Map Inclusion Standards and Quadropolis
eihrul put this up on the Cube Engine Forums here, and I thought it might be good to have a wiki page for it. Some minor editing has been done to make it conform to the wiki guidelines and to make it easier to read, but nothing beyond that. No information has been removed or changed, only slightly moved. -- LeftClicker
There was a discussion on Quadropolis that I thought better to put on here: Who ultimately decides what maps are included in Sauerbraten? What does that have to do with the rating system on Quadropolis? I pretty much decide which maps go in Sauerbraten by myself at this point. I have been involved in the Cube Engine projects for some eight years now, so I have a good idea what mappers are capable of. I have also played Cube and Sauerbraten all this time, so I have a decent idea of what layouts/gameplay are huge errors. I have the advantage that I wrote a lot of the Cube 2 engine, so also have a huge understanding of the performance/technical problems with given maps as well, which are often overlooked.I feel I make fairly good decisions about which maps to include based on these factors, and in those cases where I make mistakes and players convince me so, I go back and change the map line-up, culling bad maps or adding overlooked ones.
So if someone shows me a map, through whatever means, and I decide I like it, it gets included. It is that simple.
That said, I am that most maligned element of the media: a map critic, not a map creator. So if I decide a map is not good enough to include, I can't tell you how to make it a better map -- I can only tell you why I didn't include.
I nearly pooped out my soul last release (Trooper Edition) from how harsh I had to be in turning down some maps, which many people had clearly put a lot of effort, time and emotion into creating, but which were not ultimately good enough and I couldn't tell them how to make good enough. Professional game developers get paid to be that evil -- it's survival, if they don't do it, they are out of a job. I don't get that benefit; the opposite, I pay out money to keep the project running.
So I decided, at the time, that I would no longer personally give any advice on what people need to do to improve their maps for inclusion. I'll tell you what you did wrong, but I won't tell you how to make it right, because I'm simply not that good on that aspect. Strict up or down answer. It is way too much unneeded stress for me to do otherwise.
But that's where Quadropolis comes in. If you post your map there, you will get feedback from other mappers about what they think are the problems with your map and how they would improve on your map. And they are mappers, so they can tell you how they would actually do stuff, as opposed to me.
If other mappers highly approve of your map, there is a strong probability I will also approve of it. If there are respected mappers who point out issues with your map, there is a strongly probability I will agree with them. If someone is just being harsh about your map out of spite or is being silly and unreasonable with demands, there is a strong probability I am also rolling my eyes reading their comments and ignoring them as much as you are.
I don't so much care what the rating number is, because quality maps are quality maps regardless, and I ultimately make the judgement call of including them by actually looking at them myself.
So if you think you make totally awesome maps that do not need review, and you think there's a strong chance that I would include it, then asking me directly about inclusion can work. The caveat is, I will just give you a yes or no answer with some points about obvious things you might have done wrong without much in the way of clues as to how you can fix them, so Quadropolis is a better bet for real feedback on your map and how to make it better.
At the same time, other mappers are not infallible, and I think the Cube community at times suffers from raising the bar for quality too high, because they have been spoiled by the amount of maps we produce as a whole. So while some mappers might be bored with the appearance of certain maps, I might include them anyway, because I have decided that the quality of the map was sufficient, even though not exceptional. It doesn't mean I or others don't appreciate extremely awesome maps, it just means that not every map needs to be better than every map ever made before it.
Likewise, I am much better pointing out performance issues with your maps, and that is the one issue on which you are possibly better asking me about, rather than taking other mappers' word for it, if you feel there is doubt about your map in that area.