A couple days ago, I got inspired because I realized that I haven't seen any maps that actually had water covering a specific cliff level and allow players to build on it. I am sure there are some you can point me to, but here's what I came up with.
The first map, I call...Shallow Temple. Shallow temple is a lot about fast rushing. That's basically the point, so zerg players will usually have an easier time doing their thing. The map is 120 x 120 which is fairly small even for 1v1, but I went with it. In the middle, there's a small temple (hence the name) which has some high cliff level areas. These can be used to defend the middle and basically defend half of the entrances to your base. There's also 2 watch towers there that can see if another player is capturing the other tower and can also spot enemies coming down 1 of the lanes. Capturing both can give you a huge advantage. You also might notice there's the "side entrances" that have their own bases. These are your third bases. You'll also have to watch out because your starting building (cc hatch nexus) is right next to the entrance. There's a lot going on here and I can't talk about all of it.
The second map is called...Flooded Temple. This map is basically a much much larger version of shallow temple. This is a 1v1, 2v2, and FFA map. Each player starts in one of the 4 corners. These bases are fairly small and don't have much room for you to build. However, you have a chance to control your natural, which gives you a lot of room to build, but is difficult to defend. There's a small little area of high ground that you cannot reach without cliff jumping or air. This is extremely useful for long ranged artillery or defense. There's also a third base in-between all of the players. These have very little room to build and are hard to defend, but are on the outskirts, away from the battle. I was thinking about blocking them with rocks, but I decided against it. Lastly, there's the middle. This area has 2 high yield bases and a tower in-between. This can be used to a great advantage, however, that one tower, can see everything on that high ground and in the high yield bases, so if the enemy captures it, they will have the advantage instead.
The first map was a mediocre success, while the second map was a big success. I think these maps have potential to be very interesting, but I have not made any "prettying" of any of them. I can get to that later, but for now, here's the map files and 2 pictures...
@yukaboy: Go Lol, a flooded forest doesn't need to be a swamp. many regions of the Amazon forest are flooded during rainy season. The everglades is that huge swamp thing in Florida (someone please correct me if I'm wrong), filled with alligators and stuff. And Woodstock, well, it was the greatest rock n' roll event of all times, there was mud all around and people lived there for 3 days... so that was just a funny idea.
Both maps lacks details. Not just texture work and doodads, but design in general. Flooded Temple is just a bunch of squares. You did a better job on Shallow Temple, it is however too small and lacks bases. 6 bases are way too few - 2 player maps usually have 10 or 12 bases.
The reason maps do not contain that much water, is because of performance. Water uses too many resources for bad computers to handle, which causes problems in melee matches. Water can be used to cover certain areas of a map, but not to an extend like you did.
Here, have a look at some maps from the map pool using water to create pleasing aesthetics, but not causing issues to bad computers.
As you can see, all of the maps are using water to cover the unpathable areas around the map. Players will not be looking there very often, so it will not cause too many trouble.
Ohana is a great example of this subject. It was originally sent to Blizzard, but got rejected due to partially having water on the lowground. The water was then removed, textures and doodads replaced the previously covered areas, and it got approved by Blizzard. It is today found in the map pool.
You give good feedback...too good...almost ready to give up, too good... ;)
Neither of them were pre-designed. Both were thrown together with the idea that a map can have water covering the lowest level of terrain. That explains why it doesn't feel right. The flooded temple is actually one that I designed partially beforehand. I made it into boxes because I always get the feeling that man-made structures are generally...boxes. I make my natural cliffs more random.
I still have a hard time figuring out what size to make my maps. So, once I got to building on shallow temple I realized there wasn't enough room, but did not edit it.
That's interesting...well I don't plan on submitting this to the map pool. But that stinks. Wc3 has it, why can't Sc2? Blizzard...
I was starting to work on a 3v3 version, but I canceled it, realizing that would require a much bigger map and 6 players and therefore create a ton of lag. I'll stick to 1v1.
I still like the idea and I played against the computer on shallow temple on ultra and was fine. But, I do know some people are either lazy or can't afford to get better computers.
I'll try 1 last time with a 160 x 160 map and see how it goes. This time I'll design it with the purpose of water last.
Sorry for double posting, but just so you don't miss this part, I just finished my basic design of the "better" map. It's going to be tweaked a little bit to fit the water theme, but it's going to take place in a city. The "boxes" will also be changes, no worries.
While the idea is good, it has some major flaws. First of all, there's only one attack path to your enemy - and there's even a XNW covering it. The map has too much dead air space, making it an air heaven. Islands can be a good idea, but as there really aren't no alternative third, it heavily favors Terran over the other races. Additionally, the expansions only have one ground path to defend, making the map even more imbalanced. Terran can siege up, and Protoss force field, so that no enemy can break through. And as a last note, widen all ramps but the ones going up to the main; such tiny chokes gives the defender an enormous advantage, making it nearly impossible for the attacker to victor.
I hope this helped you understand some general guidelines to melee map making. I see that you want to make good melee maps, and I will surely do my best to help you improve your maps, if you want me to.
Although it's not really made to let you build on the low cliff level, it's actually the first melee map I finished with the SC2 editor AND it's partially flooded (hence its name). I should upload/share the latest update here but I'm just too lazy. It's been available on EU for months though, I'm still planning to share it in the US when I'll be in Canada... My other melee map (Rooftop Gardens) was made with the same idea of creating a unique atmosphere, this time by adding fog, mist and clouds to blur the vision and make the entire arena kind of "fantastical". My point being you should put a lot of efforts in creating a unique atmosphere in your maps as well, in the end I think that's what makes your map better than the average melee map (in addition to your sense of details and your knowledge of gameplay situations, to make a properly balanced map allowing any kind of strategy). Also, as Scorp just said, you need to have more than 1 access to any point of interest in your map (bases, xel'naga towers, battlefields, etc...).
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Custom (EU): Ikari Warriors v2.0 | Sand Worm Survival v1.0 | The Last Hour (alpha)
Melee (EU): Flooded Slums | Rooftop Gardens
Feedback is welcome!
Did a brand new design taking Scorp's advice again filling up as much of the map as I could. This time there are more ramps and slightly wider chokes and at the same time, less empty unused space. Hope this is better than the last one.
Edit: I took another pic and this time with some references.
You're definately on the right track. I can see a lot of improvement, however, three ramps up to a main is a no-no. I do like the idea of having a ramp down to your natural, that eventually will be used as a backdoor too, so I'd suggest you to keep that one, and the ramp not covered by rocks. Another thing to watch out for is the watchtower placement - it will be difficult to sneak around it, so I'd suggest you to push the ramps to the lowground just a tan further away, perhaps one or two cells.
All in all, a quite nice design, much better than any of your previous works.
I'll do the practical stuff and aesthetics later today. (Textures, doodads, mineral fields, geysers, spawn locations, base sizes [amount of space in each base is a little off, you might notice in the picture that the bases on the top are larger than the ones on the bottom because I was in gameplay mode perspective])
Thanks for the help ScorpSCII, I can tell the map designs I'm making are now a little better.