[RMMV] [RMVX ACE] OKAY, LET'S HAVE THIS DISCUSSION: SAMPLE MAPS

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Okay, this entire thread is apologetics (that is the correct term I believe) for the shame free, carefree, guilt-free use of sample maps in your game. If that very sentence makes you convulse with paroxysms of fury...probably don't bother reading on.

All references to WYWY below refer only to the FIRST HALF of the game, not to the game Doge completed, which is why I am using "I" and "my" and not "we" and "our".

Watching a stream of the first half of a game I am very proud of, I heard it said that the sample maps were not allowed in that event. I was totally baffled by this attitude and outlook. I completely do not understand the stigma against the use of sample maps and furthermore the idea that it would not be allowed. Maybe this is because I am coming from the mindset of someone who has been doing gam mak for 500 THOUSAND YEARS but I just do not get it. The fact that I used sample maps does not detract from the hundreds of hours and actual literal sleepless nights I spent on my game's writing, events, battles and every other fucking aspect.

If this arises purely from people who are sick of sample maps because they've seen them a lot in a bunch of newb's games and are just plain tired of seeing them, that I can at least understand. "Familiarity breeds contempt" someone around here used to be fond of saying.

If the point is that people associate sample maps with newb trash or whatever because of above, then people need to let go of that fallacious association. Just because you often find sample maps in games into which inadequate effort was put does not mean that all games with sample maps are trash. Sample Maps != No Effort

If people think that using sample maps is inherently lazy...FUCK THAT NOISE.

Let me clarify: I am not new. As previously mentioned, I've been doing this since I would guess 2001. I have made easily two thousand maps across RPG Makers 2000, 2003, VX, and Ace and that was enough map making for me to learn something*. I guarantee you that the number of UNUSED maps for unreleased projects I've made outnumbers the total maps many of you have made. I am sure I had made my first hundred maps before some of you were even born.

*The thing I learned is that what I like about using RPG Maker is not making maps. What I like is writing characters, building worlds, writing stories, designing systems, balancing battles, and designing soundtracks and ambient sound effects. Making maps is a chore I have endured in the past to do the things I like in other engines. I fucking refuse to be shamed or excluded for using a tool (sample maps) that allows me to focus on the aspects of my HOBBY (RPG Maker) that I actually like. Fam, I understand many of you are super proud of your elite mapping skills, but it's called RPG Maker, not MAP MAKER.

Now, as the products of mine that are planned to be commercial progress, I will be very careful about the use of (and display in marketing of) sample maps, but those are games I will eventually want people to pay me money for, so I don't consider my "this is a hobby and I'll focus on whatever part of it I want" argument to be as applicable. Paying customers are entitled to maps that did not come with RPG Maker. But the majority of my stuff, the stuff I do for free? See the above paragraphs.

Finally, y'know, in some very specific cases choosing to use sample maps can be an actual artistic decision:

(This is in parentheses because it is a SIDE NOTE so if you need to respond to this part, please RESPOND BY PM. In the case of When You Were Young it was absolutely a deliberate artistic decision to use (modified) sample maps, like it was a deliberate decision to use as-much-as-possible-unaltered actors, skills, and so on. If I wasn't deliberately aiming for this, aside from using sample maps, I would never have done any of the following:

* Have a protagonist in my game named Ralph.
* Have a protagonist in my game named Ulrika.
* Have a protagonist in my game named Elmer.
* Have healing items with names as blandly generic as "Potion" and "Hi-Potion".
* Include a random Norse God (Odin) shoehorned into my non-Norse pantheon as part of worldbuilding because random default Database tooltip's or items made specific mention of Odin.
* Left in item and school tooltips that were incomprehensible Engrish or otherwise useless.
* Made an effort to use the weapons, armor, skills and items in the default database as-is, only changing them when absolutely necessary for game balance.
* Have a character named NOAH and another character named NOEL, names which are easily confused.
* And so on...

Long story short the entire theme of the game was similar to the theme of this event that I missed by four years, telling a story around the very little that can be gleaned from the RTP and the default database. I cobbled together my plot from snippets of the descriptions of the default VXA characters Eric, Isabelle, and Noah. I have no idea why Squaresoft has a product called "Bravely Default" or what the fuck it even is, but being "bravely default" was my entire core design principle. Sample maps were the correct artistic choice and I stand by it.


/BUTTHURT.

If people take away only one thing from this thread I'd like it to be this:Sample Maps != Less or No Effort
this site has some strange rules, the admins decide them and i assume they arent going to change their outlook so you know. Theres games that got rejected because a tile was used 'incorrectly'

Anyway, sample maps usage doesnt really have much to do with how good it is.

I'm guessing most people think that a sample map game looks like this: https://rpgmaker.net/games/4546/

But you can tell the quality of that game from a mile away. In contrast you can have games like this: https://rpgmaker.net/games/7602/

which turns out to be a epic length RPG. I wouldn't judge a game from sample maps, but newbies use them more often so people just go with the ecological fallacy and assume all sample maps are made by newbies.
Yeah I think a sample map is about the same use as RTP, it's there to jump-start development in case you're not familiar with an aspect of development, same with leaving the stats and stuff default in the database (which I've seen even commercial games do).
InfectionFiles
the world ends in whatever my makerscore currently is
4773
Damn, you come off as a douche.

Sample maps are lazy and to think you've made more maps than the rest of us is pompous as fuck. If you've made so many unused maps then why not reuse or refit them to your current purpose? Or, I don't know, make new maps.

You're trying to fight for the fact that because you believe you've come to some standard that it's okay for you to use default stuff, namely sample maps. If you want to be taken seriously then just make some new fucking maps. Mapping is like the easiest part of RPGM.

I know you're all angry and shit about this, but damn, dude. The sample maps are there for you to learn how mapping works. If you already know everything then just do the work yourself. It is lazy.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20932
I'm not really sure if I can explain the policy of "no sample maps" very well. I don't think it's as simple as the "Sample Maps == No Effort" thought-process. If it was, one could probably argue further that using a game made entirely of RTP assesses has no effort attached to it? Yeah, that can't be the thought-process. Right?

I mean, I get where you're coming from. I hate making maps too. They are my absolute least favorite part of making a game. The temptation to just use the dungeon generator of VX Ace is really high. The only reason I end up not using it is because it's terrible, especially when the area is small.

*Edit: Well, maybe "terrible" isn't quite the right word to use. I've tweaking various passageways/rooms to the resulting dungeon, and yeah, doing that certainly saves time and energy for other things. But, yeah, having a 17x13 area with the random dungeon generator absolutely goes nowhere.
Mirak
Stand back. Artist at work. I paint with enthusiasm if not with talent.
9505
Please forgive the agressive tone of this post, stormcrow's attitude can rub off on one.

Before replying properly I'd like to echo Infection's point. If you're so fucking wise and experienced in mapping when compared to us plebeians, try using three cents of that knowledge in your projects.

-*-*-*-

Game development in rpg maker is not a collection of textboxes. Like all gamedev endeavors, people who expect their projects to be taken seriously should take into account that effort has to be given to all aspects of the game, this is, visual aspects (PRESENTATION), audio aspects, writing, gameplay mechanics. You cannot polish one, disregard or jump over another, and expect people not to notice OR linger on the part of the game where effort was skimped over, ESPECIALLY if the "judge" of the occasion, in your specific case, Liberty, is an experienced rpgmaker developer who has seen enough sample maps being used to intentionally skip part of the gamedev process not to draw a line in things they consider ok and things that aren't.

You probably would have benefited of entering a gamejam where people unfamiliar with the tired tropes and stigmas of rpg maker development would have presided over the final tally, judgement and stream of the projects, but no, you entered an rpgmaker exclusive event where the people who were going to play the games at the end were for the most part, people experienced in rpg maker. People who, despite not having being born in the same time period or having thousands of maps under their name like you, managed to avoid being called lazy because their put a few minutes of effort into creating an universe that they can truly call their own and gave it life in all aspects, writing, visual, and audio. Maybe they did not make the prettiest maps, or the most functional, but they're theirs, and they're unique, and they reflect a modicum of effort. The writing, pacing, plot twists and etcetera of your game could have been stellar, but I'm a petty, visual human, and the brilliant deep dialogue does nothing to help me forget that horrible joke game some guy made that used that exact same map.

And let's not mince words. If you're using a premade resource to fill over gaps you don't like, cannot, or want to put thought into, you're being lazy on principle. You can have reasons to justify it, but doesn't magically make it 'not lazy'. Doesn't make it WRONG to use sample maps, but if someone calls you lazy for it, well, it's a part of the game you could have put time into to individualize, but didn't. Keep that in mind. Whatever the reasons, whatever the causes, whatever justifications there might have been, effort was not put into that part of the game, and devs who have put time into that aspect, notice. The game experience was "hurt" for me, because of that seemingly innocuous thing.

Also this might be a personal thing but i dont know why people have this thing where "hobby" projects deserve less love and attention than serious ones. Idk but if I'm gonna put an artistic expression of myself out there, I'd personally tart it up until it was ready for primetime.

Tl;dr mak ur own maps lol
Frogge
I wanna marry ALL the boys!! And Donna is a meanc
18304
The reason they're not allowed for the most part is that because you cannot tell if the game is legit or not when they're there.

Yes, they're hated, but I think if you can make it seem like the game had enough effort put in it, you can get it approved, which seems to have been the case with WWWY.

However, it's also possible to just load three sample maps, plonk the character starting position in them, take screenshots and make a game page and try to pass it off as an actual game when in truth you have nothing playable.

I will say that I personally find using sample maps to be a big design flaw. WWWY had a good story for sure, but a lot of the immersion is killed when you have to traverse a world you have traversed a hundred times in ''newb'' rpg maker games. Your mapping doesn't have to be god tier, but I think it should at least be your own.

It's the same thing with people using Ralph or Eric. They work fine in games that are meant to satirize rpg maker or if they wanna use these characters for who they are. Personally I find it most annoying when a person uses Ralph as their main character but names him something completely different. We know it's Ralph, you really can't pass it off as anything else. It's the same with sample maps. We know you used the sample maps, so why should we believe that this world you created is original and yours? Using sample maps definetly does not mean no effort went into the game, but it does mean less effort went into the game.

As for your tone in this... you're coming off very aggressive. The part where you brag about having made more maps than probably any of us is just unneeded, to be completely honest. I suggest taking a deep breath, explaining yourself nicely, and not going on a big rant about why using sample maps is okay. People gave you criticism. It's fine for you to argue against this criticism, but it's rude to completely ignore it and shout that you're better than the rest of us for being in the scene longer. Take it to heart, keep it in mind in the future, and even if you still insist on using sample maps, be ready for people to complain, but tell them nicely that it's your game and that it makes your job easier.
Okay, first off - there's no rule saying that you can't use sample maps in your games, however the more of them you use the more lazy you appear as a game developer because you didn't make half of the components of the game that you are claiming is yours.

On the site we have a rule against the first few images on a game page being sample maps because they are lazy as fuck and cannot be used to represent something you are calling your game. We HAVE made exceptions in the past for games that were all sample map-only games, but the rule is there so that people don't just boot up the same maps to show 'their' game off. That said, we also allow exceptions if you edit said maps (I don't mean a few grass tiles and some events. I mean using the map base to build off).

We have the same rule against black screens with text and title/game over images counting for part of the images you need to get your game accepted because, again, lazy, but - and this is the main thing - it does not show YOUR work on the game.

Now, sure, you might go "Oh but I commissioned maps from someone, doesn't that count as lazy too?" No. That counts as 'this is custom made for my game by someone and I put thought in to asking the mapper to make a map a specific way and actually planned out the areas and look, actual parts of my game that aren't just 'heh this will do' '.

The fact you're even arguing against them being lazy is beyond silly. Because it is lazy. It's lazy as fuck.

Personally, I've never used sample maps even though I do not like mapping at all. Anyway, if I have to do mapping, I do it on my own. However, I do not care if others use sample maps.

Incidentally, I do not even know where to get those sample maps and so far I haven't seen any before, so I couldn't even identify a sample map as a sample map.

#samplemap
Frogge
However, it's also possible to just load three sample maps, plonk the character starting position in them, take screenshots and make a game page and try to pass it off as an actual game when in truth you have nothing playable.

From the mouth of the Master.

stormcrow
A bunch of I am better than you and my opinion should therefore be accepted by all of you scrubs ranting.

Most of the sample maps aren't that good and need to be edited with things like shift click mapping anyways. I have used them in unreleased projects when I played around 3 years ago. I used them as a base for my Generic Fantasy side project I work on occassionally. I used them as bases then remade them in different tilesets and styles. You know what I have never done?

Went on a rant because someone said they didn't like them or it wasn't allowed for an event. In most of the events you can't start on anything before the beginning date... So technically if we are splitting hairs the maps were made before that starting date tho... if you are going to use them I suggest heavy modification, tileset swapping, or just understand that you are going to catch flake for it.

It is almost like it is the RTP where the same could happen. In the events, you might have to make sacrifices in order to speed along the development but don't try to pass that off as brilliant. It is specifically a shortcut which means you didn't want to invest the time and effort into it.
Frogge
I wanna marry ALL the boys!! And Donna is a meanc
18304
also worth adding that the amount of time you've spent using rpg maker does not necessarily mean you're better than someone who's used it less.

there are things I've taught people who used rpg maker more than me how to do. there's thing's I've learned from people who used rpg maker less than I have. more time does not always equal more experience, skill or knowledge.
Red_Nova
The all around prick
9196
I am absolutely garbage at making maps. It's EASILY my weakest skill in game dev, and one of the big reasons why I hesitate to post in the screenshot thread. However, I suck it up and do my best anyway. I got around my problem two ways:

For Soul Sunder, I used a sample map for the central hub world, but edited it to suit my needs. I removed some buildings, added others, changed the ground tiles, and asked for help from a friend with decorations. After the touch up, only the structure of the town resembled the sample map it was based off of. Since no one has ever brought up the fact that it was a sample map, I like to think no one noticed.

Image hidden for size:



For Prayer of the Faithless, I learned pixel art in order to create sprites and tiles in order to tell my story visually. I can't match the RTP's quality with my own skills, so I decided to revamp the visual style to create a consistent look while also giving me the freedom to create scenes that can't be found in other games.

Hell, some games simply don't have maps so the devs can focus on other sides of development. Examples:
https://rpgmaker.net/games/6725/
https://rpgmaker.net/games/9075/
https://rpgmaker.net/games/8284/

They don't have mapping at all, yet no one can look at these and honestly call the devs "lazy."


TL;DR: There are ways to work around the lack of mapmaking skills that show honest effort. You may have your reasons for using sample maps, but people will have their reasons for disliking them. You have to accept that.
The way I see it is that the RTP, Sample maps, etc are there for you to learn how to use the engine and understand the ins and outs of what goes into making a game. And for starter projects, practice games, etc, I've never seen a problem with using them. If you're just starting out, the stock assets are great for learning.

But whether you should continue to use sample maps and stock assets as you gain more experience and knowledge is debatable.

*The thing I learned is that what I like about using RPG Maker is not making maps. What I like is writing characters, building worlds, writing stories, designing systems, balancing battles, and designing soundtracks and ambient sound effects. Making maps is a chore I have endured in the past to do the things I like in other engines. I fucking refuse to be shamed or excluded for using a tool (sample maps) that allows me to focus on the aspects of my HOBBY (RPG Maker) that I actually like. Fam, I understand many of you are super proud of your elite mapping skills, but it's called RPG Maker, not MAP MAKER.

And this right here is what I see too much of these days. "I'm not good at this one thing, so I don't feel like I need to learn how." The reality of gamedev, or ANYTHING programming-related, is that there's going to be parts of it that aren't fun. There's going to be parts of it that you're not good at doing at first. There's also going to be parts of it that will never be fun no matter how many times you do it. But if you're going to solo most of what you do, you're gonna have to bite the bullet and learn eventually.

Hell, four years ago, I was using rips and edits for what I considered my frontrunner projects. Now I'm making all my own assets (sans music, which I have commissioned). I didn't know the first thing about art. I wasn't immediately good at it. No one is.

I dunno. I feel like you're just holding yourself back.
Fun movie trivia: The Matrix and Dark City used a lot of the same movie sets. (Dark City came out before it)




I think there's virtue in being lazy as long as it's the sort of "smart lazy" such as using assets from a previously cancelled game or using public domain images and blurring them out for specific uses. But it's interesting that the moderation takes into account what the threshold of lazy is. Using programs like RPG Maker by itself could be considered lazy by some people (warning this post is very very outdated but reveals a mindset long ago). But people who've actually used RPGMaker (relatively) knows how much work it can still be to make a game. Since you're submitting to a platform full of people like this, the context of reusables becomes very different. If you were to submit a Unity game here on RPGMaker.net with very obvious default skyboxes and placeholders then yeah I'd imagine the bar would be lower for that.

I guess my point is, The Matrix got away with it through various circumstances (nobody saw Dark City). But that doesn't mean you always can.
I don't really have much to add to this, but I just want it known that I LOVE Dark City.

But seriously, I do kind of take umbrage with someone using the sample maps on VX, cobbling together a half-arsed story, and then selling it on steam, even it's for under a quid it's still an insult to the consumer. Using the maps as place holders until you can make your own is viable, as long as later down the line you don't decide 'fuck it I'll just use them'.

Personally, my use for the sample maps, and what I thought they were for was sort of an aid in making maps, load them, look at them, tweak them if need be and eventually learn from them to make your own maps.
Frogge
I wanna marry ALL the boys!! And Donna is a meanc
18304
Ironically enough, when movies do it, it can actually be kind of cool. It's kind of like, ''oh hey, I remember seeing this location in one other movie! Kinda cool to see it again, brings back memories''

i would however find it annoying if, say, every director starting out at hollywood shot their movies at the exact same location each time
But look how camera angles, lightning, etc ie can change the look of it. It is the same location but it doesn't always look the same because of the "edits" and tools that are used to change it.
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
29589
Frogge
i would however find it annoying if, say, every director starting out at hollywood shot their movies at the exact same location each time


*cough*Vasquez Rocks*cough*
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6138
Sample maps exist as examples to show you how to make maps. Not to be used.
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