Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

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Xalzar
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Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Xalzar »

EDIT: DEFINITIVE VERSION
Spoiler:
This is the version used for the testing. If you make some testing matches on it without me present, please pass me the replay via PM. :eng:

Thanks,
Xalzar
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Battlecruiser_Venca
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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Battlecruiser_Venca »

When looking at the map I'd say that Loyalists do have a lot of advantage while drakes have a lot of disadvantage as the map doesn't provide much terrain slowing movement

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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Velensk »

I'll edit this post and make a full comment more in the morning but I will echo what Battlecruiser said, terrain density is a bit low, especially for a 2vs2 the only other thing that jumps out at me in an instant is that you might want to consider shrinking the rush distance slightly.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Velensk »

I'll edit this post and make a full comment more in the morning but I will echo what Battlecruiser said, terrain density is a bit low, especially for a 2vs2 the only other thing that jumps out at me in an instant is that you might want to consider shrinking the rush distance slightly.

EDIT: Alright, so now that I've got a bit more time I'll explain my thoughts on this map.

This map, looks like it was designed based on 1vs1 principles. As such, it's actually pretty distinct from any of the 2vs2s that exist in mainline and yet still manages to look bland to me. However, considering the kinds of maps we have, bland but servicable might be what we need.

To explain what I mean by it being built on 1vs1 principles I'll note the low terrain density and the long rush distances and general shape. There are two principles behind why these things are different between 1vs1 and 2vs2
-In a 2vs2, the power of individual faction match-ups is much less powerful. Even in mirror matches. If two drakes spawn across from each other they might still sport a much wider variety in their composition than normal as one gets more in the way of saurians to deal with the rebels on the different side and the other gets more burners and fighters to deal with support from some undead. Now, in terms of map design, this means that you can get away with much more dynamic and dense terrain than you could in a 1vs1. With lots of terrain in strips in a 1vs1 you're asking for drakes to be able to outmanuver and overwhelm their slower adversaries. Much less an issue in a 2vs2 as not only is it more likely there'll be some unit there that can move through the terrain quickly but also there's likely to be concentrated threats in more areas so the drakes are less able to make sudden shifts without exposing themselves. With more terrain dependant factions, they're much less likely to be in a situation where their terrain mastery can protect them fully (enemy is more likely to have appropriate counters convieneint and they can only push out when their ally can support them or else they risk getting ganged up on/flanked). >As a result, on 2vs2s terrain tends to be much more dense and to make bolder impressions on movement patterns (just do a quick comparison of the mainline 1vs1s and 2vs2s to see what I mean).
-The second principle is that in a 2vs2 you can create a more asymetric 'lane' and still balance it out with a corasponding and counterly asymetric lane on the opposite team. Take a look at Loris River and you'll see that p1/2 have a completely different path/set of terrain to deal with than 3/4. 1/4 are on a team and 2/3 are on a team and yet each member of the team has a position more like a counterpart on the other than their teamate. This further allows you to create dynamic terrain and interesting tactical situations without worrying as much about all of the individual match-up implications. You can have two strong-side weak-side match-ups going on at once and have them balance each other out if you want to go extreme.
-The two of these taken together also helps make it so that you can make maps with short rush distances and keep problematic dynamics in check.

This map has none of that. It has a 1vs1esk rush distance and a terrain density that's even lower than the average 1vs1 (which as previously mentioned is a problem for drakes). The map is wide open have makes it easy to focus on your front but quite possible to mix and mingle forces. There's a lot of empty space to run around in (which I personally like). And as it doesn't go for the intense immediate confrontation or the elaborately constricting terrain it is actually distinct from the 2v2s we have now. I'll list things about this I consider pros things I'd consider cons, and then I'll give some suggestions.

Pros:
-Lots of manuvering freedom. No compulsion to engage early.
-Different.
-Ability to mix with ally but no compulsion to be involved in a packed team fight.
-Low unit density with lots of space can create interesting force dispersion situations where mobility is valuable.
-All forward villages vulnerable.

Cons:
-I think you'd see a lot of 1vs1 dynamics including some of the less fun ones like the strategic see-saw.
-Low terrain density could make loyalists very powerful. Loyalist vs drake match-up would likely be an issue here but other than that I suspect drakes would actually be fairly strong. I think that undead would suffer quite a bit from the shape/amount of terrain. I'd have to test a lot to say for sure but that's my instinct.
-In terms of the impression it makes on me, as I said bland is the word that comes to mind.

Suggestions:
-I think that it might be a good idea to shrink the rush distance between some villages by a hex. If you do this, you'd have to make sure to keep your beautifully designed grabbing/anti-theft system in place but it should be possible.
-Rather than simply suggest that there be more terrain I'm going to specifically suggest that you make make the clusters of terrain you have bigger. You should be able to keep the general feel of the map while making them bigger if you don't go overboard.
-As I think that teamfights are part of the fun in a 2vs2 to be emphasized I see two things that might be interesting options for this map. The first would be to either move the existing auxillery castles closer to map center or to add another one that a player could hop to in the middle. The second suggestion would be to consider setting it up for a 1,2,1,2 system. I think on this map it could easily work (as I mentioned you have a 1vs1 style going already).
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

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Xalzar
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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Xalzar »

Battlecruiser_Venca wrote:When looking at the map I'd say that Loyalists do have a lot of advantage while drakes have a lot of disadvantage as the map doesn't provide much terrain slowing movement
Velensk wrote:I'll edit this post and make a full comment more in the morning but I will echo what Battlecruiser said, terrain density is a bit low, especially for a 2vs2 the only other thing that jumps out at me in an instant is that you might want to consider shrinking the rush distance slightly.
I so agree with the both of you. Indeed, the original map was slightly more "crowded", but acting on advice I removed some terrains for the sake of fast-pace gameplay. I know the mainline maps have a higher terrain density, and I am only happy to return some lost terrains. :D
Velensk wrote: Pros:
-Lots of manuvering freedom. No compulsion to engage early.
-Different.
-Ability to mix with ally but no compulsion to be involved in a packed team fight.
-Low unit density with lots of space can create interesting force dispersion situations where mobility is valuable.
-All forward villages vulnerable.
Happy to see you noticed some peculiarities which I wanted to express in my map.
Velensk wrote: Cons:
-I think you'd see a lot of 1vs1 dynamics including some of the less fun ones like the strategic see-saw.
-Low terrain density could make loyalists very powerful. Loyalist vs drake match-up would likely be an issue here but other than that I suspect drakes would actually be fairly strong. I think that undead would suffer quite a bit from the shape/amount of terrain. I'd have to test a lot to say for sure but that's my instinct.
-In terms of the impression it makes on me, as I said bland is the word that comes to mind.
I guess the first point is quite true. :hmm: With the actual map maybe the risk is concrete, but I don't know how strong could be the trend to roll with 1vs1 strategies. During some tests my friends and I made, cooperation between team-mates was present in all the matches, ranging from lending a few decisive units to the other front, to make pressure on the enemy ally, to true cooperation in attack or defense. But I see you point.
The second point is true, never let be Drakes at disadvantage! :x I am working on it.
I could see how the first impact conveys that impression, I hope it will improve also on this aspect.

And now the suggestions:
Velensk wrote: -I think that it might be a good idea to shrink the rush distance between some villages by a hex. If you do this, you'd have to make sure to keep your beautifully designed grabbing/anti-theft system in place but it should be possible.
Really? Now the virtual distance is 12 hexes, with only a forested hill directly in the middle of the path. But it can be done easily.
Velensk wrote: -Rather than simply suggest that there be more terrain I'm going to specifically suggest that you make make the clusters of terrain you have bigger. You should be able to keep the general feel of the map while making them bigger if you don't go overboard.
Down there there are two possible versions, you will judge.
Velensk wrote: -As I think that teamfights are part of the fun in a 2vs2 to be emphasized I see two things that might be interesting options for this map. The first would be to either move the existing auxillery castles closer to map center or to add another one that a player could hop to in the middle. The second suggestion would be to consider setting it up for a 1,2,1,2 system. I think on this map it could easily work (as I mentioned you have a 1vs1 style going already).
I say NO to more centered advanced castles. The map firstly had convergent lines (starting castles on the corners and auxiliary castles more centered), but this solution proved quite disastrous, as attacking was too difficult against the combined enemy forces even with accurate planning, and the best result was a trenched war.
Then I changed the map dramatically and gave it divergent lines, so attackers could have an easier life with their job, since the combined defense is more difficult on the lateral borders (but it can still be done effectively on the centre).
A central advanced castle could be the solution, eventually. I tried not to add too much castles (as I usually do in my maps :P ) because I deemed it not very suitable for a possible mainline map, and I didn't want to replicate a "castle-hopping" map.
But since the advice comes from you, and the "castle-hopping" is quite remote (thanks to the divergent lines), I really could add it.

1,2,1,2 system? But is it even balanced? :hmm: And if it is, how? 1 NE, 2 SW, 1 NW, 2 SE?

Here I attach two new versions (images only):
1) the version I made yesterday while I was waiting for the complete analysis (interpreting the few critics given to me then), with only more and more terrains; I was going to reply half a day before now, but then arrived the analysis and I had to postpone the reply;
2) the version I made today, with little more terrain (I expanded some existing clusters), the rush distance shrinked by one hex, and a central auxiliary castle.

Which is preferable? Consider they have different modifications applied, so a merge between the two is possible.
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2.jpg

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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Velensk »

Really? Now the virtual distance is 12 hexes, with only a forested hill directly in the middle of the path. But it can be done easily.
I measure rush distance as the number of hexes (ignoring terrain other than impassable) between villages on the opposing sides. In most places on this map the rush distance is 9-11 which is typical of a 1vs1. I think it could use to be a hair shorter but I havn't gotten to play it so this is just my intuition.
Down there there are two possible versions, you will judge.
I prefer the second slightly.
1,2,1,2 system? But is it even balanced? :hmm: And if it is, how? 1 NE, 2 SW, 1 NW, 2 SE?
You balance it much the way you would a 1vs1, kind of like this map. You are correct in assessing the order of play.

The advantage of this is that it makes it so that each team does not move as one big faction and instead creates an interesting intertwining of armies. If you've ever been in an intense team fight on clash you know what I'm talking about (Clash uses this set-up).
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Xalzar »

Neh, since I have no direct addresses to the map, I have acted a bit as I felt, the result is down here.

I watched again the mainline 4p maps, and I have noticed that swamp is always present (in various amounts), so I added some swamp hexes just for the why, where they seem to be ok. I don't think that they ruin the "atmosphere", but they are not strictly necessary if you want them removed.

I don't know if someone noticed that I displaced the NW and SE auxiliary castles one hex forward the centre... I have further reduced the rush distance by putting one of the two castles hexes in front of the keep (so recruited units are a bit nearer, but leaders are not too near). For the terrains, I opted for a "third way" between the two previous versions.

So, unless there are new recriminations or critics, I call this map finished. I wait for the eventual "official ok", then I will edit the first post with the files of the definitive map and start testing again. :)

Question to the "judges": should I post the future replays of the tests here? And how many are needed?
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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Velensk »

I would suggest putting the central castle back a tiny distance (to increase vulnerability of central villages). Other than that it looks very nice.

Swamp is a drake strengthener and also a water terrain that is less water than water (thus slightly more suitable as an addition to other terrain clumps) and interacts in an interesting way with some mainline units..

Definitely post replays when you have them.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Xalzar »

Velensk wrote:I would suggest putting the central castle back a tiny distance (to increase vulnerability of central villages). Other than that it looks very nice.
It is not doable, putting it back of one hex would mean quick leaders (with 6 mp) could reach the central castle on turn 1, while "slow" leaders not. Then again, quick leaders would reach one of the two central villages on turn 2 (and slow leaders not).

Better leave it where it is, IMHO: quick and slow leaders alike, if they want, could reach the central castle on turn 2, and on turn 3 one of the central villages. 13 hexes already separate the central castles, I think they're sufficient. Then again, the central castle is already the less advanced castle (by one hex), if it is further retreated, it will lose every strategic role.

Of course, only testing will say the truth on the matter.

Thank you to all the commenters, see you soon with the replays. ;)

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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by mich »

Hi Xalzar.
I agree with Velensk when he says to retreat a little the central castle. I already showed you how bad it was the solution with the two central castles...and I think you remember it well (well, the map has grown a lot since then, and seems really better now).
It is not doable, putting it back of one hex would mean quick leaders (with 6 mp) could reach the central castle on turn 1, while "slow" leaders not. Then again, quick leaders would reach one of the two central villages on turn 2 (and slow leaders not).
This is not an answer... If you don't want that, you can just slow them with proper terrains. Only the drake is a little more problematic, but it's just a unit, and if you want it's doable (Deep Water, Mushroom, Cave or Frozen).

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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Xalzar »

Ok ok... maybe I rushed the answer to that question, because I really wanted to test the map as soon as possible. :oops: Time flies, and I would want enough replays. But you both have a point, you fear the central villages are too near to the central castle (5 mp), and this would mean they can be hardly captured by an enemy attacker. :hmm:

But the lateral villages would be less defensible, an enemy leader could even manage to sneak onto your lateral castle and recruit from there.
Also, it would be the same if the castle is one hex away from them, because quick leaders reach the central villages nontheless.

If my appassionate speech does not breach your hearts, ( :P ) I see only three realistic options for the problem:
1) retreat the central castle by TWO hexes: the villages would be at 7 mp, the initial castles at 5 mp (which means you can recruit 7 units during turn 1, willingly); :doh:
2) retreat the central castle by ONE hex, with two keep and one castle: the villages would be at 6 mp (but oh, they maybe are quite risky for a leader though), the initial castles at 5 mp (and so 7 initial recruits); :doh:
3) retreat by ONE hex but changing slightly the disposition of the other castles, probably displacing the initial castles and maybe 1-2 villages would be enough (if so, we are so saved :lol: ), problem of the additional recruits solved. :|

I did not mention adding slowing terrains because I think is a really cheap way to solve the dilemma (and the mentioned drake leader would not be stopped and could recruit 7 units at the start :augh: ). Now I don't have much time for this, but as soon as possible I will choose one of the options.

In the meantime, if you have any other ideas, I'm really interested in hearing them. ^_^

EDIT: I chose option 3, what do you guys think?
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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Velensk »

Looks like things are shaping up nicely. At this point, I'd really have to test it to say more.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Xalzar »

I've returned!

I found so difficult to organize matches in the principal server (nobody knows me so basically I'm ignored by good players I guess :hmm:) and getting the match finished ('cause of quitters :annoyed: ) and make a good replay out of it (the risk of casual players, but I thank the few who had endured till the end of a game ^_^ ). Luckily I have friends on WIF who are helping me. :D

Done with the ranting, here it is: the first presentable replay I could manage (ignore the sillyness in the chat, we are friends :P ).

Interesting features:
-a failed early orcish rush from green;
-the green defense of an advanced castle;
-the "extreme retreat" strategy of the red;
-the movements of the red leader between castles;
-the inefficacy of non-coordinated attacks.

This match was more 1v1-ish (which is not a sin, ofc), but more coordination is possible and often recommended.
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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Xalzar »

New replays! :D

Test 2: luck unfortunately influenced the game a bit too much, but still we can see how cooperation between allies work, and that a vertical attack is not the only way to play.

Test 3: a good game IMO, a loyalist team against a drake team (random)...we see red the pro and the cons of conquering and enemy advanced castle. Not finished 'cause of the late hour, and the end is not so predictable.
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Velensk
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Re: Sungrains Mills - 4p Map Contest Entry

Post by Velensk »

Please post in the main thread, it's close to the end of the submission period.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

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