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Maps made this year and motivation
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Dean
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:28 pm
   Subject: Maps made this year and motivation
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Hi Everyone, I've placed this here because I'm interested in some feedback from other mappers in the community.

I finished a level yesterday for a set I've been working on and realised that I've now made 10 levels this year, which is the most I've made in quite a while. I love mapping but it doesn't always come as easy as it has for me as it has this year. I'm usually very pedantic when it comes to mapping so a lot of my levels in the past have taken many, many hours to make (my levels on Project Eisenfaust: Origins were all 20+ hours to make!), the ones I've made this year have been around the 4-5 hour timeframe. I've actually been working on my own projects for a change that I'm doing entirely myself so have found that my motivation has been stronger than when making maps for someone elses work or a community mapset and I'm sure this is a big part of why I've been able to get through so many. What I've also found is that ideas have been coming to me about what to map or certain scenarios to include in a map which has helped make it easier when I sit down to map

So I guess I've got some questions about mapping that I'd be interested in hearing from others about;
1. How many full levels have you made this year?
2. How long does an average level take for you to make?
3. Does you motivation change when mapping depending on the project?
4. What do you do to help with mappers block?
5. What factors do you find are the biggest distraction from your mapping periods (weather, school, work, partners etc.)?
6. What do you do to help you get into the zone when mapping?
7. Do you need an idea or plan of what to map when you start to map or can you just sit and map decently whenever you try?
8. Just how pedantic do YOU get over your maps?

Really interested on hearing others thoughts, thanks to those that reply Smile

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:48 pm
   Subject: Re: Maps made this year and motivation
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Thanks for your questions, Dean. I've been a longtime admirer of both your maps and your posts, and always look forward to reading any new topic you start, or mod you release. Smile

Dean wrote:
1. How many full levels have you made this year?
This 2013? Zip - zero - ziltch, I'm afraid. I'll probably be more active in Wolfing when I get Windows XP SP2 installed again. Having a few days off, I now have the time and energy to finally set things in motion. Smile

Quote:
2. How long does an average level take for you to make?
The simplest map I did took about two hours. The most complex map I did took at least twenty hours altogether; this was the "final" level of the WolfDX mod. Virtually everyone said I overdid the size of that one, so I'm happy to say this - it'll never take that long for me to design a map ever again. Smile
Quote:
3. Does you motivation change when mapping depending on the project?
It happens less now than in the past. What I've learned to do is alternate from one mod to an entirely different one, so if an idea comes to mind that won't work in the current mod, there's a good chance to put it in another mod instead. Geek
Quote:
4. What do you do to help with mappers block?
Namely, I avoid operating systems I hate. Such OSs not only drive me away from Wolfing, they drive me away from creating anything altogether. If you're constantly ticked off every single time you run your computer, it affects you in all sorts of negative ways.
Quote:
5. What factors do you find are the biggest distraction from your mapping periods (weather, school, work, partners etc.)?
Schedules in general. I work best when I don't have something cooking in the oven, I don't have to go to bed soon, and I don't have some errand I need to do later on that day. Smile
Quote:
6. What do you do to help you get into the zone when mapping?
I usually watch something (or listen to something) that gets me inspired. I'll watch an old animated cartoon, I'll watch an inspiring movie (maybe even a bizarre one like Lifeforce), or listen to a piece of music that gets me charged up. Smile
Quote:
7. Do you need an idea or plan of what to map when you start to map or can you just sit and map decently whenever you try?
I always have an idea of some sort when I begin, but sometimes it's in the middle of a map rather than at the start of it. It is difficult sometimes to figure out what should lead up to that sequence, but it's all Trial And Error, pretty much.
Quote:
8. Just how pedantic do YOU get over your maps?
Whenever I complete a map, my reaction to the finished product is always unpredictable. I try hard never to approach a new map exactly the same as I did any of the previous ones, or I just end up creating the same kind of maps over and over again (like "Operation: Kill BJ", as was mentioned in another thread). Different mods will have different conformities and different goals for the maps, so however well my maps follow those guidelines - and yet *still* manage to stand out next to everyone else's in the set - that's all I aim for, but I rarely felt I ever achieved it; after playing medEvil again, I found Majik Monkee's levels more entertaining than my Level 4, and at least as entertaining as my Level 5. There are always mappers who do better maps than me, but that only encourages me not to slack off in the mapping department. Smile

As far as mapping is concerned, my best bet is to just map for other people's mods until my own ideas stockpile enough to make a full-blown mod.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:22 am
   Subject: Re: Maps made this year and motivation
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Dean wrote:
1. How many full levels have you made this year?


Six, all for Bound. Perhaps some more that I don't remember at the moment.

Quote:
2. How long does an average level take for you to make?


Average I'd say a couple of days.

Quote:
3. Does you motivation change when mapping depending on the project?


My motivation doesn't depend that much on the project as much as my interest in Wolf3d and mapping at that particular moment.

Quote:
4. What do you do to help with mappers block?


If I have a mappers block but still do have an interest to map, I watch one of Balames' playthroughs. Or just go do something else.

Quote:
5. What factors do you find are the biggest distraction from your mapping periods (weather, school, work, partners etc.)?


School was never a big distraction for me, as often I would do anything just to be distracted from my school work. Laughing There's a big correlation with my social life, if I'm busy with that because I have a lot of time to hang out with my friends or band mates or I'm dating someone than my interest in Wolf3d goes down quite fast. Also because I prefer to focus on music when I'm in a creative mood.

Quote:
6. What do you do to help you get into the zone when mapping?


Just sit down and map, when I'm the right mindset for mapping it will automatically come to me.

Quote:
7. Do you need an idea or plan of what to map when you start to map or can you just sit and map decently whenever you try?


It definitely helps, even if it is not a gameplay idea or trap but just an aestethic thingy that I have in my mind. Just a vision about how I want something to look. But it makes mapping easier if you have a scenario in your head around which you can build a level.

Quote:
8. Just how pedantic do YOU get over your maps?


Most of the time I'm quite happy with the end result, just the fact it's finished is a nice release. I always feel you can better judge a map after a little time has passed.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:36 am
   Subject: Re: Maps made this year and motivation
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Quote:
How many full levels have you made this year?


Thus far, none. I haven't made a map since December.

Quote:
How long does an average level take for you to make?


That depends. Sometimes it takes me 30-45 minutes (that's a recent thing though), other times it takes me a couple of hours. On some points, I can make the first 33-50% of the map, let it be for days, even weeks, and then finish off.

Quote:
Does you motivation change when mapping depending on the project?


When I'm affiliated with "projects" I usually feel off balance, 'cause all I ever do is make mod/maps on my own. So when I did the Bucksnort thing, for example, I had enormous doubts and did not know where to start. But I winged it and it worked, luckily.

Quote:
What do you do to help with mappers block?


I wait it out. Sometimes you need a good flashback, some real world experience or something that will put your mind in the right place and time to make a map.

Quote:
What factors do you find are the biggest distraction from your mapping periods (weather, school, work, partners etc.)?


The only factor I can think of is the fact that I spent most of 2010 and 2011 making ridiculous amounts of maps for a project that never came into fruition. To see 200-250 maps flushed down the toilet really drains you from energy and will to make more maps. That's the only thing though. Everything in my life comes before Wolf.

Quote:
What do you do to help you get into the zone when mapping?


Play some mods that I either know by heart or some mods I haven't played for a while. When I beta tested Ariel's Golden Episodes it really gave me a kick in a direction I never thought I'd take when mapping.

Quote:
Do you need an idea or plan of what to map when you start to map or can you just sit and map decently whenever you try?


I just sit and map, and it comes from there. I can walk around with an idea or something in my head, maybe it'll stick, maybe it won't, but each time I open MapEdit, it's 100 % from scratch, the whole thing.

Quote:
Just how pedantic do YOU get over your maps?


I'm a bit of an old woman in that department. At points I don't care about any of them, sometimes I'm really fond of my mapping, but most times I'm quite ambivalent. I mean, this is not rocket science. This is just entertainment.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:15 pm
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1. Since January, I've completed 4 maps.
2. Depends on the time and day... Sometimes I make part of the map, then come back to it a few days later. If I just sit there, it may take over an hour (depending on level type)..
3. Yes, it all depends on the features.
4. Work out while screaming really loud at the cat.
5. School, and now a relationship Wink
6. Usually I play through maps I've made in the past, play the original games, or just watch old WW2 movies.
7. Depends really.. Sometimes I want to make a map I envision in my head, other times I just screw around and hope for something worth using.
8. The 4 maps I've made this year, I really enjoy, and sometimes forget it was I who made them.. So I'd say, pretty damn pedantic.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:32 pm
   Subject: Re: Maps made this year and motivation
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Quote:
1. How many full levels have you made this year?

Just two so far. I made 13 last year. My most productive year was probably 2007, where I made at least 30 maps (most of Spear Revisited, all of Wolfenstein Sextilogy 2, and most of Wolfenstein Sextilogy 3--the last two maps of WS3 were finished in 2011 and then retouched in 2012). Wolfenstein Sextilogy 2 was literally two weeks from start to finish. It was exhilarating while I could keep up the momentum.
Quote:
2. How long does an average level take for you to make?

The Wolfenstein Sextilogy maps took me 2-4 hours each depending on complexity, and were touched up with floor/ceiling textures much later, when the project was near release. With the plane 3 usage and vastly expanded set of objects in my ECWolf projects, mapping is much more involved and complicated. The average tech demo map took me 6-8 hours, and each Operation Serpent map, due to the 180x180 canvas, is at least 15 hours of work. It's worth it though. When you play Operation Serpent map02 and see the river snaking out into the distance with animated water, and a building with a pier on the other side of a bridge across the river, you'll understand.
Quote:
3. Does you motivation change when mapping depending on the project?

Yes. Often it just depends on which project I'm more "into" at the time.
Quote:
4. What do you do to help with mappers block?

Look at maps by other mappers I like for inspiration as well as play other games and visualize areas from the map in my head from a player's eye view. One of the weird things is that the much more powerful ECWolf engine can contribute to my mapper's block. The more I can do, the harder it is to decide what to do. Do I want to add this object or these 18 other ones? Or do I want to add a whole new object to the game?
Quote:
5. What factors do you find are the biggest distraction from your mapping periods (weather, school, work, partners etc.)?

FreeSpace! My FreeSpace and Wolfenstein mod projects are in eternal conflict for my time and resources.
Quote:
6. What do you do to help you get into the zone when mapping?

Usually play something, or plan parts of my map ahead of time. Map06 of the tech demo, "The Great Hall", was almost completely pre-planned.
Quote:
7. Do you need an idea or plan of what to map when you start to map or can you just sit and map decently whenever you try?

Depends. (See above.)
Quote:
8. Just how pedantic do YOU get over your maps?

I can get quite pedantic, trying to come up with purposes for all the little rooms. However, the sheer complexity of the maps I'm making now makes it harder to get all the little details right. The relatively compact Episode 1 Revisited maps back in 2006 were easy to test and debug. A 180x180 monster map that takes half an hour to play? Not so much.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:44 pm
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Really interesting inupt guys, thanks Smile

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:36 pm
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Interesting questions and input.

I began Wolfenstein Forever in 2008 and it was was originally supposed to be a 30 level set but after I discovered that I still had my unreleased Blitzkrieg levels from 2001, I added them to the set and it became a 50 level set. I then got into a relationship in early 2009 and after that it was bye bye Wolfenstein. I went to pick it back up again in 2011 but had severe mappers block. Plus, I get extremely pedantic when mapping. I am particularly picky about important levels like boss levels or levels that kick off a particular section of the game. I have probably remade the final boss level for Wolf Forever 4 times. In 2011, in addition to the mappers block I spent hours trying the "fix" the Blitzkrieg levels and were never satisfied with them and after a while just gave up. I have always wanted to finish the set though and it has always been in the back of my mind.

Having recently got back into Wolfenstein I have decided "to hell with it" and have scrapped all but two of the Blitzkrieg levels and am pretty much starting the second half of the game from scratch. I have also found after all this time I now have a lot more ideas for maps and am very satisfied with the more recent maps I have been making. The one I finished up today I honestly think might be the best map I have ever created.

So to answer the questions.

1. 3..so far
2. 2-3 days, spending 3-4 hours at a time
3. N/A, only working on one project
4. Play some of the greatest mods of all time like Schabbs 2000, Countdown to Disaster, Totengraeber, as well as the original Wolf3D and SOD
5. Relationships. I can juggle Wolfenstein around everything but that.
6. Create several scenarios in my head before I even sit down at the computer, and then bring them to life
7. I can do either. With Wolfenstein Forever, the maps are more planned and themed. With my previous sets up to The Road to Neuschwanstein, I almost had no idea what I was going to end up with when I sat down
8. Very. Not only does every room have to be perfect and have a function, but there is a "feel" to the game that has to be there that I can't put into words, but it goes back to what made me fall in love with Wolfenstein the very first time I saw it. If that "feel" isn't there, I am not satisfied with the map.

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