News | Forum | People | FAQ | Links | Search | Register | Log in
What Makes A Good Map?
This question has appeared in other previous posts within the QMap community over the years. However, lately, I have endeavored to concoct a proper definition of a "good map". My definition seems adequate but is perhaps not very concrete. Yet, while many people think talking of design is subjective, I believe that it is not. As sure as mathematical equations are absolute, so are principles and practices of design. Anyway, my definition for a good map is as follows:

A map may be deemed good if it fully defines and realizes its boundries of style, design, gameplay and theme.

Now, to break this apart...

Fully defined boundries: These are any such ideas or methodologies thoroughly developed.

Fully realized boundries: These are any such fully defined boundries thoroughly implemented in a map and used intelligently and creatively.

Style: Style is, to quote dictionary.com "The way in which something is said, done, expressed, or performed." This applied to mapping refers to the manner of construction and cohesion of a map. This must not be confused with the actual means by which an author builds a map. That does not matter. Here it refers to how the forms and objects in a map relate and exist in regard to each other.

Design: Design is the author's innovation and creativity that remains within the boundries of their chosen or created (and fully defined) style (be it of architecture, item and enemy placement, etc).

Gameplay: No, good maps don't just look pretty. They must play 'pretty' too. Gameplay is the problem(s) presented to the player(s) and all of the possible solution(s). So, it is a relationship of the 'physical' map layout (all areas where a player may travel) to the locations of all the items and enemies and any other interactive contructs.

Theme: Theme is the plot and the visual and interactive (gameplay) cohesion that affords a map continuity (however wild and imaginative that may be). To quote dictionary.com's third definition, "An implicit or recurrent idea". Theme must be considered on the macro and micro level. Overall gameplay theme is just as important as a texture set theme, etc. Theme and style are closely related.

Okay, that's the whole definition.

Lastly, in speculation, this definition may be put to some use as a map review rating system. Each of the four categories (Style, Design, Gameplay, Theme) could be graded on any relative review scale and then averaged for an overall score.

...or maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.

Any thoughts?
2 More Things 
1. Examples of style would be Realism, as is aspired to in Counterstrike and so many of it's clones, or Arcade, as is aspired to in Quake 3 or Quakeworld or UNreal Tournament maps.

2. Gameplay is a relationship of the 'physical' map layout to the locations AND FUNCTIONS of all the items and enemies and any other interactive contructs. 
Well... 
Isn't that like trying to define life? You keep trying and trying to find a simple explanation that includes this, but not that, and you end up just getting frusterated and go outside to kick over some ant hills or something. :) 
 
Don't kick anthills over...use WD40 and a zippo lighter. 
Hahaha 
Yes, that works too. :)

nane: Sounds very complex but you've covered a lot of bases.

My method is much simpler. I just play the map and tell people what I did or didn't like about it. It may not be true or even very correct, but I'll give my opinion, and refer them to some other people as well.

Like Douglas Adams said, if you try to take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have is a non-working cat.

For me, maps are the same way. You can define all kinds of criteria, and a map can pass or fail them all and still rub you the wrong or right way based on some hidden factor you didn't think of (including the mood you're in).

Eventually, you just have to step back, look at your cat, and say "Hell if I know why, it's just alive!". 
To Answer The Question 
porn. 
Sweet! 
why didn't I think of that! 
... 
Don't kick anthills over...use WD40 and a zippo lighter.

lol. 
 
What makes a good map?
A good mapper. 
Rant: 
Sorry to be so rude, but this it bollocks.

You claim to describe an absolute definition, but most of the definitions are themselves ambiguous, or repetitions of the original definition. I like your descriptions of style and theme, but you're no closer to actually pin-pointing what makes a good style/theme, which is what you said you could do absolutely.

And I don't agree with applying the absolute nature of mathematical theories to everything. When I was at school I had to chose between a career in Engineering or English; I choose English because I preferred subjective analysis to absolute answers. Which personally I think is the case with level design.

Obviously its easy to agree that efdm12 is better than SPR, But I doubt a computer would know the better of zed and zed2, because beyond the obvious opinion is subjective...which makes us human, and not machines.

To end on a bizarre note, try explaining why some girls will let you fuck their ass and some don't like it, possibly resulting in criminal charges :( 
Drannerz 
People have a tendency to over-analyse things. I wouldn't worry about it. 
You Chose English??? 
That's like choosing to be unemployed. 
Kell: 
nice 
Cheese 
and chives. 
Errr 
To end on a bizarre note, try explaining why some girls will let you fuck their ass and some don't like it, possibly resulting in criminal charges :(

I just had to quote that... and then say wtf are you on about?

Oh and my thoughts, there is no definition. It�s a waste of time. You either like something or you don't. Its all a matter of opinion of what makes a good map and as someone once said "Opinions are like assholes, everyone has got one". 
Yes, Paul 
Its all a matter of opinion of what makes a good map and as someone once said "Opinions are like assholes, everyone has got one".

And I believe the rest of it is "[...] and everyone else's stinks." 
Hehe 
Correct. 
Good Map Or Great Map 
You say "A map may be deemed good if it fully defines and realizes its boundries of style, design, gameplay and theme"
I think a good map may have only some of these thing (coolest design but poor gameplay, or a very interesting gameplay but not so great brushwork) and great map should have it all. 
CRATES 
CRATES CRATES CRATES 
M8 H8s Cr8s 
conventions are none 
Why 
do people moan about defining things. if you moan about it dont post!

it's like saying why people argue about which is better q3 or q1...you always gonna get lots of replys! pah. let the post be! 
Wow 
There is so many ways to describe Gameplay I think you got the jist of it. I am researching to make my own game and I have taken you post to heart. thanks 
Yay For Thread Necromancy 
Also: Bees make the map. 
 
Bees are madeup by M$ PR 
Um.. 
Insanity.

Preferably detailed, all-encompassing insanity ... what has been discussed so far sounds more like a recipe for boring, even if in some respects impressive, maps. 
Easy Answer .... 
Good maps, IMHO:

- have innovative and consistent design architecture, textures and lightning effects..
- contain at least 150 monsters.. (the more they are, the more there is fun !!)
- are playable on FitzQuake (at least.. and because this is my prefered engine...)
- have enough ammos/armor/health to finish it (without using "god" cheat console command.. errr)
- can be played during 30 minutes at least.. (or more !!)
- have no "dead lock" (no bugs.. 8P)

As very good example, just play Kinn's "Marcher Fortress".. I saw it has a 20/20 on Underwolfan's SP Map review ... (at http://www.planetquake.com/underworld/quakerev050114d.html)

Very impressive..... 
... 
- contain at least 150 monsters.. (the more they are, the more there is fun !!)
no
- can be played during 30 minutes at least.. (or more !!)
no

size and amount of monsters is all relative.
i've played excellent maps that were short, 5 to 10 minute maps with less than 60 monsters. 
A Good Example 
might be sm20_amrik ( from http://paul.fov120.com/speedmaps/files/sm20_pack.zip ) with 182(!) shamblers in basically one huge box. It's an excellent engine test case, but there's no gameplay to be had. 
Ok 
ill try to optimize my next q3 map for fitzquake. 
Wuh Fuh? O_o 
._@ 
This whole thread has taken a turn for the http://kinn.spawnpoint.org/SA/what3.gif 
All The Threads Are Off Topic! 
Of course, the music thread was just asking for it. 
Kinn 
that rocks. ^_^ 
A Good Map... 
...makes you want to continue on because you are interested in seeing what's around the next bend. 
 
when i was playing rich_bar i was interested to see what was around the corner... so that makes it a good map? 
A Good Map 
is a map that plays fun. There are so many ways to do it. the more unusual, the more original they are, the better map is. 
if it did that, then yes, it was a good map. for you. 
Oh Fuck 
ignore me. if you can, cause i'm soooo drunk fuck, it's all vodka.........
oh fuckk

i'll probably post post something real later 
I Forgot.. 
.. to mentionned "experience"... Generally, experienced mappers build good maps... 
Ooopppsss 
I mean: I forgot to mention "experience".. sorry for this stupid grammar error... 
Post A Reply:
Name:
Title:
Body:
message
question
exclamation
idea
flame
noflame
error
skull
beer
moon
pent
rocket
sheep
pacman
pig
cheese
worldcraft
gauntlet
crate
pitfall
pimp
smile
cool
sad
frown
oi
yay
tongue
evil
wink
neutral
q1
q2
q3
ut
hl
cs
doom
dkt
serious
cube
Website copyright © 2002-2017 John Fitzgibbons. All posts are copyright their respective authors.