I just realized that I have absolutely no idea what the SC2 mapping scene is like anymore. I play the occasional custom game, but with work, college(ish) stuff, and Borderlands 2 I don't have much time for it these days. But that will hopefully be changing soon.
Anyways, how does the popularity of SC2 custom games compare to what it was, say, 3 years ago? Do people still play often? I've seen several threads stating something about people turning back to WC3, which confuses me. Is that true?
Check any thread on the general chat board here that has 2 or more pages. Pretty much everyone who replies to that are the people who are still around. Still some good projects and mods being worked on and popping up left and right, but otherwise it's kind of quiet.
Kind of depends. Certainly plenty of people playing, just not as concentrated. I would say a wider range of maps get played nowadays and people rotate among certain ones depending on their tastes. Plus for certain genres, there is a few maps to choose from that are each pretty unique. At least for myself, I work on NOTD and we are doing a sequel but there is The Rising Dead and Undead Assault 3.
A big problem with StarCraft II is the lack of expertise. SC2Mapster only offered help for the most basic of problems with a lot of their wiki content being incomplete or even out-right wrong. Every time I had a Galaxy problem I had to resort to time intensive case tests to find out the solution as no one bothered/wrote up online what I was after.
For example how many people here know that StarCraft II triggers support bitwise left and right shifts? How many know about the hidden modular 32 with those shifts? How many know that the right shift is a signed shift? Silly little questions related to these are not answered anywhere.
How many people here know about the "queue learn ability order bug"? I am sure a lot of people are using the "Learn" ability in an unsafe way completely unaware of the bugs existence.
Agreed. Although, sadly I must say, many people are unaware of those concepts in programming at large.
As for the queue ability learn bug, I'm also curious. I'll admit, in my game, I never face that issue because players do talent selection through a custom UI and thus all learn orders are issued by triggers.
Random speculation suggest that if you queue a learn ability via the unit order queue (as opposed to a queue ability), some unknown result is produced (perhaps learn points are being consumed before the ability is learned and if the order is canceled, the point is not refunded?
As for the topic at hand. I would say, as usual, most do not map for entertainment or learning, they are looking for the fastest route to financial success. And SC2 currently is not that. With the release of so many free* tools that are general purpose, people are looking to get their Flappy Bird payday (which of course happens to virtually no one, and the vast majority of games are pirated and make their creator very very little).
The lack of documentation in the editor does not help either. People are demanding higher and higher quality tools (and of course, they don't want to actually pay for them, which leads to companies to use manipulation, small print and other fun psychological tricks to get the money out of people anyhow).
*Free, at first, but all of them have terms that force revenue their way if you ever get any decent amount. Unity has a cutoff point, at which they charge full price. UE4 takes a % cut. Source forces the sale of your product through steam, which they then take a cut of (you can do other channels, but you MUST include steam). Although this may be inappropriate, I will be blunt, it appears they have all learned the drug dealer model: the first hit is always free. And sadly.... it works, all too well.