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!
Wanja and myself started working on mapcraft.net 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 pokémon for sure), innovative feature ideas or contribution to the content is appreciated, of course;)
Posted by:Nightmarjoo textTime for the third MOTM for 2008! We've had a good year so far as far as mapping has gone. We've had an influx of new mappers, and our old mappers have been getting better.
Speaking of old mappers getting better, this month's MOTM winner goes to Ptar, who has been around here for a while now. Ptar has certainly come a long way; specializing in smaller maps (smaller than 128x128), most of his maps are either 96x96, 128x96, or 96x128, he has focused on making relatively standard maps into different small layouts for two players.
Visually stylish, conceptually standard, strategically brilliant, overall a unique but comfortable map: I give you Ptar's (2)Square!
This map is fairly standard, but isn't a clone of any map. You have a standard main, then nat, but your nat is also on the highground, giving it defensive properties and advantages. One disadvantage of 2 player maps is direct main2main path, and an often linear feel. The highground nat offsets the direct path somewhat by giving players an easier time defending their nat.
This won't result in turtling gameplay, because the direct path alone encourages more aggressive play, and the third base being fairly easy to take makes it difficult for a player to survive while staying in his nat.
The area just outside the nat is narrow, making contains difficult to setup, and allowing the multiple paths of the map really take in to effect, creating an ease for flanking and for general unit movement, which might otherwise have been hampered by the map's size.
The small map avoids linearity through making use of every inch of the map, which larger maps are often unable to do, and by creating many useful paths. You are not stuck taking one path, you have the option to take other paths, and these paths aren't just there to give a second path, but also exist with its own gas expo, making it important.
Past the nat is your third base, a min only with a large area. The large area just past the min only, on the highground, allows for plenty of room for fighting. The middle itself is not very open, as it is constrained by the map's size, so this min only area creates for additional battlefield space, and creates physical conditions which force the players to think more strategically about their battle decisions (the altitude differences).
Despite the large area past the min only, the area immediately around the mineral only expo is small enough to make it comfortably defensible, but open enough to allow comfortable unit movement and flanking.
In the map's corner, behind the min only area is a small tight gas expo. Its tightness makes it quite defensible, but the very open area in front of it (the area past the min only) makes it more difficult to defend the base, as does the altitude advantage of attackers, and the two viable paths into that large area make turtling a less viable option.
In the map's lowground middle, next to both mains are gas expos. They are critical strategic locations, as they are closer to the player than the corner gas expo, but are the most open expo in the map. Three paths, two being very large and open, lead to this expo. This expo is fundamental to the map, because all of the other expansions can be taken with a single push in a single direction. That expo layout alone is comfortable for most players, but can easily lead to turtletastic, static gameplay. This expo, being outside of that linear push, then helps create a more balanced pathing orientation for the map. It punishes the defensive player, rewards the aggressive player, and makes the alternate paths even more useful and meaningful to the map.
The mains' formations' position, having its back facing the rest of the map, is a fairly nonstandard concept. In most maps, the main formations are incredibly well-protected, giving stability to the map. In this map, the sl's formation is incredibly vulnerable to virtually all forms of harass. On many maps, that feature could lead to instability, but in this map, the general defensive quality of the other expos offsets this, and sustains stability in the map. Specifically, the difficulty of harassing the nat offsets the ease of harassing the main from behind.
I likely sound incredibly incoherent in analyzing this map. The greatest thing about this map is what makes it so difficult to give any final word on. The map simply has strategical balance. It's open here, tight there, but the open place isn't too open, and the tight place isn't too tight, it's a macro map but not a turtle map, it rewards the aggressive player but helps the defensive player, etc. For every feature, there exists an equal and opposite counterfeature in this map. I think Sir Isaac Newton made this map or something -.-
Play the map, I reccomend it. It's a nice and simple map, and allows all forms of standard gameplay. It isn't one thing or another, it's all things, but in a simple and standard form, preventing the concept from being overwhelming.
Spam the map's thread here, download the map here, and there apparently is no obs version currently. Perhaps ptar or another mapper will make an obs version, and I'll update this post to include it.
In a very close second place, I give you the map that was neck and neck with Square for most of the competitiion: LostTampon's (4)Prophecy!
LostTampon is a great mapper who has been around here for a long time now. His brilliance created the 2006 Experimental Map of the Year, (4)Avatar. This map is no exception of LostTampon's mapping genius.
If you've played any popular map in the last eight or so years, you'll know that in most maps, you have a natural expansion just past the main's choke, where the minerals are against a cliff or edge, and are usually pretty out of the way, and defensible by land, however somewhat open to harass by air, or maybe from an overseeing cliff. Well, in this map, you have a standard main with the nat just past the main's choke, but instead of the minerals being out of the way against the edge of the nat, the nat's minerals face the path that leads out of the main, with the gas placed where you might expect the minerals to be.
The unique placement of the nat's minerals forces the nat choke to be larger than usual, which would normally make it less defensible. This also means that a zerg hatchery's creep cannot defend the nat's choke with sunks, not without waiting for the creep to extend all the way, then increasing the creep with an initial creep colony, then creating the defensive sunken colonies with the new creep, which is slow and is not a viable method of defending yourself given a competent opponent for both zvp and zvt, but especially zvt, and even somewhat in zvz. However, LostTampon gets past this difficulty by placing a neutral sunk just past the nat, which creates enough creep to be useful for defense. However, not only does this allow zerg to defend himself, it also allows zerg to offensively use sunks, should the opponent not destroy the creep colony in time.
Minerals close off the choke somewhat, making the large choke manageable. You can remove the minerals if you need, or offensively remove your opponent's minerals to open their choke for attack. If you leave a mineral on the creep, it prevents the creep under it from going away, even if the creep colony is destroyed. This further allows offensive sunking, as well as allows zerg to make a defensive sunk should his opponent manage to kill his neutral creep colony before z has time to use the creep.
The map doesn't stick with just one unique feature, past the nat is a third expo like normal, except the expo is neither a min only or a gas expo. It's a semi island expo. The minerals go from cliff edge to cliff edge, enclosing an area where the geyser is. You can mine the minerals from both in the island and outside of the island, but you must be inside the expo to mine the gas. The expo works as an island, but you can choose to mine just the minerals if you want. A cliff overlooks this expo, allowing easy harass, to offset the short distance from nat to this expo, and the normal defensive properties islands have, also making static defense less effective, in general making the expo more vulnerable, which is manageable because of its close proximity to the nat.
Outside of the main, nat, and the semi island expo, the only other expo in the map is a clump of minerals in the very center. Because of the shape of this clump, and the lack of any singular choke or direction to defend, I don't know how viable an option it is to mine this under normal circumstances, but given the general lack of money (compared to most currently popular maps), it certainly could make the difference in a game.
The map's middle is open and very comfortable to fight in, with the middle being tighter, making it a strategic choke, as well as pushing more fighting to the sides of the middle.
The map is fairly solid, with some "experimental" features, which do effect gameplay. The map probably made it in second place over first place, because of its more different gameplay. However, it isn't terribly different, and is easy to adapt to.
Spam the map's thread here, download the map here, and get the map's obs version here
In last and least place (least place in MOTM is still good of course), we have protoss4ever's Tepolzolan! I say least, but in all honestly, Tepolsomething was actually not that far behind the other two in votes for most of this competition.
Protoss4ever has been around for a fair time, and has had some good contributions to the site, including getting his map Shine into the iccup mappack, and winning 2007's September MOTM.
Visually incredible, conceptually innovative, and easy for gameplay, I give you Protoss4ever's (4)Tepolzan!
The map has a lot of standard features: a standard general layout and fairly standard expo layout. The min only is a little farther from the nat than in a lot of modern maps, but it's still fairly close, and defensible. The nat has a cliff, the min only has a walled-off pit it can be cliffed from, so the map definitely has some features making harass easy. The 4th base is in the top middle, and bottom middle part of the map, and has 2 2500-gas geysers. It is fairly open, and a very strategic feature thanks to its double geysers.
Many maps have rotational symmetry to increase distances, but this map has simple x and y symmetry. It creates fairly direct pathing, especially between vertically opposite bases, however the openness and non-linear expo layout counters this.
The map's middle is very unique: Most maps have a symmetrical middle, or just a big open area, but this map has a non-symmetrical middle, like that of Un'Goro Crater. This creates a more natural feel to the map, and can make battles feel unique as they have to worry about different obstacles and buildability (fuck that's a sweet made-up word).
So what do we have so far? The map has a standard main, nat, and min only. The nat and min only are both cliffable, but that's nothing special. The 12/6 expos have double gas, and by being in between the players makes it a nice neutral expo to fight over, but still nothing terribly unique. The middle is undoubtedly unique and can make gameplay interesting without greatly effecting it. Visually the map is stunning, but these days great visuals is nothing special, given that flothefreak, testbug, protoss4ever, crackling, ptar, and many other active members can create this level of stylish beauty.
So, from just this, the map is good, unique even, but not special right? Wrong! The map's biggest and most unique feature sits in the middle of each main, and only exists for one minute and fifteen seconds! Right below each starting location are ten stacked and way-too-close-to-the-sl (fastest map style) minerals. Most importantly, they are hallucinated! The ten minerals you can mine very quickly for a fast boost in minerals will VANISH after a minute and fifteen seconds! What does this do? It speeds games up! It radically alters timing! The biggest complaint about fastest-style minerals is that there's "no strategy involved", that you just mass and attack: the structure of the map often makes no difference, which removes a lot of strategy, you just make buildings, units and attack. These minerals fucking dissapear, leaving you with 8 100% normal minerals to mine! Imagine what all you can do with that 75 seconds of fastest minerals! You can rush your opponent, you can expo and set yourself up for a longer macro-oriented game, you can pick from a much larger variety of openings, you have a LOT of freedom of what to do! This feature completely changes the gameplay. But once the minerals are gone, the rest of the game will play just the way you would on any other map, only adapting to the different layout, and given a start you give yourself.
Editor's note: In hindsite I (Nightmarjoo) feel that this map deserved first place for MOTM, but I never looked into the map carefully because Crackling never had me play it, until I was writing up this analysis. The map really is unique. The concept mirrors the breakthrough LostTampon gave us with Avatar, with spells in maps.
Spam the map's thread here, download it here, and grab its obs version here
So here we are with three fantastic maps, with the first two being very close in votes, and the third place map being pretty close behind the other two in votes. Crackling's Insomnia wasn't too much behind in fourth place either. We got a lot of votes this motm, showing decent site activity and participation. The maps here really are getting freaking good. Everyone is getting better, the average map quality, concept, and execution has gone up so much. I feel as though we're really coming close to the site's older userbase, where mappers like Starparty, trcc, Antares, Nastymarine, noname, Travin, LGI, Flothefreak and others were constantly making new and outstanding maps. Mappers who might in the past have been laughed out of the thread, Morrow, LML, Lancet, and others, have really gotten better, and are making decent and even good maps. Forum and map comment activity has dropped a lot imo, but the mapping quality has gone up a lot. This site is really doing well, thanks also not just to the great, active, always improving, and often even helpful members and mappers, but to of course Panschk, who despite being fairly inactive still updates the site, improving it, and working on the new site Mapcraft.net for Starcraft II's release. C'mon guys, we don't even have a lot of flaming anymore, applaud eachother and yourselves, for making this site really kickass.
Congratulations to Ptar, LostTampon, and Protoss4ever! And anyone who made it this far reading without having their eyes bug out of their head, fall asleep, have a seizure, etc.
Posted by:Nightmarjoo I'm proud to announce that part of the delay of the start of next season's MSL until late april/early may is due to in addition to adding the maps already released (See this thread) three broodwarmaps.net maps will also be added to the mappool!
Arguably the best of these maps going into the MSL we have: Flothefreak's "Best Concept Plus Gameplay And League Map Ever, No Better Map Out There", also known as BCPGALMENBMOT, or known affectionately as PEE (Perfectus et Exactus (perfect and demanded)). The map's concept is of course brilliant, the simple layout makes battle strategy more important than simple positioning. The high monetary value of every base ensures quick macro, ensuring stunning back and forth gameplay. Players will find themselves in a constant battle/regroup and rally state, with the openness of the map preventing any turtling. The numerous mineral blocks of course somewhat weakens zerg, but all this does is force more spell-use on zerg's part, creating more exciting games. This also deters protoss and terran from comitting suicide around the world by preventing Jaedong from being Savior2 this coming year(s). The simple expo layout prevents messy games of running back and forth to hide, save, or attack an expo; it further encourages largescale battles between armies in the middle, rather than army vs base defense (and boy, can you afford base defense with all the money!). Positional VARIETY allows the map to never be dull, by forcing players to react to slight differences in each matchup. You'll never see the same game twice! Flo was smart in making the map look like shit: the decoration won't distract players from playing at all.
I could go on and on forever about this amazing map, but I will stop here so I can talk about the exceptional (if inferior) other maps which herald bwm in korea!
Seemingly a blast from the past, we have ScoutWBF's LoliCat Spielplatz (which I believe means something on the lines of, young and erotic cat-girl playground)! The map is incredibly unique: It's a map which normally would be fairly unstandard without any experimental features, a completely air map which requires the mass use of both air units and drops throughout the game, but then further pushes the use of air units over drops by covering the mains in permament disruption webs! This means that you cannot rush a drop onto your opponent's main, you must go straight into air units to apply early pressure! The expos do not (yet) have disruption webs, leaving drops still useful and required on the map. Positional VARIETY further ensures interesting games, just as in flo's PEE. The map having three starting locations rather than the standar 2 or 4 creates a great advantage for players to seize and fight over, a third main! With its intense air vs air combat, zerg air-map balance through preventing drop rushing, and without over helping zerg by giving a free expansion. The ability of terran to expo by lifting off a cc only further helps balance, zerg muta micro has been so perfected that no terran could possibly win a game without this advantage, and only flash can beat the top protoss users currently, so this merely gives an advantage to terran, but one easily countered with protoss' superior air units. Great balance, great gameplay, unique concept, layout, and setup: a perfect map! Only Scout could make such a masterpiece, and his inability to make a map pretty is counter-balanced by the fact that it's impossible to make an ash map pretty!
Last and sadly least (not the map or mapper's fault, you just can't beat the other two maps with a stick!), we have Lancet's Nekromantik! Anyone who questions the use of this map should kill themselves asap, seriously. It has a fucking skull in the middle, how much more badass can you get than that? That's like, automatic win. He like, won bwm, with this map. Key balancing features of the map include the skull (it gives a lot of motivation to the gamers, in most test games the general opening is to send one of your initial workers to the skull just to see who gets there first, out of 1337 games so far, in only one game did the person who made it to the skull first lost, and he was playing vs boxer. Go figure. The skyscraperesque buildings are also key balance features. No other structure PERFECTLY fits in that place to ensure pathing takes a certain way which guarantees unit speed and reduces clumping and prevents morons from running into the side of the ramps. Another fundamental balance feature are the two neutral temples at top left and bottom right. However, Lancet has asked we not release the secret behind them, as then every mapper would copy it and it would ruin the map's brilliance and ingenuity, not to mention morons would copy it incorrectly, setting a bad trend, which would ruin bw mapping indefinitely. So you have to bare with me and just accept how important a role these neutral protoss temples play in the map's concept and balance. With decoration styles stolen from Testbug and Protoss4ever, and SEEMINGLY random (but not!) visual tile structures taken from Staredit.net veterans' maps, you know the map is great. A map named Bunny-Rabbit 1.3 (it was python 1.3, only with a bunny-rabbit in center instead (which COMPLETELY throws off balance and gameplay from python's, making it super unique and fun!)) was almost put into the MSL's mappool, but then this map was introduced to the kespa mapping council and was put in its place. The only thing keeping this map from being the best of the three is its unfortunate lack of positional VARIETY. Nevertheless, it is sure to contain some exciting gameplay, thanks largely to the neutral temples at the corners, perfectly complemented by the skull in the center.
Note: These maps in their MSL modified versions have not yet been released. The changes made were very minor, with the only major change being the complete re-placement of every single dweb in Lolicats Spielplatz so that the map doesn't crash bw the moment you open it. The maps will be released on mapdori.com in the next couple of weeks.
Other maps from broodwarmaps.net were in fact considered for the proleague.
Such maps include namely: every single testbug map, ScoutWBF's Sleeping Sun Final (they didn't want two maps by one author, and Lolicats Spielplatz has a more unplayable unique gameplay that MSL wanted), and lnept's (2)Rocket (it has a rocket in the middle zomg!).
In other news: fans from the United States will no longer be able to watch live streaming proleague, because it was easier to simply block ips from the United States than to ban every single ip Nightmarjoo used to spam kespa to use Faoi XXVII in the proleagues. However, you can use the program at this site to obtain an ip from another country in order to still watch your favourite gamers on these new great maps!
Congratulations to the mappers who managed this great feat with their superb mapping abilities!