Catching Features

Catching Features Map Design Contest - January 2008

Castles in Winter!

There is only one category for this contest, and it only has two rules. There should be a lot of freedom here for you to play with, so lets see something creative!

  • It must involve Winter. This could mean ski-o or just snow on the ground.
  • It must involve Castles. That could mean a park-o inside a castle or skiing around outside one, or sand castles on the beach, or anything.
  • There are no guidelines for the course format / length / winning time. You are free to do whatever you feel best fits your map. If can't make up your mind, make it a 25 min middle.

Congrats to the winners!

You can download and run all of the maps here: CF_MapContest08Maps.exe (12 mb)


1st: Ice Castle - Roman Brogli
It's a course in a fantasy-snow forest based on a real map. There are some open ice fields on the map drawn with the symbol for "passable lake" (bright blue area). ISSOM is used, the scale is 1:5000 with 2.5m contours.

I made some of my own trees and textures, and used a new technique to make the terrain very detailed. In addition it's a nice combination between forest sprint and city sprint.

A winter foot-O map, Ice Castle is a very smooth trip through a snowy forest followed by a quick city sprint through the castle to the finish. The custom snowy pine trees work very well with the ground texture, just running around the woods looks and feels good.

The course is fun and challenging, in part due to the fact that there are only two types features to rely on: contours and frozen ponds. But both are plentiful and accurate, so once you get the hang of what to look for the race just slips by.

The ending castle looks great and imposing from the outside, but I was a little disappointed to find that the inside was just a standard block maze with some odd texturing (the building doors are 3 people tall!). But it certainly wasn't enough to detract from the rest of the map, so a great job overall!


2nd: Seewen Ski-O - Sandro Brogli
It's a Ocad file with Ski-O tracks (the tracks I made myself). The start is in a beautiful castle and then it is a long distance course with very intressting route choices. Roads are impassable!

The lone ski-o race of the competition, this castle stands on top of a hill with ski tracks weaving in and out of the forest all around it. A great mess of tracks give lots of options for route choice, and there are enough hills in there to make things interesting on the longer legs.

A few minor visual criticisms: a couple places where trails didn't quite connect all the way, leaving some slow blank sections in the middle. And I think it would have really helped to have the larger solid-track texture on top of the smaller dashed-track texture, instead of the other way around like it is, just to make it look cleaner.

The cars and people at the road crossings added a nice touch to it though, as did the camera crews manning the start and finish areas! The ski-o tracks themselves were consistent and accurate, and the course was laid out such that there was some good route choice to be had. Overall its a good map for a ski-o format that I hope CF sees a lot more of in the future.


3rd: Windsor Castle - Janne Weckman
I used a real map of the Windsor Castle as a base map. Zoom in once, it is a sprint map. The speed is quite slow to make it more enjoyable, you have more time to make routechoices etc. You are allowed to run on the roof, where it is marked brown, and you can get onto the roof by the stairs. On the stairs you might have to jump (alt) to get higher (more realistic). You might also have to jump over other obstacles like small walls around ponds. You can run over the ice since it is winter.

A foot-O park map, the first half of the race is within the grounds of the castle - and a big castle is it at that! Lots of walls and some interior buildings make for an interesting environment.

Some nicely detailed towers are spread around the edges of the castle, which add a nice focus to the otherwise fairly plain walls. The texturing was a little rough in a few places, with some areas going in random directions or sizes. I liked the interior gardens, they added a nice touch that I think should have been used more often during the course. Outside the castle were a few legs through some snowy mixed forest, which was a good contrast to the park-O style legs at the beginning.

I think the thing that hurt this map the most, and kept it out of 2nd place, was just the 'flow' of running the course. Getting up the steep stairs was sometimes difficult and seemed tedious, and in a few places the 2d-barriers around the walls didn't quite match up to the visible walls correctly, so I had some trouble getting around a few corners. Overall I really like the idea of running up and down and inside and out of the castle walls, but I think the layout of the walls on this map might have been better suited towards a course with more time down on the ground. Still a good looking map though, with a few fine statues and buildings hidden in the middle!