News | Forum | People | FAQ | Links | Search | Register | Log in
Thought 2 - The Increasing Purposelessness Of Mapping.
Perhaps not of that much relevance to this particular forum but still perhaps of interest. Probably applies more to SP than DM (think on that?)

Is custom mapping becoming increasingly pointless as games progress? Why - because game mapping is generally getting more spectacular, more impressive, more specifically themed and better executing those themes. In short game mapping and the associated technology could be leaving custom mapping behind. After all what`s the point in creating - or, more importantly, playing - a custom map for a game that`s already full of great maps.

For example, take Quake. Good in-game maps at the time, but it was and still is a piece of piss to make vastly better maps even quite soon after the game`s release (and that`s bearing in mind how new true 3D mapping was in those days). No doubt the game`s open-ended themes helped.

On the other hand, take, say, RTCW. Some bloody great maps with fairly specific styles. It seems to me it would be pretty hard to beat those maps at their own game. Unless one is to create entirely new themes (again, harder than before due to increased quality demands), it would seem quite purposeless to create something that`s unlikely to be better than what`s already there.

This is, I think, an increasing trend with games too. Personally, a lot of older (or cruder, e.g. DKT) games have given me much mapping inspiration (yes, JUST inspiration), while newer games have often have such good maps, I can`t think of anything worth adding that they aren`t already doing.

Thoughts?
First | Previous | Next | Last
Add To That 
the increasing amount of work involved to make a good map (well SP stuff anyway). 
Good Point Nits... 
....you could file that under "increasing technology" too, basically the whole thing is getting harder and what you`re competing with is getting further away.


But there are two counter-points to what I`m suggesting. Free* chocolate if someone gets both.








(* Note: That is free chocolate for Shambler hehe) 
Yeah 
i thought about that too
modern games usually strongly tied to the story
it`s either hard to map cuz of the strong storyline (RTCW) or the game is so complex technically that it kills the desire to map for it. that`s usual for the modern games.
quake was universal for that indeed. freedom creating your own style and relative simplicity creating maps.
and i think that in the future only for few games will be possible to map as from the style freedom as from the technical side pov. i still believe that doom3 will be relatively easy to map for. cuz it`ll support editing from the very beginning, and this game will have some default story as usual (i hope). easy to modify and create your own worlds.
the same goes for unreal2, even having some silly story it`s rather easy to make the map with absolutely no relation to original concept.
as for the other games, well, they use either u2, q3/d3 or lithtech engine, so why bother mapping for them (of course if you want to create some branch of the story or something) if there are original games on that engines which is easier to modify?
so the bottomline of my speech is that mapping (fps) will narrow down to that 3 main engines (d3, u2, lithtech) and initial games based on them. of course there will be some sporadic activity in the other games communities, but i think only half-life 2 will be able to keep vast community and long life. 
<Insert Topic Here> 
Yeah, what Vondur said. Except that I don't think Doom 3 will be easy to map for.

As far as I followed the recent developements, mapping gets more and more like modelling. So, you need to spend more and more time to get the details ironed out, to make it look cool. I'm not saying that this is neccessarily bad, but as it gets more time consuming there's almost no room left for mappers that want to create maps in their spare time. That means we will prolly see less custom made maps in the future imho.

Hmm, just my thoughts on this, you're free to prove me wrong... 
... 
I think this is a rather interesting topic, and one that is certainly very close to my heart, having failed to map on countless new games, having already learnt the editor.

Quake editing to me is an artistic form of expression in a way in which many games since have failed to emulate, partly due to the simplicity of constructing the game world. To me, editing in something like the UT2003 engine is like an artist having to tell his paintbrush where to go by entering coardinates! By this I mean that the complicated process of editing puts a stopper on the flow, and creativity cannot be so easily expressed.

That said, editing for the Doom 3 engine is a very exciting concept, and I look forward to working with it. Bump-map technology of that quality is going to produce incredible possibilities for creating the worlds mappers and modders envisage, although of course it will bring limitations. 
Er... 
After all what`s the point in creating - or, more importantly, playing - a custom map for a game that`s already full of great maps.


I dont really understand your point. Just because Nehahara existed, that means czg shouldnt have made Insomina? 
Oh I See What You Mean Now..... 
sorry, i re-read your post and i see more what you are getting at now. You are talking more about modern games, with greater technology.

i got distracted from the real argument by thinking about Quake 1. That happens quite a lot with me. ;) 
Mmm... Free Chocolate 
After all what is the point in creating - or, more importantly, playing - a custom map for a game that`s already full of great maps

From the creativity point of view, a mapper maps for his or her own pleasure and just wants to create a new world. I do not see that having a game chock-full of great maps detracts from that. As far as playing them is concerned, you have more of a point, but surely people still like to play new maps for their *new favourite game*, even if it shipped with a load of great ones. There is always the striving for the big one; the map that will put all others in the shade; the perfect map that will continue to force mappers to create and gamers to play custom maps.

while newer games have often have such good maps, I cannot think of anything worth adding that they are not already doing

In terms of *features* this may be true, but surely not in terms of gameplay. There is always room for another variant, another tweak to spice up a map.

/me thinks probably no chocolate, but it is certainly an interesting topic 
the sky is falling! the sky is falling! 
Uhmmm... 
Maybe trying to map to pursue make a better map aesthetically is harder in nowadays games ( they are very story oriented, more detail based on static meshes), but most games gameplay can be far more interesting than in the retail game (think of u2, silly room to room maps with any surprises)...

Prolly mapping is becoming more team oriented (texturing/modeling/mapping/scripting)than just a lonely activity. 
Erm... 
( texturing / modeling / mapping/ scripting )than just a lonely activity.

damn short http adresses... 
Hmm 
1) lol wrath, indeed.

2) It will (imo) lead to an increase in map teams, someone doing texture work, someone doing the brushwork, someone doing lighting, someone doing gameplay/layout, etc (with one person doing more than one task if you want). It is just more mini mods than maps... (as I just noticed that Auhsan said) 
Interesting Subject 
Well, I think that even if the game comes with a large list of excellent maps for DM and SP, even those will begin to age after a month or two, and then a few custom maps we haven`t seen over and over again - that add some surprises and spice and a new world to explore - will be eagerly welcomed.

Regarding competition with the included maps... That`s not such a silver lining. You see, the game`s development team has some very expert professional mappers working for them, with a team of coders to back them up in any of their needs. It`ll take people a long time to develop even a fraction of that skill, and by then it may be too late, as the game is aging. Look at how many mappers still fail to align their textures or add detail? As few experts as there are for today`s games, there will be even a smaller select for tomorrow`s.

The other problem is, mapping may not be a 1-man job anymore. With the tremendous level and variety of detail and skills that are required in the new engines, I`m wondering if just one person can do it all... At least when expecting respectable results. Even in quake, often different people do the models and decals and textures and special code while others work with soely architecture. With modding communities being as fickle and undependable as they are, I don`t know how well it`s going to work when you`re depending on someone else to do their job. That usually equals the death of most mods and TCs. The coder or mapper or modeler dropped the ball.
And lots of maps fail on their own. Or you just get tired of it and want to move on. Not much fun when there`s even more people than yourself being disapointed...

Too bad games age like they do. I still like Quake1. And we`ve got a huge, wonderful variety of maps and mods. If only the new engines would band together, develop a standard, combine features, and mop the floor with Doom 3. The have all the parts, they just need to assemble it and make it work... 
Ffs Damn Post Eating Forum 
This is all bollocks.

Retail games almost always have maps that doesnt come near to using the potential the game has to offer and dont look that good most of the time either.

Its true tho that there are lot os games with ver specific themes and stories that make them more limited to map for blah blah blah. 
Timidly Puts Hand Up... 
"...while newer games have often have such good maps, I can`t think of anything worth adding that they aren`t already doing."

Your problem, don`t generalize.

"...basically the whole thing is getting harder and what you`re competing with is getting further away."

The after market level design community has grown with (and sometimes overtaken) the professionals. Don`t disregard the amount of accumulated knowledge/experience available so quickly. The development team notion was picked up by the biz after the amateurs showed what could be done with it. 
Hah Hah, I Get To Use Apostrophe '''''' 
The community will take care of itself. People will specialize as specialization becomes necessary. Is anybody bothered that games don't have much programmer art any more? I doubt it.

Maping in Quake isn't easier because the tools are simplier (I've seen those old pieces of crap and they suck lemons), it's easier because you can hack together just about anything and it will fit the universe. That's true of all 3 iterations. RTCW on the other hand is a very specific universe and not everyone is cut out to build to that style. Mapping in RTCW is harder than in Q3 despite being exactly the same in a mechanical sense.

In short: what wazat said.... 
Replies.... 
Bascule well done, free chocolate for me...

/goes to get some...

...ah fuck they charged me. Oh well. Anyway...

"There is always the striving for the big one; the map that will put all others in the shade; the perfect map that will continue to force mappers to create and gamers to play custom maps."

Maybe this isn`t your main point there but it hints at the first counterpoint: Although game maps are getting better, so are mappers in general, and there are always a few mappers who are just so bloody good they can beat the average new game maps. Sure it might be harder as games get harder to map well - and map individually for - but there should still be enough 1337 mappers around with the talent and vision to pull something off that`s a genuinely impressive addition to even the best-mapped new game.

"In terms of *features* this may be true, but surely not in terms of gameplay. There is always room for another variant, another tweak to spice up a map."

And auhsan got this too. Gameplay. Again, new games are trying to put more interesting gameplay other than just "shoot monster" in BUT I think that mappers can still add quite a lot to most games by focusing on specific aspects of gameplay and blending gameplay+design concepts that weren`t done in the original games. In simple shooters, mappers can introduce tactics, in complex games they can spice it up with more action, in linear games add exploration, in tough games smooth it out with secrets and stealth, etc etc.

Maybe that might see a shift in custom mapping focus from design to gameplay?? 
Other Replies... 
Wazat - "Well, I think that even if the game comes with a large list of excellent maps for DM and SP, even those will begin to age after a month or two,"

Yes, worth raising as I wasn`t considering DM. Despite the bizarre DM4/Q2DM1 phenomenon, I think there should be enough demand for varied DM maps if only because they get played time after time (unlike SP) so even the best in-game DM maps will get old.

Cybear - "Retail games almost always have maps that doesnt come near to using the potential the game has to offer and dont look that good most of the time either. "

Okay mister bear. Could you perhaps give a few examples of some recent games (post Q3A/UT) where there are some obvious superb maps that could have been made for them in addition to the woefully inadquate in-game maps??

distrans - "Your problem, don`t generalize."

Maybe, maybe not. I think I`m quite good at thinking up map ideas and being inspired while playing a game to think of possible creations for it. And to be honest, with a lot of new games, I don`t see many people proving me wrong - are there really many excellent and inspired maps for new games that are worthy in comparison to the in-game maps?? 
Ya... 
Good question, anyone got some examples?

But with respect to post #17:

"In simple shooters, mappers can introduce tactics, in complex games they can spice it up with more action, in linear games add exploration, in tough games smooth it out with secrets and stealth, etc etc."

A very interesting perspective, and may go some way to responding to last point in your topic. 
A Couple Points: 
1. I feel that the games that have had well-defined, narrow settings have had less imaginative custom maps, and the games with more varied, inconsistent settings have had more interesting custom levels. In the quake series, i think that quakes 1 and 3 have provided much more freedom or style than quake 2 did. Games such as half-life, RTCW, deus ex, etc are even better examples of the restrictions of a strong story and theme. Cube demonstrates how a game with few thematic constraints can result in some really crazy stuff.

2. Custom mappers have advantages and disadvantages compared to professional mappers. The pro mappers' advantage is that they are more likely to get the art, model, etc. assets necessary to realize their vision, while custom mappers have to rely on what they can make themselves, or find online. The custom mappers' advantage is that they can spend 6 months or a year on a level if they want, while pro mappers have deadlines. Only custom mappers can go as far down the curve of diminishing returns as they want to. 
My Thoughts. 
God dammit it didnt post and I have to go to work in like .023 seconds. ANYWAY:

I think despite the fact that Doom 3 may be a chore to learn and utilize, it will allow us to realize (completely?) our ideas/dreams that we couldnt reach via older engines as well. This could be motivating and/or demotivating for the current mapper (more towards the latter for me, probably).

Also, while viewing http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/ryanw/HL2/hydra.jpg, I thought: hey thats cool, but what about random unscripted things that fit with the scenario, map, game etc to surprise the player each play through a map? What if that hydra wasnt scripted to save your life, but did? 1337. 
shamb : Maybe that might see a shift in custom mapping focus from design to gameplay??

Im curious as to your defn of design, I mean as opposed to the gameplay elements. 
Gilt 
I assume Shamb is refering to the increasingly detailed 2D and 3D components of map construction - as custom mappers will be less able to create this high-poly/high-res content quickly and independently for any project, they will rely more on the huge chunks of meterial established by the game upon release. Custom mapping would then be more innovative in the gameplay mappers were able to achieve with the established physical components.

I'm just inferring. 
See If I Can Post This Time (try #34) 
Commercial games are, well, commercial. Especially with large, big budget productions, it is essential to stick to stuff that most people will like. There is little room for taking risks, or for catering to any small segment of players, either aesthetically or in gameplay.

Another angle: check out any Sega production or something like Gran Tourismo 3. No, not the game, but all the fancy menus and previews and whatnot. In one sense, this has an impression and is nice. In another sense, who the hell cares. The games themselves, also, tend to emphasize details over making give you a damn. 
Hmmm... 
Shambler said:

Wazat - "Well, I think that even if the game comes with a large list of excellent maps for DM and SP, even those will begin to age after a month or two,"

Yes, worth raising as I wasn`t considering DM. Despite the bizarre DM4/Q2DM1 phenomenon, I think there should be enough demand for varied DM maps if only because they get played time after time (unlike SP) so even the best in-game DM maps will get old.


I suppose SP maps could also be included in this. Single player commonly suffers from the replay factor, ie "I beat it once/twice, and mastered it, what's the point of doing it again?". Unlike deathmatch, single player cannot offer the intuitive variety of a human opponent. Things tend to be scripted and lateral and predictable once you've seen it before.

While dm1-6 in quake are still played often when people feel like it, I don't think the same can be said for quake's single player. Yes, people do occasionally go through it again for the naustalgia or just for kicks, but it pales in comparison to the replay value of a good deathmatch - even against bots.

So, custom single player maps are perhaps just as valuable, maybe even more in demand, as long as there is an audience for them. They devalue a *lot* quicker, and need to be replaced with a new experience more frequently. 
First | Previous | Next | Last
You must be logged in to post in this thread.
Website copyright © 2002-2021 John Fitzgibbons. All posts are copyright their respective authors.