Gameplay Mechanics: Uniqueness of gameplay. Mechanics compliment map genre/themes. Systems (e.g. scoring or attributes) are well integrated with gameplay. Utilizes multiple Minecraft functions, mental and physical. Environment design enhances gameplay. Natural rules enforcement. Lack of obvious defects/bugs and lag. Avoidance of vanilla 'boss fights'. D/0 = Below Average. Buggy, Unplayable, or convoluted mechanics. Or, adds no customization to vanilla Minecraft. C/1 = Average. Single mechanic. Consistent with theme. No major issues. B/2 = Above Average. Multiple unique mechanics. Environment design significantly enhances gameplay. Rules are not cumbersome. No major issues. A/3 = Exceptional! Something I’ve never seen before!
Visual & Audio Effects: Special effects. Redstone, command blocks, and vanilla mechanics that enhance the visual experience. Custom models via resource pack are effective and visually consistent in scale and theme (if used). Audio effects via resource pack or vanilla sounds enhance experience. Custom music via resource pack is distributable and enhances experience (if used). For vanilla maps, examples may include falling sand that reveals something, piston doors, duplicate rooms with subtle changes to give the feeling of progression, or trapping/damaging mobs to invoke certain sound effects. D/0 = Below Average. No significant effects. C/1 = Average. Simple visual or audio effects are purposefully used to enhance the experience. (e.g. falling sand, BUDs or player detectors triggering events, automated piston doors) B/2 = Above Average. Significant inclusion of visual or audio effects. Advanced particles, custom models, and/or audio. A/3 = Exceptional! Something I’ve never seen before!
Build: Visual build (blocks and entities). Consistency of environment, large scale architecture and detail/décor. Use of player point-of-view to appreciate build. Realism and/or appropriate to theme. Color and texture pallete is enticing. Textures and skins in resource pack (if applicable) D/0 = Below Average. No enhancement of vanilla terrain, flat land is visible. Scale of builds are inconsistent. Texture/color pallete is bland or not to theme. Blocks floating in mid-air without any care for visuals. C/1 = Average. Vanilla terrain has been enhanced. Scale of builds are consistent. Builds and texture/color pallete reflects theme of map. Resource pack elements (if used) enhances build. Realism and/or adherence to map genre/theme. B/2 = Above Average. Customized terrain improves on vanilla, no obvious brush strokes. Consistently high detail at large and small scales. Texture/color pallete is purposeful and highly effective. Resource pack significantly enhances or overrides visuals (if used). A/3 = Exceptional! Something I’ve never seen before!
Experience: Uniqueness of theme. Overall enjoyability. Experience compliments map genre/themes. Overall story, dialogue, narration, background and/or character motivation as applicable. Engaging. Consistent. Closure. D/0 = Below Average. Unenjoyable in every way C/1 = Average. Enjoyable, but not unique. B/2 = Above Average. Enjoyable and unique. A/3 = Exceptional! Something I’ve never seen before!
Challenge: Mental and physical challenge. Logic Puzzles. Navigation (walking, running, jumping, climbing). Risk density and variety (Player vs. Environment, Player vs. Mobs, Traps). Lighting. Secondary goals (e.g. Hidden items, scoring challenges). Resource management. Combat. D/0 = Below Average. Too hard. Unable to reach the map end under intended gamemode and rules. C/1 = Average. Easy, focused on a single mechanic or observation of the overall experience with minimal participation. B/2 = Above Average. Challenging, as compared to map genre/theme. Mental or physically challenging mechanics. A/3 = Exceptional challenge both mentally and physically!
Pacing: Pacing of scenes/levels/waves. Pacing of score, gear, loot. Experience builds or arcs per map genre/theme. Clear delineation between "in character" and "out of character" notes/signs (if applicable). Replayability (if intended). Scalability (solo, group of 2-4, small teams, large teams) as applicable to map genre/theme. Map supports PvP balance (if applicable) with both Preparation and Combat phases. D/0 = Below Average. Confusing. Not enough, or too much down time between experiences. Special effects or events are not timed well with player actions. C/1 = Average. Pace is consistent. No extended down time or unintentionally rushed scenes. Clear deliniation of character vs. player as applicable. Gear is obtained in time to meet next challenge. B/2 = Above Average. Well-timed events. Incremental gear and challenge. Experiences occur in arcs with final closure. Resettable/replayable if intended. Properly scales to single or multiplayer (unless explicitly intended for set number of players). A/3 = Exceptional! Never a dull moment!
Bonus Point: Personal Favorite: This map has something unique that really stood out to me, or created a very personal connection for me regardless of other ratings categories. 0 = No bonus point. = 1 Bonus point.
Bonus Point: Perfection: This map represents perfection. Best-in-class in all 6 of the main categories, personal favorite, AND has that extra special magic - I wouldn't change a thing.
0 = No bonus point. = 1 Bonus point.
It's important for map-makers to understand my rating scale and the weights before asking to have your map reviewed!
My rating scale is centered around an 'average' rating. The more maps that I play, the higher the bar is raised on 'above average'.
With this new scale, I consider maps rated 10 through 20 to be above average.
Maps rated 6 to 9 are good, but basic, and could use a bit more work.
Maps 5 or lower are unplayable, in my opinion.
Things that will hold you back from gaining points!
Foul language that is not 'in character'
Trolling the player that is not 'in character'
Derogatory insults aimed at members of the community
Sudden, inescapable death for no reason
An unfinished map that ends abruptly, if you did not state up front that it was Work-In-Progress
There are many elements that I don't like, or see too often in custom maps. I don't subtract points for them, and I try to see the THOUGHT that you put into including them. Here are some clichés that I see all too often
Jumping puzzles for the sake of jumping, and not crafted into the environment
Puzzles in rectangular room with no visual details
Ability for a player to see 'behind the scenes' flat world, exposed redstone, undecorated exteriors, etc...
LONG walks or minecart rides with no attempt to keep my attention
"Wall of text" notes or books (I tend to lose attention after paragraph 3)
Completely dark rooms full of mob spawners for the sake of mob spawners
Maps that begin; you wake up in a strange place with no memory of who you are or how you got here
Excessive references or fanboyism that overshadow your actual story
I typically don't take off points for small bugs, if I trust that the map maker is attentive and will attempt to fix them in reasonable amount of time. Particularly if the bug is caused by Minecraft itself.
When I play a map for a review, my goal is to experience every moment of your map including the end. If I die too many times or get significantly lost or frustrated, I will most likely rate it a "1 - too hard" but continue on through the map using creative mode to figure out where things went wrong, or how the rest of the map plays out.
Some maps are intentionally hard - and in this case I try to scrutinize the design principles that were used to make it hard - is it well balanced and requires brainpower, or is it just an endless stream of mob spawners? If it looks like you put thought into the design, you are likely to receive a 2 or 3. If you just filled a room with mob spawners, you will most likely receive a 0.
If you feel that I missed a critical element in your map review, please let me know. I often go back and re-evaluate scores when asked, with a logical reason. Sometimes I make mistakes. However, I never lower a map rating once posted for a particular version.
I almost never go back and re-play maps. There's just not enough time and soooo many more maps out there that I want to see. Therefore, don't send me a Work-In-Progress map unless you're sure it's close to completion. If you make significant alterations to your map after the fact, I will reconsider my rating based on how you describe the change, and possibly replaying that section.
The main exception to this bit of guidance is if you formally arrange for me to test your map in advance of release. In this case, we'll discuss how/if I rate the map separately.
I don't always play maps in the order of my published queue. This is at my discretion.
I don't always list all of the maps I intend to play in my queue.
The number of downloads, views, or replies is NOT a reflection of the map's quality.
Top Post: News, Recent Reviews, My Maps
Post 2: Ratings for 1.8+ maps
Post 3: Explanation of Rating Scale
"You wake up in a strange place with no memory of how you got there..." c'mon... give your character a back story. Even if they are entering a mysterious place, it helps the player feel connected to the game.
Actually, there's more to it than that, but that's kinda my starting point. Everything else on your hit list I dodged, though.
Useful advice. Since I loved your Wonderland so much (and am downloading Dust and Clue and World as we speak), I think you're likely a good source for mapmaking wisdom.
I am hoping "the adventure update" includes the writable books that Notch hinted at -- I have lots of backstory that's just in my head. Version 2.0 could have a lot of it in-game.
I am really not a fan of "Now read note #79," though it's often the only way, unless you want to make 132 signs.
I look forward to seeing how your narration mod works out.
* I'm a "no mod at all"-builder myself. I have another thought in every build I do; It must withstand the next update Mojang does. It will make your map easier to update, but it will also give you more good ideas.
I feel the same way. I had to leave out a section because I couldn't think of how to do it, but what I did instead is better. That's kinda how creativity works. "Necessity is the mother..." and yaddah yaddah.
A decent set of non-linear puzzles. A little too difficult in some spots and not much in the way of decoration (except for one room with very nice bunk beds. Rathere enjoyed that some chests were hidden behind wooden walls and wooden stairs which allowed you to reach into a small hole.
A very nice map. DEFINITELY captured madness and awesome awesome scale. I can only imagine the effort. I really liked circling us back to the pillar multiple times. There were a good number of jumping puzzles (not a big fan) but they didn't seem to be a huge problem. There were 2 spots where it took me a while to figure out what to do. I was honestly surprised when it ended as I thought it was going to be about twice this length, based on the mansion scale.