Sunday, 06 January 2013 Written by 

Join us in building the maps of the future!

We're looking for new, inventive maps (or changes to old ones) to improve our 4.0.0 map pack. You needn’t be a map maker already to make a good map, so please read on!

Why we're asking this:

Most of the current maps tend to be formulaic. They are formed around the idea that a player will expand only once, and that most action will take place at the expansion, rather than at additional moon pairs or at moonless choke points. While there may be an additional moon or two, they tend to be located at “already won” locations: locations that are so dangerous and forward, that if you hold those resources, you’ve likely already won. 1v1 maps will sometimes make an expansion and main base equally attractive for raiding, but the majority of team maps will have their main base moons or expansions moons “in front”. This makes these moons the only target for most action, resulting in quick, predictable, and ultimately - boring - battles.

That said, there are at least a few standard things that do seem to make maps provide constant excitement:

  • Giving pathways behind bases that require additional scouting to keep safe.
  • Keeping two of the first 4 moons for a player in a pair: either the main base or first expansion should have moons in a pair, allowing a single mining station to be used to save resources for more interesting strategies.
  • Creating uncertainty in raiding intention: having main base moons and at least the first expansion moons equally attractive for raiding by an enemy, through multiple pathways and usually equidistant to enemy start position.
  • Having start positions somewhere around 8500 units apart in a 1v1 map.
  • Having start position from first expansion roughly 4500 units apart.

Remember, moons accentuate a strategic location, but players can place structures even without the nearby presence of a moon. A yard placed in a sneaky location can be worth its weight in dilithium moons!

What we're looking for from great new maps:

  • Maps that eschew the standard 2 moon pairs per player.
  • Maps that have open and tight areas with multiple corridors.
  • Maps that allow players to expand throughout a game.
  • 1v1 Maps that have multiple start positions.

What we're not looking for:

  • Maps that make excessive use of nebulae. If possible, don't use nebulae at all.
  • Maps that have non playable units.
  • Maps that have resource imbalances (uneven numbers of moons). If an imbalance exists, favoring tritanium moons is fine.
  • Asymmetrical balance: even though it's more boring and less artistic, symmetric maps (radial, bilateral, whatever) are important for balance.
  • Maps that force combat at a single location - a map should discourage simple forward bases, or expansion vs expansion fights. There should be no safe moons.

So if we can list these things, why aren't we making more maps you might ask? Unfortunately we only have so much time and so much creativity. We want to see your unique ideas! Feel free to find us on Teamspeak or on the forums for additional feedback too!

I've attached one of the new 1v1 maps - which we use for 4.0.0 testing - to give a visual demonstration of what you can do even without new doodads - enjoy!