Schema scheming

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Nahand

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... listen everybody: just quit the scores! No numbers from now on! Just the review. People will still rate it a 10 even if it's crap by comparison so... is it really worth it to get your eyes off from each other? Gebus Krisht!

Wait! Timmy! put that gun down!

*paff, paff*
 

Bot_40

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I don't mind saying our rating is like a /10 rating with an impossible 10 rating, but that's not what it is. Everyone I spoke to seems to think it's actually a rating out of 9 implying that 9/9 is a perfect score as 10/10 and shouldn't be achievable (but already aristocracy got 9/9, 9/10 seems more fitting).
I would suggest keeping the current scoring system, only actually formally saying at the bottom of a review "Our score is given on a 10 point scale with the maximum score being 9 since a map cannot be perfect" or soemthing like that, then that avoids all confusion and makes everything just nice.
Only 1 thing I would be concerned about is what hourences mentions, there is no 9.5 score either, and aristocracy gets a "9/10" or whatever, but it's pretty easy to see a lot of things could be improved...enough to warrent a better map getting a 9.5. Only way I can see you could avoid that would be to have a score out of 3.5 for awe and cast (or whatever they are called) and a score out of 2.5 for build since I personally feel the technical execution is a lot less important than the other 2 catagories (most people couldn't care less if the exact same map was 5,000 polys or 50,000 as long as it runs smoothly enough to play)

As for new names, awe just seems to cover the wow effect a map has.
I only thought of environment just to represent how the atmosphere, visuals, sounds, theme etc. all draw you into the map. Eg. if you go in a map with nice visuals but no theme, then it's still a nice environment to be in. Of course it doesn't score as highly because of lack of atmosphere etc. or something like that anyway :con:

Visuals to me seems to be just what you can see, ignoring things like atmosphere and sounds etc. and atmosphere seems to just cover the "feeling" the map has.

I'm with the others, to say I had to actually read the schema over a couple of times just to get what cast is actually on about. Gameplay covers the exact same stuff as far as I can see and is so much easier to understand.

I don't really have any problems with the "Build" name, possibly technical execution is easier to understand but that is a mouthfull.
 
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Zarkazm

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Jan 29, 2002
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Hey, I almost missed an entertaining discussion! :)

First of all, of course the terms are not the easiest to understand for foreigners, especially if they don't speak English so well and have only a small vocabulary.

Look&Feel/Gameplay/Tech would be suitable categories. I know Look&Feel sounds alot like "atmosphere" but somehow atmosphere means something slightly different to me.. I don't know, I just can't imagine applying it to architecture. Is visually stunning really atmospheric? I really did like "awe" tbh.

Regarding the scale, I always liked the idea that the 10th point is special, a bonus point for an untouchbale quality.
That said, the problems with the x/9 scale are obvious, many users have clearly problems grasping it and of course user scores are given on a x/10 scale, and technically incompatible to the review score.

Since I really do like the bonus point idea and someone mentioned the problem of adjusting the category scores to add up to the final score the reviewer feels is most appropriate, how about giving the reviewer the option to add or subtract up to 1 point at will? Maybe add a field like "Reviewer's Choice" which gives away this modification.
 

AMmayhem

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Hourences said:
imo environment should be called visuals, even more clear, env. is still pretty wide or open to different interprentations

i mean, env., it could be read as theme, what if someone enters a themeless map that still looks solid ?
a map with a lack of true environment, atmopshere and dynamic stuff, but still looks visual solid and well made, but it would score 2 or 2.5/3 then for "environment", might be confusing too

I'd rather see it be environment. Environment can include the atmosphere of the map, which isn't necessarily the theme. Atmosphere is more of the 'feeling' of the map, creepy, deserted, or whatever. Visuals doesn't really include a 'feeling'.

For the idea of an extra point to make the scale out of 10: We could make it so a reviewer could add a 0.5 or 1 for originality or something. There aren't a whole lot of new themes coming out anyways, so the extra point may not really be used. Have like a half point for taking an old theme in a new direction, and a whole point for something completely new, or however the reviewer wishes to distribute it.

Or, if not originality to keep it from being strict, just have it be an extra random 0.5-1 point. Could be the unjustified extra point that is just needed to make the score feel right. The rest of the 9 possible points are justified.
 

Chrysaor

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Zarkazm said:
Regarding the scale, I always liked the idea that the 10th point is special, a bonus point for an untouchbale quality.
That said, the problems with the x/9 scale are obvious, many users have clearly problems grasping it and of course user scores are given on a x/10 scale, and technically incompatible to the review score.

Since I really do like the bonus point idea and someone mentioned the problem of adjusting the category scores to add up to the final score the reviewer feels is most appropriate, how about giving the reviewer the option to add or subtract up to 1 point at will? Maybe add a field like "Reviewer's Choice" which gives away this modification.

I think this is a great point and a great suggestion.



Here's how I once organized it:
Gameplay
Circulation/Flow, Bots, Items
Technique
Complexity/Framerate, Method/Craftsmanship
Visuals
Theme, Lighting, Physical Architecture, Textures, Sound (yes sound in the visuals category)

I have sound and playablity in different categories than NC's current schema.

Maybe Theme doesn't belong anywhere, but rather it relates to the general impression, the one that the reviewer should instantly know when he looks at a map, this could be part of the reviewer's choice point.

I attached a paper equating mapping to architecture, and therefore the applied arts, if anyone is interested.
 

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Bot_40

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I basically agree with exactly Chrysaor's suggestion except I still think Environment would be better than visuals but it's doable :)
Technique is the word I am looking for also :)
I also thought of having the 9 point rating, then have the reviewer's option to add on an extra 0.5 or 1 point as a "Bonus point" if the map is just something special that's not seen before or really pushes the engine to it's limits/whatever. I didn't know whether people might get confused by the 3 catagories not matching the overall score, but I guess you could easilly make it 3 catagories plus a "bonus" catagory to make a final /10 score.
Of course a map has to be super extra amazingly incredible special to get even 0.5 bonus :)
 
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Bot_40

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Chrysaor said:
I attached a paper equating mapping to architecture, and therefore the applied arts, if anyone is interested.

This was actually a really really good read, cheers :)
Might have to print it out and show it to my dad, he still thinks mapping is about as complex as making a pac man level :con:
 

Chrysaor

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I'm very glad you enjoyed it, that's nice to hear. It was a tough idea to float to the professor.

You know, upon consideration Twrecks, maybe we could say that most maps are not art. They fail in that they aren't good enough to be art. Bad maps are crap, good maps are art. But since they're in the same league, then the profession of mapping must be considered an art.
 
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Twrecks

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-im not american, and im happy about that, so stop slapping around with ammendments cause i have zero idea what they all mean

Freedom of speech baby!

-mapping is art, its not because it loads in ut that it is a map, then it is a file
a true map is art

So some are and some aren't. My point exactly, Thanks.

tell me why its so hard to make good maps else ? any idiot could make one if it only required pushing buttons and knowing working methods but its not, its about more, and that factor x cant be teached by someone
you have to feel it
and thats art
gameplay is design, and design isnt a craft either

But any idiot can press a few buttons and BUILD a map.
When you design and build something for a given reason/function especially an interactive one, that is more akin to Craft than Art. Art by its very nature is not "used", it can be an element of the design or the result of fine craftsmenship., but in itself not a native byproduct of an action.

Now mapping must be considered an art because it doesn't make a tangable product? no. PPL get paid for maps and they in turn are sold commercially, so mapping can also be a trade. If it is done for free, is it art? The Dutch masters were contracted for works of art. Payment does not qual;ify or disqualify. Doing something does not make it art, it must become art through an intangible means. Art must transcend the action.

please explain what color composition, color choice, general composition, texture compositions, creation of emotion are all about then ?
"craft" ?
isnt for example music a craft too ? and not art ?
i could download some cheap prog, slap together a few sounds and then i made music and im a muscian ?
i think not

You really are trying to confuse the issue. Subtracting a box and adding a light and playerstart has nothing to do with those. Yet the result is a map. Is that map art? I think not. If you make music you may call yourself a musician, but will others? If you make good music than you might be called an Artist, same with maps k.

<shed rant>
About sheds, I've built a shed years ago that still stands and looks pretty damn nice too. I've even painted it. I am not a carpenter, nor an artist for building it. It required some design and skill to build. It will not fall down because I am not a carpenter or artist, yet it is a shed none the less.

My shed blends well with my home and actually increases my property value so it is a good shed, it is not art. If I was to take up the occupation of building sheds, I could turn it into an art, or simply carft sheds. However, that shed remains a shed. I could have built a bad shed that fell down, still a shed. So you are right, a shed is like a map. Mapping can be an art, or I can be dumb and just build a map.

Now if you were to score my shed, how would you do it? You could tell a lot by a sceenshot of my shed, but to actually walk around my shed , get inside and experience it would give you a better idea of how good a shed it is. Examining the simple prefab wall construction might also clue you into the design making it even a better shed. How do you score those aspects? As art, it would only require 1 score and a screenshot.

I could build another shed that for outward appearances looked identicle, yet function (windows opening, etc) would not be there. The construction could be inferior (materials and fasteners). Maybe I could scale it down 1/8th its size? A screenshot can be misleading. Would that change its value as art? It would alter its value as a shed.

So we must examine the shed for a number of things, as we must a map. Awe is the art meter of the schema. Build is the construction, and Cast covers does it fulfill its purpose. You might rank my shed as a 1 because you don't like the artist/color/shape, but you would have to admit it was built well and functions above the standards of common sheds, giving it more points overall.

3 catagories work because it helps the reviewer think objectively, the vague terms work because not all maps are the same, yet it doesn't make them any less/more unless you look at the whole as a collection of attributes. Defining those attributes is what a schema is about.

Art ppl score via their ego, that is who they are. They might even be able to build a shed, or not. I just don't want them scoring my shed on how they feel at that time. Art ppl will not take the time to really look at my shed. They hide behind the concept of art and ignore the craft. Art ppl are superficial and arrogant. That is who I name art ppl.
</shed rant>

Oh yea, gameplay can be an art, or a sport, really depends on someone's POV. For the schema it is a function of the map, part of Cast. Gameplay to me does not mean performance, performance is also part of Cast.

I'm glad I'm me. because I can want to finacially succeed at my occupation of choice and then do it. Visions of dollar signs does not prevent me from attaining my goals. Rich and famous ppl usually started out wanting to be rich and famous. But I can also do stuff for recreation, without considerding it an art, and just do it for fun. Being Dutch or American has nothing to do with it. The 1st ammendment lets me say it, and as an American that is important to me.
 

Chrysaor

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I'm still not sure that you're recognizing the difference between an artistic endeavor and a work of fine art. Mapping as a field is an artistic endeavor, most maps are not works of fine art. Or what?
 

Manticore

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Amen to that..........

MassChAoS said:
You guys type too much... this thread is hard to keep up with...

I'm sure there is a ton of coherent argument in this thread and when I have a spare couple of hours I intend to sit down and read it all for my own interest's sake.

I mean that most seriously as all the parties participating here are about a thousand rungs up the mapping ladder ahead of me. I may certainly learn something from all this heavy commentary.....
 
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Twrecks

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Chrysaor said:
I'm still not sure that you're recognizing the difference between an artistic endeavor and a work of fine art. Mapping as a field is an artistic endeavor, most maps are not works of fine art. Or what?

I'm sure if mapping was offered a college course it would be in the Fine Arts Department and not in the School of Engineering. I'm not saying mapping can't be an artistic endeavor, just that it isn't always. Architecture isn't always either, sometimes form follows function.

I made an XMP map, not as art, but as a technical challenge. Examining things like gametype, gameplay, polycount, flow, item placement, mesh building, fluid surfaces, anti-portals, zoning, physics volumes, actor usage, texture and light placement, and all the other stuff you encounter making a map. Currently making some vehicles for XMP, as art? I don't think so. Just for fun, I enjoy a challenge.

I do not approach mapping/moding/coding as a work of art, rather a project to create something unique yet compliant. A very utilitarian approach and prolly as a result will never be considered art. My XMP map is not a great map, but I achieved most of my goals. I did discover holes in that build of the engine and learnt a great deal from the process. I rebuilt that map many times for various reasons, solving some problems, creating others.

The last UT map I made was primarily a single high-poly BSP brush. Again exploration/evolution of a concept, not art. My 1st 2k4 map also deverged from standard mapping practices. I try out many things in Ued, not as art, but as expermintation. Most do not work because of limitations in the Engine or my understanding, they end up buried on my HD's. Just try making a borderless tesseract, with a skybox! I think I'll have to code that... later, if I can.

I am frustrated that I cannot devote more time to these endeavors. I think it's great some individuals can earn a living from it and get hands on nearly everyday. hey, not that "work" can't be taxing. Being creative on demand can't always be easy.

I'm sorry if I over qualified my point of view. This is not a Twrecks thread. I am against viewing maps or any other content made for Unreal simply as art. Art has a very shallow conotation in my book. If we cannot approach a map from atleast 3 viewports, we are likely to miss some important aspect not visable in a single perspective. We can still appreciate it, but maybe we can also learn from it?

EDIT:
AWE = visuals = delight
BUILD = technique = firmness
CAST = gameplay = commodity

Call it what you will. Nice article BTW :tup:
 
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Hourences

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visuals would be more fitting imo but you do have a good point about environments with sounds and stuff


Freedom of speech baby!
could have guessed so

PPL get paid for maps and they in turn are sold commercially, so mapping can also be a trade
seriously, this is not an argument cause most people make them for free, as do you btw so..
mapping could be a job, thats all

The Dutch masters were contracted for works of art. Payment does not qual;ify or disqualify. Doing something does not make it art, it must become art through an intangible means. Art must transcend the action.
some were contracted yes, but some werent yet they made some of the most famous paintings in the world, for no money at all
some were really poor even
and mapping isnt intagible ?
stop thinking of your average cube map for a moment, but think of some decent maps, think of atmopshere for example
thats not just made, its not that easy either
else everyone could make it..

You really are trying to confuse the issue. Subtracting a box and adding a light and playerstart has nothing to do with those. Yet the result is a map. Is that map art? I think not. If you make music you may call yourself a musician, but will others? If you make good music than you might be called an Artist, same with maps k.
if you talk about confusing..
so if i make good maps im an artist

that means that a good map is art
and a bad map isnt, so otherwise said, if a map doesnt succeed in being art its a bad map
which is what i said

you could really use that rule for just about everything, if i make a thing with 4 wheels, a seat and an engine would you call it a car and dare to sit in it ? sure it has 4 wheels and stuff but..
same for shed


Mapping can be an art, or I can be dumb and just build a map
good maps are always art, otherwise it cant be a good map
and i still use those good maps as a standard, and not some cube collection map..
youre saying "because there are also maps like that, we cant do this or that"
well there are also andaction maps, or 12 poly maps so maybe we should keep those in mind too when rating gameplay "oh no we cant rate this map 8 because the floorplan is way to complicated compared to the cube"

imo its logical you use good examples are the standard and base yourself on that
and not on things that failed in 1 thing or another

about the shed:
id score the shed rather high if it looked solid and not about to collaps, if it blended in nicely with your house or garden, and if the colours are good and not "kitsch" like they say here (no harmony, like a mess, very cheap looking)
id score it higher if it had an unique self made design with for example wooden sculptures :)

see the shed is an object meant for use, and its an object meant for you, and only you
the map is for everyone and since you want to go the pro way with the money argument, then it also need to please a few different groups and companies
now you will prolly also argue "but a map is meant for use too" but thats the purely gameplay based way of looking at it
if art wasnt that important in maps, then visuals wouldnt mather that much, then we could just drop awe maybe
see, im gonna give the best argument of the century, and you will be absolutely unable to counter it, because its so wide open :)
you said yourself that "art through an intangible means." mapping is art, and the feeling it gives is intangible, if you dont feel it atm, i cant do anything to you to explain it, it would be like explaining colors to a blind person
but without it it just doesnt work out...and it really doesnt

Art ppl score via their ego, that is who they are. They might even be able to build a shed, or not. I just don't want them scoring my shed on how they feel at that time. Art ppl will not take the time to really look at my shed. They hide behind the concept of art and ignore the craft. Art ppl are superficial and arrogant. That is who I name art ppl.
names
+ what does art have to do with ego, thats just offending for art
could say it like this too then "the greatest artists are always ego fuks"
ahem
what you just said is the most ridiculous comment ive read in a while, youll surely make it to my quote list :)
color composition has nothing to do with feeling or opinion, 80 percent of color composition is fact and based on rules
same goes for everything else almost
same goes for traditional art, or for example the way text is spread out on papers (whatever they call that in english)
there are books for hundreds of pages about those things people get it in schools on what to do exactly to make it good, how many inch a text must start from the side, etc
whats done whats not done etc
that are facts
for mapping its exactly the same, nothing to do with ego or anything
if you dont get that then you lack info, and one who lacks info shouldnt be making ridiculous completely made up statements like that fueled by misunderstanding on your side
 

Twrecks

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There's a term in engish: "Artsy-fartsy". It does not offend artist, nor should the term "Art ppl" offend you. It is meant to be diagitory for sure. As I stated, the word art is over-generalized to mean too many things. Art ppl have nothing to do with mapping, yet do comment on maps, and may even make maps, they do not own mapping nor are all mappers art ppl, just as all maps are not art. Maps may have an artistic quality, and that is why I included Awe. I do not deny it, I embrace it. If I offend art with the phrase "art ppl", then **** art, some art offends me.

I did not say "the greatest artists are always ego fuks" nor did I imply it. They could be, or not, just as all Americans are fat and lazy. Do not attempt to tie stereotypical equations with my definitions. You want names? How about every pompous ass that made unbased commentary on maps, search the User comments, you're smart, you find them. Those are the "art ppl" I speak of.

If the term "Art ppl" annoys you, if I sound rediculous, confused, or am being played by your posts. I think that's up to your interpretation. Perhaps I view the whole "mapping as an art" to literally and as a black or white statement. If something is sometimes not, then it isn't always. If mapping isn't always an art, then mapping isn't an art. However I agree, mapping CAN BE an art.

If a level designer gets core architecture direction from a senior designer, art concepts from an artist and AI elements from a coder, is he/she really the artist here? When does the Draftsman become the Engineer? As a solitary pursuit, mapping CAN BE an art, it CAN BE recreation, it CAN BE an experiment. Good maps can result from various approaches.

So, is mapping an art?
Many would agree that it is. Or is it just a waste of time? No one will remember the maps we created. They will not stand the test of time. Their value will not increase with the passing of generations and new gaming engines. Who will remember Pong and Asteroids? What Unreal1 levels will end up in a gaming museum? We did it all for fun, and maybe some money for the lucky few.

Call it art if it makes you feel better, just enjoy what you do, or stop doing it. You don't need to be informed, educated or even American to follow that advice. The choice is yours, I made mine years ago.
 

Twrecks

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LOL H, I think you are an artist, and you enjoy mapping. You also enjoy to argue as I do. So this picture is for you... :lol:

My shed:
 

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Chrysaor

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Well I'm drawing closer to agreeing with you Twrecks. As Sullivan said, Form follows function. But the entire 20th century of architectural achievement has proved that this is weak viewpoint. Truly successful buildings made by truly successful architects know that Form and Function are even or reversed.

good maps are always art, otherwise it cant be a good map
and i still use those good maps as a standard, and not some cube collection map..

that means that a good map is art
and a bad map isnt, so otherwise said, if a map doesnt succeed in being art its a bad map

I think Hour makes good points here, shouldn't we use successful maps for establishing a schema? Otherwise we wouldn't need a visual/enviro section at all :p

At some point we need to get something out of this conversation. We want to acknowledge the great maps, allow them that .5 or 1 of a point, that'd put the scales even at 10. Establishing what earns this extra half point is that intangible quality, which is mostly driven by whether the mapper has created a work of art, and must be given at the reviewers disgression. This way, scores can be given from 0-3 on all three review categories, and if there is a discrepency between the reviewers first impression of the map, they won't have to tinker with their individual scores, just award a .5 or 1 to account for why the personally liked they map so much.

Then user scores can be averaged and then compose 10% of the final score, or just sit there other people to acknowledge when they want to learn about a map. Really, I like them just being there. I realize it takes the average guy out of the official score...but it seems like a lot of other review sites for books and whatever give a professional review and then supplement it with user feedback, that's what we'd be doing essentially.

Whatcha think?



On another note, I have rated stuff as an "art ppl" before. Most of the reviews on my old website were rated as such. I acknowledged that I was doing them from mostly a visuals standpoint, but that's because everyone was making such utter crap all the time. Was it arrogant? Do the reviews suck? Yes, and Yes but I did because no one else did. There's no originality in mapping. (No offense Hourences, but if I see another map of yours with mostly blue and yellow lights...You can do better than that. You're among the elite now, you're paid to make levels. Experiment more with different colors, it'll help raise the bar. Maybe this is unfair having only seen screenshots of Argel and not having played 2k4.)

Personally, I find very, very few maps artistically satisfying, and when I rate a map or comment on a map I usually do so from the art ppl point of view, because no one else does. Of the mappers for UT99, I thought Akuma, Hourences, Ulukai and maybe Faceless were the only ones who made artistically beautiful maps. My hope is that by being the honest one who tells all these noobs that their maps suck, even if they play well, that one day most good mappers will understand visuals as well as they do gameplay. Or do we not even agree more people know how to make a level play better than to look better?
 

Twrecks

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Robert A Wey, AngelHeart, Ezkeel, Entropy, El Chicoverde, Ictus, Luggage, TheSpoonDog, Plutonic, Warren Marshal, Clawfist, Evil Atje, HypErioN, Shinigami, Paul 'TAZ' Mader, Steve Keene, KaMi, Fragswill, Squacky, willhaven, Mark 'Oz' Austin, Tonnberry, Vorlon, Platinum, Mr.Prophet, Desperato#2, LruceBee, ruineR, No_ReMoRsE, even DavidM also IMO contributed to mapping as an art.
And of course, Varpu, Scorch, you Chrysaor, Bot40, and darth_weasel for local talent.

If anything please help redefine what AWE, BUILD, and CAST mean and what aspects should be where.
I like/agree with the extra 1/2 point idea, it allows the reviewer to reward a single catagory for being extra special. Of course that does not mean the map will get a 9.5, just one catagory may get a 3.5 :tup:
 

Nahand

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... on a side note about Chrysaor's comment (after quote, too lazy to quote it), we *do* use new maps as new standarts, hence the fact we cannot directly compare toe-to-toe UT stock maps with the new custom made ones... the good ones...
If it weren't so, pretty much 70% of good custom made maps released would score incredibly high (10 or 11 o_0). I think that's a given nowadays...

Also, i'd like to let you all with some ancient proverbs (< a word?):

"All that is functional must be beautiful" - Greek ancient words
"Even the beautiful must be functional" - Roman ancient words

I like to use both lines as guiding to mapping, as with most creative processes i endeavor :tup: ...
 

Chrysaor

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I guess I just listed artists I liked then. :)

So are we agreed that the names need changing? If so does performance stay in build or is it moved to cast? Sound too, does it get moved?


(Bah. I made blocky crap with bland lighting and poor themes. Stuff I'm making nowadays should be much better.)