Mapping Advice

worgenwow

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#1
Hello Manacube Forums

Recently I've been considering trying to make or take part in making my first map. However the first step really is the hardest!
So I thought this'd be a great opportunity to get some advice straight from the experts that could help us aspiring mappers.


Some questions to get the discussion started:
For those who want to make a solo map but struggle with building good looking structures / other bases for pk to go onto what would you suggest?

What difficulty pk would you suggest someone makes as their first and why?

Any specific examples of maps to look at for examples of good pk (any diff)?

What is your pk map making process?

What do you keep in mind the most when you make maps?

Any other things to suggest?
 

Presidenten

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#2
I am not the best builder but I do have a lot of experience

For those who want to make a solo map but struggle with building good looking structures / other bases for pk to go onto what would you suggest?
If you are a bad builder, it might be easier to start off with your own themes instead of building from references because people can easily point out mistakes between your build and the reference.
For parkour, steal a map and practice to build parkour on it until you think it's good.

What difficulty pk would you suggest someone makes as their first and why?
Easy or medium because the build can be small, the parkour can stay simple and you aren't required to put much effort in it.

Any specific examples of maps to look at for examples of good pk (any diff)?
My new maps, obviously https://manacube.com/threads/presidentens-parkour-map-gallery.64602/

What is your pk map making process?
I start to find inspiration, then pick a theme, then start the base of the build, then coloring, then details and when I feel done with the build I start with the parkour.

What do you keep in mind the most when you make maps?
To make sure the parkour will be enjoyable and balanced. The build isn't as important to me since its just visuals.

Any other things to suggest?
Do not add enchantment tables to your parkour
 
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A Pink Cow

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#3
Hello! All fantastic questions for someone starting off to make maps:

For those who want to make a solo map but struggle with building good looking structures / other bases for pk to go onto what would you suggest?

Start off small. Find something that you can replicate, then using a shaping block (I use Gold (ID 41)) to make it's entire shape. Detailing/colouring can come later. Reduce objects to WE shapes such as cylinders, spheres and cuboids and build off of that!

What difficulty pk would you suggest someone makes as their first and why?

It depends on what difficulty you're used to playing, and your own skill level. A medium parkour for someone of your level would be a suitable challenge! Remember the difficulty lies not in making the parkour, but retaining good flow. Always get good testers, and lots of feedback.

Any specific examples of maps to look at for examples of good pk (any diff)?

I have this list! It has good examples of fun/enjoyable pk at every difficulty

What is your pk map making process?

1) Path out PK using gold blocks to make sure it has good flow and not too many awkward kinks/turns! Also allows me to see if I explore the build fully
2) Obtain my pk making palette - this includes both colours palette as well as my height palette block [Ask me for one!]
3) Build pk
4) Review it for diff + tester review


What do you keep in mind the most when you make maps?

The average ability of a pk player. Knowing the audience of who you're making pk for! [Bonus: Minimise amount of x facing jumps]

Any other things to suggest?

Any of the mappers on the server are all friendly and approachable :] Do let us know if you need help!
 
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Quinny

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#4
Hello, my name is Quinny and I am a former Mod+ and Map Judge, so hopefully I can also offer you some additional helpful advice--
I specialize in "cute" organics (but I have made maps of all kinds, including intricate structures) and I dare say I am a pretty good mapmaker. All maps of mine are listed below if you would like to take a peek at any of them. I have also taught and actively provided feedback to mappers both as a judge and a fellow mapper in the past.

Q: For those who want to make a solo map but struggle with building good looking structures / other bases for pk to go onto what would you suggest?

A: I definitely agree with Pres as far as picking something to make of your own accord. If you aren't experienced with building tools such as WorldEdit, take the time to familiarize yourself with them completely and thoroughly. I have an intro guide to WorldEdit on my 25th plot (/plot v Quinnyp 25) if that interests you at all.

I would also add that there are different ways to build and all of them are valid, as long as you come out with a good looking product. People will offer you advice on how to build, and you should familiarize yourself with them and take what works for you and roll with it. I would say that practicing building and asking others for feedback often is key to seeing improvement with your builds. Hanging out on the Creative server and free building that way is another way to practice.

Q: What difficulty pk would you suggest someone makes as their first and why?

A: I'm in agreement with Pink and Pres once again, but I would lean more toward an Easy map. Start with a small build, and an Easy map really only needs less than 30 jumps to serve it's purpose. It's a small enough scope where you won't be overwhelmed and burn yourself out trying to edit and revise the course.

Q: Any specific examples of maps to look at for examples of good pk (any diff)?

A: I don't have any specific examples to offer at this time because I think that learning how to critique and assess maps is a major key in learning to improve your mapmaking skills. Just like anything else, you should immerse yourself in ALL of mapmaking. Pay attention to the Submissions forum. Read what players, mappers, and especially judges have to say about each map.

The Submissions forum is practically a free and accessible, rolling master class on mapmaking. Go to look at the maps in-game. Look for the specifics of what the critiques are talking about. The more you do this, not only are you collecting some experience alongside other mappers but you are also familiarizing yourself with what others are building, how they do it, and how they improve it. Following maps that are in Reviewing will also be helpful, as maps labelled as Reviewing have GOOD qualities to them, but lack something that is necessary to make it worthy of being accepted. When they make changes, try to pick out and NOTICE what those changes are. Were they the right adjustment for the map to be accepted? If so, learn from that.

If you were to look at specific maps that are only good, there's the intimidation of needing to meet that level of quality immediately. While yes, having your map being accepted is something to strive for is obvious, learning to consume the maps that are "poor quality" is just as important. Learning what not to do helps you learn what to do.

Q: What is your pk map making process?

A: 1. Referring to the Parkour List to make sure the theme I want isn't too similar or hasn't already been done before.
2. Looking for reference photos to better understand the concept OR the character that I am trying to create. Look at poses and position of objects while having a path in mind already while doing this. Try to come up with a design that makes pathing easy on yourself when you are ready to do so. This is easier to show than to explain.
3. Create the build out of spheres (those who know me and how I build know that I build mostly with transforming/altering WorldEdit spheres, and I chisel away or add onto the shapes like carving marble).
4. Create a path. I do this with an understanding of how I want the jumps to flow (I will talk about this below).
5. Create jumps. Test in chains.
6. Revision. TONS of revisions.
7. Have testers online come to give feedback.
8. More Revisions.
9. Submit and profit!

Q: What do you keep in mind the most when you make maps?

A: There are MANY MANY things that I keep in mind when making maps, but the one thing I should emphasize is not building your parkour jump by jump.

Well now, that just doesn't make sense does it? Isn't the point of parkour to jump successfully? Well, I'm referring back to the concept of flow. The best way to create parkour that is dynamic, interesting, and suits the difficulty overall is to understand the concept of flow. When I create parkour, I am not thinking "I want to include this jump, then throw in this jump, etc." I am paying very close attention to the build and asking myself, "how will the player get from A to B?" This line of thinking accounts for the build, the path, and also allows you to create the course more holistically and allow the difficulty to remain consistent throughout.

When you test a map, you should be trying to chain as many of the jumps as you can together. This is how you assess the flow. If it feels choppy, abrupt, or one jump sticks out from the rest as being annoying to a point it breaks up the flow of the course, change it. This is the best offering I can give you without even stepping into game. One map I can offer as an example to this is my racing map, TaikoNoTatsujin (Medium).

Q: Any other things to suggest?

A: Those who know me know I have always been willing to go above and beyond to help other people improve at building and making parkour. You are included in that! I don't log on as much as I used to, but that's mostly because I burned myself out throughout the course of the pandemic. Know that if you want feedback or assistance, or even just some tips on building organics, things like that, I am more than willing to help out. Message me on Discord: Quinny#2316 if you ever want to discuss.

Those who are willing to learn are the best people to teach! Thank you for asking thoughtful questions, because it's guaranteed there are other non mappers who are interested but don't know where to start. Hope this helps!
 

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#5
im far less qualified then those above me but ill do my best to try answer some questions:

What difficulty pk would you suggest someone makes as their first and why?

This ones unanimous, always go with an easier difficulty as they are far easier to work with: I will go one step further though and explain what you should aim for with each difficulty.

Easy: An easy map should be able to be beaten by anyone, even people who have just installed Minecraft and joined a server. They should be a map people can switch there brain off to and just blaze through and enjoy. Notably they should be easy to play without shifting or a sprint key to maximise accessibility. Aim for around 20-30 jumps with this.

Medium: A medium should be a slight step up from easy but not much, jumps that involve shifting and sprint keys are now on the table and it should do its best to pose a tiny threat, but still a threat to new players while being inviting to those who want a step up from the bliss of an easy. Aim for 30-50 jumps with this.

Hard: A hard is my personal opinion the hardest difficulty of all of them to make, as such I would not recommend starting with this, these maps serve to bridge the gap from a pretty cosy ride that's a medium poses, to a decently intense ride that's an expert poses, getting that sweet spot while not being too easy or too overbearing is very difficult, and as such should be heavily experimented with to get something that is a fitting middle difficulty. Aim for 50-75 jumps with this.

Expert: An expert is the first difficulty locked behind a higher rank, so as such expect people to have played some of the above difficulties before this. These should essentially be a toned down insane, using similar gimmicks while being much nicer and safer with them, as such to sort of prepare people for the hardest difficulty. They should also build on hard maps while making it clear you aren't going to just blaze through this like before. Aim for 80-100 jumps with these.

Insane: An insane is the hardest difficulty and also by far the most wide spread of difficulty, maps here are no doubt challenging and daunting for players but there's much more experimentation and sort of unhinged design in them. Some insane maps will be a little step up from an expert, and some will kick your ass. Honestly for making it the best thing to do is make something challenging, but beatable. Something to challenge the best of players not through sheer jump spam like 8 quadruple neos in a row, but rather challenge through design and special gimmicks that make the map unique and stand as testing a different skill set than other maps. Aim for 100-140 if you're newer but push further if you think you can make the map not feel like it drags. 170-200 is where maps start feeling like marathons.

Any specific examples of maps to look at for examples of good pk (any diff)?

More recent maps typically reflect the server's standards much better, but also many lists like the ones pink has provided above help you find them, maps with higher ratings typically mean its better (not always so don't use ratings as gospel) but also just ask around as everyone has differing tastes in parkour and as such like and dislike different things.

What is your pk map making process?

I have very little building skill so I am unable to comment on that but I CAN comment on parkour.

To start you always path your map out, figure out where the jumps will go and the tour of the map you shall take, always make sure to patch exploits that may be in your path whether that be a build you can climb up or another exploit found later, make sure to use a decent chunk of the build as well.

Next start by selecting a palette, I personally like to go with blocks that match the color scheme of a map but you do what you like.

Next just, go for it. Look for jump inspiration online or on other servers or even on other peoples plots, though I personally like to make my own original jumps and don't like using others.

Next I'll build a jump/jumps and make sure the jump itself is fun to do. If you can't do your own map, there's something wrong there isn't there? I also put myself in the shoes of if I were to play this map, would I enjoy this? If the answer is no then change it till its yes!

I also make sure to take note of flow, does the map feel good to play in one go? How is it section to section? Keep these in mind.

After I build all the parkour and test it all to make sure it's fun, I'll put checkpoints in appropriate spots and make sure they're fairly placed and the maps good checkpoint to checkpoint.

What do you keep in mind the most when you make maps?

Design, players have different ways of thinking than you, account for it. Such as:

-Always have a failsafe in a room, like a ladder to get back out.
-Use visual indicators for where to go, don't use a sign that says "ladder behind here!" Put a glass block so they can actually SEE the ladder, people don't read signs so to maximise enjoyment always mark things visually instead of through written means.

Any other things to suggest?

You're not gonna get it right the first, second, or maybe even fifth time, but never give up cause one day you WILL get it.

Always listen to criticism, people will tell you things cause they wish to help you and make the map better. Listen and follow advice to maximise the potential of your map.

Make life for judges easier, they are just testers too after all. If you have a tp block, describe where or show where it leads to instead of just listing co-ordinates. They will change when your maps released.

Good luck and I hope you can be a great mapper one day :D
 

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#6
For those who want to make a solo map but struggle with building good-looking structures / other bases for pk to go onto what would you suggest?

I personally spent so long looking up inspiration pictures before starting my first build, Pumpkin Patch. It started with a block palette of 3 and looked really bland. I think having a good, matching build palette is crucial to making a good base build, and knowing how to work with worldedit. Sure you can do this without worldedit, but I personally think it is helpful when trying to add texture.

What difficulty pk would you suggest someone makes as their first and why?

Controversial take here, but I think a good first map is Hard. I say this because hards are annoying to make and the hardest to make, especially as a beginner, as you don't know what is too hard and what is too easy. Sure, it may take a few resubmissions, but making a hard map will teach you the complete middle ground, and will make easier map-making way less tedious.

Also, making a hard-sized build will teach them what an easy DOESN'T need to look like, and the simplicity other can build can have. Its kinda like how when you get your first cooking job, you are put as head chef, because it will teach you what pressure others are put under and what the higher positions jobs look like.

Any specific examples of maps to look at for examples of good pk (any diff)?

I am biased in saying this, but I think Bled, my current newest map, shows how an easy parkour should be. I think the appealing part of it is how smooth it is. Sure it is short, but the pathing is done correctly and is enjoyable (and easy to speedrun).

What is your pk map-making process?


I don't personally make the parkour LMAO. I made parkour for my first map and never will again. But as for map making, I have a pretty normal process. I start with the idea and sometimes sketch what I want it to look like. Then I make the platform of it, or for natural builds, I make the environment. I do this with ONE block unless I know I want a certain design. I do it with one block so that later on I can add in textures. Then I go on the make the actual build which is kinda the same thing, I start with the basics in blocks like gold, stone, and granite then add in textures later on. After I'm done with the full build, I pick one of the lovely parkour builders to come scout out the place and have them work on the parkour.


What do you keep in mind the most when you make maps?

Simple, I keep in mine that its JUST a Minecraft build. I tend to stress out about things, but I reassure myself when building that it's just a build in a game. If people don't like it, then you can change it. If you mess up, you can fix it. Its not the end of the world if you have to scrap a build.

Any other things to suggest?

God, please just finish at least a few hundred maps before starting your own map. I see far too often new players just skip playing parkour at all to create their own maps which don't have a build at all. Play a good few maps before you make your own so that you don't waste your own time making a map that would only pass as a roblox obby.


My answers are definitely less in detail than others, but I wanted to add my 5 cents.