by JPolito | November 12, 2010 | 4685 characters
As one of the contest judges in 2009, I recall playing this level in an early stage of its development. Maps had to be submitted by a certain date in order to not be disqualified from the contest, but mappers could make further changes to the level after judging had been done. Significant changes were made to the level by Naigel after we had already judged it. If I were able to judge the map based on what it is now, it would have won first place in the contest despite a few obvious problems in its gameplay.
In the cliché plot of the map, players enter a research facility in order to gain access to a computer that holds some random bit of information which is needed to save the world. Players have to keep an eye on two different bunkers, their initial primary goal being to protect a 'supercomputer' that is suspended in the center of a room on a railway.
If players manage to protect the supercomputer from destruction in Bunker 3, it will move to Bunker 2 where it again must be protected from invading alien forces. And at this point, if anyone miraculously manages to figure out what is going on and the supercomputer is protected from destruction, it will move from Bunker 2 to Bunker 1 on a train track where players must protect it from creatures that lurk within the depths of the research facility. Of course, in Bunker 1 players have to protect the supercomputer from alien attacks again, but the map ends after players succeed.
Overall, Man's Answer is a perfect example of a 'loseable defense map', a rare style of gameplay which was never quite successful in the way that it should have been in the Sven Co-op community. There are significant issues that plague this mapping style that this map does not seem to have overcome, however.
First, while map objectives are given through occasional bits of voice acting from what sounds like a member of the Mexican Armed Forces, they are never stated again elsewhere. Players should be constantly updated on their objectives via game_text entities (or through some other more ingenious way) if confusion is ever going to be kept at a minimum.
Second, directions telling players where they need to go and what they need to do once they arrive are virtually nonexistent. While the voice acting is nice and refreshing (as there are essentially no other maps that use it), it doesn't actually succeed in telling anyone where to go. Telling players to 'protect the supercomputer' doesn't actually tell them that they need to split into two groups and rush off to Bunker 3 AND to the door outside of the bunker in order to stop aliens from destroying the supercomputer from both sides.
Third, if there's going to be a time limit before an objective is complete, players need to know why and how long it's going to take. Most of us had no idea that anything was being 'uploaded' to the supercomputer while we were protecting it in one of the bunkers. A time limit or upload status bar should have been shown somewhere so that players would wait until they complete the objective and not lose interest in the map. This is what makes a defense map different from a horde map. It's probably a good idea not to screw it up if you want anyone to take your map seriously.
Fourth, if you're making an extremely complex defense map, you need to get people to test it. This rule applies for any map, but ESPECIALLY defense maps. If the map had been thoroughly tested before submission, I'm sure it would have been obvious that the gameplay was far too confusing for it to be left the way it was for release.
Besides the gameplay problems, if you and several players can figure out what the hell is going on you'll love this map. The architecture is beautiful and the layout and plot sequence are really nicely thought out. Fantastic work, Naigel. I just wish you would come back and fix these problems.
- It's the best idea for a loseable defense map I've ever seen
- It's the first map I've ever seen with voice acting (all modern games have this, so why shouldn't SvenCoop?)
- The architecture is top-notch
- Players have to defend an object that moves to different locations of the map
- Objectives aren't given to the players
- There are no directions given to players, so no one knows where the hell they need to go
- It's impossible to tell how long it's going to take before an objective is complete
- The map was obviously not tested by a large group of players before release
Review originally from *