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!
The winner of this MOTM-2/2008 is the Nightmarjoo-Testbug team who score with the elegant map "Faoi" that is also representing us at the ICCUP event.
In this map we see the application of the rotational symetry concept with the repeating unit being a high ground main leading to a low ground nat at the end of a dirt corridor which is connected by two ramps to a high ground center. This corridor with its two ramps is one of the salient strategical features of this map that clearly separate it from your classic "linear" map where you move towards your opponent's base while setting rally points further along the way. Here an army may set on the move up one of the ramps just to find halfway to the opponent's base that the enemy's army has descended down the other ramp and is proceeding to ransack their nat! Scouting this area and even placing sentries here may be crucial when you play this map. Resource wise the map has 8 gas in the mains & nats which means that, at least by land, the third gas for the players is a long way away unless you count the extra two gas in the islands close to the 3 and 9 positions. There is some dispute as to the effect on map balance of these two islands as they are not equidistant from the bases, but they do have a mineral block. Finally there is a minonly between the two ramps but having the central high ground just behind it, it is quite vulnerable. All in all this is a simple but challenging map that was made having fluent gameplay in mind and should generate some fun games.
The second place goes the map "Double Edge" by a mapper that is no stranger to MOTM or even EMOTY for that matter, we are talking about Lost Tampon.
This map is again another example of rotational symmetry with high-ground mains that have two chokes, one leading to the low-ground wide center of the map and another at right angles leading to a low ground gas-nat. The interesting twist here is that this gas-nat is connected to a second gas expo by a small hill with two ramps blocked by minerals (100 and 75 value) and this second gas expo is connected to the center of the map by two bridges. Although the value of the mineral blocks seems too high to make it practical for attacking units to gain access to this small hill by land, it is nevertheless an area that not only can be used for drops but that also can serve to allow (or impede) air access to a hill behind the gas-nat and to the main itself. Because of this it will be probably a good idea for the defending player to clear the minerals to control this vital high ground. Apart from this feature, the wide center, 12 gas and 4 minonlies just outside the mains should favor macro play. This map actually ended one point ahead of Faoi but due to uncertainties about the nature of gameplay (no replays) it ends up in the number two position.
And the third place goes to the map Scratch 0.93 which is the twentieth map contributed to this database by LML.
This is a 128x96 two-player map with a high ground main and a low ground nat which opens to a dirt corridor that runs parallel to the main to the opposite side of the map. A high ground center joins the ends of the corridor through wide ramps and to the middle through a smaller vertical ramp. This setup allows for a lot of interconnection, you can get to a given place in the map through several routes. Therefore control of the high ground behind a particular ramp will not necessarily block the mobility of your opponent. The central landmass features a very vulnerable gas expo and minonly at the foot of the large ramps plus a small minonly adjacent to the mains. Although both the main and nat are relatively safe and defendable, taking your third gas here will be risky unless you control the area around the expo. However, there are also two corner-island gas expos that can serve this function. This is a pretty straightforward and stylish map that should provide some fun games.
Well I challenged our mappers to "make an Ash map that will make Queen Kerrigan proud enough of you to kill you last" and many of them rose to the challenge. flothefreak, SynDroMe, LostTampon, PsychoTemplar, Nureru, Crackling, Grief_Stricken, SiaBBo, Testbug, someone09, SauruS and ProTosS4EveR each uploaded their best shot at vying for more time alive with the Queen of Blades and after the votes were tallied the winner with a whopping 30 points was.........................................
Testbug with his map "The Great Phase"!
With this map Testbug certainly will become the favorite pet of her majesty, at least for a while until, of course, he eventually is killed. This map whose design testbug pimped from Tuy is reminiscent of the map Python with respect to its base layout, high-ground corner expos accessible by a large ramp and low-ground island expos between the mains. This basic map design alone is very exciting as it creates a lot of strategical and tactical possibilities depending on the starting locations of the players. What makes a big difference in this map however, is the fact that the center is a high ground plateau connected to the adjacent low ground by 2 large ramps on each side. This introduces a new dimension of possibilities to the gameplay due to the narrowness of the terrain in the diagonal matchups and the strategical value of the control of the high ground next to the ramps in these and other matchups. Finally with 12 gas and 2 minonlies there are enough resources to keep your macro going for a long time, if you survive. This map is indeed a interesting place to die!
To be messily slaughtered by the zerg queen before testbug is Crackling the author of the map that ended in second place with 18 points "Burning Love".
The defining feature of this map is the 5 central plateaus that create a maze of corridors throughout the map. By this token the map would be considered "tight" if it weren't for the fact that each plateau has several wide ramps leading in various directions which provides the important flanking space and creates myriad of tactical and strategical possibilities making total control of any piece of high ground difficult. However, the large wide ramp right next to the nat may prove a challenge to some players but even then there is a second exit from the nat for smaller units that can relieve some of the pressure resulting from the enemy controlling the high ground. Ten gas and 4 minonlies should encourage a macro style of gameplay and help you give your enemy some of that burning love that feels sooooooo good!
And finally, scheduled to taste the steel of the queen bitch of the universe slightly before Crackling, is ProTosS4EveR with his map Citlaltepetl that received 17 points for a very close third place.
Inspired by a volcano in Mexico this map presents the players with various possibilities and challenges. Due to the proximity of the nat exits to the important nearby third gas, vertical matchups should prove more of a challenge than horizontal or diagonal ones. This is compounded by the fact that when leaving the nats the immediate access to the high ground is through 2 large ramps. But should the enemy concentrate on taking control of the high ground next to the ramps there is still a low ground route by the central borders that can allow you to circle and emerge behind your opponent. This makes the map very fluid, there is more than one way to get from one place to another. Although a bit spread apart there are abundant resources, 10 gas and 6 minonlies plus there may even be some virgins lying around for you to toss into the central crater to gain the favoritism of the Gods that undoubtedly dwell there, so keep your eyes open when you play here!
Of course way before ProTosS4EveR exhales his last breath the rest of our participants will have been thoroughly exsanguinated, diced and fed to hungry larvae by her majesty and her minions with the possible exception of PsychoTemplar who wins the honorable mention of best map theme/description and gets to live a few seconds longer in horrible pain.
As a map description for his map "Tsatine", PsychoTemplar wrote a fragment from the song "Blood" by the group "Abandoned pools":
Staring into the Sun, We eat our young, This can't be what you're waiting for!
A sobering thought for anyone that is naive enough to expect anything but the worst when entering the convoluted realm of the zerg in Tsatine!
And that is all folks, congratulations to the winners and thanks to those of you who participated and voted regardless of whether by now you are dead or alive.
Good God! This competition must have wiped out half of our mappers!
I will try to see if we can make the next ash map competition less bloody, just let me talk to.....huh?.......yes your highness?....why....why are you looking at me that way? what?....me?.....no your majesty, you don't understand I did not participate in the competition, I just organized it, you see I am Lancet, I am one of the admins here I.....please your majesty.....no.....no......put that blade away.......Sarah calm yourself down, please, no, please, no, noooooooo, aaaaaaaaaaah! blurp.....gurgle.....splat....drip....drip....drip....