View Full Version : Doing a map together

08-14-2009, 12:41 AM
Usually we do maps all alone, without anyone else directly taking part to the creation process etc. How about if we had a challenge where people would do a map in pairs with a random participant? I think that this kind of challenge would probably be a great learning experience for many, and it would also be a good opportunity to get to know other people on the forum. This mapping challenge suggestion doesn't really work on it's own, but It has to be combined to other suggestion, as we need an a theme for the challenge also.

As the map would have to be done together with someone else, so people would need to think about filesize, filetypes etc also. It would also be good if the participants would do a short report in the end of the challenge, how they have taken part in the creation of the map (could be also done on the go). That would be also taken into account when evaluating the maps. Sounds fun? What do you all think about the idea?

Short version:
-maps done in random pairs

08-14-2009, 12:53 AM
That's actually a rather neat idea.
Having collaborated recently on a project in this manner, i think I'm ready :P

08-14-2009, 01:50 AM
The best part is that it would remove the "veteran" factor. We've got some incredible mappers here that can easily take down a less experienced mapper in a contest. This changes that though since they have to work with someone who could very well be well below them in mapping know-how. You can be the best mapper in the world and you won't get nowhere if you can't communicate with your partner...

tl;dr version - I fully approve.

08-14-2009, 07:33 AM
What I like about this idea is that it takes communication outside of the guild to get it done as well as compromises here n there...much like commission work. It would serve as a feet-wetting exercise, an intro, primer for getting used to that kind of back n forth workflow.

08-14-2009, 08:11 AM
I think it's a great idea too!

08-14-2009, 08:34 AM
The idea is appealing, but I am afraid not many people would participate... I did vote yes, though :)

08-14-2009, 08:40 AM
That's a brilliant idea. I'd love to try this.

The only downside is a lot more work for the moderators.

You would have to take applications beforehand, then put the teams together before starting.
Could be done a month in advance, I guess.

You would also have to find a good way to handle dropouts.
Maybe have a queue of interested people who missed the application deadline for filling in potential vacant spots.

08-14-2009, 08:50 AM
Maybe you could use a map-within-a-map scenario. For example, you could have a regional overland map but there would be a framed area with a city-scale map showing a close-up on one of the places marked on the overland map. One mapper would be resposible for the overland map and the other one for the town/castle/etc map.

08-14-2009, 09:57 AM
It would be more interesting if they would have to work on the same map ;)

08-14-2009, 10:09 AM
How do you make sure that both put in nearly equal effort though? It could easily slip to one mapper doing most of the work.

08-14-2009, 10:15 AM
How do you make sure that both put in nearly equal effort though? It could easily slip to one mapper doing most of the work.

By making all discorse on the creation of said map take place entirely in the WIP Thread.

Thus people can actually SEE the collaborative effort.

Steel General
08-14-2009, 10:19 AM
I voted no, not because I thought it was a bad idea (I actually like it), but because of time constraints.

A single month may not be enough time, I would suggest making this a special challenge and extending the time frame. This way should something come up for one of the team members (vacation, business, whatever) they can try and plan around it.

08-14-2009, 02:59 PM
I voted no mostly because collaboration is difficult even when you're being paid and have a loose deadline. Free and fixed deadlines require massive commitment from both parties, meaning that they have to already have a good working relationship before the challenge starts.

As you might gather from the above discussion, I've had some very bad collaborations in the past. Of course, I don't do much in the way of participation anyhow, so it might not make much difference in the long run.

08-14-2009, 03:25 PM
Well in this kind of challenge you would have to know where to set the limits. Many projects fail because they aim too high. One part of the challenge is to estimate what kind of goal is realistic in the time constraint and how much effort that requires from both parties. Being able to do compromises will probably get you far in the challenge.

In the end, you set the difficulty level of the challenge with your partner. If you set it just right and work as a team, you'll complete the map in time and maybe even win the whole thing.

08-14-2009, 03:45 PM
I thought this idea had been proposed before. Didn't we say last time that it would be good to have a team mapping event where the total rep per team had to be about the same. I think its a good idea but I have no idea how it would be realized tho. Maybe someone arty could do a backdrop and several people do icons for a map then composite it all up at the end.

08-14-2009, 04:27 PM
I kinda like the idea, time constraints aside, organization aside...

It would also be interesting how cross software work would go... not everything everybody uses here is cross compatible...

What about a challenge where instead of some time limit... you set the max number of entries and (with some flexibility) the team size... and only judged once all the entries were complete or dropped... Monthly challenges would continue (probably focused on lighter challenges) if need be...

08-14-2009, 08:00 PM
Yeah I think a fixed number of teams headed up by a different CL each or doubled up CL's (do we have that many ?). Anyway, after that they should say what kind of map their doing and software their using and you join a team based on your preference to the software. Like say, Neon could do a CC3 group or RobA heads up a Gimp map etc. If there were 5 or 6 groups or something like that then that would mean that each one could have quite a few members. Although people say they don't have the time the collaborative effect ought to mean that the map gets done faster. Im not suggesting that the CL does all the drawing on the team of course. Thats for the team to decide how to break up the work.

08-14-2009, 08:28 PM
I love the idea, however, not everyone uses the same formats/methods. I'm just starting out (not counting hand drawn) for example, so both my software and my skills in them are rather limited.

08-14-2009, 08:49 PM
You don't need to be proficient in tools or use the same tools if you're part of the design process. "This should go here, those should be that colour, this area needs to look more consistent with that area, can we move X to that point over there" direction is tool-independant (just ask AslanC, heh) :)

08-14-2009, 10:20 PM
Uh, yeah, I'm good in rushing people around like that (my former co-GM could confirm that), but that sounds more like one person doing all the slave work.

08-14-2009, 10:53 PM
In order to keep everyone working equally hard and allowing for personal lives/time away there might have to be benchmarks. Say the CL does the layout for a continent/region/town/dungeon/space ship/galaxy/etc, the others do various elements like Murderface does the mountains, Pickles does the forests, Skwisgaar does the labels, Nathan does the rivers, Toki does the scale and compass, etc. Finally, a CL does the touch up and finish work and also provides guidance/direction/help all along the way. This way everyone gets the work in but it doesn't take that one person all month to do all of the various things...they just work a few days and pass it on.

If you think about it -- the CL, as team leader, gets to work sort of like a client and team members get to practice commission-like work while jumping through hoops and meeting deadlines. Then the CL comes back in at the end and cleans everything up.

Just a thought and I think too much :)

08-15-2009, 06:40 AM
Sounds like it could work. But I think we'd need a list beforehand as to who can do what in which software/style. Otherwise people with the same skills might wind up working together and can't complete the job.

Greason Wolfe
08-16-2009, 10:44 PM
My biggest concern would be software compatibility (as was previously mentioned). Even if people are using the same basic software, they might not be using the same versions which, in turn, might cause a bit of havoc when trying to pass the map around for others in the group to work on. I, for instance, use an older version of Paintshop Pro and/or GIMP. If my partners are all using Photoshop or Inkscape (or anything along those lines) and need to pass the file on to me (layers included) there's no way I would be able to work on it other than looking at the composited image, creating my edits as a second version and then passing it back to someone who could use both files and merge them properly.

Still, I think it is a great idea and would definitely be a good thing to participate in as, hopefully, everyone involved in the various groups would learn something from their fellows (or fellowettes as the case may be). I haven't voted yet, though, as I'll have to think on this one as far as it being a challenge sort of thing. It might do better to be in something similar to the CWBP as opposed to being a challenge.

Just my two and a half cents worth . . .


08-17-2009, 08:29 AM
We have had technically restricting contests in the past. I mean you would have to split along vector apps / raster apps or CC3 type custom apps and then pick a format like SVG, PNG or CC3. Ok so layers are out but I dont think thats a biggie. Someone could do a bit of the map in layers, freeze them and export a big PNG for the rest to pick up and continue (poss using more layers to be frozen etc). What if you were commissioned to produce a console game and they had strict requirements for the map ? Those sorts of restrictions are part of the game when working for someone.

I think the map content should be very open tho - like you can do a regional, battle map, or just about anything as long as it was done with at least 3 people or something like that.

I use PSP and it has PNG support, my apps can import and export PNGs, all Gimpers and PSers are ok with that. In fact the only people stuffed in raster land are probably the MSPaint die hards. And heck, maybe part of the fun is having to use a new bit of software for this map...

08-17-2009, 08:38 AM
I like the challenge of dealing with various programs, I would consider that to be a requirement...instead of putting all the CC3ers together. I'd like to have a SketchUPer, and Inkscaper on my team for instance.

08-17-2009, 08:47 AM
There's also an option to have a shared base layer (showing the basic layout of the land and such, I suppose), and each participant supplies a transparent png (or other image format with transparency - could even be postscript I reckon) with his/her area filled in. The images can then be merged into one map every now and then as collab WIP's and the different parts can be discussed either from the merged image or from the single transparency overlayed on the base image.

I think I'd enjoy doing something like this, though I'd probably end up doing more supporting development work (as with the Context Free script I made for Ravells) - I do hope I'd count for a team member even if I hadn't actually drawn a pixel on the final map.

Also, does it really matter how much each person has participated? I reckon if one person made the whole thing, they'd be rather miffed at the ones that didn't help, and so would want to, say, make note of that on their entry?