The community hub for each game on Steam is an absolutely brilliant concept. It gives users a single place to find and share stuff.
I have to admit that until Black Mesa was released, I never really used a hub before. Yes, I’d seen it for Ep2 etc, but I had no interest in using it. My interests don’t really include 99.99% of the content shared on the hub, that was until Black Mesa came along.
With the release of single player maps via the workshop, I have had to start to use it.
Which brings us onto the Workshop. The workshop is the part of the hub that allows people to share and use actual new content, as opposed to images, videos and other types of content. So far, most of the content seems to be DeathMatch maps and different coloured crowbars. That of course will change and there will be maps – some good, some bad, some finished and some in progress. And here lies the dilemma!
Unlike releasing a map on a regular website, the Workshop allows users to udpate their map (or any kind of release) and the users who have subscribed automagically get the latest files. It’s a very cool feature, although I would like an easy way of knowing what has been updated.
That, however, is not the big issue. It’s the change in mentally of the authors it creates. In the past, modders made something worth playing (or should have!) before releasing it. Especially for single player which is played less often than MP maps. Now it seems that mappers are making the barest bones map, adding it to the workshop, hoping people will play it and offer feedback. They will then improve the map and hope there same people will play it and new people will join in.
As a concept it sounds fine, but it’s not.
Not many people will play and replay the very basic maps, meaning that you’ll get limited feedback. If you need feedback from just a couple of simple areas, you’ll probably never release anything good and shouldn’t bother.
Yes, feedback is important but only when you have some substantial, otherwise there’s not enough to provide feedback on.
There are plenty of maps on GameBanana that I haven’t added because they are still in beta. If after a significant period of time the map is not updated, then I can add it knowing it’s unlikely to be finished.
The Workshops means that at least for a while, the maps added, besides Jason Gimba’s Excellent Bravado, will be very early betas.
They really aren’t worth playing.
I would like to hear your thoughts on what you would like me to do. I will be checking the Workshop everyday, and I could check the releases everyday too to see if they have been updated, but as the number of maps grow that will become harder.
If a map gets updated, I can post a comment and if you are subscribed to the RSS feed for the comments you will learn about it. However, I certainly won’t be replaying them to add new screenshots or a review.
It’s actually a serious issue for the site:
Do I add the maps as they are released or do I wait a few months to see how they develop?
I need to hear your views.