Mapmaking Tips by MillenniumArmy

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Map Making Tips by MillenniumArmy

By MillenniumArmy, 2005-04-05 @ 16:32:36

Making maps is a difficult and tedious task to many of you. Why? Because it takes time, lots of time. And, as human as we are, some of us just get lazy. And how did we succumb to laziness? Because our mentality is weak. The hardest part of making maps is not the trigger work or w/e, but to stay mentally strong throughout the process. Like in any competitive sports: at professional levels, it's not skill that determines who wins; it's whoever's got the strongest mental mindset that wins. So what i'm abot to present to are some mental factors that help you when making maps:

You vs You In golf, the sport is basically You vs the Ball. In map making it's You vs. your Map. You must "win" over your map by staying focused and just concentrating on what must be done, just like you would in golf where u just get the ball into the hole. However, it also matters how you win over your inanimate adversary. In golf, if you get the ball into the hole with the fewest strokes possible, then you'd win a high quality win over the golf ball. In map making, putting your best effort into your maps would also earn you a high quality win over your map.

The rhythm When you try to make maps, especially big ones like RPGs, some of you just get unbearably lazy but yet at the same time still wanting to get your map done. This ambivalence of feelings can hinder your map making, thus causing you to abandon it. As you make a map, you must have a steady "rhythm" going. You work at a good pace and you focus on your work intently. It gets yourself engrossed into what u're doing. The hard part of this is actually finding your "rhythm" and keeping it going at a steady pace. If you really feel lazy but at the same time really want to get a map done, just try, with all your strength, starting up the map by doing basic things to it. Start with things that require repetitive work (such as triggers with different variables for different players. If you do them succesfully you will get a "rhythm" going and u will feel motivated to persevere. However, if you speed it up (getting too far ahead of yourself, getting to excited) or if u slow it down (getting distracted, daydreaming, etc) you will ruin it. So decide on what sort of pace you will want to work on ur map with, find your rhythm, and keep it steady.

Two selves Every human being has two selves: The Teller and the Doer. The teller is the internal voice inside your head. It tells u what to do, nags at you, and sometimes scolds or encourages you. The Doer self is the one that supposedly follows The Teller self's commands; its the one that does everything. When you are working on your map, your Teller self would keep throwing at you things such as "Ok, do this, do that... make the triggers... fix the units." This nagging will sometimes frustrate ur Doer self and disrupt your rhythm, bogging you down. So the main message here is: ignore your teller self. Do everything with ease and dont fill your mind up with your teller's comments. Usually when I make maps, i just let my Doer self go, do everything by instinct. When i ignore my teller self's nagging, i tend to work better and stay more focused.

Keep yourself together Also when you are making your map, dont get too far ahead of yourself. Do what must be done one at a time. Say for instance if you're workin on making locations, just keep your mind on locations; dont drift off into how you will do other things. Keep both your Mind (not the naggy teller self) and your Doer self on the same thing; only when they work together can anything be done. Lets say in school you have a partner and both of you must complete a project. If just one of you guys are incompetent, both shall fail. If you guys cooperate well, you can get things done really well. Make sure both selves are able to work with each other without any disturbance.

Visualize your map Picture what your map would be like when it's done. What are some things you know you are going to be proud of? What are some of the things that make your map fun? Those are your primary goals, but to actually make your map be the best it can be, aim for the maximum, not the minimum. Set your goals higher than the primary ones you've thought up. Before you start making your map, picture the downsides your map might have. What possible things could go wrong with your map? What are some possible flaws? What might make the game play horrible? List all the possible things that might make your map suck and while making your map, try your best to prevent your map from running into those bad qualities.

Your Audience Your maps usually are made not just for you, but for your audience. Like any stores or businesses out there, people must find their target audiences. Before you make your map, determine what kind of people do you want drawn to your map. Remember, no map can satisfy EVERYone. Even some of the most popular maps out there can be disliked by many people. Don't let those people bother you; focus your map onto those that like your style of map(s). Those people matter to you; they're the ones that can boost your confidence and mentality.

I personally think what makes a map maker a good map maker is how strong he is mentally. How effectively and efficiently can he make a good map? Anyone can learn complex triggers and terraining but not everyone can develop a strong map making mentality.

In my previous Map Popularity tutorial, I forgot to add one very crucial factor to consider, and I think it's probably the most important one to have when it comes to map replayability factors.

Is your map name easy to remember? Whatever your map is called, it must be something that would still be able to linger around in people's minds. Usually, when people play very long, not so fast paced games like RPGs, it is very tempting for people to forget what the maps were called. People only see the map name in the game lobby (and join list) and once the game starts, they probably will never see a slightest hint as to what the name of the map is in the game. So during those precious moments when players are downloading maps in the game lobby, you must have a unique, good looking map name that will cling on to the player's minds as they begin and end the game.

Is your map name unique? In the previous Map Popularity Tutorial, Bound maps seemed to lack almost all of those crucial map replayability factors. HOWEVER, unlike most other maps, bound maps usually do the best jobs in having the most unique map names. Just look at alot of those bound maps in your join list and you'll c that most of these bound names are just very unique and easy to remember. Your maps should not be too long and should not sound so insipid. Say your map name out loud, does it sound interesting?

The first word of your map name If your map name consists of two words or more, make sure the very first word is the right word choice. Make sure the first word isn't a word that's too common with most other maps. For instance, there are TONS of maps with the first word being "Dodge" used in maps like "Dodge the observers," "Dodge MJ," etc... If you happened to name your map "Dodge <whatever>," it's going to find itself a very tight space in your huge list of maps along with the other maps with the word "dodge" in it. It's going to be very difficult to find your "Dodge <whatever>" map if you already have a huge list of other "Dodge <whatever>" maps.

Avoid similarities It is VERY important that your map name is as different as other maps as possible. You want huge discrepancies between your maps' and other maps' names. Even if you really think your map should be named a particular word that is commonly used in other maps, you still shouldn't use it. Also the look of your map name in the join list should look different as well. Because as you know, most players are wonderful friendes that can't read english. And they usually only glance at the first few SYMBOLS of the map name (and that includes the color changing characters) and if they see that the first few characters are similar to another map which they know of and don't really like, they'll just be like "Oh this game" and not join.

(Article copied over from Old Old Wiki; Original Article -