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 Post subject: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:39 am 
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Hi, folks!

Here's a peek at a set of four poster maps that I plan to publish later this year, and how they fit together:

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http://www.mapsofmastery.com/swmstuff/D ... Sketch.jpg

There are a number of ways they can fit together or overlap one another, but one feature I'd like to point out is that you'll be able to rearrange them so that a complete starship is formed in the center, flanked by two station halves, instead of putting the station in the center (as shown here).

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:43 am 
Jedi Battlemaster
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will some of the walls/doors line up to be able to add on the earlier starship map to the top or bottom perhaps?

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:45 am 
Big Bad Brad
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Oh, this looks very cool, though I must admit, I don't see how they fit together anyway other than the one posted.

The one on the bottom right looks like it'll be the one for competitive play, the other three are hard to tell in rough-sketch mode.

I assume these will have terrain lines?

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:56 am 
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The_Celestial_Warrior wrote:
Oh, this looks very cool, though I must admit, I don't see how they fit together anyway other than the one posted.

The one on the bottom right looks like it'll be the one for competitive play, the other three are hard to tell in rough-sketch mode.

I assume these will have terrain lines?


The starship is just an A-symetrical one. If you put the two right hand maps on the left instead then you should see it. It will be a starship with a bit sticking out of the front if it on its' starboard side. I'm guessing that would be the command deck.

I would definitely be interested in this.


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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:25 am 
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Ruhk: Yes, actually. The cargo bay doors of the Exodus-Class Heavy Courier can line up with the station's hangar bay or any of the docking arms coming off the long edges of the posters.

The Celestial Warrior: Thanks!

If you rotate the upper-right and lower-left maps and put them in each others' place, for example, the walls and floors will line up seamlessly.

Also: If you take a map and rotate it 90 degrees, laying it over top of its neighbor, in most cases it will make an L-shaped map with map features lining up with one another. The hangar confuses that system a bit, but generally it will work.

The bottom-right map is huge-friendly where the other three are not. I'm hoping it will be deemed acceptable for tournament play, but that will be up to the powers that be. Each of the maps by itself is decidedly asymmetrical with limited access points, so balance is tricky. But take the four in combination and you should be able to set up a very balanced 4-player battle royal.

Yes, they will have the customary terrain lines. :)

Wannabemexican: You are correct about how the ship fits together. That asymmetrical piece, though, is a detachable shuttlecraft. If everything goes as planned, the posters will include two 5x7 terrain cards that fit together to make a second shuttle, which can then be placed on the other side to balance it out.

Incidentally, the larger ship itself is actually detachable as well, along the line between posters. I did that so people who have only the bottom two maps, or the top two maps, can still form complete starships. When the four maps are placed together with the ship in the middle, though, they form one large passenger liner with a landing shuttle docked on the front.

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:31 am 
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Your ability to plan the layouts of these maps to fit so many different ways amazes me. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:59 am 
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Thanks, Swinefeld!

I'll not deny that this one was a pain in the arse to plan that way, but I think it's worthwhile if it makes the maps more versatile.

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:46 am 
Jedi Battlemaster
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The two bottoms (docking and operations) look most promising of them all in terms of side balance, gambit and huge friendliness.

Would you be open to some suggestions or tweaks of the internal walls/doors if some of the 'powers that be' were to check it all over for balance/abusability?

They look great, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished awesomeness :)

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:05 am 
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Wow those look amazing and I am already mentally preparing the different possible combinations. I also second the vote for huge friendliness in all, maybe just a huge docking tube in the center of each of the top ones? Either way these look great Chris, put me down for 2 of each, at least. Hope to see more updates as you continue your art.


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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:32 am 
Moff Disra
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Ruhk wrote:
The two bottoms (docking and operations) look most promising of them all in terms of side balance, gambit and huge friendliness.
Would you be open to some suggestions or tweaks of the internal walls/doors if some of the 'powers that be' were to check it all over for balance/abusability?

Great question.


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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:58 pm 
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Ruhk wrote:
Would you be open to some suggestions or tweaks of the internal walls/doors if some of the 'powers that be' were to check it all over for balance/abusability?


I'm always open to suggestions and feedback, and if there are changes that would make the maps more friendly to competitive players I'll absolutely consider making them.

I feel I should add a disclaimer, though: With past maps I've done exactly that, and implemented the changes recommended by folks in this community. I'm still glad I did open up the process that way, but ultimately it didn't make a difference when the map list decisions were made. So if substantial layout changes are needed to make these all huge-friendly (and I imagine that's what it would take; I've already gone over them to review placement and movement options for huges, and only the lower-right quadrant seemed to work out), then I'll probably opt to keep them as they are, for the most part.

Don't get me wrong; I've had a goal of making at least one side of each poster I produce huge-friendly, and I always keep an eye on gambit and starting balance. In this case, though, other considerations might trump that--particularly with the huge-friendly issue. The four-level colony outpost planned for the back of these maps will be claustrophobic by design, to conjure the cinematic horror of the Aliens movies, but one or two of them might end up huge-friendly. If so, I'll pair those up with station maps that aren't, so that each poster (hopefully) has something to offer different play styles.

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:08 pm 
Big Bad Brad
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Mapmaker wrote:
Ruhk wrote:
Would you be open to some suggestions or tweaks of the internal walls/doors if some of the 'powers that be' were to check it all over for balance/abusability?


I'm always open to suggestions and feedback, and if there are changes that would make the maps more friendly to competitive players I'll absolutely consider making them.

I feel I should add a disclaimer, though: With past maps I've done exactly that, and implemented the changes recommended by folks in this community. I'm still glad I did open up the process that way, but ultimately it didn't make a difference when the map list decisions were made. So if substantial layout changes are needed to make these all huge-friendly (and I imagine that's what it would take; I've already gone over them to review placement and movement options for huges, and only the lower-right quadrant seemed to work out), then I'll probably opt to keep them as they are, for the most part.

Don't get me wrong; I've had a goal of making at least one side of each poster I produce huge-friendly, and I always keep an eye on gambit and starting balance. In this case, though, other considerations might trump that--particularly with the huge-friendly issue. The four-level colony outpost planned for the back of these maps will be claustrophobic by design, to conjure the cinematic horror of the Aliens movies, but one or two of them might end up huge-friendly. If so, I'll pair those up with station maps that aren't, so that each poster (hopefully) has something to offer different play styles.


Do you go straight from a sketch like this to drawing the map? Or do you do a more generic layout like the ones in the Map Forum?

The second ones I can see better and can thus analyze better than even a digital image of the actual map. Though nothing trumps actually playing on the map.

For some reason I kind of assumed (since you mentioned buying multiples) that these were both sides of two maps. Now I am even more excited for these with the colony outpost (sight unseen) on the other side.

Will these be available by Gencon? If so, do you accept servitudal labor as a form of payment? :D

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:22 pm 
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While we're on the subject, I'd particularly like to hear what people think about that issue on the lower-left map (Operations Quadrant). I realized while designing that one over a year ago that the right-hand side had easy first-round access and line of sight to gambit (while the left did not), so I added a cluster of large crates to treat as walls, forcing units to move through doors and a broken window in order to advance on gambit from that direction. Those same wall-crates, however, kill the only approach vector for huges from the right-hand side.

At the time, that wasn't an issue because third-party maps didn't need to be huge friendly anyway, and I was told that players didn't feel the need for more huge-friendly maps. The landscape has changed a bit, obviously.

So my question would be: is it worth opening up the right-hand approach to gambit to first round accessibility, if so doing allows both sides to have an approach for huges? If it would be enough to put it in contention as a tournament map, I could put a couple of forcefield doors in that hallway and make the crates low objects.

That was my solution to the same problem in the upper-left and upper-right maps, incidentally; a couple of forcefields and some broken deck plating.

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:37 pm 
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These are some of the considerations when I'm looking at a map.

It is roughly even from both sides? (if I choose the map, I'm always going to be playing from the "bad" side)
You don't need to get to gambit on the first round. Making it the second round (doors, terrian) is just fine.
Non flight huge useable. (two square wide areas are bad for huges, give them a spot to stand every 10 movement or so). (also 2 wide hallways are bad because shooters can block them off with two diplomats and shut down melee only attackers)
Protected starting areas (do I need to say more).
Limit the shooting lanes to 12 ish squares (walls not doors). 20+ squares shooting lanes makes it a tough game for the new Maul from Theed.
Also, ask the folks who are making the map decisions about the map.

This is a good start.


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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:40 pm 
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I'm of the school that, if it's a good map, it only needs to be Huge friendly on my opponents half of the map.

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:46 pm 
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The_Celestial_Warrior wrote:
Do you go straight from a sketch like this to drawing the map?

Pretty much. I take the sketch into Photoshop, scale it up to fit the 1-inch grid, and design the finished map on top of it.

I rarely make a line-art diagram of the terrain types beforehand, since I know going into it what terrain I have in mind for each square and how I'll be treating the walls, and the maps WotC provided me to illustrate generally had terrain colors drawn in with marker. If someone outside of my play group was going to do extensive playtesting of one of my maps, though, that sort of thing would be useful and I'd invest the extra time.

The_Celestial_Warrior wrote:
For some reason I kind of assumed (since you mentioned buying multiples) that these were both sides of two maps. Now I am even more excited for these with the colony outpost (sight unseen) on the other side.

Will these be available by Gencon? If so, do you accept servitudal labor as a form of payment? :D

There are sketches of two levels of the colony complex on my website's message boards in the cartography section, but I haven't drawn up the rooftop or sublevel yet.

I hope to have at least two of them published before Gen Con. If I can get all four out by then, I will. I've still got another single poster planned for release in the meantime. (Military Training Facility & <to be determined>)

I do accept unconditional servitude and labor, but not as payment. That's just creepy. ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:38 am 
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Oh man am I excited for this map. I'm amazed and so happy that you take every effort to make your maps linkable; it adds so much to their RPG value.

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:16 pm 
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Hey Chris - with a product like this, I would tell you to not worry about Restricted list issues. Maps that can combine like this, are a great product as is. I don't see how you could take this particular design, with the center being so critical to the design, but would end up in a corner of the individual maps, and turn it into a restricted skirmish map. Nor would I tell you to focus on that with this one.

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 Post subject: Re: Orbital Docking Station - Sketch phase
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:28 pm 
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Even if these maps aren't Restricted List-caliber, they'll be gorgeous like the rest of your maps, and Matt's MP3 shows that epic four-map battles help sell the product. I await this one with much excitement and will buy it even if it's not deemed extremely competitive. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:36 pm 
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Demosthenes wrote:
Even if these maps aren't Restricted List-caliber, they'll be gorgeous like the rest of your maps, and Matt's MP3 shows that epic four-map battles help sell the product. I await this one with much excitement and will buy it even if it's not deemed extremely competitive. :mrgreen:


Exactly what I was trying to say :)

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