In this review, I will be covering Rattrapmax6's ASCII Scrolling Map Maker 1.0, a great tool for whoever needs to create a scrollable map for their games. To start this review off, here is a screenshot of the designer part of this software.
This review will be broken down into review items to which I will bring my personal score and opinion.
I will try to remain impartial in my review in order to given a non subjective and fair review. Finally I will total up the score and give it a final percentage.
Functionality and features: 8/10 points:
By Functionality and features I mean what does the software offer me in terms of features and what I can do with the software in relation with what the software was designed for. In this case I believe the software successfully offers a complete range of functionality and features to allow me to quickly and easily create the maps I need. It even has a renderer to get a global view of the whole map as a seperate program.
Another side of application development that shouldn't be overlooked is user feedback. What the program returns to the user to let him know what is happening or what just happened. In that regard, the application gives sufficient feedback to the user to let him know what tile he's using, where he is on the map, what type of tile he is currently creating with and so forth. This is an important factor in the score I've given the features part of the review.
Layout and Disposition: 9/10 points:
Although some might argue a bit on this feature I describe Layout and Disposition the overall organization of what I'm seeing on the screen and how it helps the usability of the application. As you can see from the screenshot, everything is right there in front of you. No menus, just options that can be clicked on right away. As far as tools and utilities go, having everything there and ready is a big plus as it doesn't hide any features behind a hierarchy of menu or commands. It allows to do the job much quicker when intelligently organized on the screen. That's why I gave it a score of 9 because everything can be done directly from the main screen.
Note that this particular part of the review is often a question of personal taste. I happen to like the layout used here. Some might not. So the review is based on an unbiased statistically based evaluation. As such, I put myself in the place of common mortals and attempt to see through their eyes how they would like a map generator to look like and be used.
Suitability to the task: 8/10:
Here I measure how well focused the programmer was in his way of presenting the features to the user in relations to the category of the program. Here we have a scrolling map generator designed to create maps that will ultimately scroll as any other text scrolling games. As such, I would say that the program itself is close to perfect for the task at hand. The only thing I might have wanted differently is to be able to scroll through the map without needing to select the tile to edit (scroll in it as I would if I was playing the game). And I would have integrated the renderer right in the application. However, the renderer is there that's why I gave it a 8 out of 10 points.
Another aspect of the review, in regards to suitability to the task is the whole feel of the application in general. When you open a word processor, you expect things to be in certain places, you expect certain features to be present because it's a word processor. As far as a map generator goes, you can expect things to be there as well. In that aspect, you can clearly see you are in a map editor so that too helped with the scoring.
Overall performance rating: 10/10:
Those of you that have tried this utility will agree that this is a very fast application, I have noticed no hold ups or any stalling while using the application and creating maps. Likewise because of the direct availability of all the functions that too contributes to the overall performance of the application. Everything works quite fast and simply put it's a map designer on steroids.
As I mentionned earlier in this review, the user feedback plays it's role here too in the performance score. Because it's easy to see what's going on, no time is waisted trying to figure out what to do next. It's very straightforward which really helps get things done fast.
The Final Word:
All in all, the ASCII Scrolling Map Maker 1.0 is a great application to use to create your maps. It's a completely integrated application that offers all the functionality you need to create your maps. Often the 200x200 is big enough for most mapping tasks but perhaps an ability to change the size of the map might be a good idea. I know version 2.0 is in the making and I for one can't wait to see what extra features will be added to that version.
I think that Rattrapmax6 did an excellent job in this first version of his scrolling map editor, it is a well designed program that really makes map creation as easy as it can get. He gets my 2 thumbs up on this project.
A Scrolling ASCII Map Maker 1.0 (Windows)
By: Stephane Richard