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40oz

What would your ideal mapping partner be like?

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I saw the thread about things people hate about mapping and found it to be a little disheartening. I think the question could do with being shaped differently. I have an idea for a collaboration project where I work on a set of maps with a variety of different mappers, but I’m unsure about what people would like to do in something like this.


When people make maps, sometimes there are particular aspects of mapping that comes naturally for some people, and can be really difficult for others. Some people identify these aspects and go great lengths to work on that particular mapping skill with demonstrably slow or limited progress, and that can be really frustrating and disappointing.


So let’s consider the possibility that there is someone out there who may very well enjoy and excel at something in mapping that you find to be boring or intimidating. What if you had the chance to work with that person on a map?


If you had to work on a map with another person, what approach would be best for you? Would you like to design a layout and have someone else wrap up the rest? Would you enjoy detailing an already finished layout? Placing the weapons, items, and monsters on a completed map? What qualities would you want in a partner that would best accommodate your mapping skills and create the best map?


I think there’s a lot of lost potential when people rely too much on themselves and their own ambitions to carry their great maps. When working with a partner, you can eliminate the parts of mapping that you don’t enjoy and still get a finished map with your name on the credits that other people can play and enjoy. The two or more mappers offset each other by focusing on their own individual skills to create an awesome map or set of maps. I understand these questions will vary from person to person, but I believe collaborating with other people can be a very fun and motivating activity that yields awesome results. I’m not sure many people are aware of this.

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Speaking for myself, I enjoy designing a game, developing map progression, and visualizing/realizing the geometry of a map.

 

I don't mind creating the gameplay - traps, type and degree of resistance, weapon/ammo/health/armor/powerup balance - but don't mind giving this task to someone else. [Of course, sometimes map progression and gameplay go hand in hand, and it's difficult to just pass the latter on to someone else.]

 

I generally dislike play-testing my own maps. I'd, without hesitation, give this task up to someone else.

 

EDIT: But in the context of your questions, I'd say that a collaboration right from the start would be necessary for any kind of partnership. This, it seems to me, sounds like the beginning of team-building.

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Ideal, you say? Someone who just wants to add detail to layouts I did, without messing with 'em. Because being lazy sounds nice.

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Someone that can teach me what I do wrong and show me how to properly create a map in the first place, if that counts.

 

Though I have tried mapping before with ol' Doombuilder, though I'm pretty horrible with it. I have a hard time remembering what keys to press to quickly do what. Like I keep forgetting how to copy-paste textures on walls.

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I tend to make a fraction of a map with an idea/layout/detail/texturing/lighting/map-actions/monsters/items all started, then abandon it forever as I lose enthusiasm. An ideal mapping "partner" would take that map fraction and finish the remaining 75% (or 99%) of it, without asking me to work on the map anymore. I'd just playtest it, maybe do very small changes myself, and only suggest larger changes to be done by the other person, keeping the map as is if he didn't feel like doing them. I've repeatedly tried it before to do non-small work on somebody else's map in progress, and I just couldn't get anywhere that way, so the other person can't expect me to do it - which probably makes me an unsatisfactory partner to mostly anybody and therefore I quite possibly won't be mapping with a partner anymore.

Edited by scifista42

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I like all the parts of mapping, but I do tend to get caught up on finalizing one bit of the map before I've got the overall layout down.  I know I should get the general layout done first and then go back and do detailing, but I just don't want to, I enjoy finalizing rooms too much!

 

1 hour ago, Jayextee said:

Ideal, you say? Someone who just wants to add detail to layouts I did, without messing with 'em. Because being lazy sounds nice.

I really like the detailing part of a map.  I have a habit of undercooking the overall layout because I get caught up on the details (I know, it's the cardinal sin of Doom mapping).  I'd happily detail someone else's layout.

 

45 minutes ago, scifista42 said:

I tend to make a fraction of a map with an idea/layout/detail/texturing/lighting/map-actions/monsters/items all started, then abandon it forever as I lose enthusiasm.

The trick there is to make small maps.  I mean you successfully made a map for Confinement 256, so it can be done!  :)

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@nxGangGirl or @SuperCupcakeTactics.  Period.  Every map I have done with either of them came out awesome.

 

NXG is phenomenal with secrets and creative design.  I credit her with why Map 03 of D2R ended up the way it did.  The final outdoor area and the awesome secret there was great.  I would not have made an area even remotely similar.  Cupcake finished the second half of a map I did for a now dead project I had called Doom Episode Zero.  He used a lot of creative texture usage to give a very sci-fi feel to areas of the map that I would have never even thought to have attempted.  

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My ideal partner would be someone who is firstly willing to playtest the map more, after I am completely tired to playtest myself. Also, I am more of an ideas guy. I have finished in my mind 3 maps and how they play, while I am still perfecting the first map in Doombuilder (adding details never gets old). And after some time I get really tired of making my maps. Like, I have excitement for around 50% of the map, then I reach 75%, being bored and I stop mapping for a long while. So, ideally, I would need someone to do the work for me, past that 75% point. Though sometimes I prefer to work alone, so I might as well get it to 100%, once I get not-so-bored.

 

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My ideal mapping partner would be a dozy grey cat who sits on my lap and goes purr the whole time

 

sorry that was lazy, I'll write a real response later

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Doing detail on a gameplay completed map (or close) would make it cake for myself honestly. as I keep mapping, my ideals on how I should approach things keep changing. This keeps fucking me over as I keep tossing maps that I'm unhappy with, mainly because it took so long for me to truelly figure out how to map without detailing.

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30 minutes ago, esselfortium said:

 but I think I've done some of my best mapping work when overhauling an existing level

I find this hugely paralyzing at first, a good 1-2 weeks of major false starts, but then something clicks and its like an avalanche of ideas and progress and ultimately very satisfying (though perhaps draining)

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6 minutes ago, Vorpal said:

I find this hugely paralyzing at first, a good 1-2 weeks of major false starts, but then something clicks and its like an avalanche of ideas and progress and ultimately very satisfying (though perhaps draining)

That sounds about right, yeah! It definitely takes a while to get into the right mindset and to come to a thorough enough understanding of the map as it is now, and then you start to figure out how things can be pieced together. If I don't take enough time to let that process happen early on, I end up missing easy opportunities for improvements, or outright create a bigger mess for myself to deal with later.

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My ideal partner for mapping would have to deal with the technical details, like, is the map compactible with all source ports, does the music play right, are there any errors etc.

 

I cannot really do this since I am so interested in the flow of the game, like, once the technical issues had been checked and solved, how goes the gameplay. My only issue is all the demo speedrunning from evil I dunno, since I don't know jack shit about it, I just make a map for gzdoom and roll with it.

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I dunno... I'd probably want to have someone who is competent at something that I would like to have in the map, so I couldn't ever say for sure who I'd want to map with ideally.

 

If I ever made a deathmatch map, I'd certainly want to Doomkid along for the ride, also Decay of course.

 

If I wanted somebody else's touch in intermediate to tough difficulty slaughter, I'd probably want Archi and armouredblood as partners for a collab.

 

If I would make a sunlust-y map, well, Ribbiks and Danne are just better at that, so I'd simply not bother them and try to convince rdwpa or grain of salt to map with me. ;-)

 

I think it all comes down to what a collab actually brings to the table long-term, and for me personally that is an understanding of how people approach mapping, and what they look for in particular. The only people I wouldn't necessarily be that interested in doing a collab with would be people with fetishes for super high detail stuff. I'm about the gameplay, details are for when things play nice, and even then less oftentimes is more, imo.

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2 hours ago, scifista42 said:

which probably makes me an unsatisfactory partner to mostly anybody and therefore I quite possibly won't be mapping with a partner anymore.

being someone who spends a lot of time fine tuning particular skills, having a partner who is just an idea machine who spitballs a bunch of random disconnected rooms/layouts/proof-of-concepts sounds like exactly what I could use.

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I would love to see more collabs from lots of people. As for people I'd like to collab with, that's a tough one, aside from just listing off tons of names of mappers whom I respect.

 

As an example, I'd like to someday make a collab with rdwpa, but I'm not sure I'd bring enough different to the table for anybody to be able to tell I even worked on the map. Speaking of rd though, that collab between him and yakfak was grand.

 

I like monster placement and mechanics, so I suppose my ideal partner would be somebody who likes making layouts and detailing, but dislikes monster placement and/or mechanics. Still, a good understanding of monster placement is needed for a good layout, conducive to fun, so a lot of the time I'm slightly okay with just beating my head against the wall for decent, workable layouts.

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My idea partner would be... no one.  I'm not a big fan of collaborations when it comes to creative projects.

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I really don't like collaborations when it comes to stuff like this. I always have a rough idea of how something I'm working on is going to turn out so anything anybody else adds is going to seem massively out of place to me.

 

Also inevitable creative differences, only I'm too nice and too passive to speak up when someone adds something I really couldn't care less for so even bad ideas end up staying in. If I hypothetically were able to find someone I could actually work together with, I'd want someone who isn't afraid to try new things. Experiment, make use of bizarre concepts and outlandish ideas.

 

...Also texturing. Someone who can make that look at least passable because goddamn.

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Honestly, no one. I'd rather create a map myself so that I can get my ideas across on my own without having to worry about what the other person is making or having to wait on them. I'd rather be able to work on something on my own and only have to put up with myself and what I make. However, If I'm working with a partner, I have no preference for what they make or what they want to make. I just let them have at it and we both do our own thing. That's just my way of doing things. I am flexible with however anything goes.

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2 hours ago, nxGangGirl said:

Honestly, no one. 

Be right back.  Going to go cry myself to sleep.

 

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Honestly the best partner you could have is one that complements your own style while also making up for your flaws and vice versa.

Two guys that are great at detailing but suck at gameplay don't really complement eachother.

I actually really enjoy working on something with a partner, so long as you communicate and have somewhat of a plan. While it's fun to play your own maps, it's great to play your part and still have an element of unknown from what the other person created.

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Haven't had the chance to collaborate in my rather short time of mapping for an audience beyond myself, but it's something I hope to try one day. The Evolution of the Wad episode that covered Double Impact had some interesting stuff about Ralphi and Rottking's process. It sounded like how I would want to work--making parts of levels and then sending it back and forth dozens of time. I do most of my musical work in collaboration with one other bandmate (basically Lennon/McCartney style) and that's how we do it. The whole creative process for me, with any medium, is basically critique and iteration--make something, examine what doesn't work about it/is incomplete, rework it, and keep repeating that process until one starts getting the sense that it's close to completion. Then there's always a grindy part at the end! 

 

I think have complementary strengths and weaknesses and distinct but compatible sensibilities is probably important. For me, I feel that visuals and progression are my stronger suits, and I'm still learning a lot about encounter designs. I've been amazed watching playthoughs of my maps that some people play the game in a really different way than me because their skills are just way more advanced. So there are gameplay considerations and possibilities that a more skilled player would be able to open my eyes to. Plus, you can tell by the way some people play that they just have a really sophisticated understanding of the mechanics, which would be invaluable.

 

That said, it's hard for me to imagine having one person doing layout and another doing monster placement. I don't like to design visuals without some fairly concrete idea of enemy/item placement (even though these often change drastically) and to me there's a lot of design possibilities you lose when you segregate the various aspects of the game too much.

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If anything, I'd want someone who is an expert in designing good combat encounters or at least able to greatly improve mine, someone with way more experience at it than me. Though I have a good sense for it so far, it's still my weakest area in making maps. But you gotta learn somehow. Honestly I think it's more fun to just do everything yourself.

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Like a few others have said, my ideal "collaboration" is for somebody to pick up my map when I'm bored of it and get the last 5-30% in. I'm not fussed about detail, so anybody who likes adding greebles, vistas and other visual flair to a solid functional map would have a blast with my work... But would probably change the texturing significantly. Likewise, getting Things into my maps is often a hurdle, so somebody who can look at an empty, but functioning layout and see battles, traps and more would be handy.

 

For a proper collaboration, they'd need to be more keen on it than I am, but also committed. Nothing kills this sort of thing like somebody losing interest or starting something else. If we can both excitedly get through large chunks of work in the initial couple of days, preferably with some sort of focus or plan, then I'd guarantee success. Drag it out beyond a week and one of us won't be finishing it.

 

So a quick worker who doesn't get lost in the details before having a finished layout. Somebody with the experience to realise a vision, but the enthusiasm to get right into it. Ideally, somebody who could just as easily make the map without me. That way there's no pressure and the exchange of ideas will be interesting and exciting.

 

I'd want communicative working too. Either a conversation ongoing whilst working or a decent handover at the end of a shift.

 

It sounds like a lot, when I write it out, but I think those are the things my various failed collaborations have been missing. Same deal with the stagnation in community projects.

 

If I had to name names, then 40oz seems like a good fit. Previous experience tells me that esselfortium is good to work for and with, as well. Aside from his attitude to collaboration, I think Memfis would do well under my criteria for a map or two, but not a bigger project (so, much like me). In a "there, finish this" situation, Tormentor667 is good if it's his project already, whilst Tarnsman seems to do this well on a more general basis.

 

 

Of course, this is all pontificating as I barely map at all these days.

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Practical answer: I pair well with someone who likes doing thing placement of otherwise-complete maps, given that I keep accidentally hitting this stage. Coincidentally, 40oz is on this list. :P

 

More interesting answer: It's difficult to name names, really, since most of the direct "collab" mapping I've done has either been the style Essel described where I'm finishing up or heavily tweaking another map (a la DTWID Lost Episodes... or the E5 "Lost Episode", for that matter), or is a product of a really tightly-knit development team whose members wear many hats (referring to Adventures of Square here). Both work great, but it's not really intentionally-collabing in the former and a bit of a special case in the latter.

 

Most interesting answer: One form of collaboration I haven't seen mentioned yet (unless I've missed it) is where folks collab not on individual maps, per se, but on mapsets, resulting in an awesome feedback loop of inspiration that transforms the project (and the maps within) into a greater whole (or something equally cheesy-sounding). For me, that other person is NaturalTvventy; NEIS was a crazy train of creativity, and my own efforts for it are wholly due to his influence.

 

Notable non-ego examples include Ribbiks+dannebubinga, Joshy+Darkwave0000, a slew of really complex teams like the BTSX crew (though I guess that's a bit of an ego trip again; vorpal yay!), and like a ton of people I'm completely forgetting. Mapper synergy can result in some serious kickassery even beyond a single map.

 

 

Obligatory interesting counter-case: ZDCMP2 was an exercise in frustration for me, as I too often found myself working _against_ efforts of previous mappers, whether that be "fixing" things or trying to join bits together into a cohesive whole. Not to fault anyone in particular for it -- I stand by the end result, and the grind was inevitable given the project's nature.

 

 

Wow. Words.

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3 hours ago, Tracer said:

Be right back.  Going to go cry myself to sleep.

Oh no don't do that!

I'm kind of a control freak when it comes to mapping, so it's probably not a bad thing if anyone doesn't collab with me. I don't know. I really don't mind though.

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I know who my ideal partner would have been, without giving much away they would have been cool and collected whilst also being driven yet focused and planned...

 

My polar opposite they were.

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10 minutes ago, nxGangGirl said:

Oh no don't do that!

I'm kind of a control freak when it comes to mapping, so it's probably not a bad thing if anyone doesn't collab with me. I don't know. I really don't mind though.

Haha I'm just fucking with you.  I don't give a shit.  

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