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Norfair Feedback Thread

PostPosted: 03 Dec 2018, 19:56
by Morax
For reference, here is the start of "Norfair 2.0" in my mapping thread: https://forums.faforever.com/viewtopic. ... 0&start=60

Polling showed some poor results, and the main address that was brought to my attention is "the terrain is too dark," which I alleviated by quite a bit with the new version 2.0; however, some more disdain is apparent.

Could I get some actual, text feedback on why it is not liked? e.g." I don't like the mex expansion layout because blah blah blah," "The gameplay is not good because ya da ya da ya da," or "I wish there was a little more reclaim here or something something."

"It's too big and scary" is not a good reason, which I found most of the reviews from sub 1600 players to be.

Re: Norfair Feedback Thread

PostPosted: 04 Dec 2018, 02:55
by TantrumDesire
Lots of hidden trees in random places that only become visual when zooming in on the map with a microscope.
Moreover, it doesn't help when the trees are black and so is the ground.

They seem to be the same trees as in Hollow and The Ditch, which are quite decent in e reclaim but most people aren't even aware of their locations on the map, let alone their existence because of how close you have to zoom in for them to become visible. Not to mention that in Norfair & The Ditch their colour is not contrasting enough with the ground.

This gives the player who is by chance aware that these trees exist a considerable advantage by allowing for low power-reclaim boosted builds and such.

Don't know if there's anything you can do about the trees not appearing on screen unless you zoom in ridiculously close, so maybe you should have the ground beneath the forested areas be of a different colour/texture so one could distinguish reclaim areas more easily.

Re: Norfair Feedback Thread

PostPosted: 04 Dec 2018, 05:54
by biass
People are less likely to give feedback if you immediately discredit them in the op...

I'm hoping that tree zoom thing is fixed in this supreme props mod thing, because it's apparently missing an LOD

Re: Norfair Feedback Thread

PostPosted: 06 Dec 2018, 04:10
by Morax
biass wrote:People are less likely to give feedback if you immediately discredit them in the op...

I'm hoping that tree zoom thing is fixed in this supreme props mod thing, because it's apparently missing an LOD


"I don't like the color grey"

Not really going to care much if that is why someone doesn't like a map, sorry...

Re: Norfair Feedback Thread

PostPosted: 12 Dec 2018, 07:19
by ThomasHiatt
This is both a critique of Norfair and an explanation of how I judge maps and think they should be made.

Map Layout The number of mexes and their layout on the map as well as the amount of reclaim and its placement on the map. Is the map symmetrical and balanced? Other gameplay factors like plateaus, islands, water, etc.

I rate Norfair 10/10 in this category. Perfect number of mexes and perfect amount of reclaim. The location of expansions allows for variety in gameplay and strategies.

Aesthetics Is the map pleasing to look at? Do the textures and decals pop in and out at appropriate times? Do the textures and decals enhance the experience of playing the map or add unnecessary visual noise and clutter?

I rate Norfair 4/10 in this category. This is a pretty subjective category so I don't think it matters that much. I don't like the bright red textures and lava decals, and I think there is too much visual noise in the textures and decals on the terrain.

Terrain Are there unnecessary layers and elevation changes on the map? Do they: make it hard to place structures, cause pathfinding issues, allow units through unforseen pathways, block unit shots, mess with air units, or make it unclear where long range/artillary/missle units will be capable of shooting?

I believe that maps in this game must be constructed with distinct layers of perfectly flat terrain and if those layers are to be connected with eachother it must be done with clearly visible and well made ramps. If you put the game into cartographic view and look at maps like Loki, Regor VI Highlands, Abhor, Hollow, and Twin Rivers you can see they are made in this way. Because of this, these maps don't really have pathfinding issues, you have no trouble placing down your factories, you can clearly see where units can and cannot go, and you never have to worry about your units shooting into the ground. You never have to expend any effort fighting against the terrain. If you want to make some pretty mountains or whatever they must be separated from the playable area by a clear and steep edge, not blended into the map.

Norfair is not constructed in this way. It seems like the main priority is having lakes and big mountains that look nice and realistic and then having them gradually blend into the playable area of the map. That means there are no distinct layers of flat space on the map. Everything is some gradual slope that is leading into a giant mountain or a giant hole. This inevitably causes issues with gameplay. I'm sure you spent countless hours working on the terrain and trying to optimize it for gameplay, but it just isn't possible. The terrain must be in clear layers, that is just a reality of creating maps for this game. It isn't meant to be a work of art or realistic depiction of the world, it is just a game board.

I rate Norfair 5/10 in this category. Map not constructed as layers. Far too many elevation changes in the playable area of the map. A few places where units can sneak through that are unintentional or unclear. But despite these things the map is still pretty playable.

Textures Do the textures on the map clearly communicate useful information such as elevation changes, buildable/passable terrain, reclaim locations, and any other useful gameplay information?

I rate Norfair 6/10 in this category. It is not super clear where ramps are located and what terrain is passable or not, but it could be a lot worse. Patches of reclaim are not marked with textures. The reclaim overlay can help to locate mass reclaim, but I still think maps should mark it with a texture. Tree groups can usually not be seen with the reclaim overlay so they definitely need to be marked, but this is not relevant to Norfair as it has very few tree groups.

Some diagrams I made in mspaint:
https://imgur.com/zTf76vT
https://imgur.com/rWaCBet

Re: Norfair Feedback Thread

PostPosted: 12 Dec 2018, 11:25
by Platinumizer
I didn't like the map before, but with the texture changes it looks really nice now, except for that hideious red water, that just kills my eyes, and it's so intense that you just can't look away. would it be blue or green, while also not being that intense, map would be 10/10

Re: Norfair Feedback Thread

PostPosted: 12 Dec 2018, 11:35
by Farmsletje
Just play on low settings so it looks like some deformed blue colour kappa

Re: Norfair Feedback Thread

PostPosted: 13 Dec 2018, 02:52
by Morax
Thomas, that was f'ing perfect, man. Thank you for your detailed feedback and will address as many issues as I can!

With that said, I do not believe I will ever attempt to make a "lava" map again, as the colors and capability of the egine is just.... it's just not there. My intention was to make the "red water" do damage should a unit touch it, but the look and feel is just blah, so it will go away I suppose.

Again, thanks to everyone who replied, especially Thomas.

Re: Norfair Feedback Thread

PostPosted: 14 Dec 2018, 13:28
by Anihilnine
What Thomas says makes a lot of sense to me. At the end of the day it can all be summarized as "simplify". We are too busy playing the game, we dont want to spend Any time deciphering the map.

I still think Norfair is ok. Just simplify the shit out of it. Keep the important landscape features and ditch the rest.

I dont think Loki is easy to understand. I get the map after some study, but i dont think its a goto example of how maps should be

Re: Norfair Feedback Thread

PostPosted: 14 Dec 2018, 15:46
by Morax
Yeah, so just a little history on Norfair:

About two years ago people were saying things like "ozonex editor is still years away and won't be worthwhile. " I didn't know him before, and honestly why bother when the editor was in the state it was?

On the FaF slack channel I asked a question about terrain manipulation, and ozonex told me about a new release that simplifies the process I wanted to complete.

Not long after, I started to play around with his editor a bit, and I think seeing what I could produce as a result motivated him and I to push things to the boundary. Over the next year I kept making tests where I played with different image formats for terrain height maps, and seeing how it imports into his editor; further, how his editor-made maps look in the actual game. You must remember that his tool uses the unity engine and kind of uses a mask to pretend its the Supp Comm one. You get a lot nicer looking picture in the editor than what's in the game...

So, after a long while of testing things, ozonex found a nice set of things to improve through this map. Norfair is an "R&D" piece, if you will, and it just happen to be something that can also be playable.

In time, I will definitely fix these issues and simplify. I wanted to see how far I can push the engine, and going forward maps like "Frithen" with a more flat and obvious gameplay area will be the standard.

I really do appreciate the feedback and hope to hear more. You guys help a lot!