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Making Good Maps :: Jul 15, 2012 @ 9:41am

 sixohsix

Joined: Jul 11, 2012
Posts: 5

There are a lot of maps in the community section that are simply not fun. I wanted to share some tips that i think make maps entertaining and playable.

After a difficult section, put a save point. If a player survives a hard part, the last thing they want to do is do it again because of a stupid error afterwards.

Don't make a player use more than two bombs to open a new area (unless the player is tunneling from the wrong spot, which cant be helped)

Understand the role of crystals and cartridges. Cartridges are there to provide extra challenge for completionists. Crystals are bonuses you find along the way to reduce time. If it takes more time to get to the crystals than you save by collecting them, use a cartridge instead.

Don't put a pit in complete darkness. It's rude.

If you have a challenge where the player must navigate between pits one space apart, every iPad player will stop at that point. It's impossible and not fun.

Try and lead the player through the map with a series of discrete challenges. Provide safe areas between challenges for the player to stop and think.

Don't make the player walk long distances unless you have to. And if you have to, put a save point at the end of the walk.

What other tips make levels fun?
Re: Making Good Maps :: Jul 15, 2012 @ 12:30pm

 major-pob

Joined: May 25, 2012
Posts: 129
Location: France

I completely agree with all your points.
(By the way, creating this topic is a very good idea.)

Don't make the player walk long distances unless you have to.


I would add: NO MORE MAZES!
Obviously, all maps we create are mazes, in a sense. But what I mean by maze is a portion of map with neverending and intricate corridors that finally lead to dead ends, except for one and only way.
Now, when I encounter this in a map, I immediately quit, for me it's a boring waste of time.
post updated on Jul 15, 2012 @ 12:52pm
Re: Making Good Maps :: Jul 15, 2012 @ 2:10pm

 sixohsix

Joined: Jul 11, 2012
Posts: 5

Aww, I was about to make a maze map :)

I guess at the very least, mazes should be labelled as such in the level name. Also, don't put guards at the end of the maze, which kill the player and force them to navigate the maze again.

Oh yeah, don't build mazes in complete darkness. Even if the player has a flashlight. I mean, really...
Re: Making Good Maps :: Jul 15, 2012 @ 6:26pm

 Nanno

Joined: Nov 30, 2006
Posts: 4638
Location: Colorado

The Queen Bee
This is really good stuff! Having to wander a long ways through big, empty, boring rooms is probably the least appealing type of map to me. I actually prefer mazes over huge empty spaces. However, a maze must be done right. Save points should be at frequent intervals so that if you do fall in a hole or get eaten by a troll, you don't have to re-navigate a whole stinking huge portion. Also, the save point saves your map, making it possible to re-do portions of the maze later on if necessary. I would like Phil to change it so the map gets saved the whole way along, whether you get to a save point or not, but in the meantime, I do NOT want to figure out a maze, have a map of it, then die and have my map all erased before I ever got to a check point. That is extremely frustrating.
Re: Making Good Maps :: Jul 15, 2012 @ 6:36pm

 socratic

Joined: Feb 10, 2010
Posts: 1937
Location: =3

nanno is this game ipad only?
Re: Making Good Maps :: Jul 15, 2012 @ 7:08pm

 chi-ro

Joined: Dec 26, 2008
Posts: 3998
Location: The cluster behind you..

Under-Sheriff
No it's available on Computer as well.
Re: Making Good Maps :: Jul 16, 2012 @ 12:05pm

 sixohsix

Joined: Jul 11, 2012
Posts: 5

...and supposedly it's coming to the iPhone too, so the number of touch-dependent users will increase.

With a computer keyboard, navigating between narrowly spaced pits is reasonable, but on a touch device it becomes impossible. Think of us poor sods on the iPad!

Found another "don't": don't put lasers that project waaaay down a long hallway, randomly killing the player without warning.
Re: Making Good Maps :: Jul 16, 2012 @ 1:47pm

 tankete

Joined: Aug 20, 2010
Posts: 86

Thanks for this post sixohsix! I've been working on a "Top Ten" post for Dynamite Maps related to what NOT to do. You've captured most of it here. :)

If you don't mind, I'd like to take some of this and include it in our post (coming soon) and give you credit. That work?
Re: Making Good Maps :: Jul 17, 2012 @ 1:58pm

 major-pob

Joined: May 25, 2012
Posts: 129
Location: France

Crystals are bonuses you find along the way to reduce time. If it takes more time to get to the crystals than you save by collecting them, use a cartridge instead.


Just a word about that, yes crystals are time-savers, but not only. They can also be used as a "reward" that motivates the player to pass a given area of the map, even if the level could be finished (i.e. the player reaches the exit) without doing so, in order to get the "all crystals" achievements. This allows us mapbuilders to create interesting challenges, for example the zombie-scientists room in the Forethought level by tmagus. (Obviously, I'm not talking about dropping an infinity of crystals in a maze / pit filled cave.)
Re: Making Good Maps :: Jul 21, 2012 @ 5:12pm

 sixohsix

Joined: Jul 11, 2012
Posts: 5

@tankete, sure.

@major-pob okay, I agree. The main thing I dislike is when someone puts crystals and a cartridge in the same area. Seems weird to me. Of course, all of my "rules" can be broken by a skilled mapmaker who knows what he or she is doing.

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