Iron Mapper IRONMAPPER Season 6: Trial 0

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VanillaSunshine

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Trial 0. Wild
RESULTS
Submissions:
19
Deadline: Sunday, June 20th 2021

SEASON 6 DISCUSSION THREAD

Thoughts


It's so awesome to see 19 entries for the pre-Season Trial! We saw a lot of new faces this time! Thank you all for your participation, and congratulations for creating so many amazing maps! Season 6 will be quite different from previous seasons, and some thing will be changing between this pre-Season Trial and the future ones. Look out for the first official Trial of Season 6 after the Game Jam!

Without further ado... let's see our winning maps!

Trial Champions: @AnonAlpaca & @idilio!


4641

4620


@AnonAlpaca's map shows a unique execution of a "Wild" map, showing that a map doesn't need to be mostly nature to capture a "Wild" vibe, and also providing a unique type of progression through the area!
@idilio's map may be a more traditional interpretation of "Wild", but its detail and story-telling truly makes it stand out from the crowd and provides an exciting area for any player to explore!

Kudos to AnonAlpaca and idilio!

Critiques


For the sake of providing detailed critique to everyone who requested it, Aiyinsi and I decided to write our critiques separately so you can hear our full independent thoughts! We hope that this change in structure allows you to feel more fulfilled in our critiques and see how our opinions may have overlapped or differed while judging your maps!
It isn't often that we see multiple houses on routes! That was a neat way of making your map stand out from the crowd! I like that the paths aren't perfectly defined, as it lends the map to a more natural feeling without being too messy or busy. The use of Rock Smash to block off the map until a later point in the game is really nice too!!
A lot of the grass in this area is avoidable by the player. If I assume the tree passability correctly, the player only needs to walk through 3 tiles of grass to get through to the other side! There also seems to be a lot of dead/unused space, such as the length of grass on the left-side near the river, or the small area between the trees and cliff near the top-right. I would recommend adding more mandatory grass, and using Item Balls or obvious item tiles to show the player that their travel through the non-mandatory areas is worth it.
There is a tile error on the bottom-right where the large rock overlaps a tree, and another one with the tall rock just south of the right-most building.
  • I guess the player will visit this place for the first time without rock smash from the top right. Good layout so the player can see the house after the first grass patch so they know that there is something to explore.
  • Nice room for exploration.
  • Some of the tree placements look as if the player could go in between trees/ledge and tree/water and tree. Shifting some trees or using tree formations like you did to make the middle of the map look more interesting to make clear that the player cannot go there.
  • Really good use of the river, elevation and houses to break up the green of the forest.
  • Nice use of the overgrown trees on the east side of the river to make them more distinguishable. Maybe make it even more clear with some more flowers like the ruins have. This also would help to break up the green in that area.
  • Elevating and having lots of rocks by the ruins makes it a more distinguishable and memorable area.
  • Tile-errors in the tree formations next to the stairs(both sides). Also in the bottom right tree border. Another cut off tree at the left border. The one next to where the river goes one tile to the right.
I really love the attention to detail on this map! The different trees, the decorations around the grass, and the hiding house are all really cute and add a lot to the map's aesthetic!
I wish it had a bit more non-linearity to it, though! I like that it splits into two different areas, but the route itself is pretty self-contained and the branching paths don't serve much except sending you to different routes/towns. If the player doesn't have access to Surf yet, their only option is one path through the route that doesn't loop around on itself. Their only choice happens when it comes time to leave this route itself. A side-effect of this is that the player has no real incentive to explore, besides the curious and adorable house near the bottom-left! If I was a player, I would be left wanting more out of this route.
Under the assumption that Surf would be available to the player eventually, I would be careful about the landable spots around the water. Some of them are only a tile or two wide, and don't seem to provide anything except decoration. If the player is never intended to Surf this water, then I feel like it might be a lot of dead/unused space that the player will never see, which is a shame because it's quite pretty!
  • Nice use of tree variations. If you can interact with the berry trees(the one with fruits) I’d have them only in player-reachable spots though.
  • The berry trees together with the plentiful flowers and the different shades of green do a really good job of making the map look more colourful and natural while also being nice to look at. The way you leave spaces between your trees really helps it pop as well.
  • The 1x1 Long Grass patches are there to help the aesthetic of the wilderness but the fact that there is no larger patch is really annoying if a player decides that they want to hunt a Long Grass encounter. Some of the placements also make it more annoying to go through the route by bike if your game has one. Also having some larger patches would make your map dividable in a “more overgrown” and a “less overgrown” portion which might make it more interesting.
  • Unless there is an event/NPC hint or your game does establish that e.g. stairs are (not) the way to go the player doesn’t know which way they are supposed to go. It’s best to have the player know what is just exploration vs story to have them be able to explore everything or do just story as they desire without much backtracking in my opinion. So mapping like this should be used very strategically when the player only has to visit either one of the two or both without any required order.
  • The way you handled the elevation does a really nice job to divide the map into two parts.
I like the use of elevation in this map! Elevation is a great way to add interest to any map!
I recommend looking at the official games and their maps, and studying how they lay out their tiles! There doesn't appear to be any entrance or exit into this space, and the player doesn't have any access to most of the map except the one building they most likely exit from. Make sure that your cliff/mountain tiles meet up logically; for example, near the bottom-right of the map, a cliff that is on top of another cliff ends up connecting to that cliff when it should stay on top of it. Remember to think about your player and the amount of things they can see on their screen while walking around; if the player was able to access the rest of the map, there would be a lot of empty space where they can't do much!
  • This map has many unreachable spots and is therefore not really playable unless your player can jump up mountain walls.
  • When making a map think about the following things:
    • What important structures are in the map? (PokéCenter, Houses, Gym, Tall Grass, Cave, …
    • What path is the player supposed to take through this map?
    • By having those on your mind you will automatically have a direction to go when making maps.
  • Try to have a different ground texture on walkable vs non walkable areas. That way the player knows at a glance where he can go and where he can’t.
  • Give cities a better structure by laying the houses in a grid like pattern and adding streets.
This is a gorgeous map with a beautiful amount of detail! The use of abandoned houses to add interest was very clever! I love the story-telling aspect of the footprints that lead to the overworld Pokémon, but I would almost suggest that the footprints lead the other way. (This is under the assumption that the player enters the map from the bottom-left!) The main mystery of footprints is what made those footprints, and the player might notice the Pokémon before they realize there's a trail to follow.
My main piece of advice is to be careful with balancing clutter vs detail. Detailed maps are gorgeous, but it can be very overwhelming to the player if that detail starts to become cluttered or noisy. When done wrong, it can even make it difficult for the player to traverse, as they won't know what tiles are what. Your tall grass is very unique, but since it's unique AND also used to decorate, it's a bit of a struggle to tell if it's actually tall grass for wild encounters or if it's simply decoration. Similarly, near the bottom-center of the map, the 1x2 chunk of dirt near the 1x2 ledge ends up making the ledge harder to see, because they're so similarly colored and shaped. Players also might have a difficult time telling apart walkable space from non-walkable space, such as the broken buildings.
  • The mood of this map is incredible.
  • I love how much exploration there is on the map.
  • At the bottom the broken lamp makes the player take an unnecessary detour.
  • Tall grass at borders can confuse the player on whether they can reach those parts (especially on the cliff at the top right)
I adore the atmosphere in this map! It really feels like a secluded spot in the jungle, building up to a dungeon to explore!
I wish the space was utilized more, though! There is a lot of empty and open space, especially near the entrance of the map. All of the grass on the map is optional, which just encourages the player to make a straight-shot to the teocalli with only a few potential Surf encounters. The grass to the right of the teocalli can only be accessed by surf, but that chunk of land doesn't provide anything to the player that they couldn't get. I would recommend adding an Item Ball to incentivize the player to land there instead of going straight to the teocalli. Right now, there's nothing to encourage the player to explore this map.
  • This map conveys the feeling wild very well.
  • Adding a bit more horizontally and exploration would go a long way. Especially on a jungle adventure themed map like this.
  • The borders that look unreachable to me make me want to explore them. Use a different ground tile there to make clear that the player cannot go there.
  • A flower or some other decoration that adds a bit of color would go a long way on this map.
  • The bottom could use a bit more interesting decorations.
The use of clouds is really awesome. It makes me wonder if they'll eventually be walked on by the player! I also like the house being in this area; using houses on routes is really underrated and this one looks like a neat (potentially optional) dungeon!
The placement of the house seem perfectly fine to me! The grass is pretty similar to the trees, which makes it hard to see it in the lower parts of the map. Near the top, I wish the grass had a bit more structure; right now, it just looks like an open area with some isolated grass patches. It's quite difficult to see some of the grass under the clouds, and I actually had to have a friend point out where the staircase to the house was. If the clouds are purely aesthetic, I recommend lowering their opacity further or removing the 1-tile spots on them so it's easier to see everything. I also wouldn't mind some tall grass in front of the house, to give the yard more purpose!
  • The clouds are a nice idea but a fog would have done a better job. Also they are not transparent enough so it’s hard to see what’s beneath them.
  • The placement of the houses is fine but the lead up to them is a bit blunt. Think of the elevated area as the garden and have paths/flower beds or things that would lead up to such mansions.
  • The tall grass at the bottom area of the map blends in too much into the surroundings. Use a different ground tile there to make it stand out. Mud might be good.
  • Leave spaces in tall grass to make it look more natural and wild. Even in the overgrown area at the bottom. They are also a great hiding spot for items that encourage exploration.
What a beautifully unique map! I almost thought it was a town at first, but then I realized it was meant to be a route, and I was pleasantly shocked! I feel like you did a great job at creating a versatile aesthetic: to me, the city still feels lived-in and "one with nature", but I could also get the vibe that it's been abandoned recently! I also love the idea of having to go inside some of the buildings to reach the next part of the map; that is a really unique idea!
I wish there was more mandatory grass, but since it sounds like this map was meant to have trainers in it, I won't hold that against it too much. I feel like the two ledges in this map are extremely punishing, and don't have much incentive to them besides accessing more of the map. I would worry that players would hesitate to use them, instead looping around to find another path and essentially treating the ledges as roadblocks until later. There also doesn't seem to be much benefit to exploring if you find yourself at the end of the map before seeing the rest! I would think about how you could use Item Balls or dead-ends to incentivize the player to explore. Putting Item Balls near ledges can be a good way to entice players to jump them even if they aren't sure if they're ready to, as well!
  • The map feels very complicated and maze-like with many places to explore even though it is very linear and therefore easy to navigate.
  • The way the tiles are used tells a lot about the lore of this city.
I really like the diverse landscape of this map! The warm cliffs, the desert sand, and the grass all mesh together very seamlessly. That can be quite difficult to pull off without looking jarring, but you did an amazing job at mixing them together in just the right amounts to not be confusing or unappealing! Your use of elevation is gorgeous, adding just the right amount of interest and carving out the walkable area. I'm not sure if this was intentional, but it ALMOST looks to me as if the river used to have a lot more water and would fill up that whole layer many years ago, but has dried up a bit over the years. My point with bringing that up is how natural the landscape feels without being unnecessarily messy or noisy. I also love how seamlessly the town and route combine; I almost didn't think to register the town as its own separate entity, since it fits so nicely with the route around it! Not to mention the branching paths in the right-side of the map.
My main piece of advice is that I would recommend bridging the water near the bottom-right side of the map. That would create a really nice loop for that part of the map without the player needing to use Surf. If the player was to go south after leaving the town, and they didn't have Surf, they would have to backtrack all the way up to where the path branched, and would've had almost no reward/incentive for having gone south at first. If the path connected to the far-right side, the player would still be able to wrap around toward the north and reach the next route without backtracking. As it stands, the route gives the player the illusion of choice, rather than giving them a genuine choice.
I also wish there was more mandatory grass, but that could be fine if the map is intended to have many trainers as obstacles instead! The dark sandy area directly right of the town feels super large for how empty it is, so I think the northern cliffs could be brought down if you can't fill that space with something. Similarly, the area at the south that is accessible by water doesn't seem to have anything to actually warrant the player visiting it. I also feel like the town is uncharacteristically small for the area; it only has two houses and they aren't accessible to the player. I'd recommend cutting into the farmland to add more houses to show where the miners stay, and where all the people are who need that wheat growing!!
  • The desert route could be condensed a lot. There’s unnecessary big empty spaces.The areas to explore are too big for what they offer. A long portion of the route is the player following along a linear path without much going on.
  • There are multiple optional areas to explore.
  • Good use of little green oasis to break up the yellow and orange sand and mountains.
  • The town could have used a few more living houses. It feels like a touristic town only with the houses it has even though it has an entry into what I’d assume to be mines and a farm.
This is a really cute take on the required theme! I like the use of the flowers creating a rainbow pattern next to the river. I also love the mouth of the river and how it splits as it approaches the ocean; that is a gorgeous real-life phenomena that I don't often see recreated in Pokémon-styled maps!! The dirt paths with the circles of flowers near them is also a neat detail; they look like little bowties to me and I just think that's adorable. The staircases that connect up to each other to give access to the cliff area is an underrated mechanic in mapping! When the player finds the first staircase and can see the other exit, they'll know exactly where it'll lead them, which will let them decide if they want to descend or not. All of these things are great details!
I think the main things holding this map back is its size and lack of structure. There isn't much indication of where the player is meant to go, or where they might be when they first encounter this map. Since the map is so large, there is a lot of empty space where the player won't have any guidance or motivation to keep walking! All of the tall grass on this map is put off in places that the player can't initially reach; I instead recommend to use tall grass as an obstacle for the player. Force the player to walk through reasonably-sized chunks of grass so that they face a challenge when trying to explore, and the idea of meeting new Pokémon will incentivize them to move through the route!
Similarly, think about the spaces you have on the map and ask yourself what purpose do they serve for the player? For example, the chunk of land south of the rainbow flowers and the majority of the land on the right-side of the map don't offer the player anything except screens of grass and bushes. If the player was to walk through these spaces, they may be disappointed or bored after only a few seconds. I recommend playtesting your maps and walking through them as a player would; if you aren't actually doing anything except walking and/or your screen is often filled with the same scenery for long periods of time, it might be a sign that your map is too large and/or you haven't added enough obstacles (like tall grass or trainers) or points of interest. I heavily recommend looking at routes from the official games to get an idea of how the paths and layout of the map help guide the player toward the end destination and actively encourage them to keep walking. Each map should have a distinct purpose and destination, and also include obstacles and rewards to guide the player along.
For your first Iron Mapper, you had a great idea! This map is very pretty and I think it has a lot of potential. It's mostly too large and too empty, but the idea itself is quite unique! I would love to see your skills grow as you keep making more maps and learning new concepts!
  • The map feels like a part of an even bigger map due to there being no borders on the left or top.
  • The map is missing a clear path that the player is expected to take. When making a map think about what path you want the player to take. Mark that path with path tiles or give it some borders. Routes usually have a main path with a few side areas to explore. Even the wild area works like that.
  • I like the flower formations.
  • Overall though there’s not enough in this map for its size. Shrinking it down by at least half would do wonders. Playtest your game and if you find a screen that has nothing going on you’re doing something wrong!
I love that this area feels like a dungeon rather than a route or town! There are a handful of different paths for the player to take, and some of them seem to have nice rewards for the player to find! I also like the concept of an abandoned temple; the underlying structure of the map lends itself to "this was a place built by humans". Kudos for creativity!!
I wish the landscape was a little more diverse: there are very large chunks of grass without much variation or interest. The map overall could be compressed so the paths are a little more manageable and easier to remember for the player as they make their way through the maze-like structure. While I like the abandoned atmosphere, I think adding some trainers to diversify the different paths would be worthwhile! Maybe Ruin Maniacs or Psychic trainers would make sense in this sort of place. Similarly, I wish the path on the left-side (next to the cave entrance) would lead to the temple! Right now, there's only one path the player is able to take (without Strength) to reach the temple, and I feel like that wastes the potential of the space of the map. The area after the Strength puzzle in the top-left doesn't seem to lead anywhere either; I'm not sure if you intended for there to be a rare Encounter there or if there's an entrance through the trees that isn't coming through clearly. That's not to mention that the Strength puzzle appears to be impossible; if you intended for the smaller white rocks to be moveable, I recommend just keeping them the same as the regular Strength boulders.
There is a tile error in the top-right: a tree is missing its side near the Rock Smash!
  • The map is too big for what it has to offer.
  • The shapes of the tall grass are too linear. Try mixing it up more. Also try leaving a few blank spots and hiding items in some. It's a great way to get players exploring.
  • I love how you break up the colours of the map with the purple flowers.
  • Try to use a different ground tile for areas the player cannot reach. That way they will not be stuck trying to get to a place they cannot get to.
  • I don’t see a way to make it through the strength puzzle.
I really like the simplicity of this map! And yet, despite its initial look of simplicity, it has quite a detailed layout! At first, I had thought the area in the top-left was an extra area meant for exploration, but then I realized its path continues onto another map! I like the use of ledges, especially in that top-left area. They provide some level of obstacle, but the player can easily back off if they decide that isn't the path they want to take.
The two different exits on the right-side of the map are a bit confusing to me. They're so close together that it's hard to imagine they might lead to different areas, but if they open into the same area then they feel redundant. If they lead to different areas, I would move the upper-most path to the north and make it a north-south exit, to help separate it from the other exit. I'm also personally not a fan of the style of tall-grass placement that you've used; I do think it looks nice aesthetically, but the open gaps make every chunk of grass inconsequential to the player. If I come from the south and make my way to one of the right-most exits, I can easily walk through each chunk of grass by only stepping through 3-tiles of each chunk. So while you have these large sections of grass, players could potentially get through the entire route with only a couple of encounters. If you prefer the patchy look of tall-grass, I recommend keeping the gaps closer to the edges and leaving the middle part mostly solid so the grass will still server as a proper obstacle for the players.
The area on the bottom-left side of the map doesn't seem to add much to the map! I would recommend an Item Ball to entice players to explore that area; I think when most of them get halfway through the grass and don't see anything, they'll just turn around and feel like their time was wasted. I feel the same way about the grass in the top-right of the map; that too is a perfect place for an Item Ball so the space is useful!
I'm also curious about the small mountain in the middle of the map with the staircase... There doesn't seem to be anything there, and it feels a bit too small for a cutscene or a special encounter. It might help the player see further into the route before they've progressed that far, but regardless it still feels a bit unnecessary! If that spot is meant for something special, I would increase its size; otherwise, I'd either add a nice item there or remove the staircase since it isn't doing too much as it is.
  • I love the unique concept of playing with colors.
  • Nice usage of details. You could have split the map in multiple sections though and have them have a unique feel by having other/more/less decorations then the rest of the map.
  • The map could be condensed a lot. Still having the same layout but the individual places being smaller. It would make navigation easier and the map more defined.
I love the core layout of this map! I wish there were more loops that didn't involve ledges, but despite that, you made really good use of ledges to allow for shortcuts! The mountains are detailed without being too distracting, which is harder to pull off than it seems! The small pond in the middle of the map is a cute touch, too!
Some pathways feel very long, such as the grey path in the bottom-right section of the map and the path circling the pond (especially the north-side part of the pond that leads toward the house). The pathway leading toward the mining entrance is also a little bit longer than necessary, to me! Not every path needs to have mandatory grass, but I feel like some of them might be a bit of a slog for the players since they aren't really adding much to the map.
There are also a lot of extremely narrow paths, with the player only having 1 or 2 tiles of walking space. I think this is fine in certain cases, but I feel like some of the paths could be opened up a bit more for the player to breathe. The 1-wide line of grass to the left of the pond feels strange since it doesn't seem to contribute to a loop around the trees, so I would personally remove that grass entirely and bump the trees into that space. Similarly, I think the cave entrance leading into the river could have another sand tile or two just so that spot doesn't feel so claustrophobic.
I also wish there was a bit more variety in the ground tile throughout the rest of the map. Players might have a better time with the visual contrast, especially since the ground and mountain tiles are rather close in color and value. Perhaps a sandy or muddy tile would fit in!
For gameplay maps, make sure to include rocks in rivers/water near potential map-edges if you don't intend on players moving between maps while Surfing!
  • I absolutely loved reading the back-story. Although a few paragraphs would have made it easier to read.
  • Try keeping it consistent with having non walkable paths be a non-walkable tile. You did a good job with that one in general, but the cliff at the top of the river doesn’t follow that rule. Plants also look good on that ground.
  • Good job dividing the map into multiple sections. You could have had more differences in how the different sections of the wild part feel though. Decorations are great for something like that. It is visible that you tried … but I wish you would have gone a lot further with it.
  • There are some empty spaces that are bigger than necessary.
  • While I like the backtracking shortcuts I feel like some of those could have just been straight paths with options to explore the other route. Deciding to explore is a lot more fun than being forced to do it!
This is a really cute and simple map!! I like the use of the extra-tall grass; a lot of people only use it as decoration or they use it alongside the regular tall grass, so I always appreciate seeing a map that utilizes it! I also love the cave connections, especially the right-most one that has the same ground around it to match the upper area!! I think the beachy area is a nice touch too; it meshes well with the rest of the route and adds another area for the player to explore. I wish there was a bit more decorations; since the shapes in the map are pretty simple and square, I think you could push more with decorations like flowers and rocks!
I can see roughly where I'd expect trainers and items, which I think gives credit to the layout of the map. I think the major change I would want would be a staircase just above the staircase that goes onto the beach; it would make that whole middle area of the map create a loop so the player doesn't have only one option of getting through the map. I think it'd also be nice if the shallow water lead to something big, like perhaps another cave! I imagine it'd have an item or some NPCs there, but it feels quite large to only have small things to find.
  • While I like the overall feel and layout of the map it misses detailing. The paths, large grass,... are very often too rectangle shaped. Try to experiment a bit more with shapes to make it look more interesting. Rocks on the mountains that surround the map would also go a long way.
  • A few more flowers, grass paths or sand patches would help break up the colors in the jungle.
I love the concept of this map! Being able to see the opening of the volcano is such an interesting touch for the players. I like that there's a path they can take to get closer, but I wish the final platform was bigger! It seems like the perfect place for an event or even just an NPC, but it'd be claustrophobic at its current size.
I like the open beach too! I think it works well in the context of a whole open island. Though it makes me wonder what might prevent the player from simply avoiding all the obstacles like grass! I would suggest laying out the core map in such a way that main features are blocked behind grass or trainers: for example, the house or the cave entrance. I'd also be sure to check your rock borders! It's hard to tell, but there might be spots that the player could slip through.
There is a tile error near the left-side of the map where a rock has its corner missing!
  • Only a small part of the map is part of the mandatory route and the rest is for exploring. Try to make the exploring space more interesting by hiding secrets. Maybe have some tree formations open up a path so the player can get to an item/cave/whatever. Maybe have a little rock maze on the beach. Maybe force the player to go through some forest by blocking off the beach. HM stuff is also good for this. Your options are endless … use them!
It's awesome seeing a map inspired by a different franchise!! I want to start off by saying that I don't have much personal experience with this era of 2D Zelda games, so my critique may not be as useful as it might be for a Pokémon map! I'm also running off the assumption that the 10x8 chunks are only visible within themselves, and walking to the edge of a chunk will then move onto the next one!
I'll also say that we do judge things with a Pokémon eye as mentioned in the Discussion thread; that doesn't mean every map has to be in a Pokémon style, but we do look at maps like this as if they were Pokémon maps when trying to decide the winner. This is just to maintain fair judging since we can't expect all judges to be familiar with games that aren't Pokémon! However, I did my best to provide critique with the Zelda games in mind, since that's clearly what you're going for and I don't think Pokémon-specific feedback would be very appreciated!
The first thing of note is how dense and detailed this map is! The small details like the flowers almost go unnoticed because they flow so naturally; it really ties the map together and makes it feel like a screenshot out of the original games! I like how you can see treasures and new paths on-screen even if you can't access them, such as the cave-entrances and the chests!
The first question that comes to mind is impassible tiles on screen-edges: can the player walk on the bushes, and if not, what happens if they try to walk into a new chunk where they'd walk into those bushes or into a tree or cliff? This is moot if I'm incorrect in the assumption of how the map screens work! But if my assumption is right, then it might be confusing for the player if they're blocked from being able to walk onto the next screen because of a roadblock they can't see on their current screen. Similarly, if the player can't walk on the bushes, it might be a bit of a hassle for them to walk through some paths. The bushes in the bottom-right next to the water are the ones that come to mind; even if the player cuts them down, it could still feel a bit cumbersome to have to deal with them when trying to walk around!
I love the little trees at the top, but I don't know enough about Link's Awakening or the Oracle games to know what the little berries/seeds are!! If they're a consumable, make sure to keep in mind how many you're letting the player take when they climb into that area and find all 18 of them!
  • I like the many side areas to explore.
  • It’s great how the map opens up progressively with powerups (get the rocks out of the way/surf).
  • With the screen scrolling in mind you need to make sure the player knows his options and things like what he’s walking against from a screen to screen basis. The screen intersections are at awkward places for that.
This is a really cute map! I love the decorative details, such as the flowers and fallen branches. I like the execution of an abandoned temple of some kind! The Shaymin statue is a neat touch and makes me curious about what sort of event or cutscene might happen on this map.
I feel like the right-side of the map doesn't add much, especially when it doesn't seem to lead anywhere. I would expect that part of the map to lead into another map, but it just seems there to look pretty, which I feel might disappoint some players! Similarly, all of the tall grass in the map doesn't serve much purpose. At the very least, I'd recommend connecting the first two patches of grass, between the southern bridge and the ruins! Perhaps you could add some tall grass inside the ruins themselves too, since they feel a bit empty. Also keep in mind the passability of your tiles when creating your tree borders; to me, it looks like the player would be able to walk pretty far into the borders, which defeats their point.
The sideways staircase is only really accessible from one tile if you approach it from the left-side, since that pillar is directly in front of it. I'd recommend either removing the pillar or pushing the staircase more toward the right, so the player has an easier time navigating!
  • The ruin might have looked better if it was possible to identify an old building there from the shape. Some stone flooring might have also helped with that.
  • Nice use of flowers to bring colors into the map.
  • Consider using another ground tile for non walkable places than you do for walkable. It’s pretty hard to distinguish the path you are entering the area from the surrounding forest.
The first thing I noticed was the various different paths the player can take! Not only is the player able to make a decision right from the get-go, but each decision feels about the same: both paths have two mandatory patches of grass, and one optional patch. That's a really neat touch! And even after the area where these two paths converge, the player is met with another choice. The decorations are handled nicely as well, usually staying off in the corners or edges and not obstructing the player's walking space. Similarly, I like that the tree borders are solid even where detailed, so the player won't get confused by where they can walk or get overwhelmed with noisy detail around them. I like the little hidden item spot being surrounded by flowers, too!
I feel like this map might be just a bit too big for its needs! While I like the layout, there still feels like a lot of empty and dead space between each patch of grass. The walkways are so wide that I'm also not sure how well trainers would fill out these spaces without their vision being uncomfortably long. Condensing the map down just a bit might help how it feels in-game, so the calm space between the mandatory patches of grass can be a little less of a slog if the player decides to backtrack or finds themselves bored.
  • Great transition of decorations over the map to make it feel more alive
  • The orange paths seem a bit inconsistently distributed throughout the map. Also maybe try to spice up the form a bit by not having them always be 3 wide.
  • great incorporation of ledges. They seem totally natural yet provide good backtrack utility.
  • I like the concept of having multiple paths. The map looks like there is not enough to explore on those though. Therefore it might be disappointing to try out the other paths and not find new stuff there.
This map is a really unique take on a treetop town! I feel like many people aren't sure how to recreate the idea, perhaps too hung-up on how Fortree City is done. So it's awesome to see someone try it, and go about it in a way I've never seen before! While the tileset being used doesn't have an impact on anyone's chances of winning, I do want to give you massive kudos for creating your own tiles!
This map feels a bit too large for its own good; while it makes sense for a town to have a centralized area in real life, it doesn't translate well for a player. If a player wanted to visit every building in this map, they would have to walk through a lot of empty treetops and do a lot of back-tracking. Almost every house requires the player to walk through or warp to a secondary treetop that is only there to serve as a walkway. I think most of these nonessential treetops could be removed entirely, or at least reworked to be smaller or have something interesting on them so they aren't just there to make the player walk more. The central treetop itself is also quite large despite only having a few points of interest!
When making maps, I recommend first finding out the absolute bare minimum amount of space you need for the player to access all the points of interests. Figure out how many buildings you want the map to have, then cram them together roughly where you want them on the map, as close as possible with walking room. Then, start expanding the spaces around them and building the map around them. This can help you use your space more efficiently and make a map less cumbersome for the player to navigate.
  • There is a lot of unused space on top of the trees. Either fill them with more stuff like benches, fields, village center with PC, PM,... or make them smaller. Having everything spaced out like you do means that it will take the player forever to get somewhere. It also makes your map look very empty because you can only see a fraction of the map on your screen at the same time.
  • I like the idea of the flowers you used, but they would look better if you dedicated the trees that only have that to flowers and make them either like farming ground or park themed trees, which are more filled with those because that’s their purpose.
 
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