There’s something strangely enjoyable about looking at the creations of others, whether they be established at the craft or merely trying to make that first, fundamental step. First attempts at mapping, in particular, I find fascinating. I remember my days, trying to understand what a ‘Thing’ was in Doom and what a ‘Brush’ was in Quake, completely misunderstanding them for what seemed like the longest time. I remember crafting totally ridiculous, out-of-scale, ugly and bug-ridden creations that whilst completely forgettable, represented a huge leap in understanding and enjoyment.
Yet there’s something else rather inspiring about seeing the ‘first maps’ of others. Particularly those who have never tried anything like it before in their life.
These maps seem to have a mystical air to them. It’s as if they were creating with no limits. No bounds to creativity. Complete and utter limitless possibility. After all, until you’ve been making maps for years, concepts that define how to make a good map don’t exist, and neither do the associated limitations and trends. Until you have learnt these, anything physically possible is permitted. It’s truly an educational and entertaining learning experience.
Bizarrely, I find shots like these inspiring. It is the sense of semi-randomness which is exactly what I find useful. The bizarre and unexpected helps drive my own creativity, and trying to avoid sounding pompous, it helps identify and concrete one’s own understanding of how to make something look good (or in other words, how to avoid making something look that bad).
I think that deep down, I’d love to be a newbie mapper again. Those days were fun, there was no pressure and it was learning constantly. I didn’t care for limits or common sense, I just wanted to create anything I could. It’s an experience you can only really have once, but my, what an experience.