For those of you that have stumbled upon here, this
is where I'll be posting rambles about CTM related things.
So with that, I present to you the first CTM Ramble!
So lately there’s been disputes between whether random loot or specific hand picked loot is better than the other. Well, I won’t be talking about my personal preferences today, but rather the pro’s and con’s of both. So with that, let’s begin with random loot.
As most of you know (at least I assume so), Kamyu’s Tools are a wide variety of 3rd party applications, these being used from custom mobs to random loot. We’ll be talking mostly about Kamyu’s populate chests filter at this point. So, when you open up Kamyu’s populate chests filter, you’re shown a window with several options. One’s to choose you’re save file, the other’s to choose a text file to determine the chances of certain items popping up in chests, and the rest is for if you want to get really specific as to what region the filter should populate chests. For the text file, the chances are changeable to the map maker’s bidding and can be made to somewhat “control” what kind of random loot the player gets. Now, this is a great filler for giving the player, conveniently, some completely random loot, but unfortunately was used excessively in Vechs’s Inferno Mines. As much as I love Vetches, IM was a poor excuse with the balance of loot and, well, balance in general. Let’s temporarily “observe” the aspects of the deficiencies in the map, shall we? In IM, Vechs hands out these random loot chests as if they were candy, and that’s only the start of where the imbalance lies. Handing out loot freely so EARLY into the game takes away the satisfaction of getting good loot, causing a psychological inflation of the value of loot chests. As we all know, inflation is never a good thing, whether it is in real life or in a game (Or maybe it is good in certain situations. Hey, I’m no politician ). I mean, you’re strolling in to I2 with full diamond already! But anyways, lets get back to the topic at hand.
So far, we’ve listed that random loot is a “convenience” tool for map makers. Secondly, random loot allows the player to gain SLIGHTLY higher tier armor, tools, and weapons, thus leading to a greater flexibility with gameplay and balance.
And so, with that, I think we’ll transition into the cons.
Con number 1: Laziness. Once random loot becomes excessive, it shows (on a “professional” level) the laziness of the map maker. Part of this is because of the sheer convenience of this tool. Not to say that convenience is bad, but once we become obsessed with it, we tend to use convenience more often than naught.
It’s probably best it I give an example here.
So let’s say you’re going to a friend’s house that’s, say, 5 miles away. Now let’s say you have two modes of getting yourself there: a car and a bike (lets assume that you can drive). Driving 5 miles, meh, it beats walking and such. So you start getting used to driving instead of using the bike, and you don’t really have a legitimate reason to use the bike.
Now lets shorten that distance to half a mile.
To use the car would be frowned upon (depends on where you live of course ) in most cases, and to use the car would show that you’re just too lazy to use the bike (again, depends on you’re environment and what not).
Can you guess which mode of transportation corresponds to the two different kinds of loot?
Now onto handpicked loot.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that you can never REALLY go wrong with hand picked loot. The only downside I see is the amount of time and thought that goes into the loot. When using handpicked loot, make sure to keep a balance. As said before, bad balance can lead to bad gameplay real fast. (As seen in IM).
And so I’ll end this ramble on this note. Never settle for just one kind of loot. Actually, never settle for just one of anything (but again, dependent on the situation). Mix it up a little, and you’re sure to have gameplay that’s unique and different from another CTM map.
Till next time, keep mapping!
7-4-2013: Block Variation and erosion
Note: Didn't really feel it for this ramble, might not be the greatest, but I tried
I had two main viewpoints I wanted to stress in my first two rambles, one of which was loot. My second viewpoint is about block variation. Now I’ve heard, ever since I first joined the community, two things when we’re shown a picture of an area that we think could be improved: block variation and more erosion. My first question to this is what kind? What kind of block variation? What amount of erosion is needed? In this ramble, I plan on delving deeper into these two things and elaborate more on what these may be.
Firstly, block variation. I’ve learnt two things about block variation: Complimenting blocks and structural block variation. Starting with compliments, this is when colors that are close to one another on the color wheel (Search color wheel on google and you’ll see what I mean) are put next to one another. This creates a nice transition and also allows the eye to have something to focus on. For example, say you have a wall of quartz. If you left it unchanged, it looks plain and boring (*coughinfernominescough*). However, sprinkle in some blocks with a close enough hue to the white, such as sandstone or hardened clay (Yay for 1.6!), this vastly changes the way the wall looks. From what I can see, we tend to focus more on things with more detail to them than ones that are fairly plain, so adding those slight changes to the wall actually improve the look of it a fair bit.
Secondly is structural block variation. This is something newer map makers don’t seem to do too often (Maybe some do, I really wouldn’t know :P), and it’s a lot more important than it seems. So let’s get to it. When creating a tower, take into account the theme of the village, town, city, whatever size the total amount of houses is. If the theme is somewhat ancient/ruin-esque, go for a block variation of stone brick, mossy stone brick, cracked stone brick, stone brick slabs, stone brick stairs, and cobblestone. This will give the feeling of cracked and abandoned structures, giving off the theme more so visually than textually. If the theme is more modern… well, there are plenty of professionally made structures by fabulous builders (Block_Fortress, Hypixel, etc.). If you want to learn more about structural building, take a look at some of their builds and take into account the blocks they used and the style of it. Hey, you’ll probably learn a thing or two if you take a quick fly over.
My second topic of this: erosion. Now, I feel like this is a simple enough topic that we don’t need to elaborate too much on, but for the newer people stumbling upon this thread, erosion is when you use either MCEdit’s erosion brush or a different program/application to go over and remove traces of obvious brush strokes left behind in WE or MCEdit. There are plenty of tutorials on how to erode an area, so be sure to do your research and look that up. Why erode you say? Well, when you erode, it removes what I like to call the Laziness Factor. When you don’t erode, brush strokes that are quite obvious in that area. This promotes the feeling that the map maker was too lazy to go ahead and erode the area and actually put effort into the aesthetics of the map (In most situations). And that pretty much sums up erosion.
Now onto how to make this more presentable when we fall back on this later. Instead of simple stating that they should use more block variation and erode more, we need to elaborate more. We need to be able to say what kind of blocks they should use in that area and the amount of erosion that’s needed. Just saying the standard over and over again doesn’t help them at all, especially to those that don’t exactly know what those things are. All in all, we need to start focusing on what the map maker really needs and give them more feedback that’s helpful to them instead of information that isn’t exactly the most helpful to them.
Hope this was of some help to someone, feel free to drop a comment on what I should do next! See you all next time!
Feel free to leave a comment as to what I should ramble about next
I think random loot has it's place, for example a massive and optional area (similiar to the ruins in Lush Ruins). Populating that by hand would just be ridiculous, and I think a player could accept the fact that the mapmakers isn't going to do that by hand. However, in the majority of situations I agree with Hood, #handpicked4life20134kony
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There ain't much left of the world these days. The gods have forsaken us, there's no denying that. But still you press on. For what? A chance to sift through the ashes one last time? The hope to one day be called a hero? Whatever your reason, you've got a lot of work to do. The corruption won't leave without a fight, so you better get started.