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(Neo)

"Celebrating the release of my newest Marketplace map; Lazr!"

By NeoMc - April 2nd, 2020

Making maps for the Marketplace is no easy feat. The map was actually completely finished and ready for submission in late February, but ended up setting off a few content flags during my bug-fixing stage. Luckily, the bugs were few and quite easy to catch thanks to the extra steps I took with this product to avoid problems.

Back when I made Hangman, I didn't use functions in maps. This was an oversight I deeply regretted once I started working in functions, and overall I believe the quality of content I can produce will be a LOT higher now! I intend to continue aiming for the same level of map quality I have produced here with Lazr, and well into the future as well!

NO REDSTONE!

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Well not much redstone, and almost no command blocks! Bedrock has issues on ocassion when it comes to redstone and chunks... The only redstone system designed in this map was to handle "click detection" of the GUI, since there does not exist any infrastructure in function files to write an "If player has x item in their inventory, trigger a function and clear the item" mechanic. Writing a map entirely in functions does come with its own benefits, such as better performance and easier troubleshooting! Not to mention it is quite easier to fix typos that way (unless they are in a 30 page guidebook...)!

Moving forward, I intend to keep working in function files. It makes my life easier, and the player cannot even tell the difference between a function map and a redstone map unless they go digging through my function files! Stay out of those, I say! OUT! :3

Selling points!

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When I make maps, I like to focus on several factors: fun, compatibility, and replayability! I want to make sure that maps I design are entertaining to play, capable of supporting any number of players, and able to deliver some "cosmetic system" to reward players who play the map more frequently. While I understand the map won't be played forever, it is my job to make sure the $3 you spend on this map are dollars well spent!

I have currently experimented with three different cosmetic unlock systems at this time: soft currency purchases, experience-tied, and achievements. For those who can remember, Hangman's system was based around soft currency. You earned "money" as you play the game; eventually the amount would stack up enough to allow the player to purchase cosmetics. In Lazr, I hid the whopping 114 cosmetics behind achievements and levels!

Lazr contains two experience systems: personal exp and group exp. The game uses your score each round and the difficulty you were playing on to calculate an experience total to award each player, and the game then totals it to a "group" experience pool. The system was designed with the concept that "more players online = faster group level ups!" Personal experience is individual of course, and is used to unlock an array of cosmetics as well! Any time a player reaches an experience level that has not been reached yet, they will unlock the milestone reward!

Lazr also contains a custom achievement system that awards cosmetics based on completing tasks. Some of the tasks are designed to be earned by playing the game a ton, such as "Play FFA 10 times" or "Play 25 rounds of Party." Other achievements are tied in to setting high-scores on specific difficulties. Be sure to check the achievements book for the complete list!

The map contains a large variety of cosmetic items such as Platform styles and Laser styles. My hope is that players try to challenge themselves to finish the experience system and unlock all the rewards!

Looking back

For the next section of this post, I'm going to talk about lessons I learned from this map. I'm sure other mapmakers out there will appreciate this "food-for-thought..."

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  • Particles may be fun, but they can single-handedly slaughter a map. I found a particle engine by the name of "Snowstorm" which I used to essentially make every particle effect shown in the map. I did go a little overboard, such as spawning columns of smoke in the lobby and confetti in the plaza. The map ended up failing cert and being listed off devices under half a gig of RAM due to the particles murdering the framerate.
  • I spent a bit of extra time porting the map back and forth between Java and Bedrock using MCCToolchest. The build needed additions, and I had to get the map back into a Java format so my friend could load in and terraform. I'll be checking my map builds much closer before porting in the future.
  • Apparently function files must contain "alphanumeric characters only." I was using the subtract - symbol to denote negative offset lasers. It was quite fun having to manually change the subtract symbols to the letter "n" in all several thousand of my files (before I found a program to do it cause I lost my mind a half hour in)!
  • Spelling is not my strong suit. I may start sending in my beta testers to specifically find the spelling errors, I always make a few before the map escapes content review!
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  • I tried something INSANELY ambitious in this map. I actually designed a GUI menu system to use instead of traditional buttons. At first things were all fine and dandy, until my assigned reviewer informed me the GUI doesn't work on Touchscreen devices. I was forced to add an additional system to allow manual button selections, and I appended a setting into the menu board to toggle between the two. In the future, I don't think I will be making GUI menus anymore due to this incompatibility issue... :/

Final thoughts

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Overall, I am incredibly happy with this map! I think it contains a more "polished" experience, and plenty of laughs for you and your friends to enjoy! I actually plan to purchase a new computer with the sales from this map, since my current PC is one I designed almost a decade ago! Somehow, the thing is still chugging along fine! 0_0

This new PC is only possible thanks to all of your support! I'll be writing some more blog posts over the next few weeks to talk about all sorts of different topics! Let me know what you want to read from me next!

Cheers!
Michael - NeoMc
@NeoMcCreations on Twitter | discord.gg/neomc