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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 "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'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?
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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." 
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. 
M8 H8s Cr8s 
conventions are none 
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 always gonna get lots of replys! pah. let the post be! 
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 

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

Very impressive..... 
- contain at least 150 monsters.. (the more they are, the more there is fun !!)
- can be played during 30 minutes at least.. (or more !!)

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 ) with 182(!) shamblers in basically one huge box. It's an excellent engine test case, but there's no gameplay to be had. 
ill try to optimize my next q3 map for fitzquake. 
Wuh Fuh? O_o 
This whole thread has taken a turn for the 
All The Threads Are Off Topic! 
Of course, the music thread was just asking for it. 
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... 
I mean: I forgot to mention "experience".. sorry for this stupid grammar error... 
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