The AWESOME Mapping Contest

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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby Hellkeeper » Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:41 pm

My unwanted opinion (you didn't ask for it, but I have one and I will share it, yes I will), is that most people in these contest enjoy mapping for its own sake and that's good. The problem with the maps who succeed in these contests is inherent to them being judged by "normal" people who usually either no very well what they want or have very uninformed views on what makes a good map. A good solution would be either a jury with a definite set of criteria, a very strict set of guidelines to orient designer's efforts into a new direction, or both. Sure, the maps will be less widely varied, but at least you avoid the problem of "normal maps" winning. Don't give a specific mod like ChaosUT last year because some might not like or want to install the mod.

A fully open contest like the current one, which I have no problem with, is contrary to this: the theme is pretty much "no theme", so if people can do what they want. It's only a skill test, so of course, you will get diverse stuff, but everyone will, in the end, flock to the tightly-nit layout with good botpathing and non-threatening style.
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby JackGriffin » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:50 pm

It's also an issue to have the participants judging the contest. Look at it from a logical standpoint: if the majority of the maps are DM then it's overwhelmingly likely that a DM map will carry the day. That's why I said before this started that a judging panel outside of the participants should decide. The guys at UnrealSP have pages and pages of reviews like this where a map is judged on it's own merits, good or bad, and not in reference to something else. Get four or five outside, respected creators and ask them. Hell, there's a lot of people inactive in the new UT that would LOVE to have a reason to post here. Same with creators in UT2004. Guys like Tony come to mind. He's mapped and coded for 2K4 for years and he's a good dude that never bothers anyone. There's a very large pool of inactive people who would jump at the chance to provide quality feedback. Not to mention it draws interest from outer Unreal engine communities back towards us. Anything is better than the echo chamber that is currently being used.

The contest is a positive thing but let's be honest that it's not really a contest. We all know ahead of time what is going to win. If there's a next year then the process should be shaken up somehow to give a reason for someone to map anything that's not a 4 person corridor ball.
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby Swanky » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:11 pm

You're like 18 years late for that. Unreal Tournament is at the point where only people who do it for the love of it are doing what they're doing. The rest have moved on. Limit the gametype or theme and interest will diminish even more. Be open and at least have a chance of some people submitting some entry. That's why I think a few oldtimers found it appealing of committing time for the endeavor. I know I did. Wouldn't like the idea of being limited to ShaneChurch, for example.
Also, you can't blame people that they vote for what they like. If that happens to be a Deathmatch map, then it's a deathmatch map. CTF also got voted for a good bit until now. I think that it's really the quality in this particular contest that people give their votes to. And I think the judge's decisions are still open. So yeah, of course you can get "external" reviewers. Won't do much of a difference on the voting process.
And please, don't be so dismissive of small Deathmatch maps. At this point it's extremely difficult to get a creative layout right. After 20 years of mapping, there isn't a whole lot of originality left, and as with every other map / gametype you still have to consider how and where to distribute details. For example, you can check some of my 1on1 works (which are not very good) and compare it against Revelation's contest entry, and I am sure you will see why it's so much better and more evolved.
Every map has a chance of winning, and to me it is no surprise that the best ones are to be found on top.
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby KillRoy1972 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:02 pm

JackGriffin wrote:It's also an issue to have the participants judging the contest. Look at it from a logical standpoint: if the majority of the maps are DM then it's overwhelmingly likely that a DM map will carry the day. That's why I said before this started that a judging panel outside of the participants should decide. The guys at UnrealSP have pages and pages of reviews like this where a map is judged on it's own merits, good or bad, and not in reference to something else. Get four or five outside, respected creators and ask them. Hell, there's a lot of people inactive in the new UT that would LOVE to have a reason to post here. Same with creators in UT2004. Guys like Tony come to mind. He's mapped and coded for 2K4 for years and he's a good dude that never bothers anyone. There's a very large pool of inactive people who would jump at the chance to provide quality feedback. Not to mention it draws interest from outer Unreal engine communities back towards us. Anything is better than the echo chamber that is currently being used.

The contest is a positive thing but let's be honest that it's not really a contest. We all know ahead of time what is going to win. If there's a next year then the process should be shaken up somehow to give a reason for someone to map anything that's not a 4 person corridor ball.



Oh well, people are going to make shity maps, whether you will like it or not..

And sometimes, shitty maps can also be fun!

Just give everyone a break, and let them be creative instead of restrict creativity all together..

Just my two cents.
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby Revelation » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:48 pm

As yet another backup to what Feralidragon and Swanky already stated: Yes, also I am mapping from time to time just because I like mapping. Sure, it feel nice if people like the result, but that's not why I'm doing it. In fact, I don't give a sh*t if my maps are played online (which they are probably not) or if I win a constest (which I probably won't). I surely didn't join this contest to win anything, I just saw a few familiar names in the participants list and was like "Yeah, I could give it a go as well." That's it. If you're creating content for a game that turns 20 next year with the aim of getting huge amounts of feedback, you're doing something very wrong. You really want to attract new players to a game that was likely released before they were born? Good luck...

But besides that: Bitch about Swanky's and my map as much as you want for "just being small boring DM-maps". If this is your opinion, fine. But all of a sudden going like "naah, the winning maps are boring, this was never even a real contest" is as cringy as it is brazen. Not only towards Swanky and me, but towards all participants and above all towards papercoffee, who organsized your whole "not a real contest" contest.
And the icing on the cake is that this comes from the same guy who tells me that my criticism is inadequate and rude... Really, you got some balls, bro...
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby JackGriffin » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:17 pm

Debate the points and not the person. If you don't like my thoughts then tell me why you disagree with those, not how much of an asshole I am. That's low hanging fruit because everyone already knows that. :eyeroll: It's also disingenuous to try to draw battle lines in the sand by naming people over to "your" side like you did with paper. He's a big boy and I'm talking directly at him as much as I am you. If he wants to wade in with an opinion he'll be just fine to do it himself. I think you're adult enough to debate with me man to man and not keep naming other people trying to form proxy alliances. That's cringy dude. Be an adult.

Edit: I'm not trying to dismiss DM maps, nor the effort involved in getting them right. I for sure cannot make a decent one and I'm continually amazed at how good they are. I'm not advocating to remove DM maps or even restrict things in any way. I'm asking that there be some encouragement for variety also. Jeez, I'm not condemning anyone's work. It's getting where you can't float alternative ideas in here. Is this not still a debate forum? For fucks sake....
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby Revelation » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:34 pm

JackGriffin wrote:Debate the points and not the person.

Why? If all the points come from one person, I can debate both. Which I did, you just didn't answer. You don't like me including other names? Fine, exclude them. The argument stays the same.
As for the fact that everyone knows you're an asshole... Sorry, I'm not around here all that frequently. I didn't know.
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby OjitroC » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:20 pm

JackGriffin wrote: ... I'm not trying to dismiss DM maps ...I'm not condemning anyone's work.

Trouble is that's not the way your comments come over, even to a detached observer - to tell people who have just spent a lot of time and effort making maps that these maps are "ultimately boring" and "ultimately forgettable" is hardly the way to go about engendering a debate about the form and content of a contest. I also don't think this is the right time to have this kind of debate - the contest actually isn't over in the sense that several participants and a judge have yet to vote and so the winner hasn't been decided yet - it must be annoying for the participants who (presumably) are looking for some rounded feedback to be told they've wasted their time not that long after they have completed and submitted their maps.

I don't disagree with all that you say but I think that the tone and the timing are unfortunate.

I've always thought that to have the participants in a contest as the sole judges of the winner of that contest rather odd to say the least.
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby papercoffee » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:47 pm

Do you all remember the first contests where we had judges from other places ...well, in the next contests we didn't, because of lack of time or interest.
Public voting with a poll was broken from the start when suddenly other member joined to vote for their friends Map.

So I invented a system do declare a winner. The Participants Vote. Yes, it's a flawed system... but only this year I could find at least two guys to participate as judges. And you know what, I got criticised because of my decision because the criticiser doubted the credibility of the judges. Great.

I say, If this bitching goes on, is this for sure the last contest I'll organise ever again.


I really want to continue my "opinion" post, because I like the outcome of the contest, but now I have doubts that it will be taken the right way.
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby Hellkeeper » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:57 pm

Paper, your system has a great merit: it exists and allows contests, however debatable, to happen. Debates on how to make things better should not be taken as a sign that you failed. Don't take it personally.
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby Swanky » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:22 pm

I've always found the ideas of mappacks easier to newbies. Contests might be deterrent to some, especially those with the contest spirit but not the skill or time to make their vision the best reality they can. While I still endorse contests in a form to bring my vision to life, some people just might give up because they see no reason to enter. At the same time I feel, at this point, any harsh restrictions will scare those with ideas away, especially the ambicious ones (of which I still have TWO).
Having a fan favourite as well as an official judges view on the map can vastly improve one's output, however, because you're bound to get some points of view on your map. So I think you did strike a good balance there. There's some details one could improve with polls to clean a few things up, but overall I don't see a big negative in how you've structured this event. I've tried to give some constructive feedback myself to various maps that I've really wanted to try. Hopefully I can give some more on some other maps until this contest is over. Hopefully others will do the same. Any kind of real constructive criticism has become has become rather scarse if you didn't ask the right people directly.
That comes naturally with UT's declining player base however. UT has had at least 10 years of steady and highquality map / modding support, possibly even longer judging by Xpickups and NW3. Now compare that to some other games, and pretty much the only other games relevant from that era are... StarCraft? The '93 Doom?
Now we've discussed the art of criticism earlier in this thread and I think your earlier statements, while harsh on some maps have always tried to strike at the issue of the map and not meant it in a bad way, even if it may have come across to some as such. So we're back with a good example of why this kind of talk is actually difficult, and why people shouldn't try to take EVERYTHING offensive in this age of outcry. People are all too easily triggered. But maybe we Germans just have a headstart again in dealing with this type of criticism. I for one hope you will write something about the other maps as well @papercoffee.

I also don't think Revelation is trying to forming alliances, rather than citing examples to support his claim. We've worked aside for a long time and in a lot of things we just think alike by now, especially things UT. It's his decision how he handled it, but I've acted similar in the past - I have also eaten my fair share of rookies, soo...
Glad to know you're not trying to diminish anyone's work @Jack Griffin. Just as OjitroC has said, the choice of words in both this and the criticism discourse may have been... not very good. I think most people here value both discussion and constructive criticism. But people are also easily offended these days, too. So it's probably a fine line by all sides because I don't think we will change soon.
Like I've said before, I think at this point is very difficult to opt for more variety by a set of rules. Most people will probably drop out when they can't do a rather quick DM map but would have to do an MH (which I have no desire to do since I don't like the gametype too much myself) or AS map (in which I'm not very skilled) and there's too few mappers to sustain that kind of event by now. It was difficult enough with FoT4 in 2007 if memory serves correct and that's also one of the reasons FoT5 was kept open from the beginning. So at this point, I'm basically just lucky about the quality content we got, because I got more than I expected.
Last edited by Swanky on Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby papercoffee » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:33 pm

"Someone has to make a better system" isn't helping ...making direct suggestions is helping much more.
But the problem is ...same as player counts going down is also the number of people who actually are good enough at judging a map.
Judges alone isn't working any more. We need a better system... so, please make suggestions how we can improve it.

I'm open for ideas.

@Swanky
I deleted my former (the opinion thing) post just to glue them together.
I'll post them all in one go.
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby JackGriffin » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:58 am

First off, let me apologize for anyone I've offended. If my wording was harsh then I'm sorry, that wasn't the intention. Most of my close friends know I struggle with Asperger's in my responses. I'm horrible at reading the temperature of a room and scaling my reply to adjust to that..I'm not looking to make excuses though. I'll stand by everything I've said but I will be the first to admit that I usually lack the proper empathy required at the moment. Add to that the fact that I *love* a good debating of a subject and I'm usually the lightning rod (but strangely enjoying the process).

paper, I'm not shitting on your contest or your work. I'm trying to get a dialogue going where it could be improved. I'm not smart enough to have any of the answers but I see a need for us to maybe talk about it some. If the majority sees no need then I'll just STFU and go on with my holiday, no harm done. Is there a way we can discuss this without it being taken personally by anyone? I'm beginning to think it just can't, and I say that as the majority offender in the discussion.

Swanky, I for sure could have used better adjectives in describing the submitted maps. I hope it's clear I wasn't talking about the maps themselves but the 'overall' of them. The quality of the submissions is very high (as it always is) but that quality is becoming almost a detriment. I would love it if there was a way to inject real excitement into the process. At any point were you or Rev ever really "hot damn excited" while you were making your maps? You were likely pleased but did it tax your abilities? Did it push your limits? Did the artist in you sit up and come forward into the work to elegantly solve some problem? I saw this in Krullor when he was able to finally work out the portal in his map and get it just the way he wanted. It really pushed his abilities and he was immensely proud...but all he sees now is a mis-numbered shield pickup. Can't we as a community do better than that?

I wish there was a way to talk about this stuff that didn't bring so much passion and emotion to it. Maybe there just isn't and things just are the way they are. You guys are right I think. The game is a decade past relevance so why does it really matter if the contest is changed? Even the very best iteration of the contest isn't going to move the needle on player count. Perhaps it's better to look at this as a yearly celebration of the game.
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby Porch Viking » Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:59 am

Alright, I'll throw in my 2 cents.

I loved the contest. It was an excuse to dust off the editor, and my first time seriously making and finishing a map in many years. I didn't go in expecting to win, so I wasn't disappointed in the outcome. I got some feedback and compliments from great mappers that I look up to, and I was quite happy about that. And another small comfort is knowing that someone will play the map, even if just to judge it. The alternatives might as well be releasing it to the void.

As for contest rules and such...

Participation and themes:
Themes add a nice bit of flair and cohesiveness to the map packs, so I wouldn't want every contest to just be a free-for-all. To keep the theme from being too restrictive, you could try working it that participants pick out a small number of aspects related to the theme that they have to adhere to.

For example, a Halloween contest could ask participants to pick two restrictions from this list:

-Set in a traditional "spooky" locale or a horror movie set
-Restrict the map's color palette to mostly orange and black
-Ripper and chainsaw only
-Include a pumpkin or jack-o-lantern
-Include scary arena hazards
-Include something supernatural
-Include references to at least 2 horror movies (additional, if already set in one)
-Include something related to trick-or-treating, costumes, or Halloween parties

Oldbies dominating:
In a contest of skill, of course the most experienced people are going to come out on top. There isn't really much way around that, unless the rules specifically handicap the pros or put them in a separate category. This could go by previous contests won, or an honor system if you trust them to opt-in. The handicap could be a flat point disadvantage, or that they have to pick an additional theme restriction or two.

Judging:
The participants giving out 3/2/1 points sounded nice in the beginning, but it quickly clustered to just a couple clear winners. Perhaps instead the participants should get a bulk sum of points to distribute as they see fit. That way, they can acknowledge favorites and still have a couple points to toss to ones they only "liked", which might give a more even spread. The bulk sum could be 10 for simplicity, or "Whatever the participant count is, minus one because you can't vote for yourself."
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Re: The AWESOME Mapping Contest

Postby Swanky » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:07 am

The best thing I can think of would be a rookie award or something. Would be tough to see who defines as a rookie, seeing that many people have released many maps over the past years.

@Jack Griffin: Well, let me ask you: In a time where we only do maps for fun, in a contest where some old friends are also participating, why would we hold back? Why should we in the first place? Our own drive for perfection sees to that we always strive for the best possible outcome. So yes, at times there were problems to overcome. For me, those were lighting issues, the outdoor area and some botpathing bits. ;)
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