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Development > Melee Development

Comprehensive List of Melee Tips and Tricks

    #1 Jul 22, 2011 at 00:44 UTC - 0 likes

    The List

    I would like to start a comprehensive list of melee development tips and tricks that the community can add to and advance.

    Terrain

    Terrain refers to the tactical positioning of your resources/Xel' Naga Towers, cliff size and placement, base size, expansion distance from main and size, etc. You know, terrain stuff. As we don't have anything yet, I will put some examples below to fill in.

    • Number of Mineral Patches per base: Typically 8. 6 is also a standard on some maps, typically 3v3 or 4v4 where there are a lot of expansion options, and having 8 would make the expansions too valuable.
    • Number of Vespene Geysers per base: Typically 2 for a normal base. Some bases have 1 (sometimes natural or base just beyond natural) Other bases have none, which are usually bases that are either highly contested or far away from either teams main base. (With the exception of island bases, which usually have the standard 2)
    • Size of cliff leaving main base (1 player base): ?
    • Size of cliff leaving main base (2 player base): ?
    • Appropriate size of main base: ?

    Notes

    • Scroll through the rest of the thread! People post things that are either a, too long to post here (videos, explanations, etc) or b, too general.
    • Decide which type of melee map you want to make. A traditional Blizzard map has specific guidelines that they follow when placing xel'naga towers, expansions, and cliffs. Too many cliffs could make a unit such as the siege tank overpowered. Too many xel'naga towers could make certain abilities obsolete or less cost effective, such as the orbital command scanner sweep. These are all things to think about. When balancing. If you follow these rules, you won't have to do any balancing yourself when it comes to units.
    • The second kind of map is harder to make. It goes beyond just terraining, and involves unit balancing. If you want to make a map like Phantom Mode, you need to take into account the change in play style. If you make a game where all units are 200% faster, then you need to take into account the zergling speed upgrade, or maybe the stalker blink ability. To make a melee map fun, it needs to be balanced. Taking all of these details into account is essential.
    • Take into account team size. Although this may seem obvious, it is important to realize that the layout of a 4v4 map is going to be inherently different than a 1v1 map on a variety of levels. One level would be expansions. Each player needs one, where should they be? Is one base easier to defend than another? If so, then what other tactical advantages could we give that base to make it balanced? Blizzard does this very nicely by including cliffs, ramp locations, and other terraining strategies.
    • Think about balance first. I would recommend not even looking at the texture properties until you are done with the cliff design. Also remember that the terrain raise/lower (not cliffs) tool does NOT affect gameplay, and should be saved for the end as well.

    Custom Units/Features

    I decided to include this section here as well. This refers to everything that you might want to add. For example, maybe you want to add an upgrade that allows you to give marines advanced training, turning them into war pigs. This is an important time to remember that war pigs are balanced for the campaign, but are not necessarily balanced for melee. This goes for any other campaign unit, and even more so for any custom unit that you decided to make. Below are some guidelines you should follow when making custom units/features.

    • How deeply does your custom unit affect gameplay? Is it an upgraded marine, or is it a stalker that can blink across the map? What role does the unit fill? Does the race the unit is being added to already have a unit that fulfills it's role? Answer these questions. If something feels out of place, it probably is. Don't try to force something that isn't meant to be.
    • In balancing a custom unit, there are a couple of steps you should follow. First, compare the unit to other units of similar attributes. If you are finding 15 units that are similar, the unit does too much. A hydralisk that can mutate into an ultralisk while casting psionic storm with a shield with stimpack is probably too much. Try narrowing it down.
    • If you have found a couple of units that are similar to the same unit in some way, compare their costs. How similar are the costs? Take everything into account: Speed, damage, attack speed, health, armor, shields, abilities, plane (air/ground), etc. If you feel your unit does more damage while taking less, it should be worth more. That is all there is to it. But, remember that a hellion is worth what it is because of it's speed and ability to avoid attacks from other units and get out safely. A sentry is worth more because it has be ability to disrupt enemy movement to allow for your units to do more and the enemy's to do less.
    • Remember that as a general rule, units with a lot of utility (such as the ghost, sentry, infestor, etc) typically cost more vespene than a pure damaging unit would. This is very important for balance. Blizzard did this for a reason. (I even remember them stating that in Starcraft lore, vespene is used to fuel various psionic abilities and what not, whereas minerals are used to build the actual unit)
    • THIS SECTION NEEDS YOUR HELP! What you see above are my efforts to combine everything that I have noticed around SC2Mapster and in personal experience. You might disagree with it. Disagree! Post your opinions! Add more!

    What You Should Do

    If you discover something that you think is note worthy, or something that hasn't been listed before that could help out future melee developers, post below! We want to make this list as full as possible! If I like your contribution, I will most likely copy and paste it into the main thread, so make your posts count! Everything above should be COMMUNITY DRIVEN. If you find something above that you disagree with, please, voice your opinion there as well. We want this to be informative, and for that to be the case, it needs to be accurate!

    Last edited Mar 07, 2012 by TacoManStan

    #2 Jul 22, 2011 at 00:47 UTC - 0 likes

    So this is for altered melee as well? Didn't sound that way earlier ;)

    http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/4226/blaj.jpg

    #3 Jul 22, 2011 at 02:07 UTC - 0 likes

    Yes and no. Altered melee is still melee. This is map making community. If you didn't alter it, how would it be map making? (Besides terrain of course)

    #4 Jul 22, 2011 at 09:05 UTC - 0 likes

    What exactly is "altered" melee?

    The Chat Gem Lives!
    http://www.sixen.tv

    #5 Jul 22, 2011 at 09:29 UTC - 0 likes
    Quote:

    Yes and no. Altered melee is still melee. This is map making community. If you didn't alter it, how would it be map making? (Besides terrain of course)

    For me personally, a melee mapping forum would evolve around creating maps with exact melee/ladder configuration. So only things like expansion count/positioning, destructable rocks, watchtowers, chokepoints etc etc. Nothing about any kind of altered data, new races, altered balance. But well, just my opinion.

    Quote:

    What exactly is "altered" melee?

    Exactly my point, why bother making a forum for melee mapping, if something as undefined as altered melee is allowed as well? Just like Taco said in the other post: Are fastest map possible or phantom mode considered material for the melee mapping forums? Is Desert Strike? It uses non-altered melee units, after all. Would a remake of WC3 in SC2 engine be considered melee?

    I personally would make this forum about pure melee mapping with only ladder units and settings.

    Last edited Jul 22, 2011 by Kueken531
    #6 Jul 22, 2011 at 09:55 UTC - 0 likes

    Normal bases should have 8min 2gas.

    Gold bases usually have 6smin 2gas.

    Rich gases aren't used, as far as I know.

    Some maps modify these parameters depending on the position and strategies around that resource node:

    • 8min 1gas
    • 6min 1gas
    • 6smin 0gas
    • 6smin 1gas

    The best way to learn, imo, is watching the most popular melee maps. Opposite to custom maps, popular melee maps are usually the best made maps.

    By the way, the first post should mention the Map Analyzer, a tool used for making balanced melee maps.

    Quote from Sixen: Go

    What exactly is "altered" melee?

    I would say diplos, epic melee, etc... are altered melee maps. Maps that work with the basic gameplay, but adding different tones to it. Campaign missions enter this category, too.

    So yes, this forum is useful, because this isn't about altered melee, is about respecting the original melee of the game. That is, ladder maps. And, since we don't have specific forums for game styles, altered melee maps remain with the rest of the custom maps.

    Last edited Jul 22, 2011 by Lonami

    http://sc2.jimluc.com/2693-1.png

    I'm a product of your collective imagination and, therefore, I do not assume responsibility of anything I don't want to assume responsibility of.

    #7 Jul 22, 2011 at 11:17 UTC - 0 likes
    • Watch the hell out for cliffs. If you use some patches of cliff to block an area, then make sure they're the same for everyone, even if they're not intended to be walked on. Tank drops, reaper/colossi still care.
    • Make sure the walking distance of one main to the other (one natural to the other) is long enough. If those distances are very short then they have to be easily defensible.
    • Make sure that the distance between mineral patches and cliffs is about the same for each equivalent expo. E.g. on Metalopolis some main bases have mineral patches closer to the cliff, so you can stand below the cliff with Stalkers/Marauders and attack probes.
    • Remember that Zerg has no early range units, so don't add places where Terra/Toss can bunker down without the Zerg being able to hit back (like on Lost Temple)
    • Use a small ramp to your main if the walk distances are short. Especially on 4player maps. No one should be able to gamble for a 6pool and win with it.
    #8 Jul 22, 2011 at 11:45 UTC - 0 likes
    There should always be 8 minerals per normal expansion, and 6 high yield. You can mess with the number of geyser. Some Koreans like to have 1 "high yield" geyser instead of two at special bases. Blizzard decided that they don't like messing with the number of mineral patches because they want it to be though of on a "per expansion" bases, not a "per node."

    Good day sir!

    #9 Jul 22, 2011 at 15:04 UTC - 0 likes

    "Altered Melee" are games like Phantom Mode and Fastest Map. They use melee concepts and gameplay, but alter an aspect of the game. ICJUG is altered melee, etc. If you use all the melee default triggers (unless you made your own melee AI of course), then I would consider it an "altered melee".

    What I mean by Data is altering build times, damage, maybe adding in a unit, etc. That is melee. When you change the way you play the game, then it is no longer melee. For example, these concepts would void the game of "melee" status, in my opinion.

    • No traditional mining. (Desert Strike income, etc)
    • No traditional spawning. (Units must be trained from a building. Once again, Desert Strike)
    • Units must cost resrouces. (Marine Arena, where buildings constantly spawn units for free)
    • Altered victory conditions. (Point system, like Roundabout War, One Base per team, like Nexus Wars)
    • Obviously if the gameplay is altered rediculously, like a TD or Tug of War.

    Note that this might not necessarily mean that your map is not melee if it uses ONE of those concepts. For example, maybe you have a game where it is melee, but bases are easily destroyed? The person with the most bases destroyed at the end wins. That is a point system, but I would still consider it a melee map.

    Use your judgement, and common sense.. If you think it could be a melee map, post it here. If it isn't, it will just be moved to the proper forum.

    #10 Jul 22, 2011 at 16:45 UTC - 0 likes

    Obviously the namer 'altered melee' is a really spooky one that can even differ per person, but for the purpose of this forum, perhaps we can define 'altered melee' as "a 1v1 through 6v6-player map that focuses around gathering resources from nodes, where all of a players' units are controllable at any time". I think that kind of defines everything that is 'melee with a twist'. Correct me if I'm wrong, though...

    Last edited Jul 22, 2011 by Mozared
    #11 Jul 22, 2011 at 18:11 UTC - 0 likes

    Would having 1 gas for the main base really throw off the play? I know it probably wouldn't allow for a lot of tech early but would it allow certain races to have an advantage?

    #12 Jul 22, 2011 at 18:14 UTC - 0 likes
    Quote from Keyeszx: Go

    Would having 1 gas for the main base really throw off the play? I know it probably wouldn't allow for a lot of tech early but would it allow certain races to have an advantage?

    Terran would have an advantage. Mostly..
    I guess it wouldn`t really throw off play, so much as limit choices. Narrowing the scope of overall strategic moves.

    Last edited Jul 22, 2011 by EternalWraith
    #13 Jul 22, 2011 at 18:37 UTC - 0 likes
    Quote from Mozared: Go

    Obviously the namer 'altered melee' is a really spooky one that can even differ per person, but for the purpose of this forum, perhaps we can define 'altered melee' as "a 1v1 through 6v6-player map that focuses around gathering resources from nodes, where all of a players' units are controllable at any time". I think that kind of defines everything that is 'melee with a twist'. Correct me if I'm wrong, though...

    Why not just use the same definition the editor uses?

    #14 Jul 22, 2011 at 19:01 UTC - 0 likes

    @Alevice: Go

    The editor's definition of melee is different than what we want here. For example, I believe that as soon as you change a default trigger it is no longer considered melee.

    Like stated above, the line between "melee" and "custom" is very, well, controversial? We are using Blizzard's engine, so all games *should* be somewhat similar. Once again, common sense is key. If you play the game like melee, it is melee. If you don't, it is not.

    Quote from Keyeszx: Go

    Would having 1 gas for the main base really throw off the play? I know it probably wouldn't allow for a lot of tech early but would it allow certain races to have an advantage?

    Take this for example. Yes it would through of gameplay, but does it really make the game "custom"? No, not really. In fact not at all. It is still very much SC2.

    Now take SmashCraft for example. That game is (I am assuming, based on gameplay and the title) based off of Super Smash Bros. That is not Starcraft, and is considered a custom game. (I know that one is obvious, but you get the idea)

    #15 Jul 22, 2011 at 19:55 UTC - 0 likes
    Quote from TacoManStan: Go

    "Altered Melee" are games like Phantom Mode and Fastest Map. They use melee concepts and gameplay, but alter an aspect of the game. ICJUG is altered melee, etc. If you use all the melee default triggers (unless you made your own melee AI of course), then I would consider it an "altered melee".

    What I mean by Data is altering build times, damage, maybe adding in a unit, etc. That is melee. When you change the way you play the game, then it is no longer melee. For example, these concepts would void the game of "melee" status, in my opinion. No traditional mining. (Desert Strike income, etc) No traditional spawning. (Units must be trained from a building. Once again, Desert Strike) Units must cost resrouces. (Marine Arena, where buildings constantly spawn units for free) Altered victory conditions. (Point system, like Roundabout War, One Base per team, like Nexus Wars) Obviously if the gameplay is altered rediculously, like a TD or Tug of War.

    Note that this might not necessarily mean that your map is not melee if it uses ONE of those concepts. For example, maybe you have a game where it is melee, but bases are easily destroyed? The person with the most bases destroyed at the end wins. That is a point system, but I would still consider it a melee map.

    Use your judgement, and common sense.. If you think it could be a melee map, post it here. If it isn't, it will just be moved to the proper forum.

    Oh well, that's not melee then, it's a custom map. No judgement needs to be made. The Editor tells you if a map is custom or melee. For the most part, if you're editing data, triggers, or anything other than terrain, your map is not a melee map. The Editor will tell you that your map is a Custom map.

    #16 Jul 22, 2011 at 20:26 UTC - 0 likes

    For starcraft 2 melee, sixen's definition is correct. Modifying it, would make it modified melee, its that simple. Taco says when you change the way you play the game it is no longer melee, the same applies to when you change anything but terrain. The word "Melee" should be used in the sense of strictly competitive starcraft 2 play- not "rodrigos obs mod melee" or "greneggs 1v1 party melee."

    Quote from TacoManStan: Go

    Altered melee is still melee. This is map making community. If you didn't alter it, how would it be map making? (Besides terrain of course)

    So, Taco sats this thread is for melee, and modifications of melee that don't change gameplay. Sure, whatever.

    #17 Jul 22, 2011 at 21:12 UTC - 0 likes

    Well, I mean, if Rodrigo (iCJug) and Dogmai (Phantom or w/e) want to join in on Melee discussion, they're free to, it's an open forum. The point of this development forum is to help mappers with their Melee projects. As of current, the Melee mapping community is in shambles, I want to attempt to bring them out of the rocks they're hiding under and join us over here, where the grass is greener.

    #18 Jul 23, 2011 at 01:23 UTC - 0 likes
    Quote from Sixen: Go

    @TacoManStan: Go

    Oh well, that's not melee then, it's a custom map. No judgement needs to be made. The Editor tells you if a map is custom or melee. For the most part, if you're editing data, triggers, or anything other than terrain, your map is not a melee map. The Editor will tell you that your map is a Custom map.

    The problem here is that often it isn't even, though. I know for a fact that there are melee maps currently used in major tournaments that are not classified as melee maps by the editor. I can't quite recall the exact example I'm talking about, but some people add one or two triggers purely to create visuals, such as hiding and showing rain and thunder at random intervals.

    #19 Jul 23, 2011 at 07:02 UTC - 0 likes
    Quote from Mozared: Go

    @Sixen: Go

    The problem here is that often it isn't even, though. I know for a fact that there are melee maps currently used in major tournaments that are not classified as melee maps by the editor. I can't quite recall the exact example I'm talking about, but some people add one or two triggers purely to create visuals, such as hiding and showing rain and thunder at random intervals.

    Well, whatever. Use common sense, if the map is used in a major tournament, of course it's considered melee.

    #20 Jul 23, 2011 at 17:28 UTC - 0 likes

    I thought this thread was for tips and tricks on melee map builds. So I was wondering if the single gas would throw off melee play too much to be used in a tournament.

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