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MOTMs 7 and 8 - oh noes!03 2008f September 2008 08:54 PM
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!
MOTM 06.200828 2008f July 2008 06:46 PM
Posted by:Nightmarjoo

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.
MOTM 05.200801 2008f July 2008 11:18 AM
Posted by:Nightmarjoo
Only two months late, ie on-time, I give you your Map of the Month, for May! The theme of the same people winning every motm continues, as Ptar snags another motm, with another 2 player 128x96 map, how original! But thankfully, the map actually is original, hence it's motm!

Here's Ptar's (2)Sign! The map's originality begins immediately, in the mains, or rather behind them. Normally you might find a large plateau behind your expos farther out, or maybe behind your nat, but this map plops such a cliff right behind your main formation! To prevent it from being overwhelming, there's a small 815-style ramp leading up to it from your main, so like the cliff on Othello, you can send units to the cliff from your main to deal with any harassers. To complement this, the nat has basically no space behind it, making all forms of drop harass nearly impossible there.

The 3rd base, the closest base to your natural expansion, is a min only wide in the open, similar to that in Wuthering Heights. The area outside of here is covered with rocky terrain, but there's plenty of room for turrets still. From here, you're given two expansions to choose from. The one closer to your 3rd base is in the corners of the map. This expo has gas making it valuable, but two bridges facing you to prevent unit movement to it, offsetting how close it is to you by slowing how fast you can reinforce it. The other choke is wider, but still quite small and manageable, allowing the base to still be defensible. A temple cliff overseeing the expo facilitates harass.

The other expo is at 12/6, and also has gas. It's in a pit with your main cliff behind it, and ramps to the middle plateaus on the others. This expo is both less defensible and farther away than the other gas expo, with it being especially vulnerable to harass from your main cliff. Players can easily proxy buildings here, or build a factory to lift off bluestorm-esque.

The middle plateaus have four large ramps leading to the min only areas, and two smaller ramps leading into the 12/6 expos. They are dividied by a lowground tight pass, like in Loki2. Only small units can pass through this, large units will have to be manually controlled through either the northern or southern middle plateau.

The map has a fairly normal macro orientation, but it also has a strong harass potential, allowing for a variety of game forms. The 12/6 expos will be hardest to take and secure, ensuring back and forth fighting. The split battlefield along with there being no real neutral expansions, with 12/6 almost being neutral, will create a tug of war, which whoever can cross the middle strongest winning. Players will be forced to run back and forth between their expos as the aggressive player is favoured with all the harassable cliffs present, as players also must run between the two halves of the split map. Despite having a similar expo layout, the map shouldn't play nearly as linear as Bluestorm, and with far less turtley gameplay than Loki2, giving it potential to play really well.

Spam the map's thread here, download the map here, and grab the observer version here.

Winner of second place is FAMAT mapper Twos! Twos is a korean mapper who though has not been terribly active at this site, always has something interesting to show off. He in the past has gone by the name Single-. Twos takes second place in motm with his very interesting (and interestingly named) (2)Moonlight Punch Romance!

The map is different from many 2 player maps in that it's not at all linear. You're immediately offered three paths to take as soon as you leave your nat choke, with two paths leading to different expos. If you take either side paths, you're given two more paths to take, and you have four ways to go if you take the middle path. From here the map repeats itself, ensuring you have as many ways to run away as you do to go foward.

While the map doesn't have a lot of space in any one area which might inherently favour the non mobile race, it makes up for it by having so many different paths to take, allowing a plethora of flank setups, and definitely giving strength to the mobile race. The map's layout definitely encourages very aggressive play, because turtling won't get you many expos for "free". The expansions are mostly all pretty defensible, but the general layout makes it hard for a turtling player to run back and forth to get to all of his expos at any one given time, allowing harass to be summarily effective. The mains being rather spacious allows players to both comfortably build their base and drop into their opponent's, as well as encourages proxy play or hidden tech.

The middle path is tight (I believe it allows large units to pass), with the more open paths being unbuildable, so players who wish to "push" must take sort of a maze of paths, while their opponent can also take such a maze to engage and escape their opponents.

Outside of the nats and the min onlys, there really isn't any expo which automatically belongs to one player, so most expos can be considered neutral. The multitude of neutral expansions on top of the many winding paths definitely will force very exciting and aggressive gameplay. The thing which perhaps made it miss first place is that it is perhaps too "complex" even with its relative collaberation of simple and standard elements. Overall it's quite an innovative and well executed map, definitely earning 2nd place as map of the month.

See the comment thread here, download the map here, and the map does not have an observer version at the moment.

Another mapper who's plundered much of our motms, Crackling, takes a place in motm yet again with his (2)Chemistry!

This map is incredibly unique, starting with that it's an island map! However, there are only two actual islands, with all the other bases reachable by land. A double mineral wall blocks off a path connecting the two players. Behind the player's nat is a min only which is semi island in that its formation blocks the choke behind it, and the nat's formation blocks the path in front of it, but it can be harassed from behind from a path accessible to your opponent normally.

A neutral creep colony delays the taking of the natural expansion for protoss and terran, who have to destroy the creep colony and wait for the creep to vanish before they can take the expansion, making things easier on zerg (whereas most people often complain about zerg balance in island maps), and forcing protoss and terran to consider some more aggressive opening than to simply drop a FE.

The nat also has only 6 mineral blocks, forcing players to quickly consider which expo they wish to take next rather than allowing them to sit back comfortably on 2bases.

Besides your nat you have another gas expo accessible by land, with a very small 4 block mineral only expansion within your main. The other expansions are all only accessible by either air or by mining out some form of mineral block.

Hallucinated fastest-style stacked minerals right next to your sl give you a quick boost of money until they vanish, speeding up what otherwise might have been a dull and slow start.

All of the expos on the mainland are harrasable from some form of cliff or blocked path, with the islands having a fair amount of room to be dropped on.

Though the island format of the map, along with the paths being few and tight and mostly blocked off by some mineral wall, effectively removes a lot of strategies, the map ensures strategic diversity in its wide selection of expos to take, with multiple forms of drop, air, or harass oriented gameplay.

Crackling certainly earns a spot in motm with his great eye for detail, ensuring that all of the map's space is well-used on top of implementing a unique concept. The map is certainly innovative, and definitely pushes very aggressive gameplay, but its rather complex and radically different form of gameplay can be quite intimidating to players, which is probably what kept the map from earning a higher spot in motm. However, if you're an oldschool island fan, or simply wish for a game not exactly like every other, this is the perfect map to play on.

Flame Crackling Leave a comment in the map's thread, download the map to piss off someone for a great game here, and there is no observer version of the map at this time.

We're well into summer now, and there are so many great maps being made, each motm gets harder and harder! It really takes a motivated mapper with a great map to win a spot in motm, let alone first place! Even the maps which recieve few votes are still often quite solid, but just perhaps lack the flare the winning maps boast.

Congratulations to Ptar, Twos-, and Crackling!
MOTM 04.200810 2008f June 2008 09:59 AM
Posted by:Nightmarjoo
It's only two months late (which is like early for bwm), but here's April's Map of the Month! With his name on 3 other MOTMs, he's no newbie, Crackling is our MOTM winner, with his map (2) !

This map is certainly original, and will give you something most maps can't: unique gameplay (omg!)! The map starts out different than most maps pretty quickly with its almost double nat layout. You have a normal nat on the site of the main, but in front of the main is a backdoor mineral only nat, or rather a front door nat, with its own mineral blocked entrance! This tight entrance is easily blocked off, even once the mineral block has been removed, but you can't and probably won't want, to leave it blocked forever as the game goes to lategame, as its a critical and crucial lead into the secondary map path, allowing players to seize more mobility than the map ostensibly offers!

Off in corners of the map, very close to the nat itself is a 3rd gas expo, easily defended on a wide bridge. The expo is very defensible, given its tightness and close proximity to the nat, ensuring games will last into lategame.

At 12 and 6 o'clock of the map, is another gas expo. This expo is also fairly defensible, it has a wide raised jungle ramp by which the expo can be defended. The expo contrarily to the corner gas expos, is much more spacious, making it more vulnerable to drops and forms of harass. Interestingly also, these two expansions are about the same distance from both players. This means, they basically function like neutral expos. Except for the direction the ramp faces, and perhaps the mineral formation position, nothing distinguishes either expo as "belonging" to a player. The expos then are also reasonably far away. The map's overall spareness of money, on top of easily allowing players into a lategame scenario, allows for intense back and forth action in fighting over these two strategically critical expos.

The map's fairly awkward shape allows for less cohesive gameplay, more random and ergo exciting gameplay. Players won't be as easily able to perfectly predict and counter their opponents, because the shape of the map, the position and size of the paths, and the even path setup allow for players to quickly move around the map. The map's great mobility helps to counter what might otherwise be a big macro-turtle fest, which could arise given the few expos, and relatively easy money the corner base and front-door nat offer. A player will likely have a hard time both turtling or containing their opponent thanks to the easily accessible multiple paths.

With a unique concept, an expo layout similar but critically different expo layout than bluestorm, an interesting structure and path system, and beautiful decoration, Crackling threw together otherwise standard elements to create this work of art here, which recieves a well deserved MOTM award! Congratulations Crackling!

Spam the map's thread here, download the map here, and there doesn't appear to be an obsever version at the moment. Would someone other than me like to make obs version?

In a really close 2nd place, literally with only three points seperating Crackling's map and this map (discounting ptar and crackling's self votes, and old granny in a wheel chair's ostensibly fake vote), comes Testbug's (3)Frostmourne! Testbug, with his name unbelievably on EIGHT MOTMs, is by no means a stranger to this site, however he might a stranger to second place ;)

Testbug strikes again with another incredibly executed three player map! The map is fairly standard and simple, but its absolutely great execution is what separates it from being just another map. The map ostensibly has a bunch of "free" expansions, with there being two mineral only expos just in front of a gas expo, all just in front of the nat itself, and all which to some extent defend eachother. However, the spaciousness of the areas outside of the expos and of the chokes ensures that the expos really won't defend eachother until/unless you have taken and secured them all, which is much easier said than done given the nature of the map.

With the middle being very wide open and mostly buildable, all three races can easily move and weave their armies throughout the map, making the danger of a massive attack very imminent. The relatively high money count of the map only makes massing such large armies easier, with the middle ensuring attacking is easy. We then have here, a map with ostensibly easy money, where it's easy to attack, and turtling is difficult, an oxymoron? Perhaps, but Testbug has pulled it off!

The nearest 3rd base has minerals only, making it worth-while to take due to its close proximity and ability to defend or leap-frog to the other nearby expansions, but makes it not a huge economic boost, and with it being very vulnerable by being in the open, expounded by the nearest unfriendly choke being wider spread than a french prostitute's legs, players will have a hard time turtling in it, making moving on to another expo critical.

Players then have two choices of expansions. More linearly placed is another mineral only, however it again lacks gas, is even more vulnerable from being in the open, is farther from the player's nat, and even has fewer minerals than any other expo in the map. Perhaps easier to push to, the expo only really defends the path to the nat, which the player likely has already maintained secure and defensible, leaving the large choke still posing threats of attacks or counter-attacks.
The other expansion option is the third gas expo. Much more defensible, it sports a nice normal sized ramp for a choke. More importantly, you can defend it from the highground by moving up above the ramp, to finally defend that huge choke, which shouldn't be too much of a feat given you probably have three bases atleast by this point. By building up and massing units here, you could end up leaving the other, tighter path open and/or vulerable, which leads to your nat and min only, and if accessed could be used to flank you. This is fairly unlikely as your nat itself defends this path, but it's still a possible threat you have to consider, else you leave it open for your opponent to exploit.

So then by this point, you have 3gases, your main and nat are probably petering out, where do you go? Thankfully, the map isn't a 2 player map, nor is it linear. The real excitement occurs in this map upon reaching lategame. The map is a three player map, leaving all of those expos I just mentioned open to take, on the other side of the map, equally far from you and your opponent! Strategically once the game reaches lategame, these expos become absolutely critical and pressing to secure and attack, to fight over. You then are left with the choice of, which expo do I take there first!? You could say, obvious choice, the main! But the mains in this map are pretty big, leaving your main and the second main you try to take very vulnerable to any kind of drop. These large mains also facilitate hidden tech or proxies, throughout the game. With the main being a little iffy on security due to its shape and size, you might move on to the nat, but then it's also vulnerable to attack from anything dropped into or produced by the main. The other expos are mineral only, making them strategically less important, with the last expo being that gas expo. The best choice of expo depends on your position and your opponent's, as the mainbase and 3rd gas could both be either the farthest by air and land or the closest, giving the map interesting positional variety.

By lategame in the map, you have a huge selection of options. The expo layout and its strategical nature keeps gameplay exciting, the middle being buildable and so large, allows players to mobilize and position their armies again and again, allowing fighting to be very back and forth, with whoever can position their army the best likely being the victor.

The map has a lot of nice elements, its structure, layout, and its multitude of strategic options ensures it should play nicely during all times of the game, in any matchup! It gives each matchup a nice set of pros and cons to work past, such as the expo layout, sizes and distances. For example, the fact that map is so open might suggest p>t, but its "easy" money and buildability help terran a lot, but then the map's favouring of mobility keeps protoss capable of being strong, giving both players a good chance of winning as the game goes on. In zvt and zvp the expo layout gives players a lot of choice in where they want to expo next, where to move your army, and how to position your army.

The map is great, but the thing that separates it from (2)Whoosh (besides 3 points) is that it has a less unique concept. The map is fairly standard conceptually, whereas Whoosh gambles more with some more experimental gameplay.

Spam the map's thread here, download the map and smash your buddies on it here, and I'd give you the observer version, but apparently people are incapable of making them anymore, as the map currently lacks one.

In third place comes the Crackling/Testbug again, with (4)Maelstrom, previously known as Burning Love, and Burning Penis (chlamidia?).

This map is fairly basic, with a more or less normal, but spread out, expo layout and general structure. The thing that makes this map interesting, on top of its baekdu-esque hilly choke layout, is in the multitude of "neutral" expansions, ensuring that players will have to fight over expos a lot, as opposed to the normal grabbing expos and massing tactics most modern maps favour. Also, the islands at 3 and 9 feature double gas, making them exceptionally strategically important.

Spam the map's thread here, download the map here, and again, there's no observer version -_-

Congratulations Crackling, Testbug, and er, Crackling and Testbug!
MCN pre-alpha (v_0.1)22 2008f April 2008 12:25 PM
Posted by:panschk[FP]

Wanja and myself started working on three weeks ago, and I feel like it is time to release a first, very buggy version to my eager crash-test-dummies out there :D

I shifted my focus from a pure SC2-Mapping thing more towards a multigaming - mapping community as a goal. We are far from getting there yet, but I believe that it can work.

Initially I wanted to use a phpBB2-Forum as the basis and build the map-specific features around it, but I decided against it. Instead we will be using the cakePHP-framework to build the page. That makes programming easier and the site slower;) I hope it will still be bearable :-)

Any bugs found (There are a lot! more than pokÚmon for sure), innovative feature ideas or contribution to the content is appreciated, of course;)

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