To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:


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To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby Kaoru » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:20 am

(Warning: Longpost is loooooooooooooong. Skip to the bottom for the tl;dr version, if that's your fancy. As a preface, thank you very much for reading this, even if you don't read it all.)

Part I: Background and Condolences
Those of you who own the game and have tried to work with it are well-aware of the problems currently inherent in the various systems set up to deal with custom map-making and large-scale modifications.

Many of you participated in the Beta process. You offered lengthy and detailed feedback both to other members of the community, and to Blizzard and its representatives, on the shortcomings and failings of the system, and on ways to improve it and help the custom map-making and modding scenes to thrive.

And, for the most part, it seems you were ignored. Or that nothing was done in a timely manner to address your concerns.

The most passionate of you suffered the most during this process, as those of you who felt you had the most to offer to the burgeoning communities of Starcraft 2 mappers and modders were left feeling voiceless, helpless, and powerless in the face of an organization that apparently did not care about your struggles, nor about supporting you and the dreams and visions that you sought to create, for the enjoyment of players everywhere.

We are now two weeks past launch, and something has changed. Those of you still watching the Starcraft 2 Forums will be well aware of this. For nearly the past week there has been absolutely no official Blizzard contact on the forums - outside of technical support and customer support representatives. The Community Managers and other-such Blues have fallen silent, though they continue to post blogs. This is a stark change from the 2-3 posts-per-day they were all making up to this point.

Not only that, but Blizzard has opened up "Feedback" threads for both Battle.net and for Custom Maps. Users are encouraged to (reasonably) air their grievances with the workings of the current systems associated with these topics. Obviously, these threads have been a little mobbed. However, the Custom Maps thread in particular is mostly being mobbed by people who don't understand what the 'Custom Maps' moniker suggests - people complaining about the lack of LAN play, or the 30-second wait-time, et-cetera. The remainder of people are mostly complaining about the popularity system, and the lack of game names. This, coupled with the silence of the mods, suggests to me that the Blues are either listening and not speaking, or busily combing the feedback thread and waiting for word on the gameplan from Blizzard, or something similar.

There are those among you who are incredibly talented, or gifted. Those who have delivered sweeping and epic campaigns, vast and far-reaching modifications, who have participated in and become a part of the mapping-modding culture of Starcraft and Brood War. A great many of you are eloquent, well-spoken, and, most importantly, you understand the needs of actual map-makers and modders. You understand what needs to change and to happen in order for Starcraft 2's mapping and modding communities not to wither on the vine.

Again, something has changed. I believe that the overwhelming negative response Blizzard has received to many of their new features has forced them to step back and re-evaluate things. I believe they are trying to seriously evaluate the player-base and figure out how best to deal with them, and - let's be realistic, here - how best to provide for them in the most money-efficient and time-efficient way possible.

This likely means that - as is standard procedure for a company - the most intensive and far-reaching changes are being blocked out and decided upon right now, the changes that Blizzard will spend the next year or so until Heart of the Swarm, and perhaps beyond, working on. During the Beta, Blizzard was - for the most part - able to write off the complaints on many issues as not being representative enough of the total number of people who would eventually play the game. They were able to assure themselves that once the general public experienced their new systems, they would love it, and Blizzard would be validated.

That is a fallacy they can no longer put faith in, and it appears they are, as such, gauging how to realistically deal with the situation they've put themselves in.

Part II: Summation
This is a call to action. There are those of you - individuals such as Lavarinth, RazorclawX, IskatuMesk, Desler, and so on - who have an unbelievable amount to contribute to this game, if you choose to, if you're able. There are certainly others, as well. But if there were ever a time to speak up about what needs to be done, that time is now.

I know many of you have already done so, earlier in the Beta process, or likely even in various locations on the Starcraft 2 Boards. You have invested time, energy and effort into the crafting of arguments, opinions, requests or outright pleas that Blizzard and the development team address your concerns. You may feel like there's no point in doing so any further, no point in sidling up to the bar again to re-tread what some of you must feel you've said a thousand times by now, for nothing. And maybe you're right.

But maybe you're not. Whatever their failings, the developers and programmers of Starcraft 2 have delivered an amazing game that is unfortunately hobbled by a great number of logistical shortcomings. With two expansions left to go, they have a decided interest in ensuring that interest in Starcraft 2 remains high, and I have no doubt that they will do everything in their power to make that so.

Yet, in the swarm of superficial responses the Custom Map Feedback thread has received, I worry that deeper and more meaningful criticisms and notes - tendered and submitted before the existence of the thread - may be swept under the carpet or simply forgotten about.

Unless the developers are reminded. On this forum alone, I've seen compelling and heartfelt diatribes about the shortcomings of the SC2 editor (related more to its form than its functions), the state of custom map publishing and a variety of other topics. Like many of you, I invested a significant chunk of my life into Starcraft, playing and making and editing maps, creating or playing mods, and in general having the kind of good time I've found couldn't be quite matched anywhere else, since. Various inadequacies and failings limited Warcraft 3 in this regard, and Starcraft 2 is currently similarly-limited, but it doesn't have to be.

It's true that, like Warcraft 3's problems, they may never do anything about Starcraft 2's. But Warcraft 3 didn't have a tremendous, well-entrenched and experienced map-making and modding community making the jump over from its predecessor, to my understanding, and Starcraft 2 definitely does. For whatever reason, the developers are actually soliciting feedback on the state of affairs in SC2, right now, and however big or small a chance it is to make a real difference, it's a chance. Already, at least one person I spotted - Ricky Honejasi - has taken the initiative and added his voice to the thread.

I am asking - pleading, here - Please, those of you with a vision for what SC2 could be if things were different, those of you who know and can compellingly-state the deficiencies in the editor, in the modding and publishing process, and more, make yourselves heard.

I say this here because I, myself, cannot post there (For reasons Blizzard's billing department can only speculate on, their online store will not allow me to purchase any version of SC2, and it's currently my only option for getting the game) - but despite not owning Starcraft 2 myself, I have read enough even-handed and reasonable reports of its shortfalls and shortcomings to know the problems that exist with the game as it stands.

The people who can make the most difference here are the ones who have hurt the most from going in early and saying the things that Blizzard wasn't ready to hear, and wasn't ready to listen to, and who were thusly ignored. Now, Blizz is listening, and there's a real opportunity to say the things that they desperately need to hear again. Even if we don't see some of these changes until Heart of the Swarm, it's better than not seeing them at all.

I dream of a Starcraft 2 community unfettered by any bounds but its own creativity, the community that very nearly existed in the heyday of the mapping and modding scenes, the community that was limited and hobbled by the editor and the engine that was forced upon them, the community that all of us know could actually come about this time with the new freedom and power afforded us by Starcraft 2's editor and gamecode.

I dream of the projects I have seen CC members and mapmakers and modders across the web embark upon, or plan out, or envision, for the original Starcraft, plans that were limited or demolished by the realities of what the game allowed, plans that could live and thrive in Starcraft 2, and come to fruition.

I dream of the fire of ten thousand minds forging the duraluminum of SC2's blood into glistening terasteel.

The gauntlet is thrown down. This is our chance to say what really needs saying.

Show 'em what you've got. Please.
http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic ... 291?page=1
~Kaoru

Part 0: Kaoru Talks Too Much
TL;DR Version: SC2's got a lot of problems right now with creating, publishing, hosting, and basically doing anything with custom maps. Blizzard has wised up enough to actually create a Feedback thread for this, and some CC forumites have already posted in it, but a lot of people with some very good points to make and a very compelling way of saying them, haven't.

Even if you already tried to offer criticism and feedback during Beta and got burned, this is an invaluable chance to say what Blizzard really needs to hear while they're still open to listening. Please follow the link above and contribute, because the mod-and-mapmakers at CC and other heavy-duty communities know better than Joe Customgamer what it is that makes for a sustainable, healthy and expansive custom game community.
Thank you.

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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby Maglok » Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:13 am

I so don't have a US account though :(
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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby Meta » Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:44 am

Excellent post.

I for one don't own the game either, but being one who's written 200+ pages worth of scripts for SC2 projects, I'm as worried as you are. If publishing wasn't bad enough, we still have to deal with the - currently extremely low - limits when it comes to uploading and censorship.

I've ideas for 3 SC2 projects; at most 2 would be feasible in standard conditions, given their size, the time it'd take to make them, etc. However, all 3 of them include controversial themes, adult language, extensive use of custom music, full voices and so on. Afterall, campaigns and bigger mods would feature lots of custom graphics, sounds, voices... so why not give us room for that? As a consequence, as of now, none can really be made in a way that doesn't involve exploiting the editor or something, because one can't just download a map from the internet (say, the CC server) and play it. In that regard, 1998 SC > 2010 SC2. >:(

This is frustrating on so many levels, I've called off all my projects, stopped writing their lines and whatnot at least until I get a hint of hope to suggest they can be worked on. I don't really know what was on Blizzard's heads when they decide that basically all their custom support would be for stuff like DotA and melee maps this is all you can do given such small limits.

However I do think it may change - probably as early as HotS is out - but only if we provide feedback. In Wc3 the editor improved substantially after TFT was out, afterall. Now, I don't have access to the Battle.net forums either, since I haven't bought the game yet. If anyone here has access to the official forums I'd also encourage you to post. Feel free to quote this message if you feel it'll do any good.

Also, for more info on the current issues, check Mesk's "first impressions" thread, notably the posts by Mesk and Ricky.

Edit: To sum it up:
- Allow us to download custom games from places other than Bnet;
- If this isn't possible, radically increase or remove the 10mb limit;
- If maps can be played locally, disable the content filter.

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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby IskatuMesk » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:51 am

I've long given up. I've used two internal Blizzard sources to use as outlets for my feedback and written articles specifically for them. I've posted other articles multiple times on Battle.net's forums and several large articles on TL which I know they've read and people linked on their forums as well.

They are unwilling to listen and I am unwilling to care any further. I have wasted enough effort on deaf ears.

If you feel the need to bang your head against a wall you can copy pasta my CC-specifics article here... and probably what Xenon and co say.

viewtopic.php?f=76&t=3085
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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby Archangel » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:39 am

I'd make posts, except I got banned from posting at all for respectfully pointing out that paying $60 - $100 should guarantee the ability to play with friends outside of having to directly connect to their servers.

What vile criminal I was, I tell you.

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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby IskatuMesk » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:42 am

rofl sounds like everything else I've heard about sc2's moderators
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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby Ricky_Honejasi » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:51 am

Personally, I have now rather low faith in Blizzard in general. In the thread you speak, I already posted the suggestions I believe they really need to change (even if they weren't THAT related to custom maps at times). I already posted beta feedback that like so much other was essentially ignored.

It was pretty much just that shot in the dark that they might actually do something since it's finally game selling time and now bad reputations are much more likely to be spread much faster as lots of players actually paid for the game and Blizzard no longer have the "free beta" excuse.

EDIT : Geez, Archangel actually got BANNED for that? Was it a forum ban or somehow your whole account even for gaming?


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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby Mr. » Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:15 am

I quoted Meta's post on the thread.

Also Ricky, I have a little faith in them. I mean, look at the RealID thing. That was a huge thing, and they worked really hard moderating the forum, and trying to keep all of the feedback in one spot, where everyone thought it was getting ignored. But they ended up canceling the RealID thing after all. Granted, there was a HUGE backlash about that one, all over the place. But still, thinking about that, and then looking at what they're doing now, I do have some faith that they are actually reading our concerns, and will do things to address at least SOME of them. It probably won't be anytime soon, but I think that they will make it better.

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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby IskatuMesk » Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:25 am

The only reason they renegged on RealID is because every news station on the planet was making fun of them for it.

They are not obligated to do anything about the editor or b.net 2.0.
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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby Falchion » Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:31 am

Blizzard does wanna help? Them please, tell them to either remove the damn limits for foreign regions or release a language pack containing English MINIMUM to all regions.

I don't speak because of the local language, but also for multi-player issues. To get this straight, Starcraft II is NOT World of Warcraft. People WON'T come in constantly. Therefore, I think this idea of charging 5-10 bucks monthly and offering unlimited access for a hundred too unacceptable. Also, gameplay time should be extended to at least 8-9 months, when things will have really cooled down.

When I speak of local language, forgive my radicalism, but the translation for the Brazilian Portuguese version is so awful, I got two theories, both connected and that make sense: First, they didn't pay more for a decent translation and voice acting, despite the 100 million mark Blizzard so gloats about. Two, they used Google Translator, no doubt. Dominion should mean DOMÍNIO, not SUPREMACIA!

There we have it.

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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby Lavarinth » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:37 pm

This is mapping related, not game related.
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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby Archangel » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:01 pm

Ricky_Honejasi wrote:EDIT : Geez, Archangel actually got BANNED for that? Was it a forum ban or somehow your whole account even for gaming?


Just banned from the Forum. I can still play the game that I paid a whole lot of money for. (Oh thank you Blizzard! You all wise and merciful, benevolent rulers of my life!)

I also made a little, civil fuss about the unreasonable restrictions on map publishing and size allowance. I think that's when they realized that I actually joined the Beta to make thoughtful critiques, and not to blow unrelenting smoke up their asses.

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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby IskatuMesk » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:04 pm

Lavarinth wrote:This is mapping related, not game related.


same thing
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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby Kaoru » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:11 pm

Pretty much quoting and responding to everyone, here. Just as a preface, for those of you who have already posted in support (here and in the Feedback thread), and for those of you who've shared your experiences, thank you immensely.

Maglok wrote:I so don't have a US account though :(

That would be a problem, then. :c Is the EU region really segregated from the US region to the point where you can't post on their forums? I know Battle.net is region-locked, but I thought any valid SC2 character could post on the forums. If not, ah. Wow. That's baaad.
Meta wrote:Excellent post.

I for one don't own the game either, but being one who's written 200+ pages worth of scripts for SC2 projects, I'm as worried as you are. If publishing wasn't bad enough, we still have to deal with the - currently extremely low - limits when it comes to uploading and censorship.

I've ideas for 3 SC2 projects; at most 2 would be feasible in standard conditions, given their size, the time it'd take to make them, etc. However, all 3 of them include controversial themes, adult language, extensive use of custom music, full voices and so on. Afterall, campaigns and bigger mods would feature lots of custom graphics, sounds, voices... so why not give us room for that? As a consequence, as of now, none can really be made in a way that doesn't involve exploiting the editor or something, because one can't just download a map from the internet (say, the CC server) and play it. In that regard, 1998 SC > 2010 SC2. >:(

This is frustrating on so many levels, I've called off all my projects, stopped writing their lines and whatnot at least until I get a hint of hope to suggest they can be worked on. I don't really know what was on Blizzard's heads when they decide that basically all their custom support would be for stuff like DotA and melee maps this is all you can do given such small limits.

However I do think it may change - probably as early as HotS is out - but only if we provide feedback. In Wc3 the editor improved substantially after TFT was out, afterall. Now, I don't have access to the Battle.net forums either, since I haven't bought the game yet. If anyone here has access to the official forums I'd also encourage you to post. Feel free to quote this message if you feel it'll do any good.

Also, for more info on the current issues, check Mesk's "first impressions" thread, notably the posts by Mesk and Ricky.

Edit: To sum it up:
- Allow us to download custom games from places other than Bnet;
- If this isn't possible, radically increase or remove the 10mb limit;
- If maps can be played locally, disable the content filter.

I understand your frustrations. I think they're very valid, and I also think your suggestions have a lot of merit. I'm glad someone has already copied the contents of your post over into the feedback thread, as well. And obviously, I, too, believe that Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void offer unique opportunities in the realm of Blizzard-delivered improvements and fixes, and that (obviously!) user feedback from folks who know what they're talking about is essential.

As a side-note, funnily enough, it was reading through Mesk's "First Impressions" thread in full, as well as many of his blogs and all the (non-spoiler, for my own sake) information he provided about the campaign, that ultimately helped to fuel my writing this appeal in the first place. The amount of talent, big-name and small, focused at CC seems staggering to me. I don't know any other still-active websites that have this kind of skilled community around.
IskatuMesk wrote:I've long given up. I've used two internal Blizzard sources to use as outlets for my feedback and written articles specifically for them. I've posted other articles multiple times on Battle.net's forums and several large articles on TL which I know they've read and people linked on their forums as well.

They are unwilling to listen and I am unwilling to care any further. I have wasted enough effort on deaf ears.

If you feel the need to bang your head against a wall you can copy pasta my CC-specifics article here... and probably what Xenon and co say.

viewtopic.php?f=76&t=3085

I also sympathize with your exhaustion with the process and ordeals you've gone through. I know all that you've endured to try and do your part to make SC2 better. You have gone above and beyond anyone being able to ask or expect more of you, and at this point I don't think anyone could say you have slacked in telling the real, honest, painful truths about the state of the editor and the restrictions imposed by Blizzard. Hell, when I wrote that "the most passionate of you have suffered the most" line, you were in the forefront of my mind.

Part of my idealism in believing that "It's not over yet!" comes from my own experience. Early-on in the Beta process, back when SC2 had a regular Battle.net forum (those old forums that have since been taken down,) I submitted a feature request. It was, basically, a terminal somewhere in the Hyperion that allowed you to do two things - re-watch past cutscenes, and get bits of lore about what was happening in the universe at large as you went through the missions. I even suggested that things like news reports and the differing testimony of various groups could be included to enrich the experience. The suggestion was inspired by a similar feature in Starsiege, which I loved.

At the time, the thread got dozens upon dozens of people clamoring in saying that it'd be a great idea, and long after I stopped hoping Blizzard would read it, people were still bumping it. I shrugged my shoulders at the lack of response and figured they had better things to do. And yet, while I'm not prideful enough to think that they actually first got the idea of "replay missions and cutscenes at a terminal, involve news reports in cutscenes to give external activity beyond the scope of Raynor's interaction" from that post, it did end up in the game. By which I was pleasantly surprised.

It never hurts to remind someone of a good idea. And it's entirely possible Blizzard might take some of the project members who worked on SC2, off of it, to focus on other projects, and either bring new team-members in, or allow the remainder greater creative freedom. In either case, it'd help to see some of the best ideas put forward again. But at this point, I think the most anyone could think was reasonable from you, Mesk, after you've done so much, is that you let folks re-post the many valid arguments and criticisms you've made over time. And that we all hope Blizzard still has them stashed away somewhere they can get at them, from your past efforts.
Archangel wrote:I'd make posts, except I got banned from posting at all for respectfully pointing out that paying $60 - $100 should guarantee the ability to play with friends outside of having to directly connect to their servers.

What vile criminal I was, I tell you.

I am...also curious about what Ricky asked. You were banned completely, or just from the forums? Though, it sounds like you might have been caught in the overzealous (and completely unwarranted, let's be honest here) first response Blizzard was giving to anything that looked remotely like it violated their policies. (The Tank Defense fiasco, thread-deletion on taboo topics, and apparently, banning of players.) It's likely that your name was just seen in a thread that Blizzard had decided there were people advocating piracy posting in, and got the axe as a result. If I were you, I'd contact customer support or account services, because it sounds like you have a very good case for being unbanned. (And whatever your opinion of Blizzard's mods, if you can still get in contact with them, sending one a private message about the issue might help.)

Of course, this is all said in the vein that Blizzard would actually listen or care, but, you know. People have been unbanned before, and all it costs you to try is time.

EDIT: Glad to hear you were "only" banned from the forum. I still think that taking it up with account services in the same polite, civil manner would do you a world of good, if you haven't, already. But maybe I'm just naive, I've had luck doing that in similar situations.
Ricky_Honejasi wrote:Personally, I have now rather low faith in Blizzard in general. In the thread you speak, I already posted the suggestions I believe they really need to change (even if they weren't THAT related to custom maps at times). I already posted beta feedback that like so much other was essentially ignored.

It was pretty much just that shot in the dark that they might actually do something since it's finally game selling time and now bad reputations are much more likely to be spread much faster as lots of players actually paid for the game and Blizzard no longer have the "free beta" excuse.

EDIT : Geez, Archangel actually got BANNED for that? Was it a forum ban or somehow your whole account even for gaming?

Yeah, I saw your contributions, Rick. I was very glad to see at least one guy from CC posting, and even mentioned you in my big ol' speech, above. I also mentioned that, yeah, you and many others provided oodles of feedback during Beta that either wasn't acted upon, or wasn't well-received. But as you say, Blizzard has a lot more on the line now, and they've made gestures that indicate they're actually soliciting the feedback they turned down, before. Whether these gestures turn out to be empty, only time will tell, but by taking the step of contributing, at least you can say, one way or another, that you had a hand in trying to show them the way.
Mr. wrote:I quoted Meta's post on the thread.

Also Ricky, I have a little faith in them. I mean, look at the RealID thing. That was a huge thing, and they worked really hard moderating the forum, and trying to keep all of the feedback in one spot, where everyone thought it was getting ignored. But they ended up canceling the RealID thing after all. Granted, there was a HUGE backlash about that one, all over the place. But still, thinking about that, and then looking at what they're doing now, I do have some faith that they are actually reading our concerns, and will do things to address at least SOME of them. It probably won't be anytime soon, but I think that they will make it better.

Good for you, for contributing! Yeah, the RealID thing is a good example of Blizzard stepping back. As Mesk says, below, the scale of the response to that was much larger, but, on the other hand, RealID was one of their 'talking points', their big selling features for the game. They had a vested interest in trying to push it through, because of how much they'd invested in it, and advertising for it, and setting up the infrastructure for it. (And likely getting paid by Facebook for it.)
IskatuMesk wrote:The only reason they renegged on RealID is because every news station on the planet was making fun of them for it.

They are not obligated to do anything about the editor or b.net 2.0.

Continued from above quote. Now, on the other hand, the editor and Battle.net 2.0 are also talking-points, selling features, and they aren't working or operating as intended - which means that Blizz has a vested interest in repairing or updating them in order to bring them in line with what consumers are demanding. Blizzard spent over a hundred million dollars making SC2, and they want to make more than double that back. I think they've realized that, with things in the state they're in, they aren't going to.

Not to mention, they sort of are obligated to do something about the Editor, and B.net 2.0 - because they have two more expansion packs to sell. If it was just one, then the impetus would be a lot less - they could probably just drop a bunch of cosmetic changes in, tell people it's all changed and different, and make a bundle selling it before folks realized what huge problems were still there. But I don't think that'd work, twice.

And whatever you may think of Blizzard's level of care for their community, I guarantee you that they value the Starcraft IP (with the understanding that their story-writing practices and lore are not a necessary part of this in a business sense) and thus, want to come out of this - by the end of Legacy of the Void - with a thriving and devoted following for the game. I believe they will do what they feel is necessary to assure this, but in practical terms, that may equate to only what they believe is 'strictly necessary'. It's then our jobs to convince them that the changes we want are the ones that are strictly necessary.

Falchion wrote:Blizzard does wanna help? Them please, tell them to either remove the damn limits for foreign regions or release a language pack containing English MINIMUM to all regions.

I don't speak because of the local language, but also for multi-player issues. To get this straight, Starcraft II is NOT World of Warcraft. People WON'T come in constantly. Therefore, I think this idea of charging 5-10 bucks monthly and offering unlimited access for a hundred too unacceptable. Also, gameplay time should be extended to at least 8-9 months, when things will have really cooled down.

When I speak of local language, forgive my radicalism, but the translation for the Brazilian Portuguese version is so awful, I got two theories, both connected and that make sense: First, they didn't pay more for a decent translation and voice acting, despite the 100 million mark Blizzard so gloats about. Two, they used Google Translator, no doubt. Dominion should mean DOMÍNIO, not SUPREMACIA!

There we have it.

Oh man, I feel your pain. I mean, I don't have much to say here, except that the region-lockout, and not allowing people to choose to buy and install in English, seems very perplexing and wrong to me. However, I don't know or understand what you're referencing when you talk about 'charging 5-10 bucks monthly and giving unlimited access for 100' - is this some new thing I've missed? Gameplay time?

Oh, and also. You don't need to ask forgiveness, really, I've heard the state of some of the foreign-language versions, and I honestly feel that with their international standing, Blizzard could have done better. I suspect that localization was very rushed near the end of the development cycle. I don't know if it's feasible to expect Blizzard to re-do any of the voice-acting, dubbing and localization, even in the English version, but I do know a sizable contingent of LA players have spoken out against what they've done, and every voice added to that helps.
Lavarinth wrote:This is mapping related, not game related.

Yeah, but remember. In Blizzard's new parlance, "Custom Maps = Mods". At the very least, their talk of Premium Maps (which have to have such-and-such an amount of custom, original content) suggest that they're taking this sort of tack, and I've heard that the layout of the data-loader and the like suggests that someone at Blizzard who programmed the mod system understood that mods were more than custom maps. Like Mesk said, this is the best place to air our concerns, because in Blizzard's current mode of thinking, mapmaking and modding are inseparable. Taking advantage of that seems like a good thing to do.

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Re: To all would-be SC2 mappers & modders:

Postby IskatuMesk » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:23 pm

Not to mention, they sort of are obligated to do something about the Editor, and B.net 2.0 - because they have two more expansion packs to sell.


You could have said that about chat channels, online replays, and other things missing in the beta... and they still aren't here, and may not ever be here. If they do come it will probably be with those expansions and used as feature bullet points.

Point is, I've been told by the exact same guy who is now lead of sc2's editor back in wc3's hayday that Blizzard was aware of the numerous issues I had pointed out at the time and they won't ever fix them. The logic back then was that this would help prolong wc3's life, right? They just don't care.

http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?id=123080
http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmes ... _id=127066
viewtopic.php?f=76&t=3085
viewtopic.php?f=76&t=3108

I don't care what you do. Feel free to take any parts of my posts or articles and rewrite them as you see fit. But I am through with pen-pushing faggots in their high seats ignoring the little guy. This feedback thread is no doubt just an attempt to force all of the whiners into one spot so their forum isn't such an eye-sore anymore.

/edit

This is a simplified version I posted on sc2mapster a while ago. I guess I can copy paste this into that thread in about five seconds... but I'm not putting any salt into such an action.


GalaxyEdit's data editor interface should be rebuilt completely from the ground up in the image of previous editors. It's not that it's too complex, it's that its organized in the most haphazard and time-consuming manner possible. Even the most simple of tasks are drawn out to insane lengths by just trying to find basic elements.

The biggest gripe I have with the sc2 editor is the extremely disorganized and confusing manner in which the attributes for many of the menus are laid out.

In the above tileset editor, the name for the tileset should be on the top. Instead, since it's listing alphabetically, the name is in a very random location.
http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/9047/ed5o.jpg

Far worse than this is the unit editor. The arrangements of values in this are completely random and cripple any hope of making an efficient, painless run through a new unit. I cannot possibly imagine making a large-scale project in this editor - wc3 was bad enough with several values, like Armor, requiring repeatedly scrolling through a big list to find.

http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/5246/ea1g.jpg

http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/908/ea2r.jpg

The Unit Name and Unit Description fields are on opposing ends of the list and key values like health, shields and armor are separated by totally random and unrelated values.

Recommendations;

I feel that the data editor is in serious need of reworking layout-wise. With the editors the community created for Starcraft 1 having had their interfaces perfected over the course of many years of feedback it seems prudent to learn from our mistakes and our discoveries. While I would never expect an exact copy to be made the editors in question I feel that several important attributes of these editors need to be adopted in the Sc2 editor to help facilitate faster, easier, and more efficient production for users of all skill levels.

http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/8291/editor1.jpg

Attribute Relationships

Attributes related to each other, like Vitals (Health, Shields, Armor - Cost, Tech Requirements, Build Time, ect.) should be grouped together for easy identification and access. The user should not have to scroll down a big list to find any of these attributes. Grouping and organizing these appropriately will go a very long way to helping new users break into the power of this editor as well as help advanced users produce their projects faster, more efficiently, and with less irritation.

Elimination of Redundancy

http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/4229/ed6pg.jpg

Unnecessary dialogues like the above only serve to waste the user's time and instead annoy the user, especially when they are editing an exceptionally large amount of data at once.

GUI editor

http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/7088/ed7v.jpg

In its current state the GUI editor for data is practically unusable. There is virtually no usage of horizontal space whatsoever.

Obscurity

It is clear that many of the help dialogues in the editor are simply not finished, and I do believe that there was going to be a documentation of some kind in the future. Regardless, I feel a lot of dialogues and entries in the data editor need to be clarified as to what they actually do.

http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/3346/ed8z.jpg

I have no idea why the weapon cooldown is called Period, for example. It just seems natural to me that it would be called something that makes it easy and quick to identify. Additionally there are no classifications to ANY of these attributes, and thus not even the slightest bit of organization. Again, I think developers would need a considerable hand-holding process by other developers to become acquainted with the obscurity of the data editor and the confusing nature of its arrangement, while with many other games most individuals can jump in and make basic changes without much hand holding. Unfortunately, with sc2 even changing damage and cooldown values can be a bit confusing for first-timers, and these critical, basic things become no less time consuming to do as the user becomes experienced with the editor because of their scattered nature.

I understand that the editor is complex and powerful. When dealing with games like this I do not expect the editor to be easy or newbie-friendly. I have modded games like Supreme Commander and Homeworld 2 in which there are no editors, just half-assed user made tools that are horrendously inefficient and often extremely buggy. There are many features in sc2's editor that I thoroughly enjoy, and the ui's for water and lights are exceptional and straight to the point - I like them a lot. But the data editor itself feels very haphazard and not much thought was put into it.

My effort is to spread awareness of the need for having the interface improved in the nature of organization and ease of use. This will not "simplify" the editor, this will improve the editor for those already using it by accelerating their production times through intuitive layout and arrangement that presents the immense power of the editor to them in a way that makes editing the game enjoyable and timely. That is why so few large-scale projects were attempted with wc3.

Some things like the Game Attributes editor give me only minor clues as to what they are capable of doing, and no hope for understanding their capabilities without an extensive external documentation or potentially weeks if not months of simply doing random things until something happens.

Within Blizzard's opportunity is the capacity to fix Battle.net and, more importantly, make the editor all it can be. They need but put effort into it. The editor is best seen as a foundation right now, ready for supports and construction to create the tool developers will be able to use in the future to create custom content. The groundwork is laid out but it needs engineering and planning to begin building the real thing.

Actordata and Modeldata

The two most important aspects of custom units are those involving the graphics and the physical functions of the unit, being modeldata and actordata. These are two reasonably complicated files that, currently, are a complete and total pain in the ass to do even the most basic things with. This is in part because they are complex subjects and also in part because the interface for them compounds the complexity issue ten fold.

Luckily for us, and Blizzard, there's an easy way to get around this. The editor already contains a model viewer - this could easily be copied and modified into a real-time preview editor for actors and models, probably even Movers as well. By simulating game events with the viewer, the editor can provide a level of fine control previously only reserved for things like the RPGMaker series and Age of Wonders 2. This seems to be the natural course of evolution and it's a wonder few games have attempted this in the modern market. No, I know why - developers are lazy. But the hardest part is already out of the way for Blizzard.

Animation editing is a tricky business, but perhaps Blizzard might consider making a simple scripting language for actordata. Something like what they employed for the iscript in Starcraft 1.

(I was going to post some iscript code like I did with my original post but it seems that code tags don't work and the forum doesn't have spoiler tags, either... or they just aren't the same and I am too stupid to find them :( )

All of the source iscript code for Armageddon Onslaught is included in the mod's release package - http://www.campaigncreations.org/starcraft/armageddon_onslaught

Making these two files accessible is key to improving the overall user experience in creating custom assets and applying them ingame. But if Blizzard truly does care about the editor they will go above and beyond to provide the means to really get into the thick of these files without having a clunky interface to complicate the process.

Key functions of the new graphical actor editor should be an easy way to determine new events with only 1-2 clicks. Being able to insert a preset event - such as a sound - without any typing or external dialogues. You don't need to dumb down an editor to make it easy to use and intuitive.

http://img411.imageshack.us/img411/5532/edg1.jpg
The AoW2 unit body editor (effectively a modeldata-esque editor)

This editor is not very powerful, but it's very quick and easy to use, and gets you where you want to go quickly. This is what I'd like to see in sc2 - an organized, intuitive, and streamlined interface where functions are obvious and quick to learn.

The key to making an editor as powerful as the one necessary for Actordata but as easy to use as this one lays entirely in how you arrange and manage the interface, and how you present it to the end-user. Enormous clusters of unrelated options like what we see commonly throughout many editors, sc2's included, bombards new users with unknowns and overwhelms them, as well as making finding exactly what you want annoying and time-consuming for more advanced and experienced users. This plays back into the first part where I talk about tabs and categorization. Speaking of which, tabs were added in patch 13, though the organization remains non-existent. At least they're updating the editor! Hopefully they continue to improve it for many years and don't abandon it like they did wc3. This editor still has a very long ways to go to.

http://img257.imageshack.us/img257/2374/62769663.jpg

Although not as graceful as as the AoW2 editor, the RPGMaker XP animation editor for spell effects and the like is another good example of a functional and fairly clearly interface. It is not necessary to jump into an external dialogue for adding SFX files, though unlike AoW2 this editor doesn't support multiple animations per entry (aka not a unit editor).

http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/2718/39088999.jpg

Also worth showing is the RPGMaker XP monster editor, as another source of reference of a good, clean interface for editing units.

Doodads

Doodads need to have their own editor. Additionally, they need to have a way of telling the editor which doodads to randomize in the placement tool without having to copy all of their assets around and make new entries. I wanted to place trees without placing palm trees and then manually changing them but such is a pipedream without bending over backwards. I also had a fun time trying to find doodads until I discovered the actordata IS their editor... which seems a bit weird.

~

The terrain placement tool could bear to be more intuitive and water placement in general needs a significant amount of work. I'd recommend to look at something like the Titan Quest editor.

http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/24/waht3.jpg

The circles in the placement tool tell you about the intensity of blending for stuff like hills and textures, as well as the tool telling you the relative position it is to lower ground and its current position. Additionally, note how water need not be placed in enormous, clunky squares and water height is not based on individual water types.

Other "minor" things that are ridiculous arbitrary limits and should be remedied asap;

- 8 texture limit
- 256x256 map size
- only 2 levels of cliff and 1 level of unpathable subcliff? Really? What happened to wc3?

Something I'd like to see but is a bit more complicated is for creep to be worked out of being hardcoded into terrain and instead worked into data in the form of abilities or somesuch. This renders making a second independent creep kind of insanely time-consuming and difficult if not impossible.

The game also is in dire need of an actual mod loader. Currently, the sc2 "mod" system is just the wc3 campaign system with a new name and is easier to use. The fact you have to make maps dependent on the "mod" completely excludes it from the definition of a mod. A mod completely changes the game and effects every map regardless of what the map says it loads from. In warcraft 3 and Brood War this entailed the use of Mpqdraft. In games like Sins of a Solar Empire and Supreme Commander, who natively support mods, you have a menu in-game that loads from either an archive or a directory. Sc2 will probably never have any mods unless support for it comes out due to Blizzard continually mixing up the definitions of maps/mods and sc2 monitoring RAM usage (aka you'll get banned for running mpqdraft).

Additionally, another key thing separating Blizzard's "mod" system from actual mods is the fact that their mod system is still arbitrarily limited by the absolutely insane restrictions of Battle.net 2.0. You can not make a mod with only 20 megs global of space. Not even close. Armageddon Onslaught, a gametype conversion for Brood War, is still 88 megs because it contains custom music, sounds, and graphics like all mods do. Any significant conversion in sc2 will easily outscale that because of the larger amount of texture data alone. But also because each unit will have more sound data than they did in brood war as well.

The solution is to not have Battle.net be responsible for transfers of mod archives. Mods can be externally downloaded like they always have been, loaded through the mod loader interface, and flag vanilla achievements as unable to be obtained, and exclude the ladder system from being accessed (it just desyncs and drops/crashes you anyway).

Currently you can just modify patch mpqs for modding but... again, this is not ideal and not "supported".

Image~[Gameproc]~Image
Warning: dialogue contains politically incorrect content. Viewer rearsore may occur.


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