PDA

View Full Version : May Challenge Voting



Robbie
05-27-2008, 07:31 PM
Well then...Here goes...yet another recordbreaking challenge event!

Our first sponsored even, and our largest turnout ever!

This month the challenge was to create a map for a VTT yet keep the file size under 75kb, and everyone seems to have met that requirement and then some! We've had some fantastic entries this month, and apparently some people even learned a thing or two. I can't wait to see how the voting turns out for this one.

I'm going to do this one a little different. Thanks to RedRobes fantastic thumbnail grabber we're going to use that instead of our regular bulleted list of entries as its easier. We're currently working on getting that thumbnailer built into the site, but until then, here's the link.

List of Entries by Thumbnail (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/ChallengeTN/Challengers_May08.htm)

Remember the rules, and the guidelines:

The map must have a resolution of at least 1280 X 1024 pixels
The filesize must be no more than 75kb.
The map must be useful as a "battlemap" on which miniatures (thumbnail size tokens), can be moved around. A scale of around 5 - 10 pixels per foot is a good size.
The map must depict an area on land, which could include building interiors, town areas, dungeons, wilderness areas, etc. It doesn't have to be fantasy themed...modern, western, sci-fi, etc. are fine.


And happy voting!!!

ravells
05-27-2008, 08:31 PM
An amazing number of entries! Well done all!

Midgardsormr
05-27-2008, 08:50 PM
Indeed. Since this challenge had a very specific technical aspect to it, I decided to vote based on compression ratio. So I voted for myself. (-;

Seriously, though, I calculated the compression ratios of every entry and here are the top five, in descending order:

Midgardsormr: 63.815 pixels / byte
Valarian: 47.523 px / byte
RobA: 26.697 px / byte
rlucci: 25.062 px / byte
matthuwm: 23.056 px / byte

These numbers are based on the "properties" window in Internet Explorer, in which the file size is slightly larger than that reported by the forum software.

I freely admit that I designed "to the judge" in this case. I knew from the outset how I would choose my vote, and I built my map to compress as small as possible and still be larger than most other offerings. All other offerings, as it turned out, although Valarian could easily have exceeded my resolution; he had more than enough file size left.

Had I judged on visual appeal and useability instead, I'd still be trying to figure out where to put my vote. Rlucci, Torq, Cisticola, Meleeguy, Torstan, and dorpond all turned in stellar entries.

Good job, everyone! And good luck in the polls!

Redrobes
05-27-2008, 09:49 PM
C'mon thats crazy. Everyone was trying very hard to hit the 74.999Kb image size which would maximize the quality per pixel whilst still being under the limits. We could have all gone lower at the expense of quality. Apart from Valarian who used the PNG format everyone else (I believe) used JPG and had a variable compression ratio to adjust. A much better objective test would be to see how much difference the compressed maps were compared to uncompressed (or lossless) versions so as to determine how much compromise had to be introduced to make the byte ceiling. In which case only Valarian would get a 100% score anyway.

Valarian is in my vote running but if I ask which piece id hang on the wall I get a different answer. Also if I ask which one is most suitable for a VTT I get another and I am inspired by yet another and in terms of which map is farthest out of my ability to repro then I get another. I haven't made up my mind yet. Theres so many good ones and who ever wins surely deserves it this month.

Well done everyone. Drill down from the thumbs and don't just look at the small image. Some of the entries look better full size.

Midgardsormr
05-27-2008, 10:46 PM
Well, I've never claimed I wasn't crazy...

No sane person would have calculated the compression ratio for every single entry! Yours is 17.759 pixels / byte, by the way.

Robbie
05-27-2008, 11:05 PM
I think the beauty of this challenge is the open-endedness of the requirements. Keep in mind that as long as you keep the given requirements in mind when casting your vote...your method of vote choice is specifically a matter of opinion. I REALLY appreciate the different views on criteria. And we had a minor debate in the CL forum about voting criteria...in the end it came down to leaving it up to you the voting public to decide your vote criteria beyond the given guidelines.

My personal take is of course getting the best looking map out of the 75k ceiling...but I am 100% on board with other takes on the 75k requirement.

alucard339
05-27-2008, 11:25 PM
That is one really though decision to take for a so small thing as a vote.

I was as most of U torn by the criteria to choose the vote. Mine fall down to playability (usable more than once), beauty and no vote for myself :x : so MY run down were: RobA, the new kid (Vry), Cisticola, GP, Dorpond and my friend Torq.


My finalist became Torq and Cisticola. My vote finally got lost in a fly of bats (:P).

I'm only happy that the final vote for the price is not my sole responsibility :?:

Nice work to U all,

Alu.

Valarian
05-28-2008, 04:42 AM
Althought the temptation is there ... I too have ruled out the "vote for myself" as an option.
On the criteria, I've cast my vote. I'd get something completey different if I was voting for the artistic merit rather than suitability for a VTT battlemap. Cisticola, Gamerprinter and Torstan all did beautiful pieces of work, but I felt there was a little too much cover for a battlemap. They'd still be useful in a VTT as atmospheric images, but (I feel) not as battlemaps.

dorpond
05-28-2008, 09:52 AM
I have used a VT (Maptool) for a couple years now, gaming once a week with it. I have found that the best maps are those that find a happy balance between quality and room to move.

Some map makers focus on the visual beauty but as a result, they have to have many pixels crammed into a single cell. As a result, they lose gaming real estate. Those maps to me are useless in a VT because most of the time, the players will try to move around and go out-of-bounds. Then what? Well in Maptool, I can easily hand draw or stamp more map around the edges but that sort of defeats the purpose of having a pre-made map in the first place.

So in general, I tend to go lower with the "pretty" so that I can have more room to move. Those in my eyes are the perfect VT maps - the maps where you can go a session or two without endless map switching.

So that is why I focused on making my map at 25 pixels per cell - room to move. I knew that it wouldn't be pretty but that was the chance I had to take. I know that whoever loads up my map in a VT will be able to get a lot of quality gaming from it - not just move 10 cells and "oops, we need to switch maps now."

So my hat goes off to the guys who made the roomier maps - those are the maps that will be used more often by the VT public, and well, this months map challenge is all about making maps for VT's.

Side note: We have a very talented bunch of cartographers here. you guys are all winners in my eyes.

jfrazierjr
05-28-2008, 12:45 PM
I knew that it wouldn't be pretty but that was the chance I had to take.

Don't try to shrug off this one. Your map was extremely eye pleasing as well as funtional.

torstan
05-28-2008, 01:01 PM
This is rather amusing - the man who said it could never be done is quietly streaking into the lead :)

NeonKnight
05-28-2008, 01:01 PM
My vote went to Dorpond, but this was a tough challenge, that I felt rewarded those who knew more about compression ratios and other stuff than others. As an example look at my map (The Cemetary) and others. Mine, Little detail, bland color etc, yet it is no bigger than other stunning maps with vibrant colors and details, and it was frustrating because I knew I was doing something wrong, yet would never blame people for sharing their secrets (heck With a major prize on the line who can blame them ;)).

dorpond
05-28-2008, 02:08 PM
Wow!
*looks stunned*

Thank you all who have voted for me. There is lots of time though - usually the front liners fall off from exhaustion and the guys in the back end up having more stamina while they blast by and cross thh finish line first. :)

Thanks NeonKnight - I appreciate your vote. I never really looked at mine as being all that great - probably because I went blind looking at it for so long. :)

Heads up: I am adding more parts and pieces to my original thread so make sure you guys snag it all so you can make your own maps with it. Check back from time to time because I have plans on making that Bluffs "Art Pack" over the next couple weeks.

dorpond
05-28-2008, 02:14 PM
Oh drat,
The original thread is locked.

I will have to figure out a plan to get you guys the art pieces. Right now, I have to split and take my 4 month old daughter to get her immunity shots. :*(

See you guys in a while and good luck!

[edit]
Man, that was tough.. A father is supposed to prevent people from hurting thier kids but yet I was forced to see 2 nurses stick 4 needles into my daughter and see her once happy face melt to screams of pain.. :*(

dorpond
05-28-2008, 06:29 PM
For now guys, I will put the parts and pieces in the RPTools gallery until I figure out:

A: If you guys want stuff like this on this website (art objects).
B: Where they would go here if you did want them.

I'll contact RPMiller and find out what he suggests. I really like giving back to the community when I make maps so either way, they will be available somewhere. :)

http://gallery.rptools.net/v/contrib/Dorpond/Projects/Bluffs/

I plan on making more parts and peices and will eventually have that be a huge Bluffs Art Pack. If anyone wants to help, let me know - it could be fun!

Later!

Robbie
05-28-2008, 08:44 PM
We do have a map elements forum where you can post all the art elements you want.

industrygothica
05-29-2008, 02:01 AM
So many entries, so few votes to cast...

I finally narrowed it down to Torq, Torstan and dorpond.

I wanted to vote for Torq because the creepy feel of his map is like a beckoning finger to me. The dimension is stunning, if not surreal. Definitely a piece to be proud of.

I wanted to vote for Torstan because his piece is simply beautiful... mind-bogglingly so. My jaw truly hit the floor when I saw the finished piece.

In the end I voted for dorpond. I don't think it's as pretty as the other two, but it sure ain't nothing to laugh at either. What got me was the perfect combination of a very attractive map and a large playable area full of options.

Congratulations to you all, you're a wonderfully talented bunch.

meleeguy
05-29-2008, 03:13 AM
Is this voting pattern normal? It seems very curious. There are a couple maps that have zero or one votes yet are (to me) of very high quality. Not that the maps garnering most of the votes don't deserve it, I just expected more of a bell curve, rather than so much flatness (I'm considering zero and ones to be flat). I wonder if blind voting would produce a bell curve or not.

waldronate
05-29-2008, 03:56 AM
I expect that the zero votes are because some folks haven't gotten around to voting for themselves.

ravells
05-29-2008, 06:07 AM
Heh, even I couldn't bring myself to vote for my entry! Meleeguy, in a distribution of this sort I'm not sure a bell curve is possible as there is only one series of data which is the number of votes. What we tend to get mostly are one or two runaway winners - so from a historical point of view this month is pretty normal in terms of statistical distribution!

Baziron
05-29-2008, 06:35 AM
I'd need five votes to give more suitable number of people all the credit they deserve.

In the end, my vote fell for Mid'Som' - cuz it's a Shadowrun suitable map. I just followed my heart.

Sigurd
05-29-2008, 08:29 AM
-Never going to vote for myself-

I voted for Torstan because If my players ever do end up wrecked in a caravel, lost at sea, and happen to start a fight..... I have the perfect map!

I just like seeing the sails submerged in the water. Thats great realism.


Sigurd

I also would have been happier to cast more (3?) votes. Too much deserving a vote,

dorpond
05-29-2008, 10:04 AM
I also would have been happier to cast more (3?) votes. Too much deserving a vote,

I agree. The problem with contest like this is that some people that have better-than-average maps still might not get any votes and as a result could get upset or make them feel not-worthy. That in turn could create a chain reaction and discourage them from making maps for future contests or maybe even stop making maps at all. Let's face it - it is depressing to put all that work into a map and not get any votes. how is that encouraging?

Is there a solution? Not sure. I think once prizes (just another form of currency) comes into the picture, the focus changes. I think greed can come into play, I think cheating can come into play, and eventually doubt can come into play. All components of the dark side..

So I am not sure if prizes is a good idea to be completely honest with you. I think if the contest is a friendly contest, people have a different attitude in general. If the contest was friendly (no prizes), other mappers might be more open to helpping out other mappers - to show them little tricks - offer suggestions and maybe even take the Map-in Progress from another contestant and edit it, showing them how to desaturate the color or add shadowing effects. I think in general people will help people more instead of guarding their 'secrets'.

I could be wrong - all I can go by is what I have learn in life over my 38 years. In general, once 'currency' comes into the picture, people change -- usually for the worst.

If prizes continue to be in the contests: I think when it comes to contests like these, I think there should be a group of 'voters'. These voters are very educated in the ways of mapping and maybe even educated in the ways of VT's. These voters do not make their own entries so their votes are fair. These voters carefully critique each map and state the positives and negatives for feedback. In the end, they decide on a winner. Maybe we can make this fun and say that the voters next month will be the top 10 mappers from previous months, this way the mappers rotate and gives them a sense of pride being a voter 'this month'.

I also like Meleeguys suggestion of blind voting. Take a look at the real world when we vote for a president - nobody knows who their neighbor voted for. I think the way it is now, new voters are going to take a look at who has already voted and look who is in the lead - they may not even bother at putting their vote on someone who has no votes or 1 votes. They might just look at the two top dogs and start playing favorites - it again takes away from the real focus here - to pick the map you think is best.

Anyway, I am rambling now.. :P

Robbie
05-29-2008, 10:21 AM
A lot of the things you mention I agree with. After seeing this evolve I think a panel of voters would be the best solution. As a site I' dlike to run a prize-based contest at least once a year, but I also think that yes, a panel of voters would be best because there's less community bias.

This is a sponsored event and is a one-time arrangement. And also keep in mind there will be first, second, and third place prizes. So as you cast your votes, you don't actually HAVE to play favorites.

torstan
05-29-2008, 10:30 AM
Another option would be to give everyone 3 votes with descending value - such as 3,2,1. This would spread the votes around and give a more even distribution. I don't know whether the forum software exists to deal with that though.

It seems that the general feeling is that everyone wants more votes in contests like this, rather than fewer.

ravells
05-29-2008, 10:30 AM
All good points Dorpond. As far as I know, there is no intention to make the monthly challenge a prize winning affair (other than the coveted and may I say priceless, compass rose icon for the winner :) ). This 'prize' competition is very much a 'one off', there may be others, but I don't anticipate that they will be regular.

In coming up with challenges, the CLs try to introduce as much variety as possible and this challenge was certainly different from previous ones.

Perhaps I'm a little naive, but I got the impression that nobody was holding back little secrets, and knowledge was shared freely. A particularly big 'thank you' to Redrobes in this respect who explained at length how to keep files under 75k and the alchemy of compression ratios etc.

I might be mistaken, but I thought that the voting was arranged was 'blind' in that people could not see the result of the voting until they had voted themselves.

I think this has been a great competition this month. I was a bit worried at the outset by the slow take up, which was part of the reason why I slapped down an early entry to act as a stool pigeon :). I'm sure people thought 'Hey, I can do better than that!' and they did. No doubt the prizes had a part to play in the large take up, but we're not exactly talking about winning a Maserati or a week's holiday in Las Vegas here!

The purpose of these competitions has always been to provide an opportunity for people in the community to try something new and to have an incentive to complete a project against a deadline with helpful hands along the way. Winning is perhaps the least important part of it.

torstan
05-29-2008, 10:44 AM
The voting may be supposed to be blind, but it is possible to see how the voting is going before you vote - or it was this month at any rate.

Robbie
05-29-2008, 11:51 AM
Yes, you can view poll results before casting your vote...I don't think thats turn-off-able.

Valarian
05-29-2008, 12:09 PM
Is the prize giving based on our results then? I would've thought RPGTonight would have their own judges marking against the criteria laid out. This was my understanding from the original post. I thought the board was voting for the coveted compass rose award.


I agree. The problem with contest like this is that some people that have better-than-average maps still might not get any votes and as a result could get upset or make them feel not-worthy.
I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy.

ravells
05-29-2008, 12:35 PM
Ah my bad, I was sure that it was turn offable and that this was the default, but there isn't a button to that with (which is surprising).

Valarian - the games / book prizes are (I believe) awarded in line with the most votes from the board.

Midgardsormr
05-29-2008, 01:02 PM
I didn't notice anyone holding back tips or suggestions this time around. I know I did my best to offer whatever meager knowledge I had to share. And one reason I like that people post the reasons for their votes here is because you often get to see who is running close behind in the voters' minds. So even though some very good maps may not have votes, or very many votes, seeing your name appear in the thread as a second or third choice still generates some "warm fuzzies."

NeonKnight
05-29-2008, 01:07 PM
I want to say, I am not accusing anyone of 'holding back secrets'. I am just saying I was frustrated (at myself) because I could not figure out why I could not get the same levek of detail :( And in I followed ALL the tips given, yet....

So, Understand, I am not sitting around plotting the downfall of my brethren, nor am I striking you from my will ;)

dorpond
05-29-2008, 01:58 PM
I think we can all agree that this months contest was fun and educational. Heck, I didn't even think it was possible so as a result it challenged me and as another result, I am far more active over here now and plan on sticking around. The point being is that this contest got new people here and allowed us to learn a heck of a lot. That alone made this months challenge every bit worth it in the end.

So my hat goes off to those who have put it together. :)

RPMiller
05-29-2008, 02:08 PM
We could make the voting "multi selection" rather than single selection. This would allow multiple votes to be cast, but only one per entry. The potential here is that members 'might' vote for all entries and that could lead to a higher potential for ties. Not sure though.

meleeguy
05-29-2008, 02:19 PM
You've got an amazing place and group of people built around a shared interest- a hard combination to achieve.

Yes it is a little discouraging, but certainly not if this is a common voting pattern, and most certainly not when I bring up my map and consider what I've learned.

So, great job all around - and if there are perhaps a tweak or two to be discovered along the way, so much the better. Here's hoping that no black riders visit you at the inn. :D

ravells
05-29-2008, 06:25 PM
We have Arcana Butterbur to deal with those Black Riders! Touch wood, none yet!

aeronox
05-29-2008, 10:50 PM
We could make the voting "multi selection" rather than single selection. This would allow multiple votes to be cast, but only one per entry. The potential here is that members 'might' vote for all entries and that could lead to a higher potential for ties. Not sure though.

I would prefer to nominate my favourite 3 maps.

RPMiller
05-30-2008, 01:41 AM
I would prefer to nominate my favourite 3 maps.
I will definitely keep this in mind for next month's challenge and if the others agree we can give it a test drive and see what happens. :)

meleeguy
05-30-2008, 02:26 AM
nVotes = ((nEntryCount + 9) / 10); // 8)

meleeguy
05-30-2008, 02:56 AM
Oh and one other crazy thought - what about a VTT/WiP forum? One of the reasons I took the plunge this month is the particular subject really interests me. I know I want to work more this kind of thing.

Sigurd
05-30-2008, 06:03 AM
I think the ideal situation would be to give everyone up to 3 votes but limit them to only 1 for any recipient. The abuse of the system would be to cast all 3 votes for your favourite. That can make for interesting voting because it gives a real bonus to the 2nd choice.

MANY of the entries deserve more appreciation.


Sigurd

Baziron
05-30-2008, 06:24 AM
We should keep in mind though, that it's the number of contestants (?right vocab?) which actually created the "difficulties". I guess we have a share of regular voters that look at the challenge, prolly don't participate, but still vote. The more contestants we get, the more spread out the votes will be, leading to - let me put it with "less satisfying results".

Too bad that the timeframe is already short (I mean, it's good, for it allows a regular challenge), otherwise I'd suggest two rounds of voting (or more, if really necessary) where you pick your favourite each time. It gives all those, whose former favourites FOOFed (Fell Out Of Favour), not quite the feeling that they had been totally wasting their vote. And other could also change their mind, I heard that happens.
Downpoints: Takes too long for the challenge to remain a regular monthly challenge. I'd rather have something like a super tuesday, for the mapper's sakes. Also, Some might be prevented from participating in each vote, which doesn't sound fair.



Easiest solution: We need more - and I'd like spell that with a capital M - regular challenge voters, because in that case, the empirical statistics will... ehm... well, they work better the more people are around. :-)

torstan
05-30-2008, 06:33 AM
Well ideally the forum members from rpgtonight should get a vote on this. I don't know how many of them came over here and joined up. Why not set up a poll on their site too and add the results together. After all, the competition was for the best VTT map for their application so they are definitely the best qualified to vote. It's probably too late to do this now, but might be interesting for future cross-site competitions.

RobA
05-30-2008, 11:39 AM
Right now we are standing with 25 entries and 42 votes. Hard to get any sort of sane distribution with that.

Other option would be to allow 2 or three votes, ranked or not (though I don't know if the software does that).

Neon- Compression is voodoo. Seriously. Getting detail without noise is a real black art, and depends a lot on the software used. Look at the difference the gold standard (photoshop) even has between its "save as jpeg" and "save for web" results! You'd think the two would be the same, but they are not.

-Rob A>

RPMiller
05-30-2008, 12:09 PM
Oh and one other crazy thought - what about a VTT/WiP forum? One of the reasons I took the plunge this month is the particular subject really interests me. I know I want to work more this kind of thing.

This is an excellent idea, that I am behind 100% although we already have Building and Dungeon WIP forums which would work just fine. I would suggest that you use the tags at the bottom of the post screen to add VTT to any post that is specific for a VTT. That way they will still be easy to find. I'll talk it over with the other CLs and see if they think a forum dedicated to VTTs would be redundant or not.


I think the ideal situation would be to give everyone up to 3 votes but limit them to only 1 for any recipient. The abuse of the system would be to cast all 3 votes for your favourite. That can make for interesting voting because it gives a real bonus to the 2nd choice.

Not possible with the software. However, as I stated before we can make the poll multiselection which would allow you to vote on as many entries as you want, but only one vote for each.

Valarian
05-30-2008, 12:52 PM
This is an excellent idea, that I am behind 100% although we already have Building and Dungeon WIP forums which would work just fine. I would suggest that you use the tags at the bottom of the post screen to add VTT to any post that is specific for a VTT. That way they will still be easy to find. I'll talk it over with the other CLs and see if they think a forum dedicated to VTTs would be redundant or not.
Rather than a WIP forum, there could be a discussion forum regarding using maps in VTTs. Tips and tricks of using maps in the various VTTs etc.

Still not worthy.

RPMiller
05-30-2008, 01:42 PM
Actually discussions regarding the specific VTTs should be handled on the respective VTT's website/forums. We are only concerned with cartography in a broad sense. While some VTTs have the ability to be used to create maps, that would be the extent of the discussion, IMO. For example, I could see someone creating a map in MapTool and then posting it here along with a tutorial of how to create them. Dorpond would actually be a person I would look to to demonstrate map making in MapTool. *hint* *hint* ;)

Sigurd
05-30-2008, 01:47 PM
Sorry to side track the actual voting a little.

If categories are the best solution for the software then I think thats a good idea - though they complicate finding one 'winner'.

Picking the categories is a challenge. Perhaps by mappers experience, voluntarily and by previous awards?

Novice - anyone who chooses themselves for that category
Member - anyone
Veteran - anyone with a level of awards\achievement and people who want to compete 'against' them.


Of course this might be silly if we don't have the entries\interest to sustain the system. People could enter with a chosen designation and the category could emerge if we get 5 entries of that type - otherwise it might be categoryless.


Sigurd

Arkkeeper
05-30-2008, 05:19 PM
I chose Vry's and apparently I'm the only one, I like it because it's Textures all have consistent Realism, and though the lighting is dark it's again very real. also a nice thing is that it works really well for an, albeit small one, Box Grid Surface which is the most common kind of grid. Now of course I have no expertise in Digital Maps, I prefer the only maps used in roleplay to be in world maps, and having no miniatures or anything like that, but thats just me.

RobA
05-30-2008, 10:29 PM
The last two (3?) challenges have had significant responses. Prior to that there were only a small handful of entries. I don't know if is the growing member base, or the lure of prizes this month, but if the entry count stays at this level we might have to revisit the voting methodology.

-Rob A>

NeonKnight
05-31-2008, 02:01 PM
Neon- Compression is voodoo. Seriously. Getting detail without noise is a real black art, and depends a lot on the software used. Look at the difference the gold standard (photoshop) even has between its "save as jpeg" and "save for web" results! You'd think the two would be the same, but they are not.

-Rob A>
Yeah, I know. Like I said, I make an almost monochrome plain jane map and I am pushing the upper limit. Meanwhile I look at other's maps and it's like I am building a boat with a single tree and all I can accomplish is the log, while they have a 40 footer with party deck :?:

Maybe a fair comprimise for a future challenge of this sort is everyne must use the same readily available software (like MS PAint or GIMP) so everyone is more or less equal. Don't know.

The Hound
05-31-2008, 02:06 PM
Is the prize giving based on our results then? I would've thought RPGTonight would have their own judges marking against the criteria laid out. This was my understanding from the original post. I thought the board was voting for the coveted compass rose award.

Just to clarify this, our intention has always been to let Cartographer's Guild run the challenge they way they always do, and go with the results of the voting here. Our goal was to promote awareness of the increasing use of maps for online play via VTs, and the constraints imposed on maps by such use. Cartographer's Guild seemed by far the best place to do that, so we decided to sponsor a contest here instead of running one on our site this month. From the response and the impressive amount of help, advice, and suggestions that members have been giving each other, it seems that we have succeeded.

Istarlome
06-01-2008, 01:14 AM
so many really nice entries. i went with dorpond. i think it's not only very well done but unique as well.

great jobs by all....

dorpond
06-01-2008, 10:35 AM
so many really nice entries. i went with dorpond. i think it's not only very well done but unique as well.

great jobs by all....

Thank you Istarlome.

dorpond
06-01-2008, 10:49 AM
After loading up every map in Maptool to give them a VT test run, I am really surprised that MeleeGuy didn't get any votes yet. His map lined up perfectly to grid and is a great generic map that can be used in any setting.

Let it be known MeleeGuy, your map will have a lot of longevity and is extremely useful - I will definately use it. Hmmm.. I wonder if we should make some rooftops for it? :)

dormouse
06-01-2008, 11:06 AM
My voting is based on my view of the usefulness of the map as a battlemap in VTT play. Since I mostly use maps as battlemaps in a VTT, I have clear ideas about what works and what does not.

Also, pre-prepared battlemaps ideally present options and challenges to the party and opponents in play. I was looking for complexity and interest here, though sometimes a simple challenge, like a thin passage, can be really challenging to party tactics.

Layers are critical to map design for this use.

What needs to be on the map are all the features that will remain unchanged in use. This may include more than one layer. In a wood, normal height people will be under the canopy and so that is what needs to be seen. They will need to know where the branches are though, to be alert to the possibility of something/one being above them. I require maps that avoid the impression of players walking on tops of trees etc. (I generally attempt this by having the playable level solid and the canopy very transparent; on a diagram map it could be done by using different types of line, solid, dotted etc.)

I expected maps to be devoid of desirable and easily moved items, since someone is likely to pocket them. They will be added in the VTT. An extra map with them (or without them if objects provided separately) would have been good. Other movable items (small items, or even large items of furniture) may be moved by the party (or others) but are more likely to be left alone. Depending on the VTT, these may may or may not be most easily added in the VTT rather than on the original map.

I expected options for doors and openable windows. A base map without them. Plus the images for the doors and windows. Plus a map with them in the state the party will first encounter.

Light and Shade will depend on circumstances and are definitely best added in the VTT.

I appreciated that the map design will still have these items and would really prefer entries with a view of the playable base map and a total view with all the other bits added (to see how the map would look when the party first entered).

I don't agree with Dorpond about the need to avoid swapping in other maps or Midgardsormr's fixation on compression ratios (or even the sponsor's premise of a need for a small map size limit). The importance of all these issues is dependent on the VTT being used and the equipment and bandwidth available. I therefore regard these as lesser points.

On going through the entries, it seemed that most people put nearly all their effort into meeting the limits of map size with relatively little appreciation of the needs of a battlemap or in VTT use. Even Dorpond got sucked into producing a map with stuff on it that he would normally leave to be added in MapTool. I was disappointed that so few entries did not mention the scale they were using; this is essential for setting the size of figures on the map and any grid being used.

Here are my views (for whatever they are worth): - (with * meeting most of my criteria for usability)

Ravells - I couldn't imagine using it as a battlemap.
Gamerprinter - entry discounted because players would appear to to on top of the tree canopy.
Sigurd - playable as battlemap, but not really designed for VTT use.
*rlucci - design is playable and would work in VTT. Very indistinct though and would look a bit odd if I used it with normal player figures/tokens which would be in much greater detail.
*delgondahntelius - mostly playable as battlemap - problem with tree canopy, but it is only a slight problem because of the size and position of the trees. Varying level of detail between objects on map.
Torq - as he admitted, it isn't really playable with the bats. And is the area under the roof(s) accessible; if so it should have been visible.
*Malakor - simple but playable. The contrast in resolution between the objects and the ground rather gave the impression that the objects and bridge were floating above it though.
keithcurtis - not really playable as a battlemap because of the trees.
*Midgardsormr - playable, quite large, actually gave the map scale, gave objects separately. From my point of view almost completely met the brief; though I would have preferred to be able to switch doors from open to closed. I could use it myself, though I would have to redesign player tokens since I usually use a photrealistic style.
*meleeguy - playable like midgardsormr's, but no scale or objects given, and still with the door open/closed issue. Would still need a lot of work to use it since it would have to be provided with furnishing.
terrainmonkey - can't see it being usable as battlemap with all traps, secret doors etc being marked.
*NeonKnight - meets criteria. No canopy problem. All the grey buildings/crypts would need to have their own maps - but no problem with that.
GM's Apprentice - design would work, but I found the resolution too poor to be usable.
*Redrobes - mostly usable and meeting brief, though there are some easily moved objects (cloak, stuff on altar etc) that probably would not stay fixed for long in use; can't quite decide if that is enough to stop it being a *. Pretty map for the limitations, though some resolution contrast between the altar and its plinth/steps.
mathuwm - I made it 76kb.
*Valarian - has the door problem but otherwise playable.
*SpamValiant - meets criteria. Floor slabs seemed a bit large.
*rpgmapmaker - meets criteria, though I found it a bit blurred.
Cisticola - extremely pretty map within the limits, but not playable as a battlemap - major tree/roof canopy problem.
*alucard339 - very pretty map. Entirely playable. Slight canopy issue through entrance etc - but pretty obvious what is there; I assume the walls are solid and that there is no guard hole present. Only comment would be that bridge into castle seems as if it was rather higher than the path it went on too. Internal buildings would need separate maps.
*torstan - another pretty map. Mostly playable, but a bit of a canopy issue with the mast/sails; I will assume that the sail etc is on the floor so that it is all OK over the ship, but could be any number of people over the sea.
*RobA - again entirely playable. Easy to shift floors in the VTT; having the 5 floors makes it one of the most usable maps; though still a lot of work (possibly) to furnish it. Door issue remains, but this seems to be the case for all the maps.
Dorpond - Nice & mostly playable map - but it seems to me that the huts represent a real canopy issue. They seem too small to be accompanied by separate maps, but there will certainly be stuff (of some sort) in them. Variety of levels available adds to gameplay.
aegean - playable, but play area seems limited and mostly connecting other areas that are not on map.
*Vry - gives all the info needed to furnish and tweak the map. Darkness does make it harder to use since even adding light in the VTT does not make it easier to see the details. But otherwise a very usable map with a huge playable area.

So which of these might I use in real life? I tried them all out in my VTT (BRPG). None of those where there are a lot of doors and they are already present. That knocks out some otherwise very usable maps like RobA's. I am still looking for some complexity and saving myself a lot of time in having to do it myself. Vry's has that but contains too little detail really; I tweaked it by adding contrast etc, but, while it became more playable, it still did not really have enough detail and the size increased over 75k (I did not try bringing the size back down again). With delgondahntelius' map, the detail on the floors was very intrusive except at very low zoom levels (though, tbh, low zoom levels worked fine for this map). Ditto for all the others - reflecting that I usually use maps with higher levels of detail in the scale.

So my finalists are alucard339, Redrobes, NeonKnight, delgondahntelius. Of these Redrobes, offers possibly the least complex gameplay; alucard339 the most (within a clearly boundaried space) and NeonKnight a lot of potential for a free for all and vast number of possible stories. Both require work for the unseen buildings, and I (just) go for alucard339 for the range of combat options it gives the party.

And interesting to see how few votes my own finalists have.

delgondahntelius
06-01-2008, 11:44 AM
My voting is based on my view of the usefulness of the map as a battlemap in VTT play. Since I mostly use maps as battlemaps in a VTT, I have clear ideas about what works and what does not.

edited for length...

Unfortunately I wasn't able to post the map without any of the trees, I decided to rid the trees because I couldn't get them fixed the way I wanted and the canopy/layers issue ... I would have posted several layers including the individual graphics for doors, trees, and other layer oriented objects ... but I really wasn't sure it would be considered 'legal' according the original rules for the maps... Then there was the issue of my babygirl having a litter of puppies that has kept me busy back and forth to the vet and very little sleep the last week and half of the contest... (pictures on my album :D)) but that is neither here nor there...

Dormouse, I appreciate all the points you made for VTT in general.... and my next project involves a vtt set of graphics and icons along with the module I'm publishing ... (This idea came to me when the Challenge was presented, Gameprinter of course had this idea long before me ... and posted such ... but he only encouraged me to go ahead with his posts as there seemed to be a ?demand for this as the popularity of the format is ever increasing) .... hope I didn't come off too much like a hack... lol

So I'll probably be spending a bit of time on RPtools forum asking questions.. i've been lurking there for the last month or so... trying to assimilate information on VTT's in general... I also own ViewingDale and will be making use of that as well... both platforms are still new to me so I imagine it will be slow going at first...

Dormouse.. thank you for the critique on my map, and the advice :D

dormouse
06-01-2008, 01:46 PM
So I'll probably be spending a bit of time on RPtools forum asking questions.. i've been lurking there for the last month or so... trying to assimilate information on VTT's in general... I also own ViewingDale and will be making use of that as well... both platforms are still new to me so I imagine it will be slow going at first...

I'd have to say that moving to a VTT came as a real shock to me in terms of map design. I thought it wouldn't be very different, but it was. I know better now, and have ways of trying to make things work, but I'm sure I still have a lot of learning to do.

As you say, you need to keep all the images with the map separately so they can be applied in the VTT, and you do need to be aware of resources and bandwidth and zoom ratios etc. It might have been helpful if it had been said that there should be a base map, a collection of all the images to be put on, and an entry that would combine them into the map as the party would first encounter it, as that is what is really needed for most VTTs.

This contest was (for me) very limited by the 75k limit and the recommended resolution, which is much more limited than I prefer. But the detail in some of the maps (including yours) was amazing given those limitations and certainly showed me that I need to understand png and jpg compression algorithms better than I do.

It seems to me that Dundjinni revolutionised people's ideas of what could be done with photorealistic maps, but that the emphasis within the community tended towards attractiveness rather than usability. I think that emphasis still exists, but that the rise of VTTs will lead a swing back to usability. I just hope it does not lead to excess minimalism and lack of resolution.

delgondahntelius
06-01-2008, 02:29 PM
I actually have all the individual items saved seperately ... in case there would be a need to use them in the future. I did keep that in mind as I made it...

I learned alot about compression and the difference between raster and vector as a mapping tool... my first map.. the one that I messed up on in the wip... was done in photoshop .. the second larger and correct size file was done in illustrator... and with vectors I found I could put out more and get less... so to speak... I'm sure there is much more to it than I really know... but it was a learning experience all around...

I really don't see a trend towards lack of resolution and excessive minimalism ... I understand that users are still on dialup ... I was until about ... 5 months ago... and I all too well understand the frustration that goes with dialup .... but as a dialup user... I just didn't participate in things that I knew were going to either A> frustrate me till the point of throwing the keyboard threw the monitor. Or B> causing others in a game to lag, slow down and otherwise interrupt their game experience. ... I'm not saying everyone with dialup should just accept this attitude (it sure saved me headaches tho) but it just pays to know your limitations and to work around them... hence a minimilist map... but, I don't forsee this being a mainstream kinda thing...

RobA
06-01-2008, 04:35 PM
I can repost my tower map without doors, and at a higher resolution, with each level as a separate image (if anyone wants). The original is 128 px per 5 feet...what is best for VTT?

-Rob A>

meleeguy
06-01-2008, 05:04 PM
extremely useful - I will definately use it.

I appreciate that bit of encouragement, thank you. I plan to continue on with it and others, after a short break.

Bringing up our maps side by side and I agree with the board that yours is the better map. Your use of textures borders on exquisite. There is one particular spot on the main bluffs that is particularly realistic, reminding me of the lower Grand Canyon rim. Well done! And best of all, you demonstrated the techniques behind it's construction.

I voted for Redrobes for reasons I find hard to explain relative to the other maps. I'm surprised the mud caves didin't do better myself, but that is the nature of 'contests'. My regards to those running this and others for the benefit of the community. Great job.

Dormouse, that you for the very useful feedback. I'm intrigued by VTTs, although I haven't played any as yet. I need to learn more about how things are done and so I will.

My map is exactly 8 pixels per foot in both dimensions, which I should have mentioned from the outset, hence 1280x1040.

meleeguy
06-01-2008, 05:38 PM
So, in retrospect, many of us didn't understand VTT mapping requirements.

What a great way to learn, however! I had no idea. Hmmm, so where is a good place to discuss 'meta-VTT-cartography'? :?: Is this perhaps a burgeoning field of interest? :o To further expand, how does all this relate to overhead projector maps (which I'm getting ready to actually do) :?:.

My congratulations on being asked to host this contest btw. The prizes make it more exciting, but it was the subject itself, with the emphasis on cartography, that is the most facinating part of all (to me).

RPMiller
06-01-2008, 06:52 PM
So, in retrospect, many of us didn't understand VTT mapping requirements.

What a great way to learn, however! I had no idea. Hmmm, so where is a good place to discuss 'meta-VTT-cartography'? :?: Is this perhaps a burgeoning field of interest? :o To further expand, how does all this relate to overhead projector maps (which I'm getting ready to actually do) :?:.

My congratulations on being asked to host this contest btw. The prizes make it more exciting, but it was the subject itself, with the emphasis on cartography, that is the most facinating part of all (to me).
I believe we may have a forum up for this very soon. ;)

delgondahntelius
06-01-2008, 07:40 PM
THAT would be fantastic!! I would definitely be interested in pooling vtt knowledge and technics and maps.... This challenge really got my psyched about VTT ... I hadn't really kept up with it.... back in the day when the idea of tabletop playing online was in its infancy (I actually started playing d&d online via IRC chat from a bulletin board ... that was when I had the state of the art 386dx66 with 4MB of ram, a compressed 210MB HD and the external brand new 14.4 baud modem.) I currently use that as a doorstop in the garage.... (oh.. don't forget the 16bit graphics card!!!) I also played a lot of DOOM ((IDKFA))

But I digress... I kinda lost interest when the good VTT products were the kind you had to pay for in order to really gain the full benefit (there was POW WOW that had a nifty paintboard for the chatroom.. :) ) and then I picked up a D&D group again and things like trying to play online and get players across the country (and world sometimes) together at the same time was such a nuiscance that it wasn't worth the effort.

But VTT's now have not only the online play, but as demonstrated by numerous members can be used from a PC to Laptop for players in a group, to using a projector... to being able to take VTT battlemaps and print them for group use... and I'm sure there can be many more uses... I would imagine an ultimate setup would be a full size table screen that users could activate via touch to move their pieces as well as have their character stats on screen .... I bet that would cost a pretty penny... $$$

But I hope to see that forum up and actively participate in... Man I LOVE THIS SITE !!!! .... I think I said that when I got here tho...

We should erect a bronze statue of Arcana and mount it on the front steps to the site ..... !!!!

Del

meleeguy
06-01-2008, 09:10 PM
I believe we may have a forum up for this very soon. ;)

As the cartographically wise decide.

meleeguy
06-01-2008, 09:22 PM
I expected options for doors and openable windows. A base map without them. Plus the images for the doors and windows. Plus a map with them in the state the party will first encounter.

Light and Shade will depend on circumstances and are definitely best added in the VTT.



Could you explain or provide links to 'good' examples please? On my map there are a variety of doors and windows both horizontal and vertical - would I provide a stamp set along with furniture and carpet stamps? Are there alignment requirements? Can stamps be stacked? Alpha channels ok? etc.

Thanks! I'm interested in finishing this but I need to know more, especially the ones that apply to more than one specific VTT. Now I better think about projector needs. :)

RPMiller
06-01-2008, 09:30 PM
Just a quick note on projector use. I'm not positive about other VTTs, but MapTool has a "projector mode" that is used for local playing sessions with a projector. Just thought you might like to know. :)

dormouse
06-01-2008, 09:42 PM
I can repost my tower map without doors, and at a higher resolution, with each level as a separate image (if anyone wants). The original is 128 px per 5 feet...what is best for VTT?

Please.

What is best for VTT depends entirely on the VTT.
I use BRPG which works on a base 61px per 5 feet with a maximum 200% zoom. So that makes the ideal resolution 122px per 5 feet. Your original size would be fine.
Other VTTs would be use different scales, but everyone is likely to be happy to resize.

dormouse
06-01-2008, 09:53 PM
Could you explain or provide links to 'good' examples please? On my map there are a variety of doors and windows both horizontal and vertical - would I provide a stamp set along with furniture and carpet stamps? Are there alignment requirements? Can stamps be stacked? Alpha channels ok? etc.

Thanks! I'm interested in finishing this but I need to know more, especially the ones that apply to more than one specific VTT. Now I better think about projector needs. :)

I'd love to provide links, but people only seem to post full maps which are hard to use. VTTs generally handle 'stamps' differently. Most VTTs, I would think, are able to change the alignment of the 'stamps', though some may offer a restricted range of changes. Most VTTs can handle jpg & png formats and have no problem with alpha channels.

For use, I would like to see an empty map, no movable (or likely to be moved) furniture or objects, no doors and no openable windows (fixed windows are fine included).
And a full set of separate images of the doors, opening windows, furniture and objects intended for the map.
And a map with all the images already present would demonstrate the intended design.

dorpond
06-01-2008, 10:07 PM
I can repost my tower map without doors, and at a higher resolution, with each level as a separate image (if anyone wants). The original is 128 px per 5 feet...what is best for VTT?

-Rob A>

Maptool uses any scale as long as you have enough memory to load the assets. There are some maps that I use that are set for 20 pixels per cell and there are some maps where I set the grid to 200 pixels per cell. Maptool does not limit grid sizes or map sizes for that matter, so a general rule of thumb I suggest to people is that you should upload images at higher resolution and if certain VT's have restrictions or the GM wants to have smaller file transfers, then the GM's can size them down as needed. Sizing down is much better than sizing up.

So your 128 per 5' is perfectly fine - leave them as is.

delgondahntelius
06-01-2008, 10:08 PM
For use, I would like to see an empty map, no movable (or likely to be moved) furniture or objects, no doors and no openable windows (fixed windows are fine included).
And a full set of separate images of the doors, opening windows, furniture and objects intended for the map.
And a map with all the images already present would demonstrate the intended design.

This is how I wanted to present any VTT map I create, from all of the feedback on vtt's and what should be or shouldn't be on them, this was the best and most logical way I figured it should be done... is this how most people would prefer their vtt maps?

dorpond
06-01-2008, 10:14 PM
Could you explain or provide links to 'good' examples please? On my map there are a variety of doors and windows both horizontal and vertical - would I provide a stamp set along with furniture and carpet stamps? Are there alignment requirements? Can stamps be stacked? Alpha channels ok? etc.

Thanks! I'm interested in finishing this but I need to know more, especially the ones that apply to more than one specific VTT. Now I better think about projector needs. :)

Hey MeleeGuy, have you ever taken a look at Maptool?
Take a look here at a couple video I made that shows what Maptool can do. There is no sound though. Then after at least looking at the General Overview video, then you can learn how to use Maptool by going to the second link.

http://forums.rptools.net/viewtopic.php?t=1714

http://www.rptoolstutorials.net/
(click on the Maptool Tutorials link)

We also have a FAQ too if you are looking to do certain things:
http://www.rptools.net/doku.php?id=maptool:faq

Come hang out at the rptools.net boards and feel free to ask questions - it is a friendly group there.

RPMiller
06-01-2008, 10:36 PM
I still love that lighting effects video especially with the explosion going off. I can't wait for trevor to get the animated gifs working across the network.

delgondahntelius
06-01-2008, 10:49 PM
Great maptool links and vids !! ... you've been REP'D Dorpond!!

Robbie
06-01-2008, 10:50 PM
Well it appears we have winners!!!

1st Place - dorpond - Bluffs Encounter
2nd Place - Torq - The North East Towers of Jocelyn Castle
3rd Place - delgondahntelius - Mistfell Lighthouse

We will be making the arrangements with The Hound from rpgtonight.com to arrange for prize selection.

Congratulations guys!!!

delgondahntelius
06-01-2008, 11:16 PM
I thank you Arcana and everyone else that makes the site a place that is: a supportive, creative outlet with such valuable information, and the members who share their skill and knowledge so freely. I honestly would never have had the push to make the maps I'm making now, I certainly wouldn't have any commisions to do maps. And these challenges (in my case) have been a intregal part of it. All this may sound a bit ?hokey? and maybe a little ostentatious, but its how I see this forum and these challenges.

Too much? :) lol

Hussar
06-01-2008, 11:51 PM
I was split between Dorpond and keithcurtis. I'm very surprised that Keith got so little loving. Just goes to show.

RPMiller
06-02-2008, 01:25 AM
I think that I have figured something out about the challenges and voting. It appears that those who put up multiple WIP and share quite a bit during the challenge seem to get more votes. I may have to go back and look at past challenges to see how true that is...

The Hound
06-02-2008, 11:09 AM
Well it appears we have winners!!!

1st Place - dorpond - Bluffs Encounter
2nd Place - Torq - The North East Towers of Jocelyn Castle
3rd Place - delgondahntelius - Mistfell Lighthouse

We will be making the arrangements with The Hound from rpgtonight.com to arrange for prize selection.

Congratulations guys!!!

I think the best thing to do would be for each of the winners to look at the prize list, make their selections, and email me at admin@rpgtonight.com using "prize selection" in the subject line. Be sure to include your name and shipping address for hardcopy items. Also please provide the name that you would like to credit your map to in our onsite collection (if it is different from your "handle" here). We can also provide email contact information for you alongside your map thumbnail if you want it. We will also note that your entry was a contest winner.

People here would probably be interested in hearing what prizes you select too.

Though the terms state that we have the right to use winning entries as part of our onsite collection, we were sufficiently impressed by all the maps that we would be honored to post any of them for our players to use. If people who didn't win want a little exposure of their artwork to gamers, we would be interested in putting your map into our collection too, but will require explicit permission from you (please email us using the above address).

Sorry, but we don't pay for onsite collection maps, since we seem to be able to obtain more free ones that we have time to put up.

Robbie
06-02-2008, 11:20 AM
And everyone PLEASE give a round of applause to The Hound and the kind folks over at RPGTonight for sponsoring this contest!!!

RPMiller
06-02-2008, 11:39 AM
Thanks to The Hound for sponsoring the contest and CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners and a hearty thank you to all those that submitted an entry!!

Let's try to make next month's contest just as big.

dorpond
06-02-2008, 11:52 AM
I want to thank everyone who voted for me and I especially want to thank The Hound for throwing this contest. It was a lot of fun! Thank you all!

Torq
06-02-2008, 12:07 PM
Congrats Dorpond. Great entry and well deserved first place. Also well done to everyone who entered the challenge this month. Lets keep the numbers this high, prizes or no prizes, every month.

Special thanks to the Hound and RPGTonight for sponsoring this month's challenge. Take note all you corporate cutthroats out there. Now there's an example to follow ;). The file size element to the challenge was very interesting and I leanred one very important lesson, Use Gimp! I had no knowledge of compression at all when this challenge began. Whenever you save a jpg using the Gimp you are given a quality slider which means file compression. I found it was just a matter of trying different slider settings to see how low I would have to go to reach the 75kb. It was as easy as that. No technical knowledge needed. More kudos to a great free app.

Thanks again to everyone.

Torq

delgondahntelius
06-02-2008, 03:00 PM
Aye... I meant to thank RPGtonight and Hound as well on here .. but I stopped by their forum and thanked him there ....

Congrats Dorpond ... really great concept and map ....
Congrats to Torq you too had a great map and unique concept ... I really dug the blurring of ground beneath the tower giving the sense of height and vertigo...

BRING ON THE NEXT CHALLENGE !!! .... I'm going to get me a compass one of these months... maybe June is my compass month! :D

Redrobes
06-02-2008, 03:13 PM
Firstly, thanks to the Hound for sponsoring. Secondly, well done Dorpond. A great map and very well deserved win. A win amongst the highest turnout so far which should definitely sugar it a bit :)

Well done Torq and also Del. Terrific maps.

Well done everyone else too. There were some great maps in there and no votes to show for it. Its a slightly regrettable situation where you have only one vote to cast amongst 25. Some way of apportioning a number of points would have meant that some of the non winners would get a more representative account of the appreciation that we had of them. I hope that some of the new members (tho not necessarily new mappers !) who failed to garner a high vote could stick around.

Thanks to MeleeGuy and the other anon voter who voted for me ;)

I have been away for a day and theres a full page of new threads and loads of VTT questions to pick up on. I think that Dormouse's post was informative with lots of detailed feedback in there to look at. A lot of people were saying about how the map should have been made for VTT's where they have some specific VTT in mind for that assessment. The thing is that the maps were made for the RPGTonight style VTT where the assumption was that it cant do all that lighting, layers, lots of movable objects and so on. So we made a map with them fixed on it. We could have provided many separate PNG type images with loads of layers and objects in different positions - but not in 75K.

Dorpond has requested as many maps to be used in native VTTs where possible so I will show mine with lighting, moving doors, walking under trees, projector mode and high zoom and provide a high res version. My main machine has died tho and the maps were on it and didn't make it to second stage backup. I have assembled all of the material components and will be casting resurrection on it shortly. If it passes system shock then ill get them off and/or post them. Fingers crossed (thats the necessary semantic component of the spell I believe ;) )

ravells
06-02-2008, 04:13 PM
Congrats everyone for some really lovely maps and a great competition! Wow, really great late surge for Del's map!

I hope this cements anyone from Hound's VTT site to wander over here and post any requests for any future maps that they might need. I think the rules say that the winners should allow their maps to be used on the VTT site, but I'm happy to donate my humble er...offering (0 votes!) if Hound would like to pollute his site with it!

Cheers everyone, great efforts and definitely some maps in the mix which deserved to be more richly rewarded. A special mention from me for Cisticola's map, which I thought was really underrated in the voting.

RPMiller
06-02-2008, 07:40 PM
I believe we may have a forum up for this very soon. ;)
Forum is now up. :D

delgondahntelius
06-02-2008, 09:03 PM
HOLY COW ..... why am I still on this thread for??? Kudos RPM .... :D

The Hound
06-02-2008, 09:38 PM
... I think the rules say that the winners should allow their maps to be used on the VTT site, but I'm happy to donate my humble er...offering (0 votes!) if Hound would like to pollute his site with it!


Thank you Ravells. We are seriously lacking in the horror and sci fi departments, so the Shoggoths are eager to get their pseudopods on your wonderfully loathsome creation.

alucard339
06-02-2008, 09:48 PM
Since there is too much to say to all,

I will only say this:

Great job to the winner and to all the runner up, WE will beat them next time or the time after or ...

It was a fun challenge to play by and Thanks all for the great comments you've said about us and our maps.
;)

Sea-U-hall,

Alu.

Valarian
06-03-2008, 04:42 AM
I thought we were all donating the entries ... but if not, then Hound can use mine as well to fill out the SciFi collection.

I'm not worthy ;)

ravells
06-03-2008, 06:36 AM
I'm not worthy ;)


You're in very good company :)

dorpond
06-03-2008, 11:51 AM
People here would probably be interested in hearing what prizes you select too.

It was a tough choice for me because there are so many great prizes to pick from. I decided on the following:

- 4th Edition Core Rulebook Gift Set (Dungeon Master's Guide, Player's Handbook, Monster Manual)
- Four Ugly Monsters: High Res Token Pack Bundle (12 packs of tokens (top view minis))

I love D&D so I went with the 4th edition ruleset and I just had to support the guys over at FourUglyMonsters (I love their minis and they will go great in my weekly game using Maptool :) ).

Thank you all again and thank you The Hound!

Torq
06-03-2008, 05:18 PM
Man, thats a horrible coincidence. I sent my choices through to the Hound without seeing your Dorpond. Luckily I had a few alternatives. Its amazing but my choices all included various combinations of the D&D 4e books and the FUM hi-res token pack.

By process of elimination excluding your picks, I think my first choice combination was the 4e PHB and the 4e MM. I cant wait to see D&D in its next incarnation. I remember well the feeling of getting my grubby 14 year old hands on the 1e PHB in 1984. (The blue book with the very bearded wizard on it). Man what a rush!

I'm a lawyer and I was recently in a very tense pre-trial conference that was going rather badly as the animosity levels began to spiral. Just then the other side's additional attorney entered the room. Not only was it a guy I went to boarding school with but he had DMed the first ever game of D&D I played in, and he was brilliant. Lets just say the meeting got diffused pretty quickly and we reached agreement on most of the issues we needed to. As we walked out of the meeting he showed me the notes he had been writing on a pad during the meeting. He had a doodled some kind of horned warrior staring off the page and underneath he had written "Level up Gary, RIP". I tell you I nearly cried.

Torq

RPMiller
06-03-2008, 05:46 PM
You should have just karate chopped the other side's attorney and called it even. ;) :lol:

delgondahntelius
06-03-2008, 06:10 PM
I choose a 4e PHB for my choice... I prefer my 3.5 but I'm going to give 4e a chance .... guess we'll see :D

RPMiller
06-03-2008, 07:04 PM
I chose to believe your choice was to choose at which point you had chosen. ;)

Sorry, pet peeve of mine lately right along with losing one's loss because it was too loose. :D

delgondahntelius
06-03-2008, 07:16 PM
LOL... I saw that and thought....hmmm... should I edit that for the spelling mistake... and then... Nah.... noone cares... lol evidently ... someone did care :D

ravells
06-03-2008, 08:50 PM
Man, thats a horrible coincidence. I sent my choices through to the Hound without seeing your Dorpond. Luckily I had a few alternatives. Its amazing but my choices all included various combinations of the D&D 4e books and the FUM hi-res token pack.

By process of elimination excluding your picks, I think my first choice combination was the 4e PHB and the 4e MM. I cant wait to see D&D in its next incarnation. I remember well the feeling of getting my grubby 14 year old hands on the 1e PHB in 1984. (The blue book with the very bearded wizard on it). Man what a rush!

I'm a lawyer and I was recently in a very tense pre-trial conference that was going rather badly as the animosity levels began to spiral. Just then the other side's additional attorney entered the room. Not only was it a guy I went to boarding school with but he had DMed the first ever game of D&D I played in, and he was brilliant. Lets just say the meeting got diffused pretty quickly and we reached agreement on most of the issues we needed to. As we walked out of the meeting he showed me the notes he had been writing on a pad during the meeting. He had a doodled some kind of horned warrior staring off the page and underneath he had written "Level up Gary, RIP". I tell you I nearly cried.

Torq

Superb! You're just very lucky his notepad didn't say....'Torq fails saving roll against law'. :)

RPMiller
06-03-2008, 11:55 PM
LOL... I saw that and thought....hmmm... should I edit that for the spelling mistake... and then... Nah.... noone cares... lol evidently ... someone did care :D
Hehehe... Normally I wouldn't have said anything, but in just the last two days I've seen those mistakes at least a dozen times on other forums and I just had to say something here because I like you guys too much not to. ;) :D :lol:

RPMiller
06-03-2008, 11:56 PM
Superb! You're just very lucky his notepad didn't say....'Torq fails saving roll against law'. :)
:lol: ROFL :lol:

Torq
06-04-2008, 02:58 AM
Superb! You're just very lucky his notepad didn't say....'Torq fails saving roll against law'. :)

I've failed that save far too many times to remember, it doesn't hurt anymore.

Correction to my earlier post: The Hound e-mailed to say that my prize picks are not dependent on what Dorpond chooses. Thats good news. I had it completely wrong. Guess I'll be going for the 4e gift set then.

Torq

dorpond
06-04-2008, 12:42 PM
Man, thats a horrible coincidence. I sent my choices through to the Hound without seeing your Dorpond. Luckily I had a few alternatives.

Just so you know Torq, if a prize is selected from the list, it is not removed from the list. I confirmed that with The Hound. That being said, you too could get the 4th edition set. you may want to contact him quickly before he purchases.

Funny that you mentioned this. Before I even picked my prize, I contacted The Hounds and said something like "I want to make sure that if I pick the 4th edition set, Torq will also be able to select it". I knew you had your heart set on it :) . He simply wrote back that picking a prize does not take it off the list and it can be picked multiple times.

So that being said, you could have picked 2 PHB's for your friends if you wanted.

[edit] Oops.. I see you also spoke to The Hound and found out the same thing. [edit]

ravells
06-04-2008, 12:56 PM
I've failed that save far too many times to remember, it doesn't hurt anymore.

Torq

Lol! Me too, my friend, me too.

torstan
06-05-2008, 07:12 AM
Been away for a bit and have just finished catching up with recent events. Congratulations to Dorpond - see your fears were entirely unfounded!

This was a very interesting competition (and I have acquired a hoard of useful maps for future games) and I'm very grateful to The Hound for starting it off. Dormouse's points about VTTs are all valid. There's usually an interesting balance to be struck on any map between the fixed map and the movable items. I would say that all of these maps are usable in a VTT, it just depends on how precisely you want your VTT map to mimic the world. Many people are happy to have it more representational and therefore to live with closed doors that players just walk through. I have managed to use DM's maps from Dungeon (with the secret doors edited our in Gimp) as very successful VTT maps, so the lack of separate movable objects does not make a map unusable.

The compression lessons were very useful and I would like to thank all of those who gave advice on that aspect of image creation. That was far more useful than going through a dry discussion of compression in a book or on a website.

It's great to see a VTT forum as well! That really shows the level of interest this gained. An excellent challenge all round. My 4th place just tells me that I was never meant to play 4Ed :)

dormouse
06-05-2008, 03:27 PM
There's usually an interesting balance to be struck on any map between the fixed map and the movable items ... Many people are happy to have it more representational and therefore to live with closed doors that players just walk through. I have managed to use DM's maps from Dungeon (with the secret doors edited our in Gimp) as very successful VTT maps, so the lack of separate movable objects does not make a map unusable.

True.
But ...
It very much limits the value that can be got out of a campaign on a VTT. I won't describe things the party ought to be noticing for themselves as they pass through the map. If the party passes a door they have already been through, they will need to remember how they left it - or miss a clue that something might have happened behind them. The same for items that are in different places. If they wish to close doors behind them, they will have to save for noise or causing a change in airflow that might be noticed (not that they will be told the results, or even that I will have rolled). Places they have been, but left behind, are not left visible on the map if they have moved out of sight. Getting out may be as hard (or harder) as getting in and they need to stay alert to anything that might have changed. It makes all the details of the map potentially important and increases the tension and atmosphere. And maximises the gain that can be got out of using a VTT instead of printed/drawn battlemaps.
So, from my personal point of view (acknowledging that other DMs may use VTTs differently), having these things fixed means that I would not use maps where I could not control the movable items/features in the VTT.
If playing on a table top with 'real' figures, I'm quite happy using salt cellars, pepper pots, beer mats etc to represent other things/monsters/people and use a lot of description for what they see. But it does make for a different type of game/communication/experience. When you have to describe things, the players know that you will have to have mentioned info you want to give them. Using images means that the info can be 'hidden' in other stuff and the players have to stay alert to keep up/stay alive.
Of course, what you do does all depend on your players.