The current state of map making is tragic

Feedback & Ideas about Custom Maps.

The current state of map making is tragic

Postby Max teabag » 31 October 2020, 01:36

I decided to check back on PB2. I see innovation and creativity in maps, but those that are made to be approved for ranked games are a tragedy.

What I see is a complete stagnation of new ideas. A major problem.

The only innovation is in the direction of aesthetics, but in terms of the actual layout of the map, all maps created to be approved these days do not have any memorable characteristics, no identity, nothing that stands out.

Maps made for approval these days scream “PLEASE APPROVE ME; I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG” --- Mapmakers have become timid and spineless, and all the new approved maps seem to resemble the average of all other maps, with weird ostentatious details.

The approval requirements and the critics demand a squeaky clean map.

The maps have come to please the player.

Whereas before, mapmakers had the audacity and courage to define the map clearly, and say, “HERE, THIS IS THE MAP I CREATED!” As if it was a real location, a very special corner of the PB2 universe.
Now, authenticity is gone. The maps are no longer proud and independent, with a clear sense of identity.
Before, mapmakers wanted to make a special place to explore new possibilities of experiencing plazma burst 2. Now, everyone just wants their map approved... don't stir trouble, follow the basic template, adhere to the critics, don't make your map too noticeable... but just enough "difference" from all the other ones...

All the map makers these days want to please the player and the map-critics.

Before, maps were treated as solid trees, and the players were squirrels exploring it.

Now, maps are designed specifically for the anatomy of the squirrel, like a carefully, deliberate, obstacle course for the squirrel. And not only that, but it must be the squeaky clean, seamless experience.

I have seen the approval request part of the forum, and it’s a horror.
“I BUMPED MY HEAD INTO THAT WALL, REMOVE IT”
“THIS LOCATION IS TOO CLUMSY TO NAVIGATE; MAKE MORE SPACE”
“THERE IS A TOO LONG OF A LINE OF SIGHT”
Let’s take counter-strike as an example. DE_DUST2 would be rejected due to too long line of sight? Ridiculous!

Maps that are made for approval do not feel REAL. They all feel like a very carefully designed, castrated and frankly, is just as memorable as a pile of mashed potatoes.

In a genuine basement, you bump your head into the ceiling.

It feels like all maps made for approval have become “children friendly” - All areas are to be accessed easily, no places to camp, no places to shoot each other at long ranges. How about adding an approval requirement to have obligatory flowers every once in a while? How about a requirement for all approval maps to have a timer and a trigger that displays text that reminds the player how wonderful, special and unique they are?

I get it, in the old days, the standard of approval was too low.
But there has clearly been an overreaction.
Yes, there should be technical requirements and aesthetic requirements to the map to be approved. And these days the maps have good technical standards, but let’s be honest, map-making for ranked matches has stagnated.

Maps should be treated as an art form, not some sort of conformity contest.

I invite you, map-makers, moderators, approval-team, to begin making truly great maps now.
Take chances. Dare to innovate. Come up with a map that is original. It’s time to get out of this stagnation.

The definition of a good map shouldn’t be based on how easy it is to navigate, or how many pathways or random walls are mashed in the middle... Or how good it makes your player feel inside...

The criteria of the new age of approved maps should be this:
A unique identity in terms of aesthetics, AND a unique, clear-cut, distinct layout, AND a meaningful relationship between the aesthetic and layout. Where all the pieces, the guns, the music, all provide a memorable map.

Let’s start making memorable maps again, instead of maps that are just trying to get approved by conforming and copying all other maps and making arbitrary changes with weird shapes and albeit unique aesthetics, seems unrelated to the actual layout of the map.

Everyone is so concerned about making a map that makes sense to the player. Everyone wants all the rooms to connect to each other for a seamless flow and balance of gameplay.
Forget about that!

I get it, innovation is hard given the necessary standardization, and with the limited options with triggers.

A shift in paradigm is needed. Think about the story of your map. The map needs to be a real place. What happened here? How was it built? Why was it built the way it was, what function did the rooms, the areas, the buildings serve for the people who used them? What happened to these buildings and why?
Let’s aim at creating a unique setting, a memorable aesthetic that fits the unique layout.

Making distinct maps requires accepting the fact that some people will strongly dislike your map. You have to be able to accept this.

I made a map today as an attempt task https://www.plazmaburst2.com/?s=9&a=&m= ... id=1001461

I don’t claim this map is great aesthetically, in fact, I made it quickly and it’s unfinished, and a lot of polishing to do. And feel free to like it or dislike it, I made it to be an example of someone who dares to make a map that stands out. I played it, it played just fine.

I’m not back to PB2. But I want to cheer you guys on from the sideline. So, guys, it’s time to make truly great maps. I challenge you to push the boundaries again. Get out of this conformity mindset. Stop pseudo-innovating with repeating the same layout over and over with different decorations and overwhelming and unnecessary detail. Let’s take risks. And dear approval team: get your finger out of your a**...!
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby Girl_Power » 31 October 2020, 02:02

The legend speaks again.

I totally agree with you on this. New-gen maps are absolutely horrid and the rules are way too strict. All approved maps made today feel like a copy of another approved map just with a slight change to it. The "line of sight" problem being introduced to nowadays maps ruin the actual gameplay. The only reason people still make approval maps is because of LDr.
— Officially Retired —

Moved onto other gaming platforms — Thanks for everything, guys.

Link to my profile: https://www.plazmaburst2.com/?a=&s=7&ac=Girl_Power


Gone for good...
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby Star Fox McCloud » 31 October 2020, 04:19

most maps i was involved with since 2015 got removed. i put effort in producing the maps silently with unusual map makers. my LDR has never changed.

everyone else just cares about themselves. all a game to make pb2 the “one map” to play. ever since i stopped, i just lurk around sometimes seeing if map quality got better.... ;)

i can only stand playing for 2 minutes max then i dont play for weeks again and again.

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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby Strikez » 31 October 2020, 05:14

i think i got some ideas on how to make a unique map...

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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby Yex » 31 October 2020, 07:18

I agree, I'm quite upset that my past attempts at making approved maps have been a failure due to their sick rules!

On the other hand maybe they weren't good at all.

Yeah, no my attempts at making approved maps were completely trashy.
Now I really want to die. Just to get out of this embarrassment.
Don't talk to me.
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby I once was a guest » 31 October 2020, 07:32

Yeah the map approval is kinda not that good

I remember there was a rule that said : the light mist me on dealing or somthin idk
:sorry:

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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby mrblake213 » 31 October 2020, 08:17

This is what mingo has to say


And personally, I just don't think there can be anything new or innovative that can be done these days when it comes to purely gameplay. I think when you improve more on aesthetics (decorations, backgrounds, wall placements), then the gameplay part will come along.
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby mingo1 » 31 October 2020, 08:32

Let me say a bit more lol...

I get where you're coming from Max, but essentially I feel like you're favoring story and concept for the wrong reasons. An approved map is supposed to play well. It's supposed to serve as a "professional," almost PB2 "default" map to play for kills and PP fairly, which rank you up on the leaderboards. Thus, you must create a balanced experience that, yes, favors the players.

The thing is, as I said in the screenshot above, you can still follow the strict approval guidelines while also doing everything you said you apparently don't see nowadays - creating a map with a storyline, unique aesthetic, memorability, innovation (so so so many variables and triggers to work with), AND balance.

https://www.plazmaburst2.com/?s=9&a=&m=creeperhunter55-ts&id=988445 PERFECT example

To my understanding, you're saying don't focus on the layout, focus on creating distinct maps, maps with their own identity, but that's already very prominent in custom maps - approved maps must remain strict and prioritize balance, establishing a fair playing field to players. And again, despite strict guidelines, you can still create a map that innovates, tells a story, and looks incredible. You're suggesting that you see a lot of the same layouts... but again, you're saying it's a problem for the wrong reason. We're talking about approved maps: balanced layout that favors gameplay and fairness > unbalanced layout

Having strict guidelines is important as well. The approval team doesn't want to just approve any map - it has to have a mix of everything you mentioned in fact, while also playing great: again, the purpose for an approved map. If there was more leeway with the guidelines, there would be more arguments and questions about "Why wasn't my map approved? It has its own identity and everything..." We need strict guidelines so that people not only know exactly what they need to do to get their map approved, but also not question why their map wasn't approved
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby CakeSpider » 31 October 2020, 08:43

Im agreed with max's opinion, nowadays rules for approve map become to make map casual.
Yes, current rules are aimed at aesthetic, but if we talking about some rules that aimed to gameplay part, to this is really strange shit, you can build a normally functioning part of the map with some interesting architecture, but after a while someone will say to remove or slightly change (what means a remove) this part because it is either uncomfortable to walk or its camp spot, and and in many ways, this whole approval process is aimed at trimming as many supposedly bad spots as possible to make the game easier for casual players. And it feels like it's all rules aimed at children.
And I often began to notice how many rules, including the entire policy of moderation about community, are created for children. Strange rules for banning "toxic" players, that isnt, and im not talking about children 6-12 years, im about people that children mentally, who have become detached from their mother's sissy, who get insulted at everything, but they themselves are not very smart. Of course so far now these people are not, because the game is already in the balance of death.
Maybe I'm talking nonsense of course, but this is what I saw while i has in this community for a long time. :D
Last edited by CakeSpider on 31 October 2020, 08:57, edited 1 time in total.
https://www.plazmaburst2.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=187&t=24464
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby Build » 31 October 2020, 08:50

Tbh idk what i'd feel if i was max then I just see most of my maps unapproved because of the new strict approval guidelines

At the same time I either agree with max or mingo. Controversial topic I'd say
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby Nyove » 31 October 2020, 09:42

Hey Max Teabag,

I second to what mingo1 said.

You made some valid points that I strongly agree with, but you also made some points I strongly disagree with.
Before I begin, I am just providing my opinion. If anyone disagrees with my point, feel free to point it out and provide constructive criticism.

POINTS I AGREE

Max Teabag wrote:What I see is a complete stagnation of new ideas. A major problem.

The only innovation is in the direction of aesthetics, but in terms of the actual layout of the map, all maps created to be approved these days do not have any memorable characteristics, no identity, nothing that stands out.

Whereas before, mapmakers had the audacity and courage to define the map clearly, and say, “HERE, THIS IS THE MAP I CREATED!” As if it was a real location, a very special corner of the PB2 universe.
Now, authenticity is gone. The maps are no longer proud and independent, with a clear sense of identity.
Before, mapmakers wanted to make a special place to explore new possibilities of experiencing plazma burst 2. Now, everyone just wants their map approved... don't stir trouble, follow the basic template, adhere to the critics, don't make your map too noticeable... but just enough "difference" from all the other ones...

I agree, but when it comes to layout design we may have our differences.

POINTS I DISAGREE

Max Teabag wrote:The maps have come to please the player.

I have seen the approval request part of the forum, and it’s a horror.
“I BUMPED MY HEAD INTO THAT WALL, REMOVE IT”
“THIS LOCATION IS TOO CLUMSY TO NAVIGATE; MAKE MORE SPACE”
“THERE IS A TOO LONG OF A LINE OF SIGHT”
Let’s take counter-strike as an example. DE_DUST2 would be rejected due to too long line of sight? Ridiculous!

In a genuine basement, you bump your head into the ceiling.

It feels like all maps made for approval have become “children friendly” - All areas are to be accessed easily, no places to camp, no places to shoot each other at long ranges. How about adding an approval requirement to have obligatory flowers every once in a while? How about a requirement for all approval maps to have a timer and a trigger that displays text that reminds the player how wonderful, special and unique they are?

Isn't making approved maps supposed to focus on user experience?

If you think making maps for approval and for ranked gameplay is solely to represent your creativity, there is a room for that. It's called custom maps.

In fact, when making approved maps, it is our utmost importance to provide the best user experience possible - to provide the most fair gameplay possible, to provide the most unique experience possible, to ensure that players HAVE fun whilst playing our map. If your philosophy in making approved maps is purely to express your creativity and not sparing a single thought into user experience, then make custom maps, not approved maps meant for ranked gameplay.

Some points, like LOS can be controversial. I agree that some amount of LOS can bring enjoyment to the game.

But your point in regards to mobility is terrible. Everytime when the approval team points out on headbump areas, there are not areas that are meant to be cramped (like a basement). These areas that we point out are areas that a player would expect themselves to successfully jump across certain areas but are unexpectedly blocked by some protruding wall that doesn't even serve any purpose!

Example:


I am not saying that your map should be completely open. It's perfectly normal to have cramped areas but for areas that are MEANT to be open, KEEP IT THAT WAY. If a player has trouble navigating in the open area how is he even going to have fun playing approved maps. Competitively-wise, a single bad (only cause of the map design) movement may cause the player to become unstable, resulting him in losing the fight.

The point of all of these is to have the best user experience possible. I am not saying you CANNOT make innovating maps, in fact you should. But if your goal of making innovative maps means completely scrapping off the idea of user experience and throwing random sh-t into your map, well that's ridiculous and we are going go backwards to 2011.

The point stating that approved maps are designed for children is like saying chefs only cook food for consumers and the food always looked the same, completely ridiculous and invalid.

TLDR: Yes innovation is important and I agree that it is lacking, but the point of saying approved maps focused too much on user experience is ridiculous. You can have both, and emphasize on user experience is important.

A perfect example is Stryde in my opinion. He wants to make unique maps, but in the same time he always focuses on user experience. As much as like he likes to troll me.

I have also made an attempt made to prove my point, unique layout that still focuses on the user experience: https://www.plazmaburst2.com/?s=2&map=nyove-hmm

P.S: Please STOP giving hate to the approval team.

Do you know HOW many hours the approval team tries to put in playtesting approval map requests and in hopes to attempt to improve potentially good maps. There was a point in time where we spent a continuous 3 hours playtesting approved requests. Keep in mind that these players volunteered to playtests maps for free (back then there were no titles, and we didn't expect to get any form of title), spending efforts looking for potential flaws in the map and making sure your map has the most optimal user experience.

Yet the approval team (including the contributors) always get SO MUCH SH-T for giving criticism and for rejecting unqualified, it's like better off not having any approval requests system in the first place.

We just want the best potential outcome of your map as well as the market of approved maps (not oversaturate it) so everyone could enjoy PB2 together.

Best regards,
Nyove
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby Max teabag » 31 October 2020, 10:43

Mingo wrote:[...] you can still follow the strict approval guidelines while also doing everything you said you apparently don't see nowadays


I'd grant it may be true in a strict sense since the rules do not explicitly state demand mediocrity. But the way mapmakers and the critics interpret these rules has to lead to the stagnation today.


Mingo wrote:You're suggesting that you see a lot of the same layouts... but again, you're saying it's a problem for the wrong reason. We're talking about approved maps: balanced layout that favors gameplay and fairness > unbalanced layout


With the massive emphasis on terms like these, mapmakers are too afraid of making something with its own shape. I see the tendency of just creating a bunch of platforms with as many combinations of navigation as possible. "Open and inclusive" is the subliminal motto.

You make me sound as if I'm against the player, against fairness ... against good maps...
I believe its the player that in the end, benefits the most from my points.

Mapmakers lately have been focused on avoiding criticism instead of taking risks.
They want to make maps that don't have a clear excuse for a bad rating.

This is a fault of the community at large, the blame is definitely on the mapmakers, and not merely the approval requirements.

While the approval team seems to be doing a good job on testing and censoring maps that lack technical squeakiness and aesthetics, they are also enforcing strict conformity in terms of gameplay, intentional or not. Considering the detailed criticisms approval requests get, it highly encourages people to conform to the unspoken rules of map-design.

Build wrote:Tbh idk what i'd feel if i was max then I just see most of my maps unapproved because of the new strict approval guidelines


I'm perfectly happy old maps were unapproved, the standards have been raised for the better in regards of the technical.

Nyove wrote:Isn't making approved maps supposed to focus on user experience?

I'm not against good user experience per se, I am criticizing the way it has chosen to been defined.

I want to shed light on the hidden presuppositions in the minds of modern mapmakers and critics of good user experience.

Nyove wrote:But your point in regards to mobility is terrible. Everytime when the approval team points out on headbump areas, there are not areas that are meant to be cramped (like a basement).

My larger point is that as long as the walls exist to tell a story, to make sense in the context of the map, it's good. The ultimate goal of the mapmaking shouldn't be to provide a seamless experience and equally easy-to-navigate areas, although that is generally a positive thing.

Nyove wrote:The point stating that approved maps are designed for children is like saying chefs only cook food for consumers and the food always looked the same, completely ridiculous and invalid.

The children-friendly thing was a metaphor to emphasise a point.

Nyove wrote:P.S: Please STOP giving hate to the approval team.

I admire the effort the approval team exhibits. They are in part responsible for pushing the degree to which people pay attention to aesthetics and technical perfection. That's good.
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby Nyove » 31 October 2020, 11:03

Hey Max Teabag,

I agree that some of the approval guidelines and the definition of a good approved map can be questionable at times.

Ultimately, we try to bring the best out of every potential maps but having too of a strict (not flexible) rules and result in innovation and creativity go down the drain, which results in a lot of similar maps which have a "safe" layout for approval.

The fault lies in both parties, the map makers themselves as well as the entire approval process and the involved respective parties.

Also, the P.S wasn't directed to you but to the general public of the community since I frequently observed hate coming from the public. Sorry if you took it the wrong way.

Best regards,
Nyove
Last edited by Nyove on 31 October 2020, 12:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby yi en » 31 October 2020, 11:36

Let's take a truth —— No matter how we are arguing about how the approved maps should be, the final expression is visualized on new players —— or newgens if you like to say.

Let's develop a third possibility: what if those new players actually want is not your "taking risk and become wildfire creative placement map", neither nowaday's map approval guidelines of "Be safe and limited to so many rules so you guys can play safe" ?

No matter this discussion becomes, the most important and directive feedback is upon to 3 factors:
1. how many new players are going to play them?
2. how old veterans, playing ranked, are going to feel upon new map?
3. how to make a map which attract both type of players to play your map?

Approved maps are often the first impression upon to new players (actually I am just assuming PB2 is growing a right way), so the amount of approved maps, the types and the play style are a direct impact on those players to say whatever they want to stay there or not. If let's say we are 100% taking map approval ideas, which almost every single map are identical, those players are losing the patience and thinking that every map is basically a same thing then left the game; meanwhile if we are 100% taking teabag's ideas, which makes player confused enough since every single map are so different that makes the players in 2020 nowadays don't have that patience to understand the map. And this will make players quit, in rages. Whatever is good or bad, it depends on our market and what eric's market towards to be. Obviously we don't have an idea on that.

Second question, apparently from what I saw most veterans prefer lag-free (thanks flash!), simple yet balanced map (which is identical mirrored stages). the whole map itself can't be too high (so the height advantage won't be so obvious). Let's ask ourselves 2 question:

1) who plays the map which has 2 or above weps? (excluding defib)
2) what is the highest game mode played?

I am sure that you guys would have similar answers.
By this simple 2 question, almost every map developer knows what type of the map they should do in order to attract players (Assume the majority aren't just do approved maps for "approved tick")

By what market needs, we will have the mindset which is how the nowadays approved map will be.
in normal ideal situation, nobody is willing to make an approved map which nobody literally plays it (P.S. in a normal ideal situation, apparently PB2 is not in this situation.)

Since the game modes and the map styles are basically fixed, there's another question which everyone would agree on.

"Since we have already got the user-defined decoration, why most of the map are still stuck on the same aesthetics, platform placement or even the gameplay strategy?"

Is it because most player sticked to same strategy and they don't discover more ways to win the map? Nope.
Is it because the map approval guidelines cared about the decors? Nope.
Is it map developers fault? Also Nope.

So what is the problem of the map approval system, and the marketshare?

As long as we observed, market is not the main reason that nobody wants to use custom decor, or even draw it yourself.
And I also doubt that "taking long time to approved decor" is the main reason of stopping people developing the ideas.
What makes the map developers being timid enough to only use the "official approved maps"?

I would say there's a lot of chain reaction causing it.... But I am still studying that so stay tuned.




P.S. by comparing that cs-dust vs approved maps due to the long sight shooting range is a ridiculous example, as one of them is 3D world FPS menawhile other ones is scrolled 2D which has limited views. Imagine you kept dying from the bullet which is out from your vision. This may triggers a lot of people to rage quit the game, and causing the experience difference larger (especially spraying the rifles onto a large distance, you can just able to pressure the opponents at the spawn... not good.

Meanwhile in CS-GO, FPS basically gives no sight limitation as you can see where's the enemy, so the large distance of shooting won't make any advantages based on the game system. Meanwhile in 3D world even you can't see the snipers long there away, it sill takes 2D dimension chance to hit you. Which means,

CS-GO: assume enemy blind shooting at you in long distance, which enemy can see you in any chance:
the screen is about 1920x1080, which the chance of one bullet hits you is 1/the area of the screen.

PB2: assume enemy blind shooting at you in long distance, which you both guys can't see each other:
the screen is about 800x400 in browser, which the chance of one bullet hits you is 1/400 (if left or right) or 1/800 (if up or down).

Comparing a face shooting range vs a line shooting range is ridiculous.
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby CakeSpider » 31 October 2020, 12:18

Approved maps are often the first impression upon to new players (actually I am just assuming PB2 is growing a right way), so the amount of approved maps, the types and the play style are a direct impact on those players to say whatever they want to stay there or not. If let's say we are 100% taking map approval ideas, which almost every single map are identical, those players are losing the patience and thinking that every map is basically a same thing then left the game; meanwhile if we are 100% taking teabag's ideas, which makes player confused enough since every single map are so different that makes the players in 2020 nowadays don't have that patience to understand the map. And this will make players quit, in rages. Whatever is good or bad, it depends on our market and what eric's market towards to be. Obviously we don't have an idea on that.

Bruh, lets not lie, everyone first impressions of pb2 was custom maps, and still it, no matter how much I was in the aprroval matches option, custom matches was always popular.
[!] First, custom maps always open first. and there always more players.
I think approved maps is second impressions. The most of newgens is kids, they will join to the custom maps because its provided first.
But anyway, i think all of this conversation becomes to zero due to death pb2 and soon release of pb2.5/3.
So i see a sense into discussions about released pb2.5 than pb2 which is in the balance of death.
https://www.plazmaburst2.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=187&t=24464
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby nightmar » 31 October 2020, 14:28

I don't think we can put any blame to the map developers. What you ask of them is to risk and make a good map with a story for approved matches. But for what? They will most likely waste months of hard work (given how every rejected map will be checked again after 1 month combined with the strict rules they are obliged to follow) and in the end even if they do succeed their map will get lost somewhere among the huge pile of approved maps that people don't play.

Seriously we all know how ranked and approved matches compose mostly of the same 2-3 maps every day. Occasionally we will see a new map being played for a few days. But in the end people will grow old of it and go back to the same old narrow minded maps they play all the time.

Putting your heart to making a map and giving it a story is like creating art. But what's the point of creating said art if nobody is going to see it?

Ultimately it comes down to the fact that the only motivation for map developers to make an approved map is to increase their LDR. Hence the current state of ranked matches.
Last edited by nightmar on 31 October 2020, 19:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby xElijah » 31 October 2020, 15:51

The real problem is that people (both map makers and map approval team) break the 4th and main requirement of map approval requirements, which states "Make sure your map is original and does not look like anything approved before (the way it is being played and design/atmosphere-wise)." Focus on words "the way it is being played" and "atmosphere-wise". Now look at maps of Avre (sorry, Avre), for example: this, this and this. They all look different design-wise, but the way they are being played is the same. Same wall architecture, same locations, same paths. Other example - Kubakuba (sorry Kubakuba). Maps: this, this and this. Same problem: same wall architecture but with new backgrounds. If you want approved maps to "have identity" and "be a very special part of the game" you need to start following the 4th requirement. If you see a new map of Avre (sorry Avre), don't look at the backgrounds. Look at how it is being played. If it plays the same as Avre's previous map, don't approve it even if it looks great visually. If it plays completely different from all other Avre's maps and other map maker's maps, then approve it. Following this simple advice would fix the issue where all modern approved maps give you the impression of being unmemorable copies of each other. The reason why they give you this impression is that there are too many approved maps that are played the same and that there are too many approved maps overall. Depreciation has come due to oversaturation. Oversaturation can be fixed by cutting the amount of currently approved maps which can be done by removing maps with similar layout. Also, there is still a "stryde-sniper issue" that doesn't let players to experience new maps. Map that isn't played enough times would always give you the impression of being empty and unmemorable. The more you play some map the more full and memorable it would become to you.

Critique and enforcement of strict following of map approval requirements in map approval submissions section of the forum is not an issue. It's called progress. Now you need to be a really experienced map maker if you want to get your map approved. And we see how it works. Today's maps are very pretty. In case if you don't agree on some random Stryde's critique on your map approval request you can always say your "no, I don't agree because..." instead of "Yes, yes, I'll fix it immediately, just please don't hurt me". Stryde is not the ultimate king of map approval. There are other people who can approve/disapprove maps, including Eric himself. If one moderator didn't approve your map for some unjust reason, just go to another one. If none of them approved your map and you think they are all wrong, write a post about it. Make people talk. When they talk they force PB2 staff to change and adjust their views on certain subject. In fact this is exactly what we are doing here right now.

The argument that today's approved maps layout requirements are aimed for handicapped children who don't know how to selfboost is true. But as Mingo1 said if you are good enough as a map maker you can find the balance, you can find the solution. If you can't find the balance, if you can't find the solution you're not a good map maker. Simple.

The fact that there are too few new approved maps that have a memorable creative layout is a sign that the amount of creative people in PB2 is decreasing. It's not a sign of requirements or approval team being too strict. Creative people just leave the game. If you want to see more creative maps we need more creative people playing this game. If you think you know how to make creative maps, show it. Also, welcome back Max teabag. I can't play your map. It gives me an error. Image.
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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby phsc » 31 October 2020, 15:59

Max teabag wrote:I decided to check back on PB2. I see innovation and creativity in maps, but those that are made to be approved for ranked games are a tragedy.

I agree, and I think I can provide some insight on why that happens, and also talk about some concepts that I think are important to how the world works.

Max teabag wrote:What I see is a complete stagnation of new ideas. A major problem.

What you see is true, it is a stagnation of ideas, that does not mean ideas do not exist! it just means that just some ideas are being accepted!

Max teabag wrote:The only innovation is in the direction of aesthetics, but in terms of the actual layout of the map, all maps created to be approved these days do not have any memorable characteristics, no identity, nothing that stands out.

So let me explain, in the last few months, map approval has gotten quite centralized, it all happened when Stryde joined the team as far as I know, with some others such as Creeperhunter55, the general idea is that, map approval went from random staff members approving stuff to a more centralized community that checks maps and all, that would be great? I do not think so because I think centralization is not an effective way for things to work in general and I would say it goes agaisn't PB2s general mentality, but nobody cares about my opinion, the thing is, with this new verification, what happens is that the people who hold the power kind of... take some quite subjective and arbitrary aspects and use it as criteria for maps not being approved, as much as there is a lot that is objective, such as objectively poor wall placement (when there is no overlapping) and all, if you take a look at why maps are not being accepted, generally it is not that.

Maps made for approval these days scream “PLEASE APPROVE ME; I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG” --- Mapmakers have become timid and spineless, and all the new approved maps seem to resemble the average of all other maps, with weird ostentatious details.

To an extent it was always like that, but the criteria were a bit more loose, and it was up to whatever staff member's opinion for the map to be approved, now that you have the forums and people such as Stryde and Kiriakos checking them, you just have to change their mind, if you instead showed your map to Ditzy or showed your map to Darkstar, I do not think they can approve it, is this bad? not really because I think that some staff members probably do not even know the approval criteria, or the bare minimum about map making, but I think it is still too centralized.

The approval requirements and the critics demand a squeaky clean map.

Yes, and I do not think this is wrong for map approval, as in with the more objective criteria, walls you can glitch easily, doors that are not synced, that is healthy, but when it gets to aesthetics or specific gameplay preferences, it goes to shit.

Whereas before, mapmakers had the audacity and courage to define the map clearly, and say, “HERE, THIS IS THE MAP I CREATED!” As if it was a real location, a very special corner of the PB2 universe.
Now, authenticity is gone. The maps are no longer proud and independent, with a clear sense of identity.
Before, mapmakers wanted to make a special place to explore new possibilities of experiencing plazma burst 2. Now, everyone just wants their map approved... don't stir trouble, follow the basic template, adhere to the critics, don't make your map too noticeable... but just enough "difference" from all the other ones...

All the map makers these days want to please the player and the map-critics.

Not everyone! a lot of people go agaisn't the general criticism, trying to argue for their maps, but as power is centralized, if you want the LDR or the approval status, you have to do the changes! and in general the approval team are not really open minded people that easily change their opinion, and this gets to a thing, these people in the map approval team are seen as experts and often people take things that are not related to map making knowledge, literal opinions, and change them for the approval, some for the results but some because they truly think the people are right I would say, some examples of the weird ass criteria used for approval I can say:

- darkstar 1-glhf, Creeperhunter55 said that the map should not be approved because it had lamps with lasers on top of the lamps, lamps as decors, that could easily be the kind of base thing that is generating the laser.
- phsc-urbanwar, Creeperhunter55 said that the map had too many lamps (decor objects), Stryde went with it and I ended up changing it, it was not that impactful to the general map, also the map was very dark at times, and in general still is, which I think made it very nice, but it had a competitive problem which is, players with low game quality have no shadows and had a clear advantage, so that change in general makes sense.
- coda-wave, the map had this https://i.imgur.com/PfbIV0P.png which I think is a really great and unique feature, but it was removed, in my experiments using a ton of background objects to achieve that does not lag, unless created by a program with a very big resolution (such as this viewtopic.php?f=126&t=23117 but that isn't relevant to map approval), anyways coda just removed that, added some purple details to the map and people said the map was unique, while in my mind it lost it's interesting gameplay to an extent and now looks generic.
- balem-station or balem-danger, I do not remember exactly but I think people said the map was kinda cramped, or it was danger, and the map was and that made it unique, the map ended up being ignored and all because Balem was banned, while I think the map was approval worthy but 3 changelogs were ignored because of his ban, this is an interesting case, his ban is fair but his map being ignored is not.

Before, maps were treated as solid trees, and the players were squirrels exploring it.

Now, maps are designed specifically for the anatomy of the squirrel, like a carefully, deliberate, obstacle course for the squirrel. And not only that, but it must be the squeaky clean, seamless experience.

To an extent, in past years, it was always like that, however each staff member had multiple courses and they were adaptative, the criteria were always limiting and all, but now it is just more extreme, because of how centralized it all got.

I have seen the approval request part of the forum, and it’s a horror.
“I BUMPED MY HEAD INTO THAT WALL, REMOVE IT”
“THIS LOCATION IS TOO CLUMSY TO NAVIGATE; MAKE MORE SPACE”
“THERE IS A TOO LONG OF A LINE OF SIGHT”
Let’s take counter-strike as an example. DE_DUST2 would be rejected due to too long line of sight? Ridiculous!

What makes even less sense is that some of these rules were not in the approval criteria until not long ago, and some still are not, it is very subjective and arbitrary, another issue with such rules is that there is no clarification of a ton of things, and that would not be bad if it didn't seem to round down instead of up, closer to the circlejerk nature of map approval these days to the more free one in the past.

Maps that are made for approval do not feel REAL. They all feel like a very carefully designed, castrated and frankly, is just as memorable as a pile of mashed potatoes.

In a genuine basement, you bump your head into the ceiling.

In general, I've felt this for a while, since the forums and all, and with the success of map makers such as kubakuba, who used to straight up copy maps in the past, who made some generic ass maps in my opinion, is one of the most successful map makers LDR wise, while not having a single memorable map in my opinion!

It feels like all maps made for approval have become “children friendly” - All areas are to be accessed easily, no places to camp, no places to shoot each other at long ranges. How about adding an approval requirement to have obligatory flowers every once in a while? How about a requirement for all approval maps to have a timer and a trigger that displays text that reminds the player how wonderful, special and unique they are?

Yes, they have become that, noob friendly, the thing is, I can see how camping is a problem in a more competitive way and the general thing is that, camping should be countered, otherwise the map does not differ that much from a base map where there is a god, and in the past there were some extremely unfair maps, I made a critique of the approval criteria two years ago and it got ignored, and this is a big problem, there is no discussion, nobody cares, but good thing you came along and said this out loud!

I get it, in the old days, the standard of approval was too low.
But there has clearly been an overreaction.
Yes, there should be technical requirements and aesthetic requirements to the map to be approved. And these days the maps have good technical standards, but let’s be honest, map-making for ranked matches has stagnated.

And this will only get worse, because of the new intellectual property rule, and the fact that the game is losing it's playerbase, some of the most amazing mapmakers I've met in this game do not make approved maps anymore because of the criteria, they lose motivation.

I invite you, map-makers, moderators, approval-team, to begin making truly great maps now.
Take chances. Dare to innovate. Come up with a map that is original. It’s time to get out of this stagnation.

The definition of a good map shouldn’t be based on how easy it is to navigate, or how many pathways or random walls are mashed in the middle... Or how good it makes your player feel inside...

This gets to an issue, in general you cannot user triggers too much on approved maps, you cannot modify weapons for the sake of balance and more interesting gameplay, and all of that limits innovation, but here is the thing, why would someone come up with an original map that is going to be played by 20 people, not be approved and... well that is all, that even applies to singleplayer maps and custom maps, it is the start of the final decline of the game.

The criteria of the new age of approved maps should be this:
A unique identity in terms of aesthetics, AND a unique, clear-cut, distinct layout, AND a meaningful relationship between the aesthetic and layout. Where all the pieces, the guns, the music, all provide a memorable map.

Let’s start making memorable maps again, instead of maps that are just trying to get approved by conforming and copying all other maps and making arbitrary changes with weird shapes and albeit unique aesthetics, seems unrelated to the actual layout of the map.

I think that it should not even have to be unique in all terms, you can copy the way a map looks if it is different in how it plays, it is not the same map, the issue is that it will not get approved because it looks too similar to some map or whatever, while back then pretty much all maps looked the same, or maybe remaking maps which might in general be bad, I remade raffine-urbanwar because the original was unapproved, and the map had a ton of problems, it was extremely unfair to play and often used to farm, I kept the general wall structure, greatly changed the aesthetics but made it more fair, so you can counter the camping, camping still works but it is just not broken, and this is important! camping should not be wrong, unfair camping should be, a map like neelfrost-rvb has a big issue where a player could stay in one of the bases shooting at the teleport and nobody would ever be able to kill him if he did not deliciously exquisite pizza sauce up extremely hard, and I think that not being accepted is fine, the issue is when... just because there is a camping spot, the map is not accepted, even when you can counterplay it.

Everyone is so concerned about making a map that makes sense to the player. Everyone wants all the rooms to connect to each other for a seamless flow and balance of gameplay.
Forget about that!

I disagree to an extent, map making should be free, but approval should still have it's criteria for the game to work better in a competitive way, this got more and more important because of how competitive play got bigger with PL and such, unfair advantages are more visible and the general PB2 player is now better and can abuse all of that, balance is still important, seamless flow or making sense should not be that important, I agree, but balance literally kills the idea of an approved map made for ranked, just make all custom maps approved then.

I get it, innovation is hard given the necessary standardization, and with the limited options with triggers.

A shift in paradigm is needed. Think about the story of your map. The map needs to be a real place. What happened here? How was it built? Why was it built the way it was, what function did the rooms, the areas, the buildings serve for the people who used them? What happened to these buildings and why?
Let’s aim at creating a unique setting, a memorable aesthetic that fits the unique layout.

Making distinct maps requires accepting the fact that some people will strongly dislike your map. You have to be able to accept this.

I do not think the mapp needs a backstory or to be a real place, it can help, but I get that you are talking about the general mentality for making the map and not making something extremely generic without any meaning, but isn't this contradictory to what you have said? that the map does not have to make sense? you are saying that the map SHOULD make sense now, kinda weird?
Also, the issue is when the staff team dislikes you map! I mean if some generic guest dislikes the map nobody care, but if it is the staff approval team, RIP.

I made a map today as an attempt task https://www.plazmaburst2.com/?s=9&a=&m= ... id=1001461

I think there is an objective issue about that map! I am unable to play it! https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/ ... nknown.png
I don't remember what error 1010 is, but the map did not take too long to load or anything, it just... did not work, and I think that should be important criteria, people should be able to run the map!



Now replying to relevant comments:

mingo1 wrote:The thing is, as I said in the screenshot above, you can still follow the strict approval guidelines while also doing everything you said you apparently don't see nowadays - creating a map with a storyline, unique aesthetic, memorability, innovation (so so so many variables and triggers to work with), AND balance.

Not really, just read the examples I gave for maps not being approved, coda-wave and most importantly my urbanwar and darkstar 1-glhf, lamp decors, deliciously exquisite pizza sauce DECORS.

I also do not think that ch55-ts is the perfect example, the idea was executed before I'm pretty sure, but back at times that the execution was too hard because of the limitations, the general idea of a nuclear reactor is very common, and the map plays in a pretty generic way, it actually reminds me of that Jason Eden map I hate, but in this case I do not hate it because it is not as blocky, still, a good map? I agree, but not the perfect example.

The issue is that you cannot truly innovate, just check approval requests mingo, you will see some bizarre reasons for maps not being approved, not to mention what is said in the map approval discord server.

CakeSpider wrote:Im agreed with max's opinion, nowadays rules for approve map become to make map casual.
Yes, current rules are aimed at aesthetic, but if we talking about some rules that aimed to gameplay part, to this is really strange shit, you can build a normally functioning part of the map with some interesting architecture, but after a while someone will say to remove or slightly change (what means a remove) this part because it is either uncomfortable to walk or its camp spot, and and in many ways, this whole approval process is aimed at trimming as many supposedly bad spots as possible to make the game easier for casual players. And it feels like it's all rules aimed at children.
And I often began to notice how many rules, including the entire policy of moderation about community, are created for children. Strange rules for banning "toxic" players, that isnt, and im not talking about children 6-12 years, im about people that children mentally, who have become detached from their mother's sissy, who get insulted at everything, but they themselves are not very smart. Of course so far now these people are not, because the game is already in the balance of death.
Maybe I'm talking nonsense of course, but this is what I saw while i has in this community for a long time.

The general main focus of the game are kids, the people who truly play it every day, the new players and all, its public are still the kids, to an extent that makes sense, but to another it also makes none because it limits the skillcap, this gets to a bigger discussion about approval, should it be easy and intuitive or more complicated and hard? that is pretty arbitrary actually, if the rules should help newer players or not, but then, why not both? why limit it? this reminds me of League of Legends vs DOTA 2 to an extent, also what strange rules for banning toxic players are you talking about? ingame I do not think there is a lot wrong when it comes to banning toxic people, but maybe I just don't know something?

Nyove wrote:But your point in regards to mobility is terrible. Everytime when the approval team points out on headbump areas, there are not areas that are meant to be cramped (like a basement). These areas that we point out are areas that a player would expect themselves to successfully jump across certain areas but are unexpectedly blocked by some protruding wall that doesn't even serve any purpose!

I disagree, I think that just because a player expects a thing it does not mean it is right! it does not have to be intuitive or easy to play, that is the thing, best user experience is not always the best, because best is extremely subjective and difficulty and struggle is often great, imagine a game like Dark Souls with similar criteria to what you are saying, doesn't it get kinda ridiculous?
In your example, you can sitll jump there, you might have to use X or make a less intense jump in some ways, it is still possible, that gives skill expression, let me give you an example you might understand, in League of Legends we have Aphelios and Azir and then we have Jinx and Annie, one is not inherently better than the other just because one is simple and easy to play and the other is not, that jump might be the Azir of PB2, while the easier map might be Annie, this also gets to self boosting and all, Azir keeps a terrible winrate at lower brackets, but once you get his WEQ right, you can go very far, a bronze player fails at that, just like a bad PB2 player fails at self boosting while a good one does not.

Do you know HOW many hours the approval team tries to put in playtesting approval map requests and in hopes to attempt to improve potentially good maps. There was a point in time where we spent a continuous 3 hours playtesting approved requests. Keep in mind that these players volunteered to playtests maps for free (back then there were no titles, and we didn't expect to get any form of title), spending efforts looking for potential flaws in the map and making sure your map has the most optimal user experience.

Yet the approval team (including the contributors) always get SO MUCH SH-T for giving criticism and for rejecting unqualified, it's like better off not having any approval requests system in the first place.

Yes I know, it is literal incompetence deliciously exquisite pizza sauce wanting maps not to be approved because of lamps, you are not the problem, but some specific people at times end up being so stupid, and the issue is not only the opinion, it is the lack of argumentation and discussion, the fact that these people often do not reply to topics and just... apply their OPINION, the general problem is the general mentality you guys have, that you guys are the saviors of PB2 with the right opinions, also, another thing, instead of spending a ton of time deliciously exquisite pizza sauce checking maps, walking around them, and little actually playing, and not playing first (Ditzy was also like wtf when we found out about this), what about actually changing the maps yourselves? poor wall placement, some people are ignorant and do not get that properly, help them, I've never seen you guys actually help people solve their problems, or the supposed problems. And also, they should be shit on, just like any authority should, you should be able to understand people dislike your maps as Max said, as you should be able to understand that people will dislike your job and views, the issue is when you apply some with force while others do not have that.

Max Teabag wrote:This is a fault of the community at large, the blame is definitely on the mapmakers, and not merely the approval requirements.

Bullshit, individual map makers go out agaisn't it, yizhe, Balem, myself, hell even Galeforce and I think Galeforce's maps in general are bad, they go agaisn't it, the issue is that nothing happens, nobody holds power, only the approval team.

Nyove wrote:The point stating that approved maps are designed for children is like saying chefs only cook food for consumers and the food always looked the same, completely ridiculous and invalid.


Nyove wrote:The children-friendly thing was a metaphor to emphasise a point.

The children friendly point is an actual thing, you have to be able to hold a weapon and grab a deliciously exquisite pizza sauce ledge, someone who cannot deliciously exquisite pizza sauce equip swords to jump will deliciously exquisite pizza sauce die constantly, is that balance? that is the illusion of balance, skill expression needs to become a thing on PB2, it is the main reason people do not play the game for long periods like time, the lack of what to achieve and lack of expression for such aspects, the game naturally has a lower skill can and you guys want to limit the skill cap even more.

Nyove wrote:Ultimately, we try to bring the best out of every potential maps but having too of a strict (not flexible) rules and result in innovation and creativity go down the drain, which results in a lot of similar maps which have a "safe" layout for approval.

They are flexible, in the wrong way, if you take stryde-sniper, it does not fit the rule that you have to hold a gun and be able to jump, the argument people make is that you can shoot the gun, REALLY, IF SOMEONE DOES NOT HAVE THE BRAIN CAPACITY TO EQUIP SWORDS AND SWORD JUMP, WILL THEY BE ABLE TO JUMP AND THEN SHOOT AT THE GROUND TO GO UP? REALLY? the issue is that some rules are stupid, I've said that in my approval criteria critique I think a year ago, which got completely ignored.

Other than this, the ones I ignored are either on topics I already talked about (I agree with nightmar), irrelevant (Girl Power, Strikez, etc) and yi en's comment because it makes no sense.

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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby Stryde » 31 October 2020, 17:56

Throughout this thread, I am seeing a large number of players voice their opinions on the matter at and, and I really do like that. If people want to further share sentiments about the matter, I really would like to talk with them.
I'm happy other players share similar sentiments towards the map approval system and towards the competitive environment. These two properties are innately tied together, and until now, no one has realized that.
I hope to propose solutions to the approval team, to the community, and to the developer to improve the quality of PB2 and the development of PB3.

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Re: The current state of map making is tragic

Postby Max teabag » 31 October 2020, 18:03

yi en wrote:P.S. by comparing that cs-dust vs approved maps due to the long sight shooting range is a ridiculous example,
Yeah, comparing 2D shooters with 3D shooters in apples to oranges.
What I was getting at is that we should not reject maps because it doesn't follow a particular principle. For example, it seems like the hidden principle behind "no camp spots" and "no far lines of sight" might be abstracted to an idea such as "no position should be stronger than another, no hierarchy of positions."

You can see how the lack of real structure in the maps made today is based on this principle. (You may now guess why the example map in the OP is a pyramid.

People say the map should be fair, so all positions have to be fair.
No, what we should aim at is that everyone should have a fair chance of gaining dominant positions.
Please don't get wind-up on this particular example. My point is that the approval team and the community, in general, operate on a shallow philosophy, and there needs to be a shift in mindset.

I see critics of maps make up problems based on hypothetical situations based on the architecture of the walls itself.
The architecture of the map is such a complex art form because it depends on so many factors playing together. There are so many possibilities to allow for a fair game without. You simply cannot judge a map like this.

phsc wrote:"take some quite subjective and arbitrary aspects and use it as criteria for maps not being approved,"
Yes.

There are instances where maps should be demanded to change. These suggestions should come from players who have played the map sufficiently enough in a competitive nature that it is obvious to everyone that there is a destructive pattern that makes the map less enjoyable and competitive.

When a player enters a match with an approved map, they should expect a very high standard of technical execution and unique aesthetics, architecture and gameplay.

phsc wrote:that the map does not have to make sense? you are saying that the map SHOULD make sense now, kinda weird?

To clarify, I was referring to the sin of the mapmaker these days that feel they must make a map that immediately makes sense to the player because they've seen the overall structure a thousand times before. I think the map should make sense to the player in the regard that it is coherent.
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