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MOTM 12.200801 2009f March 2009 01:57 PM
Posted by:Nightmarjoo
Luckily for us, Testbug was bored enough to churn out another really great map, once again. So for the last month of December, we get a pretty good reflection of the whole year in one map, a Testbug remake of a Nastymarine map. When you take arguably the two best mappers at this site and put them together, you're guaranteed to get an epic map, and that's what we have in the form of the aptly named (4)Yellow!

A remake of September's close 2nd place map (4)Dayun Si, Yellow takes all the great features of Nasty's map, and just adds on with such perfect execution as only Testbug can muster.

The map starts out basic, 4 starting locations in the corners. Rotational symmetry (done really well!), with bridges for chokes. That description reminds me of Spitfire's Artist, a great pgt map made forever ago. As you leave the nats, you get a few places to go. Towards the map edge lies your 3rd gas expo, a standard easily-droppable default-ramped cliff. This lies the biggest change from Nasty's map, this area used to be a mineral only expansion backdoor from the main, so you can imagine how close this expo could be to your opponent depending on how the positions turn out.

Should you head just past that 3rd gas cliff expo, you reach a hill, a plateau overseeing the central 4th gas expo, potentially of your opponent, just to throw out how close your opponent could be. If you take a turn towards the middle of the map instead however, you run into a bridge, leading to that 4th gas expo. If you turn towards the middle as soon as you cross your nat bridge, you have your own hill, and a little past that is your own 4th gas expo.

The center itself is not mirror symmetrical on all directions, as 3 and 9 are connected by a large central bridge. 3 and 9 thus have 5 ways out of their quarter of the map, while 12 and 6 have only 4. This slight asymmetry reminds me of Tau Cross' center, and adds a little positional variety and room for strategical differences and stuff in the game, without really limiting the players at all. The variety in path location, direction, and distance ensure players can move around the map pretty easily, but certainly not to any obscene degree.

The relative close proximity and presence of a 4th geyser in the central expansions are quite offset by being so vulnerable, both from ground and from the cliff behind them. Overall we have a pretty macro-oriented map, with the center offering some tactical emphasis in its multitude of paths and slight asymmetry. Large mains allow for a variety of drop-based harass and attacks, and the safe-by-ground 3rd gas expos are also quite droppable. The mains and nats are fairly safe from harass, but not to an asphixiating degree, leaving the players quite open to choosing whatever strategy or build they like. The only strategical limitations I can think of are that perhaps 1base aggressive builds will be perhaps slightly less effective (if that's even possible) due to what I believe are somewhat longer than normal nat2nat distances, and main2main distances.

The map perhaps lacks the flare of a bolder, more experimental map, but what it has instead is excellent execution of a fairly basic but still original concept. It really does combine the best talents of Nastymarine and Testbug, Nasty's concept planning and Testbug's damn good execution. As evidence of this map's quality, the map was accepted into the ICCup Mappool, so congratulations again to Testbug for getting a map into iccup; it really represents the best our site, gets our name out and doesn't embarass in the least degree.

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Obs Version

In a not so close 2nd place, we have Nightmarjoo's (2)Idunno. What we have here is a fairly basic ptarish 2 player map. Pretty basic x/y symmetry, with the backs of the mains facing eachother. Outside the mains lies a pythonesque nat. Past the nat and towards the map corner is a highground 3rd gas expo. The expansion is relatively safe, being close to the player and far from the opponent, though its chokes are fairly large. I should say it'd be easy to attack if not for it being so far from the opponent. In the corner itself lies a 4th gas expo, cliffable by the 3rd gas expo, and by a temple cliff right next to the expansion. It represents some pretty easy-to-grab gas, but should players take it swiftly, it could provide your opponent with ample harass material to give you a headache. It is approximately about as safe as the 3rd gas expansion by land I'd say, though it has a variety of perks and drawbacks.

From here the map starts to get more interesting. If you take a quick walk from the 4th gas expo, you get to another highground gas expo. However, this one is directly cliffable from the lowground center next to it, and features very little room for defense buildings, but has small ramps, making it both hard to reinforce and attack, and easy to defend, potentially. Now, this is interesting because a quick jog in the same direction leads to another gas expo, but one that is right against the other player's main. This gas expo's geyser is cliffable from the main. The interesting part comes through it being much closer to the player whose main is right next to it, but it's somewhat not as safe as your 3rd gas expo, on top of being farther from you and closer to your opponent, making it not an ideal 3rd gas location. However, it being close to you makes it somewhat ambiguous as to who "owns" it. Furthermore, it is harassable from the small cliff expo by it. Who owns this expansion is apparently governed only by the players, as there is a lot of room for interpretation and variety here.

In the center of the map is an Andromeda expo, but one with more money to make it perhaps more viable. It is directly between the players, but also directly along nat2nat pathing, and fairly wealthy, almost making it a viable expansion.

The biggest thing this other-wise standard map has going for it lies in the somewhat ambiguous expo layout as far as ownership is concerned, which when tied with the general vulnerability and harassability of the expansions makes for some potentially interesting play strategically. Large mains keep drops open as an option. Lots of room for proxy play helps keep options open for players which the long nat2nat distance might normally block off.

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Obs Version

In a close 3rd place (relative to 2nd place), we have name familiar to anyone who's ever looked at the MOTW list, pgt or wgt's mappools: Starparty! While he is not quite as active as he used to be, he still makes a great map here and there when he feels like reminding us Testbug is not the only complete-badass mapper at the site.

So here's Starparty's (4)Halo 2.3! While perhaps more conceptually driven, with then a lesser focus on execution the map may appear to not shine out compared to say a Testbug map, or one of Starparty's old maps, but a close look can spy some of the genius of Starparty.

Starting out simply we get 4 starting locations in the 4 corners of the map. Starparty immediately gets to work on ensuring this map is unlike the common map by placing the mineral formation nearly directly against the water's edge behind them, making them easy to harass. Furthermore, the otherwise normal lowground natural expansions are cliffed from behind, and then directly in front of them have another highground plateau smiling down on them. On this plateau lies the mineral only expansion, a worthy prize for those who make it this far through the gauntlet of harass and pressure opportunities Starparty gives their opponents.

These central plateaus do more than just overlook the wide center, they also oversee the very small chokes leading to the 3rd gas expansions, which also happen to be the only other expansion on the map. So here we get an interesting dynamic. The 3rd gas expos are "safe" in that they have a small choke to defend, but then they also are lowground, with highground plateaus nearby. These plateaus can give the expo hell, give the expo's defenders hell, or give the expo's attackers hell, all depending on how the game plays out. Also, to a lesser degree the mineral only expansions can be harassed from this area.

So in the end, while allowing macro players to play normally, Starparty greatly encourages more aggressive, perhaps lower economically based gameplay as well, giving both players many opportunities to shine. This map embodies a transition from the standard macro oriented play to the more old-school lower econ based gameplay, perhaps even with an emphasis on more 1base builds. Lower than normal mineral block counts all-over the map further reduce the macro tendencies of the map.

While perhaps not as flashy as a more experimental map, or not quite as well-executed as Testbug's microscopic-eye-for-detail, the map stands out amongst others quite well with certainly fair execution, and some great conceptual work without being terribly imposing on the players. Like the other maps this month, the map stands out as its own map while keeping plenty of options open for the players.

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Map Download

So congratulations to Testbug, Nightmarjoo, and Starparty. Coming soon, the Maps of the Year for 2008 to finally put away 2008 and truly embrace that 2009 is fully upon us, then we can see what epic maps 2009 has brought us!

No comments? :(
3 months late. what do you expect?


Maybe MOTM 01.09, 02.09 also??????
Hey feel free to do it yourself if you want it done faster. Part of why this took so long is because I have a hard time caring about writing long newsposts about maps people and even the maps' authors don't care about. This is all late apparently because my standards of quality differ greatly from the people making these winning maps. MOTM was supposed to bring in more testing and editing, it's just exactly the same as MOTW except with longer deadlines rofl.

Why should I bother continue to write these stupid semi-lying posts about maps when the only comment I get in appreciation is "WELL YOU COULD'VE DONE IT SOONER".

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