1. The Etcetera Syndrome

      written by noklu
      ZOMG! A BLOG POST NOT BY GODLY! So yeah, this is noklu and I'm one of the three new authors that Godly has hustled into place. The others are Jonzorz and MythicFritz. They're pretty awesome guys and we'll be covering anything and everything from RP Favourites to level design or community stuff. The real reason why we've been selected is that Godly can't handle daily posting. He's lazy. But yeah, have you ever wondered why your map doesn't meet up to your imagination? Read on.

      The Etcetera Syndrome

      “So yeah, I was building this fully sick map bro, it had a sniper tower on one side with aesthetics, ramps etc and I just started to build an awesome base with a dragonhead and a splazer etc. etc. It’s pretty sick.” -Barry

      My imaginary friend, Barry, suffers from the etcetera syndrome. He has plenty of good ideas for maps n’ stuff but they kinda just fall to pieces on him. He moans about it to me all the time, so it seemed like there must be something wrong happening in his design process, somewhere. It’s a perennial problem, one that rears it’s ugly head on many, many people. Everybody has great ideas, there’s no doubt about it, but when they try to forge it, the level just doesn’t match up to their imagination. I’m not going to go out and say that the etcetera syndrome is completely responsible for this, but it is a large factor.

      So, What is it?

      Simply put, it’s when the designer does not consider what he is doing, about to do, or in full detail. Let’s go back to Barry for a sec, telling us about his map. You notice how he says etc. a lot? Where he said it is where he hasn’t thought about putting something in. He’s in the moment, building with the flow. But, what happens in the later stages when he realises that he doesn’t have enough budget because of that dragon head? Or when a playtest reveals a sightline into his base from the tower that causes a spawn trap? Or when he doesn’t know what he wants to place in the space between the buildings? To avoid these things, you’ll want to check out various player perspectives and check your pacing. But that isn’t enough. You actually need to think ahead.

      Thinking Ahead

      Every single piece on your map has a purpose, a value that adds to your map. You need to consider how much each one is worth and try to consider every single significant possibility that might come about because of it. Even more than that, you want to look at all important interplays between multiple objects to examine whether it is detrimental or beneficial to gameplay. The keys words there are “important” and “significant,” I don’t want you considering what happens when you press the “Pick nose” button in-game. What, you didn’t know that existed? Boogers aside, it tends to be a good idea to pause for a moment and take a good look at the whole map and think about what you want where and how you’re going to do it. Even if you’ve gone into the whole process with a plan, take a look at what you’re doing. Who knows, you might realise that there is something really awesome you could do instead of that dragon head…maybe a unicorn!

      Barry’s Closing Remarks, etc.

      I told Barry all this and now he’s starting to finish some maps, but he told me to add something:

      “Yo guys! This advice was pretty awesome but, there’s something that you’ll want to consider as well. Taking a long view is all very well and good, but focussing on the present is also important. You’ll want to work intensively while you can and pause every now and then. If you paused every time you placed a block, you’d never have gotten that giant phallus finished, now would you? Come on, everybody has built one, admit it. Or maybe it was me. So yeah, go out and build that giant phallus, dragonhead etc. You’ll thank me etc. Okay, bye etc.” –Barry

      It seems I haven’t quite cured the linguistic syndrome he has. I wonder if it’s fatal, infectious or etc…


      Captainppineapple44 said...

      Yay a new author, great job Noklu.

      DriedMoss said...

      We like to think of ETC as an Extended Tool Chest. ETC holds great ideas that promote potential product discoveries and compliment the kind of brainstorming that designers live by. Barry may be getting ahead of himself in his designs, but we all need to recall each positive and negative lesson learned from our design past and apply those to the next project. Noklu, you are a welcome author at RP.

      Nikatorus said...

      Cool, new author.
      I don't kniw if you remember Noklu, but you were the first official RP member on my FL.

      Dj7291993 said...

      Great job Noklu. I know I've been guilty... am still guilty of this. You're mind just starts going, so you want to just start building. One reason drawing out your ideas first can be a good idea.

      the_Jflood said...

      this sounds a lot like me for one reason or another

      Schnitzel said...

      Thinking ahead shouldn't even be an issue... The general idea of the map should already have been designed prior to actually sitting down to forge it. As far as the value of individual pieces go, its really a matter of finding a blend of utility and aesthetic appeal.

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