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Friday 31 July 2009

This Is It, SCMOTD

Where are the new SCMOTDs? What kind of daily program takes weeks to update? Who is responsible for this sporadic mess? Why are there so many Korean maps? When are we going to see some <maps from your favorite genre>? To answer some of these theoretically asked questions (since no one gave me feedback about the program), I redirect you to these two prior posts, which in summary say that writing SCMOTDs takes a long time and that I'm also occupied with maintaining Nova's Ark. To the grateful and curious users of the archive and readers of the SCMOTDs, I write to you its memoir.

Jointly in maintenance, the SCMOTD program was planned to last throughout summer and ending in August, culminating with added commentaries for each map. Haphazardly, I was reluctant to post the closing statement until I had finished writing all the commentaries, which has proven to be almost as time consuming as writing the SCMOTDs themselves with me being a very slow writer. Regardless, I will continue to finish commentating, but you can be sure that there will not be as many SCMOTD frequently featuring as before, because August is a holder month for the future months in which I should will be too busy to play and write. But don't be too disappointed, since you yourself would be too productively busy to play StarCraft out of summer, right?

Regarding the new commentary feature, this is where I give personal and subjective reviews that hopefully will help readers respect the effort put into these gems. As an avid egosurfer for my own maps, I know what joy it is to see one's hard work being displayed and appreciated by others—it means that all those hours fiddling in the Campaign Editor provided many more hours of fun to those who played. Since each map featured has diverse merits along with its funness requirement, I grant them one of five awards, which basically are excellence in: functionality, creativity, popularity, or longevity, and maps that are "just good" are awarded as my favorite. For those who wonder why I do not rate maps as in a 1-10 points system, it is because every map featured is indeed a good map, and having rankings assigned will make readers weigh one map over another—an unwanted competition that I avoid also by featuring a map of different genre every day.

Looking back at my time selecting and playtesting maps, it has become a learning experience since I am a fastidious UMS player—playing mostly in the Custom, Defense, Control, and RPG categories (that's why you see more of them). Because I knew the SCMOTD audience is people looking for UMS maps in general, I had to widen my scope to appeal to everyone. More than that, I wanted the readers to learn of the diversity of battle.net maps and what they have been missing, and after playing the foreign categories like Conquest, Tug, and Warrior, I indeed know what entertaining games I've been missing. Concerning the genres which have not been featured, it is either that they have no worthy specimen, or just that they are yet to be featured.

On the topic of battle.net maps, Nova's Ark is the parent of the SCMOTD program, as it being the quantity to which SCMOTD complements with quality. Currently in my hard drive there are more than 25000 maps, over 10000 of which are included in the archive and map packs. At its beginning, there was about 6000 maps, but with the gathering from numerous StarCraft fansites and several large databases, it has grown to this huge magnitude that requires a daunting amount of time to categorize and quality-check. But since the SCMOTD program had become routine with more people reading it, I focused on maintaining specific genres and series that are popular instead and answering map requests if there need be. Still, I am inquisitive about what the readers prefer: more improvement to the archive or more SCMOTD to be featured?

Closing this memoir, I'm proud to say that the SCMOTDs exceeds the number of Blizzard's own (101 in their map pack) colorful, Map of the Week program. As a grand scheme, I wish those coming to Nova's Ark to be enlightened or enthused about battle.net UMS such that they will cultivate the diversity of StarCraft maps onto its promising sequel.

Saturday 27 June 2009

Tentative SCMOTD List

Those who have been checking the SCMOTD page regularly may have noticed that I have recently been updating it slowly and sporadically. If you should know why, it's mainly because finding a map that is fun to play over and over again—the critical criterion of MOTDs—is very difficult. On average it has taken me 1 hour to write 1 MOTD—considering the time needed in discovering the right map in the myriad of crappy creations, finding a good version amongst the rigged and buggy counterparts, hosting it with enough people that aren't assholes, getting good screenshots that can hook you readers with the attention span of 7-year-olds, and finally annotating its helpful features which I think nobody really reads.... actually the real reason is that I've been lazy and watching Hong Kong flicks instead.

Anyway, I will be "AFK" for a few days despite wanting to add some more MOTDs. But disappoint not, here is a tentative list of maps that may be featured, which I will do after returning. I have not checked for a good version of each, so try whatever you can. You can download them from the location stated in the parantheses.

  • #069 2009.06.23 - Pokemon RPG (RPG >> Pokemon)
  • #070 2009.06.24 - Diplomacy (Conquest >> Diplomacy)
  • #071 2009.06.25 - Phantom BGH (Custom >> Phantom)
  • #072 2009.06.26 - Block the Snow Gate (Control >> Block the Gate)
  • #073 2009.06.27 - Sniper Bald Locks (Paintball >> Sniper)
  • #074 2009.06.28 - Splash Defense (Defence >> Splash)
  • #075 2009.06.29 - AI Lurker Defense (Defence >> Lurker)
  • #076 2009.06.30 - Falling Tiles (Game >> Arena)
  • #077 2009.07.01 - TwIlIgHt CoNtRoL (Control >> Human Individual)
  • #078 2009.07.02 - Lain Tournament (Control >> Human Tournament)
  • #079 2009.07.03 - Magic The Gathering (Madness >> MTG)
  • #080 2009.07.04 - Path Defense (Defence >> Path Defense)
  • #081 2009.07.05 - Sunk&Spore (Defence >> Combination)
  • #082 2009.07.06 - Special Forces (RPG >> Special Forces)
  • Go to the map archive to download!

If anyone wants to help with the SCMOTD program, read the SCMOTD thread and suggest some good maps to be featured. This post will manually self-destruct after I return.

Friday 24 April 2009

SCM Archive Status Report

Renaka was inactive from 13:00 UTC to 22:00 UTC for Google Webmaster verification; the long duration was due to the DNS servers lagging with the new redirects. These kinds of "maintenance" only happen once a month and was supposed to happen during U.S. night time. My apologies to those who waited to download StarCraft maps; please bookmark this database and its mirror and go to them whenever this site does not work.

Relevantly, Geocities sites will be closing permanently, and vanishing along with it will be numerous StarCraft gems that has been long lost in the dynamic battle.net and players' crashed hard drives. As opposed to map databases, which host vast numbers of unchecked-quality maps, these SC fansites host handpicked classics and proud personal works. So to preserve them, I am going to individual Geocities sites via Google, batch download the maps, and recategorize them here as before—only more speedily.

As a reminder to myself and the downloaders, I compiled the archive because of the fragmentation of battle.net maps, the lack of precise categorization in large SCUMS databases, the lack of definitive map packs, the lack of multilingualism, and the hassle of registration to download. Renaka's archive itself however, lacks user-driven capability so well implemented in other sites like Staredit.net and Nibbits.com, so please visit them if you wish to submit or review content.

Though originally intended to host and showcase only maps I created, renaka.com/pages/starcraft has come to rank higher in search results for StarCraft maps, and with great ranking comes great responsibility, so I will strive to relevantly provide the maps you collectively search for and continue to offer massive map packs for the voracious freeloaders like myself.

As always, user-creator interaction is essential to produce great products, so please, feel free to give your suggestions and I will see what can be improved with Renaka's Battle.net SCM Archive.