Suggestions for New Map Makers

 

New Map-Maker's Suggestions   

These suggestions were compiled in order for the new map-maker to know what is considered "taboo" or bad in a map.  

We realize that this is long, but we guarantee your maps will be better as a result of reading...
Compiled by jeffkillian

INDEX
1. Spam
2. Clustering
3. Checking your Maps
4. Enemies
5. DDA's
6. Tiles
7. Bugs/NaN's
    - Doors
    - Thwumps
    - Launchpads
    - Code Editing
    - Hidden Items
    - One- Ways
    - NaN's
8. 

Maps in General

1. Don't Spam.

By this, we mean do not enter more than 3 maps in a row at the same time, or more than 5 maps a day. Doing this shows that you don't spend a lot of time on your maps, and can make 3 in a day. It could also mean that you have a set of maps archived, and are just submitting them now. Still please try to limit to 5 a day. By putting lots and lots of maps on at once, not only do you boot people off the main page so their maps most likely will not get rated, but you also have a very little chance of your maps getting rated. Here's an idea, submit your maps (if you have a lot) out over a period of time, such as a day or two. That way, you will give other N users enough time to rate your maps. Remember, quality over quantity.

2. Don't cluster

Clustering Just increases lag time, and at most times is not needed. For example, when placing gauss turrets, use one, not 10 or 20. Another thing is do not place more than 2 floor drones on a floor. There is no point, seeing as they all huddle together at the sides of the floor once you jump away anyway. Another thing that falls along the clustering lines is drawings. Really try not to put them in your map. Drawing or words in a map usually cause the map to be rated lower, and that's what we call baaaaad. Pertaining to that topic, you have to watch yourself after pressing 'z' in debug mode. That makes the object go into exact placement, and can really make your map bad fast. When you cluster lots of gold in the exact same place, it is called gold delay. Please, save gold delay for the DDA's. Also, do not place pools of mines around. They are ugly and nobody likes them. Just dont.

Instead of doing what is in figure 2a, try doing what is in figure 2b

figure 2a

user posted image

figure 2b

user posted image

Also, we strongly suggest not putting more than one door switch in a spot.  At the most 5.  After about 5 door switches placed in the same spot, the game begins to get laggy.  

3. Double check your maps

Don't just submit a map without checking it for glitches or easy way outs, double check. By this, we mean double check for glitches. There are many glitches that you can find in the forums, so you will not have any in future maps. By double checking, you can get rid of any confusion that will be caused if you submit the map, and somebody posts a demo of them beating it. Also, if you as a new N user do not realize a glitch, they almost always make the maps A LOT easier to complete.

This is an example of a common glitch, that most New NUMA users do not catch.

It is commonly referred to as tumenydooorz(TMD) syndrome. What happens is the map maker does not realize that not all doors need to be unlocked. Please refer to figure 3a for details.

FIGURE 3a:

user posted image This is a very basic example of TMD. Only one of the doors needs to be open to complete the level, yet the maker insists on having more than necessary. This can be fixed by putting one ways or tiles where the doors stand.

Make sure it's fun and possible. Playtest over and over. You can't playtest your own level enough. After all, you're expecting a large community of gamers to play this level. You may as well be playing it more often than them. Anything that is too tough for you to beat should be eliminated. Anything that you can beat (even just once) may be of the caliber for many of NUMA's players. You don't have to be a great player to be a great map-maker, but you must be able to gauge the difficulty of your maps. Don't just make a map and tell yourself "There's no way they'll be able to beat that!". This sort of logic leads to very pointless and boring levels. Bottom line--a map should be fun. This is a list of the worst maps on NUMA. If you look, many of these maps have what we have previously described.

4. Regarding Enemies

Make sure you can die from every lethal object. There shouldn't be a mine that you can't accidentally die from every once in a while. There shouldn't be an innocuous drone or a worthless trap. Every object of N's destruction should be a potential death for the player. If there's a foe that doesn't add fun or difficulty to the map, remove it.

The whole point of N is too test the player, and see how good the player is. If there are few enemies and the player can't beat the level, he/she knows its him that is the problem, and therefore feels compelled to try again. However, if there are too many enemies, it is the mapmakers fault that nobody can complete the map, for it is way too hard. That makes people give up on the level. The best maps are ones that are challenging, yet simple.

Make sure two objects do not suffice the same purpose and make sure each object's purpose is well-defined. Identify the purpose of the objects you place. A locked door's purpose is to "create a button that the player must hit to continue the level" or, with greater application, to "force a player to enter a certain area of the map (where the button is)". An enemy's purpose may be to "chase a player who enters this area" or to "launch rockets at a player who enters this area". Any extra objects with the same purpose will simply bolster the job of the other objects, rather than creating a new source of fun in your map. For instance, two rockets in the same area will perform only one job, but the job may have a slightly higher difficulty. For the most part, the multiplicity of objects is a bad idea and will only lead to clustering and lagging; this is especially true in the case of mines, gauss turrets, and rockets. Use them all wisely.

 

5. Concerning DDA's

A DDA is a map where you do not push any buttons, but instead N is propelled by the use of jump pads, trap doors, and many other objects.   There are basically three rules I can think of if you want a good DDA

1. Nobody likes millions upon millions of jump pads. Find other ways to push N around.

2. DDA's can never be too long.

3. Close calls are a must.

*a hintful suggestion if you are making a DDA is lay the enemies down first. That way, you know the lag time and it will not be an issue later.

There are plenty of different ways to propel N- slopes, launch pads, thwumps, and trap doors (and possibly more.) If you want to use trap doors, press 'c' in debug mode, and place the trap door switches 3/4 of a tile away from the actual door. This will propel N, and fast.

If you want N to survive a collision with a rocket, thwump, drone or floorguard, make him hit a launch pad at the exact FRAME of collision. (To see frames, turn CAPSLOCK off and click to cycle through the frames one by one.)

Death DDAs are rarely rated well- if you make them, never use mines, they are totally and utterly random. Making N splatter on a downwards moving thwump looks totally and utterly cool. You can also slide him across normal doors or impale him on them- this, too, looks quite wicked.

Rocket DDAs are quite cool. Try to make sure the passageways the rocket goes through are very tight, to make it look more impressive.

 

6. Tile Laying

We suggest you make the tile-set first. Then play around in the tile-set without any objects in place. Just play around for a while. If you can play around with just the tiles and still find fun and interesting tricks and jumps, then it's a map-worthy tile-set.  Enemies come second. Some new to NUMA feel that the best way to make a map is just to blot tiles down. Their thinking process is somewhere along the lines of "Hey look! Triangles and curves clash! Lets put them in." If you are looking for a way to replicate a map similar to Metanet style, try an overlying theme over the whole map, don't use every single map piece.

DO

do what is in figure 6a.

DO NOT

do what is in figure 6b

Figure 6a:

user posted image

Figure 6b:user posted image  

7.  Bugs/NaN's

Concerning doors

Doors can be used incredibly badly, if done correctly. (Or is that wrongly?) Layering trap doors and "openable" doors can result in one being able to go through the trap door. Layering normal doors can prevent you from:

a) Having to get all of the switches to get through the door, which appears closed

b) Being able to get through the door- even when it looks open Normal, 'slidy' doors when placed over opened openable doors prevents N from falling down.

When a floor guard is on a path of normal doors, it will continue on its path even when the doors are opened. This can, on occasion, work well and add to the quality of the gameplay.

 

Concerning Thwumps

Thwumps can be made, with difficulty, to go in just one direction, through anything- including tiles- in its way. This can be done easily to the right- simply place a thwump facing left, halfway in a wall. This can sometimes work to one's advantage - for example, in Lucidiums 'pressed for time'... however, the idea stales after a while. Thwumps can also go through walls, on occasion- for example, when places in a '5' tile and facing downwards. Don't do this. Just don't.

 

Concerning launch pads

The frame N hits a launch pad, he is invincible. Problem is, this doesn't work when the map is added to the 'user levels' list- so, you should probably steer clear of this effect in the majority of cases.

Launch pads can also bring N back to gameplay after he reaches the exit door of a level. This doesn't work outside of debug mode, so try to steer clear of this too.

Code editing

The most common, and best, example of code editing to help a level is this- super (or minute) powered launch pads. But please- these can get tacky. Use them in moderation.

To change the speed and direction of a launch pad, first find the bit of program that denotes that it is a launch pad. (For example, 2^372,324,-1,0)

The last two digits are what you want to focus on- changing these changes the speed N gets propelled on the x and the y axis. (as in, up and down.) Just fiddle a bit- you'll get the hang of it.

Hiding things

Try to avoid 'hiding' objects beneath bouncy blocks. This is usually annoying, and rarely works well in a level- with a few exceptions. You can also hide many other things in many other ways- door triggers half- in walls, half out whilst being covered by a one way platform is another example. Or hiding enemies inside walls, and guiding them through a level using normal slidy doors. Or even beneath thwumps. These hiding tricks can rarely be used well- but, then again, rarely is not 'never'.  

Concerning One- Ways

Downwards facing one way doors can be easily thwarted, so they really aren't the best for puzzle maps.  In order to get past a downward facing one way, set yourself against a wall and the one way, as close to the intersection of the two items as possible, and then jump. 

One way doors facing to a side on a level surface (for example, a row of one ways or in a tunnel) can be incredibly annoying, as they can be hard to pass.

Also, no matter how fast N is flying upwards or sidewards, one way doors can stop him without him dieing.

For demonstration of these bugs, please have a look at the 'bugs, bugs, bugs' series by Formica/ The Daily Llama.

NaN's 
Nan's are errors in the level data.  They occur when one is making a level in debug mode.  An NaN is basically when the computer does not recognize what the level data in the code is referring to.  In place of that faulty data, it puts the letters "NaN".  These occur when     

1.  You load a level, and don't click out of the upper level-load box before you type "L".

 2.  When unknown text is accidentally typed into the level data box.     

To fix

Simply look at the level data, and remove the letters "NaN" from the data.  

8. Maps in General

When you are just starting out, try not to make your maps too hard. A good rule is if you cannot beat it, do not submit it. However, you will notice that as you have been on NUMA for a while, you will get a feel for what is good and what is bad. Also, if you want your map to appeal to the eye, ask yourself the question "Would this fit into the real game?" Remember, everyone thinks that their map is better than it actually is, the reason being that they made it. Keep this in mind as you build.

Trust us on these suggestions, you'll see a difference in how your maps are rated.

Lastly...

BREAK THE RULES!!

There is no need to conform to every single one of these rules.  However, following these rules will most definetly not hurt the fun factor of your maps, or their ratings.  There are several bugs in the game of N. Many of these can be used succesfully- if used in the right context.

Examples of Bad maps:

http://numa.notdot.net/map/1456

http://numa.notdot.net/map/476

http://numa.notdot.net/map/2895

http://numa.notdot.net/map/5094


Special thanks to: jeffkillian, nevermore, Formica, TKTKTK, brickman, Kablizzy, trib4lmaniac, Mare, Raigan, Arachnid, and any other members of the Forum/NUMA who contributed.

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