Well I would say that the current entries definitely qualify for the 'decent' tag so it's not impossible. I'll admit that my initial thought that I'd take one of my old VTT maps and compress it turned out precisely the way you mentioned, hence no entry... yet.
The useful part of this competition for me is that I have learnt a lot about compression and file-size. Now I'll never use a 75kb map in a VTT, but I'm sure any map I make after this will be smaller with the things I have learnt. In addition, this competition has raised awareness of VTT needs and styles, which can only be a good thing in a community such as this.
Now if we can get rptools to sponsor a competition over here that showcases maptool's capabilities rather than rpgtonight's rather slender file-size limits then you'll have a ball-game on your hands
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Torq's: May Entry: The North East Towers of Jocelyn Castle
and GamePrinter's: May Entry: Druidic Shrine
Which while drastically different styles, both are beautiful maps which I would love to be able to draw no matter the resolution and size (my art skills are meager by comparison). Sorry to single out these two at the expense of all the other contestants, but I just love these two maps!
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Thanks for those links guys - I stand corrected, there are many fantastic maps already that are below 75k. Impressive
I just didn't think it was possible - go figure..
I think Torstan has it spot on. I would never choose to limit my maps to any particular res but I know a little more about how to take any existing image and make it smaller if that is whats required. Its been a useful exercise already.
Theres been a lot of talk about how much better the maps could be in various other VTTs with a much higher file size limit. I think this is now taken as read and no doubt these maps would look better with a higher file size in RPGTonight also. I don't know why they wanted a minimal style exactly but thats what was called for and its made for an interesting twist on the months challenge.
Last I counted we were up to 17 entries so far and thats the highest turnout of all time. So it cant be all that nuts.
Edit -- make that 18... and counting... theres a few promises and a few notable missing people who usually come in with a corker late in the run.
Keep in mind also that RPGTonight and most VTT's are very much capable of higher res/higher filesize images. The challenge subject has nothing to do with our gracious sponsors capabilities. The subject of the challenge is designed to "challenge" you. Sure, anyone can create a map with lots of detail and a huge filesize...but who here can successfully make a map that both looks good AND has a small file size.
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As a long time user of VTT's, I can say that it has very little to do with RPGTonight's requirements, and a lot to do with the end user. I don't know how RPGTonight works, but, with OpenRPG, you have constant queries passing back and forth between all users to keep the maps synchronized. That's great if everyone's has lots of bandwidth. But, if you have one player on dial-up, another on a fritzy wireless setup and a third with shakey connections, it can be a real nightmare. The smaller the background map is, the easier it is to ping between each user.
I know that in my last group, I could never go above 400 k in any background image without major issues, and, generally, 150k was about the limit. Seeing the entries here, and with only 75 k, makes me a happy, happy camper.
I have to say I really like the limitation of the contest.
It isn't arbitrary or subjective its functional. Reducing bandwidth is a good goal for online games so I think its a sensible limitation.
Not to pimp my own entry too much
May Entry: Colour and Atmosphere
Personally, I think we all need to be more familiar with compression as an element of useful mapping. For VTTs to be approachable to people with different connection speeds size is an element in a considerate map.
Besides there are much greater demands on images for the printed page. Monitors are more forgiving of imperfections. Since VTT graphics may only be seen on the monitor shrinking it makes sense.
I think whats getting a few people a little (unnecessarily if you ask me) hot under the collar is the idea that the 75Kb (or thereabouts) is a general restriction about how things must be in order to use a VTT.
75Kb is an awful lot of data and many old PC games use to use dial up and play multiplayer like Neverwinter Nights for example and these were real time games which is a much harder proposition than what a VTT must provide. I would say quite confidently that it would be possible to run a VTT game on 1Kb bandwidth connection for the map updates.
The 75Kb limit has made for a great challenge this month tho and I have enjoyed the task of getting something technically right as well as artistically. Given that my artistic skills are way behind the guys here I welcome it as a means of leveling the field a bit for me.
Perhaps it is worth making the point clear then. I thought that it would just be assumed otherwise.
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