One Per Day – Have Your Say

Today in this month’s General Chat post, Jim, he of Critical Jim fame, said “Does anyone else feel that the one map per day initiative is cluttering this site with awful maps?” and it’s certainly a valid question.

I understand that some regular users, Jason Gimba included, don’t like it and I will stop if that’s the general consensus.

I would like to explain why I’m doing and then I’ll open it up to debate. I won’t make a poll though because the numbers involved are less important that your opinions.

Events Provide Motivation

When I devised and ran the 100 Summer Days of Nostalgia event back in 2011, I needed a way to motivate myself and readers to update and review the older Half-Life maps. It was a huge success. I still can’t believe that I updated the site 100 consecutive days. A quick look at the page shows over 15,500 extra downloads and nearly a 1000 Recommendations.

It was the start of a whole series of events, including the current livestream events of Classic of the Month, The Ville Retrospective and Critical Jim.

Many of the older map and mod posts are out of date; they don’t have working download links, no review from me, no or small screenshots. I need a way to consistently update those posts. I did consider a new event but wasn’t sure if if I would have time or not.

But This Is Not An Event, Right?

My idea with starting the “one-per-day” post was to just see how long I could do it for before something got in the way. By not committing myself to an event, I could vary the game that each post was about and if I actually missed a day it wouldn’t be a big problem. I pretty pleased with myself that I have reached about 70 days non-stop.

Look At The Frontpage Though!

Yes, posting a new map or mod on the frontpage does push stuff down. But are we saying that only good maps should be on the frontpage? I hope not. As you probably have seen, I have started posting Black Mesa releases and some of those are not great. If I update a map or mod and it doesn’t get put on the frontpage nobody will know and therefore play it. I’m not purposefully choosing terrible maps.

If I continue to post one-per-day, I will ensure that the good releases get a banner and maybe something in the footer, like I have for Jim’s Aftermath.

Don’t forget the PLAY archives

The PLAY archives are a fantastic way to order and reorder ALL the releases. You can even order on multiple columns making it easy to see the good maps in chronological order. These archives are why I haven’t been too worried about the new content/updates pushing down the other content.

Let’s also not forget the Complete Timeline which is a great way to see every post in chronological order. Admittedly it doesn’t contain sortable information as that’s catered for in the PLAY archives but it is the best way to see what you have missed if you haven’t visited for a few weeks.

So What Now?

Well, you tell me what you think and I’ll make a decision. So far, only two people have expressed a dislike for the one-per-day posting but I know that doesn’t mean only two people don’t like it.

I don’t promise I will stop doing it, but I promise to carefully listen to what you have to say.

Also, if you have any ideas on how I can update the posts without putting them on the frontpage AND still get users to play them, please let me know.

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23 Comments

  1. Actually I don’t mind the one per day posting.
    I just mind the scraping of the barrel required to keep it up.

    There are a million HL2 maps out there with names like “My First Map”, hell i have hundreds of test maps if you want them.

    Probably only 10% of all maps made are playable or worth playing. I just think you need to set a level of quality that’s not going to waste anyone’s time or fill the site with useless maps that no one wants…

    1. hell i have hundreds of test maps if you want them.

      If you publicly release them, I’ll post them.

      This is a reoccurring discussion. My goal is to create a database of ALL the publicly released SP maps and mods NOT a clearing house of the best. Think of me as a dictionary. CAn you image a dictioanry that only had the cool words.

      Probably only 10% of all maps made are playable or worth playing.

      Well, I certainly enjoy more than that, but I agree that it’s a much smaller percentage.

      I just think you need to set a level of quality that’s not going to waste anyone’s time or fill the site with useless maps that no one wants…

      I totally disagree. The site has enough features to allow users to filter the best ones. The site has plenty of shitty maps, but nobody is forced to play any of them. By making them available players can choose. To be honest, I’m still surprised that after I put an AVOID IT! recommendation the release is still downloaded, played and reviewed.

  2. Quality control has become an issue at GameB, too. I disagree with quality control. Also one thing hated by someone might be liked by someone else. Not everything is hated globally. Implementing quality control will dissuade newbies in the scene from making stuff. Rather if you find that a map / mod is poorly made, why not give some feedback for improvement?

    I don’t mind the one per day thing. It’s good promotion for newcomers.

  3. bobdog

    Agreed — one person’s trash is another’s treasure. And who becomes the arbiter of taste? I think you’re doing fine Phillip, and new postings will encourage people to visit the site more often. And I know you’ve listed a couple of older maps that I’ve never played, and I thought myself a completionist. If I see quite a few folks reaming a map, I’ll skip it, but at least those authors got a shot.

  4. MajorBanter

    If it’s fullbright, it isn’t worth the bandwith.

  5. My problem is that these aren’t new additions to the site. A lot of them are really old maps that already had their moment in the spotlight from way back in 2005, but they’re being presented with the same top billing as new releases.

    I don’t know if it still exists publically, but there used to be that huge list of maps and mods that were going to be added to PP, some having reasons why they weren’t going to be added, others apparently part of a backlog. I’d much rather see those maps make their way over here than “bumping” these old ones.

    I get that given the drought of mods, that there’s not a lot of new stuff to post. But at the same time, when people do provide new stuff, it’s disappointing to see it pushed off the front page so quickly. The banner graphic helps, but it doesn’t even have a way to advance or rewind it. At the very least, new mods – like Jim’s Aftermath – should be stickied in some way.

    I don’t personally visit the front page anymore because I got tired of having to scroll through a bunch of filler. Instead, I use the 100 Most Recent Comments page.

  6. Unq

    I’ve been thinking about this too since JG’s comment a couple days ago. Yes it’s nice to have consistent posts and move toward a complete database of maps, but the front page of the site does suffer.

    I wonder if there’s a clever algorithm that could be put together to kind of filter these poor maps down the front page more quickly based on reviews. So they are at the top when first posted, but after a matter of days if the “score” is lower, they drop down faster than higher-rated maps which have better reviews.

    Kind of like a combination of average review and age. Such as:

    front page prominence (higher is better) = average rating (out of 5) / # of days since being posted

    That lets the better-reviewed maps be relatively ‘sticky’ on the front page, while ensuring that the recent ones are at the top at least to begin with. I’ll mull on this some more, I don’t think it’s too complex but might be difficult to implement in WP.

    Last note: why is the tag “Phillip says Play It” on My First Map (got a Maybe from you)?

    1. Sounds like a very interesting idea. I’ll run the concept by Jan, the coder, and see what he thinks.

      I’ve fixed the Play It/Maybe issue.

    2. I actually like that idea. It rewards good maps be keeping them at the top of the list, but also lets people know about the new maps being posted. And yes, some of the maps have been really old and others were just not well done enough to really deserve a complete play through, but remember that someone did spend their time on building a map.

    3. I think part of the problem is the fact that the front page only has a single column of content. Although the new layout is probably friendlier to a wider variety of devices, it doesn’t display a whole lot of information “above the fold,” so to speak.

      If you had a section between the banner and the first article (beneath where the Maptap/Hall of Fame/Submit bar is), you could have quick link lists like “Top Releases” or “Most Recent Releases” right there, so the user doesn’t have to use the top navigation bar, like the way Interlopers does it on the front page with the Spotlight / Recent Tutorials.

  7. Just wanna throw in that I am fine with whatever decision you make.

  8. I don’t disapprove of the influx of bad maps, but I’ll admit I rarely play anything with even a single “Avoid it” post. I will read the reviews though.

  9. Zekiran

    I don’t mind the maps – most of them I’ve never seen anyway since I wasn’t necessarily on the site years ago when many were released.

    One thing to remember too is that many of these older, and admittedly crappy, maps are kind of a look through a portfolio. While some artists believe that they should only ever showcase ‘good’ maps for their public works, I disagree. I want to know where they went, before they got to where they are.

    Even truly bad maps have the aspect of others being able to learn from the mistakes made on them.

    I would avoid posting *actually unplayable* maps – things which are so badly optimized or have such broken mechanics or map portions that they aren’t really more than a few lines of code thrown together. But anything that shows some kind of ability – scripting, enemy placement, area design – I think should still be included.

    I also don’t mind the maps that have been released before, I check their release dates anyway, and read the older comments before proceeding. I’ve avoided one or two, but overall even a half-assed map is something more than *not* another map.

  10. I like the idea of a new map every day. The site would get boring very quickly if only Phillip’s Personal Favourites maps were posted.
    and yes Phillip,, I too play each map regardless of your rating,, 😉

  11. i wouldnt mind any map if i could use “maptap” to quickly load them .. however heres my problem … i have my steam common folder in my “D” drive which is a mechanical sata drive as my ssd is only 128gb and i didnt want to fill the ssd up too quick
    however when i try to install maptap it wont work …. is there a way to install maptap when half life is installed in another directory apart from “c” drive ?
    any help ?

    1. Unq

      This definitely works. I have MapTap installed on my C drive, Steam on my D drive, and Half-Life on my E drive which is an SSD. And it all works fine.

  12. Hec

    Well I have to say something because I think I’m definitely a constant user of the site and play the maps in it available.

    And my whole feeling with the one per day, is that I’m just overwhelmed!!! I mean, some months before this constant uploading of maps started. I still was able to have a fine pace playing all the maps that were new releases back then in PP. I was up to date with the releases (playing and review them) just fine, now I just simply can’t.

    Now I just can’t keep the pace playing EVERYTHING that came out day by day!!! I try to play the maps I haven’t played it, but sometimes the taste of it is pretty bad and bitter. Because I expected at least many Play It Now maps, or many Play It Later and even some Maybe? maps. BUT I have a strong sensation that in the recent month of may more than the 50% of the one and single maps I’ve played are just in a bad recommendation category. Now I have to state a clear stand in here, and is: I don’t like it, because for me playing HL is just a fun and entertaining activity, and sorry but just some lousy maps make it a tedious activity. I really don’t like that.

    I’d prefer to play some medium to good maps less often than all of those low quality bad-beginner maps which are launched day by day.

    I mean if I want to take the risk and explore, I prefer to just look myself in the RTSL Database, and find out by myself which map is worthy and which is not, rather than almost forcedly play a bad map day after day!!

  13. Zekiran

    Maybe there should be only 3 maps a week, but reserve a spare day for ‘oh – and this one, which is crap’ now and then. Most of these seem to be very short maps, though, and I’ve played several in the course of an afternoon.

  14. Thanks to everybody who has commented. I’m really busy today, but promise to respond to each and every point tomorrow.

    Don’t let that stop you adding more though!

  15. Honestly, I really like having one map posted a day, though that may just be my completionist nature of “play everything”. I don’t mind 2004 maps being updated either, even if they’re not good it’s interesting to see what people made before quality standards were set by great mods. However, I know posting maps/mods takes quite a bit of time, but if something “Rogat-like” is posted (one-or-two-room maps) I think there should perhaps be something else posted.

    I also want to take the time to thank you for running this site, there are tons of great mods and maps I never would have played if you hadn’t posted them.

  16. Firstly, thanks everybody for your honest and helpful thoughts. Instead of replying to each and every comment, I have decided to create one and quote the relevant parts of the comments I feel need responses.

    Off we go…

    ParaBolt …I don’t mind the one per day thing. It’s good promotion for newcomers.

    The problem is that most of the crappy maps I have posted are really old, so this isn’t really relevant.

    bobdog…I think you’re doing fine Phillip, and new postings will encourage people to visit the site more often.

    Thanks. Yes, that was my hope too.

    Maki…A lot of them are really old maps that already had their moment in the spotlight from way back in 2005

    Yes, they are old, but they never got any spotlight. Posts back then were simply listings. When I started the site it was never about reviews and screenshots. I covered nearly 15 games and it was just being a database of the links to the files.

    Maki…I don’t know if it still exists publically, but there used to be that huge list of maps and mods that were going to be added to PP

    It does: Pending. There’s no guarantee that those maps are any better than the ones I am posting.

    Maki…when people do provide new stuff, it’s disappointing to see it pushed off the front page so quickly.

    You are right. I need to find a better solution. But this would be happening even if they were all new.

    Maki…The banner graphic helps, but it doesn’t even have a way to advance or rewind it.

    Fair point. I’ll look into adding control buttons to it.

    Maki…At the very least, new mods – like Jim’s Aftermath – should be stickied in some way.

    I have just created a new menu item on the grey, secondary menu called “Recent Good Releases”. Is that the sort of thing you meant?

    Unq…I wonder if there’s a clever algorithm that could be put together to kind of filter these poor maps down the front page more quickly based on reviews.

    Great idea, I’ll look into it.

    Tabe12…Just wanna throw in that I am fine with whatever decision you make.

    Thanks fr the support.

    Zekiran…I would avoid posting *actually unplayable* maps

    They would have to be working for me to play them. As long as they have at least one enemy and a weapon and/or a puzzle they fit the criteria.

    Pedro_The_Swift…yes Phillip,, I too play each map regardless of your rating

    You crazy, crazy man!

    briansthesnail…i wouldnt mind any map if i could use “maptap” to quickly load them

    For some reason, a few of the most recent ones didn’t work in MapTap – not sure why. So many things to do, so little time!

    brianthesnail… is there a way to install maptap when half life is installed in another directory apart from “c” drive ?

    One of the future updates will allow MapTap to be isntalled on any drive and for you to set each game and SOurcemods to which path you want.

    Hec…And my whole feeling with the one per day, is that I’m just overwhelmed!!

    There’s no obligation to play them! Would you be saying this if they were really good HL3 maps?

    LVMinerva… However, I know posting maps/mods takes quite a bit of time, but if something “Rogat-like” is posted (one-or-two-room maps) I think there should perhaps be something else posted.

    Sorry, but I jsut don’t have the time for that. If it were my full time job, maybe.

    LVMInerva…I also want to take the time to thank you for running this site, there are tons of great mods and maps I never would have played if you hadn’t posted them.

    Youa re most welcome, I’m glad you enjoy visiting and playing the maps.

    1. Hec

      Would you be saying this if they were really good HL3 maps?

      Absolutely, if they’re too much and came out day after day, I’ll absolutely would feel overwhelmed…

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