The only constant in the world is change

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Arhurt, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. Arhurt

    Arhurt L6: Sharp Member

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    And you, as a level designer, must accept change or deal with shooting in the dark.

    Let me explain myself here. I think that every mapper/level designer has some kind of idea to what they want to achieve with their level before they even fire up the editor. During the making of the first few blocks of geometry one can truly feel a hint of the divine power of creation. After all, our levels are made of what? Pure thought shaping up something: an Experience.

    It is very common for the mapper to be proud of his creation. And this feeling is so strong and the attachment to the masterpiece so deep that it is hard to accept the one constant in the universe: Change.

    My message here is to my fellow mappers, be you just a newcomer that hasn't even registered on the forums or an old fart with tons of maps under your belt. Accept change early on and let your map grow as a living being. If caged into your initial idea, or to the initial shape you gave it, it will most likely become extinct as the dinosaurs, or you will count on pure chance and luck as you shoot in the dark.

    Take the feedback from playtesters and fellow mappers seriously, and don't think that your layout is made of pure perfection, for nothing truly is.

    My own experience with ctf_aerospace has taught me a lot. I had been warned countless times by fellow mappers and playtesters that the map was too big. I judged their worries fraught and unfounded. "They just need time to learn the map" or "They need to play on a more populated server" would come to my mind as excuses to avoid facing the truth: The map was too big, some areas where confusing, and the map sucked.

    After I accepted this I could finally make it trough and create something great. The new version of aerospace has been able to amuse new players and, most importantly, break the scepticism of the very people who warned me before and where ignored. That's great, but it could have been entirely avoided if I had been more open to suggestions and accepted that the result from my hint of divine power as a pure pile of suck (gameplay-wise, visually it was, and still is kick-ass).

    "Never believe you are right. Know you are. A belief that turns right in the end is still sheer luck, not experience. Take the data you have, the playtests, the stats, and see the truth within. Being experimented means making the right choices so the playtests and stats never prove you wrong." - Furyo

    Bulleted list if you just skipped trough my humble apology/insight/lesson:

    • Accept that your map is never perfect
    • Be open to changing everything
    • Listen to your fellow mappers and playtesters closely
    • If you truly believe you are right, then stick to it
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 15
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  2. Cat™

    Cat™ L1: Registered

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    This is something I learnt pretty early from my writing. One of the things in writing a novel is that you become attached to the characters you are creating (as you would hope the reader does too.) Knowing when to make the right sacrifice to your work is when it is usually most dramatically effective, such as killing off an important character.

    I think this transcends to everything really, definitely a very informative post.
     
  3. Chilly

    Chilly L6: Sharp Member

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    Excellent advice. I find it funny that you quote Furyo since he provided insight for me on this as well. We did a bunch of the beta testing for his cp_studio, and despite us always thinking it was perfect he kept trying different things and improving them. I still don't think he's completely happy with it even though it's a good map.

    In a nutshell he told us that mappers should be perfectionists, but should always listen to feedback about their map. Even if you disagree with the comment, you at least know some reasons why people don't like certain aspects and can always take that into account while making other changes.

    Excellent post.
     
  4. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

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    this reminds me i need to try the new version of aerospace...i was one of those people that found it really bad, and no amount of visuals can make up for that for me, so...yeah...

    just like to add though that there are a large margin of people that have absolutely no idea what they are talking about, so...don't be a doormat
     
  5. Laz

    Laz L7: Fancy Member

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    Great post! very true. Not only in mapping. Take in all the criticism you can, and use it to grow. I've been doing kendo for a long while now, and one of the main things that teaches you is to listen to critique, and do your best to improve by it. It's the beauty of things, you are always doing things wrong, nomatter how long you've been at it. the fastest way to improve is getting yelled at as much as possible, and be thankfull for it :)

    this is a trend that tracks through in all paths of life. as it does in level design. I am always listening to what people think about my maps, and try to improve on those areas.
    the only thing I'm a bit weary of, is balance issues based on someone playing 2 rounds on the map with people who have never played the map before.

    so next time someone is ripping apart at your map, listen, and use it to improve.
     
  6. Uriak

    Uriak L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

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    Very true. But constraints and feedback can be somewhat evasive.
    First thing I was told about circular payload was to not bother going that way at all, since other gametype were hardened and validated. Of course I didn't listen. I still don't know if it was a good thing or a bad.

    To complete what said Laz, feedback requires both inexperienced and experienced players. You'll want to know how your map plays with people knowing what to do. And how newcomers may be lost or not, even if it's not what should happen later, their feelings may make or break any reputation for your map.

    I believe you must somewhat have high expectations for your own work, even if it means hurting criticism. I won't be what you imagined at all in the end, but aiming too low won't result in anything good, unless for training purpose.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  7. Scouttastic

    Scouttastic L1: Registered

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    You fucked with me now. Add The Illusionist on Steam to have a little talk.
     
  8. FaTony

    FaTony Banned

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    It's like IDEA or GAMEPLAY. CONCEPT or REALITY...
     
  9. Laz

    Laz L7: Fancy Member

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    well you just gotta let your map live. As arthur said, don't cage your map in your own idea's. Let it evolve, change, grow! Just like having kids, you gotta leave them some room to develop on their own. don't restrain them to much.

    My stage 1 on pl_haywood, second part, initially had a displacement rock arc where the payload ran over. it looked awesome and I was really proud of it. but it was to bloated and big, and didnt really work, it took a bit out of me to just delete the entire thing, and start over. The bridge allowed alot more playroom, and also allowed the little building at the corner of the bridge, providing offense with more cover and another sniper spot.

    also, if you are not happy with some part of your map, no matter how many hours have gotten into it, don't be afraid to just delete it and start over. The number drawings/paintings I have ripped up, erased, painted over, is huge :p the second or third try is usually a lot better.
     
  10. FaTony

    FaTony Banned

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    My concept is always unplayable or out of source limits :(
     
  11. Armadillo of Doom

    aa Armadillo of Doom Group Founder, Lover of Pie

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    Dude, you just blew my mind :p On a serious note though, you are absolutely correct. I just recently accepted that I'll have to redo from scratch the entire main area of ctf_deathflag. The reason I was having trouble detailing is because all of the geometry was boring. Flat, repetitive, and no variation. I actually have half a mind to sticky this thread.