I just came back from playing a long round of some special ops kill the zerg map. There was a crapload of action, but after a while, I got bored. I hate that feeling more than anything, playing an action map but feeling lazy. Good maps are a balance of action, stratregy, and attacking at the right moment. That's why I love marine arena, it keeps you on your toes without putting you to sleep because you need to use so much control. Anyone else know what I mean?
Marine Arena is probably not the best example for this IMO, but yeah, maps like Spec Ops where you have an overpowered hero holding up against thousands of zergs is boring... These maps lasts for hours (literally), nothing really happens except that you spend the first hour upgrading your hero if you want to be sure to survive the last waves. It's boring because gameplay does not even exist in these maps, it's as simple as that. People tend to call "gameplay" any feature in their map (like customized units and spells, for example), but it's not. A good gameplay is a mix of features and situations providing challenge, with various ways to solve puzzles. Spec Ops doesn't have that, and as far as I'm concerned I don't think Marine Arena does either. :)
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LOL it was the special ops hero game, how did you know so well?
I wasted about 10 hours on each of these maps. Well... it was only 3 games, after all! :D
I can't think of a good map either right now, but I'm pretty sure there are at least 3-4 pages of maps worth playing, providing an interesting gameplay where you don't just stand here with your hero waiting for the enemies to hit your walls. I'm afraid these kind of maps are done mostly by beginners trying to learn the basics of the editor, so it's kind of funny but not for long... Same goes for classic TD maps, most of them are done by beginners because it doesn't require much more than knowing the basics if you want to make one.
Yeah, I've had the feeling. There's a map which is basically an odd rehash of elite forces; you start off with four buildings to spawn marines, ghosts or vikings ('mechs'). You then get 2-4 units and proceed to clear out rooms of Zerg, with 'saving points' in the form of healing towers after each room. You 'improve' by upgrading armor, health®en or damage - upgrades start out at 25 minerals and each consecutive upgrade costs 25 additional minerals. A kill equals 2-5 minerals or so.
After clearing out two rooms and blasting Zerg, I realized that I had had some fun. Then I realized that about twelve more rooms were up, and that literally nothing was changing. It was just my overpowered Marines a-moving into a group of Zerg, then backing up to the healing towers and then upgrading weapons on an endless loop. There were shitloads of 'action' going on as I was killing 400 food Zerg armies with 10 Marines, but that didn't change the fact that in the end, the map was boring as well. There is 'some' strategy involved, but maps that rely on an endless 'I'll just upgrade my damage again' system tend to get really boring, really fast. Just killing stuff at random can only entertain you for so long.
A large part of the problem is that they are more spreadsheet than game. There is very limited input on the part of the player other than positioning and upgrades. Once you get that set up the game plays itself. Even then those few decisions are not engaging, especially when there is a mathematical best that you are supposed to follow. At that point it doesn't matter how big the numbers get, 100 enemies are the same as 1.
When making a map like that it's important not to let the game play itself. You need to strip off much of the SC2 engine and gameplay because it just doesn't translate. You can't have 2 units run at each other, auto acquire their target, then bash each other in the face until one dies. At that point you win or lose based upon being mathematically predestined to do so and that's no fun.
A good place for guidance is to look back at a similar game that was actually fun and engaging. Something like the original Gauntlet, 2D zeldas, or Diablo.
- Aiming was important, you didn't just auto attack.
- Projectiles had travel times so you had to predictively aim and could skillfully dodge attacks.
- Enemies didn't all just blindly rush you and would employ basic AI and abilities
- You "micro'd" a single character.
Once you realize what made those games work you can see where these maps went wrong
- More != more fun. You can't effectively control 10 units without dumbing it down, nor can you fight 100 enemies without them being fodder.
Solution = Scale it back and give the player finer control over fewer or even 1 unit. Make fewer enemies, but make them matter more. Most importantly make them interesting, not just tweaking stat values.
- Auto != cruise control for cool.
Solution = Don't let the game play itself. Make the player actually aim and dodge rather than relying on an RPG like hit check for an action game.