Distributing your own map. What are your ways?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by REEJ, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. REEJ

    REEJ L7: Fancy Member

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    The RantPoem Part:
    Lately I finished a map and I gotta admit it was a load of work (even though it's neither monstrous size nor incredibly great) And I start to wonder what kind of ways you guys might know to make your maps more popular. Problem is, people in general seem to despise custom made maps (probably thanks to a load of full bright failures lurking around to scare them away) As a player myself, after seeing the **_orange_** and a couple of other 'square field with nothing' maps being loaded in custom map servers. I naturally became used to quit before I even download, without even giving a new one a chance. Obvious seems to be the fact that finishing even a great map is not the end of the work, the question is, how to make a thing popular when you are not a company with money for an all-out advertising campaign?


    SkipTo Thread Purpose:

    With my map, things I did so far are:
    - upload it to all relevant custom map sites i could find in google
    - attaching short and informative descriptions along with a handfull of good looking screenshots

    And after this I'm out of ideas, got around 60 downloads in a week, in total (counting all the sites), seen the map being played hardly 3 times (1 was stricte custom maps server), and that's it. :facepalm:
    Excluding the obvious "keep making more and better maps", any ideas you guys got and feel like sharing on the topic? I'm sure there are people around, just like me, who could use some guidance on this matter





    Disclaimer: I do not consider my map to be exclusively attention worthy, I just think there is a massive amount of truly good custom maps which don't get the chances to be played.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
  2. Mick-a-nator

    aa Mick-a-nator

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    Letting other people find the map by accident is not going to get you anywhere. If the map is still in development stages (ie, not _final or _rc etc) then make a thread right here, over in the Maps section. We run gamedays quite often so sign up the map to be tested then. If the map is final, then put the map on as many sites as you can, which you have done, but then go and ask as many communities to play it. I'm not sure how it works as I'm not part of any communities like that and each one will have a different system, but there are quite a few that run gamedays which contain finished custom maps. Also go to people with popular servers running custom maps a lot and ask them to put you map on the rotation.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  3. Codename22

    Codename22 L1: Registered

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    Distributing a map always was a bit of an issue I think.
    Not only thinking about actually releasing it but also about not releasing it when it's not done yet. A lot of communities get new maps by request of players/community members and sometimes if you map authors ask for testing. Sometimes maps get found & played in early stages of development and get spread around the web and because it's still in development the flaws and bugs are recognised pretty quickly and people stop playing the map not even knowing that there's a much newer version out there.
    But a map can't just be uploaded and instantly be a succes, people need to get to know that map first as well.
    So best thing I experienced is to let people know that you are building a map and make threads about it on several forums and ask for feedback. While you develop your map you can test your map on several communities by asking admins nicely and test on communities like tf2maps.net on gamedays. When doing this I'd recommend not publicly posting a download link just test to prevent it from being spread around on the web and get lost on the servers.
    Once you have tested your map enough and it is in a state of playing really well then you can post a public download link for the first time and put in on custommap sites & show it on forums. Because some people might already know about your map because of the threads you made before or maybe even have tested it they are more likely to try it out also because it is in a good state people don't vote it away because they don't like it because of bugs. Continue to do this until you hit your final version and you have the biggest chance to get it played by people. So this is not only because of people finding you but also because you approached some communities and asked for feedback. Actually when you ask for feedback on communities some people might respect you for that because you are professionally taking care of the map and take part of the community by signing up on their forums and playing with them on the server which also generates more feedback. Be warned tough that when you just hop in on some forum and show them your map some people might think that you are advertising and only think about your own stuff and try to force them to play your map, you don't want that to happen. You could also always try to promote your map tough by making a nice page of it on your portfolio or create some nice promotional mini site or something, I did that once and because I had webstats on there I could easily keep track of things and see which communities were playing them and I got some more feedback from there. In fact I made that page before I released the map but since my email was one there some people actually proceeded me with the question if they could test it on their community.

    This was all from personal experience and what I think is the best way of approaching the release of your map you can disagree with me but this is what I experienced, I hope you can use some of my tips and good luck with further release of your map! :)

    EDIT: one thing I've forgot to mention: put your thread/promosite link in your sig (preferabbly with a nice image) you'd be amazed how many people click on that link.


    tldr;
    Don't publicly release your map in early stages
    Make threads and ask for feedback about your current development (show some screenies)
    Have loads of tests with communities
    Approach and join some communities
    Public release as well with a mediarelease/promotion
    keep track of your map after release
    profit!
     
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    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  4. FaTony

    FaTony Banned

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    Make yourself famous.
    ????
    PROFIT!
     
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  5. Lancey

    aa Lancey Currently On: ?????

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    Test always, test often. Once you hit beta, start to distribute the map to other sites that offer map testing, and make sure to get it in relatively often. Soon it'll have a bit of a following and when you're done, tons of people should know about it.
     
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  6. StickZer0

    aa StickZer0 💙💙💃💙💙

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    Do NOT join a load of different TF2 communities, post the map once and then leave, like SWATY.


    ...


    and me >.>
     
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  7. REEJ

    REEJ L7: Fancy Member

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    this is something i completely overlooked :facepalm:
     
  8. Icarus

    aa Icarus

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    When I started out mapping, all I really wanted to do was make a map that would be played on the servers I play on. It's especially easy if you're a regular and know the administrators. After that, notoriety usually spreads through word-of-mouth to other servers, if your map is good.

    I myself started out with the [-Q-] clan and 2f2f.

    After a couple of releases subsequent maps become easier and easier to publicize since you can tie your name or your other maps to it.



    You also need to make your map posts interesting. You're essentially advertising your map. You gotta sell it! Make a nice big graphic, interesting screenshots, witty writing, etc.

    P.S. Useful list of TF2 Communities:
    http://forums.tf2maps.net/showthread.php?t=8979
     
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    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
  9. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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