Grey Goo
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Akuji Apr 18, 2016 @ 4:52pm
Greygoo Ladder Maps
Hello everyone! This is an update about what I and others have been setting up in order to help resolve the lack of balanced ladder maps.

The first step is to set up a template and a working pipeline. The community does not have the ability to publish maps directly to the ladder pool. Moreover, the players have known about unbalanced ladder maps and the chronic issue this leads to for some time.

It is a hard topic to address, so, let me break this down for all to understand.

What a Template Is and Why It Matters So Much

The amount of time it takes one person to make a map, if they have experience with the map editor, is about 22 hours. In total, 44 hours is required to have the two maps nearly ready for balance testing including feedback from balance testers.

So, why add more complexity to this process by adding more people into the mix? There are lots of other tasks behind the scenes that need to be done for a map to make it onto the ladder. If we as the Grey Goo community only want basic maps and, at first glance, know it is extremely unbalanced that you might as well quit if your race is unfavored then keeping things the way they are is great! I am looking at you Withered Crossroads and Grotto Assault.

The amount of time to have a map published from start to finish will vary, but my estimates put this at 150-200 hours for a map that has medium to good balance. This is why the community needs to work on the map issue not Grey Box.

Template into Pipeline

The project manager needs to coordinate with all parties involved and get the product ready (The map) for the next step.

Step One: Form a group.

Step Two: Schedule meetings via preferred chat media. I use Skype, Discord, and email.

Step Three: Talk with the devs. This is the hard part because it is sometimes difficult to receive a response from them. It also seems that their involvement and support is lacking. A good way to start, though, is having proof of what you are doing. Skype, Discord, Thursday Grey Goo testing, and emails to Grey Goo community team are all ways to try and get a hold of one person to get you started.

Step Four: (The Pipe Line) Map → Testing → Changes → Key bug fixes that may only be able to be done on Dev side → Large balance test (this is another reason promoting to the public is a key factor) → Agreement made between Template party and Publisher (GreyBox) → Map added to ladder pool.

1. Project coordinator. Akuji
2. Map maker. Suds1979 and Spikemonchi
3. Texture designers. Gaming girl
4. Stream graphics. Gaming girl
5. Map testers. Akuji, Pluck, Hendronimus, Szalami, and Spikemonchi
6. Balance feedback. Akuji, Pluck, Hendronimus, Szalami, and Spikemonchi
7. Streamers / Casters. Captspyke
8. Players for content for stream

With the launch of Descent of the Shroud, there is now 4 races, which all have unique play styles requiring different things from maps in order for balance to occur.

Basic Concepts for Races in Terms of Map Making and Balance

1. Goo requires spigots at very specific distances from one another in order to prevent resource idling. Goo must have places to hide near spigots.

2. Beta requires a distance buffer, so, they will not automatically lose to goo rushing and other all-ins.

3. 3. Human requires the same type of distance buffer as Beta, but also needs flat land for circuit for expanding their base and territory.

4. 4. Shroud requires the same distance buffer as Beta. Shroud has an extremely long build time for T1 units, thus putting added pressure for buying time. Therefore, having a large map with a high spigot count is required for Shroud to stand a chance. One last basic point for Shroud, their buildings take up a lot of space, thus adding to the need for larger maps and some open areas.

As a community we have so much we need to learn about map balance, so keeping records of map making public is key in order to find out what type of map designing rules work the best and make for the best type of games.

The two maps that are ready for balance testing:

Treacherous_Traverse ( http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=609326776 )

Urban Assault (Revised Edition) ( http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=438298245 )
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