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kristus

Why I hate the term "mapper".

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I can see how a generalized term "mapper" can be applied to be something like a cook compared to a "level designer" being the chef, but I also have to agree with Yuki's point that it sounds a bit pretentious (also due to Jimmy's point of the latter sounding more formal) unless there is some reason for the distinction, such as if you regularly work as a part of a team and those split hairs between terms have a practical application, or if you actually do it professionally for moneys in the real world. That said, most of us are not classically trained from the culinary institute, nor are paid to do this so I'd say informal is more appropriate for us and this being a hobby.

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1 minute ago, Fonze said:

That said, most of us are not classically trained from the culinary institute, nor are paid to do this so I'd say informal is more appropriate for us and this being a hobby.

 

I agree with this. Personally, I like the term "mapper" over "level designer" because it has a more informal, non-professional, community-specific ring to it. I'd like to think that making Doom maps, like all kinds of non-professional/folk/hobbyist creative activity, has a value of its own, and not simply because Doom mappers can sometimes make stuff that is "almost as good as the professionals." WOW.wad, NUTS, etc. would never have come from professional game design practices and are probably as close to actual "objectively bad game design" as you can come--but, to me, they're great maps.

 

That said, obviously, individuals themselves are in the best position to decide (within reason) what terms they think best describe themselves and what they do.

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Mapper is like rapper and they're giving me the true linedefs with attitude and I can connect, no way around that right?

 

Designer is like conductor it's some guy that gets a lot of flowers for waving a Harry Potter wand around what's up with that.

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I started out using the word "mapper" in my writing but over time subtly shifted toward using "author" instead.

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Posted (edited)

For me, it's short and easy to say.

 

Tangentially, if mappers are "level designers", does that make me a "gameplay designer"?

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Mapper is good enough for me, If I had to change I'd pick level mapwright for its daft old English feel

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42 minutes ago, TerminusEst13 said:

Tangentially, if mappers are "level designers", does that make me a "gameplay designer"?

A gameplay designer, in a vidya game industry sense, is responsible for the actual systems that drive gameplay. So directing how weapons feel, how AI should react, etc. Whereas a level designer will be responsible for taking these systems and turning them in to compelling encounters for the player to deal with.

 

Gameplay design, consequently, is somewhere I find many mappers who add custom monsters/weapons get it completely wrong. YMMV.

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1 hour ago, TerminusEst13 said:

Tangentially, if mappers are "level designers", does that make me a "gameplay designer"?

 

Uh... yes?

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Posted (edited)

i don't mind "mapper" as shorthand. like "modder" it can kind of be derogatory and feel like it devalues the amount of work you put into something. i don't really see it that way. but i know other people who might but also embrace that underdog status as well. one thing i will say though, regardless of what you call it: being a level designer absolutely makes you a game designer. i know plenty of professional game designers who can't design a decent level to save their lives. level design is a very underrated skill that has many more applications than you think.

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Every time someone asks me if they should call me "mapper" or "level designer" I always tell them the same thing:

 

Spoiler

just call me Mike.

 

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Well, going by what kristus laid out in the first post, I am definitely a mapper moreso than a designer, I don't think I've ever used a single brain cell on any of my creations. Caveman mapping? Actually, I like the term 'napper', that's what I'll use from now on - thanks Avoozl!

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Posted (edited)

I don't really see what the big deal is. I mean, we're all geeks with an obsession for a 25-year-old game. :P The lack of pretension is what makes this community the best. We can call ourselves whatever we want. Outside of the Doom community, we're pretty much all the same.

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I was under the impression that the term "mapper" solely derives from the fact, that Doom levels are most commonly refered to as "maps". In my opinion it includes just as much as the term "level designer".

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Would you prefer "mapist?" Maybe "mappa?"

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preaching to the choir brother. i keep saying im not a stoner, im a conniseur of fine cannabis. no one seems to care :/

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Gez said:

 

I prefer "vertexer" myself.

 

Binary space partitioner!

 

Enter sandbox games (post EQ) and many companies split ‘mappers’ (previously level designers) into World Builders, World Designers, Environment Designers and/or Environment Artists, some shifting now often scripting-dependant gameplay duties over on Gameplay Designers, or the more general term Game Designers, while impressing the importance of collision data upon Graphic Artists became an increasingly important skill. Editing capability of sandbox heightmaps becomes one qualifier for being a ‘mapper’ with these games. I don’t believe the term ‘level designer’ was strengthened by the event, though its root was later watered by subsequent 2D/3D retro waves. Earliest claim to the phrase i’ve come across was Chuck Buche, who was pretty adamant about the role’s importance during the making of early Ultima games.

 

There’s a saying in Norwegian - “Kjært barn har mange navn» - which springs to mind (I guess the closest English equivalent’s «A rose with any other name would smell as sweet»?)

 

I like ‘mapper’ anyhow. One word, two syllables, potentially three dimensions. General enough to get on with your business and not worry about whether you’re designing, making art, building or crafting. Just lemme navigate it!

 

Level Design is nice and videogame centric, but gravitating towards ‘design’, you’re entering into the ring with Karl Lagerfeld and Enzo Ferrari. If you claim it an artform, there’s Gaudi, Szukalski, Giger, Da Vinci, etc to size up. Not even to start with ‘engineers’ and ‘developers’. Whatever you call it, it’ll always be umbrellaed by Videogames, or at the very least, Games. People that make scientific purpose maps are cartographers anyway, so there shouldn’t be too much room for confusion there.

 

It’s a good bit of slang, mapper.

Edited by Soundblock : Changed thing type

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I feel like it's the same as calling someone who's a traditional 2D artist a 'drawer'. Some don't care, some are offended, some prefer to be referred to as a drawer because they feel their skill isn't on par with what the skill they associate with the term. So me for instance, I'd prefer to be referred to as a mapper due to my lack of skill, however a person who is very advanced and has a ridiculous amount of skill I'd refer to them as a level designer, it's a matter of preference in my opinion.

But I like to refer to myself as just 'am', I think therefore I am. Because I am merely an empty husk only capable of thought, and in all lower case because I lack any importance outside of myself.

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I dont like the term "Mcdonalds Cooker" it just put the mechanical parts in my profession.

I prefer the term "Culinary Artist representing the local Mcdonalds Cuisine", there's an art to chicken mcnuggets.

 

Seriously tho I honestly don't give a shit about calling me a "level designer", "modder", "mapper", or hell, even "guy that knows doom builder whatever that is", because "Advanced Doom Custom Modification Designing" is nothing but a niche hobby of mine. Of course I'm not gonna be one of the great ones, but I have alot more than mere "Level design in obscure communities" to my name. I tried out making webcomics, had a touch in animation, messed around in literature and even tried making rap lyrics. If you want to refer to me by some "respective label", I say you can call me "Aimless Artist", but "IDK-man" fits me too.

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Spoiler
22 hours ago, kristus said:

This has been nagging my brain for quite some years now and I've wanted to bring this up for discussion though just never felt that I wanted to deal with the possible backlash. But after a few beers this new years eve I feel ready because beer makes me stupid like that. But I really hate the term "mapper". And with the risk of sounding pretentious I will (try to) explain why.

 

I never understood why people would refer to themselves as mappers rather than level designers. To me the term mapper is not synonymous with level design. I think it's derogatory. To me, it makes as much sense as calling a surgeon a stabber. Yes it's a part of the practice. But only the mechanical part. It doesn't take into account the actual skill of design.

 

So where I am going with it, is that calling yourself a mapper, rather than a level designer. Is making light of the effort planning and achievements that goes into making a map. Mapping to me is just mindlessly recreating a layout, or slapping stuff together without any thought of design or purpose. Did someone else design the map you made? If no, then don't call yourself the mapper. Call yourself the designer.


I may or may not get your post wrong, but did you really decide to jump into semantics and make up "dude just makes a map lmao" and "dude just makes a map lmao but he does plan it on paper first" definitions for "mapper" and "level designer" because the latter is more of a professional sounding term?

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Posted (edited)

It seems like the general consensus for most people is that "mapper" is fine and Kristus (while an articulately explained point of view) is unique in his hangup.

 

Separate to the above, this thread got me thinking: where did the word mapper come from?

 

Are there any instances of a level designer being called a mapper prior to Doom? For that matter, prior to Doom 2? While the Doom 2 levels are all called "maps" the Doom 1 levels aren't. Or does the term come from earlier games? Anyone remember the first time they heard the phrase?

Edited by Bauul

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I do find the term somewhat ugly - I also prefer 'map/level author'.

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8 minutes ago, Bauul said:

where did the word mapper come from?

Good question...because it can't be originated without a reason behind...

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36 minutes ago, Bauul said:

With that out of the way, a better question given we're on the topic: where did the word mapper come from?

From map. :p

 

It's probably as old as map, actually, though the video game sense is recent. At least people didn't go from "level" to coin "leveller" because that would have been ambiguous.

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Well at least the term "mapper" hasn't been devalued by other communities like "modder" has. Where it could either mean "someone who installs/runs mods" or "someone who cheats at videogames" (especially online ones), rather than "mod maker", which they use as a separate thing instead.

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