How to Propose & Vote for New Map Variants

The Forum for proposing and discussing variant maps which might be nominated for addition to the site.

How to Propose & Vote for New Map Variants

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 19 Dec 2018, 17:34

How to Propose & Vote for New Map Variants

PlayDiplomacy has revised its selection and suggestion process for adding new map variants to the site. This will replace the previously defined process, described here and here.

Part 1: Proposing a New Map Variant
Any PlayDiplomacy member may post a thread to this subforum to propose a new map variant to be considered for implementation on the site.

When proposing the map, please provide the following:
  1. Variant Name
  2. Player Count
  3. Short description of the variant's geographic setting & time period
  4. Short description of the variant's rules changes
  5. Link or image of an updated version of the map
  6. Link to an updated version of the variant's complete rules
Additionally, please provide the answers to these questions:
  1. Has this variant been played via the PlayDiplomacy forums or Discord?
  2. Is this variant already supported on another Dip site? If so, which one?
  3. Where have you played or GM'd this variant before?
  4. What about this variant would distinguish it from those the site currently supports?
  5. If there are multiple disparate versions of the variant, why do you like the particular ruleset for this version?
It's worth keeping in mind that PlayDiplomacy seeks quality over quantity when it comes to new maps. Other Dip sites, like vDiplomacy, support a vast array of maps, but PlayDiplomacy seeks to provide a more selective set of options.

What value will your favored variant bring?
  • Does it provide a new player count option than what is currently supported?
  • Does it introduce game mechanics that distinguish it from more "vanilla" variants?
  • Does it cover a time period or part of the world that PlayDiplomacy currently lacks?
Not every variant will cover all of these bases, and that's OK.


Part 2: Proposal Discussion, Feedback, & Veto Criteria
Once your proposed map is posted, you and other fellow PD members will have a chance to discuss its feasibility and potential value for the site. Be open to criticism; not everyone likes the same types of Diplomacy variants.

Occasionally, a variant may get "shot down" fairly quickly by the mods. There are a number of potential reasons for such a veto. Here are a few:
  • The variant is totally untested.
  • The variant requires too many players.
  • The map is based on intellectual property that isn't in the public domain or creative commons (e.g. No Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings maps).
  • The map is difficult to render legibly into an image with a width of 900-1080 pixels (and with space for standard PlayDip unit icons).
  • The variant includes rules that would be exceedingly difficult or error-prone to program (e.g. rules like those from Vain Rats or Seismic).
  • The variant is blatantly imbalanced.
A veto isn't necessarily a permanent and binding decision. Particularly if the variant is brand new and untested, it might be worth reconsideration in the future.

Regarding the 900 pixel limit, this is due to the fact that much wider maps won't fit the current website design. If we ever redo the whole site interface, this limit may go away. Longer/taller maps are fine though (1900 is a good example).

Regarding imbalance, this is admittedly highly subjective. The mods will use the Justice Potter Stewart standard: we'll know it when we see it. Since Diplomacy is an asymmetric game, some imbalance is expected and can even be considered a positive aspect of the flavor or fun inherent to the map. One example of a variant that would be considered a bridge too far is Imperial. It is a fascinating global and historical setting, but starting SC counts range from 3-14; it's a better candidate for one-off games played on the forums or Discord instead.


Part 3: From Proposal to Nomination
PlayDiplomacy has no precise calendar for when it will implement new maps. Doing so requires a considerable amount of volunteer labor and testing. That being the case, it's up to the mods as to when to take one or more proposals from the forums and turn them into official Nominations.

Mods will consider maps that seem to best fit the criteria described above and that appear to have a good deal of interest from the player community.

Before a map is officially nominated, some preliminary assets for the variant will be created. These will be made available to players with the intent of showing a draft of how the variant may look on the site. This art should not be interpreted as final.

Part 4: Voting Time!
After selecting and preparing two nominees, the mods will present these to the players and announce that it is time to vote!

Voting will be handled via the PlayDiplomacy forums. Elections will last at least two weeks. Some votes will be open to all PlayDip members, while others will only be accessible to players with Premium status.

The result will be treated as a non-binding referendum. Elections made open to non-premium players will be scrutinized more heavily, as online polls accessible to free accounts are notorious for being easy to exploit.


Part 5: Implementation & Nitty-Gritty Rules
Diplomacy variants tend to go through a number of rules updates and variations over time. After a new map has been elected to be included on the site, players and mods will use this forum to hash out the specific details of map adjacency and rules variations.

No major changes to the game design will be made at this stage. What we'd like to see finalized are the needs for slight changes to borders, ambiguous rules interpretations, et cetera.

For example, the variant Colonial has several flaws and ambiguities in its original publication. There continue to be divided opinions about which regions should be considered adjacent to the island of Sakhalin. Colonial also provides optional rules for the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Suez Canal. Should such rules be implemented in the base game on PlayDip? If so, how will they be interpreted from a practical standpoint? Should they be enabled for all "flavors" of the variant (e.g. Age of Empires, Escalation, Fog of War, or Chaos)?

Originally, this part of the process would occur prior to nomination, but we are delaying it until after the vote to get more players involved and interested in this discussion.
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Re: How to Propose & Vote for New Map Variants

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 03 Jan 2019, 20:52

Update 03 Jan 2019:

I've added a stipulation to the "veto" section about map pixel width, since the current site design won't play nicely with very wide maps.
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Re: How to Propose & Vote for New Map Variants

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 08 Jan 2019, 19:38

Update 08 Jan 2019:

I have posted a proposal for a variant to be included on the site, and this can also serve as an example of the type of information we would like to see in variant proposals.

Variant for Site Proposal: 1812 Overture
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Re: How to Propose & Vote for New Map Variants

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 07 Feb 2019, 18:28

Update 07 Feb 2019:
Dipsy is willing to experiment with displaying maps of higher widths, so I've made a note that suggested maps can render with a width somewhere from 900-1080. 900 is still preferred, since that fits in the site's content pane, but 1080 is the site's overall approximate width when you account for the site logo in the top-left of the page.
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