A Letter to the Community

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Termaximus, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. Termaximus

    Termaximus L5: Dapper Member

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    Dear Admins and Members,

    Immortal-D asked what happened with the latest contest and about some negative comments he has gotten lately, so here are my two cents. The things below have been simmering in my mind since I started using this site a year ago, and have come to a boil with the fact that my payload map will apparently not be included in the contest because it was a little late. This is my opinion, take it or leave it.

    So you don't think I'm taking my beef into the public without trying the proper channels, I messaged a number of admins yesterday (and one of them was online at the time) and have yet to get any response.

    To be honest, there is a streak of elitism on this site that has been bugging me more and more. I know I'm not even close to the best mapper on the site, but I have vastly improved since I first began mapping (for any game ever) a year ago. This site need to be more sensitive to all level of mappers not just the old hands. This does not go for all the admins and users of course. A specific example, is that the better mappers get the most feedback. This is backwards, its the inexperienced mappers who need the most help and are most sensitive to being ignored. I'm not just trying to bitch, but to give honest feedback. You are going to be a much more succesful community if you welcome with open arms mappers of all levels. You great mappers need to excitedly share your knowledge with those who are seeking it. Those who already do this, thanks.

    I'm not bitter about my map not being included, I know it did not have a chance to win, I'm just upset that I put so many hours into it and missed out on an opportunity to get some play testing done and get some feedback from experts so I could make it better.

    I'm sorry to complain, but I imagine my words hold true for a lot of people on this site. I'm not saying you become like the madhouse that are sites like fpsbanana.com and teamfortress2fort.com, but you could learn a lot from how they really welcome gamers and mappers of all ages and experience levels.
     
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  2. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

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    your map is included in the contest...its on the server, youme mentioned it was in the contest at some point (though for the life of me i can't find that post)
    and honestly...I don't see how you can blame anyone else for your map being late

    the fact that the better mappers get the most feedback is undeniable, and yes it is kinda irritating, but it does kinda make sense, most people here give feedback solely on visuals (primarily due to checking gameplay with a playtest is difficult), and the better mappers tend to provide better visuals to comment on, and some people go and search for little visual errors as well. Actually...to a large margin this is not the communities fault, when a server admin is looking for new maps they look at the screenshots because...well...its just more practical to do then test every map. So the maps with better visuals will get more server time, which means they will be playtested more and so they will get more comments. From experience its difficult to playtest a rather new map.

    and fpsbannana welcomes no one...

    oh and for your reference, your map lacks a game_round_win so red can never win ;)
     
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  3. Nineaxis

    aa Nineaxis Quack Doctor

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    The "elitism" you state is not the act of certain mappers subjugating others, but rather, the way mappers have to respond to maps. Saying "your map sux" would be unhelpful and FPSB-like, and that does not happen. But there really is not a soft way to deliver the fact that no one would consider running that map because it looks horrible.

    Beyond that, the site encourages maps to be well made and within the game's design. That is, stock, or close to stock in appearance, gameplay, balance, and design. We do not want to be FPSB (as you stated yourself), and the best way to keep the idiocy of such a site out is to stop it at the door. That is, if no one provides support for poor maps, poor mappers don't feel assured by it and try and shove their way into an elite perspective with cp_orange_x_pro_forest_v3.

    I don't think anything stands to be changed right now. MrAlBobo has already explained the nature of map distribution, and we provide free gamedays to any map needing feedback, so you can't throw blame at the community itself because your map did not get any playtesting. The community offers it, every week.
     
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  4. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    I think you're right that the better mappers get more feedback, but not for the reasons you're thinking of.
    - The better mappers are the ones who get their arse in gear and actually manage to get testing - we offer a full server usually every other week for playtesting which can have any map submitted to it no matter what the quality. I notice a lot of the not so good mappers don't ever submit their map for gameday.
    - The better mappers are more able to make something exciting, which in turn gets people excited and then they're more willing to play the map. (you can't blame anyone for this)
    - Providing feedback for the better mappers is easier since you don't have to explain as many basic concepts, and people are lazy.

    So simply using basic human nature rather than 'elitism' the better mappers are going to get more comments and feedback.
     
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  5. Termaximus

    Termaximus L5: Dapper Member

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    @MrAlbo - I am not blaming anyone for it being late except for myself, but the deadline was confusing, saying it was the 15th when it was really the 14th at 11:59 am. I think this was an honest misunderstanding. I was just frustrated that I thought it was not being included in contest, because it is not in contest download section nor has it been mentioned in threads. If it is on server, I'm glad. But I am on a non TF2 capable laptop so can't get on servers, and thus have to reply on forums for info. Since I have not gotten a PM response I assumed it was being ignored.

    My map does have a game_round_win and worked fine on my gaming communities server, red won multiple times. This was the a1 version though, so perhaps something has gone wrong with b1 although I have not touched the game_round_win entity. I'll look into it though.

    @Nineaxis - Perhaps elitism is too strong a word, although it does fit the bill for some specific people. I don't want to flame, so won't name names. Fpsbanana was perhaps a bad example, but they do welcome all in there own way although I agree it leads to a lot of immature content.

    :) Look guys, I think this site is a great resource and honestly I just wanted to give my opinion in hopes things can improve. Continous improvement should be a goal of any organization. Perhaps my tone was a bit harsher than intended because of my frustration, but I'm sure my fellow mappers can understand putting 40+ hours into something and just wanting feedback to make it better.

    Edit: (Youme posted while I was writting) - See above. I concede elitism was a bit strong. You said that the better mappers get more feedback because they understand the concepts. I get this, but we will grow the community if we try harder to nurture new mappers.

    I am willing to agree that perhaps I am being to sensitive here, but I'm not the only sensitive guy on the site I'm sure.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  6. HojoTheGreat

    HojoTheGreat L5: Dapper Member

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    There is one aspect of mapping that I think gets overlooked in the majority of threads here, and that's level design from a gameplay perspective. It sounds odd because that should be a main focus above all else, but I seem to notice it regardless. This forum is fantastic for technical help, and everyone happily comments on aesthetics, but with the vast combined knowledge we share as TF2 PLAYERS I'm always surprised at the minimal amount of feedback given about how an area will play in a map.

    Of course you need to have tests on populated servers to flesh out areas, but we DO all know simple facts like "you should keep routes as linear as possible, save big open areas for around cap points," etc. and I feel new, less experienced mappers are not getting this crucial information in the quantity they should, from the more experienced mappers.
     
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  7. GrimGriz

    GrimGriz L10: Glamorous Member

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    As a new guy, I have to say it's pretty interesting to see who responds defensively to comments of elitism ;)
     
  8. What Is Schwa

    What Is Schwa L6: Sharp Member

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    It is the giant elephant in the room huh?
     
  9. Termaximus

    Termaximus L5: Dapper Member

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    @HojoTheGreat - Well said. I understand that detail is key to getting your map adapted (although think about Orange_X, which has neither good gameplay or aesthetics, but is constantly on servers :confused:), but during development gameplay, balance, etc need to be primary.

    Youme is right, it is human nature to be lazy and swayed by pretty pictures, but I think those better at mapping and who are leaders of the community need to try harder to help those just getting started and those in between as well as their fellow experts.
     
  10. MangyCarface

    aa MangyCarface Mapper

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  11. TMP

    aa TMP Abuser of Site Rules

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    ^^Carface Speaks the truth. We need more crazy people in the chat.
     
  12. Ezekel

    Ezekel L11: Posh Member

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    it almost sounds like you would like to see an apprenticeship-esque situation.
    an experienced mapper take a look at map XYZ and decides to help guide teh new mapper through molding it into something wonderful, whilst teaching them the tricks and tools.

    that's quite an intensive thing, but hey, if someone wanted to do it, it would definetly be an amazing act of kindness and helpfulness.

    i have to admit that when i 1st joined here i felt intimidated and perhaps unwelcome - not because of what was said, but rather because i was an ignorant nobody compared to everyone else. i was scared to ask too many questions incase i irked people.
    it's not really anyones fault, it's just a case of a wide-eyed newbie standing among what he considers giants.
     
  13. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    I guess I should have added a bit more to my conclusion - Whilst its in our nature to be drawn to the more interesting things we do as a group need to help the new mapper become more confident.

    Through personal experience I've spent a lot of time giving detailed feedback and explaining concepts and ideas to new mappers who've greatly apprecieate it, but then a month later drop off the face of the internet. So i've spent a whole load of effort to make someone's one month long hobby slightly easier. I imagine other people find this too and explaining stuff to people for them to then give up really makes you feel like you're wasting your time giving them feedback in the first place.
    So whilst the more knowledgable people should impart their wisedom for others the others should respect what they're being taught to do and not give up. But we can hardly expect to lock people in to mapping once they've expressed an intrest so thats unreasonable.


    Lastly, another easy way to get help and feedback is to use the chat room, I say it in pretty much all my replies to the introduction posts I make (and I try to reply to all of them as they're made) but if you're not using it you're missing out on a fantastic resource.
     
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  14. Cerious

    Cerious L7: Fancy Member

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    I was playing on the server for judging the entries, and I was shocked by people rtving pl_reservoir when we were still on the first round. If you don't like a map, leave, but this is a contest entry, and we need to judge it. Sure, its not as good as all the other maps, or pretty, or whatever, but it damn well deserves its fair share of criticism, and denying the map creator that to play another map is just fucking rude.
     
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  15. DJive

    aa DJive Cake or Death?

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    no sides taken by me but to respond to a few things mentioned and to add my own thoughts.

    One thing that is over looked a lot is that this site is 100% volunteer, and while I'm not complaining and i DO love every bit of this when it comes to a contest.. its a TON of work, stress and time that we donate.

    When it comes to a deadline, an hour late or a day late to a user may only mean, an hour late or a day late however to the members who are involved in the contest it means hours and days of difference.

    It takes time to repackage everything, change graphics for a promotion, upload 50mb maps, change server config files etc etc, its not just a submit and walk away.

    Again we are no were complaining and we do appreciate all the support and understanding.

    To hit on the topic elite(ism) about play testing etc etc.

    Since i have been here WELL before i held any position in this awesome community i was on steam chat whenever i could, heck i even rivaled Youme's post count for a long time.

    I would constantly try my hardest to have the most "thanks" and highest post count because it shows how active i am in the community along with being in our Steam chat group and you know what it works.

    [WIP] space something or another.

    The map i was working on that never got into an alpha really got a TON of attention and a TON of helpful comments. People i asked would join just so they can give feedback because i was active in helping them, regardless if my map was even playable.

    And this goes for EVERYONE.

    Take a look, there isn't any elitism mappers I've seen here, sort maps by responses or views and you will see that the top people are those who are actively posting everyday and have a decent size post count.. Also can be found in steam chat most always.

    People who take the time to put into the community get so, so much more in return.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  16. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    I intend to make an article on gameplay mechanics as soon as i get the time. Which will hopefully give people things to consider before the mapping process even begins. Which will be in a week. I'm out of town for the next 6 days, then i think i'll spend a few days making this article to get a break from hammer then continue to refine my payload map.

    I think the largest problem with helping new mappers is that when they throw up screenshots of a map it's barely got any more than a days work and consists of a few walls, corridors and generic structures. The trouble with this is that it's hard to criticise this beyond a patronising "try harder". What i mean by this is, if i went to my lecturer and asked for help and had minimal work, is all i would get is "do more work and come back in a week". Because there's hardly anything to guide me on. He doesn't know where i want to go with my work or even where i could go with what i have; because the possibilities are endless. He doesn't want a whole lot, but anything more would give him idea's on possible resolutions.

    The more work there is the more there is to analyse and advise on. That's why more developed maps get more attention.

    So it's not that new maps get overlooked it's that they're hard to give feedback too. And any preliminary feedback can be given by a single individual, and there's no need for anyone else to add to it as there's not a whole lot to have been covered at that stage.

    I look at all WIP threads with eager anticipation. Especially new ones. But just because the first few screenshots were nothing amazing doesn't mean i lose interest in the thread. I'll constantly keep coming back for more on every update.

    Sorry that was so long winded.. i could probably have summarised my point in under several paragraphs, but heh..
     
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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  17. Scotland Tom

    Scotland Tom L6: Sharp Member

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    My opinions on why more experienced mappers get more feedback and assistance have pretty much already been covered, so I won't bother getting into that at this point. I will touch on the "elitism" subject for a moment though.

    I do think that "elitism" is too strong a word. However, to many new members and new mappers it's probably the first thing they feel they've experienced when faced with straight-up criticism. Unfortunately the world these days (especially the U.S.) is filled with ridiculously over-sensitive people. It's incredibly easy for anyone (especially in a text-filled online environment) to take constructive criticism in an insulting manner and assume some form of elitism is involved. I don't think elitism exists here at TF2Maps, but I do think that new mappers facing untamed criticism are quick to label it as elitist. The only real solution is for everyone here to take a step back before posting and remember their internet sensitivity training. Criticism is fine, but it's important (especially in pure text) to find the right words to voice it.
     
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  18. Termaximus

    Termaximus L5: Dapper Member

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    :blush: Well at least I started an interesting conversation.

    Yes, using elitism was too strong, but nonetheless behavior exists sometimes that could be perceived as elitist by new mappers (IMHO). Perhaps we Americans are "too sensitive," but I think this just means those who have the experience need to be conscious of this and be careful to not accidentily run a newcomer off. When I try to help someone who is less experienced than me at some skillset, I try to think about how what I'm say may be perceived (whether I mean it that way or not) by them. This is especially important when posting, because you don't have the ability to on the fly correct misunderstanding.

    I agree it is a kindness to spend your valuable time to help someone, but isn't that what online communities like this are about?
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  19. drp

    aa drp

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    the only person who can come close to being called elite should be me, because obviously im the best mapper there has ever been.... yea....

    /cries in a corner quietly...

    but on a serious note. i can see where the thread starter is coming from, a handful of users can be a little 'elitist' if you will, but this comes with anything that requires skill and hard work.

    I really haven't seen anything over the top or else i would of done something about it, but I want every member to know that if there is a problem, question or concerns, they can always PM me on these forums or even add me to friends list, I accept everyone and dont mind a chat or two.

    I do want to touch up on what DJive said, everyone on the TF2Maps staff does it out of love for the community and nothing else. These guys donate their time that can be spent working on their own projects, families, or even a round of TF2.

    Overall, I think this is a great thread and it finally pointed out the big elephant in the room. All I ask is that you guys keep this conversation civil so I dont have to lock the thread.
     
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  20. Spike

    Spike L10: Glamorous Member

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    You don't write elite, you write 1337 next time.





    >:-D