Poll Question 208 – Does the length of a map or mod affect your recommendation?

22nd January 2011

Does the length of a map or mod affect your recommendation?

I’m one of the few players who don’t like really long mod. I lose interest too easily. I like something I can play within one or two sitting, say 3 hours maximum.

I understand why players like mods and if I didn’t run all my websites then maybe it would be different for me.

However, one thing I can’t understand is when a mod is not very long and people write review that say something like “I would have given this a better rating if it were longer”.

That suggests that they are comparing it to longer mods or at least a minimum length. If the mod is good then taht is all that should matter.

Obviously, compare a 15 minute short film to a regular 90 minute one is unfair but would you say that people shouldn’t watch the short one, just because it is short?

The exception is when the mod or map os a demo of something longer. Clearly, it’s fair to suggest people wait for the longer version if they feel that the reader would benefit from that experience.

Quality is quality and length is length, let’s not confuse them.

What do you think?

The Poll


  1. Personally, I like a really good one to be vast..I hate getting to the end, I want it to be intricate, a twisting plot, action, puzzles, comedy, tragedy…beautiful scenery, intriguing situations, scary and moody, thoughtful…..but above all, darned good fun..

    1. Duke

      ..ok, having said that, yes there are some good short mods and maps, but I’d vote it down because if it’s a good one I’d want it to last longer…I wonder what the longest good mod ever made (to date) actually is ? But maybe that’s subjective, beauty being in the eye of the beholder and all that…wouldn’t it be great if some genious out there actually made one that was longer than the original game….phew..

  2. Jan Vin

    Yes, you’re right. My opinion is that if the mod is long, it’s easy to make a mistake, because the mod is long, but if the mod is short, so it is easier to do it all awesome!

    So, I agree with you;) (sorry for English)

    1. I’m not suggesting that shorter mods are better than long ones, at least not as a general rule, but whether you rate shorter and longer mods differently.

  3. I like a good long mod! As long as it’s decently done, then the longer the better!

    1. Yes, but do you rate the shorter mods lower, just because it is shorter?

      1. Yes – I think I probably do.

  4. At first, I was going to vote No. On reflection, I voted yes.

    The length of a mod does affect my rating. It has to.
    I’m with Duke above. I like long mods for all sorts of reasons.
    The bottom line is a long mod gives me more pleasure for longer.

    The longer the (good) mod the higher my rating and the more likely I’ll give it a PF.
    A short mod has to be fantastic to get a PF from me and I’ll usually rate at PIL or PIN.

    Nowadays, I don’t rate single maps with a PF. A PIN is top whack.

  5. No, the length barely ever bothers me in the slightest
    If it’s long and it’s good, then it’s fantastic, if it’s long and crappy, then I usually try and stick it out to the end (exception being Final Project Diary which crashed consistently. This may explain my low score).

    However, I’ve played some short and sweet maps and mods in my time, which I believe for one reason or another were so brilliant I had to write a great review. Outpost 16 is a perfect example

    So in all, length does not matter, it’s what’s in that length, and my impression once I finish the mod (one way or another) that ultimately determines my score.

  6. story story story. If the mod is short or an early release of a longer mod, for me its the story. lots of times maps are posted under 25mb. I normally leave them alone, unless they sell a great story, puzzles, something other then just a kill box. for that I have day of defeat or death match.
    story is still important for long mods too. I like to feel like I am accomplishing something playing out what the maker has set for me. I can not think of a too long of a mod. but, I will say that I loved coastline to atmosphere and it took me about 6 months of off and on playing, I never loaded the cheats and felt that the story and puzzles and traps kept drawing me back to it (strider was great too). I am sorry I can not remember the name but I played one large / long mod and it was just “hey great your here”, “now go over their” and fight endless spawning opponents or monsters. I felt it had no purpose so I quite and uninstalled it.
    I do not rate via length but on fun, puzzles, combat, a balance between the two, visual and environment are also taken into consideration. I try to be fair and think what would a gamer who never played the mod / map want to know. one thing for sure, poor ratings will I post if it has bugs. I have a 3 bug rule*. then its out and nope not playing. *(game crashing bugs or unable to continue due to bug)

    1. Duke

      yeah bugs…so annoying, like getting physically stuck in some place (and you haven’t saved the game in ages) or the next map won’t load for some stupid reason (maybe just because you left a body in a doorway without blowing it to bits)…crashing game issues really annoy me too, I never know whether to blame the game or focus my discontent on my piece of junk (expensive junk) PC. That whole crashing thing really did me with a few mods that I’d really actually liked to have played (DayHard).
      Anyway, sometimes I wish I had the skill to create mods and maps..but I’m useless, wouldn’t even know where to start, so I just play and enjoy (usually).

  7. depends…

    Sebastian is a short, but beautiful.
    (insert example here) is short, but shit.

    Then there are long ones, that are really great. Minerva took up several hours during my first playthrough, I loved it though.

    And then for example Strider Mountain, that just grew massively tiring on me.

    You can’t give a definite answer, it is always an agreement on quality and length, but the argument, that a mod would deserve a better rating, if it were longer is kinda dumb if you ask me…

    1. Duke

      yeah, but if it’s a good mod, then longer has to be better ? = more enjoyment…well, that’s just me maybe…I like it all anyway..

  8. Zekiran

    I love long mods, with good action and stories.

    What I wouldn’t love, is a long mod filled with difficult or bad game play and a weak story… My *preference* for longer mods doesn’t necessarily mean I’d rate a shorter game worse, nor would my preferences mean I’d rate a long one better because it’s long. Gotta be good, to get a good rating.

    I’d have to say that many of what are my favorite mods ARE longer ones, though. A short map has to truly impress me on all levels, and give me the impression that if it were longer it’d stay true to that quality all the way – I think I rated one of the map-length uploads a personal fave for that reason, but I dont really keep track 😉

  9. The length of a map or mod is only reflected in my review if the map is REALLY long or REALLY short. For example, I disliked all of Leon’s mappacks because they dragged ON and ON and ON and, to my mind, just weren’t varied or interesting enough to warrant their huge length. Offshore had the same issue; it’s a good mod, but I won’t be playing it again any time soon.

    On the other hand, maps that are really short – like A Scanner Darkly – tend to get marked down in my reviews because they aren’t long enough to properly immerse me and get me invested in the game.

    If I had to generalize, I would probably say that anything that I can play for at least 20 minutes and which doesn’t drag on into tedium is never judged based on its length.

    1. I would agree with this sentiment. A good mod is as long and as short as it needs to be.

  10. Kasperg

    I would have given this a better rating if it were longer

    As others have mentioned, it is possible for something good to create a feeling of longing for more.
    There are a couple of ways to go about this.
    -For some people, feeling they could go on playing even more means the mod in question was fantastic.
    -For other people, the fact that they felt it was over too soon means they weren’t satisfied by what the whole setup of levels represented. A lack of narrative structure or real sense of progress is the usual cause for this.

    Longer doesn’t mean better unless it’s good. I think Ep1 had the right length but a lot of people were let down by how “‘pedestrian'” the last levels (C17) felt compared to the very first ones (Citadel). Contrary to popular belief, I think this was more of a problem than the actual length.

    From a creative point of view, I find it’s easier to get a “‘working unit'” the smaller it is. You can use the assets more carefully and in an easier to balance way. A longer mod requires a lot of different approaches to game-play and themes in order to be consistent on the long run, and in that sense has much more “‘merit'” and value than a shorter good one.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the way this affects recommendations.
    How short is too short? Should a couple of rooms in which you kill a zombie in an innovative way be a PF because they’re very detailed? Should the fact that it’s only a couple of rooms be counted against it?

  11. dougjp

    I voted “it depends’. If there were lots of maps being brought out frequently, then I wouldn’t mind short maps as much. However now there aren’t, so I prefer sitting down for a good amount of time and get immersed in the gameplay. When a map ends quickly, its a let down. So that sometimes reflects on the rating. The exception is a superb map can be any length at all! I might be disappointed its over “early’, but want to recognize “greatness” and will rate accordingly.

  12. I would never review a mod based on it’s length alone but the length of a mod does factor in when I look at the attention to detail and the game-play.

    The longer a mod plays for the more time it has to impress me but because of that I won’t feel too lenient when the mod fails to impress. I expect a higher standard for long mods compared to short mods because I feel that the developer/s should have some experience under their belt before attempting a large scale mod. If not the developer/s should start out smaller and build their way up.

    On the flip-side, a short mod that can impress me in the limited time it has to utilise deserves a good recommendation. If the mod doesn’t impress I feel more lenient because this may have been created by someone new to modding or someone trying something different and what they really need is some feedback to help improve.

    But my review of a mod really boils down to the question I ask myself when I finish playing: “Did I have fun playing this mod?”

  13. Kyouryuu

    Botolf said it better than I could:

    A good mod is as long and as short as it needs to be.

    I kind of think it’s a bit rubbish to dock a mod for being too short if everything else is awesome about it. If people can already establish an artificial boundary between “puzzle mods” and “action mods,” why do “short mods” have to compete directly with “long mods”?

    Some things are awesome in part because of how short they are. I like watching the Coyote chase the Roadrunner in 10 minute chunks. I wouldn’t pay to see it for 2 hours in a movie. That doesn’t mean I think the cartoon is inferior to animated movies. They are two different things.

  14. Grey Acumen

    It’s not so much the length that is going to determine my view of it as how well that time is used. Wasted time that has boring or repetitive or arduous parts are going to knock the score down, parts that promote the story and have good pacing are going to raise it up. Short mods are more likely to have a higher percentage of good gameplay vs tedious gameplay, but if a long mod can retain that percentage, it’s going to get rated even higher.

  15. Kasperg

    I remember another point that was brought up in a previous poll question.

    Let’s assume all maps have the same length and amount of content:
    Should a mod with four excellent maps and four average maps be rated lower than a mod that consists only of a couple of excellent maps?
    If your rating is meant to be an average, then it makes sense the more “‘perfect'” experience deserving a higher recommendation.
    If you are just adding up the numbers, the mod with 4 excellent maps already has more good inside it than the shorter 2-map mod. It would deserve a higher rating not just for being longer, but because inside that span, there’s more to see and more to do than in the shorter mod.

    So the question is, which of those are we considering for recommendations?
    The average quality or the actual amount of quality?

  16. Major Banter

    Presentation will always override length, because a well presented, well made, high-quality and above all consistent modification will have superior-than-average gameplay.

    A long mod can be an incredible mod if it’s done well.

    A short mod can be an awful mod if it’s done badly.

    Length, in my opinion, is just one facet of the master factor of my personal reviewing style; gameplay.

    And if a mod is in nothing more than dev textures, but plays incredibly well, then it’s going to score highly. End of story.

  17. I have found that if a mod is very short and innovative people tend to say, “Wow this would be great in a proper or expanded mod”.

    And then they would complain about it being too repetitive and that one map wasn’t as good as another.

    Perhaps a longer mod needs to be much better than its shorter cousins and deserves tougher judging?

    Its up to the individual, but I always remember these people create these little gems freely for the Half Life community and I’m glad they do. Bravo!
    So comment on the merits of a mod short or long.

    Mappers have more right to judge. I am just a gamer, so I cannot really comment on the tech side.

  18. Hec

    Yep I know, quality is quality, but I voted sometimes because i’m only a gamer who wants a really cool gameplay time so sometimes lenght helps a mod if has great skills in quality, and here I have to remit myself to some examples for comparisson, like CSS Hardwire mod is sooo long!, but is a delight every minute you play it!, so in this case the structure of the mod, and it’s lenght helps a lot, on the other hand, there are some mods so horrible and full of lacks in quality that is a torture to play them so long, like dopusk31, for HL1, was good because u can kill npc’s and has like a type of story line, but the long was a big pain in the zombie ass, others like Paranoia a mod for HL1 not set into HL universe, are just fine perfect quality, perfect time, but I have to accept that if a mod is good I allways want MORE! because I think i’m loving the gamepay time, but yeah defently if your mod is so bad in details and quality don’t do it as the big china’s wall, instead make it just short and try to be nice and that’s it…

  19. For me it depends on what the mod is trying to do. If I am suppose to feel something for the story, then the mod can’t really be short. I can’t imidietely commit to being sad, angry or scared. I think it’s really hard to motivate the player when the mod is short. Maybe if it’s set in the Half-Life universe and 100% true to its story.

    If there is focus on gameplay, then I am fine with a short mod. It might even favor the mod, would maybe have become too repeatitive otherwise. I dunno..

    Sometimes is my answer, it all depends what the mod is trying to do.

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