When is the best time to release?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Grim Tuesday, May 23, 2010.

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When should a map be released?

  1. Immediately after blocking-out

    15 vote(s)
    41.7%
  2. Barely textured

    8 vote(s)
    22.2%
  3. Fully textured/detailed

    7 vote(s)
    19.4%
  4. Fully detailed/optimized

    6 vote(s)
    16.7%
  1. Grim Tuesday

    aa Grim Tuesday

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    I have been looking through the forums for quite a while now, and have realized that many mappers tend to release their maps at different points in their cycles. I was wondering which one most people prefer, and why!

    By this, I mean first public release, off of your computer.
     
  2. Grim Tuesday

    aa Grim Tuesday

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    EDIT: WTF happend to YM's post?
     
  3. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    The instant it's playable it should be tested. And time spend texturing or adding non vital details is a waste. Get it out there get it fun and do it fast.

    You know all the guys who do a billion alphas and have a really crap level of detail whilst they're at it, you know how people hate them? What about the people who do few alphas quickly then disappear to detail the map in one go, no one gets tired of playing their map, especially as it takes less time to get it fun.

    Also "I can't do anything because no one has given me any feedback" is the lamest excuse for anything I've ever heard. If you've played your map then there is always something you can do to make it better, regardless of amount of feedback. Simply playing the map on a dead silent server is enough, sure it helps if people suggest stuff but if you can't tell what works and doesn't yourself just from playing it, you've failed as a mapper and you need to find a new hobby.
     
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  4. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    om nom nom


    you ninja'd me, my first post is right there, under yours.
     
  5. Grim Tuesday

    aa Grim Tuesday

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    Im pretty sure you had a post that said

    "What do you define as a release?"
     
  6. Geal

    Geal L4: Comfortable Member

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    There really isn't any reason to release with anything more than minimal textures. If you do textures without details, it looks ugly. If you take the time to detail, then you'll be wasting time because you WILL need to revamp areas, quite possibly even going so far as to redo entire sections of the map. It's much easier and less time consuming to get all (or at least most of) the major changes out of the way before detailing, to save hours of work. And as Youme pointed out, balancing out detailing and gameplay testing can help keep players from getting tired of your map.
     
  7. k00pa

    k00pa L1: Registered

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    I would like to see map to have most of the textures done when I play it. Some dev textures are okey, but atleast something that makes it look like a real map.

    It wont take long to change couple of textures.

    But in other hand, it is much easier to do major changes to layout before the details.
     
  8. Bad Vlad

    Bad Vlad L2: Junior Member

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    I can attest to this. I'm in love with all of TF2's textures, so I jumped into my map texturing everything, and found out that it looks really empty without additional detail. If it has the textures of an oil refinery but nothing else, it will look empty. Reminds me of the uncanny valley.

    What Youme said. Having alphas with dev textures will make a detailed beta look so much more amazing.

    Though I think you can get away with detailing rooms that won't see much change, like spawns, and texturing areas that don't need detail, such as those corridors like in Pipeline.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  9. honeymustard

    honeymustard L9: Fashionable Member

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    This is a good point. Sometimes I haven't had any feedback for new versions of my map, but just running around by yourself, or get a friend to walk around, and see what route they take, can help you improve the flow of the map.
     
  10. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    I find detailing is what keeps me inspired to keep working on a map. You need to find the right balance of detailing to keep your interest high without doing so much that it'll take a ton of work when you redo areas. And you will almost always redo areas of a map.

    You can fully detail spawns IMO. Those are not likely to change (usually you'd only change the number/position of exits).

    Kep
     
  11. littleedge

    aa littleedge L1111: Clipping Guru

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    It depends on the mapper; There is no "right" way.

    Some people can layout a map as rough as possible, and test it.
    • PRO: Dev textures are clean; Nobody complains about the lack of details since it's obviously in a temporary stage
    • CON: There are only so many dev textures to start with, and people tend to overuse the same one; It can be hard to tell the difference between walls and doorways and such if everything is the same dev texture

    Some people texture things and test it (Most recently and notably Super has shown such style).
    • PRO: Not much time is wasted detailing
    • PRO: People get some sense of what the environment will look like
    • CON: The map's looks come into play: People will comment on the textures and say it looks bad because of the lack of detail, but presence of textures

    Some people, including me, have a hard time releasing a map in dev form. And others detail to use their time mapping wisely while they experience Mapper's Block.
    • PRO: The map looks nice and get's people attention on the forums through screenshots
    • CON: Having to redo a layout makes all the time spent detailing that area a waste
    • CON: A majority of people will critique on looks before layout


    So it's all up to the person. For a beginner, I suggest to go against how I map, and to use dev textures. It does proove better in the long run. But people like me who just can't bring themselves to release a dev textured map know about the consequences.
     
  12. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    One caveat I want to make about dev textures: You're leaving out detail, but certain gameplay parts are still important:

    • Doorframe models. Doesn't matter if it feels like "details", use them because people visually recognize them and it draws their attention to a possible route. For speed, you can just make them non-solid and place them roughly at the right place relative to the brushwork.
    • Railings along ledges, when blast-damage comes into play.
    • Very basic signage whenever you can do it cheaply.
    • Colored patches below powerup locations are fast to do, and help a lot with an unfamiliar map.
     
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    Last edited: May 25, 2010
  13. Ezekel

    Ezekel L11: Posh Member

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    this sort of mentality is why i often don't release the 1st public version with dev textures (sure there might be a few dev texture buildings here and there but for the most part i try to give building a basic sense of individuality and colour to appease people).

    often i will block out a map and run around on my own on the map a few times to get some idea of scale and feel and take in what is my natural movement flow (cos looking at a map from above in hammer gives a very different perspective to when you're in 1st person, and what appears to be an obvious path from A to B might not be quite as obvious when you're actually down on the ground).
    once i've done that, i will add in base level texturing and lighting. - this is partially for my own benefit though, by helping to set the scene. once that's happened in hammer, in my head i can start considering details and functionality of the areas. however, it originates from the overall mentality/comments i've been exposed to when releasing maps for the 1st time. your first debut can be your only chance to impress afterall.
    i should perhaps mention however that when i started mapping, i didn't know about this community or what was offered here (i.e. the testing events).
    overall the most important thing is to take advantage of what's available to you, and temper your 1st release based on that.

    so definetly, keep it as simple and bare bones as possible (whilst retaining functionality, so don't skimp on adding a model or two for important cover points, or using a placeholder brush for the same effect), release it amongst a small group of friends who you can play it with, and/or on tf2maps. get it tested out, modified, updated, tested again, etc. But hold off on posting a new thread at 2F2F, FPSB, or the steam forums until you're at a point where people are feedbacking more about asthetics then they are about layout. once you've hit the point of your layout being pukker, you're almost home free. detailing can often be done in a single iteration (though sometimes it's hard to resist avoiding detailing completely until that time). - you still need to test it though, both on your own and publically, as you might miss some lighting error when you run through it yourself, or some of the detailing might open up new exploits (e.g. a series of pipes along a wall that allows players to get where they're not supposed to).

    so hope that's helpful.

    edit:
    re-reading what i just posted, i wanted to add that as a hobby, mapping requires a great deal of patience (and i'm not even referring to the compile times there).
    when you've just released your new version (or 1st release) you're itching to get on a server with 20-something other players and get it broken in. usually though you're gonna have to wait a couple of days before you can get anything approaching that at all.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2010