Freakling and Jungleterrain talk about the Map Making process:
How long have you been making maps for, and how many maps have you created?
I have been toying around with the editor pretty much since the game came out in 1998. I have done Campaign maps (all long lost in a hard disc failure), UMS maps (don’t ask, they were terrible by any standard...), FFA maps (another playground for more terrible ideas I had back in the day), money maps, and in the the last years mostly “serious” melee maps.
Don’t ask me how many maps I have made altogether, I certainly have started more than I have truely finished...
Well, looking back, I started playing Brood War back in like 2006. At the time I was in 6th grade, and my friends in my neighborhood were playing the game as well. The map editor quickly caught my eye and I started making maps as soon as I started playing the game, so around 2006-2007 was when I started. I remember probably the first map I made was a melee map but in the shape of the British Isles (I was into geography back then). If you count only my maps that are up on broodwarmaps.net, I have 31 submissions but 5 of those are repeats, so 26 maps there. However, I have maps I have never published for various reasons, as well as UMS maps (I made a Mass game before, my version of Kill the President, some defense games). I currently have only one 2v2 map. I used to host some of my melee maps as Play/Obs back in the day on USEast if I remember correctly. Also I was basically on hiatus from BW for a few years because of personal reasons and I recently came back in 2016, which makes me think I would have at least have another 5-10 maps in the database if it wasn’t for that. Makes me sad :’( But I hope to make many more now!
How did you start with your passion for making maps?
J: I’ve always had a “passion”, I guess you can call it, for creating things that people can fiddle around with. Knowing that somebody was using something I created is a satisfying feeling. For example, years ago I made a pokemon game for my friends to play with, haha. However, I first started making maps and I had no idea what I was doing. I’ve delved into UMS mapmaking only a little bit, and part of why I stopped is because it is sooo complicated (there are many advanced techniques) and I have little patience. As soon as I began to get into the professional scene, I immediately began taking a look at the maps the pros played on. I was like “who made that?” “how did they get their map into OSL and MSL and all that?” “I bet I can make a better map than that!” I first began to emulate the popular pro maps of the time (Peaks of Baekdu, Blue Storm, Loki, Blitz, etc.) but it was when I found broodwarmaps.net in like 2008 that I started taking it more seriously (as far as hobbies go). There was a fun community there and we all enjoyed making quality maps. Sadly, many members have left since that time.
F: At first I wanted to simply do something that is more interesting, better balanced and more well-made than the popular maps of the early days (which were LT and Hunters/BGH). Unfortunately with only the standard StarEdit available at the time, the former two points proved next to impossible and the latter was at least severely limited. I did make some simple UMS maps, though, and a lot of campaign maps as well.
Fast forward a few years (it must have been around 2006), I had lost touch with StarCraft for the most part, but would still play a game occasionally and was playing around with SCMDraft, doing all kinds of crazy stuff you can do with manual tile editing. It was also the time when youtube was steeply on the rise and made videos of the Korean pro-players readily available. So I ended up watching some games and was impressed. Not just by the level of play that those players had reached at the time but especially by the maps they were playing on. Ride of Valkyries and Peaks of Baekdu of course come to mind as first attempts at modern melee maps which made extensive use of wide ramps. The two maps that most impressed me at the time were Katrina with its iconic complex layout and Arkanoid with its clean-cut execution of a concept focussed around destructible buildings. When I realized that this kind of stuff was now actually being used on melee maps and not only looked awesome but also produced exciting gameplay, that kind of brought my attention back to melee mapping. I still had to figure out a lot of basics about map layouts and racial balance, and broodwarmaps.net is a site that is not easy to find via generic search engine queries like “starcraft melee maps”, so some more time passed before I actually started to publish any maps (which is probably for the better, saving me a lot of embarrassment for ideas that, in hindsight, were rather terrible…).
When you have made and finished a map, how does it work? Could you give us an example of a map you created, how was the process?
J: Well, when it comes to making a melee map, as long as you have minerals and gas it should work! In seriousness, the process of making a melee map usually begins by creating a sketch with a concept in mind, then creating the terrain and layout, then decorating, and finally bug testing and details. It doesn’t have to take very long if you are diligent, but if you are lazy and/or busy like me then it can take a while. A map I am working on currently, a 3 player map called Uzi Sara, has taken a while to make. I started the map back in late November, 2016, during my Thanksgiving break. Since then, I’ve been making a ton of small edits using feedback on Bwmn to improve its symmetry and take racial balance into consideration. As of now (mid-April 2017), the map is mostly finished, I just need to finish resource testing.
F: The general process is the same as for any design work, be it of art or engineering: Start with the rough outlines and work down to the details. The exact proceedings, like how I prioritize certain tasks, have been and are still constantly changing for me, as I have figured out more and more about the peculiarities of the different tilesets, game mechanics, sources of bugs and the inner workings of the engine. My approach right now goes something like this:
Find and work out the idea in my head
Before I even sit down at the drawing board, I make sure that I have a complete concept for the map. Luckily the process of finding an idea for new map, for me, is just a matter of sorting through the plethora of ideas that just come to me and pile up in my head, pick the one that intrigues me the most at the time, or try to find the missing pieces to make a partial idea, let’s say a specific game mechanic, terrain type or decoration style I want to use, into a congruent map concept.
One important thing one should already have a clear idea about at this point is where and how exactly resources are to be placed at all the expansions to avoid having to use geyser positions that will grant below 270g/gmin income on three workers (for comparison: The maximum rate is slightly above 300g/gmin). Sometimes it is a good idea to mirror the complete layout, if it allows for better gas positions (this is how Saryesik Atyrau turned into Kiseyras, for example – normally having to redo a whole map from scratch to fix a minimal issue like that is not preferable ;D)
Make a pen and paper sketch
This can be anything from some rough shapes to actually drawing tiny mineral formations where I later want them to be on the actual map or calculating some precise geometric shapes. My aim is to work out the exact layout of the map and optimize space management, make sure all expansions will have sufficient room and be spaced out enough, decide how wide certain pathways around the map are to be etc. This is easier to do on paper, where I can just measure stuff directly and have a good overview over everything.
Lay down the rough shapes in editor
Grids help a lot when transferring things from paper to actual terrain. At this stage I already put in the expansions, with mineral formations and gas or, if exact placement is less critical, just a CC or Nexus as a placeholder. This is so in the following steps I can accurately judge details like tank ranges and distances to cliffs.
Add key terrain elements
Things like ramps and bridges (or at least placeholders where they are intended to be), anything which is relöevant to the final layout. When this is gone, it is a good point at which to post a map on BWMN for early feedback, because later on bigger changes to the layout mean a lot of work has to be redone.
Finalize the layout
All the details of the layout are worked out, resource are put in, the surrounding terrain carved to the proper final shape, all expansion chokes should allow for balanced walling and all unwalkable areas of terrain are added in, cliff decoration should be finished, unwalkable doodads and special property terrain should be in place. It is also a good idea to look at the map in CHKDraft to identify any terrain level bugs.
Test for pathfinding bugs
At this stage it is important to understand how pathfinding in broodwar actually works: At game-start the engine pre-calculates a rough region grid of the map which is then used to calculate pathfinding on a macroscopic scale. An interesting byeffect of this is what I call the butterfly effect of pathfinding: Changing terrain anywhere on the map in a “meaningful way” (like changing walkability properties or terrain level or replacing normal walkable terrain with certain doodad tiles) can cause pathfinding to change in virtually any other place. This is why the layout of the map should be finalized to the last detail before you even consider testing mining rates or look for other pathfinding related bugs, such as the infamous stuck & stacked bugs [aka. ramp vortex]. Interestingly the most elegant way to fix all of these bugs is to make little changes, like adding or removing some small cliff edges or adding unbuildable doodads at inconspicuous spots, and testing again, until the map has found its “sweet spot”. Sometimes you can also shuffle minerals around a bit or just move a whole expansion by a tile or two, but there is usually only very little leeway for that.
Now all the walkable areas of the map can be decorated with normal terrain and decorative doodads and unbuildable terrain can be added in. If you want to use special, doodad-based terrain, like bridge plating or ramp tiles, to create unbuildable areas with interesting textures, you should already to that in step 5, though, as these kinds of tiles influence pathfinding, which means you may have to redo the very time-consuming step 6 afterwards.
What software do you use for making maps?
F: SCMDraft has been the editor of choice for years now. CHKDraft is also an essential tool, because it is the only editor at the moment which can display terrain levels. A lot of things still need to be tested in-game. However, with the announcement of StarCraft: Remastered, Suicidal Insanity has officially resumed working on SCMDraft, so there will be a new version in the foreseeable future with improved UI, the ability to show terrain flag overlays (for things like terrain level, walkability, vision blocking properties etc.) and hopefully also some kind of pathfinding prediction or simulation.
J: Currently I use SCMDraft. Any map maker that knows what he’s doing will tell you the same. I also use CHKDraft to debug terrain levels in my maps. However, I’ve started playing around with other ways to come up with basic map sketches. I used to draw on paper for my map concepts. But then I started to use MSPaint, ending up with a .jpg image of my map to go off of. I started thinking, since I already had a .jpg file, can’t I just convert that into a map file? Like in Strip UMS maps (you know what I’m talking about haha). So I found a program that does that, SCPM5 (there are others out there). Gemlong was the first map I used that method on. However, I started thinking about another way to draw my maps from scratch, and I stumbled onto this simple website called Symmetry Artist, and I’ve been using that to come up with sketches.
How do you test a map to see if it works the way you want it to?
J: The simple answer here is just play testing, and from competent players that know what they are doing so they can tell you what balance is really like. However, there are many bugs in Brood War and if you really want to make a fully-fledged map without bugs you have to use various tools to get rid of them. When it comes to tank-holes (places you can drop a tank but they cannot be hit by melee units), you just use your unit layer overlay in SCMDraft and see where tanks can fit and get rid of those with tile editing. Resources are really painful to debug (in my experience so far), because the game engine is so weird. If you change even a single tile, the resource gathering behavior in all parts of the map can potentially change! Again, checking ramps’ tile elevations with CHKDraft is also a must to having terrain levels that are accurate to their visuals.. If you use CHKDraft on pro maps you will realize how many of them have terrain bugs! So it is just a matter of patience and diligence.
F: SCMDraft offers some useful tools, like displaying unbuildable and unwalkable ground. There is an option to display the collision boxes, which is very helpful for testing wallins or accurately placing neutral structures in the map. However, there are a lot of things that were simply not known, sufficiently understood
or cared about at the time of the last official SCMDraft release. Take terrain cover effect, for example (the 46.875% miss chance that certain doodads give). I only just yesterday identified the tile flag that is (very probably) indicating this behaviour. So far there simply has been no way to display overlays for most terrain flags in the editor, so most map makers do not understand these, or even know of their existence and how to use or, in most cases, avoid them to prevent some serious map bugs. Even to get a display of such a mundane property as terrain level (a core mechanic in the game and something every map incorporates in one way or another!) a tool (CHKDraft) only became available fairly recently (and promptly revealed that most of the tilesets are riddled with hard-coded abusable bugs to an extend that even I wasn’t aware of!). You really have to understand all the game mechanics first to implement anything. There is a lot of very specific knowledge required and I have spent many hours (probably hundreds) just doing research, that is, trying to replicate certain behaviours in-game, manually testing tiles for certain properties, or just watching workers mining to figure out what constitutes an optimal worker path for a specific resource position and formation.
Does the titleset you decide to use have a lot of influence on the features of the map?
F: Usually the thought process should work the other way around: Once there is a standing concept with all the core features, you then have to look which tilesets it can actually be implemented in.
For example, you want to use all three terrain levels? For various reasons this can only be done with Space Platform or Twilight maps, and if you want to have bases on the high ground, that leaves you with only space platform, because the only thing Twilight tileset has to offer in terms of high ground terrain types is only High Basilica, which is unbuildable.
Or you want to use vision blockers in your map? Use Ash, Ice or Jungle World terrain. You want to do something like (4)Desertec, where you cover areas in cover-providing doodad tiles? Can only do that with Desert, Ice or Jungle terrain. Another reason why Jungle terrain is used for so many maps is that visually satisfying custom ramps in all angles are easy to make (or readily available to pick and copy).
You also have to think about details like overlord spots and muta cliffs behind naturals, which may require specific cliff blends or vision-blocking doodads. This is why it so important to have a fully thought out and detailed concept before even beginning to lay down the map.
There are exception though. Take my maps Oxide and Voidrim as examples, which are both designed around the use of Rusty Pit terrain. This put very strict limitations on the design of the map though. Rarely used terrain types are rarely used for a reason, they are very restrictive on the design of possible map layout to the point where they dictate most of the design decisions (like a dominance of vertical lines in my examples above). Having a finalized layout before starting to work in the editor is probably even more important in these cases.
However, at least for less demanding concepts (anything that does not require very specialized terrain types, exotically angled ramps or more than two terrain levels) there is a lot of freedom of choice in the tileset. I then usually decide based on which thematic setting I want the map to represent, this could be a certain style of decoration I want to apply or maybe I just have a nice map title that I want to use, which fits one tileset better than another.
J: For the most part, what Freakling says here is also my perspective on the issue as well. It is important to start off with a concept and then let that guide you, while making room for the limitations of the map editor. This is actually what sometimes makes map making in BW really challenging. You might have a really cool concept, but it is difficult to implement because of lack of options. For example, there are several terrain level bugs inherent in the tilesets themselves, making it impractical to use certain tilesets for a concept unless you want to introduce a ton of bugs. The lack of inverted ramps is also limiting. Do you know why Fighting Spirit, a jungle map, can be made into a twilight map; and Blue Storm, a twilight map, cannot be properly made into a jungle map? There is absolutely no way to make a good-looking inverted high temple ramp because the terrain blends are absolutely hideous, and not only that, but the doodad high temple ramps have the complete wrong tile elevation properties because someone at Blizzard did not pay attention to this… However, there are times when a tileset will have influence on the type of map that I want to make. An example: I want to create a map with a certain feel to it, like a 3-player Blue Storm-inspired map, or when I made Gemlong, I knew I could have used a few tilesets, but I thought that Jungle was the best-looking one for the concept I had in mind. Also, if I have too many maps with the same tileset, I intentionally switch it up to a tileset that I haven’t used for my next project.
What is your favorite critter?
F: I am terribly sorry, I would like to give you a definite answer to that, but my Kakaru-Pandabearguy-Zergling crossbreeding program has not produced any results yet… I think I will just spam all the Blizzard forums to ask them to help me implement something for StarCraft: Remastered.
J: I personally like the Kakaru because it can be put into maps and not affect gameplay at all since it is an air unit. All the other ones can potentially get in the way of ground units or even building placement. It’s fun to place a bunch of kakaru’s or any other critter on a map close to where the player spawns, and then set them all to hallucinated status. They will all blow up at the same time all over the player’s field of view. Now this question gave me an idea of creating a map where you start with your main base full of critters…
F: And yet another terrible map idea was born...
Sometimes I misclick on a Kakaru flying by :D
Have you made maps for any other video games?
J: Not sure how applicable this question is to games that don’t have maps lol. Besides melee maps, I’ve made UMS maps and I’m currently working on one right now. I’ve actually made a hacked version of Pokemon FireRed for my friends to play, basically the same game but with a much harder difficulty (and more epic!) than the original and some extra content. I’m currently making an RPG for my roommates and friends, too. I also got into Clash of Clans and I was really into the competitive war scene (I followed it) and I was really into advanced base building. So I just like to create stuff and content, I don’t know why...
F: I briefly toyed around with the WC3 editor. However, as a matter of fact, there was never even a demand for new maps for that game, as far as can tell, with the exception of UMS maps like Dota, of course. I also played around with the map editors of other strategy games, like C&C Generals or the original Empire Eath. But those games simply lack the longevity of StarCraft and with that my interest in the map editor also faded quickly.
What is your favorite kespa map and why?
J: I don’t have a particular map that I consider my favorite but I do have some honorable mentions. I’ve always like Othello because it’s symmetry was so clean and the map is simple. It used to be my Fighting Spirit, basically, I played it a ton. I also like maps that are “out there” or just ballsy (or maybe stupid) from a mapmaker’s perspective. Triathlon was cool, using stealthed Lurker eggs with a backdoor, Baekmagoji was crazy and it has a horse in the middle! Peaks of Baekdu was cool too, mostly because it always made me remember those epic games of Nal_rA vs saviOr on it. Katrina, despite it’s imbalances, looks really cool. I also like Gladiator a lot.
F: As I already mentioned above, Katrina and Arkanoid were two maps that left a deep impression with me at the time they were used.
Overall, I would probably pick Outsider, though. In general I like maps which are a good execution of a clean-cut and creative concept. I like Gladiator, because I like maps which make good use of the high ground mechanics in Brood War. I like Grand Line for the subtle break in axial symmetry. I also like Demian, because having a three players map which is just basic, is actually something the existing map pool just lacked and LatiAs’ maps in general are just so much better executed in detail than all the old Kespa maps. Electric Circuit, because it is basically Medusa, but with a much more interesting middle design. I could probably go on for quite a while, but I will just stop here...
Can you tell us something about your username Jungleterrain and Freakling?
F: Have you ever even thought about the following: Let’s say on average Zerg trade six Zerglings for any kill and that a player makes on average 100 Zerglings per game. So once in every ten million games or so there is this one Freak Ling who is the lucky one, who survives the onslaught, but has a dozen kills on his account. You know the sad part of this story? Here is the true silent hero of Brood War, but not even an observer will probably ever care to click on that little Zergling and be a witness of its glory.
(it might have also had something to do with the name not being taken yet on different Battle.net servers at the time...)
J: Well, as you can probably tell, I really like the jungle world tileset. I initially had some weird name: Clash_Star_7 (you can still see some of my old maps published under this ID from before BWMN on the Stormcoast-fortress.net map database). Eventually I felt that name was childish or something, and as I moved into high school I did not want anything I made under that ID to be associated with me, haha. I took up this new name, Jungleterrain, when I decided to join BWMN around early 2008. I think Jungle tileset is the best looking out of all of them, and it is also the easiest to create custom terrain for because bridge tiles can be used for the bottom of inverted ramps, etc.
F: Stormcoast-Fortress has a map database? O_o
What softwares do you suggest to have to make a map?
F: As far as melee maps are concerned, aforementioned SCMDraft and CHKDraft are really all you currently need (and the game itself, of course).
J: Basically what Freakling said. If you think you have a cool concept but you feel you aren’t good enough to execute it I recommend trying my method using a sketching program that can create Jpg or Png files, and then using a program like SCPM5 to turn it into a map image. From there you just need to fill in the terrain yourself and work on it like you would any other map. I think this method is useful for maps with symmetries other than x-, y-, or xy-symmetry (the symmetry checkboxes on SCMDraft).
What advice do you have for someone starting off and making their own first map?
F: First and foremost, see it as a creative process and learning experience and enjoy it as much as possible as such. Try to define clear goals for the map and focus on the core aspects of it. Maybe you want to focus on learning essential terrain editing skills first (like how to copy and paste terrain and pick tiles from the indexed palette to make things like extended and inverted ramps), you can just opt for something very straight forward like a four player map with Ground Zero layout (axial symmetry, open middle, pretty much the simplest kind of map there is). If you have a thought out concept for something more sophisticated, make a pen and paper sketch of it and decide what tileset would best serve your needs. I would suggest you don’t just start making the map right-away but instead just open a new map in the tileset you want to work with and just “doodle around”. If you need a special kind of ramp for your map, try to create it from scratch. If you have difficulties getting the results you want, browsing through maps other map makers have made is also a good idea, if it is a rather “mundane” issue like a ramp for a specific terrain types, some one has probably come up with a solution that you can just copy. Or it you figure out that there is no good solution, you can consider making the map in another tileset, which is better suited to your needs. Once you have all the puzzle pieces you need you can put them together to make any map you want.
J: I like what Freakling said. I see every map of mine as a learning experience. First think of a concept, then try to implement it onto a piece of paper, then into a map. I suggest the best thing to making your map better is to have other people criticize it, whether it be friends, good players, or the community here at TL or over at Bwmn. They will point out things that you probably would have never thought of. And you are not making maps in a vacuum (if you are trying to publish!). Brood War is played a certain way and this changes through time and you need to take that into consideration how it affects gameplay and balance specifically to the map at hand.
F: Three more tips: Don’t try to do too much at once. It is better to have a map that focusses on one core concept and does it well than to have half a dozen ideas put into a map that does not implement either of them well (believe me, I have tried it, more than once...). The different aspects of a map, such as middle layout, expansion layout and special game mechanics need to complement each other, so superimposing one on the other willy-nilly is unlikely to result in a strong overall map concept.
Try to find a good balance between conservative balance considerations and innovative concepts, throwing in some special mechanic or some weird resource distribution across the expansions, just for the sake of (perceived) novelty is a treacherous path to go down. With the right conceptual integration many things can work, others are just a terrible idea in general. Show some good judgement.
And finally: Don’t expect anything. We all have made maps that were just total failures in one way or another. Sometimes the best step is to just go work on another map instead...
Can you advise any good articles in regard to the last question?
F: There are a lot of articles about the basics of map making on TL.net or broodwarmaps.net, but they are mostly very old and outdated by now. I guess this interview can act as as good a starting point as any.
J: Yes, as Freakling said, most articles are outdated. Since the BWMN community has shrunk considerably, there isn’t really any new content out there. I actually think Nightmarjoo’s Guide is somewhat timeless in that it touches upon some key map making concepts instead of actual specific gameplay considerations that change with the meta (such as linearity and space management), so I suggest it as a good read if you have the time. I think a good article to read, and this is not just for mapmakers but for players, is about understanding the gas issue. You might have lost a game or two because of the repercussions of the gas issue, and you didn’t even know it! There are articles out there for that, and some interesting data to look at, giving an insight into the erratic behavior of the game.
What kind of maps do you mostly make? 1vs1, 2vs2, 3vs3, island maps?
F: 1v1, although I have also made some team-play maps in the recent past. I have some island map concepts in various stages of (in-)completion. I disagree with the general believe that island maps must be inherently unbalanceable, all the old island maps from the early Kespa days really set some bad precedents by either being tank abuse incarnate or completely screwing over Zerg through early game starvation (or, more often than not, both!).
J: I mostly make 1v1 maps, I’ve made one 2v2 map so far. I think I made an island map in the past, I can’t be sure. However, in the future I intend to make a few more 2v2 maps. Also some FFA maps, and possibly some UMS maps.
Why do you believe Fighting Spirit became such a popular map?
J: Honestly I don’t think that Fighting Spirit became such a popular map merely based off its merits as an amazing creation. Fighting Spirit belongs to the (sometimes infamous) holy trifecta of popular pro maps Lost Temple, Python, and itself. They each sort of symbolize the times in which they were played, and show how the game has evolved. A few factors I think have led to its popularity. For one, it is the embodiment of a standard map, and it was so, even before it was created, if that makes sense. People used to think that standard map = Python. Now the “standard” for standard maps is FS. As you can see this changes over time. Maybe CB will be next? Anyways, I think people are lazy and they want to play a map that is “safe”, where you don’t have to experiment much and you can keep playing the same way you have before all along. It is actually very interesting… some people have become really good at playing Fighting Spirit, and they are worse at playing Brood War. Take the player to a match on another map and they will play at a lower level. Does that make sense? Maybe another factor is that it is in the Jungle-terrain tileset
F: I guess at the time of its inception it simply had just the right middle ground for players to feel comfortable with and balance being predictable, but enough new ideas in the layout to make it interesting.
It is interesting to observe that all of the maps in that “unholy trifecta” are actually not the most standard or boring maps possible. Let’s not talk about LT, which was simply not as badly made and not as terribly imbalanced as other maps at its time. But Python actually features a very unusual symmetry which results in pretty unique game play features, such as the island expansions, short air distances between mains and unusual expansion layout. Fighting Spirit on the other hand diverges from a simple open middle design significantly with its central expansion and the extra paths wrapped around the mains.
Tell us about what you see in the future of map making right now:
F: Hopefully we will have an improved map editor soon. With patch 1.18 and eventually StarCraft: Remastered at the horizon, we now have the unique opportunity to have some of the things improved that sofar we had to just learn to live with. Ideally, the devs at Blizzard will fix all the terrain level bugs I discovered, which will reduce some debugging work and make some new map concepts viable or at least make tileset selection less restrictive.
J: Yes, I am totally looking forward to a revamped map editor! Also, I hope to see more players but also more mapmakers become involved in the community. If you are into UMS maps, go to Staredit.net, they have a great and VERY knowledgeable community there. If you are into Melee mapmaking, come check us out at Broodwarmaps.net.
F: Afreeca.tv being open to community map suggestions now could open the doors for a more visible mapping community, foreign and Korean. I also hope the foreign and Korean map making communities will grow a bit closer together, a lot of good Korean map makers have become regulars on BWMN already.
The amazing thing is that even after almost two decades of Brood War, there are still map concepts that have not been done and whole mechanics that have not been fully explored. I predict vision blocking tiles and maybe cover providing tiles as a special mechanic to become much more commonplace, especially with the upcoming new SCMDraft offering native support for these features. Better debugging features and improved UI in the editor also has the potential to speed up quality map making significantly and lower the threshold for entry for new map makers considerably, which will probably mean a huge leap in quality for the average melee map.
My personal focus right now mostly lies in the exploration of odd-spawn map layouts and modern island map concepts. Generally I am always looking out for new design principles and their limitations to explore.
Recently Kespa has announced that they will use new maps and are allowing anyone to submit maps with a Korean application form. How does this make you feel?
J: I think this is great. Before, during the KeSPA days, it was basically impossible for a foreigner to have their map used in any professional league. Not sure about this, but seems like mapmakers belonging to different Korean map making teams (yes these existed) were commissioned to produce maps with the goal of creating exciting gameplay for TV viewership. This is why map concepts with new, crazy features were regularly and increasingly used in the leagues throughout the KeSPA years, especially the years 2006-2010. With the ASL’s new map submission format, this allows anybody to be able to have a chance of having their map reviewed for professional play, which I think is very cool. It means that pro-mapmaking is less monopolized by those few at the top (Str18-02, Rose.of.Dream, [Ragnarok]Valkyrie, Forgotten_, skb9728_CyGnus, Earthattack, Terrance, etc.), giving chances to other creators. However, I am a bit sad that everything is in Korean, since it makes communication difficult. But it makes sense… It is a Korean website after all.
F: Wasn’t that Afreeca.tv? They are not part of Kespa, as far as I know.
Anyway, the only reason why I haven’t still figured out how to submit my maps there is that I had to answer so many some questions for some interview ;D
Can you introduce us a little to Broodwarmaps.net?
J: Yes… since not many know about the website and its contributions to the BW scene, I will try to do it justice with a brief history. I’m not 100% accurate about all this information, but you can go back to posts dating as far back as the very first ones in June of 2005 in the News section, so that’s where I get my info from. Panschk[FP] started the site in the summer of 2005 it seems. He wanted the site to be an ultimate database of melee maps, where any map could be found and people could also post their own. Quickly, many functions were added, and moderators and members came in and helped the community grow. Map of the Week (MOTW), Map of the Month (MOTM) and Map of the Year (MOTY) competitions grew. The gas issue was canonized in article form, 1 year before Korean pro maps (mid 2006ish) started to implement them as a standard (not sure if BWMN was the indirect cause for this). Blizzcon mapmaking competition winners were basically all BWMN members back in 2005. Late 2005 Suicidal Insanity’s SCMDraft is given a big edit, so it basically replaces Staredit for melee mapmakers. BWMN also grows bonds with Gosugamers.net, PGTour, and WGTour with the help of Entropy. By February 2007, the map database had grown to over 2000 maps… Connections with Yello-Ant (creator of ICCup in 2007) allowed BWMN to have its maps introduced into the map pool. Fast-forward a bit and sadly, with the release of SC2, many members left and moved on, with a few staying primarily because of their passion for BW mapmaking. These members kept the website alive with their sporadic creation of maps, discussion, and events such as the BWMN Open back in 2012, etc. Just wanted to shed some light on the mostly unknown past of Broodwarmaps.net. What would we be without it? XD
F: That is already more than I would have been able to say. I am actually amazed about the detailed chronology you have come up with. Even my memories of when I first used SCMDraft are rather muddled…
Any shout outs or things you would like to share with the community:
J: First of all, sorry for being so wordy, I just have a lot to say… Shoutout to Panschk who made Broodwarmaps.net a reality. I wish the best for you and your family and hope you visit us again soon. Thanks to all those that made that community amazing years ago as well as those that have stuck with it till now, you know who you are (there are too many people to list). Thanks to Teamliquid for the warm support whenever we publish anything, they always seem to not just enjoy the maps we make but also help us by engaging in discussion and play testing. And thanks to the passionate BW community for whom we make content for. Thanks pebble for the interview, made me reflect on some fun times. As for what I would like to share with the community… I hope to see SCR bring a new wave of not just players but map makers as well. And personally I want this: Teamliquid to add a Custom Maps forum under the BW section, just like the SC2 section. I might as well try
F: I guess what was intended to be a short interview turned out as a pretty extensive guide on state-of-the-art melee-mapping…
Apart from those who Jungle already mentioned, I want to thank all the tournament organizers and players who gave us a platform to give some of our maps publicity in the recent years. It was both your support and your scrutiny which made us really figure out all the last details of the editor and game engine, so you would not have to.