Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Discussions about UT99

What should be the theme/restriction for this years mapping contest?

Poll ended at Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:20 pm

- No rules
13
30%
- Colour theme: pick a colour and go nuts with it (black, white and gray NOT allowed)
5
12%
- Use of destructable and reactable environments/decos
10
23%
- Dragons and dragon like creature theme (wyrms, wyverns etc.)
7
16%
- 1 MB challenge
5
12%
- Other (if this wins we'll run a new poll with the new themes/restrictions suggested in the poll thread)
3
7%
 
Total votes: 43

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Feralidragon
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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by Feralidragon » Mon Aug 30, 2021 11:34 am

I also intend to do a map on this thing, that is... depending on the results of this poll (I have ideas for every single one of the options above, but I only have time to execute one of them).

As for the timing, it's still being discussed indeed, but I was the one who proposed to be from September until December (mid to end December, specifically), so allow me to explain why: these types of contests have had the bad habit to either be extended at the end, or not have everything ready for the pack to be bundled and released to the public.

As a result, by the time the pack was released, the hype completely died down, and people no longer have the time to try out the maps.

This is why timing is very important: releasing a map pack in a time when people are completely busy in general, leads to release delays and a bad release timing where almost no one in the community will be interested or even remotely available to try out the maps themselves.

Whereas if the map pack is released at a time people have generally more free time in one way or another, generally during the Summer (July-August) or during Christmas (December), then generally people have a bit more time to finish them, as well other people have more time to opt to try them out and see what the community produced.

So the contest time needs to be long enough for people to have enough time to produce decent maps, but also short enough and with the right timing so it doesn't last forever nor is it released in a time that nobody cares any longer about the pack.
This needs to be fairly strategic to be worthwhile, at least in my honest opinion.

So, a timeframe from September to December (ideally 25th so we have maps to play at least between Christmas and New Year's), gives each mapper around 4 months to produce a map for the contest, which even for a fairly busy person like myself, seems to be enough time to produce a decent map for a contest like this.

If you feel this is too short and you would rather have 6 months or a year, then I think your map is just too complex and doesn't fit this contest: in other words, I think the people participating have to think up a map they can do in 4 months (starting with the time constraint first and the idea to fit it afterwards), meaning they have to think in simpler maps, because this is a "contest" and not a FoT map pack for example, so the time itself is part of the challenge.

Either way, this is still a bit up in the air, and it also will depend a lot in this poll's results, so let's see what happens.

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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by TankBeef » Mon Aug 30, 2021 1:19 pm

No rules sounds ok, but...how about some sort of "extra incentive" or recognition for doing one of the proposed themes? :mrgreen: It would be cool if someone could pull off the destructible environment thing. :rock:
Now, about the "pick one color and go nuts" thing, I hope it does not end up something like this. I played it on a server, and my eyes hurt afterwards after just one match. Do people actually like this one? :? https://unrealarchive.org/maps/unreal-t ... 52fa1.html

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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by FraGnBraG » Mon Aug 30, 2021 1:35 pm

Make it a challenge:

- 512k unr size (not including umx, utx, uax, u, etc)
- no unreal or ut99 product textures, only custom
- 1 or 2 months
- only utdm, utdom, utctf, utas, mh

*** mappers can submit as many maps as they want in the timeframe
(of course I would say that ;)

my 2 cents :)
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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by Feralidragon » Mon Aug 30, 2021 2:06 pm

I never personally liked the 512k, 1MB and other challenges like that.

I mean, the simplest map I ever produced and released was this one:
viewtopic.php?t=13720

Which is just 3 corridors crossed into one another, no custom textures, the only MyLevel'd stuff is a bit of code for custom monsters to behave well against bots, yet it has 2.5MB already.

Even one of the simplest standard UT99 maps is DM-Fractal, and that thing is 820k already.
CTF-Face has almost 1MB itself, and although it's the most iconic map in the whole series, producing a map of a similar type would just result in a seriously dull and boring map nowadays.

Yeah, I know it's possible to do 512k maps, and there are at least a few mappers that could build something "nice" and creative, but those maps are mostly so underwhelming that for me is just more productive to play the game in the time I would try to do a map like that.

Plus the idea of submitting multiple maps is a "quantity over quality" type of deal, which I strongly dislike.
I would rather see the opposite, like in past contests, where 2 or more mappers are allowed to do a single but really good map together, so even if we end with 4 maps for example in the pack, at least they would be 4 quality maps with more effort put into them.

Furthermore, with 469 having severely increased download speeds for files, and with a new editor at everyone's disposal, maybe the focus should be trying to use the new editor to its fullest to create a great map (which is actually what I intend to do in case I do participate).

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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by TankBeef » Mon Aug 30, 2021 2:13 pm

Feralidragon wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 2:06 pm
I never personally liked the 512k, 1MB and other challenges like that.
Yeah, me neither :?
Feralidragon wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 2:06 pm
Plus the idea of submitting multiple maps is a "quantity over quality" type of deal, which I strongly dislike.
I would rather see the opposite, like in past contests, where 2 or more mappers are allowed to do a single but really good map together, so even if we end with 4 maps for example in the pack, at least they would be 4 quality maps with more effort put into them.
Yes!!! :rock:
Feralidragon wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 2:06 pm
Furthermore, with 469 having severely increased download speeds for files, and with a new editor at everyone's disposal, maybe the focus should be trying to use the new editor to its fullest to create a great map (which is actually what I intend to do in case I do participate).
More yes!!! :rock:

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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by UnrealGGecko » Mon Aug 30, 2021 3:06 pm

TankBeef wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 1:19 pm
...
Now, about the "pick one color and go nuts" thing, I hope it does not end up something like this. I played it on a server, and my eyes hurt afterwards after just one match. Do people actually like this one? :? https://unrealarchive.org/maps/unreal-t ... 52fa1.html
Was thinking something more like this, your example map would be DNF cuz black skybox : https://unrealarchive.org/maps/unreal-t ... aeff2.html
Feralidragon wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 2:06 pm
I never personally liked the 512k, 1MB and other challenges like that.

I mean, the simplest map I ever produced and released was this one:
viewtopic.php?t=13720

Which is just 3 corridors crossed into one another, no custom textures, the only MyLevel'd stuff is a bit of code for custom monsters to behave well against bots, yet it has 2.5MB already.

Even one of the simplest standard UT99 maps is DM-Fractal, and that thing is 820k already.
CTF-Face has almost 1MB itself, and although it's the most iconic map in the whole series, producing a map of a similar type would just result in a seriously dull and boring map nowadays.

Yeah, I know it's possible to do 512k maps, and there are at least a few mappers that could build something "nice" and creative, but those maps are mostly so underwhelming that for me is just more productive to play the game in the time I would try to do a map like that.

Plus the idea of submitting multiple maps is a "quantity over quality" type of deal, which I strongly dislike.
I would rather see the opposite, like in past contests, where 2 or more mappers are allowed to do a single but really good map together, so even if we end with 4 maps for example in the pack, at least they would be 4 quality maps with more effort put into them.
...
I'd disagree on both points, plenty of competent maps that can go as under as 1MB. Multiple maps from the UT_Console_Pack are also within that range like Flux, CanyonFear and Sepulchre, every wall doesn't need multiple trims to make it look good if you are clever enough with textures (heck, too many trims can actually be bad if they're placed in bad places. Gameplay should be 1st and foremost I'd say).

And I don't want to discourage mappers that can do quality maps fast. I do ask for mappers to only start the map during the contest and not before (if you want to finish an old map, we can always allow it in the Bonus Maps of the mappack). But if someone fully finished the map with still over a month to go till the deadline, I think he should be able to submit a 2nd one. :noidea

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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by Feralidragon » Mon Aug 30, 2021 4:06 pm

Sure, we'll have to agree to disagree then.

People keep committing the mistake of separating visuals and gameplay from one another completely, putting the gameplay alone on a pedestal, when the visuals are as much part of the gameplay experience as everything else (sounds, music, etc).
That's what makes a game an actually enjoyable game or not.

Imagine seeing a movie, but instead of the usual movie with actors, visuals, music, etc, you get 2h of just text to read, no sound, no visuals other than the text itself, just the dialogues and descriptions of the environments and their actions.
Even if it's the best story you have read, I am pretty sure you wouldn't consider it a good movie.

Same thing for games overall, meaning it's the same for maps.

CTF-Face has almost 1MB, and if you strip it down to the very basics to get it down to 512k (for example), meaning no sounds, no music, no skybox, no BSP details, no actors that by your definition of "gameplay" are not really needed, do you actually get the same "gameplay" in the end? Would you actually play and revisit a map like that? Of course not, it would be stupidly dull and boring.

The same goes for any new maps developed: if you're going to limit a map to a file size, forcing it to have the same core gameplay and visuals as everything that was already released for the last 20 years, without anything to make it standout from the rest like visuals, sounds, music, etc, then that map is redundant at best, trash at worst, a complete waste of disk space either way for anyone else other than the mapper that made it.

I have the opinion that these map packs and contests should be used by the mappers as a way to bring something new to the game, while having great fun while doing so (which is the most important part).

I don't think there's any fun attached into building a map restricted to a set of rules that stopped making sense 15 years ago, and the fact that "no rules" is currently winning should be enough proof of this.

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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by TankBeef » Mon Aug 30, 2021 5:20 pm

Feralidragon wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 4:06 pm
People keep committing the mistake of separating visuals and gameplay from one another completely, putting the gameplay alone on a pedestal, when the visuals are as much part of the gameplay experience as everything else (sounds, music, etc).
That's what makes a game an actually enjoyable game or not.
But gameplay is definitely important, it is what keeps me coming back to UT after 20+ years. All these "modern" games with visuals, but sluggish, console friendly, full of microtransactions, achievement unlocks, and more cinematics than game, they personally put me off. :?
All this said... Yes!!! I want better visuals. I probably play more Timewarp Crew maps than the stock ones, and this is part of the reason. Push that Unreal Engine to the limit. :lol2: Yes, even the UTR mappack, although that one set the bar so high, especially the Kamah map. But bring it on. Make it awesome!!! :rock:

EDIT: Precisely Ferali, one of the best examples is the NW3. Among the best visuals in any UT mod. But also the gameplay, Nali Weapons 3 is so much fun, and you can do plenty with it, and adjust it to your liking. Great combination. :tu:

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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by Feralidragon » Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:09 pm

But that's where I find a great deal of irony.

History-wise, one of the reasons UT99 was successful as it was (as well as Unreal itself), wasn't for the gameplay alone, but for the visuals, which were vastly superior to every other engine and game at the time, nothing came close to the plethora of visual features the game provided, especially at a time when 3D graphic cards weren't really a thing yet.

No one was really talking about "gameplay vs visuals" at the time as far as I know, rather the visuals were actually one strong reason why people even got into the game to begin with.
Everything from the stunning maps, awesome weapons, all sorts of effects (smoke, decals, etc), even when I tried it a few years later for the first time I was still amazed by all of it.

It was only when better engines and games with "better" visuals started to come out ("better" here being a bit subjective at the time, lighting was still largely neglected in the visuals of a game, making everything look more detailed but more flat and less vivid), that the old UT99 players started to turn to "well, gameplay is more important than the visuals", trying to cherry pick what the game still excelled at to validate it as a relevant game to play, which is something I always found very amusing in the community overall.

I mean, the visuals are still awesome, there's no need to justify with "gameplay", and this is coming from a person that currently plays a fair number of modern games with great graphics at max settings.
Despite the fact that the UT99 visuals are considered dated, I still love them, I don't need to provide the "gameplay" justification to tell someone to try the game.

I wouldn't even started mapping or modding for the game if I didn't like the full package of the game to begin with, "gameplay" just isn't enough, everything else has to be good as well: visuals, sounds, music, etc.

I don't play UT99 just to shoot players and jump around, I play it to do so using greatly designed weapons, while admiring the great maps themselves, while hearing some great sound effects that put me there in that atmosphere, all the while rocking it with some great music to put everyone in the right mindset, which is the full experience the game actually provides.

Talking about "gameplay" as the most important thing, and not value the rest up to the same standard... is not really enjoying UT99 to the fullest, or any game for that matter.

But this is just my opinion, of course, but it's also what I see in terms of general gaming behavior: gamers tend to act contrary to what they preach, as everyone talks about gameplay, but complains about visuals right afterwards when they don't look good enough.

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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by Aspide » Mon Aug 30, 2021 8:09 pm

I think is a combination of both gameplay and visuals is what makes UT99 special, is like the perfect balance. On one hand the game is addictive and fun, with a lot of techniques that require skill to master, on the other hand the game has visuals to complement the game, with good level geometry, textures, lighting, sound effects, etc. There is a reason why Unreal Engine is still alive today. Now the philosophy that I follow when I make create maps is that first I make sure that the gameplay is fun, only when that is taken care of then I worry about the details. So in conclusion both gameplay and visuals should work in harmony, but remember gameplay is slightly higher priority, if it's not fun, why bother.
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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by Neon_Knight » Mon Aug 30, 2021 8:44 pm

Feralidragon wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:09 pm
But that's where I find a great deal of irony.

History-wise, one of the reasons UT99 was successful as it was (as well as Unreal itself), wasn't for the gameplay alone, but for the visuals, which were vastly superior to every other engine and game at the time, nothing came close to the plethora of visual features the game provided, especially at a time when 3D graphic cards weren't really a thing yet.

No one was really talking about "gameplay vs visuals" at the time as far as I know, rather the visuals were actually one strong reason why people even got into the game to begin with.
Everything from the stunning maps, awesome weapons, all sorts of effects (smoke, decals, etc), even when I tried it a few years later for the first time I was still amazed by all of it.

It was only when better engines and games with "better" visuals started to come out ("better" here being a bit subjective at the time, lighting was still largely neglected in the visuals of a game, making everything look more detailed but more flat and less vivid), that the old UT99 players started to turn to "well, gameplay is more important than the visuals", trying to cherry pick what the game still excelled at to validate it as a relevant game to play, which is something I always found very amusing in the community overall.

I mean, the visuals are still awesome, there's no need to justify with "gameplay", and this is coming from a person that currently plays a fair number of modern games with great graphics at max settings.
Despite the fact that the UT99 visuals are considered dated, I still love them, I don't need to provide the "gameplay" justification to tell someone to try the game.

I wouldn't even started mapping or modding for the game if I didn't like the full package of the game to begin with, "gameplay" just isn't enough, everything else has to be good as well: visuals, sounds, music, etc.

I don't play UT99 just to shoot players and jump around, I play it to do so using greatly designed weapons, while admiring the great maps themselves, while hearing some great sound effects that put me there in that atmosphere, all the while rocking it with some great music to put everyone in the right mindset, which is the full experience the game actually provides.

Talking about "gameplay" as the most important thing, and not value the rest up to the same standard... is not really enjoying UT99 to the fullest, or any game for that matter.

But this is just my opinion, of course, but it's also what I see in terms of general gaming behavior: gamers tend to act contrary to what they preach, as everyone talks about gameplay, but complains about visuals right afterwards when they don't look good enough.
Totally agree, in fact, Hourences has a similar thing or two to say about the "gameplay vs. visuals" false dichotomy in one of his books ("The Hows and Whys of Level Design"), and he has the CV to back up his claims.
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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by UnrealGGecko » Mon Aug 30, 2021 9:02 pm

Fair enough if it's balanced equally, yea. Might be the best approach actually. I do get that in many cases good visual design can in fact help gameplay, with visual cues of where a ledge ends, signs etc., and makes a place look believable and unique. I'm just saying there are maps that just focus on the visual side, and in those you either can just walk around and do nothing, or get stuck on a bad piece of deco and get frustrated when you try to dodge incoming fire.

Anyways, btt. Looks like no rules will win it, ok by me. I tend to have a real hard time with layouts (which you might see with DM-UFFO being a small arena, and my fairly soon to be released DM-WreckedRoof map being pretty much RCR on steroids), but I'll give it my best on this one... or just collab with someone that can make good layouts lol :P

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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by ExpEM » Mon Aug 30, 2021 9:53 pm

As my two cents, having rules to comply with is half the fun for me when it comes to the annual contests. After building whatever I want for over 15 years it's great to be forced to build something I wouldn't normally consider. Rules or a theme breath fresh life into the map building experience.

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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by Feralidragon » Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:18 pm

UnrealGGecko wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 9:02 pm
I'm just saying there are maps that just focus on the visual side, and in those you either can just walk around and do nothing, or get stuck on a bad piece of deco and get frustrated when you try to dodge incoming fire.
Indeed, the same goes for the gameplay itself: if the map is visually stunning, but the gameplay is frustrating, then it's not a good map either, it's just a great piece of art.

UnrealGGecko wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 9:02 pm
I tend to have a real hard time with layouts (which you might see with DM-UFFO being a small arena, and my fairly soon to be released DM-WreckedRoof map being pretty much RCR on steroids), but I'll give it my best on this one... or just collab with someone that can make good layouts lol :P
I am terrible with layouts as well, I haven't released a single map which had a proper layout yet.
This time though, since I have been thinking a lot on what I will likely build, and how I am going to build it, the layout is what I am going to focus on first.

So much so, that what I am personally planning to do is a bit like Blice in the sense of "a CTF with the bases inside terrain" (and that's where all similarities end, no snowy environment or anything like that), but this time the idea is to start with the bases themselves first, give them the best layout possible, and have the map as a whole perform extremely well, and then build the "outside" with the terrain and stuff as the last thing (I also already know the name to give to it).

Getting the size of the base right is going to be my biggest challenge, I can never get it right: either I build it too big or too small, I will have to take a look at other maps first to get a grasp of the size I am going for.

And yes, by all means, if anyone wants to pair with someone else to create a map for this contest, by all means do so.
The contest should be about the maps themselves, not about who made them (again, just my opinion, not sure how everyone feels about this, but know there was already a contest which allowed it and it went smoothly).

ExpEM wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 9:53 pm
As my two cents, having rules to comply with is half the fun for me when it comes to the annual contests. After building whatever I want for over 15 years it's great to be forced to build something I wouldn't normally consider. Rules or a theme breath fresh life into the map building experience.
"No Rules" does not mean there won't be any rules at all though.

One of the rules will certainly be to put the contest logo (to be given by Paper, we hope) visible somewhere in the map: may sound like a trivial thing, but it's hard to put that kind of logo in a map that doesn't make it feel out of place nor a cop-out, so you have to design the map with that in mind.

Then there's the time limit (maybe December), which may sound like a long time away, but it really isn't, and maps will need a name prefix (like "21C" for example, not really a challenge though).

For most mappers those could be already enough challenges, but for others like yourself... maybe whatever comes in second at the end of the poll becomes a reference for bonus points or something? Or something else?
I don't know, brainstorming here...

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Re: Vote for the '21 mapping contest theme/restriction!

Post by ExpEM » Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:57 pm

Feralidragon wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:18 pm
"No Rules" does not mean there won't be any rules at all though.

One of the rules will certainly be to put the contest logo (to be given by Paper, we hope) visible somewhere in the map: may sound like a trivial thing, but it's hard to put that kind of logo in a map that doesn't make it feel out of place nor a cop-out, so you have to design the map with that in mind.

Then there's the time limit (maybe December), which may sound like a long time away, but it really isn't, and maps will need a name prefix (like "21C" for example, not really a challenge though).

For most mappers those could be already enough challenges, but for others like yourself... maybe whatever comes in second at the end of the poll becomes a reference for bonus points or something? Or something else?
I don't know, brainstorming here...
To be clear, I don't disagree.
Life permitting (baby no.3 due in November) I'll enter regardless of whatever the contest settles on in the end.
I like the idea of going with one of the other suggestions, bonus points or not simply to set a personal challenge.

Automatically merged

As an idea, how about "must include a trap"? Anything player / bot activated for the sole purpose of killing other players / bots?