #4



One thing I've been thinking a lot about is how to make a player feel reasonably powerful from the start without turning the game into a steamroll 10 minutes in. I hate maps that are too punishing -- there's nothing worse than spending 8 minutes building up an army only to have it get instantly annihilated by a single photon cannon that's balanced like it's for the end of the game. I've been playing around with setting upgrade levels for computer players with triggers in EUD editor to scale difficulty with time/progress.

Quote from sethmachine
Hi,

The player base and community of SC1 custom maps has become smaller and smaller. Back in early 2000s, you could host almost any custom map and the lobby would fill instantly. SC1 was an oasis for super interesting custom games (I'd argue we've been replaced by Steam more or less)--the bar to make new maps is super low, so we'd always get awesome new content. In 2021, it can take an hour or longer to fill even a popular game. While there are many fewer players, those who still play custom games are generally higher quality players--more patient and willing to try new ideas. Nevertheless, given that filling a lobby takes a long time, I'd like mappers to consider design principles that help deal with the drastically reduced size of the community. This applies to both new maps and old maps being reworked.

The goal of these designs is to keep players in the game which means keeping them happy and engaged. It means not punishing people severely for mistakes (e.g. misclick and lose an important hero unit forever). It means games work well even if you're missing one or two players. It means not forcing players to leave the game even if they've "lost".

1. No elimination/defeat/kicking player triggers. This means if a player loses, they should not be forced to leave the game. This is a massive flaw in most maps, because it means everyone trickles out one by one and you lose your whole group. Instead, at minimum, allow losing players to observe. For more creative play, allow losing players a 2nd chance, or to play as an adversary to the existing players in the game (e.g. in a Zombie map they'd become infected instead of just eliminated). This gives players an incentive to stay in the game and keep your lobby/group together, so when the game ends you don't have to wait an hour to play another game. Players are forced to leave once another play gets victory.
I've gone some way to address this in my macro/diplo style map by having a war declaration system where a losing player can surrender and pick a new country. The winning player takes all the loser's land without the tedious task of clearing all the enemy's buildings, and the loser gets to pick a country far away others and restart. There's almost 30 selectable countries on a 256x256 size map, so even a fullhouse with multiple surrenders could go on a while without a player feeling like they need to gg. There's definitely the possibility of this being cheesed by the loser declaring on some random other player and surrendering to them, and robbing the winner of their land. On the plus side though, it might also provoke more conflicts between players, as a lot of diplo games turn into passive stalemates.

That's another thing that I wanted to prevent: stagnation in long games. I use gas as a scarce resource that gets mined out pretty quickly but can be purchased/sold on a market where the price goes up or down depending on how much players are buying or selling. As the game goes on and more players are forced to buy rather than sell or mine their own, the price increases via death counters, and hopefully this sucks some of the mineral income out of the map which can get pretty insane as games go on.



None.

Feb 9 2021, 10:48 am Ultraviolet Post #5

Don't stop till you get enough

Agreed, good points all around. I'd add that a good way to make a map easily accessible to your average player is to base the mechanics off those in already existing popular maps. In my latest map, Impossible Ultraviolet, I based it off the immensely popular Impossible Cyrus, but then added various unique features to make it my own. This approach has been extremely successful for me, I tend to have full 6 player games in just a couple minutes or less with people even sometimes messaging me asking me to make room for them to join.

Edit: Oh yeah, also anyone on USEast should probably switch over to USWest. Population is a lot higher on West.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Feb 9 2021, 12:25 pm by Ultraviolet.




Options
  Back to forum
Please log in to reply to this topic or to report it.
Members in this topic: None.
[05:04 am]
O)FaRTy1billion[MM] -- sorry wing
[05:03 am]
O)FaRTy1billion[MM] -- it was "delete[07:44 pm] Wing Zero -- I mean... It's true tho"
[05:03 am]
O)FaRTy1billion[MM] -- i think i accidentally deleted a shout by mstake
[01:15 am]
Vrael -- Generalpie
Generalpie shouted: Vrael Banger shout
thank you sir
[01:14 am]
Vrael -- NudeRaider
NudeRaider shouted: Espeneo want to steal the burger formula?
I am also confused old buddy
[11:10 pm]
Roy -- How can anyone take Gaius seriously when his theme song is literally Happy Birthday to You?
[10:46 pm]
Generalpie -- Frame it
[10:46 pm]
Generalpie -- Vrael
Vrael shouted: if starcraft has lost its charm and you need a project I hear deepfake porn anime celebrity furry crossovers are a lucrative business
Banger shout
[10:22 pm]
O)FaRTy1billion[MM] -- ya
Please log in to shout.


Members Online: sweetypatel00, Ultraviolet, jun3hong, RIVE, Frittzil80691