You might have seen me around the map forums; I really dig TeamLiquid and the mappers that have congregated here. The best part is, as a community, our maps are getting better all the time.
But there are tales of map-makers from a magical land called Korea who somehow get maps into the GSL, the Blizzard ladder and other feats of inhuman strength. Who are these mappers? I wanted to know so I hopped in a medivac and went to find out.
thanks to monolab for the translations
Please introduce yourself.
JP: Nice to meet you, TeamLiquid! I’m Guen ho Park and my nickname is JackyPrime. I created Crevasse, Crossfire SE, and Xel’Naga Fortress for the GSL.
LSP: Hello, my name is Jong hyun Joo, and my nickname is LSPrime. I started making maps at the end of the Starcraft 2 beta. Before that, I used to create Starcraft I but I wasn’t very good at it. My favorite map is Bel’Shir Beach. A while ago it was very hot and the ocean inspired me to make the map. I put together in 3 or 4 hours but it came out really well.
WP: My name is Wonwoong Park and my nickname is Winpark on TeamLiquid and Play XP. I created Aiur Garden, Merry-go-Round, Mars City, Masada and Typhon Ruin. I really like Masada because I learned a lot from it. This year I started a masters degree and I’m really busy so I can’t make a lot of maps.
We can’t talk about maps if we don’t have a map vocabulary! What do you call these parts of a map?
- LSP: "Bon-jin" [headquarters] or "starting point."
- LSP: "Entrance of the bon-jin."
- JP: "Front yard" or "first multi." In addition, Crevasse has it in the main and in this case we call it the "back yard."
- WP: "Second multi" or "jae 2 [2nd] multi."
- JP: Usually we call it "hwang-gum [gold] multi," but we also call it gool [honey] + mineral: "goolneral." [monolab tells me you can put gool with a body part to describe a good-looking person, so this is a sassy name for a base.]
- WP: "Watchtower" or "Xel’Naga Watchtower."
LSPrime and JackyPrime, “Prime” is in your ID. Are you part of the Prime team? Do any Korean pro teams in Brood War or Starcraft 2 have map makers on them?
LSP: I belong to the clan Prime, not the team. We are not a map-making team.
JP: Prime consists of the pro gamer teams plus the clan. I belong to the clan and as far as I know other pro teams don’t have any map makers.
What is the Korean map-making community like?
WP: We ususlly use the Play XP map forums since there a lot of Starcraft 2 users there. That’s where the most maps are posted in Korea. I share techniques on IRC with members of the Prime map team and Team Galaxy that I belong to.
LSP: Most people know “intothemap” but Play XP is the big one.
JP: Play XP is the most popular community for Starcraft 2. Its map community is also well-developed. Usually when I create a map I share it on Play XP and TeamLiquid. I work with LSPrime (Lunatic Sounds), Winpark who created Aiur Garden, and use map creators [UMS] on Team LC: IUPrime, Drone, Guetelperr, and Kimnosuk to share techniques. We are also very pleased and appreciate help from you guys. :D
You might have seen the Map of the Month contest I help run on the TeamLiquid forums. Are there map competitions in the Korean communities?
LSP: In the Korean community there are just a few map makers, not as many as on TeamLiquid. It would be great if we could have a competition, but the problem is we don’t have any experts to judge it. The Korean mapping community isn’t too good right now.
JP: Currently there is no map competition in Korea. At the early stage of the Starcraft 2 beta right after the map editor was distributed, ThisIsGame had two competitions but no more. I was so sad. P.S. - MotM is quite a good map competition. Every time it features a really great map. It also helps melee map creators improve their skill. :D
What game did you make your first maps for?
WP: Initially I started making Starcraft 1 maps. When I was a student I submitted to a map contest but I didn't get any awards. + Show Spoiler [Blue War] +
JP: I have created Brood War maps since 2008, I’d like to show some of them. + Show Spoiler +
(2) Lateral Erosion
LSP: My first map was for Starcraft 1. I tried to make Warcraft III maps also, but melee maps are not popular in Korea.
I enjoy kimbop and bulgogi and kimchi pancakes. What other yummy Korean food should I try? What foods from outside Korea do you like?
LSP: Bi-bim-bab is the best [rice, veggies and fried eggs, mixed, with spicey sauce].
WP: I like the above food, also I would like to recommend bi-bim-bob and naeng-myeon [Korea cold noodle]. But it might be too hot or salty for foreign guys.
JP: Each Korean food as a very unique taste. I strongly recommend you try everything. I recommend Bo-ssam [steamed pork], Kal-bi jjim and jab-chae [Korean style chop suey] which is my favorite.
I like spaghetti pasta and sushi and udon. Actually there are a lot of great foods and as I type them it makes me hungry. :D
Do you prefer making 2, 3, or 4 spawn maps?
WP: I really like creating 3-spawn maps because it is difficult to make them balanced and find a layout.
JP: I like making 2 and 3 spawn maps. For 2 spawn it is easy to make a unique layout. For 3 spawn the layouts are very different from 2 or 4 spawn maps. I also like the 4 spawn maps but I like cross position [reflection symmetry?] maps like Metalpolis than the usual rotational maps. :D
LSP: I saw on TeamLiquid that there are many 2-spawn maps. A 3 spawn maps is very difficult to create and its so hard to find a unique layout. The 4-spawn maps have the same problem with finding a unique layout. A 2-spawn is easier to balance and has more room for experimentation.
Where do you get inspiration for maps? Brood War maps? The shape of Korea? The shape of your kitchen?!
JP: My inspiration usually comes from scenary and my imagination. :D
I don’t reference Brood War maps because its a totally different game from Starcraft 1 to 2, and also the map editor is very different.
PS - Someone said that Xel’Naga Fortress is very similar to the Razor company logo, its just a coincidence. I was quite surprised!
How do you test your maps?
JP: I ask high-ranked master league and diamond league players to test my maps. After submitting candidates to the GSL and pro gamers played on them, GomTV gave some feedback to me. I keep doing hard work to get a good balanced map based on the feedback.
LSP: I don’t have many chances to test my maps, but I usually test my maps on the weekend through the map-creator community at Play XP.
WP: Usually I test through wiith the players I personally know or in Korean server XP OB channel. Sometimes it is more interesting to watch master leaguers play than creating the map itself.
Crevasse, Jungle Basin and Aiur Garden are maps that have an expansion in the main base, which you call the back yard. What effect do you think a base like this has on map balance?
LSP: For the back yard, there is no good way to attack it with early units. So it can be a balance problem. At first, [JackyPrime’s] Crevasse was a problem this way. I suggested he widen the main choke and add destructible debris. It is better to have alternative attack routes.
WP: I think Protoss on one base without pressure has the advantage. However I think there are other factors.
JP: Additional multis in bon-jin are good for economy [macro] games. There are more chances to manage the game [offers more possible strategies?]. It allows players to fast expand and get to a huge army. And some players expect the opponent to take an additional base and be focused on economy, so he makes a strong early timing attack.
What map idea have you tried that didn’t work out? Can you show us a map you’ve made that you hate?! (We all have them) xD
JP: I have a lot of incomplete maps that I couldn’t finish. Among them there are some maps I really don’t like. + Show Spoiler +
(4) Haven ridge
(4) Haven ridge
LSP: Today I finally finished this map but it didn’t come out the way I envisioned it. I intend to create a map with a front yard (natural) like this except that it didn’t work out.
WP: I would like to say a lie that I have none.
Consider the Blizzard ladder maps (and exclude Tal’Darim Altar). Which Blizzard map has the least flaws? Which map supports the most styles of play?
JP: The least flawed maps is Xel'Naga Caverns. It is different from the usual ladder maps because the rush distance between the nats is enough. It supports a diversity from cheesy styles all the way to economy styles.
WP: Xel'Naga Caverns is the least flawed, except the gold multi in the center is the best place to have a planetary fortress and also the main ramp can be blocked by 3 pylons. The rush distance of 39 seconds serves as a standard for other maps. None of the GSL official maps allow a shorter rush distance to limit aggressive initial strategies. In the Korean community we have complaints about close positions on Lost Temple and Metalopolis (The worst ones are Slag Pits and Delta Quadrant.)
LSPrime, congratulations on having your map Tal'Darim Altar get into the Blizzard ladder pool, that is excellent! Can you tell us about how that came to be? Did Blizzard contact you to discuss the map? Or did you sign on to play one day and say, "WHAT--THAT'S MY MAP?!"
LSP: Two months ago I got a message from David Kim that they were going to put Tal’Darim Altar in the ladder, but they wanted to make some changes which I debated. We debated how many resources to have at the 2 multi (foreigners say third base), but by the game’s conventions the resources should be 8 minerals and 2 gas (I was angry they wanted to sacrifice balance for the convention).
David Kim suggested adding destructible rocks but I didn’t agree with him, because the rocks are temporary ["the rocks are temporary" is the direct translation but it doesn't seem to be the true meaning. Here's the original if someone can decipher it->].+ Show Spoiler +
David Kim이 파괴가능한 암석(Distrutible Rock)을 두자 얘기했지만 동의할 수 없었습니다. 파괴가능한 암석(Distrutible Rock)은 일시적일 뿐이니까요.
결국 자원량은 8M 2G로 조정되었고 이후 문제가 있다면 수정을 하는것으로 됬습니다.
결국 자원량은 8M 2G로 조정되었고 이후 문제가 있다면 수정을 하는것으로 됬습니다.
Eventually the base had 8 minerals and 2 gas as Blizzard wanted and they decided if they see a problem they will change it. And from the North American server I heard Protoss is too strong on Tal’Darim, but I’m not sure if Blizzard will change it.
You made a tool for a 3 player map symmetry calculator which I think is very cool! Do you use other tools like my map analyzer when you are working on a map? Do you have ideas for other tools?
WP: I don’t use anything except my 3-player calculator and the map analyzer. Actually my calculator can be very helpful at first, but when refining the terrain the map creator’s sense of balance is more important. Usually I’m using the 3-player calculator to decide the position of the starting point, the entrance of the bon-jin, and each multi and watchtower. Also, I use both of the tools when I have to do a final check on overall terrain balance. My suggestion for the map analhzer is that it didn’t work quite well detecting the footprint of doodads. [haha, been on my todo list for nearly a year now, oops.]
Here are some interesting maps to come from the foreign community. Do you have any comments about them?
LSP: Due to the multi structure [expansion layout] the middle is meaningless except in cross positions. Terran is going to have advantages in the other spawns because there are multiple attack routes.
JP: This is a very great map from first sight. I saw other maps made by funcmode and they are so awesome. The one thing I want to point out is there are two expansions nearby the nat, so I suggest he reduce the resources.
WP: It is [a nicely fitted?] 4 spawn rotational map. Other than cross-positions, the middle and watchtower are not useful. 2byung-young’s pressure [2rax pressure] is strong because the route from the front yard is too narrow and T-shaped.
WP: This map was my competitor in MotM #4. The texturing reminds me of a golf course which is really interesting. However, the terrain and resource locations (especially the location of the front yard gas makes moving out difficult, particularly at 6 o’clock and also another big problem is that it has different opportunity to be scouted from the starting point). Also, the (expansion?) lines are too narrow, the bases are overcrowded and at the same time the spawns [grouped with the nearest bases?] have much separation. Its harder to avoid empty space on the outside of a 3-spawn map but I suggest reducing the map boundaries.
JP: When we create a complicated layout at least one part can be awkward, but I couldn’t find anything like that here. However I think that some parts of the terrain give an advantage to Terran.
LSP: It reminds me of Xel'Naga Caverns. The map is so huge, it would be nice if it could be optimized. Also, the front yard’s back hill [cliff behind the nat] is crazy.
WP: Initially it really motivated me since it is 3-spawn and it has well-mixed textures. I can say its one of the cutting edge maps. However, I would like to point out that now it is imbalanced by current standards. I’d especially like to see an improvement in the width of the vertical and horizontal entrance to the bon-jin [main choke].
JP: All of these maps are good work. I learned a lot from them. :D
Finally, what would you like to say to the foreign map-making communities?
JP: Even though this has been quite a long interview I really appreciate all the foreign map creators. I will put more effort into making creative and interesting maps. :D
LSP: I hope that there are more map makers in Korea and in the world. TeamLiquid and ICCup fighting!
WP: If you are interested in the Korean Starcraft 2 map community feel free to visit the the Play XP map forums. You can see some map images even if you cannot read Korean.
Keep up with JackyPrime and LSPrime at sc2prime.com and WinPark at Team Galaxy. Also check out what the foreign map community is up to right here at the TeamLiquid Starcraft 2 map forums!