Skip to content
Describe the process of making a complete scenario starting
from the idea and ending in the submission of your finished
scenario. Do you have a schedule in which you have written the
exact tasks for every day?
This is way too long a process to describe... generally I start
by getting my bearings on the map (i.e. which side is the keep
facing)... I feel this is critical because in my first map
(Movie LOTR2 : Helms Deep), I had made the entire castle and
placed the keep last... and discovered to my horror that the
keep was facing the wrong way!
In the end, I was able to turn it into a defensive advantage...
but from then on, I see which way the keep is going to face,
before starting anything else.
For sequence of events... one can refer to the Scenario Design
Bible over at SHK... from conceptualizing the story, right down
to taking screenies of the completed map and promoting it.
What is your first piece of advice to a new scenario
You must have a vision for your map before starting it... a
pre-defined idea of what you're going to do, for example, in
the case of movie based maps... how will you be portraying
certain elements from the movie in the game within the confines
of the editor... what part you will be leaving out, etc.
Even if this vision changes during the course of map-making
(which ALWAYS happens with me).
How do you decide the map size of your scenario?
I decide according to the scale of the map... there really
isn't much of decision to make... I just start off with the
biggest map size and work on from there.
How do you balance your scenario (invasions, events and
Perfect balance is only achieved by a LOT of playtesting, and
(at least for me) with the help of experienced playtesters.
How long does it take you to design a scenario? (you don't
have to answer this question if you have already mentioned this
in question #1)
On average... about 3 to 4 months.
What is your favourite eye-candy and why? What is the most
common eye-candy you use? (note: this does not exclude natural
eye-candy, such as rock formations, erosion etc.)
Adding walls and extra elements around the keep, to give it a
Do you design scenarios for multiple games at the same
I only design for SH at the moment... At one point I was
designing for SH:C as well, but I've stopped that now.
What do you like and what don't you like about the SH
Do you playtest your scenario yourself or do you ask for
I feel playtesters play a very crucial role in balancing a
Firstly, the map designer is obviously familiar with every nook
and cranny of his map, and would know any weaknesses in the
castle's design (in case of pre-built castles)... also, he/she
would know exactly when an event is scripted for etc... so the
map might seem a bit too easy, and might consequently become
too hard for others.
Secondly, they use different approaches to the map, so that one
can ensure that the map is balanced for a variety of playing
Jalis and UnikUnok really helped in this aspect in order to
make Helm's Deep a success.
How do you know your scenario is ready to be
After the balancing is fine-tuned, I let the map run without
doing anything on it (I'm talking of defensive-sieges here). If
I lost spectacularly, then I move onto the next phase, and play
the map while doing minimal troop control (generally playing
like a rookie)... If I lose by a large margin again... then I
feel the map is ready (or I send it for a final playtest by
other playtesters for confirmation).
If a fancy eye-candy you want to have on the map requires
you to make playability worse, would you add that eye-candy on
the map? (i.e. the graphics vs. playability issue)
My motto is : Fun First.
No matter how good an eyecandy will look, or how accurate a
castle is... if it doesn't play well... then one should as well
submit it in the freebuild.
A great designer balances the two elements and gives more
precedence to Playability. A classic example of this is Sulis'
latest map... Sylvandell 5.
What makes a scenario fun to play?
Here, I'd like to quote myself from a post I made over at SHK.
An overwhelming majority of maps (up at SHH) are average
works with the goal of creating a good looking or impossible to
siege castle (most newbies make sieges since it takes less time
to make and easier). However this approach usually wash
functionality and balance down the drain. This also leaves
Your point about either making the map good looking to balance
out tactical weakness and vice-versa is spot on. A perfect
balance between these factors, while possible, is hard to
achieve and a little deviation could easily be ignored by
compensating with the other.
A hard fought battle and subsequent win is much more
appreciated than an easy one. The key however is
That's where the bane of map designers comes in...BALANCE
Since we are discussing about tips to make good maps...I'd
like to put in my two cents.
Perfect Balance (according to the very good review guidelines
at SHH) is when a player loses the map the first few times
before winning...or on a smaller scale, loses the bulk of
his/her forces before winning.
Now, some seek to make this by pitting huge armies against
each other and counting on the fact that he won the battle with
huge amount of losses. BUT the problem occurs when players use
different strategies...as a result one could win the very same
battle easily or not win at all.
One of the ways to solve this problem which I use is to create
the ILLUSION of losing, all the while making sure that the
player WILL win in the end.
For example, in my first map... Movie Helm's Deep (doesn't
really look like HD does it). The player faces an army of 100
swordsmen, 100 pikemen, 200 macemen and 100 other baddies,
while all they have are about 100 archers and a handful of
swordsmen and pikemen... so how do they win ?
Traps and Pitch... although the player can see them, the
psychological feeling they get is that they are sorely
outnumbered. However as the game moves on, and the enemy breaks
through several layers of defences this trepidation turns into
resignation as the enemy marches on endlessly. But the force
multipliers, the traps and pitch ditches, thin the ranks until
the very end when the way to the keep is clear and all you have
left are 5 swordsmen on top of the keep and the last wave of 30
pikemen marching for you.... the slight hope goes again... but
as the pikemen climb, they meet death (5 swordsmen near the
keep entrance can handle much more than that too!). And from
hopeless resignation to victory...the range of emotions is what
makes a map exciting.
If the enemy were to meet their doom before they breached the
wall with your forces intact or you would have lost no matter
what you tried...then the map is a failure...but by surprising
the player, even a not-too-well-made map such as Helm's Deep
has got very good reviews.
That I believe is what makes for a good map.
If you're considered a creative designer, then what is the
secret behind your imagination and creativity?
A majority of my maps are movie based... so my 'creativity' is
defined as how well I am able to emulate the movie structure
and chain of events into the map while keeping it as much fun
as possible... There is no secret to my creativity... just a
LOT of research work on the map before production starts and an
understanding of the game editor and its mechanics.
Which one is better, designing ten 4.0 scenarios or one 5.0
scenario (quantity vs. quality)?
Definitely the latter, as I myself follow this mantra.
Do you work on many scenarios at the same time or do you
concentrate your efforts on a single scenario at a
Only one scenario at a time.
Do you work on your scenarios regularly or
As and when time permits, but I try to be regular.
After you've submitted a scenario, do you feel confident or
uncertain of the success of your scenario? How do you try to
ensure the success of your scenario?
Without sounding conceited... I feel confident in a scenario I
submit, because I know I've put in a lot of effort in it to
make it stand out from the crowd.
By advertising it as if it were the next best thing since
sliced bread :P.
I just try to make people aware of its existence by posting in
threads such as the Review Request thread or upcoming maps'
I also make my download description as presentable and polished
as humanly possible... if you work on a map for months on end,
one shouldn't spare the effort in the d/l description.
As you may have noticed, I also have links to my maps in my sig
Would you submit a scenario if you were certain it wouldn't
be rated high (high is 4.0+)?
What keeps you motivated to design scenarios? Why did you
start designing scenarios?
I started scenario designing because I couldn't find a decent
movie based Helm's Deep map! I just decided to make one
I got some good reviews, especially Sulis', which encouraged me
to make more maps... after that I was hooked :P.
What do you do when you're not motivated enough to design
I do research on maps I'd like to make.
Translate this page to: