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Are Good Mappers Necessarily Good Players?
"I think, generally, but not necessarily, people need to have some playing experience to make good maps." -Bambuz

This makes sense at a glance, but there are nuances here that I'm not sure everyone would agree on. Let me take this a little further:

1) Is it enough to be experienced at playing a certain type of gameplay (SP, FFA, TDM, CTF...) in order to make a good map for that game type, or must you be skilled at that game type?

2) Is it possible to make maps that satisfy players that are more skilled than you? If I am an average player, who has played a lot of FFA on public servers, but not played competitively, will I be able to make a map that competitive players enjoy, or will it lack something that is undetectable to average players?

3) How do we explain the existence of well-regarded maps in the original game, such as dm6, which were made before there was much of a competitive quake scene? Were these just lucky? Or were the id designers actually fully aware of what was needed to make these maps good for competitive play? Or are is their popularity unjustified?

(Note: For this discussion, we're talking about the quality of a map in terms of gameplay only, not visuals or technical execution.)
in response to 3, I think there's some "picking the best out of the maps that shipped" syndrome too. Generally, most people only play retail maps online so its only logical that one or some of them become regular competitive maps. And generally, most games ship with 90% crap and 10% ok to decent maps. 
Designing For Player Stragegies 
These questions extend beyond just multiplayer FPS games. As a designer currently working on an MMORPG, I am confronted by the fact that I am not a hardcore MMO guy, and have never hit the level cap in an MMO, so I don't really understand the endgame gameplay (luckily everyone around me does :)

What I've realized in designing gameplay encounters is that what makes the encounters interesting and fun is that they pose problems that requires players to develop strategies in order to solve them. These strategies are understood by the designer ahead of time, so the designer is actually leading players through a progression of more advanced strategies as past solutions fail to apply to new problems.

If you've played Antediluvian, and remember some of the shambler encounters, you might see some of this at work. I had known strategies for dealing with shamblers, from the easy to the more advanced, and designed encounters that made easy strategies fail, so that players would have to use the more advanced stragegies. For players who know them, it's fun to excercise them. For players who don't, hopefully it's a learning experience.

The point is, that I couldn't have done that without having developed these strategies as a player. 
About 3) 
This is pretty much pure luck. DM2, DM4 and DM6 are played in competitively in 1on1 QW and DM3 is played in 4on4 teamplay. But ID could not have possibly been fully aware of what was needed to make these maps good for competitive play because NetQuake gameplay is very different to QuakeWorld gameplay and even QW today is played rather differently from how it was played 7 years ago. So I say it was pure luck. 
you took my comment a bit out of context. But nice to make a thread. :)

First of all, I said it should be taken with a grain of salt, and secondly, I said that one way to avoid that is just to make a lot of maps. For example, nobody plays dm1 or dm5 ever... Of all the episode maps, prettymuch only e1m2 is accepted for 4on4. If you've watched a good div0 4on4 on it, you're just amazed of the possibilities and nice situations it makes possible with the delicate area interlocking and obstacle placement. You can down to to water near gl, take sng and shoot the enemy from there just when he is taking the sng! Etc. That was probably not planned, but is a product of the layout nature of the map.

And the guys at id DID play those dm maps against each other. You can read it from the wired article that tells of the making of quake. I don't know about episode maps.

I don't think the id maps are too good for duel, but dm2, dm3 and e1m2 are good in 4on4. Mostly. We really need some real players to tell here what are their good and bad sides.

Many custom maps might be playable too, it's sad that more has not been tested. Yet, when you run around in "the big three" maps, they have somehow the right scale and complexity level. It's partly just getting used to, but often bigger maps with more open areas just make rocketspam (cmt3 bridge) and small places generate flak (e3m7).

Yes, I can think an average player is very capable of making a good map for the highly skilled players, especially if he/she is observant and willing to take feedback etc etc, and sometimes you just do it by pure luck and inspiration etc.

Sometimes mappers don't understand much of the game and make big errors in item placement or architechture, say, mega, rl and ra really close to each other in a one-ra map, or ceiling too low for bunnyhopping or you get stuck into places where only skilled people can get to, too many clip brushes, etc...

"Competitive play" often ain't that special at least in qw, it's just teamplay.
You have to check that the map doesn't have one easy tactic that you can repeat forever to win, or that the map is not 100% lockable so that you can control all armors, powerups and weapons from one small area, or that the map is not too balanced where both teams just hang out at their "base" and then run for the powerups for a "ffa" game (in qw with shaft in cmt4).

You always discover ugly things when testing... "oops, this area is impossible to take over, it has health, rockets, red armor and the only rl in the game quite close to each other" - happened with enraged, so it was changed.

To sum:
You can do it by luck and by trying, but some experience increases your chances, and you can do a good map without being "pro", most probably if you take feedback. And then there's the conservativeness of the players, which is partly stupid, partly understandable. ("You don't change the football field in every game do you?") There has to be some pretty rigid standard by which people can then make the pecking order. Yeah, it's testosterone and all that stuff, it's partly fun too. :) But let's not go into that direction please, ignore this end. (the post icon is true for tonight.) 
okay i am drunk.
In e1m2:
go down near grenade launcher, take supernailgun in the water, go to under yellow armor (you can't get up from there). Shoot the enemy when he is just taking the ya (he must be a guy with a rocket launcher since the teammates chose him to have the most priced armor in the whole map), and he drops from the delicate platform stairy thingy into the water - he'll be pissed for not getting it, and perhaps even your teammates might get it, maybe even turning the map around.

For the above to happen, the map has to be reasonably complex and obstacley and interlocked and hard-to-navigate and can't be just a quake3-ey smoothy platformy airpushy thingy. But please not too much stairs or holes in the ground to slow you down all the wya.

k me out. 
Experience Sure Helps 
but there's also a large element of luck, generally I think if you're serious about making a good mp map what you need is serious testing and to not be afraid of making big changes. I have a feeling that too many people go into the testing phase when actually they've already decided they're virtually done and will only making minor changes (mostly to items) when what the map might really need to become good is a large rebuild of some part(s). 
L O L 
board ate my post that I spent 1/2 hour on

not that it was of any significance but METLSLIME maybe fix that shit already ? 
How did it get eaten exactly? If you can, please reply in the site help thread to keep this one on topic. 
i think it help becouse the mapper will know what could give a good gameplay but depend much of how the map look�s and if the admin. acepted to tournements... i Qw case they just play the tb3 :( and dont acpete any other maps... enranged is a very balance map and some qw people like, but people like paradoks, just play tb3 map :( 
I never play deathmatch - I have no interest in it whatsoever as there�s no genuine in-game progression (although I did manage to beat xaero on nightmare in q3) and some games / mods offer experience but even then I don�t find it satisfying. Online I�ll generally play (insert new game here) for a week or so and get bored and either go back to single player or just wipe it from my HD.

Singleplayer is my focus and I�m currently mapping for q1, and I�m a pretty good player (always nightmare inc. nehahra) but only because I�ve been playing it for a long time and have understood the engine pretty much perfectly, from the physics to the items to the weaponms and the monsters etc. This knowledge obviously allows me to create a more involving map because subconsciously when I create a standard corridor - room - fiend ambush setup (for example) I�m thinking about how fast a fiend is, how fast the player is, how far the fiend travels when it jumps, what weapons the player has at that moment in time etc. etc.

It�s got that I know the system of play so well that I prefer to map for it than play it and my favourite types of map now are ones with custom feature "X" because its something outside of my experience.

gah - I�ve drank about a liter of coffee and must stop writing 
Have you released any maps yet? 
Interesting Topic 
I'd call myself a mediocre player at best, and I rarely play games at a higher difficulty setting than "normal" or the equivalent of.

When I joined my current company, I had little experience in playing games other than Quake and its numerous derivatives. The last few months has seen me furiously playing all the relevant releases of the last 2 years or so from a variety of genres, just to get up to speed. In many ways my life has devolved into a gruelling games-playing marathon that keeps me up, bleary-eyed and twitching into the small hours of the morning

Just To Clarify 
I haven't been furiously playing games to get good as a player; rather it's to broaden my games design vocabulary. 
1) i think it's good to be just a good player, not experienced one. good player knows what he's doing being a designer. and he knows what experienced players can do with this map either.

2) also, knowing experienced' players tricks he can improve the level for them even lacking skills performing them. that's uzul i'm speaking about, there are some brushwork that was suggested by proplayers for them to perform their jumping tricks i cannot do myself.

3) as for the dm6, well i think id played ALOT and they knew what they're doing when makind dm6. they knew balance rather well to the point of making dm6 i think. and also, i think that the fact that dm6 is a stock map is also matters when speaking about its popularity. playinq qw alot you can see dm6 has rather serious flaws, probably because of qw's physics which was altered a bit since the day of dm6 was made.

so, resuming the above. there's no need to be pro or expert player to make a decent level, there should be general testing guides to tweak balance and gameflow depending on the gameplay. designer knows the limitation of physics and of the engine, he knows what game items do, so if he uses his brains properly he can make good level. of course every level requires testing by the real players afterwards. and it's even more complex these days because games aren't that straightforward as qw was with its RL and shaft. 
Lardarse - 
I�ve made 1 thats been released -,com_docman/task,cat_view/gid,47/limit,30/limitstart,0/order,date/dir,DESC/

over at quaddicted. Its got a fair few problems but I got some pretty positive feedback. I�m currently working on something fairly involved and chances are I�ll release it a map at a time, the first will (maybe) be ready in a few weeks.

Also - I didn�t mean to say that you need to be a good player to make a good map as mapping is an intellectual exercise, but I�d reckon that it helps.

Mind you, even those who�ve said that they�re an average player probably have alot more skill than the normal gameplayer - remember that now quake 1 is a fairly rare game and only hobbyists know of it, let alone map for it. 
Eww, Nehahra 
1 More Thing 
Sorry for using nehahra . . . yeh it�s a big download but cmon - I haven�t even met or heard of anyone without a broadband connection.

And you can�t be complaining about the mod. No?

Anyhoo - please mail me you feedback (or post it on the Maelstrom thread) cos I�m working on something ATM and would like to know what you think


nothing about long corridors or nehahra based stuff (eg. sleeping shamblers) cos I�m working with something a bit different now.

just to bring the thread back to topic -

Generally for mappers of all cuts you try to make a map that�s "idiot proof" this means that no matter what some clown will try with it they still enjoy playing it. Granted I�m still talking about SP but the same applies to MP - for example a mapper putting clip brushes so you don�t get caught on purely ornamental objects, or else making those objects nonsolid.

The golden aim for (all?) mappers is to make something that a complete novice or a sabes total player will enjoy and both grades of player, weather thier style be guns blazing or cautious, will remember playing in years time, without (hopefully) remembering; what a piece of shit that was.

But if that�s all a player remembers that then they must have been in a mascochistic frame of mind to finish it in the first place. 
1) experienced is enough (see #2)

2) yes (gather information from better players on what your map should be like)

3) luck (how many maps shipped? how many are still played?)

Clip brushes are a very tricky thing to get done just right in DM maps. People who have been playing the game for many years know the game physics inside and out and they expect certain behavious from architecture/detail elements like stairs, ramps, etc, etc. When map geometry doesn't behave as it is supposed to (from the player's point of view), it is seen as a problem. 
I need to enable the Google form spellchecker in the web browser on my work machine. Not sure my boss would be happy if he found out I am browsing forums during work hours though. 
True (why I Sed Ornamental) 
but its the same as including a trick move feature which isn�t necessary to use but does allow a short cut to a player in the know, or else making it so that the trick move is impossible so as not to allow highly skilled player to spoil the map for others who don�t know the trick moves.

I remember a map in ut where it was a beach assault to destroy an anti aircraft gun - it was possible to cheat by having a teamate jump on your head and then both using hammerjump to boost the jumper up into the air to land on top of the gun and destroy it pretty much instantly. 
Thin Line 
There are limits to everything. Preventing stuff like that example from UT99 is one thing. Going out of your way to prevent bunnyhopping, rocketjumping and such on purpose will only result in one thing: your map getting a total playtime of 5 minutes. Ever. 
that trick works in dm2 for early quadgetting, one guy stands on a lower stair and the other jumps on his head and then on to quad. But it doesn't destroy, instead makes it more interesting and some hilarious situations ensue :D. 
agree with both - stopping something that requires trick manouvers but players find fun is pointless. (Removing fun from a game?) The only time to curb something not immedaitely obvious to a newb is when it makes the game seem unfair or biased to those who know how to take advantage of the physics. This is bad for the game / level because everyone is a newb to begin with.

Remember that rocket jumping was originally a bug in q1 that was removed in an updated version but then replaced when players complained. It�s a trick move but one that someone else can watch you do (similiar to getting the quad in dm2) and then repeat (or at least attempt to - until they have a bit of practise:)).

Back to topic - although I�ve mapped for and played a fair few different games I�m no expert at typically multiplayer tricks - a q3 example would be plasma climbing, and so wouldn�t include something that allows a player to take advantage of that manouvere normally - which I spose is what playtesting is for. 
It's Not The Nehahra Download That Puts Me Off... 
It's the nehahra gameplay... 
Have You Tried 
nomonsters 1
with nomonsters 1 variable, I dont see how anyone can complain as the AI is back to normal. 
It's Not Normal 
but it's closer to std Q1 AI. 
Monsters - 
I used a couple of monsters with advanced AI (the *blink* ability) but mostly just standard. It�s a medieval theme as well so not too tough - I know alot of people didn�t like the tech enemies in Neh cos they were too fast / tough. 
Clan Experience 
I think being in a clan (a competitive clan that plays tourneys/seasons) can help give a mapper a deep understanding of what a lot of gamers are looking for. Control points, defensive positions, offensive secure points... these are all things that have to do with "gameplay", but may not exactly be understood unless a mapper is invloved in a clan himself. Playing with the same group of people, working on strats, working on tactics, working to exploit angles and elements within the map (and anything else involved in clanning) can provide heaps of solid information regarding map construction.

My q3 maps to date have not been "good" as far as gameplay goes, but thats primarily because I've made it a point to concentrate on looks instead of gameplay. However, when rtcw2 comes out, I'm going to have the knowledge from playing with a clan[s] that will (I believe) be invaluable to creating a potential blockbuster custom map that gamers and clanners will appreciate for solid gameplay. 
but not exclusively so -- being in a clan does not guarantee play time, and playing on your own with random humans can yield much of the same information. 
redq3dm7 had decent gameplay IMHO, the burshwork just got in the way sometimes. 
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