[Theory] Why Mapping with goals is essential to producing a worthwhile map

Discussion in 'Tutorials & Resources' started by Fantasma, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. Fantasma

    aa Fantasma

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    For a bit of context, i'm practicing producing an essay, and I thought to focus it on this topic as it is something I have talked about at length that can benefit others, all criticism is appreciated, so I can one day fix it from problems that come with the essay format.

    Mapping with set goals in mind is essential to producing a high quality map, whilst mapping with poorly thought out or dispensable goals impairs both the quality of the map, and the amount of experience gained by the mapper. Without setting goals, map changes will pander too much to the public and maps produced will become easily forgettable and replaceable as accepted feedback will often compare the map to successful popular maps, which happened to Koth_Sandstone due to it having little to no goals, but not Koth_Backwoods as it had set goals. By setting goals, it allows the mapper to; utilize feedback and information much more appropriately, produce a unique product that is much more marketable and memorable and enhance the experience the mapper can receive from producing the map.

    Settings goals for a map allows mappers to focus feedback on how to better accomplish their goals rather than reiterate their goals constantly. Setting goals for your map can include both gameplay spaces and Aesthetic design. This can range from wanting to create a specifically styled play space for your map (Such as having multiple height variations play a huge factor in your map), having unique elements (such as jump-pads or multiple capture points) and having your map follow a set color scheme and style (Such as an orange/blue Japan-themed map at night.) When receiving feedback for maps that focus on accomplishing goals, the mapper can better focus on how the feedback is relevant to producing these goals at a high quality, rather than redesigning the map as a whole. The map Backwoods was designed around the goal of having Teleporters and Jump-Pads as elements of the map that feel natural and progressive to the play style of Team Fortress 2. During it’s alpha the feedback I received allowed me to better tweak and utilize them to produce a map that utilised these elements much more effectively.
    I utilized this feedback when viewing mid in the replay demo, and instead of focusing on how I should redesign it around not having jump-pads (ignoring my goals completely) I analyzed how their current implementation was detrimental to the center’s flow, and how I could make the bottom area safer for players whilst still making jump-pads a major focus of it, which both fixed these problems whilst still accomplishing my goals. In contrast, Sandstone received the following feedback when entering the detail phase:
    Sandstone is a map which lacked having goals, and upon receiving this feedback I realized how much harder it is to utilize feedback without setting goals that make your map unique. The map was bad and I had no direction with how to utilize the feedback, despite the fact that the same feedback being applied to backwoods would give me the direction of focusing on implementing the map’s unique elements to be more frequent and game-changing. From these two maps, it’s clearly apparent that feedback becomes of higher value and quality when the map has goals, as it allows mappers to produce iterations that better focus on the map’s unique goals.


    In light of being able to accomplish unique goals, it must also be established that unique maps are much more marketable and memorable as they that appeal to specific desires of users. Each team fortress 2 map has a unique design, which is due to them focusing on accomplishing different goals. These unique designs allow maps to be easily marketable as well as memorable with a lot less effort. 2Fort for instance is a map that is recognized for having a small enclosed layout that focuses on close quarters combat, whilst badlands is recognized on having open play-spaces, and spires. These maps are hugely recognizable for users due to the elements described, and have become immensely popular and studied as they accomplish their goals exceptionally. Players who are feeling like playing something small are likely to quickly remember 2fort and load it into their server browser, as they remember it as a map that accomplished this goal. This should be applied when your map is marketed through the workshop or other means, a unique map is much more recognizable and memorable for users, and is a key factor that valve utilizes when choosing maps to apply to their game. For instance many users remember Backwood’s jump-pads ”the jumppads are a fun mechanic,” and Suijin’s unique aesthethic design, making the maps much more unique and appealing for users. From this we can recognize how producing and delivering on goals can produce a map that is able to cater to a player’s specific desires, and stand out in a saturated market.


    As well as helping with marketing, producing a unique map helps the mapper gain more experience from the map’s development period. Mapper’s are taught to educate themselves through their experience, learning how to better produce a product from the maps they create or play. Mappers that focus on accomplishing goals are able to gain more education and experience due to the much more deliberate and analytical process they undertake, as they focus on producing specific solutions that can be reutilised in other maps. Using Backwoods as an example, I learnt how best to utilise height variation when designing maps, as it was a huge factor in accomplishing the goals of the map. In future maps, I am able to better utilise this knowledge on height variation, utilising my experience of what worked and didn’t work in Backwoods. In contrast, I learnt very little from sandstone, other than to blindly follow feedback provided and specific setups that wouldn’t work. From this it becomes clear how much more I have experienced as a mapper, as I was able to focus on accomplishing specific goals and how to best implement changes whilst still adhering to them, rather than blindly follow feedback.


    In conclusion, from my experiences and satisfaction during Backwood’s development phase compared to Sandstone’s, not only did it become apparent that by setting out goals for the map to accomplish during the planning phase that the map produced would be of higher quality, but also the map be a much more marketable product that I can gain experience from. I personally believe that a lot of the reasons maps are never finished is that the mapper lacks direction in what they want their map to be, causing their maps to become plain and boring, with no knowledge of how to fix it. A map that is liked by all but easily replaceable, is less likely to be played and discussed than a map passionately hated by half of people but loved by the other half, as it will simply be replaced.
     
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  2. Tuaam

    Tuaam L6: Sharp Member

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    Well, this is true with many things. A goal is a objective. Without a clear objective in mind, where will you go?
     
  3. Zed

    aa Zed Certified Most Crunk™

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    what's koth_backwoods
     
  4. Tuaam

    Tuaam L6: Sharp Member

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    Look it up.
     
  5. Zed

    aa Zed Certified Most Crunk™

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    T'was a joke.
     
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  6. Giovanni

    Giovanni L1: Registered

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    Thank you so much for this I needed some motivation for finishing a map, I've never done so since I'm not easily pleased with the work I make most of the time. I was thinking: Am I doing something backward?, having an aesthetic view of my map at the start. Should I start over because I'm designing wrong? Should I start simpler? But this inspired me to go on! Thanks a lot :)
     
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