Interview with ESVIronManSC about his new map ESV KhaydariaThu 5th Jul 2012 - 10:04pm Category: Interview
Travis 'IronManSC' Rinker is one of the premier map makers in the Starcraft map making community. He's one of the elite few to have a map in the blizzard ladder pool, with his map ESV Ohana. Recently he finished his map ESV Khaydaria, which is his first four player map. IronMan has had great success in the past, with his map Ohana, and hopes to have the same success, if not more, with his new map, ESV Khaydaria.
I asked a IronMan about Khaydaria, aswell as some general things regarding map making.
Congratulations on finishing Khaydaria, can you please explain why you picked this name?
ESVIronManSC: Khaydaria is starcraft lore-based. The minerals that generate our income are called 'Khaydarin Crystals'. The Xel'Naga left these behind on Aiur when the Protoss chased them off, leaving clusters of them in various places. The name 'Khaydaria' merely expresses an area or zone where these crystals reside.
How did you come up with the idea of Khaydaria? The map layout and so on.
ESVIronManSC: I originally was designing Khaydaria from a 4p broodwar map, but after a few adjustments to its layout it started to take a different form. Eventually, it just turned into Antiga Shipyard (sad face). But this is where the innovation of a mapmaker comes into perspective. Knowing Antiga Shipyard's imbalances and awkwardness, I decided from then on to make it a better version of antiga that allows more flow and playability, such as having a viable 4th base to take.
So you’ve been working on Khaydaria for years?
ESVIronManSC: I spent a couple weeks making the map, but it felt like it was a year's work haha.
How extensive did you test it before you introduced it to The Korean Weekly?
ESVIronManSC: Not a whole lot to be honest. Maybe a dozen games. Most were gold-diamond level testers, and most of them just did an all-in. It's hard finding test players for new maps these days unless a tournament organizer graciously gives it some light.
Do you see any other changes being made to Khaydaria before you are satisfied with it?
ESVIronManSC: There's been a lot of talk about how the low-ground thirds are easy to drop at depending on the positions you spawn, and that the map needs to be cross-only because of this. According to the general community, this "breaks" the map and makes it a bad map. It doesn't break anything, it just means you need a little extra defense at your third. Making a map cross-spawns only is sending the message that you might as well play a 2-player map. I think it's nice to mix it up a little bit and keep people on their toes. As of right now, no necessary changes are needed at this point.
You added bridges on the final version of the map, did you get any advice from your teammates regarding this change?
ESVIronmanSC: The addition of bridges was an idea that was floating around the map team for about a week or so. I would hear "add a middle path between the high ground bases" but I wouldn't bother trying. After some games in the Korean Weekly, I felt like the paths were too limiting, so I decided to add bridges. Everyone on the team liked it and felt they made the map more dynamic and interesting, so I stuck with it.
What are the biggest differences between a two player map like Ohana, and a four player map like Khaydaria, apart from the obvious 2 spawn vs 4 spawn locations?
ESVIronManSC: A map like Ohana only has five bases per player, so for Zerg players it can be rather limiting. A map like Khaydaria obviously has way more bases for Zerg players, so I think in general zerg players like bigger maps where they can take endless amounts of bases, while Terran and Protoss will generally like smaller maps where they know their opponent is limited on attack routes and bases, so they can plan their attacks more accordingly. I consider that a minor difference though since that's more opinion and preference-based. In regards to the bigger differences, however, on a 2-spawn map, you know where everything is, but on a 4-spawn map, you can sometimes "hide" things. 4-spawn maps also allow for more diversity in proportions and gameplay (such as more attack paths, more unique base layouts etc), while 2-spawn maps are more straight forward, thus being easier to balance.
How much to you work with your ESV teammates?
ESVIronManSC: Usually every day except weekends, but it depends if we have a map to work on or not.
After your second place finish with Ohana in the TL map contest, you joined ESV, why did you make that choice?
ESVIronManSC: Consider the Yankees in Major League Baseball (I dislike them by the way). They have the most World series wins, and pay their players a ridiculous amount of money. If you wanted to have the best possible career in baseball, the Yankees were the team to hope for. In the same way, ESV, in my opinion, was always the Yankees of mapmaking, and I spent the last ten years fantasizing and dreaming of being on this map team. I was personally presented with the opportunity by ESV to join after the TLMC, and they said "you can take some time to think about it if you want" but instead I joined the team within two hours, purely because I love what it's made of and the guys that I would get to work with.
Do you get any special "perks" working for ESV than you would with other map teams?
ESVIronManSC: The chance to get a map played by Koreans in the Korean Weekly. A cool little gift/opportunity I got was being able to map stream on ESVTV.
How many maps do you have planned at the moment?
ESVIronManSC: None. Lately I drew a couple designs on paper, but they look terribad in the editor. It takes a while to create a new map.
Have you ever considered making maps for other games? WC3 for instance.
ESVIronManSC: I have no plans to make maps for any other games. StarCraft will always have my heart in mapmaking.
Do you have more fun making maps than actually playing the game?
ESVIronManSC: Often. There are times when it seems like there's just too much work that needs to be done in the editor, and so playing ladder for a little bit is just more appealing in the moment. I could devote more time to playing if I wanted to, but the editor just has too many pretty colors and tools for me to bypass most of the time.
And lastly, and shout outs you want to give?
ESVIronManSC: I would like to extend another thank you to ESV for helping me improve since the TLMC and giving me the opportunity to work with a great group of mappers. I would also like to thank all the supporters and fans who have willingly took hours out of their days to help me test my maps on battle.net. Considering how hard it is to get proper melee map testing these days, I want everyone who's been involved to know that it means more to me than you'll ever know.