Staredit Network > Forums > SC1 Map Production > Topic: Why Isn't It Done?
Why Isn't It Done?
Aug 3 2009, 8:46 pm
By: DevliN  

Aug 3 2009, 8:46 pm DevliN Post #1


How to Finish My Map
by Excalibur
(Revived from the archives of SEN)

You know how it is. You see great maps in production in the UMS Production thread. You see the systems it says it's going to use, and all the awesome stuff it's going to have.
And it never gets finished.

Unfinished maps are a problem to say the least. Iíve finished very few maps, and it leads me to believe my process is flawed. So I took into account what I do when I make a map, and what makes me stop. I wanted to point this out, and try to help other map makers who canít seem to get some awesome projects finished:
  • Choose a map you like
    You're way more likely to finish a map you like and that you think is fun. Donít make a map you yourself wonít like. Unless you're getting paid or forced to do it.
  • Donít worry about what anyone else expects of the map.
    If you want feedback or suggestions on your map, thatís fine. But donít ever make the map about what other people wanted to see in it. It should be your idea, that you have a passion of seeing made into a map. Donít let anyone put your map down no matter how junky it is, but strive to work hard and shut them up with one of the best maps anyoneís ever seen.
  • Stay on task.
    If you need to take a break from the map fine, but if you plan on finishing it, don't spend much time away from it. The longer you spend not working on it, the longer it takes to get done, the harder it will be to get back on track, and, ultimately, the less you will want to work on it.
  • Don't waste energy on something you won't finish.
    It's up to you if you want to do your maps out of spontaneity or by a careful plan, but you should always be prepared to follow through on the task you set for yourself. Blind hope just isn't enough to get maps finished reliably.
  • Testing is your friend.
    Testing is good. Not only because it helps your balance and weed out bugs in a map, but it gives you a look at what youíre making. When testing is far enough along, it gets fun, because your map is almost done and you should have a good time playing it.
  • Don't do 'fun' parts first.
    In fact, as a guideline, you usually do the 'fun' stuff last (some exceptions, of course). Stuff like text overlaps, sound effects, terrain prettying/doodads, etc. That doesn't mean you can't plan ahead for it, of course. If you can't complete your map past just the 'fun' stuff, then you probably shouldn't bother with it at all.
  • Make the map one step at a time.
    Plan to avoid having to multitask as much as possible. Is your map going to have an ammo system? Implement the system, test it, then move on to the next one, say a drop ship inventory kind of thing. One system at a time is like building with legos: One piece at a time.
  • Don't show off the unfinished map more than you need to.
    ...or at least not for kudos. Really, you should only be trying to impress people with the finished or near-finished product only. Anything short of that is not doing a service to your map.
  • Avoid preemptive hype.
    The other thing is to not hype up your map before you have a product (or only a partially complete one). It sets yourself up to have to meet the expectations of others instead of yourself, for one (as mentioned above). It also sets yourself up with a preconceived notion of what your map ought to be, hindering further creativity.
  • Backup religiously.
    There are few project killers that can compete with lost, deleted, or corrupt maps. Making backups is more than just a tip: It's a life saver. Especially between major new developments, editor switches, and especially if you plan on protecting or compressing it.

How to Troubleshoot:
  • Stuck? Find something else to do.
    Sometimes... no, USUALLY, you will end up stuck somewhere in your map. Unless it's some critical part obstructing progress of everything else, it can sometimes be best to turn your attention to another aspect of the map. Often the answers won't come to you right away, but giving yourself the time to think about it as well as retaining your pace of progress will ensure you're less likely to get thrown off course completely.
  • Still stuck? Try getting help.
    Don't be afraid to ask for help. Forums are usually the best place for general help, though for more specific stuff you may need to get someone specific to help you. Remember though: The help you'll get will only be as good as the information you provide. Be sure to define your problem as best you can.
  • If all else fails, time for drastic measures!
    Usually, you only hit this point if you've made a huge mess out of your map. In which case, you sometimes have to face the reality that you may need to hit the drawing board again. If you've made backups, try backtracking to an earlier version and clean things up. You may be surprised how easy it is to redo things you've already done, so don't be afraid. In the worst case though, you may even need to restart the map from scratch. You might be able to use tools such as SCMDraft or Starforge to import your terrain or other parts from the old map, but usually it's best to restart with as clean a slate as you can if you're going to go that far anyway.

By following these tips, I am confident that you can finish a map.

Excalibur for originally having this idea.
Tuxedo Templar for editing, organizing, and general help.
DevliN for finding and re-posting. >_>

\:devlin\: Currently Working On: \:devlin\:
My Overwatch addiction.

Aug 3 2009, 8:52 pm Demented Shaman Post #2

Damn, I pretty much do all of these things. That's why I'm so successful. :cool:

I approve of this guide.


Aug 3 2009, 9:04 pm payne Post #3


So you guys consider placing doodads as fun? xD

What would you think of ''For RPGs, please plan everything out before starting: the spawn system, the number of players, the storyline, the equipment system, the upgrade system, the mercenary system, the drop system, the death system, the spell casting system, etc... It's very important so you do not run into some incompatibilities between two systems. Also, if your RPG has a great storyline, make sure you have enough String space to reproduce it and also ensure the fact that you'll have enough terrain space to set-up good cut-scenes and realistic terrain related to the ambiance given by your storyline. Of course, I'd suggest you to go for a rough draw of the terrain instead of making it all perfect before starting triggering (even though that's not what I'm doing :P).''


Aug 3 2009, 10:15 pm Demented Shaman Post #4

Payne, I don't think that would fit into this particular topic. It's too specific. And if you were to include that in the topic I think that all genres of maps should be covered, not just RPGs.


Aug 4 2009, 10:12 pm Riney Post #5

Sounds like one hell of a way to get it done. Mind passing me some of the unsufferable part? ;o

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Aug 4 2009, 10:14 pm The Starport Post #6

Quote from name:Dark_Marine
Sounds like one hell of a way to get it done. Mind passing me some of the insufferable part? ;o
It's called insufferable for reason. :P


Aug 4 2009, 10:15 pm Riney Post #7

I was hoping you could rub some off onto me LuL

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Aug 4 2009, 11:16 pm Excalibur Post #8

The sword and the faith

Thanks for reviving this Dev, I was very proud of it. Tux helped and all, glad to see a credits section.

On that note: Tux, I'm glad to see you back but I'm a mod and have a job to do. Play nice.

SEN Global Moderator and Resident Zealot
The sword and the faith.

Sector 12
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Aug 4 2009, 11:54 pm UnholyUrine Post #9

I feel you should add something like:

For more ambitious projects, it is usually best to finish core trigger systems before going into the specifics. For example, in an RPG, it'd be best to figure out and trigger all the level up and spawn systems before tackling each hero's spells, conversations between heroes and townsfolk, and bosses.

Also, it is imperative to brainstorm as much as you can before starting a map, and leave as much loose ends for you to continue with your creativity as possible.This way, your ideas will keep you plowing to finish them on your map.


Aug 5 2009, 12:02 am The Starport Post #10

Quote from Excalibur
Thanks for reviving this Dev, I was very proud of it. Tux helped and all, glad to see a credits section.

On that note: Tux, I'm glad to see you back but I'm a mod and have a job to do. Play nice.

This list sure brings back memories. *shudder*


Aug 16 2009, 8:38 am Vrael Post #11

You guys left out Documentation. When you work with a system, finish it "completely", and a week later you need to know the value of the Death Count which corresponds to what you're doing in a new system, or you need to modify the old system to accomodate a new one, Documentation is crucial. A simple .txt can suffice, but it helps so much! Also helps for things like "OOOH I HAD THIS AWSOME IDEA LAST WEEK -- wait I forget what it was." Should've written it down!


Aug 16 2009, 9:52 am Jack Post #12

>be faceless void >mfw I have no face

Very true. I had these reusable locations and made half a cutscene. The next week I couldn't remember which location i could move, and when, PLUS I had these switches...anyway now I'm going to plan it on paper as to which bit goes where and when, and redo it.

Red classic.

"In short, their absurdities are so extreme that it is painful even to quote them."

Aug 20 2009, 3:04 pm theleo_ua Post #13

Donít worry about what anyone else expects of the map.

But worry, if this "anyone" is Wormer or Tuxlar haha:)

This is the main rule and main motivation for me - to make map that I want to make, not someone else want to see.

Nice article - thanks for it.

Now we need an article "how to find a time for making maps":)

Don't show off the unfinished map more than you need to.

What can you advice about starting topics in "map production"? I mean - does we need this? For example - now I making new map, but I wont to tell all SEN (and other world) what it is unless I finish it.

And now I am in funny situation: my current (fourth) map is approximately 60% finished (need some trigger system changing, lag fixing and some todos) but 2 weeks ago I found very nice idea of new (fifth) map. Now I want to do both maps (first because of 60% finished, second because of very nice idea), but I am not a core 2 duo to make 2 maps at a time:) and havent much time for map making now.

GL 4 all and make gosu maps!

Post has been edited 2 time(s), last time on Aug 21 2009, 8:23 am by theleo_ua.


Aug 20 2009, 7:46 pm Devourer Post #14


This guide is good and it absolutely matches with my opinions (except that I sometimes add sounds before the map is nearly done/done).

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