So, am I going to blog about the map competition debacle ?
Map distribution problems with iwd and ff files ?
So, what are we talking about this week ?
Simply put – maps, Maps and MAPS !
The longevity of the Call of Duty series has been partly due to the community map-makers who have got to grips with the tools released by the developers allowing custom maps to be developed. I have the greatest respect for these guys who talk about things like Radiant, caulking and prefabs. Doesn’t mean much to me but that’s why I respect them !
With the original Call of Duty, United Offensive (UO) and CoD2 all being WWII based, there are a plethora of maps out there which have centred around real life campaigns mapping exact detail for the real terrain encountered by those who fought. There are also maps which can be put into other categories such as “jump” maps, fantasy and game specific (such as sniper maps for those who wish to play rifle only). Now just how popular are these custom maps ?
Well, a quick trip to www.codutility.com shows how many maps are still available for the older CoD versions :
Call of Duty – over 500 maps listed
United Offensive – over 600 maps listed
CoD 2 – over 900 maps listed
So, for those who have never tried out something a bit “different”, well worth a look.
Hmmn, all well and good I hear you say but I’m playing the latest incarnation, Call of Duty 4. What about that ?
Well, nearly 250 maps listed there today and remember that other listing sites are available
So, just what do CoD 4 players have to look forward to ?
Well, the whole point of CoD 4 was to bring it up-to-date, hence the title Modern Warfare. We also need to remember that both the Distributor (Activision) and the Developer (Infinity Ward) are US-based. The back of the box says :
“Fight as a member of U.S. forces and British Special Ops in global hotspots to eliminate a well-armed, ruthless force of international separatists”
Hmmn, what that really boils down to is the Yanks and the Brits against some cold-war leftovers or middle-eastern type opponents (trying to stay out of anything non-PC here). So what does that really give us ? Well, the stock maps seem to either be a very gray affair and looking like run-down eastern-bloc type scenarios or we get a hot dry looking arena in sandy colours that seems to lend itself to the middle east. Ok, you say, what’s wrong with that ? That’s where modern conflicts have been – look at Kosova, Iraq etc.
Indeed, there’s nothing wrong with that at all but variety is, they say, the spice of life. The map tools seem to be spawning many maps that are just variations on these themes and whilst it is nice to ogle the fancy graphics and design I must say I am getting a little bored with the “look”. There’s also the fact that there have been other “modern” conflicts – look at the British with the Falklands and Belize and, as for the U.S. – maybe too many hotspots to mention ?
Some map-makers have brought back maps from previous Call of Duty versions but they don’t all work well with a “modern” twist. I mean does the map-maker keep the WWII look or do they modernise it ? Purists would say keep the original WWII feel but then would you really want to play that with modern style soldiers and weapons ? Many think not. Some maps have been updated so they have the same layout as an old original but buildings look modern and have a scattering of cars and even the odd ferris wheel thrown in. Maybe it’s just me but they just don’t seem right.
We’re also seeing gamers new to the Call of Duty series coming from a Counter Strike or Battlefield series background. This is bringing new map styles but again to the criticism of the older CoD community.
Personally I think that once the game has matured for a couple of years and developed it’s own hard-core community we will see some amazing maps being developed just as we have with earlier incarnations. At the moment it is suffering from many new gamers and map-makers jumping in and doing things too quickly. Many of these will not stick around as they will always move to the latest game out so there will be a weeding of out the lesser well-made maps. Thats sounds a bit patronising maybe but it’s just me in Grumpay Old Man mode. Maybe that’s why, even now, I still go back to plain vanilla Call of Duty and some of the great maps that were made for that.
Well that’s my view on the early days of maps for Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare. Next time we’ll maybe look at the mods that are available and don’t forget to post your comments here on the blog.