Poll Question 276 – Would you rather have lots of maps with low quality visuals or less maps with high quality?

25th May 2012

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

This is a question from James Partridge AKA Aazell.

He wrote to me and asked “In my experience the majority of the time it takes to put together a good map pack is spent making the maps look pretty and getting the detailing to an acceptable standard.

Given there are only so many mappers out there and most work alone, their time is finite. As a result this level of detailing leads to less maps being released as mappers feel the pressure to create high quality visuals.

So it comes down to a simple choice, the community can have lots of playable, fun, low detailed maps with basic visuals or few and far between highly detailed projects… which would you prefer?”

Time to Vote!


  1. TabMan

    I would rather play one highly detailed map than play a full mod with 50 levels.

  2. Unq

    Quality over quantity, any day of the week. That said, the experience and gameplay are more important to me than just the visuals.

  3. dougjp

    Quantity over quality, I can live with weaker graphics, as can anyone here who enjoys it when a HL1 map comes along.

    Doing nothing is far worse. THE major problem for more than a year is the lack of games to play. Its almost bad enough where I’m thinking of playing different genres that I don’t really enjoy.

  4. bobdog

    I think it depends on the game. If you present me with a bunch of low-poly maps that look like HL1, yet released for HL2, I’m not going to play it as I have higher expectations. I also don’t like to play simple maps that are just square boxes connected by corridors. My time is finite too as a player, so I would prefer to concentrate on fewer maps of higher, although not necessarily pristine, quality, as opposed to many low-quality maps.

  5. Derbler

    My favorite Half-Life 2 mod is G-String, which I would say is a ton of maps with all high-quality visuals, so if MyoHyo can do both without compromising one or the other, I think anyone can!

    1. Aazell

      She did spend 5 years building it…

  6. I’d say somewhere in between. The gameplay is the most important part, but I think there also some minimum level of detail that a map should exceed for it to be enjoyable. I don’t have particularly high standards when it comes to that, however.

    1. Herr_Alien

      I’ll second that.

      Once you go below that minimum threshold, it tends to ruin the game, perhaps because the map ends up looking … fake.
      Now thing is, this threshold is subjective. Mine is on the lower end of the spectrum, but still, I draw the line for:
      – lights with no fixtures
      – cube rooms with no details
      – using only 3-4 textures in the entire map

      A room in a map doesn’t need to have a full set of props, but still, it should convey a purpose much like a real room.

  7. I agree with the people above, the graphics are not the most important, gameplay is. However, I would say high quality graphics but fewer is better than loads of lower quality graphics. The same for gameplay, high quality gameplay but fewer maps…

  8. That’s a tough choice, considering that the more frequent maps in the given scenario, while less polished, are still fun and playable. I do really appreciate the polish in mods with visuals, and I do value quality over quantity.

    I think I would want less maps with greater visuals. Well-polished, high quality visuals can make a huge difference in my appreciation of a mod.

  9. Hec

    I allways love good loking maps, and I definitely would love to have few of them, but worthly in quality visuals terms.

    But indeed what really happens is that I think i’m somewhere in between, because I think the most of the maps i’ve played have an average medium acceptable visuals, I think only very few are crappy, I think the standard mesure is that they are set in an average grade.

    For example some MIgga maps, are just stuning in the visuals at some points, but mostly in his maps we have an ok visual grade, the last map i’ve played Station 51 by Sam Cob, is one example I can give of great quality vissuals and powerful environment-atmosphere scenario. Now I know is more difficult to find high great visual maps, than to find average, sometimes blocky maps available.

    With mods this change because it suposed that a mod has so much more time and work effort invested so the visuals are superior more often than the maps, I can name in this superior visuals some mods I own like, The Citizen, Call In, Hardwire CSS, G-String, etc…, and even in here short-medium mods often are better in visuals than longer mods, like Strider mountain or Off Shore, some parts are visualy stunning and some others are just crappy.

  10. Kyo

    I would vote quality over quantity. Visuals are the first sentence of the book – they are likely the first thing people will know about your mod. Therefore, you have to get their attention with looks, then win them over with great gameplay to back it up.

    At some subjective threshold, the importance of visuals is equal to gameplay. Lousy visuals can obscure the best route forward, lead to unclear communication with the player, and break the player’s sense of immersion and suspension of disbelief. These things, either directly or indirectly, impact gameplay in a negative way.

    In practice, great visuals and gameplay tend to go hand-in-hand when it comes to mods. If the modder put a lot of thought and effort into the graphics, chances are they were similarly thoughtful about the gameplay.

  11. SPY

    I am so glad you ask this now here Phillip, because we both have discussed this issue over and over a few years ago or so.
    Back then it seemed to me that most people like quality over quantity, but reading all comments above do show to me that it seems half way, 50/50%.

    Personally I like stunning visuals, but as mapper I know to well how much time it takes to make those. And rather prefer to play 15 maps with visuals that are 70% ok, as say play 2 maps that are so awesome that you can’t believe they where made by a custom mapper. The more maps, the more gameplay, the more fun it gives to me. Ofcourse is there a bottom to where it also stops for me, awful looking maps I too like to leave alone. But when they do look ok enough, and there are many of them in a single mod, then I will be one of the first to give them a try.

    I will follow this discussion with great interest, to see which side will “win”,
    quality of quantity. But, as I said, the maps do need to look ok, boring, empty maps without any detail are simply no fun to play, (comes to mind that one shacker mod, where they even left out some textures, so half of the maps where build out of purple/black blocked “textures”. even to this day it surprises me that still so many people thought it was fun to play that one).

    i hope my mapping skills have progressed over time, and when I may believe some then they did. With my latest mod I do try to get to a much higher standard qua quality, but still keep the map count high.

    again Phillip, thanks for this poll, I guess this is important info to all mappers and modders out there, at least those that take there work seriously.

  12. I just played “daylight” and actually this was a point that I disliked. I love detailed environments and therefore I think its much better if its detailed, I will stroll around and spend some time on thje map, just for eye candy.

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