Jump to content

The lost art of map making


Recommended Posts

I think these days youtube has kinda ruined it, as it's easier and more helpful to just show people the way to go. Faqs often use ASCII art to do crude maps, but for the most part its a lost art. I remember the spectrum mags having several game maps every month

Good work on yours :hat:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem with drawing your own maps is that you never know where the dungeon has started - I always tended to find myself hitting the edge of the paper.

I did make some very crude maps a few years back when playing through the freshly retranslated version of Phantasy Star for the PS1. If there was ever a game that needed auto map, that's it.

Have you played the Etrian Odyssey titles on the DS? It's an old-school dungeon hack based around map drawing. Top screen is your Dungeon Master style first person view, bottom screen is your map grid, and you draw the map as you go with the stylus. There's next to no auto map - you can make it draw in any floor tile you've stepped on, but it won't draw walls, features, pits etc. Finishing the complex map of a dungeon floor is immensely satisfying.

It also removes my pet peeve about self-drawn maps - you can't run out of paper, and if you can easily see how one floor stacks on top of another, letting you properly map pits or work out where staircases must be.

It's bastard hard and a bit flawed in places, but I'd thoroughly recommend it. Awesome retro chip tune stuff, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny Dungeon Master should be mentioned as I play a lot of custom dungeons for CSBWin and RTC, and I do map those on squared paper. Other than that, in recent years I did play through Pool of Radiance and map the towns and dungeons. But yeah... there's nothing quite like a lovingly illustrated map for a game that warrants it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Used to do maps all the time as a kid. It started with a game called "Burk's Revenge" (I think) on my C16 (I think) - the aim of the game was to collect a certain amount of object. I fairly quickly realised that the play area was fairly small, about 8x8 screens, but I still couldn't remember where everything was. So it was plotted out in a pinched maths book and it went from there. My most complicated one will have been Turrican on the C64, which took me longer to map than it did to beat...

I still kinda do maps for some games. Well, not maps, but flow charts for the best way to work through the game. I find it helps me crystalise what I need to do. I do it a lot for games like GT, where you need to get car x to beat competition y to get car z and so on...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recall having spent days mapping out the Spectrum title Underworld, and having serious pang of joy when my map started to join up (you started in one of several places).

This is the only game I've ever had a stab at mapping. You started off in the same place every time, but it was the location of the special weapons that changed from game to game.

I never got around to completing the map, but it was absolutely huge. I even detailed the location of the platforms on each screen - something that added even more time to the creation of it.

Maps in the magazines of yesteryear were some of the most memorable content for me. I got hours of use out of the Your Sinclair Head Over Heels map.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I rarely do full-blown maps, but I do need lots of notepaper handy when playing through certain kinds of game. I completed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the first time last year, and I've traditionally loathed that Metroid-style gameplay as I always forget where I'm going or where I've been, but having notepaper means that I can write a note to say that (for example) the reason that path is open but unexplored is because I don't have the mist form, and the reason this path is open but unexplored is because it leads to a boss who will wipe the floor with me at my current level. Reflecting upon my experience, I think a lot of Metroid-style games would be much better if I could annotate the in-game map. :P

The last actual map I drew was probably during my first play of Persona 4 - a rough sketch of a floor from Yukiko's Castle where certain spots on the map would warp you to other places, or turn you around and disorient you. There is an in-game map that gets uncovered as you continue to explore, but I just needed to note down where the exit was located so that I could approach the floor knowing exactly where to go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never really created too many of my own maps, but I do occasionally love heading over to http://vgmaps.com/ for a quick reminisce.

I didn't know about that site - looks really nice, and when I hold my map up against a screen ripped one, it looks recognisable (although I have lots of mistakes and had to stretch a few corridors to fit). Bookmarked that one for future ref !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's awesome. The last map I did was for Eye of the Beholder 1 and 2. Man this thread takes me back :)

I always started in the middle of the paper and would then sellotape on additional pages if I spilled over the ends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did this about two years ago when I was going through Legend of Mana. The sections were frustratng me as it got confusing very quickly especially as the dungeons begin to mount up. I tried to get each dungeon spread across one or two pages at most. Worked out ok. Don't think i'd ever done that before till then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Completely mapped Bobby Bearing - except I think there was one weird room which couldn't be mapped properly.

Also, all of Dungeon Master.

And the original Wizardry - old-school, with some random shenanigans thrown in. All of the old step-scrolling games were easy enough to map.

But I could never map text adventures - from the original ADVENT(ure) through the Level 9 games, to Infocom, there was always some weird non-ordinal direction that messed up your map. I even printed out my own mapping sheets on the college dot-matrix printers.

I still have all of them in a box, somewhere.

But man, playing Ultima Underworld and experiencing automapping for the first time was a revelation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From making your own maps to games like Bioshock that put a huge yellow arrow on your screen telling you which way to go or Dungeon Siege 3 with it's 'trail of breadcrumbs' quest helper that let's you follow a dotted line to your destination.

Never in a million years would I advocate going back to the days of having to draw your own maps but I can't help but think games have gone too far the other way, even if you can toggle the options off. Why would you want to play a game where you just follow a yellow line from one objective to the next?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many moons ago, I was working on a driving / shooting game. We decided early on that there wouldn't be a map and there wouldn't be a massive "enemy this way" arrow above the car, because we wanted the player to learn the city and maybe even map it out themselves. The publisher insisted we put them in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I pretty much mapped a lot of the games i played. The ones i can remember doing were Dan Dare 1 & 2, Conquest, Atic Atac, Sabre Wulf, Denizen and Wulfan. I miss those days and as much as i like the maps created by using emulators and screendumps, it's just not the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many moons ago, I was working on a driving / shooting game. We decided early on that there wouldn't be a map and there wouldn't be a massive "enemy this way" arrow above the car, because we wanted the player to learn the city and maybe even map it out themselves. The publisher insisted we put them in.

Good.

If there's one thing I've learnt from my TomTom, it's that simply following a massive arrow will ensure that you NEVER learn a route.

Edit: and back on topic, I've just remembered that years ago I used to make full games by intricately drawing out maps complete with bad guys, then drawing a protagonist on a smaller piece of paper and overlaying that onto the map whilst holding the whole thing up against a window.

Man those things were freakin' awesome, I should've gone into business with that idea 25yrs ago. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ys and Phantasy Star on the Master System both warranted DIY maps. Both had such utter bastard final dungeon/towers with trap doors undoing progress all over the place.

I particularly enjoyed making the PS ones, though it was an activity I did with my brother. Might have been a touch too painstaking to do solo.

I havent had the will to play an RPG since FF3/6 on the Snes but if I did i'd expect to do so on a DS and no doubt feel like a trick had been missed by not letting me make my own maps ingame. I remember making ingame notes on the DS Zelda a couple of years ago but they were over maps that were already there.

Hand holding's just something we have to live with nowadays innit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just had a random thought today about utter map-making failure. I hadn't understood *that* pun in one of the titles of the books you get in Monkey Island and spent 4 extra hours desperately trying to map out the route through the caves. The whole cave system would just randomly show different screens unless you got the pun and then it was much easier to get ahead.

Much a head-slapping moment once I looked though the inventory and finally got it.

I've skated around saying exactly what I'm talking about..... But is there anyone in the world who hasn't finished Monkey Island these days ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many moons ago, I was working on a driving / shooting game. We decided early on that there wouldn't be a map and there wouldn't be a massive "enemy this way" arrow above the car, because we wanted the player to learn the city and maybe even map it out themselves. The publisher insisted we put them in.

Sounds nice, but... I do remember playing The Getaway, where the only direction you received was from the indicators on the car. It was a clever concept, but ultimately frustrating.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love maps! I used to map out the complete Gameboy Kid Icarus game, with enemies, boni and everything. Took me ages, but I sent it in to a game magazine, in hope of getting it printed. Never happened though :(

I second the Etrian Odyssey games, the games themselves are ok, but the map making is fantastic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't used to draw maps but rather leave notes about directions, that way it would be easier for me to remember an order if I needed weapons, items or armour at a specific point.

I agree that there's a lot of hand holding these days but I guess it's down to the fact that it can be so punishing if you go the wrong way. It should let you create your own path on the map or make it possible for you to dig yourself out of a hole. As hard as games were before, you could always retrace your steps if needed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to do quite a few maps "back in the day", plus using ones from ZZAP

Switchblade on the Amiga was one that I remember clearly.

I can't remember the last time I did one though - now it would be all to easy to download one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The last one I did was for Shadow Dancer on the Mega Drive. Complete with hostage/hidden extra life locations, enemy types and detailed boss strategies.

Sent it into a magazine and they didn't print it, the bastards. :(

EDIT: I should point out I was 11 at the time, I didn't do it last week and send it to OXM or anything....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds nice, but... I do remember playing The Getaway, where the only direction you received was from the indicators on the car. It was a clever concept, but ultimately frustrating.

The idea was that, if you lost sight of your target, you'd cruise round the city until you spotted them again. The mission briefing woud say where they were trying to get to or the area they'd be in, so it wasn't like you'd be blind. I thought it worked well, the publisher did not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.