Critique over Map Approval

General Discussion related to the Plazma Burst game series.

Critique over Map Approval

Postby phsc » 21 February 2019, 02:26

Consider this as a neutral critic, any offense caused by this was not the original intent.

Staff members, if this is not the right section for this to be in, move it to where it belongs.

This is going to be separated in three parts:
1 - Official Map Approval Requirements
2 - Fixing these problems
3 - Suggestions
4 - Observations

I will skip requirements or rules that have no problems from my point of view.



1 : OFFICIAL MAP APPROVAL REQUIREMENTS : CRITIC

"Only multiplayer maps can be approved. Following requirements can be optional in some cases, but each of them was a reason of maps being not approved at least once."

What cases? relativization of rules is what opens up for in a general way, corruption, of any kind, in any place, or just general misapplication of the rules because of biases or just pure ignorance or impulsivity.



1 : 1. Map must be well-designed in appearence:


"Do not use lights to make "overbright areas" (areas that are to bright). Recommended to use default "Power" parameter value of light objects."

What is overbright? how many lamps? how much power?

"Never use floating water and/or ladders made from water."

What about fake water for decoration purposes?

"Walls should not float in mid-air (must be connected with rest of the world with help of background objects)."

Why? what if it is a ship? what if there is a decorational purpose? what if it is in space?



1 : 2. Keep the gameplay for approved maps natural and realistic for Plazma Burst 2:

What is natural and what is realistic? examples, objectivity, realism can be interpreted in many ways, realism according to real life or according to Plazma Burst? what is natural? that is also very interpretative, natural according to real life? Plazma Burst?

"Don't create invisible pushers. Every pusher must be marked by decoration with an "antigravity" model. Also sometimes pushers will need to kill or push back players into playable area when they leave it."

In theory does not this kill the concept of limiting spawnpoints to a playable area? what if there is a good reason for one to use pushers without the "antigravity" model? such as a space area in a map, or a lunar area, something with concepts similar as these.

"Weapons m4a1, glock, virus gun are not parts of approvable gameplay. Same about guns customized by triggers."

Why are not guns customized by triggers allowed? there are many specific situations where a specific gun does not exist, changing a gun's damage slighty, or the rate of fire, can fix many problems in maps without needing major rework.

"Make sure that players which spawn without guns can survive, hide, kill somebody with only swords and grenades."

What makes sure that a player can survive? what is the specific time for that to happen?

"Limit nades count to 0-3 of each type. Only in rare cases portnades count can be close to 6."

What rare cases?

"Never use floating water and/or ladders made from water."

Listed twice.

"If map is team-based, then it must be balanced, this can be accomplished by useing the symmetrical key. Advance Level Editor can mirror objects by pressing H and V keys. Use same ammount of hitpoints for every player. Players must feel fair gameplay while playing your map."

What is balanced? what if the map is made for DM but also played in COOP?

"Make sure players can't camp at any teleporters. Make teleports useable only once per second, as an example. You can create damage regions for the destination of targets teleport."

What if it is the opposite, a player camping at a teleporter exit? if by damage regions you mean pushers with damage, does not that break the previous rule about invisible pushers?

"Allowed hitpoints for players are: 130 hp and 150 hp. Any other values are not allowed (ex. 145 hp is not allowed)."

This rule is very likely outdated, but why 130 and 150 only? what about a specific limit? what about more variety that can compensate for many problems such as specific guns being able to kill with two headshots, while another can kill with 3, so you can balance it out?

"When map is designed for 2 teams in COOP, make sure that players can't kill at the start of each round. Players must feel/be safe during the first 2 seconds of each COOP round start."

Considering the fastest a player can move? considering the slowest a player can move? considering the use of grenades?

"Do not make rooms that are to large (to avoid spraying)."

What is too large? is not spraying a valid gameplay tactic? doesn't it still make it fair?



1 : 3. All maps also must meet some type of technical notes requirement before it can be approved:


"Make sure game doesn't lag when players are playing it. Don't put many players into a map, usually 8 is enough and recommended. Don't put too many objects."

What is lag? what FPS? it is very dependent on one's computer, what sets what lags or not? if I am playing in a computer that has 500MB of RAM and an outdated Intel Celeron, it is very likely that simple maps will lag, and what are too many objects? if it is related to lag, does not the object affect more? such as guns causing more lag than backgrounds, or decorations causing more lag than walls.

"Don't build large arenas. Limit ammount of doors, walls, lamps, decorations, water, guns. In other words make it as simple and as fun as it can be."

What is a large arena? limit to what value? what if simple != fun? what if the general idea of a map is to be complex and virtuous?

"Validate wall placement. Bodies, grenades and weapons must not stuck between walls due to small overlap (recommended to test on "low physics" with "low FPS" settings)."

A player's ping and lag(related to computer) have great impact on this, a player playing at around 10 FPS with a high ping is very likely going to do absurd things in an enemy players screen while in theirs things can be greatly different from others.



1 : 4. Make sure your map is original and does not look like anything approved before (the way it is being played and design/atmosphere-wise).

What is original? what sets if something looks like something approved before? is stryde-sniper2 similar to stryde-sniper? examples and specific cases.



1 : 5. Keep map atmosphere close to PB2 universe. Knights, World War 1/2, magic, mythology is a short list of stuff that probably won't match it.

Is not this capable of entering in conflict with the "realism" and "natural" concepts imposed by a previous rule?



1 : 6. Pixelated (blocky) art can be something that looks good, but it also can be exact element in your map that looks foreign to style in which PB2 was made.

What if it fits the ingame style? what if one player is using many backgrounds with modified values for its dimensions so it looks like what would be blocky is not? what is foreign? compared to what? campaign levels?



1 : 7. Players will play it. Honestly we believe they will if your map meets each or most of previous requirements.

The only method of knowing this is approval itself, as custom maps are very different from approved maps, and it depends on if is ranked matchmaking or unranked matchmaking too.





2 : FIXING THE PROBLEMS RELATED TO THE MAP APPROVAL REQUIREMENTS
Consider these are examples and the values used or general concepts for fixing concepts can be changed.



"Only multiplayer maps can be approved. Following requirements can be optional in some cases, but each of them was a reason of maps being not approved at least once."

-In cases such as stryde-sniper2, it being similar to stryde-sniper is to make so there is more map variety considering how popular stryde-sniper is.



1 : 1. Map must be well-designed in appearence:


"Do not use lights to make "overbright areas" (areas that are to bright). Recommended to use default "Power" parameter value of light objects."

-A total power of 2 on a 10x10 pixel area, or two lamps that overlap eachother in the level editor.

"Never use floating water and/or ladders made from water."

-Exception made for fake water, for decoration purposes.

"Walls should not float in mid-air (must be connected with rest of the world with help of background objects)."

-In cases such of a flying usurpation ship, or a battle that has sections with lower gravity on space or a moon in which the object would not fall, or if there are gravitators going to or from the object.



1 : 2. Keep the gameplay for approved maps natural and realistic for Plazma Burst 2:

-Natural as following the general aesthetic concepts featured in Plazma Burst 2's campaign, with slight variations made purely by features released later, such as new backgrounds, use of pixelart which fits in well with Plazma Burst 2's lore, which is going to be reviewed by a staff member to see if it really does.
-Realistic as it follows the general gameplay and physics concepts from Plazma Burst 2's campaign.
or
-Both realism and naturalism are concepts that are set by previously approved maps.

"Don't create invisible pushers. Every pusher must be marked by decoration with an "antigravity" model. Also sometimes pushers will need to kill or push back players into playable area when they leave it."

-Exception made for pushers which are used to make so players will not spawn in a specific area, or for setting gravity normal inside a moon base in a moon map.

"Weapons m4a1, glock, virus gun are not parts of approvable gameplay. Same about guns customized by triggers."

-Up to 25% of a weapons total properties can be changed, a gun that has a 1.25 damage value is valid, as 1.25 firing speed, or a weapon with 0.875 for both firing speed and damage multipliers.

"Make sure that players which spawn without guns can survive, hide, kill somebody with only swords and grenades."

-If a player is capable of surviving one second, without consecutive deaths for 5 rounds in a test done by staff with at least 50% of the maps' player capacity, it is considered fair.

"Limit nades count to 0-3 of each type. Only in rare cases portnades count can be close to 6."

-Cases such as "insert map with 6 grenades" as the map has many specific holes made for the use of teleport grenades for fast movement giving the map a unique playstyle.

"If map is team-based, then it must be balanced, this can be accomplished by useing the symmetrical key. Advance Level Editor can mirror objects by pressing H and V keys. Use same ammount of hitpoints for every player. Players must feel fair gameplay while playing your map."

-A map in which one side does not have a slight time advantage into getting a place where one has a method of shooting at the enemy team, such as picking a sniper rifle and being able to shoot trough thin walls, done purely by movement without use of swords and the X feature, or maps which one side does not have an absurd high ground uncounterable advantage.

"Make sure players can't camp at any teleporters. Make teleports useable only once per second, as an example. You can create damage regions for the destination of targets teleport."

-Camping at teleporter exists does not count, and damage done by pushers can have no visual indicator if it is withing 10 pixels of range of the center of the teleporting region.

"Allowed hitpoints for players are: 130 hp and 150 hp. Any other values are not allowed (ex. 145 hp is not allowed)."

-Values from 100 to 250 HP are valid, but they all must be multiple of 5, values such as 145 are valid, while 231 and 315 are not.

"When map is designed for 2 teams in COOP, make sure that players can't kill at the start of each round. Players must feel/be safe during the first 2 seconds of each COOP round start."

-Considering movements without the use of swords or the X feature, while possible grenade kills are valid.

"Do not make rooms that are to large (to avoid spraying)."

-A 50 pixels height and 120 pixels width area is considered too large, and can only be accepted if viewed by a staff member.



1 : 3. All maps also must meet some type of technical notes requirement before it can be approved:


"Make sure game doesn't lag when players are playing it. Don't put many players into a map, usually 8 is enough and recommended. Don't put too many objects."

-Ping related lag does not count, FPS being purely considered on the staff member reviewing the map's computer, being lower than 20 as an average for 5 seconds.
-Do not put more than 5000 objects in a map, exceptions can be made according to the staff member reviewing your map.

"Don't build large arenas. Limit ammount of doors, walls, lamps, decorations, water, guns. In other words make it as simple and as fun as it can be."

-A large arena is the same as a large room, simplicity does not need to be followed for specific aesthetic reasons or specific gameplay reasons, which need to be explained to staff members.

"Validate wall placement. Bodies, grenades and weapons must not stuck between walls due to small overlap (recommended to test on "low physics" with "low FPS" settings)."

-Based on the staff member reviewing the map and his computer and internet connection.


1 : 4. Make sure your map is original and does not look like anything approved before (the way it is being played and design/atmosphere-wise).

-Rule should be removed.



1 : 5. Keep map atmosphere close to PB2 universe. Knights, World War 1/2, magic, mythology is a short list of stuff that probably won't match it.

-Rule is fine considering the fix for the realism and natural rule mentioned before.



1 : 6. Pixelated (blocky) art can be something that looks good, but it also can be exact element in your map that looks foreign to style in which PB2 was made
.
-Pixelart is valid according to the staff member reviewing the map, all maps should be similar in looks to other approved maps and campaign levels, or both.



1 : 7. Players will play it. Honestly we believe they will if your map meets each or most of previous requirements.

-An approved map should be removed if it does not get at least ten matches created in a month.




3 : SUGGESTIONS



PNH : Probably not happening, would change the process too much.

A map needs to have at least more than 4 stars in it's rating for it to be approvable.

A map needs to be tested by multiple staff members before being approved.

PNH: A map with 50% of it's rates as the number for approval requests, by different players considering their IPs, and a rate value higher than 20, should be approved if it follows the other criteria.

PNH: A map which has 90% approval comments by different people in the forum section should be approved.

And any other ideas suggested as replies for this post.

Multiple staff members should always need to review a map, and then the map's forum post(if no forum post, one should be made) should have a indicator it might be approved, so players can play the map and find possible problems.

A map should always indicate what/which staff member/members approved it.

A map's thread should not be locked if a player who is not the map's creator starts a flamewar in which one player has refuted the other player's point, and the player who started the flamewar should be

A map whos creator ignores points made by a specific player or/and fails to fix or refute them, should never be approved.



4 : OBSERVATIONS



Many maps that are approved very likely break many of these rules, and there is a major problem with the current approval system; dependance on staff, which makes so a player liked by a staff member, or hated, gets a different result, or a player that is new gets lower priority than an older one, or gets ignored, this kind of bias should be able to criticized in a forum post wanting the unapproval of said map, based on speculation or not.

Lately, a few maps have been approved without discussion (actually twice and both were by the user Jason Eden), or while discussion was going on, this is an abomination, if there is discussion going on it means the map is not ready for approval, or if the points made have not been refuted by facts and logic, by objective matters, it is very likely that these maps approved were not reviewed by many staff members, and these staff members did not discuss with other players on issues about the map, which is also an abomination of an act.




ANY PROBLEMS WITH ANY POINTS MADE? REPLY TO THIS POST, EITHER REFUTING THEM OR FIXING/ADDING TO THEM.

Consider this as the general concept of a idea of more objectivity for map approval, and less dependence on staff members for map approval, and in theory reaching a more "fair" system, in which it does not matter who made the map or when it or it's approval request was made.

I have a feeling this post is going to get locked or deleted, I hope that does not happen.

If there are any other rules I don't know of, post them here and I will do the same style of analysis for it, I do remember DoomWrath mentioning modified guns being allowed in approved maps a considerable amount of time ago.
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Re: Critique over Map Approval

Postby Hikarikaze » 21 February 2019, 06:06

phsc wrote:I do remember DoomWrath mentioning modified guns being allowed in approved maps a considerable amount of time ago.

This is the same staff team that argued that modified guns led to "non-canon gameplay," which is a stupid argument to make considering there is no one set type of gameplay in this game nor do multiplayer maps follow the same type of gameplay at all.

Plus MP maps have nothing to do with this game's canon. The mode is entirely disjointed from campaign as well as the story itself. It's weird and fallacious logic like this that made me finally lose both faith and trust in the staff's credibility and ability to judge maps properly for approval.

phsc wrote:What is balanced? what if the map is made for DM but also played in COOP?

If there's a map designed specifically for DM, chances are the mapmaker would put every player on the map on the same team for co-op so that it would be unplayable in that mode.

phsc wrote:This rule is very likely outdated, but why 130 and 150 only? what about a specific limit? what about more variety that can compensate for many problems such as specific guns being able to kill with two headshots, while another can kill with 3, so you can balance it out?

130 and 150 HP are supposed to be "realistic" in a sense. Low HP values make the game more fast paced, similar to twitch shooters like CoD. Problem with this rule is that not every map is designed to be fast paced and 130-150 HP doesn't fit every map. The rule is pretty outdated though, since there are maps that are approved that don't have 130 or 150 HP set for players. It would be better to update this rule in that case.

phsc wrote:What if it fits the ingame style? what if one player is using many backgrounds with modified values for its dimensions so it looks like what would be blocky is not? what is foreign? compared to what? campaign levels?

This doesn't come off as a rule or requirement honestly. Basically it's saying that pixel art done right, like in your example, can look good in a map but pixel art done "wrong," i.e doesn't look like it fits the game style, will tend to not look good which can affect whether or not the map will get approved.

Note it doesn't say anything about pixel art being allowed or not, so it wouldn't technically be right to call this a rule. It's more so something to consider and think about. Logically if this isn't a rule or requirement to begin with, it shouldn't be included in the list of rules/requirements.
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Re: Critique over Map Approval

Postby phsc » 21 February 2019, 22:14

phsc wrote:What is balanced? what if the map is made for DM but also played in COOP?

If there's a map designed specifically for DM, chances are the mapmaker would put every player on the map on the same team for co-op so that it would be unplayable in that mode.[/quote]
I did get that, but it mentions the map being balanced in COOP, now what if we invert it too? a COOP map being played in DM? I do know there are methods for not allowing COOP such as that and in modern days things such as triggers that can check for gamemode but when the rules were made there were none so it is still a problem.
Actually it was just me writing down wrong I inverted it.



Anyway, ZapruderFilm made a comment on this post which I disagree with, here is proof he made it and here is his text so I can tell him why he is wrong, don't take this as a personal attack of any forms as I and according to a few questions I made to a few community members, consider you as one of the best current moderators, believe it or not.
http://prntscr.com/mocu8f
ZapruderFilm wrote:People are way overanalyzing the approval requirements

This is not overanalyzing, this is a simple critique over things I consider problems, and your argument is very likely "your problem not mine" which is the problem, but that part is very likely not going to change anyway.

ZapruderFilm wrote:'I see staff aren't approving many maps, so let's make the process take even longer so less maps get approved'

This is a non sequitur, first of all you're purely assuming the reason I am making this post, it is not about staff not approving maps, yet the fact I think that some maps get ignored, some discussions are killed when they should not, some maps are approved when they should not(the Jason Eden case, twice, by Eric the first time and in the second considering Tempus has a 5 star rate on it, by him) while there was a discussion going on, and many small problems within the rules that do not affect the map approval process, it at most makes it better, but the thing is the problem is not rule related yet human related, and if we change the rules it does not affect it, there is no logical correlation, at most a moderator can be more lazy into not wanting to verify a map because there are new rules but thing is most approved maps sometimes don't even follow many of the rules included here as I mention and Hikarikaze agrees, but you probably think Hikarikaze is wrong purely by ethos anyway, and thing is, what is the problem with less maps getting approved? quality over quantity or quantity over quality? I don't care about that too, I just want a system that does not suck and is more objective and in a general way fair, the biggest critic made here is not about the rules, they are terrible in some cases but most of these cases are already ignored by the biggest problem, how much it depends on a human factor that is purely not objective and thus hard to work around and affected by many things that should not affect it.
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Re: Critique over Map Approval

Postby mrblake213 » 14 April 2019, 04:21

I do agree that the map approval guide is pretty much outdated now.

I think Eric made it a while back and the staff (me) copied it and posted it in the forums.

Well, if some of the staff have time, they could probably exert a little effort in reviewing, taking the community's opinion into account and revising the guide.
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