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Mapping Efficiency

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One issue I've noticed when trying to map is that it takes me a very long time to make, well, anything. And yet people can make some cool stuff in a couple of hours. Does anyone have any tips to share on how to maximize progress and minimize time wasted?

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Speedmaps. Just make something, anything in x amount of hours. Rinse, repeat.

It helps, I believe, to take the same approach as DM mappers take: make the map layout, progression, gameplay and function first, detail at the very end. The less that you transition between overhead and visual modes in the editor the faster you'll be.

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Practice, practice, practice. I find the more I map the faster I get. There's this almost irresistible urge to start throwing in dramatic lighting and architectural accents right away, but really that could get in the way not only because you're now ignoring the rest of the map, but if you decide to make some sweeping changes later on, you'll have to do some major editing. I think also if your idea is complex or you just want to ensure cohesion, drawing it first, perhaps on graph paper, might help.

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