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When Is A SP Map "big Enough"?
I�ve been thinking about this questions for a few days now and thought I'd turn to this board and #tf for ideas. As some of you might know, I am working on a SP map for Quake (1). And the question I have is when is a SP map "big enough"? What amount of time should it take to beat and/or what amount of enemies should it hold? This question obviously applies to most 3D games we (mappers) map for.

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make them as long as you can! my philosophy is to map for as long as i can until i get bored, then i wrap up whatever i have done. ^_^

it's not the best way to do it, but it works for me! 
It's The Lower Limit That Matters... 
The game engine will pretty much limit how big your map can be but knowing the smallest appropriate size is more subjective. With the exception of skill-setting, start or transitional maps, IMHO, E1M1 from Quake would be at the smaller end of a 'full size' single player map.

I think that most speed maps or 100 brush contest maps would be small snack size maps and not have enough meat to be considered full size.

I would also rather play a smaller well made map then a huge one lacking detail or quality. 
I would also rather play a smaller well made map then a huge one lacking detail or quality.

well, when i made my comment on size, i obviously intended for the map to be of good quality regardless of size...
i'm not advocating crappy hugeness here. ;) 
I find in Quake, the game engine puts some pretty big restrictions on how big my map can get. You can "cheat" by using nifty QC spawning tricks to work around edict limits to some extent (like I did in Bastion), but architectural complexity is pretty limited. Bastion was very basic room-corridor-room type gameplay, so I could chop whole sections out without damaging the flow too much. My current map is a lot more tightly designed however, and I'm having trouble working out which bits should be simplified or chopped out altogether :P 
Subjective To Each Map Really 
on one tip of the scale, you have Spog1 which personally took me over three hours to completely play and was a very satisfying experience, and then you have something like Haunted Halls the secret level for episode 3 which only has forty odd monsters on normal but is also a satisfying experience in and of its self.

Personally, I don't like to drive something to the point of exhaustion. My first release, I can't even stand to look at it in an editor anymore as I nitpicked on it way too long.

Short answer, the appropriate size is whatever completely represents the maps theme. 
Well, Vaguely... 
2. The level should contain an entrance and an exit:
That is, you should enter the level at a specific point, preferabley marked as an entrance, and ideally realistic (like a teleporter, door, canyon, tunnel, for example), and you should exit at a specific point, usually a different point to the entrance, and again marked as an exit, again realistic if possible. The level should require some travelling and/or task accomplishment to progress from the entrance to the exit.

3. The level should attain a degree of complexity, and require progression through it:
This expands on 2., and means that the level should contain some (i.e. more than one) areas (i.e. rooms, corridors, outdoor or underwater sections), connected together, that you must progress through to complete the map. Although there are a few maps that consist of single, tall, and multi-leveled rooms, these do have some (but not much) complexity in the room design. In general, the map should achieve complexity via multiple areas and complex area designs, and should require the player to visit a majority of those areas to progress from start to exit. Further, the areas and their layout should be distinct and varied, i.e. not just a series of identical rooms placed in a line.

4. The level should contain a "reasonable" number of monsters:
Where "reasonable" is errr, ummm... Okay, I personally would say a bare minimum of 20 medieval monsters, or 30 base/small monsters. The latter would include Rottweilers, Grunts, Enforcers, Fish, and possibly Zombies, and the former would include everything else. This is to ensure there is some worthwhile and continuous single player combat, which is of course the essence of Quake =). Also, these monsters should be used and positioned throughout the level, and not just dumped together in one room - this is all part of the level being reasonably complex and requiring progress through it. It may be possible to make a proper and even worthwhile level with less monsters, but they would have to be chosen and placed almost perfectly to be effective.

....hope that helps =) 
Personally I'm a fan of large maps that take you >20-30 minutes to run thru it and what contain >100-120 monsters. But medium-sized maps can be also enjoyable.

Gameplay is important here. I mean you may make a small map but with a very complex layout and such monster placement that makes player to play it for a longer time.

And also if you want to make a large map you should always remember about engine's limits. It may cause lots of problems when you are close to finishing it. 
Good Topic... 
One disturbing trend i've noticed over the last few years (more like the last 5 years actually, yikes!) is that custom SP maps have been getting bigger and bigger. It seems like an id-sized map would get complaints about being short, becuase everyone excpects these necros sized releases with 100-200 monsters. And most of the quality maps coming out are that big, right up to the recent vondur maps and kinn's debut.

This is just personal preference, but i'd rather see maps that were more like two or three times the size of id maps, rather than five or six times. Plus, development hassle is much less when you're not constantly pushing the MAX_WHATEVER boundaries with your map, or spending all day to vis is. If you want to do something grand, how about a mini-episode of reasonable-sized maps? 
i understand what you're saying.
for me, it's a personal challenge to make the biggest pieces of mapping i possibly can. when i sit back at the end of a long dev and zoom out and see the thousands of brushes i've laid down, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
i think it's one of the main reasons i map, actually... so i can look at the sucker at the end and say "holy shit."

i wasn't saying that big maps are the only thing worth making nowadays, because that's absolutly not true. i've played some really good medium sized maps and i myself have made a few.

making a medium sized map takes a lot off your mind because you know that you probably won't have any major problems with it, and won't have to do any serious detail culling.

i think, really, map size is best left up to the mapper's discretion. 
also, on the topic of making episodes instead of one large map:

i think the reason i never did it is because of how i feel when i think: "ok, this is going well." then i move on to the next map and you're back to square one with nothing there...

when it's one map, you just keep adding on, and when you loose that drive, you simply turn off regions and look at everything you've done until then, and you get like an extra urge to go on...

maybe that's just me. ;) 
maybe that's just me. ;)

I rather think it is ;) 
Aye, I don't mind small maps at all. A good map is a good map whether it's 30 monsters or 300 monsters.

I really like the idea of really small, like 30 monsters or less, maps, smaller scale, but with loads of detail and really careful monster usage, to maximise each fight (as a contrast to Necrosplay(tm)). 
(as a contrast to Necrosplay(tm))

yeah yeah yeah... ;) 
I just get a kind of "more than the sum of it's parts" feeling when building a large map, as opposed to several smaller ones. Also, I finding it's very cool revisiting an area near the end of the level that you last saw ages ago. >:D 
This Is Becoming 
a lets pick on Necros thread.

I can't do it, he's my bud.

But I agree, in the grand scheme of things, I would like to see an episode of medium sized maps that top Beyond Belief. I have enough in the way pf scraps to pull something together, but the will power?!? 
If large = brushcount, then I must confess a tendency to detail my maps until I break something.
If large = monstercount then really, I have a hard time getting above 70. I ain't no horde maniac.

And necros will own you all yet... 
And necros will own you all yet...

He's making a PainKiller killer isn't he? 
well i think when there are three main things in the map:

1. plot
2. action
3. conclusion 
It doesn't have to be as long as ^^^ that guy's last map, but it has to be long enough that you've felt like you've really accomplished something by playing it all the way through.

Some maps do get repetitive if you have to keep trekking over the same areas several times, so I don't necesarily think that time of play is a determining factor.

You should make it as long as possible, without boring the player too much. 
...large map need to contains at least 100-150 monsters, and you have to play it for at least 30 minutes... in normal skill ... Well, all these feels depends on the player, and what is the game played (Q1/2/3, D1/2/3, RF1/2, RTCW, MOH, HL, HL2, etc...)... 
My Opinion 
I like the trend towards large maps. What I really like are maps that are basically one coherent, huge design, like Glassman's latest. That was a great piece of work. Huge maps that are just huge, without a coherent layout that makes sense (ie, they aren't well planned or planned at all) aren't nearly as cool, for me at least. But I still prefer massive levels with ridiculous amounts of monsters over less ambitious maps, so let's say I'm a necros fan. In fact, the beta of my map that I'm currently vising, obviously custom engine only, contains over 400 monsters on hard. Of course it is possible to go too far and I may have done that.

All of my new levels, I've noticed, are at least 2-3 times the size of any of my previous ones. They also take me way, way longer to create, compilation time and difficulties being part but not all of the reason for that. 
400 monsters
:D that's worth using a custom engine. :D 
An Example 
I think some of the maps in Serious Sam SE are too big, I think one took me three sessions over three days. And of course that size is mainly waves and waves of monsters. All normally a good thing, but here somewhat lacking variation and subtlety, as well as sort of defeating the purpose of a large map.

A little over an hour is good, but harder to make sure you won't be interrupted. 
Long Enough To Satisfy 
A map should be long enough to satisfy the player, but not long enough to bore him. Obviously this is based largely on the situations in the map (diversity and challenge in gameplay and aesthetics). These days I get bored pretty easily, regardless of gameplay and aesthetics, so I much prefer medium sized maps over bigger maps.

People have said my two previous Q1SP maps are too short (RPGSP1 and Could.bsp). I'm really not sure if this is good or not. Obviously it could be seen as bad because maybe the maps weren't long enough to satisfy people's cravings, but on the other hand it could be good because that means they didn't get bored before the map concluded. I think a good middle-ground solution might be to make a large-size map that has medium-size gameplay. What I mean is that you can complete the map in the time it takes to finish a regular medium-size map, but if you want to take the time and fully exhaust all of the gameplay features (secrets, non-linear areas, route choices) then it will take the time of a regular large-size map.

Okay last time I tried to explain an idea, czg didn't understand me at all. So you better understand me or else I'm going to ship you to Snoreway! 
good point. But I still more enjoy large maps. I usually don't get bored if monsters pop up all the play time and they do it in a different way.

Medium-sized map can be more detailed without any pain for mapper IMO (comparing to large maps). So, in terms of aesthetics medium-sized maps may be a better variant for mapper.

Personally I feel something like Necros said, even if I want to make a small (not large) map rooms suddenly turn out larger and larger and therefore the size of the whole map is getting larger too.

Long Enough To Satisfy
When the map becomes long enough to satisfy me I realise that it is at least medium-to-large sized. 
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