New duel map: Sidetracks

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Salafar
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New duel map: Sidetracks

Post by Salafar »

The idea is a duel with 3 possible paths. You can either attack the enemy head on or fight over villages along the sidetracks.
[map]
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[/map]

This is my first map so please go ahead and point out the flaws or suggest improvements.

DEATH helped me test it yesterday and already pointed out several issues that I fixed today. Mainly that it's too easy to reach the enemy so nobody will bother with the villages. I tried to make the castles better defensive positions to counter that.

edit: Almost forgot, if you play it post the replay.
Attachments
2p_sidetracks.cfg
Scenario file, for 1.2.
(1006 Bytes) Downloaded 378 times
Last edited by Salafar on July 26th, 2007, 10:31 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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Jami
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Post by Jami »

Bad things about this map:

1.Big chunks of smilar types of terrain = bad.
2.Break up the fix-eight hex cluster of hills and add in some forest, especially in the south.
3.P2 has a major advantage in that they can obtain two villages before P1 can.
4.Never place villages in the corners of the map, it makes them too defensible.
5.A good rule of thumb is to have 1-2 "good" hexes to attack a village from, and and the majority of the rest as "bad" types.
6.This map severly limits the power of Knarlgans, Drakes, and Elves, while favoring Loyalists and Undead. Northerners also recive a fairly nice boon from this map.
7.Villages behind your keep are boring.
8.The small amount of water that IS placed is poorly done.


This map needs a lot of work. I'm shure Doc will have more to say than I do about it.

Personally, I recommend you compare your map to some of the mainline maps and note the differences.

bert1
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Post by bert1 »

While the map does clearly need work (as Jami has said), I like the basic concept very much.

As someone who prefers quick games, I'm keen on any attempt to make a small map with a wide battle front.

As for details I agree with most of what Jami said. I know it's dull, but with any map I guess you need to go through it faction by faction and see which villages can be grabbed when, and to make sure that each faction gets a fair chance of getting all 'their' villages (barring bad play).

Little blobs (2 - 5 hexes) of varied terrain might be fairer than blobs of similar terrain.
Good is simply that which is willed. - Eugene Halliday

Salafar
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Post by Salafar »

A lot of good points Jami. I didn't think that much improvement would be possible. :D
Jami wrote:1.Big chunks of smilar types of terrain = bad.
2.Break up the fix-eight hex cluster of hills and add in some forest, especially in the south.
Fixed. So forests and hills/mountains always go together never alone?

That puts a major restriction on aesthetic map design but makes sense strategically.
Jami wrote:3.P2 has a major advantage in that they can obtain two villages before P1 can.
4.Never place villages in the corners of the map, it makes them too defensible.
5.A good rule of thumb is to have 1-2 "good" hexes to attack a village from, and and the majority of the rest as "bad" types.
Fixed.
Jami wrote:6.This map severly limits the power of Knarlgans, Drakes, and Elves, while favoring Loyalists and Undead. Northerners also recive a fairly nice boon from this map.
Now there are more hills and forest in total for the knalgans and elves. The shallows-roads through the deserts are gone so it's harder for non flying units to heal at the oases comapard to flying drakes.
Jami wrote:7.Villages behind your keep are boring.
Moved those to the sides of the keep.
Jami wrote:8.The small amount of water that IS placed is poorly done.
Removed it except for the water in front of the keeps which is meant to function as a moat that gives some protection against frontal assaults. Is there some problem in that idea?



I updated the map and attachment in the first post. Is it starting to look okay or still flawed?

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Jami
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Post by Jami »

In opening, your map is already looking a lot nicer.
Salafar wrote:A lot of good points Jami. I didn't think that much improvement would be possible. :D
Jami wrote:1.Big chunks of smilar types of terrain = bad.
2.Break up the fix-eight hex cluster of hills and add in some forest, especially in the south.
Fixed. So forests and hills/mountains always go together never alone?

That puts a major restriction on aesthetic map design but makes sense strategically.
I didn't say that. Small groups (1-3 hexes) of similar terrain alone is ok, but any more and you're looking at an advantage for one faction or another. Massive chunks of mixed terrain (like 6-8 hexes of swamp/forest/hill/mountain) are just as bad because of drake mobility. Generally, most of the map should have small groups of rough terrain interspaced with grassland/water.

the areas directly to the north of your the keep's wouldn't be hurt by adding in another hill or two, as well as a changing some of the forest tiles in the center too hills. but in all, it looks much better.
Salafar wrote:
Jami wrote:3.P2 has a major advantage in that they can obtain two villages before P1 can.
4.Never place villages in the corners of the map, it makes them too defensible.
5.A good rule of thumb is to have 1-2 "good" hexes to attack a village from, and and the majority of the rest as "bad" types.
Fixed.
P2 still has an advantage in grabbing villages if they are elven, drake, or knarlgan and get a quick scout. In fact, your village distribution seems skewed towards P2 as a whole in general.

What I find works best for village placement and player advantage, is to figure out how fast each faction can get to every village, and then adjust it accordingly. For a well-balanced map, even village distribution is a MUST (although it need not be symmetrical).

If I can find my old map "Rush", I'll post it to demonstrate how village distribution can be handled, even on smaller maps. Granted, my old map wasn't very balanced, but it was pretty close and a lot of people liked it anyway.

Salafar wrote:
Jami wrote:6.This map severly limits the power of Knarlgans, Drakes, and Elves, while favoring Loyalists and Undead. Northerners also recive a fairly nice boon from this map.
Now there are more hills and forest in total for the knalgans and elves. The shallows-roads through the deserts are gone so it's harder for non flying units to heal at the oases comapard to flying drakes.

I can't say anything more on this from the forums, I would need to playtest the map to see how well this works.
[/quote]
Remember, Drakes love rough terrain because it doesn't slow them down. So even adding in a little forest and some hills can make a big difference.
Salafar wrote:
Jami wrote:7.Villages behind your keep are boring.
Moved those to the sides of the keep.
Jami wrote:8.The small amount of water that IS placed is poorly done.
Removed it except for the water in front of the keeps which is meant to function as a moat that gives some protection against frontal assaults. Is there some problem in that idea?
the moat idea is decent, but I would replace some of your grassland tiles with ford tiles and add in a little swamp into the center or along the tracks so that factions with water units can use them more effeciantly.

Personally, I would probably put a river along the borders of the snow fields and the desert tiles and change one or two villages into water villages. As well as adding a little swamp in the center so that Northerner naga, or loyalists/rebel mermen can join the fray. Don't forget, ford tiles act as both grassland AND water, so they are ideal for helping water units get around a map.

Salafar wrote: I updated the map and attachment in the first post. Is it starting to look okay or still flawed?
It's looking a lot better, but it still needs work.

If you don't mind, I'm going too DL it and make a few changes. It shouldn't be anything drastic, but it'll show some of the concepts I'm trying to communicate.

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Jami
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Post by Jami »

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[/map]

Here is a version with a few changes. Mostly village placement and the addition of water.

As it stands, my version probably could use some spacing-out with more grassland to prevent drake imbalance, but it's a good way to demonstrate the how to prevent income issues.

first off, I moved the villages in the far north apart, and far enough from one another that a quick gryphon or drake wouldn't be able to steal them from the other player (P1 advantage). Then I moved the middlemost villages in the north and south towards either one player or another (Now a unit with 7MP can take the central villages on the first turn, preventing another issue with village-stealing.

Also, my version has significantly more water in the north, some ford tiles in the middle, and swamp to work with in the south. This allows factions with water units (and saurians) the ability to use those units more effectivly in a game.

Take what you will from it.
Last edited by Jami on July 25th, 2007, 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Salafar
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Post by Salafar »

Moved the 2 northern and southern center villages a little closer to P1 and put them next to 3 terrain hexes to make them easier to attack if the enemy would get them. Now I think P1 has an advantage in the south while P2 still has an advantage in the north but those advantages seems smaller then in your version.

I'm not sure if the new center works well at all...

Added fords in the center and took the statue stuff from Sulla's Ruins, those cave hexes have statues on them. My idea with the new center was that a unit standing on the terrain between 2 statues will face 2 enemy units alone. Except in the north and south where the gaps are 2 hexes wide and the units outside of the center has more terrain at their advantage. Units standing on the terrain in the middle would face several enemies.

Maybe water units have too much advantage and I should change most of the fords to grassland to make them jump between puddles.

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Doc Paterson
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Okay, you lured me out of my cave. :P


Jami, I thought that you understood why it's really bad to put mountains next to villages? The original didn't have that problem, and now we have 4 villages that are susceptible to knalgan abuse.

I like your aesthetic a real lot, but it does seem to me that you've added to a few of the original imbalances. The huge amounts of sand in the south, for example, originally made me think, "Woah, safe-haven for saurians and drakes." The preservation of those deserts and the addition of a whole lot of swamp makes that problem significantly worse.

There's also the fact that P2 basically needs two quick scouts in the right hexes to prevent two of their villages from being stolen. This problem was worse in the original.

I really respect the fact that this map is attempting fully asymetrical balance. I'm sure that it'll get there if you guys keep at it, whether seperately or as a group. Best of luck.

EDIT: Woah, a huge change while I was writing this. I'll get back to you.
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Doc Paterson
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Okay- As it is now, the village breakdown will be 8 for player one and 4 for Player two. Pretty straight-forward: P1 takes any village towards the middle, fills in their rear villages shortly after, and uses the huge economic swing to maintain a death-lock.

I'm not sure why you thought there could possibly be any sort of P2 advantage before.
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bert1
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Post by bert1 »

Doc Paterson wrote:Okay- As it is now, the village breakdown will be 8 for player one and 4 for Player two.
I make it 10 for P1 and 4 for P2. The villages at 13,1 and 13,20 will be pinched by red as far as I can tell.

I still like the map though. Perhaps I'll have a go and butcher it myself.
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Jami
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Post by Jami »

He has been editing his original post up untill now. In the first incarnation of the map he had eight villages within seven/eight hexes of P2's keep while only four were within reach of P1 within turn 1. Now the situation is slightly reversed.

Doc, Remember that the massive desert serves little tactical purpose. Shure, drakes could retreat across it, but it would serve them little purpose except for the oasis there (which, imo, are a bad idea).

Honestly, I don't like mountains next to villages any more than you do, the only reason I did that was to preserve some of the asthetics of the original northern section of the map.

Also, try not to forgot that swamps don't just benefit saurians. Poachers, Mermen, Naga, and any flying creature benefit from a swamp hex as much, or nearly as much, as a saurian. In fact, a saurian benefits the same say in a hill tile.

You are right in that P1 could steal the northernmost and southernmost villages from P2 in my old version. However, I've updated my own post with several of the balance changes Doc spoke about. (Da stalker)

On the current version of Salafar's map. The issue is different now, like doc said, P1 can gain control of the majority of the villages on the map before P2 can. Especially the central and northernmost southernmost villages.

The ford tiles/impassible tiles in the center also serve little purpose as they are, you're just creating an artificial bottleneck and forcing combat to the outisde (much like how most "Cave's of the Basalisk" games are played.

As it stands, the original idea of "fight on the inside, skirmish over villages, is lost. However, it's looking good nontheless.

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Doc Paterson
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Jami wrote: Doc, Remember that the massive desert serves little tactical purpose. Shure, drakes could retreat across it, but it would serve them little purpose except for the oasis there (which, imo, are a bad idea).
The oasis made it a lot worse, but it's also just a bad idea to have such a large "safe zone" for the Drakes. There is plenty of slowing terrain for other factions, and this takes things even further in the wrong direction. It is in my opinion very tactically significant, but I think I'd have to just show you what I mean in a game- it's more than I really want to describe right now.

The recent changes you've made there look good by the way.
Jami wrote: Honestly, I don't like mountains next to villages any more than you do, the only reason I did that was to preserve some of the asthetics of the original northern section of the map.
I don't think it would have been all that difficult to preserve that aesthetic without putting the villages adjacent to mountains. Your recent changes there also look good.
Jami wrote: Also, try not to forgot that swamps don't just benefit saurians. Poachers, Mermen, Naga, and any flying creature benefit from a swamp hex as much, or nearly as much, as a saurian. In fact, a saurian benefits the same say in a hill tile.
I didn't forget about any of these things, but it's innacurate to call them all equivalent. At any rate, we can simplify and say that that area was more easily exploitable by the Saurians than any unit type(s) that other factions could effectively mobilze in that region.

Your recent changes in that area are also a huge improvement to your original.

Nice job on the revisions.
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Salafar
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Post by Salafar »

It's awesome that several people are discussing the map and Jami is making versions of it too. :D

Posted both the current and previous version because I'm confused about village placement. If I understood correctly P2 has an advantage as the villages are placed in the new version (moved back to their earlier positions) while P1 has a huge advantage when the villages are placed as in the version with statues?

Got rid of those statues since, well yeah they where just in the way. Changed the center back to it's previous design but with 2 small lakes that a merman with normal speed can jump between to reach the enemy moat in 3 turns. I hope the rough terrain around the lakes makes it harder to get a merman across unharmed because using the enemy moat against them should be an advantage you have to work for. Not sure about terrain balance, is there enough open space now to allow ground units to keep up with drakes?

Added roads of grassland into the deserts, is that enough to fix them?

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Post by Doc Paterson »

That is a definite improvement, Salafar. As it stands now though, there is a player one village advantage (and by the way, there was never a player 2 advantage. Maybe that was a mistype from someone, I'm not sure.).

I'll try to explain about P1 advantage in a bit, if you don't understand what I mean.
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Jami
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Post by Jami »

Doc Paterson wrote:That is a definite improvement, Salafar. As it stands now though, there is a player one village advantage (and by the way, there was never a player 2 advantage. Maybe that was a mistype from someone, I'm not sure.).

I'll try to explain about P1 advantage in a bit, if you don't understand what I mean.
On the original map a 8 move unit from P2 could capture the central villages in the north and south on turn 2. While P1 was 11 hexes away from them. That would be a P2 advantage wouldn't it? Look at the reverted version, as a knarlgan with gryphons, a UD bat, or a Glider you can still cap the south-center village on turn 2 as player 2 before P1 can. A quick gryphon or a quick glider can capture the north-center village.

Using the same tactics, P1 could *possibly* obtain the south-center village with a quick gryphon/glider if he was lucky. However, P2 still has the advantage in obtaining the central villages if he was determined enough.

as it stands right now, P2 has the ability to get more villages than P1 on turn 2 if they recruit the right units. Advantage player 2. Look at the map with the water in the centre and count hexes if you don't belive me.

---

I also did not mention "player 2 advantage" as a term, as Player 1 advantage has become. but rather, I said that Player 2 HAD and advantage because they could get more villages than player 1 on turn 2.

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