Written by BrotherGreen
Welcome to the Second Edition of BrotherGreen’s Map Making Guide.
In this edition we will look at doodads and doodad placement, along with some minor notes on critters.
The Number One Thing About Doodads
There are only two words that can describe doodads and how to use them well: “Effort” and “Practicality.” If you wish to have a dazzling map, one located among the ranks of those on Blizzard’s Official Site, you’re going to need to put in effort. Blizzard mapmakers put in weeks of effort to make their maps so amazingly beyond belief. Creating the terrain and resources is only half the job; that’s why when you do not use doodads, it only looks half-done.
The biggest mistake someone new to doodads will make, is choosing one doodad for a specific terrain, putting loads of the same type on one screen-sized area, moving the screen over, choosing another, and repeating the process. Be warned, doing such will look quite bad! This is where the effort factor comes in. Try and attempt to make your doodads match the name and style of the map. In other words, if your map’s name is “Ruins of the Ancients”, we hope to see, well, ruins! Be sure to make crumbled areas, temples, statues, etc. On the other hand, if the map is named “Swamp of Despair”, you’re not going to have happy-go-lucky type doodads, are you?
Always remember to spread doodads out and to use different types! If you think long and hard about it, the most fantastic maps have very subtle doodads, whereas many new to doodads will go for big, corny, ugly, space-consuming doodads and use them in excess. A sure-fire way to ruin a map! If you have water in your map, do NOT clog it with doodads as an excuse to add more stuff on to your map. Less is more! Keep it simple and elegant. A random element here and there will make your map shine.
Some Common Mistakes
1. Placement of too many skeletons around each other.
Almost as if they were herding in a 4x4 cube-type formation, and the big one farted, and now they’re all dead. This is not how it happens! A random small skeleton here and there is what makes a map, not the giant, dead salamander in five spots surrounded by tiny ones. You get the point?
Trees are the biggest problem for many newcomers. People like to clump the exact same tree in 3-5 spots on the map, and say: “Oh, they’re forests.” Tell me, have you ever been walking along a road, with no trees anywhere to be found, and then suddenly a giant forest of identical trees appears beside you? Of course not! If you wish to have a forest, first do a few things. Start by making sure the forest consists of more than one tree, preferably all the trees allowed on that certain terrain. Also, use shrubs as well; I never came along a forest with nothing but trees and dirt. Furthermore, do not clump them together in a tight little cube! Spread them out, so units can move swiftly through them, yet still use the defensive bonus doodads allow. Lastly, if you have a forest, the rest of the map cannot be bare of any trees or shrubs! You must randomly place different trees everywhere for a sense of realism. This is where effort comes in, right along side practicality.
Not Enough Different Doodads
If you use the terrains: Dirt, Jungle, Grass, Snow, or any other basic terrain, you should have about 50 doodads to choose from. So why then are there only five different types on your map? Of course there are always exceptions to rules. In such a case, perhaps you’re attempting to symbolize something. A temple with statues around it can look nice, if it isn’t surrounded with doodads. Remember, would they have built it like that? Perhaps a road goes along and you put similar doodads along side it, with many entrance type doodads along where the road cuts off. This is acceptable, however make sure this creates and effect, without overdoing it!
Lastly, don’t be afraid to put doodads everywhere and anywhere. No, I’m not saying mass-place them; simply that you shouldn’t plan every doodads positioning, especially around bases, or even in mineral lines. Where they can and will obstruct buildings and mineral gathering! Things would not be perfect on a battlefield, so don’t make them so.
Critters, What’s The Deal?
If you and your fellow SCVs were to land on an unknown battlefield, never before inhabited, and it had trees and brush, would you expect life on the planet? Critters provide the life to your map, before the killing begins.
Just like doodads, critters are not to be over-done! Don’t bother putting them in special locations to make a fancy picture or image, as they move! I encourage using Kakurus on every map, as they can fly anywhere freely, but that’s just my opinion. Do not feel restricted because each critter has a special terrain; some look just as good on others. However, be practical, are you going to have a Scantid on an ice terrain, or a Polar Bear in the desert? Use critters in moderation, as they are the final touch on a map, and give it life. I recommend using only two types at a maximum on your map.
I hope anyone who reads this may benefit from it, even a little. I encourage anyone ranging from the newest mapmaker to the most seasoned veteran to read over these guidelines. The more information you absorb up, the better map you can make!