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The Chief Engineer's Thoughts: Encouraging Modification.
#1
I wanted to share my thoughts on map design from the perspective of emergent modifications and how you could encourage that with map design. To start, I think I am the most experienced builder on the station since I usually just do my various construction gimmicks or try new ones so I have gathered quite a few thoughts on the matter along the years. This is by no means a demand or anything, but something to discuss since I feel like some of the richest experiences in SS13 come from extensive station modification and the events that come from them.

To start, what makes a good area for modification?

[Image: PpNwV23.png]

For me, the best area has to be Cog1's public market. The area is versatile and easily modified because of regular walls, the TV being removable and the absence of other unremovable objects, and my personal favorite the blastdoor with button. It's also all indoors so there is no gambe with atmos working. Being situated on the main thoroughfare of the station also means that it is easily found and will be seen by passer-by's thus increasing the chances of people joining in. The most obvious example of this is the Rage Cage of course, but I've used the public market area and the EVA for many other gimmicks such as the EVA shop, life insurance sales with cloner and various other minor one offs.

One thing to bear in mind is that it's not enough that it's large when it's on a main thoroughfare, it has to be non-intrusive to the flow of traffic or it's almost guaranteed that some nerd will get pissed and make it his mission to fuck with you. The Cog1 public market somehow hits all the sweet spots for encouraging these to develop in addition to Cog1 offering other good building spots as well.

I don't think there are any other as good as that is, but the majority are okay, but suffer from one or multiple draw backs.

What makes a mediocre area for modification?

Otherwise good, large areas usually suffer from one of three drawbacks: they require breaching, venting or pressurization, they are isolated and away from the main thoroughfares, or they have unremovable machinery. Chapels would be a great place to build and I sometimes still do, but Cog1's is quite alone in the north east sector of the station where there isn't much traffic and it's hard to get people to come there even if you keep yelling on the radios and Cog2's and Oshan's both have unremovable pews which prevent larger modifications

The escape areas and various nooks of space various maps of Cog2 would make good areas too, but when you're dealing with repressurization it's always a gamble if it will pressurize. I know I and others who don't have anything constructive to add have complained about atmos enough so I won't go further into it, but I will mention that it is a seriuos consideriation when I build something that involes those things. I think the fish tanks for example are a cool example of replacing space tiles, no problem with vacuum and they're easily modified. In addition to that Cog1's and Oshan's escapes are off the main hallway and people rarely walk by so again hard to get people to engage.

The third annoyance is the various vendmatics that you can't remove without tipping them over with a monkey and the other various consoles, mail & disposal chutes and such that cannot be removed. I understand why they can't be removed, but I feel like this is something that could be taken into account in the design with their placement. It's not a major issue, but just annoying.

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I dunno, I'm pretty much just rambling. Just thought I'd share my thoughts on this and bring it to mind for designers. I feel like every station should have one area like Cog1's public market, but most other larger areas are diminished by one of the three problems. With everything said I have to mention that I love Cog2 and Oshan too, I just feel like they don't have as suitable areas for building as cog1. Thanks for reading.
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#2
interesting read, i agree that every map needs an "events" hub specifically designed for players taking it over to do whatever they want
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#3
This is all good map design philosophy.
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#4
I've always wanted to incorporate a kind of "Under Construction" room that's not quite finished being furnished but has a lot of materials and tools lying around for this reason
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#5
somebody mentioned in another thread (the what makes a station good thread?) that a station should have a storage room with spare building materials such as stacks of rods, tiles, glass, steel, etc. so i've taken that to heart and made certain there's enough spare building materials so players can build stuff with ease.

i liked the idea of an events-centric room so i made one close to a main artery on my map:

[Image: Ub9IU3f.png]

trying to stick to your principles - no permanent fixtures, a little side room with a door that can be controlled, and enough room to do whatever thing it is you wanna do. plus you have exposure to the hallway and windows that give people a view of what you're up to.
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#6
(04-26-2019, 04:07 PM)Frank_Stein Wrote: I've always wanted to incorporate a kind of "Under Construction" room that's not quite finished being furnished but has a lot of materials and tools lying around for this reason

It's a good idea and I think there's a few places where this has been the intent i.e the warehouse next to QM. Unfortunately, it and most others still suffer for the location issue, people only really go on that side if they need something specific from the area. They also usually have unremovable machinery that prevent larger modification.

In addition to that, I've found that usually the material amounts are a bit lacking unless you go and gather most of the mats around the station. The Rage Cage takes 2 full stacks of reinforced glass and a stack of rods and that is quite a small modification. You can of course gather quite a few mats from around the station, but that all cuts into the building time which cuts into the time you get to see it in action, which is usually pretty short anyways on larger builds. Again for an example, I can usually throw the Rage Cage up in about 20 minutes if I'm CE and get going straight from round start with no distractions, it takes about 10 minutes longer if I do it as a staff assistant having to gather mats, weld down walls etc.

(04-26-2019, 04:35 PM)twoski Wrote: somebody mentioned in another thread (the what makes a station good thread?) that a station should have a storage room with spare building materials such as stacks of rods, tiles, glass, steel, etc. so i've taken that to heart and made certain there's enough spare building materials so players can build stuff with ease.

i liked the idea of an events-centric room so i made one close to a main artery on my map:

[Image: Ub9IU3f.png]

trying to stick to your principles - no permanent fixtures, a little side room with a door that can be controlled, and enough room to do whatever thing it is you wanna do. plus you have exposure to the hallway and windows that give people a view of what you're up to.

That looks very good in my opinion! Seems to me like the ideal size for something like this, if it gets too large it can feel a bit empty, and the visibility of it is great. I like the little stage especially, little details like that offer some inspiration for a build, like you could make that a karaoke bar or an auction house pretty easily!  Keep up the good work!

I went into the materials in my last post so I won't go into it further here except for maybe suggesting that the amount of mats in Cog1's engineering storage room seems like a pretty ideal building mat room stock.
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