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The State of Map of the Month


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Poll: Reflections

Would you be sad to see Map of the Month end?

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Are you confident we can replace Map of the Month with something better?

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Do you think that ending Map of the Month is the right decision?

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#1 nicklegends

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 12:07 AM

You know how microwave popcorn comes with instructions that tell you to cook until you hear 1–2 seconds between pops? I feel like we've reached that point with Map of the Month. I will be stepping down from the contest and further recommending that we retire the contest altogether. I know this is a bit of a surprise, so please let me explain.

Map of the Month has been really successful over the years. Ignoring the recent drought, we only had to skip one month in the 55 months I've helped coordinate the competition, which is awesome. Thank you, everybody, for keeping the contest strong for so long. :)

That said, a few things have been bothering me for a while.
  • Maps have been harder to come by. In an ideal world, members would naturally submit maps to the contest as they complete them rather than being pushed to submit, which often ends up in incomplete maps or even entire throwaway maps created just to get the contest started on time.
  • The size of a map greatly affects its success in the contest. This may intimidate new participants from submitting their more modest work for fear of going against a 256-screen masterpiece. Other contests have natural limits (one screen, one enemy, etc.) that are more fair to entrants, in my opinion.
  • We already have two other screen-design competitions in Screenshot of the Week and Screenshot: Challenge Accepted. I feel we're oversaturated because of how much Map of the Month overlaps with these two other contests.
  • Ending Map of the Month gives us two good options: either we can focus more attention on our other contests or we can begin a brand new event catering to skills that have yet to be honored by a regular PureZC competition. Do we look at palettes? Music? Stories? Puzzles? Who knows what? But at least we'll have the chance.
The saddest thing is when something popular begins to languish and gradually fall into obscurity. I don't want that to happen to Map of the Month, which why I'd like to end it on a high note. We've sung songs; we've shared jokes; we've written poems. Things have been good! If we close this door, I believe others will open. I look forward to seeing what takes the contest's place.

Thank you to all who have supported the contest over the years—by entering, voting, and commenting—and to all the contest leaders before me: Hubydweyer, Rambly, Linkus, Joe123, and of course, Migokalle. It's been fun.
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#2 Sheik

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 04:00 PM

Thank you for your effort over all these years nicklegends, Hubydweyer, Rambly, Linkus, Joe123 and Migokalle. I believe I started entering maps back when Migokalle still ran the contest first and have participated quite a bunch of times. I always really enjoyed this particular contest and it played a big part in me getting active with Zelda Classic back then even more so than the SotW contest.


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#3 NewJourneysFire

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 09:27 AM

Now there's another one of these topics?

 

Soon we'll be seeing "The State of Zelda Classic". lol

 

It's a total shame that these contests all seemed heavily dependent on the vigor and novelty that ZC 2.50 has brought us. It's also no surprise with 2.50 becoming old news that the entire community is seemingly experiencing a small impact from it. Not trying to be hyperbolic here, but I've been noticing slight changes.

 

With that said, I feel the contests are worth continuing, and without even looking at the poll results yet I am certain that most of the responses will say "Keep it". But what's clear is that people can't show that continued interest in actual submissions like they used to.

 

S:CA and EotM is experiencing a similar thing. Perhaps soon, even SotW will start experiencing submission droughts. 

 

Because of this, I am preparing for a "less than active EotM" than I would personally find ideal, and I will be making plans to adapt to the coming lack of interest these contests are experiencing. It is clear people still want these contests, but like I said, people are not really showing it with submissions and we cannot really force them to either. 

 

I personally will continue EotM until either I am fired (perhaps the admins themselves will feel it's a wasted effort and decide to close it), or that my life circumstance changes where I can no longer continue. But where things stand now, I have no plans on quitting. I am hoping to see a similar attitude shared that can keep these contests going forward. If not, it is a shame. 


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#4 Migokalle

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 09:40 AM

I am a little biased here, however I think MotM is worth keeping around at least in some form. Back when we first started it there was a lot of discussion of ways to go about doing it, and at one point we were actually not doing it every month, but rather we would check the dropbox every now and then and when we got enough submissions we'd post it.

 

Either way, the fact that maps take longer to make than single screens was always a problem, though at the same time people are obviously still making them - just not always at the rate of which can supply a monthly contest with several submissions. If you wanted to keep MotM alive I think the best bet would be to not limit it to a contest every month, though exactly what form that would take I don't have many ideas on. I figure you could keep it as is, more or less, though another option would be to try and group it in with SotW somehow and have special contests every now and then.


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#5 Nathaniel

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 07:32 PM

I suggested in a staff topic that perhaps once per month is just too frequent for a map contest.  A map is significantly more work than a single screen (usually way more than 4 times as much work), so it shouldn't be surprising that a monthly contest for maps is harder to get enough participation for than a weekly contest for single screens.  Rebranding it with a new name to make it maybe just a few times per year, possibly even as often as the expo is intended to occur (twice a year), or mixing it in with a variety of changing contests are possibilities worth considering.  Heck, even having a quest map showing as a possible expo entry might work too.  But if you feel that it isn't worth it in any sort of capacity, it will naturally simplify down to the "show your maps" thread that already exists.


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#6 NewJourneysFire

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 09:01 PM

It doesn't need to be renamed or branded as something else, it can still be Map of the Month, but Map of the Month doesn't really need to imply "Map of Every Month". This goes back to my earlier comment, already me and Anthus has abandoned the idea that we are going to have submissions in time every single month so our deadlines have become slightly more random. Enemies take a long time to make too, so if it's necessary for people to need an extra month to push out a few enemies, then so be it. I am using a "past due reminder" approach that I feel will be useful in showing the importance of submissions by pushing home on the fact that these contests simply cannot move forward without submissions.

 

Bottom line, like I said, it can still be Map of the Month, it just doesn't need to be Map of every Month. Especially during this time of clear drought.  


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#7 Anthus

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 09:55 PM

I agree with both above things. Random two cents: I think the contest should stick around, but I feel like people just don't have as much stuff to submit. I mean, there's what, maybe 15-20 active ZC users who are actively making stuff who post on the forums? I love the idea of map of the month (says the guy that started the "official" map thread) but the volume of people who submit will inevitably ebb and flow. I wonder how many entrants submit maps from projects, versus members that submit old throwaway maps, versus members who make a map just for the contest. For what it's worth, I think the best thing to do would be just wait till you get three entries, and start the contest then, then have it up for a month. I dunno, it's tricky. I'm not suggesting that you keep running it, Ed, if you don't want to, but if someone else wanted to take up the mantel, why not? I think there's still interest, plus it has been around forever. 

 

And yeah, I had a similar problem with Dungeon of the month. I could have done some things differently, but ultimately, there just aren't that many people pumping out that much stuff in ZC at once anymore.



#8 kurt91

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 10:47 PM

You know, if there aren't enough submissions for a monthly contest, we DO have an Expo every year (in theory). Instead of doing map submissions like Nathanial said (mainly because it would be pretty disappointing to open a thread at the Expo and just see "Look at this big picture I made!"), why not make it a massive contest held for the Expo? If we end up saving up a particularly big number of maps, either do it in brackets like the annual "--- of the Year" contests, or have every day of the Expo pit two maps against each other until we have a winning map on the final day.

 

I just don't think that map submissions would be a good idea at the Expo because a good map always makes me want to have something to load in ZC and explore it myself, even if there isn't a full game attached. The Expo should be getting people riled up over what people have made, not be disappointed that there was something amazing that was just meant to look pretty and that people will never get to do anything with it.


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