Alright, a bit belated, but here's our Map of the Month for November!
Of course, it's by none other than the embodiment of Jaedong in a mapper, Testbug!
(2)Lobotomy is a ptarish (2)map. The map is quite large, being 128x128. A complicated complex of ramps and chokes all over the map attempt to balance out the spacial issues making a (2)128x112 map create. Of course this is all done with the brilliant execution Testbug always delivers.
To start, the map has lowground mains and highground nats, with a neutral tightening the choke at the nat to ensure FEing is possible, and comfortable. The nat has an interesting layout, with two large chokes leading from it to two very seperate paths.
Along the main route we get the mineral only expansion, and just past that lies a temple complex which functions as a forward overlord spot. That's where to go if you want to buy some drugs from the local overlord. Past here we have the central choke, which is tight like in Loki II, forcing players to use the whole map, ensuring at worst a bilinear layout (as opposed to just being linear, like most (2)maps).
Through the other route we get to a lowground area with the most beautiful rocks Testbug ever made, which also leads to the 3rd gas expo on a plateau.
Taking the subdivision of the main route takes you to the other side of the map, where a cliffable and vulnerable gas expo lies. Beyond this back towards the corner by your main lies another gas expo, one that would be entirely too safe if not for the closest path to it being a 815 ramp, making reinforcing this expansion potentially difficult.
Large mains keep the harassability potential up high throughout the game, even as you secure all expansions. The map's sheer size and room for mobility make back and forth fighting quite possible. The map appears to be largely quadrilinear. A solid variety of tight and open sections of the map not only ensures quite a bit of room for pure strategy and positioning/maneauvering, but allows for the players to choose their battles carefully and creatively.
While having nothing particularly unique or experimental about the map, its unique layout keeps its exact balance an enigma, but what is sure is that the map should play well given Testbug's eye for detail.
In second place we have another familiar face, Morrow and his (2)Treant!
Here we get a 112x128 stab at a large (2)map.
What starts out standard with a normal main/nat quickly diverges from the norm with a very close 3rd gas expo which actually cliffs the nat. Past here lies the 4th gas expo which is quite large, and cliffable. The long, large ramp makes it easy for your opponent to attack what otherwise might be an extraordinarily safe expansion.
From the nat towards the center lies a chupung-ryeung ramped-plateau, and an offshoot of this path reinforces a tight path to a 5th gas expo, which is quite vulnerable despite being on a small plateau due to it being hard to reinforce and relatively easy to attack from the center or sides.
Around the side of the 5th gas expo between it and your main lies a safe mineral only expansion.
A large clearing in the center gives players a solid battlefield, and ensures the map is not tight.
Overall the map is original in its layout, and is really well made. Somewhat inferior execution and more experimental features landed it below Testbug's map, but the map definitely lives up to the name "almost map of the month" for bwm. The map will definitely play well if you give it a try, and I do encourage you to do so.
Third place for this MOTM is korean FAMAT mapper Twos' (4)Wind Breaker.
Like any good 3rd place map, it's a well-made but not particularly daring concept. It reminds me somewhat of Wuthing Heights on the outside edge of the map, with a pretty bland center containing the 3rd gas expansions. The neatest thing about the map in my opinion would be its use of bridges leading to the center, tightening what otherwise be too open of a map. The map seems to have a nice balance between emphasizing the center and the sides and edges of the map.
Posted by:Nightmarjoo MOTM 10 2008
October's MOTM was a pretty close near-tie, but I think we'll give the win to long-time mapper NastyMarine, who despite getting over nine thousand maps of his and remade concepts of his into 2nd and 3rd place of Map of the Month, he has yet to win a first place since the Seventh Map of the Week in 2007, nearly two years ago!
For first place, for October's Map of the Month, for the year 2008 we have NastyMarine's (4)Ridge to Ridge! This map is a good example of a MOTM which earns its place not through ingenious conceptual work, but through pure excellent execution. That's not to say it's entirely conceptaully lacking at all, which would be quite false, but it focuses on making a comfortable battlefield for the players without distracting them with concepts which alter gameplay. So what we have here, is a very well-made map of a familiar concept, with a unique layout. If it really was so "easy" to make such a map, our database would be a lot nicer.
The main bases are in the corners, the nats are just outside the mains, everything starts out really standard along with really well executed rotational symmetry. Past the nats not too far, maybe a little farther away than the 3rd gas is in Tau Cross, is a 3rd gas expo. Pretty normal so far. The center is large and open. Well, that's about it. Hm? You don't think that makes for a good Map of the Month? Then look closer! What I failed to mention was the presence of long ramps for all chokes in the map. Your main and nat are both lowground, but there's a ramp going up to a skinny plateau and then down a larger ramp into your nat, with a mineral block making the larger main ramp more or less default sized for all intents and purposes, but of course allowing players to more easily move to and from their mains later on in the game.
In the center are more large skinny plateaus/ramps, and the 3rd gas chokes are also the same. The middle is large and open, but is divided up a bit by these ramps, which both give/take altitude advantages, and add fog of war. All-in-all, it puts a huge emphasis on strategy, on tactics and maneuvering. On using the ramps to your advantage, and not being caught with your pants down by them. The map's relatively lax concept allows this focus shift without distracting players much at all. Also, the ramps tighten up what otherwise might've been a middle nearly as large as Python's.
Also, while the gas expos mostly appear to belong to a player, they are not much farther from your opponent as from you, making your expo vulnerable sometimes, and in some cases make "ownership" ambiguous, they are almost neutral expos.
The map's scarcity of resources only further emphasizes a strategical orientation.
In a close 2nd place we have Testbug's (4)Aztec, a remake of Djin)Xuul('s map of the same name:
What we have here is a very basic but very well-made map, which seems in a lot of ways more old-school style. A rotationally balanced map, with cliffable nats, no inverted ramps, a closer/safer min only, and with farther/more open gas expos. The map stays true to modern macro trends mostly, though the map offers less mobility and is tighter overall. There isn't much to say about this map, it's a really well-made map and a very good remake, everything you'd expect from Testbug.
In third place we have neobowman's map (4)Beast II. Neobowman is a mapper you may not have heard or seen much about or from, but he's been around here for a while and his maps are really starting to pick up in quality. Also, neobowman is an admin representing the mapping section of sc2gg.net, whose mapping forum is slowly growing and developing, and which could benefit from more (patient) participation and activity from bwm mappers.
More daring than the other maps we've seen this month, but still fairly basic, is Neobowman's (4)Beast. The map has an expo layout emphasizing use of the sides of the map, similar to (3)Rush Hour III, and likewise also has two quite seperate entrances to the nat, though overall its nat is safer than that of rh3. Its use of neutrals helps dampen the potentially radical effects having two entrances to the nat could have.
The map is quite open and grants players many options for mobility, especially after they break down some of the neutrals. The map is overall basic as far as the expo layout goes and general layout, so it should be comfortable. While it's perhaps more conceptually daring than the other two maps, it is however a little more sloppy, but it's not like many at the site can consistently make maps with the same execution as Testbug and Nasty, and the map certainly is not far behind.
The time has come, a new, great tournament is just about to start.
But before some nice matches can be fought, its up to the community to be creative.
The difference between normal tournaments and the SYS-Cup, is caused by a completely new mappack which will be designed by the community!
From 2.11.2008, you have 4 weeks to create and send us your self-made maps (deadline 30.11.2008, 23:59 CET).
So feel free to design one ore more maps which afterwards will be tested and voted by a jury.
To give you a little help, here are some points you should mind, when you design a map.
- The map should be balanced. If not, the jury may change some details in the map (but ONLY details, not the whole map)..
- It should be fun to play the map.
- The map has to be sent to us until 30.11.2008, 23:59 CET.
- The map should not be encrypted, so that we can change details or create observer-versions.
- Your map should not be known to somebody else. Why? The sense of this tournament is to play some completely new, unknown maps.
So if you now are motivated, send us your map (or some more) and we will choose the best maps which will be played in a great tournament, including a live cast and perhaps some well known european gamers which will play on your self-designed masterpiece!
Please upload your map with an hoster like Rapidshare, Megaupload, or sth and give us the link.
But please do not(!) post your map in a community board, you remember, it should be unknown, until the tournament starts.
The link to this file has to be sent in a PM to Chickenlord or CHTopGun on www.gosugamers.net or on http://starcraft2.ingame.de/index.php
We wish good luck to everybody and have fun watching the tournament (all further dates will be published).
Editor's Note: This sounds really great guys, and I strongly encourage all of you to to submit atleast one solid map, maybe make a more experimental, risky map, and a safer, more standard map, to encourage your chances of winning. It's not TSL2 perhaps, but it still is an honour, and perhaps through the attention and testing of this event we can maybe come up with a TSL2 map.
Now for our much post-poned Map of the Month Competition for the month of September. Ok this post will suck, but it's better than nothing. Not quite as epic as I had hoped it to be, but atleast it's... different =/
The Autumn is fully upon us now, and we,
Exclaimedly present to you with much glee,
Surprisingly or not, a new Map of the Month,
To last past Ragnarok as doth the Amaranth,
Before the Death of Night takes, let troubadour sing,
Under the fire of sky or light of night bring,
Gustated by Protoss4ever, that grand map,
Bards tell of for September so let us unwrap,
Every concept, aspect, and feature this map boasts,
A spread of doodads numbers more than he has posts,
Texcoco is the map's name which none can pronounce,
Satiating our thirst let me this map announce,
Players of four in clear corners had rest and sat,
Rotational symmetry with a normal nat,
Odd not the map per the first glance doth seem though bore,
The map shies with thirds of egg o'er which you must soar,
Overseeing an abyss of the Midgard rock,
Stays the solely ore-rich camp for which you will flock,
Since ere thou go'est farther, will all else being knownst,
4 camps for the four comrades of the land you berth,
Each egged camp doth sport a gasconade of the earth,
Verily also the egged camp wields a spi're,
Earthworms dug tunnels 'round ore camps which perspire,
Railing ease and yet not ease to thy brave squi're..
(4)Texcoco by Protoss4ever is our heralded MOTM 9 for 2008 winner. A really nice and essentially basic map, with a unique layout, and using the newly developed egg wall concept. At worst it's a solid map whose play and layout should be familiar, and at best it's a unique map which tries out a multitude of concepts without over-doing it, giving it a very fresh but still comfortable feel. Either way the map should play nicely, as it has a good balance of fresh and familiar.
For second place we have the mapper everyone and their mother knows, NastyMarine, with his map (4)Dayun Si.
Dayun Si is on the surface a typical standard macro map, with a really nice layout. It's certainly more than that, and it gives me a feel of King of the Hill. The map is split by rivers into four sectors if you would. Each sector has four paths leading to the other sectors. The map isn't super wide, nor is it too tight, and its path diversity and variety certainly helps counter any kind of issues its relative tightness might offer. You have a normal safe main and nat, with a relatively vulnerable backdoor min only. It's pretty open to drop harass regardless of where your opponent spawns, but the positions will make a little safer or more vulnerable depending on what they are. Your 3rd gas expo is both out in the open, a little ways away from your nat, and overseen by an easily accessible but small cliff path. The min only which normally might encourage turtly gameplay is more accurately a stepping stone helping players get through the game with normal timing. Players have so many options for movement and pathing that turtling probably isn't the best solution anyway, players have a lot of options here. The map gives a real unique form of gameplay through its layout, without at all being radical or experimental. That being said the map perhaps lack some real colour which might help it stand out more on its own, probably hence it recieving second place, but it is nice nonetheless. Nasty is becoming the Stork and Yellow of the motm it seems.
Admittedly Jamssi's Thin Skin v3.0 claimed 3rd place by obtaining the third highest amount of votes, less than half of 1st place and barely over half of 2nd place lulz. I usually lie and make the 3rd place map seem a lot better than it usually is, but this map/author in my humble opinion doesn't deserve that. It's kind of a terrible map compared to most motm 3rd places, and is just an average map among bad and average maps at this site. Also, my input on the map was ignored, so fuck him and fuck this shitty map. http://www.panschk.de/mappage/comments.php?mapid=3222
Also note-worthy, we've opened the competition for 2008's Map of the Year! If you can find a great map made this year, feel free to submit them! I promise to talk trash about every bad map though, so be forewarned! Of course maps created in the future but before the deadline I set, whatever it is, are allowed too. So the MOTY could potentially be a map made way back in the beginning of the year, or a day before the comp closes. Tips for checking the year: download the first replay uploaded and check its creation date through the file properties. If the map has no replays, it's probably not worth being MOTY, but you can also look at maps near it in ID and using the replay method to check their dates. Maybe someone should go find the first map of 2008 so we can set an official ID each map should be at or above to be allowed. I spose you could cheat the system by modifying an older map and uploading it now, which'd make it a 2008 map, but the edit had better be good in that case rofl.
Posted by:Nightmarjoo Well the summer's coming to a close, and it's time to close up two Map of the Month competitions! I can't say that activity has been as high as it could be, but hopefully as people settle into school or whatever as autumn starts people will be more active!
For MOTM 7, we have a familiar theme! In first place, Testbug unsurprisingly takes another win! This guy is seriously like Savior at his prime of mapping!
Interestingly enough, July's Map of the Month happens to be a remake of last month's second place map, (2)Spinel Valley, by NastyMarine!
Testbug's version, Spinel Valley III, has quite a few differences, as it was remade from scratch!
Starting with a bang from the very start, this two player map has low-ground mains with a high-ground nat, something seen in relatively few maps. Past the nat comes a pretty close mineral only expansion, which has its back to the middle low-ground main central path. This expo is very close, but very vulnerable from ranged attacks from behind the expo, in an easily accessible area impossible to defend with static defense, as the ground is rocky.
Beginning its unique structure and layout, the map features two paths brancing out from the area between the nat and min only, with one being more of a backdoor large ramp path, leading into the lowground which heads behind the min only, and the other being a large highground area. The backdoor path leads to the 12/6 expansions, which I'll call the 4th gas expos.
These expansions are directly cliffed by a hill which is accessible by a ramp from the mains. They are on the lowground, between the two large highground plateaus which feature the nats and min onlys. These expansions are interesting in that they almost belong to the player whose main is far from the expansion if you expo in order of proximity to your other expansions, but the cliff and distance from the min only make appear to belong to the player whose main features the cliff overseeing the expansion. These expos' "owner" is ambiguous, they could play as neutral expansions, though the easily accessible overseeing cliff does make this unlikely. The shape of the mains make them relatively easy to drop, and taking this expansion can be useful to help guard your main from drops, as it could be difficult to respond to such a drop should your force be elsewhere in the map.
If you take the highground path the opposite direction along the crags path, you'll end up in what I'll call the 3rd gas expansion, which is lowground and entered by a normal-sized ramp from your highground. This expo also has small entrance leading into the lowground, a path which passes two large ramps and ultimately leads to the 4th gas expo. The 3rd gas expo is important as while it is not the closest expo, it's easily the most defensible expansion. Ensuring it is not too defensible however, is an overseeing cliff from which players can easily drop/harass the expo.
Taking the first large ramp on the way of the lowground path leading out of the 3rd gas expo, or following the highground path past a very large ramp just past the min only is what I'll call the 5th gas expo. It is homologous in structure to the min only, in how it juts out of the highground to be surrounded and under-cliffed by the lowground middle. This expansion will easily be the hardest to secure, as it is both far and very vulnerable, but by featuring another gas geyser, it can easily critically turn the tide in a game. The distance of these expos can also make them neutral expansions. They appear to belong to the player whose highground plateau they are on, but they are quite near to the 12/6 expos belonging to the player whose cliff oversees it. For the player who owns the nearby 12/6 expoansion, taking this expansion could be easier, as they would be able to secure the middle lowground behind it easier, though securing the highground area could be difficult, as it is between the 3rd gas and min only expansions, with ramps and highground positioning which if used properly by their opponent could make taking this expansion from behind difficult.
Overall this map is quite unique. Its every expansion past the nat is quite vulnerable to some form of harass or cliffing. The map features many different paths which allows players to abuse their mobility and be all over the map at once. The map offers a lot of expo freedom, which each expansion having its own clear advantages and disadvantages. The players are not bound to taking any expansion in any order, and where and when they expo is quite bound only by the player's style and preference. The map is relatively open, with many different routes for flanking or escaping. Very well made, with lots of freedom for the players to control the game in any way they wish, without limiting any field of play, the map easily deserves to win this Map of the Month competition!
Spam the map's thread here, download the map here, and grab its obs here.
While this map never really threatened Spinel Valley III's first place position, it certainly was not far behind in votes. Following last month's theme, with Testbug taking first and NastyMarine taking second, Testbug takes this month's first place and NastyMarine again takes a close second!
Long time mapper NastyMarine shows us he's still got it, giving us another taste of his mapping skill which won so many Map of the Week competitions in the past, in the form of (4)Korhal Pride 1.3!
This map starts out standard, with 4 mains in the corners. It quickly starts revealing its unique quirks and features however, with two of the ten mineral blocks having only 500 minerals, so that the main will only have 8 mineral blocks after a relatively short time. The mains in this map are also lowground, with highground nats.
The nats are relatively normal, but the mineral only expansions are not. A narrow path leads from the mains around and behind the natural expansions to reveal an in-main mineral only. This area directly cliffs the nat. While this expansion is easy to take, it is somewhat out of the way, and at the same time easy to harass as it is not in the path of your normal pathing, from the main towards the middle, to respond to it you must head into your main and around the nat, or by air/drop.
Past the nat is the 3rd gas expo on a highground plateau entered from by a large ramp. Fairly close and relatively small, this expansion is mostly defensible, while being somewhat vulnerable to drops or harass.
And that's all the expansions on the map! Most of the map's money is close to the players, ensuring lots of macro based play. The unique mineral only expansion can encourage lots of aggressive play through attacking the min only, nat, or main, all by dropping/attacking the min only.
The map's middle is quite large and open, forcing the players to carefully maneuver their armies and reposition based on where their opponents are, and giving players many opportunities to delay their opponent as they retreat towards their corner.
As lategame approaches however, deciding on when and where to expo becomes very crucial, with the players having a fair amount of freedom on where to expo, and how to attack their opponents and their expos. On the surface the map appears to be a basic macro map, even perhaps a turtle map, but when you look closely, that's not quite the case. The close proximity of the first 3 expos outside of the main certainly encourages macro oriented play, but after that taking a 5th base can be quite difficult, with such a large distance from your corner to another. Players must carefully decide when and where to attack, when and where to expo. The gameplay will flow differently from "normal" maps, where you are given basically a path to follow to expo, whereas on this map you are given your first 4 bases, and must obtain the others quite on your own. The expo layout makes players think, about whether they want to try and secure another corner sooner or later, as doing so is inevitable should the game move on to lategame.
The map's many features still feel quite familiar, ensuring players can be comfortable on the map. Overall the map feels mostly standard, while still keeping its own unique gameplay despite using mostly standard features.
In the first daily bi-weekly testing tournaments I hosted, this map played quite well, with very few complaints at all. Players all seemed to agree that it feels and plays quite well. Leave it to an old and experienced mapper to create such a map, which definitely earns its place in this Map of the Month.
Spam the thread here, download the map here, and grab its obs here.
Taking a not so close third place, is Ptar's (2)Flavors! Ptar is also no stranger to MOTM, and interestingly was involved in last Month's MOTM third place, being involved with Jul13n's (2)3nim0.
Ptar takes this place with yet another two player map, something he definitely specializes in. This map is quite standard, and yet still has its own unique feel and structure.
The expo layout seems to encourage split map play, but the rest of the map's structure encourages non-linear non-split play, through making mobility easy and natural.
The main is normal, highground and all. The natural is nearly normal, with the secondary, almost backdoor path to its side being the only somewhat non-normal thing about it, which leads to a highground 3rd gas expansion. The natural and 3rd gas expo both have their own paths, which despite leading in different directions, still intertwine later, similarly to in Tau Cross, with the proximity of the 3rd gas also being Tau Cross-esque.
The nat path leads through a lowground area, featuring a min only, as well as leading to the highground middle in the center, and a lowground 4th gas expo to the side, whose ramp exit leads straight to the highground middle as well.
The 3rd gas expo's path leads through the highground to the 5th gas expo, and from here into the middle highground. All of these areas are linked with bridges and ramps, allowing for mauch mobility. The expos are basically player-owned, not really neutral at all, but the rest of the map's layout encourages more aggressive play, with players atleast preventing eachother from taking their own expos.
The map overall is well-made and well-thought out, but lacking the spark of any form of creative gameplay is likely what prevented it from taking a higher place in this MOTM, but it surely earns third place, which is still certainly not shabby.
Spam the map's thread here, download the map here, and don't grab the obs version because no one made one.
And thus concludes July's Map of the Month, but August's MOTM will actually come on time this month (zomg)!
August's MOTM's winner is a new face to the map competitions here, and we hope to see more such quality maps from him in the future!
This MOTM's winner is none other than Morrow[MB], with his map (4)Dread Core 1.1! This map obtained quite nearly ALL of the few votes this much. While it certainly earns its place in MOTM, it is disapointing that so few votes were cast for so few maps, but hopefully this batch of inactivity will fade as the summer does.
This map is quite nice, as it manages to have its own gameplay and layout, while still managing to remain very familiar and comfortable! Overall, there literally is nothing non-standard about the map, and at the same time it still is quite a nice map.
The map features normal highground mains in the corners, with normal lowground nats, with normal mineral only expansions past the nat in the middle, and then plateaus with 50%-larger-than-normal ramps which hold the 3rd gas expo. And that's it!
What then, do you ask, makes the map so special? It's the position of the otherwise normal expos! The expansions are placed such that you are forced no matter what you do to expo towards your opponent, which forces gameplay to be more intense, creating more action and aggression naturally, while keeping a normal and comfortable macro oriented layout.
The mineral only expansions and 3rd gas expansions both belonging to the player and the adjacent position are nearby the first player, creating some expo freedom, and ensuring some action no matter what, with the min onlys being vulnerable by being out in the open, and the 3rd gas expos being almost just as near to your opponents as they are to you, forcing you to move out of your base more.
The map may not be terribly unique, but for what it lacks in singularity, it makes up in execution and gameplay. It undoubtedly is a solid map, with solid gameplay, and overall is well-made and well thought out. This map is one of the few entirely standard maps which still earns a place in the Map of the Month competition purely out of execution and comfortable gameplay. This map was also in the map testing tournaments, and after a simple modification played quite well.
Spam the map's thread here, download the map here, and grab its obs version here.
There were so few votes that there are no convincing second or third place maps for this competition, and there exists no hint that the other maps will recieve more votes should the competition be kept open and delayed any longer, so it will have to suffice that only Dread Core 1.1 takes a place this month. As an honourable mention of sorts, NastyMarine's (4)TheWake and (2)Morris Plains each recieved a vote, by the same person.
I really hope activity picks up here, but despite the inactivity we're still getting some quite nice maps, slowly but surely. I hope everyone has had a good summer, as it's definitely coming to a close. MOTM 7 and 8 are both out of the way, so everyone can put their full focus on September's Map of the Month, let's see some nice maps and some more activity!
So then, congratulations to Testbug, NastyMarine, Ptar, and our new face Morrow!
Not even two months late, ie early, I give you the slightly contraversial, Map of the Month for the month of June!
And here's Testbug's (4)Voices 4! Testbug is surely not an unfamiliar name to you if you have been following the Map of the Month competitions at all, as he has won or been involved in literally half of all Maps of the Month! Testbug surely is the current dominating mapper at the site, and looks to be for some time!
While Testbug's name is no stranger, neither probably is the name Crackling, who has literally won or been involved in a fourth of all Maps of the Month to date. Crackling made the original (4)Voices (seen here).
Testbug took the concept in Voices, which was actually developed by Tktkvroom, probably an unfamiliar face, who won the 3rd Map of the Week in 2007 with his (2)Kumba.
Tktkvroom developed this concept in his map (4)Devotion (seen >here), which crackling borrowed and implemented in Voices, which Testbug took and brilliantly executed in Voices iv!
With introductions finally concluded, I give you the map!
The map starts out fairly standard, twilight with main bases settled in the map's corners, yawn... but quickly starts to unfold itself as a unique map as it gives the players two entrances to their mains! One entrance leads directly to your natural expansion, just like normal, and the second entrance heads right into a mineral only expansion. The secondary entrance is blocked with a 48 value mineral block, preventing both players from using this entrance, allowing the main base to feel safe and secure like normal.
But! Wouldn't you think that the mineral block, which while it blocks the path, causes units to believe it isn't there, thus resulting in pathing problems where the ai will cause the units to walk back and forth into the block endlessly, which would give all players a headache throughout the entirety of the game, as long as the mineral block is present? Normally yes, and that's the problem which Crackling faced, and later he fixed the problem by removing the second path altogether. But the brilliance of Testbug strikes, and by placing the two ramps nearly adjacent to eachother, they are positioned close enough that when a worker attempts to go through the mineral block (if he does at all), he will immediately find the non-blocked path and use it instead, thus allowing pathing to be perfectly fine on the map!
And from here, the map continues its brilliance! Starting in the nat, you start seeing features which can excite the gameplay. Overlooking your natural expansion's minerals lies a small basillica plateau, from which you and your enemy can harass one-another's miners. This feature, while not overwhelming thanks to its small size, will certainly play a critical point in gameplay, as both players must always keep in mind the plateau and ensure they can deal with any nuisance they throw up there, a cliff with no ramp which while can be fired upon from the natural is only accessible to air or drops for direct assault.
The next expansions in the map are in the compass directions, 12/6/3/9. These gas expansions are directly between each starting location, making them neutral expansions, not automatically "belonging" to any player. These are critical for gameplay, as they are closer than another nat or main, and give the players another vespene geyser to mine from. While these expos sport a fairly tight and defensible choke, they are quite open, making them quite vulnerable to drops.
From here you have the middle of the map, which while is open, forces or greatly emphasizes more flank and non-linear oriented movement, with the very center being somewhat tight, which while allowing players to use the very center and its pathing effectively and without annoyance, makes the proposition of using the side paths alternatively possibly more prudent.
One great thing the map offers, is complete expo order freedom. What I mean by that, is you aren't forced in any matchup to take any expansion in any order. You may take any expo based on the circumstances of the game, and your own strategical decisions. The mineral only expansion is a nice choice to take, as it is so close, and you can directly rally to it from your main if you need, once the mineral block is mined away. The fact though that the expansion of course has no gas certainly makes players reconsider taking it as their third base, with gas being so precious and critical in starcraft. You then can choose from taking one of the 3rd gas bases, in the compass directions, which are pretty close in proximity to your nat, and highly defensible from and by land with the tight choke, but they're so vulnerable to drops with their large size, and by securing that expo you don't gain anything else. Whereas if you take a main or a nat, with the nat securing the main, and the main having a tight choke, you gain the other expo as well, especially with the nat do you gain the main. All of the pluses and minuses to each expo must be carefully considered before a player takes an expo, giving the map an extreme strategical orientation, like all great maps.
While not completely original or unique, the map does feature its own unique concept, and then blends many common features and concepts in a unique way, while boasting the great thinking and adept execution Testbug excels at. With a layout nice, simple, easily adaptable to while still exciting and unique but homely feel, the map certainly earns its place among the Maps of the Month!
Spam the map's thread here, and download the map here.
In a very close second place, I give you the map which until the end of June maintained a short but veridical lead on Voices, Nastymarine's (2)Spinel Valley 2.0!
Nastymarine is probably another name you are familiar with, and while he hasn't been a major presence in the Maps of the Month, he certainly left his mark in six Maps of the Week, with many other near wins in MOTM and MOTW, along with winning the Two player Map of the Year of 2006 with his (2)Undying Lands. Also noteworthy, he officially has the most maps on the site, with proof here! Introductions aside, I give you the map itself!
Here's another map where the author borrowed another concept and actually did the execution of it, Nastymarine brought to life Spinesheath's concept, seen here.
This map combats the innate linearity of (2)maps by focusing the gas expos of the map and thus the attention of the map, on the sides while maintaining a very comfortable, open layout, with a middle friendly to all players, whether they need an open place or a tighter place to move through, provoking a great strategical sense in players while moving their armies. The expo layout being so spread forces players to remain alert to the many places his opponent could be, which helps balance what otherwise might be an issue of space given the relatively small size of the map given its layout and structure. It really accentuates the presence of the open space of the map which greatly decreases the potential of turtling and potential turtle strength, all-over helping gameplay.
With the mineral only expansions being reasonably close and thus defensible, they are quite vulnerable in actuality from the lowground middle directly behind it. This leaves players to carefully choose between the two gas expos, approximately equally distanced from the nat and min only areas. With such a sparsity of money in the map, players must be aggressive in order to best use their own money, while trying to best waste their opponent's resources, with every mineral deposit and vespene gas capsule being so precious.
Sporting a solid adaptation of Spinesheath's concept, boasting a fair endeavor at making a non-linear, and especially presenting a certainly unique layout and structure, the map earns its keep as this month's Map of the Month runner up!
Spam the thread here, download the map itself here, and grab the observer version of the map here.
A common theme this month's maps all share is the presence of a concept constructed not by the map itself's author, and the map which grabs 3rd place for this MOTM is no alien to it. The mapper juli3n adapted the more known mapper Ptar's concept, to make (2)3nim0, which means 30 minutes!
This map features a familiar feeling but yet unique structure and expo layout, with the expos as in Nastymarine's map all on the sides. This map immediately diverges from Nasty's model in that instead of giving the players an open battlefield, throws a still wide middle at the players, one dotted with bridges and tight chokes, forcing the players to move very carefully, and emphasizing more drop oriented play, with the middle being so treacherous.
The many paths would normally overwhelmingly favour a more mobile player, but these paths are so small with the chokes being so many, that there exists a balance between path size and path number, allowing players to balance the game with their own style and strategy.
With the fairly standard 3 expos beyond the main and nat per player, with 2 expos on the map being ostensibly neutral, players must carefully decide where they feel it is safe to expo at.
The map ensures intense, back and forth gameplay given the unpredictability of the middle as result of its weird path/choke setup. A in-my-opninion great example of this type of gameplay can be seen in this replay here. As tribute to the map's name, the game is approximately 30 minutes long, and features intense back and forth gameplay in the form of a pvp. It's worth checking out, especially as it presently is the only uploaded replay for the map.
While the map seems to offer exciting and intense gameplay, it probably just appears far too unpredictable to gain a higher place in this MOTM competition, not that third place is at all shabby! And the map certainly earns a spot in MOTM with its interesting layout and structure, with solid execution.
Spam the map's thread here, and download the map here
So with June's MOTM finally out of the way, we can all give our focus to July's MOTM, which seems to be building up to quite a nice competition, there are a lot of really nice maps submitted, with only a few votes so far. So enjoy the summer while it lasts, and feel free to cast your vote in the MOTM 07.2008 in the competition thread, in the bottom right of the site.