Map Design Advice?

Here’s a map in a project I’m working on. This is its current state, I was hoping for some input on improving it.

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You’re going to have to give more information on the purpose of the map, such as the map objective, how long you expect it to play, when thr player will start the map like in early/mid/late game and what units you’ll have by this point.
Also stating what you want to achieve in terms of atmosphere/gameplay helps too.

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Pretty much what Zmr said. Opinions on the map could be wildly different depending on how it plays. Is it a defense map where you start in the middle? A defense map where you start at the top? A defeat boss map? An escape map? A rout map? Is there a specific atmosphere you’re trying to convey, or a gimmick you want to base the map around? We don’t know unless you tell us.


I’ll need:
Objective, Player starting location, intention/theme of the map.

Currently you have some form of town square.
It is very sparse, angular, and inorganic.

Any one of those things is not bad if it is intentional, if it’s not intentional here’s how you fix them.

1.) You’ll want to reduce some of the symmetry.
You most likely want the town to feel as though people live there or moved there by choice, not because some authoritarian figure forced the houses to be a certain way.
Move the vendor and armory away from each other, they wouldn’t be next to each other unless the owners are brother’s or husband and wife. You may even want to have them on opposite corners of the map. (this could help with flow)

2.) Increase the number of houses slightly.
Make the houses a little less organized, maybe even have a house or two peeking out the side which you can’t visit cause the door isn’t onscreen.

3.) Change up the number and color of houses per a block.
what I mean by this is don’t always have two buildings 1 red 1 yellow. Diversify it a bit by having a strip of three & then one single house by itself. The color balance of roofs should feel natural. (You can always have a red house w/ its door closed and a yellow house with its door open ya’know.)

4.) Shading
Have the houses and wooden structure cast a shadow. It’s just basic attention to detail.

5.) The wooden area.
Your focal point is the wooden box in the middle of the screen, but right now it’s a bit of an oxymoron. It’s both angular and symmetric, but surprisingly not.

Scoot in the left side so the wood is 5 tiles across instead of 6. Make the 3 entry points actually parallel to each other. Alter the pattern on the back wall so it is actually symmetrical.
The right and left columns & barrels are symmetric. I like that.

Man-made things are Symmetrical
Organic things are Asymmetrical

Keep the square a square, make the nature a little more natural. (Maybe a tree or two on the right side?)

These notes are all asthetic, we can’t give gameplay/ design advice until we know more about the level.

If you want to know more about Map Design you can check out Pikmin’s thread Here
I disagree with him on a few small points, but it’s still an excellent resource to learn the fundamental concepts of level design.

The hardest thing I had to learn was making stuff asymmetrical. Also placing trees and stuff randomly. Like just look at a grass spot and place some trees without thinking, and keep doing that because it’s more natural. Once your done you can cleanup so it’s not a slog.

Honestly you can make pretty much any map work with the right enemy placement. It all depends on how much you playtest.

Just posting a map isn’t going to be very productive.

Okay here’s another pic with units shown in the preview. This chapter is the fifth one (counting the prologue). The green units and the two red units in the center box are not there when the player phase starts (they’re erased/killed in the start event). I plan on it being a survive map so far.

It’s gonna be very hard to save the villagers at the bottom.

Also the enemy placements are exactly identical which isn’t good, they need to be different so either path has it’s ups and downs.

Also 3/6 (4 if we count cleric) of your ppl are axe users and 6ebenies are sword with 8non swords. See the issue? Almost every battle you will lose the Weapon Triangle. Not to mention a cleric can’t fight, the Archer can’t fight upclose. And the las unit is a squishy pegasus against bow users who hide behind sword users who are the only units the pegasus is good against.

But yeah, it’s to symmetrical the center area is really big for seemingly no reason. The houses are too perfect and placed exactly in the corners out of the way, there is no trees, broken road parts, road is perfectly straight etc etc…

Right now going down the left side is far more attractive to the player than going down the right.

There is little to no reason to go to the right section of the map, especially if it’s a survive chapter.

The wooden box in the center will be dead space if there are no units in it.

Honestly, unless all the enemies are set to immediately agro, my PoR instincts tell me to just turtle and wait for the level to end. Aka. minimal player engagement.

So like I said in my previous post, I’d make the box a tad bit smaller, add some trees to the right side, and place one of the houses on the right about halfway down.

I’ll post it’s updated form sometime later. Thanks again for the input guys, I really appreciate it. :slight_smile:

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Well I touched up on it a bit. Also ignore the two red units in the center box and the 5 green units as they are removed the Start Event.


It looks alot better now, like alot.
So right now I’d probably run down the right side, and if it is a survive map… Turtle between the armory and trees and the checkpoint with trees.

Small notes: if you want to make the level alot harder, switching the armory and vendor would do that since being on the left side is kinda meh?

Central fort has three staircases, I feel like two can do the job and three makes it really complicated.

Main road is also really big. I like smaller maps so don’t really follow this. But you can shrink the road by two blocks and be fine, same for the bottom. Take out one row and we gucci.

Enemies are still identical on both sides, while it’s not bad it’s still not the best.

Heck yeah now we’re kickin’!

Honestly I think the sides are pretty balanced. Like if the archer on the left had an item drop (maybe a vulnerary or steel bow?) they’d be a perfect 50/50

Technically the area with the two myrmidons at the bottom would be considered dead space, but if you just have a few enemy reinforcements come from that corner midway through the chapter it would fix the issue.

This is really starting to look like a fun map.