I agree with with what Xaser and Ribbiks said. My maps almost always has some flaws I couldn't possibly have noticed. For instance, I may design a beserk orientated map, and I could find it interesting even though my gut instinct tells me it's a little iffy; but it's not certain enough to know what needs to be improved. External playtesters ensures there is no doubt what needs to be improved without having to rely wholly on my own instincts. Indeed the best relationship is between a mapper (open to critiques and ideas who can empathise and understand what the playtester is saying but doesn't necessarily follow everything the playtester says), and a playtester (whose playing style is versatile- able to play from quiet to slaughter maps), has a sound understanding of balance fundamentals, gameplay flow, etc). There are obviously exceptions, such as having playtesters who like playing on HMP or HNTR, whose feedback can be just as valuable, particularly in hard maps.
I've been contemplating the idea of designing a level that is almost entirely external-playtester driven from the ground up.
i.e., starting a map off almost completely bare, monotone textured, with a very basic layout and some simple fights, and have them offer suggestions on how to amplify the difficulty or excitement of the fights, a visual theme given the style of the map and the basic architecture as is, and pass the map back and forth until it's evolved into something beautiful.
Is something like this very plausible?
I'm not sure if I'm reading it right- either this is basically a typical mapping collaboration between 2 people, or a collaboration in the sense that the mapper creates the map bit by bit, sending the map over to the playtester after some progress each time to which the playtester gives feedback on what themes/gameplay designs can be done?
EDIT: Just re-read it, it's the latter, heh. That could be doable, except I think this would work more effectively when a first draft of a map is done first, and then recreate better drafts until both are satisfied? I know this probably happens with all mappers and playtesters; more specifically you could leave the design bare with rough gameplay, but the fundamental layout must be at least completed first IMO.
Last edited by Joshy on 10-12-13 at 01:44