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Designer answers

by lord_yoshi

  1. 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?
    To be honest, I can't answer this question, because it's too big an issue. I haven't had much time for the editor recently, so I can't even remember my usual map making process in great detail.
  2. What is your first piece of advice to a new scenario designer?
    I would suggest new designers to play as many "Best of" scenarios as possible before submitting any maps of your own. Playing some of the "Worst of" (no, there's no such dl section in SHH) scenarios is also helpful, because you can find out what makes a bad map. Also, it would be good to read as many map making articles as possible to learn stuff from the more experienced designers.
  3. How do you decide the map size of your scenario?
    Aargh. Who keeps asking these annoying questions?
    Well, sometimes I start with the largest map size if I know I'll be needing a lot of space. Sometimes I start with the smallest map size if I want to make the scenario more intense. If I'm not sure about which map size to start with, I'll start with the smallest map size or 200x200.
  4. How do you balance your scenario (invasions, events and victory conditions)?
    I don't have much experience on balancing invasions and attacking siege forces as that's not my field of interest. But the way I balance the victory conditions in Economic or Eco-invasions is rather simple: I just play the scenario for the first few times without any victory conditions scripted. After I think I've played the scenario for long enough, I write down the amount of resources I've gathered. I'll play the scenario for about 2 or 3 times at first. Then I add the victory conditions based on the max number of resources I've managed to gather. Then I just playtest the map more.
  5. 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)
    I can make a decent, playable map in a few hours/days, but usually I spend a few weeks on each map. I don't usually spend more than a few months at maximum. My longest map project for Stronghold took a year to finish, but I wasn't actively working on it all year long. I started working on the map in the Autumn of 2002 and released the map a year later, but I had actually only worked on it for a few weeks/months.
  6. 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.)
    I like all those eye-candies you can make with walls, like fountains, lowered walls and wall towers. These are most common type of eye-candy I use on my maps. I also use a lot of natural eye-candy.
  7. Do you design scenarios for multiple games at the same time?
  8. What do you like and what don't you like about the SH editor?
    I like its simplicity and the landscape editor. I also like being able to change the map size and be able to convert .sav files into .map files. Of course there are other things I like about it, too.
    On the negative side, I find the lack of real triggers quite annoying at times, because it limits my creativity. Designing for AoK made me too dependent on triggers and I often find it hard to live without them. I also wish you could design Fixed Force scenarios for SH, but you can't really do that.
  9. Do you playtest your scenario yourself or do you ask for playtesters?
    I playtest my scenarios on my own.
  10. How do you know your scenario is ready to be submitted?
  11. 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)
    No. Playability is always more important than anything else.
  12. What makes a scenario fun to play?
  13. If you're considered a creative designer, then what is the secret behind your imagination and creativity?
  14. Which one is better, designing ten 4.0 scenarios or one 5.0 scenario (quantity vs. quality)?
    This is something I often think about. Is it really worth spending weeks or months on a really, really good scenario that only takes a few hours to finish, while you could spend that time on a large number of much smaller scenarios, which might not be as creative and unique as a map that has been worked on for months, but are fun to play nevertheless? Sometimes I think designers should forget about quality and uniqueness and creativity and focus more on the quantity rather than quality. That's what I've been doing lately. A while ago, I released a small map pack consisting of small scenarios that I've made in a few days. They're not unique and highly creative, but should be okay to play. I think I'm going to make some more of these little snack scenarios in the future as well as I'm tired of always trying to make really good 4.0+ scenarios.
  15. Do you work on many scenarios at the same time or do you concentrate your efforts on a single scenario at a time?
  16. Do you work on your scenarios regularly or irregularly?
    I can work on multiple scenarios at a time. I have no problem with that.
  17. 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?
  18. Would you submit a scenario if you were certain it wouldn't be rated high (high is 4.0+)?
    Does it really matter? If the map is fun to play and the map design is okay and the story is okay, but it's not highly unique and even if the map's a bit too easy, does it really matter if you don't get a 4.8 rating?
  19. What keeps you motivated to design scenarios? Why did you start designing scenarios?
  20. What do you do when you're not motivated enough to design scenarios?
    I don't always feel motivated enough to design scenarios. Sometimes it can take me months to start a new project. Right now, I don't feel very motivated to design anything, because I've run out of ideas. I hope to make some small scenarios in the future, but I really have no ongoing projects at the moment.
    I originally started designing scenarios in 1997 for Warcraft II when I needed more maps to play and I wasn't familiar enough with the Internet to find maps there. So, I had a practical reason to start designing scenarios.

I didn't answer each question, because I couldn't think of good answers for all of them.