As of August 2004 we are rolling out a new schema for our map reviews. The schema is a sufficient departure from the previous one that we are proposing to retrofit our old reviews with the new schema - a process which, we hope, will result in scores that strike a greater balance between gameplay and visuals whilst also improving the general consistency of our scoring to date. Certain reviews, such as old versions of packs that have since been re-released, will be exempt from the change. The vaguely defined property "Overall Effect" is dispensed with, largely in favour of the more specific properties of "Conceptual Grandness" and "Story Implementation".
The New Schema
The new schema incorporates the new concept of "Conceptual Grandness" (more of which can be read about in this article), as well as putting a greater emphasis on gameplay and story to offset the visuals and sound properties.
Individual schema scores are out of ten, but this time half points will not be permitted. Since there are now ten categories, the final score takes the form of a percentage calculated by summing the individual marks. Roughly, the new schema allocates 50% of its marks for build quality, and 50% of its marks for imagination and gameplay. Scores have the same meaning as before:
10 / 100% = Near perfect9 / 90% = Exceptional8 / 80% = Good7 / 70% = Fair6 / 60% = Above average5 / 50% = Average4 / 40% = Below average3 / 30% = Poor2 / 20% = Very poor1 / 10% = Atrocious0 / 0% = Not present
BUILD (50%)Architecture: Imagination, realism and detail of structures used in the design of the level.Texturing: Use of textures in the level. Technically speaking, alignment and scaling. Choice of textures, and quality of any custom textures used.Lighting: Lighting of the level: does it look cool? Use of light colour and other effects, and sourcing of lighting (no light out of nowhere).Sound: Use of ambient sounds and event sounds to give the level atmosphere, and the quality of any custom sounds. Appropriate use of music and silence to complement the atmosphere.Technical Execution: Technical soundness of the level, i.e. no visual glitches, no random deaths or other gameplay bugs, and a good framerate.
CAST (50%)Conceptual Grandness: Scale, imagination, awe & originality of design and layout, physical foreshadowing of future areas.Story Construction: Backing story & progression via translator, subplots, and script of voice acting where applicable. Logical choice of opposition.Story Implementation: Progression of the written story via the events of the level, and performance of voice actors where applicable.Gameplay Awe: Quality of scripted sequences, originality and staging of combats. Maps that force the player to "learn by dying" will be penalised.Gameplay Balance: Balance of weapons and items to creatures, including difficulty settings. Most importantly, fun factor.
The Old Schema
Our custom map reviews previously used the following review schema; you may still see some reviews around that use it. The final score is the average of the eight listed scores. All scores are out of ten.
10 = Near perfect9 = Exceptional8 = Good7 = Fair6 = Above average5 = Average4 = Below average3 = Poor2 = Very poor1 = Atrocious0 = Not present
Architecture: Imagination and detail of structures used in the design of the level.Textures: Use of textures in the level. Technically speaking, alignment and scaling. Choice of textures, and quality of any custom textures used.Lighting: Lighting of the level: does it look cool? Use of light colour and other effects, and sourcing of lighting (no light out of nowhere).Sound: Use of ambient sounds and event sounds to give the level atmosphere, and the quality of any custom sounds. Use of music to complement the atmosphere.Story: Background story to the level, and progression of the story though the translator and events of the level (scripted and otherwise).Overall Effect: The overall effect and atmosphere created through the combination of the above five factors (a level doesn't need to be amazing in all of the above to have a good overall effect).Creatures & Items: Flow of the level by combat and item placement - sufficient weapons and ammo being key here.Technical Execution: Technical soundness of the level, i.e. no visual glitches, and a good framerate.
Our reviewers are also allowed to leave "second opinions" on others' reviews. These paragraphs appear at the bottom of the review pages, and support a score out of ten or a percentage to the nearest five - whichever matches the review format. A schema is not provided for these opinions, as they are casual in nature.