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Topic Subject: Cooperative Mapmaking
posted 04-16-02 07:42 AM EDT (US)   
COOPERATIVE MAP MAKING

I noticed that many maps out there are solo efforts, and only a few are the result of a cooperative effort.

The advantage of working together is that one individual can make up for the weakness in the other. For an example, if you are not good at making a balanced map, find someone who can. If you are not interested in decorating your map, find someone who likes sprucing up maps.

And it is less likely youíll run out of ideas when you have a friend with you.


Finding the partner

Naturally, you want someone whom you think you can work with. Much like real life, sometimes friends can end up as enemies after the project is finished. Unlike real life, if a serious conflict of interest crops up, the map is going to end up unfinished. Naturally, the one who came up with the map idea is the one who goes round asking for help. So the tips below are applicable to him/her.

When asking for help, state clearly what your idea is, what kind of map you want to make and what kind of role you want your partner to play. This is extremely important. You donít want to send your map to other and find out that he/she has changed something that is crucial to the objective or idea of your map. This also means that you must know what you want to do in the first place.

In the same way, if someone comes to you and asks you if you would like to help out, make sure that you know how things are going to get done. Ask the other what he/she wants to achieve and how you can help. You do not want to change things he or she does not want changed.


Project on the Way

As the map that you are going to work on is going to get passed back and forth, be sure to make extra backups as you go along. There are at least three versions Ė the working map (the one that you are actively working on), the backup (which you donít touch unless something goes wrong with the working map) and the test map (which is exactly the same as the working but playable). Also, once the map is playable, one of you can start playing on the test map while the working map is in the otherís hands. When the working map gets back into your hands, you can make the changes found while testing.

It really isnít as tedious as it sounds. Just so long as everyone is aware of what everyone is doing.


Personal Experience

I guess I had it easy. All I had to do in my role, as co-mapmaker, was to write a background story for all sides, put up Ďsignsí, activate text pop-ups and make artifacts and heroes. I had the freedom to co-decorate as well, but my friends (DIX and Elquein) were so good at it that I didnít have to do much of it. They were also much better at balancing the map than I was. You could say that my role wasnít major, but I had a lot of fun in helping anyway.

To me the ideal number is two mapmakers to one map, more than that, it might get confusing and difficult. We live across continents of each other. The main contact was via e-mail or ICQ. One person would typically handle the map for days or weeks, I would expect. But for me, I only got the map when it is just about ready for play-testing, so that I can start planning the storyline and give names to continents on the map, etc.


Feedback:

Iíd like to hear what everyone thinks of cooperative mapmaking. Is it better to work with another or to do a map all by yourself? Or is it more time consuming to work with another?



Bluecollarheaven
"Where there is imagination, the possibilities are endless."
Age Of Wonders 2 Heaven | AOW2H Scenario Designers' Hall

[This message has been edited by Bluecollarheaven (edited 04-16-2002 @ 07:46 AM).]

Replies:
posted 04-16-02 10:31 AM EDT (US)     1 / 12  
I have only made maps myself, except for the story part where I got some help from an english speaking friend to spice up the text somewhat.

I think it would be more fun to work with another mapmaker on a map. It would probably be easier to keep the inspiration up when you are 2 who can share your ideas and put together a map of the best suggestions. It's easy to get stuck with a map if you don't have someone to discuss it with.
I also think the map will probably be better just for the reason you want to impress your coworker, and I would feel more responsible when doing work for someone else especially if I'm not the maindesigner.

Ofcourse like you said Blue it could be hard to find someone you could work good with, two of the best mapmakers don't have to make a great team.

Actually I guess I could just have said I agree with everything you already said

I hope that I can find some good coworkers when AoW2 arrives and make great maps I don't feel very inspired to put down more work in making maps for AoW1...


/Eriksson
Life is nothing but a game
poe@telia.com
posted 04-16-02 11:34 AM EDT (US)     2 / 12  
I don't feel very inspired to put down more work in making maps for AoW1...

I think a lot of people share that feeling with you. Feels like most are just finishing up now.


Bluecollarheaven
"Where there is imagination, the possibilities are endless."
Age Of Wonders 2 Heaven | AOW2H Scenario Designers' Hall
posted 04-16-02 11:47 AM EDT (US)     3 / 12  
I have the same sentiments as you Eriksson. I am looking forward to AOWII coming out. The first map I think I am going to make for AOWII is a remake of my Silmarillion map (improving many of the issues that I felt were not dealt with in the original).

I think Blue that cooperative mapmaking would be fun. Maybe AOWII.

posted 04-16-02 01:58 PM EDT (US)     4 / 12  
I like the idea of cooperative mapmaking. I sometimes get an idea about a scenario (last time I thought of a scenario in which 4 wizards want to get to a wizard tower with the cosmic surgery spell), but I rarely do it because I'm not much of a mapmaker (I especially lack the patience - lose interest tooo soon).

Lord Dragatus, 30th member of BTOOIC, The One Who Killed the Cow.
posted 04-16-02 02:09 PM EDT (US)     5 / 12  
When I made `Shadows of Destiny` I had much help from Waterfly in regards to balancing the game which is why its nicely playable IMO.

Im not sure I`d be able to cooperate very well as far as the actual map is concerned as I would get upset if they tried to fill one of my deserts with trees just to `pretty up` the map.for example
(though once the map is released I generally dont mind if someone wants to make improvements on it)

I cant wait for AoW2 editor so I can remake my map the way I wanted it to be but was limited by time/editor limitations.
Im also looking farward to playing with scripts and maybe finding some nice combinations to post here and share with others.

Crash

posted 04-16-02 03:07 PM EDT (US)     6 / 12  
Mark your calendar sis, I want your help with the story at least with one of my maps when AoW2 has been released.

- All you need is love -

The Wizards of Creation

posted 04-16-02 05:02 PM EDT (US)     7 / 12  
I don't know about cooperative map-making... but it's a rare, rare time when I'll play a map without screwing around with it somewhat. Eg... "This is a good map, but it would be better if..."
posted 04-16-02 06:44 PM EDT (US)     8 / 12  
Lord Fell, I think there are quite a few people who tweak maps before playing them. I don't mind my own getting tweaked before play. (My maps always tend to be too easy.)


Crash, I'm looking forward to the scripts too. I think people will have great fun experimenting with them and sharing. Finally, we can have triggers! (as I'm sure Fingers will agree.)

I'd be glad to help, El.


Bluecollarheaven
"Where there is imagination, the possibilities are endless."
Age Of Wonders 2 Heaven | AOW2H Scenario Designers' Hall
posted 04-17-02 07:33 AM EDT (US)     9 / 12  

Quoted from Sir Spamalot:

Im not sure I`d be able to cooperate very well as far as the actual map is concerned as I would get upset if they tried to fill one of my deserts with trees just to `pretty up` the map.for example
(though once the map is released I generally dont mind if someone wants to make improvements on it)

That only applies to maps that are based on books where I am trying to get a reasonably accurate reprensentation.

If I was involved in creating a totally new map from scratch then it would be easier and maybe fun to work with like minded people.

When we all start bashing at the editor maybe we could have a section in this forum for various script combos and info.(maybe Blue could make a closed sticky and add the best ideas as they come out)

Crash

[This message has been edited by Sir Crashalot (edited 04-17-2002 @ 07:34 AM).]

posted 04-17-02 08:25 AM EDT (US)     10 / 12  
I prefer to make maps on my own, but as Eriksson said :

Quoted from Eriksson:

except for the story part where I got some help from an english speaking friend to spice up the text somewhat.

You think you know english but when trying to write a story, or even a text bubble, you realize how much more there is to learn...
Hopefully some english speaking people here could help me with this if I decide to make any AoW2 maps.

But I guess bad english is better than no english... I hated playing those maps with german or french stories...


posted 04-17-02 09:04 AM EDT (US)     11 / 12  
I'm quite happy to help with the English, and I'm pretty sure that Xenobea made a similar offer a while back
posted 04-17-02 04:37 PM EDT (US)     12 / 12  
That's right. I am not only a native english speaker, I am a grammar fiend and an excellent writer and editor. (This is one area where I'm not at all modest). I did make this offer some time ago, and so far only had one person take me up on it... me being Eriksson's secret English-speaking friend. I am always happy to help people with their writing and style, and I'd love to participate in mapmaking in this capacity, since I am far too busy and impatient to do alot of landscape painting.

Just remember... use me if you like z's... use Roger if you don't...

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