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    posted a message on [Reviews] Tstorm823's Map Reviews

    Why I have made this thread:

    Having thrown myself quite forcefully into the mapmaking process, I have found myself more and more often providing constructive criticism for others. Having seen threads like these get quite a volume of submissions, it seems clear that many people actively want that feedback. So rather than impose on whichever random thread catches my eye (which as it turns out can be quite the unreliable choosing process), I am posting this to allow people to come to me. I have no references or any credentials to make you think my opinion is valid, but I assure you that I've spent quite a bit of time playing and building adventure maps.

    What I would need from you:

    Title: (your map title)
    Genre: (your map genre)
    Creator(s): (who you would like to be credited as)
    Thread: (the forum thread for your map)

    And if you happen to break that formula, it's no big deal, so long as I can figure out all that information. I will accept any map type, but I reserve the right to play as stupidly as comes naturally, and I reserve the right to turn down maps that require mods if they give me trouble installing them. Most importantly, if your map thread itself has huge problems with it (like an improperly labelled title, a lack of screenshots, or a broken download link) expect me to comment about it in the thread and not rate your map until the problem is fixed.

    What you can expect from me:

    1) A quantitative rating out of 30 based on 0-10 points for these 3 categories:

    - Function: Does the map do what it was intended to do? Does the map have gaping flaws? Do the puzzles, challenges, etc. work properly.
    - Form: Is the map attractive? Do the aesthetics contribute to an enjoyable experience? Does the map look like it could have been made in survival mode unmodded? (Unless it actually was, and then bonus points for you.)
    - Flavor: Does the map have a clear theme? Is the theme consistent through the map? Does the internal goal of the map drive the player?

    For some reference as to what is good and bad:
    0-10: Scrap it, start over, it's wasting the players' time.
    10-20: This is an acceptable map with definite problems; I would not dissuade people from trying the map. These errors should be learned from for future endeavors, though.
    20-30: This map is something I would encourage people to try out.

    (Admittedly, this system is designed for adventure maps, but the first two qualities apply to everything. The third category, flavor, doesn't translate as well to a survival or parkour map, but Donkey Kong was nothing but jumping and that had clear and consistent theme and goal.)

    2) A seperate look at the ingenuity and uniqueness of the map.

    -Some of the most important characteristics of a map revolve around how much it stands out and breaks new ground. Since the constant waves of new maps consistently copy and obsolete the characteristics of their predecessors, I have decided to seperate these factors into their own scale so as not to compare apples and oranges. I will give a rating out of 5 diamonds ( :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: ) to represent how new and creative the map is. (Alternatively, I will give a :SSSS: to any map that seems to just copy straight from something well known. I hope never to use this option ;) )

    3) Detailed explanations for the ratings above.

    I will post the review in both this thread and the thread for the map being reviewed.

    Complete Map Reviews:

    The Labyrinth of Irritation - by Shredster7 23/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    CUBEception - by Gustavo Team 27/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Levels - by Kinglau3 20/30 and :Diamond:

    The Beginning of the End - by Romin865 15/30 and :Diamond:

    Fall of Kingdoms - by rrgg 24/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    [CONVENIENCE]Lord of Bloodycross - by daDonn (aka Aramanon) 27/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Woolington! - by TheMapReview 17/30 and :Diamond:

    The King Of Hrothgaria - by Haevo 20/30 and :Diamond:

    Levi's Nightmare - by Kmilley 26/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Parkour Thief - by Cheesefrycook 21/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Green Hill - by Kerblahh 18/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Quest For Vendria - by TJ the DJ Drummer, Tech Ninjaa, Sammo75, Robo_Chiz 7/30 and [WIP]

    Punishment:Parkour - by Dochavoc2 15/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Strange Island Survival - by Zephyron0210 5/30 and :SSSS:

    Hold the House - Warhawk193 17/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    The Forest of Silence - Fangride 15/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Gloria - ColdFusionGaming Doesn't have a review but you should play it anyway.

    Current Queue:

    Abstergo- The Last Subject - by BickerCraft

    The Syndicate - by Skully068

    SlySlasher's Parkour Facility - by SlySlasher

    Assassin's Craft: The Secret of Altair's Library - by barteke22

    Project Johto - by SPG Doddseyftw jds74 and about 3-4 others (will likely have more specific crediting upon completion)

    Sprint-Form - by theZetoranian

    Sky Conquerer - by ocomobock

    Temple of Ankh - by Sniglett


    Full Disclosure: I am a member of Definite and Substantial Buttocks. I intend no bias, but if you want to know what sort of map I work on, go play Deja Vu: The Reincarnation of Steve
    Posted in: Maps Discussion
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    posted a message on =Gloria=
    I'm sorry, Gloria, you are the map that broke me. I couldn't go on after playing you...

    just kidding. This just happened to be the last map I played (and never reviewed) before doing nothing at all with my reviews for months for unrelated reasons. The unfortunate consequence of this is that Gloria will not be recieving a full review by me, as that would require me to replay the map and I have no intention of doing so. The good news is that you don't really need a full review by me, my opinion means nothing in the face of all the attention you've gotten since I played it. If Gloria were an up and coming map that needed all the help it could get, then I'd likely do it the favor of giving it everthing I've got, but I think it's fine without a score and a breakdown and all that jazz. I hope you'll forgive me that.

    I do remember enough to give some feedback, though, so I'll give you what I've got.

    1) Why is the edge of the world a tantalyzing waterfall which beckons me towards it? Why is there an obviously unnatural collection of spiderweb at the bottom making me want to jump down? And why, when I do jump down, am I rewarded with the entrance to a cavern that is like 20 minutes further through the map? Don't do that! I redownloaded the map to find out the story parts between running errands defusing a nuclear explosion (I forget the exact nature of the puzzle).

    2) Be careful of how much continuity you're willing to sacrifice to introduce game mechanics. The payment method was fun, and the dialog mechanic was displayed nicely, but that is really, really not worth sacrificing the struggling survivor aspect entirely 2 minutes into the map. Shipwrecked survivors lose a lot of the suspense and excitement when you find out that they've already introduced a currency based economy on their deserted island. Another thing, (assuming I'm remembering correctly) the nether segment is basically just a distraction in the gameplay. You go there so that they can tell you stuff and then they blow up and you leave immediately. It's pretty obvious you were just taking advantage of the nether mechanics and trying to hide it thematically, and that's fine, but there should be something better than being told to time travel so that they can tell you something and send you back.

    This is all very nit-picky; I'm aware. But that is because Gloria is, qualitatively, a great map, but it is not flawless. I would, of course, recommend it to anyone who plays adventure maps, but it's obvious you've got some cleverness to you so I believe you could get the same fun and ingenuity into a map without flaws like these, especially if you set the big picture as the priority instead of the details. I believe I read somewhere that you are making a sequel, and I do hope that it is something perfect...
    Posted in: Maps
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    posted a message on How do you tell a story?
    First, you use all of the above. If a movie only told story through sound and the visual was unrelated action sequences, it would get mocked profusely. The same holds true for games; if your map doesn't tell the story through it's gameplay, people will notice the disconnect. They might hold back on the laughter to be nice, but they will still know it's bad.

    Separating story and gameplay is actually really common because it's actually really lazy. It's much more difficult to fuse the two together, but makes a much better product. In Deja Vu, there's not too much challenge or puzzling, but it was all incorporated into the stories. And in let's plays of the map, I've seen people have more fun standing still and pressing a button repeatedly than they do in other maps trying the most elaborate puzzles in minecraft; and this was because the button is supposed to be a photocopier and they were supposed to be an office worker. Or running from zombies is more exciting when it's supposed to be the zombie apocolypse and you're running across a farm to save your life. Or walking through hallways is more fun because you're hiding from prison guards around corners. I've seen people get so involved in the story there that they get angry and murder the guards, even though the challenge is as stupid as "walk through these hallways and don't step on the pressure plates. Pressing buttons, walking down hallways, and running from zombies aren't really fun challenges inherently, but they become awesome when they have a purpose that isn't "get to the other side of this challenge."
    Posted in: Maps Discussion
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    posted a message on [HYB][Collection] ♠ Kerblah's TWISTED LOGIC Series ♠
    Map Review: Green Hill
    by Kerblah
    Thread: http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic/828869-

    I feel the best way for me to introduce this map is a brief narrative of my experience with it. I downloaded the map, stuck on the playlist (awww yeeaah!), went in, read the rules, followed along with the map until the sign "meet you at hallowed grounds." My response to that sign was "well where the hell is that supposed to be?" Within about 15 minutes I was completely lost and finally found another NPC sign, but this one was a different character telling me to help in her plot to murder the one that talked to me before. At this point I determined that I should probably start over.

    So the next day, I redownloaded the map, stuck on the playlist (awww yeeaah!), went in, breezed past what I had already seen, and started looking for hallowed grounds. It took me about 15 minutes to find the hole into there, but once I did I finally knew what was going on in the map. 2 hours later I had 5 music discs and enough ore to decorate a jewelry shop. At that point I decided I didn't feel like giving this the 8 hours it seemed like it would take to finish, so I cheated and flipped over to creative mode. In the next hour, I got 3 more music discs and ended up back at that murder plot sign I had found on my first attempt. I figured that even though I still hadn't found where this NPC introduces this murder plot in the first place, I would follow along with it. Somehow from there I ended up at a destroyed pathway leading to a room full of pixel art and signs telling me the map was over. I figured even though I hadn't completed the monument, I was thoroughly confused and mentally drained enough to call it quits.


    I honestly don't know if this functions or not. I see what this is trying to do (a story based CTM map), and I completely encourage it, but when I can get lost right away and start finding signs that depend on signs I haven't read to make sense, the story becomes more of a burden than an asset. And how can I find the ending without completing the monument? This map utterly confused me, and that's not good. The music disc defense areas were good. Ender pass, bad dreams, these places terrified the crap out of me and that's spectacular. And the color-coded chests were very nice, functional organization. But the map wasn't functionally organized to go with it. Perhaps in the future, the introductions should all come before the player is let free to explore and the ending elements should be blocked off until after they finish exploring. The complete the monument elements worked, the story elements didn't quite get there, and finding the end before finishing the map is not really acceptable.



    Don't worry, it's all praise in this section. The map is beautiful. The map (in game item) even caught my attention. The way it frames in the map area is awesome. The background music playlist adds wonderfully to the experience. The pixel art is very well made. The sheer cliffs with forest on top makes a very nice backdrop for the map. The caverns are caverns, there's not much you can do with that, but the places with chests were unique and pleasant to view. I do think the music disc chests could have a little more of a pedestal to them though; some are floating prominently over lava while others are just sort of sitting in the corner. In the end, the map just comes across as very professional when you look at it.


    It's a complete the monument map with a story, I'm obligated to try get in a good flavor score here. I don't know why there were floating gems (maybe that was explained and I just missed that sign), I don't know why I helped kill a character (I'm positive I just missed that sign), and I'm not sure why there are all these lairs underground defending music discs (I doubt there's an explanation for that one). But the story was supposed to be going through caverns finding secret records and that certainly plays out in the action of it. I really can't get over finding the end of a plot that I never found the beginning of, and that being the end of the map.



    This map is unique. Story and adventure integrated into completing the monument. The map with a frame around the play area. Background music playlist! (awwww yeeaah!) The ideas here are great and new (at least from what I've played) and there's clearly a future going forward with what this does. This map did not quite execute what it was trying to do, but what it was trying to do is very original and very good, and luckily for us, the maker seems to have a lot more coming in the future. :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Overall Score: 18 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Would I recommend it?
    - The map pretty much broke my brain, so I can't say I will recommend this to anyone; but I know there is an audience for brain-breaking maps out there, it just doesn't include me.
    Posted in: Maps
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    posted a message on [Reviews] Tstorm823's Map Reviews
    Map Review: King of Hrothgara
    by Haevo
    Thread- http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic/835608-

    The King of Hrothgara is an adventure map where you play a youth who had become talented with a sword and gained prestige so that you are given a chance to prove yourself through challenges and take the place of the belated King of Hrothgara. The map send you out and back from a central hub to the various testing locations spread around it. You gather the keys that unlock the prompts for further tasks. The map is very smoothly structured, and is a fun playthrough.


    This map is young at the time of this writing and doesn't quite have its glossy finish yet. Bug list: The map title in Minecraft world select is "world," one of the signs has incorrect your/you're usage, at least 1 door has exposed wiring to open it, the first key altar has decorative ditches to either side that the player could get trapped in pretty easily, the parkour ravine checkpoint system allows for skipping most of that challenge, the sign saying the wall is weak where there is clay comes after the first place you need to break through the clay which means the only way to see that hint is to figure out the puzzle already, the houses in the dock down set on fire at random intervals, the burn the wool puzzle doesn't immediately burn out completely making the burning process take a fair amount of time and most of the flint and steel, and the locked path to the castle should really be able to open from the other side to make a checkpoint. Most of these are just bugs that can be ironed out pretty easily. As far as functional problems inherent to the map itself, my only big issue is with the "their lives or yours" room, because if you choose the villagers you actually do just lose the map permanently and that seems wrong. Everything else was enjoyable puzzles of appropriate difficulty. I especially enjoyed the ship destroying part.



    The forest was beautiful, the snowy mountaintop was a nice touch, the ships were convincing, the castle was impressive. Dissappointingly, the least attractive area was the actual testing area you start in. The hub building is a bit plain, a bit cramped, and a bit unattractive. Everything else was very nice. I need to say though, that when you recommend the texture pack for the map, you don't mention the use of a patch to make it work, so I played with the water constantly reminding me to google the patch to make it look right.



    The map did a nice job of addressing all the picky plot questions I had. Why does nobody oppose this appointment of King? That had somewhat of an answer. Why is a person leaving journals in the testing chamber that say he's going to report things to the king? Also sort of answered. But every answer brings new questions, and the map literally ends on more unanswered questions than it began with. What started as a simple "prove yourself to be king" story ended with an unexplained cultist rebellion movement, a facility of unexplained higher technology than the rest of the world, and an antagonist that is almost completely unexplained. The map does less to make it's own plot than it does to set up cliffhangers, and it's hard to hang on a cliffhanger when the story hasn't made you interested in the plot yet. Also, the 6 set trials works, and the plot driven trials works, but it's an internal conflict when the seemingly well-established testing process interacts exactly with supposedly sudden shocking events. It would have worked better with a distinct seperation between the way the "planned" trials worked and the "helping people with current issues" worked.



    A medieval-themed hub/trial based adventure map. No big distinguishing factors, though I must re-state that I did really like the ship destruction. It makes me wanna play a completely pyro themed map. :Diamond:

    Overall Score: 20 and :Diamond:

    Would I recommend it?
    - Not actively, but I clearly expect a sequel.
    Posted in: Maps Discussion
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    posted a message on [Reviews] Tstorm823's Map Reviews
    Map Review: The CUBEception Reloaded
    by Gustavo Team
    Thread- http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic/535944-

    CUBEception is sort of an escape map on such a huge scale that you can't really call it an escape map. You are the last remaining person inside a giant cube claimed to be the last safehouse of humanity after a cataclysm. And giant is hardly a just description- on normal view distance you can watch the sunrise on the other side of the map because the cube itself is out of render distance and it's just as tall as wide. Of course, size doesn't really matter, it's how you use the space, and this map uses it. The 3 hour run time was spot on for me, and that was only because I stuck the map on creative after 15 minutes so I wouldn't have to die. It is big, and it shows how rediculous maps might become in the near future when we get twice the height to build in. On to the ratings.

    - Function:

    The map is mostly parkour based, and good parkour at that. Beyond that, most of the challenge was finding the appropriate levers to continue. It this respect, it was pretty simple; it set up a successful gameplay formula and stuck to it. If I had any complaints about the actual challenges, I'd say that swimming up waterfalls gets a little tedious after doing it so many times, and a sort of learning curve section at the beginning would be nice for people like me who forgot you could do the "jump on a hatch open, then jump on it closed" trick. As far as bugs, I didn't find anything that didn't work as of 1.1, but I have one of the snapshots so climbable vines broke everything and anyone playing this way is held to the honor system. My condolences to the mapmakers if they intend to update this. (But if you do, make sure to get the vines near the end. A real troll piston is the one that you can't avoid because climbable vines reduce your speed when you jump through them. Of course, jumping across the title sequence made up for it.)


    - Form:

    This map is just fun to look at. Having that much open space inside a structure in minecraft is just a mindblowing effect. The actual puzzle buildings were all stylized to their stated purpose. I did not notice any instances where there was exposed redstone wiring and shouldn't have been. The map has great gadgets that rearrange hallways or build bridges for the player. And the comment about ladders on glowstone was completely appreciated, but I still didn't notice some of them for a while. Putting objects on blocks they blend in with is a mistake we are all guilty of, but still a mistake. The player spending 10 minutes stuck in a room because they didn't see the button on the cobblestone block is a shame. But those are just being nitpicky, the map is still generally an art piece. And it has an exquisite trailer


    - Flavor:

    The story in this map is not just a "forever alone" narrative. It is every "forever alone" narrative at once. You escape a prison alone, in an underground facility alone, following a trail of journals by a mysterious man alone, going through laboratories with old notes from scientists alone. The plot is fairly predictable and only tangentially related to the challenges for the middle 2/3 of the map, but it is shown to the player throughout the map at well placed intervals and is plenty enjoyable. I'm not normally a fan of being given an internal monologue by the mapmaker, but I think this map could have used that. Instead of following the breadcrumbs of the great survivor that's going to save humanity from imprisonment, I'd rather be that great survivor and save humanity myself, and I hope the suggested sequel takes that approach and lets the player be the main actor. Overall, the feel of this map was incredibly well executed, and the time I spent playing, my motive was to escape the cube, not just finish the map.

    (I do think putting in SOPA vs ANONYMOUS jokes is tacky, though.)


    - Uniqueness:

    I don't quite know what to say here. I've never played a map that did everything quite like this. The combination of both secret rooms and scoring system is nice, and all the challenges feel fresh. But at the same time, 90% of this map is built off of cliches. All the forever alone aspects, the referential names, the internal society that made me feel like reading The Time Machine again. I wanna give it an exact average rating on this scale, but I'll round up because it came out 6 months ago and I may have been more excited about it had I played it then. :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Overall Score: 27/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Would I recommend it?
    - Definitely, and will certainly be playing the sequel.
    Posted in: Maps Discussion
  • 5

    posted a message on [ADV/PUZ/PARK] The Labyrinth of Irritation (V1.3)
    Map Review: The Labyrinth of Irritation
    by Shredster7
    Thread- http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic/1018953-

    If you ask me, the Labyrinth of Irritation is a misnomer. As far as maps go, this one had less in it that irritated me than most of the maps I have played. The map has aspects of parkour and adventure, but its essence is that of a puzzle map. It is a series of loosely collected rooms and challenges that the player needs to weave their way through to eventually craft a diamond pickaxe and break through the obsidian wall in the grand lobby. It is played on peaceful difficulty with no mods.

    - Function:

    Pretty much everything in this map works flawlessly. It took a little over an hour for me to finish, and in that time I found only 2 bugs. Beyond that, all the content was well designed. The player needs to unlock areas as they go, but the methods to keep you out are mostly unique from each other and are paced extremely well. The pathways knot together nicely so that you are constantly close to the entrance without being able to easily keep track of where you are. The map rarely (only at the very end) punishes you drastically for failure, and the puzzles are just cryptic enough to make you think about what you're doing the entire time. And the mapmaker didn't miss an oppurtunity to incorporate more content; even finding the crafting table once you have your diamonds is its own little challenge.


    - Form:

    The visuals are ecclectic to say the least. A room 2 blocks away could have an entirely different decoration theme for no particular reason. Even then, the bulk of the map seems directed towards working nicely than looking pretty, so there are some ugly parts. BUT, I cannot recall a single instance where a stopped and noticed the seam between one theme and the next. It all transitioned smoothly enough to not be distracting from the gameplay. And there are some very nice rooms, like the main lobby, and some very entertaining rooms, like the room end of the map.


    - Flavor:

    The map is essentially a puzzle map, so it doesn't do much as far as plot. The goal of the map is stated at the beginning (collect the diamonds to craft a pickaxe and break through the obsidian door), and it carries that through until you get your diamond pickaxe. You understand your goal and the steps towards finishing are paced well enough that you keep that goal in mind the whole time. There are signs from the mapmaker sporadically, but they don't really add or take away from the consistent feel of the map, and that's a good thing. My big issue with the map is that once you have gotten through the door, the map continues without any real purpose. Up to that point it was "get the sticks and diamonds and break through the door." After that, the only answer to why I was still playing was "to get to the other side" and that makes me feel like either a chicken or the butt of a bad joke. The content after that was still good, but it felt purposeless. Even a sign saying "There are great treasures beyond here" could have helped that, if only a little.


    - Uniqueness:

    The map doesn't do a whole lot new. It is very much in the style of many classic custom maps. It does, however, have a very individual method of advancement and it keeps you involved in the map without any of the suspense brought on by difficulties above peaceful. And for what it is worth, has the best usage of armor enchantments that I've seen so far. For these, I give it :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Overall Score: 23/30 and :Diamond: :Diamond: :Diamond:

    Would I recommend it?
    - To someone looking for a good puzzle map to play, absolutely.
    Posted in: Maps
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