I have set out to find my the diamonds that were stolen. My tracking led me straight into Rainos. Of course, I was never spotted, and I don't ever plan to be known. I reached Guaire and discovered that the rumors about precious diamonds found there were indeed true. I figured that would be the first place I'd look for my diamonds. Unfortunately, I realized that my diamonds were taken away and put securely with loads of other diamonds at the center of Guaire. I had to figure out another way to get my money's worth of the diamonds that were stolen from me. By observing how diamonds were being transported from the mine to the center of Guaire, I set up some fake diamonds in a crate by a bunch of food, and another chest of fake diamonds on a side of a wall that was blocked off from the view of people passing by. The soldiers blocked off a whole section of the city behind an overhead walkway so that diamonds could be transported and guarded on top of the overhead walkway.
I have been planning this for days, the whole side of the city behind this walkway is free from people, that is where the second chest of fake diamonds are. I just have to wait for the right momement...
He's coming towards me. Good. Now I have mapped out his routine.
Just a few more seconds now.
Wait for it...
Now is the time to move!
I leap from my spot and fling my whip over the edge of the walkway above...
... and just slightly tap the crate of fake diamonds I had placed earlier...sending it to the ground.
I skillfully roll onto the walkway.
CRASH! The sound of the crate as it toppled over onto the street where the guards were was a frightening sound indeed. It was loud enough so that I wasn't heard.
Besides, with all of those nice looking diamonds scattered on the ground, the guards have more important things to worry about ;)
Guards: Diamonds sir! Diamonds!
While they are busy with fake *ahem* diamonds, I walk over to my rope on the unoccupied side of the city.
I climb down, hearing the angry voices of the guards. Now it's time to wait.
Commander (Spagard): "Get those Diamonds back in the crate! We don't need anyone taking these! Why as this crate of diamonds put with all of this food? I want answers!"
--Then footsteps were heard on top of the wall. A cart and some men escorting it were seen--
Commander (Spagard): "Hey you! Yes you! We found some more diamonds down here, send some of your men down here to get them!"
Commander (Waver): "Very well. Stop the cart."
Commander (Waver): "Put the cart down!"
Commander (Waver): "And you two, go down and bring up the crate of diamonds."
--Two of the soldiers put their weapons over the wall for the two other soldiers to climb down with.--
Commander (Spagard): "Stop eating chicken! You're supposed to be watching the diamonds!"
--The two soldiers climb down the wall--
While the guards are busy watching the commotion below, I have another mission to do.
Time to swap out the diamonds! *silent chuckle*
I carefully slice the thin wood and let the diamonds fall silently to the ground. Now to swap them!
I hear lots of loud arguing about how to get my box of fake diamonds up the wall efficiently. No one bothers to look at the real diamonds in the cart.
That's the last one. Now to head out of here!
--The guards finally get some progress, they climb on top of barrels and boxes and lift the crate to the guards on top of the wall.--
I slowly push the locked chest over the side of the wall just as the guards are lifting the crate over the wall
--The guards below jumped to lift the crate to the soldiers on top of the wall, so they fell down and made an even bigger mess.--
I slip away just in time.
--The guards climb back up the wall as the other guards place the crate full of fake diamonds onto the cart.--
--And they continue on, oblivious to the fact that they had been swindled.--
What you said at the end is sort of true, but not entirely. Size is actually sort of a requirement for a 5/6 - mainly because one of the things we look for in those MOCs is effort and some diversity (so not just snow or just stonework) and size (whether in terms of height or base) helps to meet that requirement (which is the only requirement other than quality). However, the "shrinking it in my mind" isn't necessarily a conscious thing that I do. I've always seen it as a sign of a great MOC (detail-wise) if the build would be able to stand on its own as a smaller MOC. Then it's a sign of a great MOC, aesthetic-wise (in terms of layout, colors, all that stuff) if a build would look great as a micro, too. Those aren't things that I think about consciously when judging, but it is noticeable to me when either of those "tests" aren't passed (this isn't a checklist, it's just a way to think about quality. Obviously the two aspects aren't equal in every MOC, and I don't consciously think about both of them - if both of them are passed, it just seems like a good MOC; it's only when the MOC is weaker in either of those areas that it distracts if I look at the main pictures (for one that's weaker in layout) or the close-ups (for one that's weaker in details)). These aren't really "tests" in terms of judging, but they're "tests" that can be helpful when you're building, because they are the main aspects that influence the appeal and appearance of your MOC. Then there's also artisticness, but that's more complex and not necessarily factored into MBC scoring (though mood - bright, neutral, dark, or even better a subset of one of those that shows a deeper understanding of the mood, plus a consistent use of that mood outside of just colors can help - is something that I do notice when judging).
I am sorry that I came across hurtful, I really don't mean to. If my comments sounded hurtful to you, then they were indeed hurtful, and none of what I feel or felt makes that fair. I'll message you later on Flickr about that.
I agree, technique and complexity are both very important. You may give them a little more weight than me, and that's totally fine. I also agree that new things have greater value than common things.
Thanks for your comments about the landscape. Mixing in brown or dark tan with the normal green color is indeed a challenge, and I still want to work that out some more. My next castle MOC should have a mostly green landscape too, so I may try a few other things in that one. Just wish I had some more sloped plates and bricks.
Yeah, the top of the wall could use something. Brick bricks, tiles, just a little something there. I don't think this is close to a 6 either.
That's fine, to me your opinions seem to be based on certain things, but I've already elaborated on that. I added the stud transitioning so that it wouldn't /look/ like a transition from studs one way to the way the wall was, not because I added it for the sake of having another technique.
You can most certainly have opinions, and you've expressed them. If you can have lots of opinions and reasons for your judging (which you certainly can), I can much more have reasons why I do certain things about the creations I build, and have my own opinions about your reasons for your judging. Please don't take it as I think you can't have your opinions.
Quoting Halhi 141 I still maintain that this isn't a 5, because it's just a bigger castle wall, and if you took the landscape and castle wall down to a small scale, it wouldn't be all that impressive.
Ah, so you shrunk my MOC in your mind, and /then/ gave the final score...../thanks/
My opinion still stands. The rotated plate is such a minor thing that it makes next to no impact on the MOC - it honestly seems like just adding techniques for the sake of having techniques, which isn't the kind of thing we want.
Basically, the way I see it, you're telling us that we're not allowed to judge or have opinions. We gave you plenty of reasons why we thought this wasn't up to the level of a 5, but instead of accepting that we're allowed to have opinions and to have reasons to support those opinions, you instantly denounce that as Checklistgate in an attempt to find some conspiracy to use against the staff. Bottom line - people can have opinions that aren't yours, and we can share these opinions, and we can score based on them. I still maintain that this isn't a 5, because it's just a bigger castle wall, and if you took the landscape and castle wall down to a small scale, it wouldn't be all that impressive. Nice try, but we can have opinions too.
First off, I have to strongly apologize, because I completely missed the stud transitioning in the landscaping, and I suspect some of the other staff members might have missed it too. That makes quite a difference in terms of the technical sophistication of the moc. More on that later.
< Quoting >
Second, and this might sound somewhat at odds with my apology, but I will be honest; some of your responses to my last comment were a bit hurtful. But I guess since you are pretty upset with me that's only fair.
Third, some of your points are really good. I realize that I have come to judge based on my preferential style, and I will try my best to fix that. What you describe as the "checklist" is also something is something I will try to get rid of. I won't be de-emphasizing techniques though. To me, half of what Lego building is all about is complexity and technique, and so de-emphasizing that would be de-emphasizing a critical aspect of what it means to build with Lego. I've never looked for x amount of complexity in every n by n studs space, but I won't stop putting greater value on things that are new than things that have been done before, and putting greater value on cool techniques than on normal studs-up construction.
So, here's a re-evaluation of your moc, keeping in mind what I am trying to change about my way of judging. Your stonework in this moc is one of the cleanest styles I've seen, and although in an old hut that would be completely out of place, in this scenario it works very well. You remark to halhi about how the wall is filled with gravel (though it doesn't look that gravelly to me) shows that you thought about this moc a lot more than most other builders would have. The functions are nice to see, but they aren't too complex. In terms of functionality, they add nicely to the moc, and in many ways it wouldn't really work without them, but in the field of functions, the importance of complexity can't be denied. The area behind the wall is a great addition, and I really love your attention to detail on the floor in that area. The landscaping is more complex and more detailed than I first thought. The arrows are a great detail and the rotated stud direction is an impressive technical achievement, though I think you could have made it more prominent, perhaps even the defining feature of the landscape. The colors on the landscape don't always match that well in my opinion, but green is a very hard color to work with, and the colors aren't unrealistic. I'd love to see some animals hiding in the foliage, though that of course doesn't really affect my revised score. The top of the wall could have been textured a tiny bit with a few studs sticking out, because perfect flatness does look a bit odd. The siege tower is very well shaped, especially the front bottom. I am interested to see how you did the wheels. A flag or pennant on the side of the siege tower might have added a bit of color to the design, though you did a good job of adding just enough gray details to the siege tower to make it interesting. In the staff group, some people remarked that this moc relies a bit too much on lots of parts. But I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I don't think you could get this moc up to this level without relying on having lots of parts. It had to be big by necessity to accommodate for the siege tower.
That may look like a checklist, but I'm not going through every detail saying "is it the way it should be?" (Which I've never done), rather I'm pointing out strengths and weaknesses of the moc as I see them.
Overall, what I look for in a 4 is that it looks good. Your moc obviously sweeps the edge in that regard. For a 5, which is supposed to be significantly harder to get than a 4, I look for either strong complexity, very strong refinement or a mix of both but to lesser degrees. A 6 needs both really good complexity and really really good refinement. Previously, I measured refinement based on my preferential style, where this build gets pretty far, but not that far. However, based on your own style, this build is a lot more refined, since almost every detail goes towards perfecting the build in your style, to the point where refinement alone gets you to the brink between a four and a five. And then, you have some strong techniques to boot, which puts you well into the five range. Not close to a six, but well in the five range.
That's my personal revised score. I don't know whether it changes the opinions of the rest of the staff and therefore your official score, but I hope I corrected some of the issues with my judging by trying to be more open to and seeing the merits in different styles.
Quoting Halhi 141
Most of the active staff voted - 4-5 maybe - until it was clear that everyone agreed on high four. You think that it's higher, great, but we prioritize refinement and skill over size. Most people don't, we know :P
Thanks for the drawn out comments, though I'll be moving them to another MOC with a link to them because they take up too much space here.
Quoting Yeah, long comments were hard to follow
The music analogy isn't doing it for me - two different art forms. Yeah, contrast is good, but a darker landscape or adding another main color wasn't going to get the brighter feel/contrast that I was going for. The landscape wasn't meant to have much contrast in it, but rather contrast with the wall and siege tower in a bright kind of way. Two main colors would have given it a different feel.
Looks like weathered stonework to me. You're a different kind of viewer though, so I don't think much of that regarding the foliage. I think having the landscape sloping up to the wall would be cool! I decided against it this time because of the siege tower.
I think they are my own styles, how much do you see the more green landscapes with stud transitions, or new looking walls, or layered colors underneath the surface, or a multi-functional siege tower?
Okay, so now it's too big? Please don't suggest it's a struggle....
I think the size is making you think twice about your impressions about the creation.
I know you don't actually have a checklist or things to look for specifically, but the scores and reasons behind them pretty much lead one in that direction that could make it like a checklist and style preference kind of rubric.
I'd bet most would compare this with the two other 5s and say this at least on par with them - easy. How many voted on this anyway?
Quoting Halhi 141
This is my third time trying to post this comment :P My computer and mocpages both keep eating my comments...anyway, in music composition, there's certain rules that generally should be followed: things like don't have the clarinets play in the altissimo register too much, avoid excessive repetition, have some main motifs to add cohesion to the piece...things like that are general guidelines that should usually be followed. Can they be broken? Yes. However, in general, abiding by those guidelines will produce better music. It's possible to make music in which clarinets constantly play in the altissimo register and to pull that off successfully...but most of the time it's not successful. So, as a result, you could use "the clarinets played in the altissimo register too much" as a legitimate critique of a piece, even if that might occasionally work in some instances, just because it doesn't work in that instance and it's not likely to work most of the time.
Quoting I like your idea of using quotes to put in paragraphs. That confused me at first :P
Contrast is one of those things. If you go into art, or music, or anything like that: you'll see that one of the most important things to add interest and artistry is contrast. Can there be great art pieces without contrast? Technically yes, but you'll find in 90% of art, contrast makes things better.
The first 5 ever was Zelpunra's Tower - a moc with a smooth (and sorta new) stonework style, smooth landscaping, a "normal" looking but still interesting color scheme...it was built during a time that I got bored with normal styles and wanted to build something different. It accomplished smoothness while still keeping technical interest - in fact, technical skill can often /increase/ smoothness in things like rocks and landscape - and it was interesting, a layout that isn't exactly overdone. I personally like landscaping with a dominant color, or maybe 2 dominant colors (1 sometimes can result in too much plain space which tends to be bland, but here it's not really an issue). What I felt was a bit lacking on the landscape was the foliage, which to me seemed sort of like random placement of plant parts that didn't really fit the moc. I know that it probably wasn't random, but when a viewer thinks that, then it's something that could be improved. I don't like random hilly ground textures, also - I like grounds that have a definite overall look, but here a slight slope up to the castle (doesn't have to be major) would have made the castle look more imposing, which goes along well with the bottom-up pictures. We (or I at least - I can't speak for my fellow staffies, but I assume they're more or less the same) don't have any sorts of specifics that we look for. That's why, for instance, one of the other strong 4s that was close to a 5 was exactly the kind of moc that you'd think that we would favor - dark, heavily textured, with dark green landscaping, a house, all that stuff. Incidentally, the main reason why I voted a 4 was because it did all those things too much without having enough of the builder's own style choices. Anyway, this was definitely a very strong four, but what brought it down for me was that I felt that it relied on size too much. It's something that I struggle with too, but I thought a lot of the impressiveness came from size, rather than...precision? a good aesthetic that would have worked as well on a smaller scale? artisticness? Sorta all those things combined. Plus the fact that the layout is really overdone - I've seen some really strong layouts from you in the past, so seeing a castle wall at an angle with the greeble mix in the middle of the wall and a generic green color scheme made this seem very similar to a lot of other mocs. That's not necessarily something that I took into account when scoring this, just something that I thought I'd note since I really preferred the dynamic layout of something like Unrest, which really grabbed the viewer's attention a lot more.
Yes, indeed it was summed up exactly as I would expect.
There wasn't meant to be much contrast...in the landscape...not every part of the moc needs to have a certain technique or complexity associated with it. Though, with these grading metrics, apparently it does.
The MBCs seem to be judged according to a checklist and style preference. If it's got a certain style of stonework, color blocked landscape with a more hilly ground texture, mixel joint stuff, or otherwise has complicated-looking things in most places, then it's got the look, feel, and 'precision' of a 5. A more strong and new looking stonework, one dominant color landscape, stud direction transitioning, and a playable, durable, functional portion of the model just doesn't cut it. It's like everything about a MOC has to be technique-heavy, or complicated looking, or 'interesting' in every n x n stud area to be considered 'impressive.' Yeah, you liked the underground portion, and yeah, you liked the part of the street in the back. Why? Technique-heavy (depending on who you ask) and complicated looking. The landscaping and stonework didn't have those textures or feel, so apparently it brought the score to a 4.
This is very useful information given that you both are Tourney judges.
Yes, I definitely see what you're saying, and completely understand where you're coming from, but the input given to me wouldn't make the MOC better, just score better for this kind of judging. If I made changes to the MOC to make it "up to" of a 5, I wouldn't like it any better as the whole look and feel of the MOC would change....apparently the change is the kind of change that scores well in LOM.
I completely agree with the score according to those metrics. Very predictable, and easy to attain if the protocol is followed (granted if you have the pieces to do them well).
See, all very predictable.
I find your recommendations helpful if you want to build something in a certain style range or score well in LOM.
Best? According to what? The traditional weathered and textured, about to crumble stonework, the color-blocked landscape with rocks mixed in here and there that changes elevation by 6+ plates?
The landscape is bland only if you are looking for something different.
Precision? What is precision? I perceive that to you, precision is technique. If such and such technique isn't used at such and such a level, then it's not _____.
The stonework style/technique is what seemed to have influenced the score from the two previous MBC creations with fives that I found. Thus, I wasn't too surprised this got a four. I mean, it wasn't the stonework described earlier.
Well then, I'll forgo the picture with the back of the wall. I just wanted to add a little something to the back. It shouldn't hurt a score...and if it does, then I'll take out the photo. I often like to add in some extra things here and there even if pieces are lacking if it's not visible in that focal point picture. Why, because I like to....
No, keeping the cutaway and the main part of the wall the same color would make it look like the same material was used throughout the whole wall, which I didn't want. Cracks wouldn't really make sense because it's mostly gravel - which is packed down as much as could be to keep the wall strong.
I like that the cutaway is as prominent as it is. I think it's a cool feature of the build.
Apparently MBC's aren't judged according to the way the MOC was intentionally built, but rather based on characteristics that often make a MOC good. But those characteristics don't apply to every style. This is a totally different style than the weathered, crumbling, highly textured stonework, and a different style than the rugged landscape. The precision here is exactly how I envisioned it.
I disagree that it is important for a larger landscape to be more varied in ground elevation. That's style preference. That's a checklist mindset. That's looking at a clipboard and saying "large landscape - does its ground level vary by more than 5 plates or have different color blocking in a n x n stud area? Nope, then it's not varied enough." It's not like the technique to get the ground level difference would be much different.
I find your recommendations helpful if you want to build something in a certain style range or score well in LOM.
Quoting Mr. Cab
Sorry, unrealistic was a poor choice of words. Halhi summed up what I should have said instead pretty well. It's not that the landscape is unrealistic, it's more that it's not as visually appealing because the elevation differences aren't very prominent and there isn't a lot of contrast. If you have suggestions to improve our judging methods, I'd love to hear them. I don't mean that sarcastically or anything; if you aren't satisfied with the way we judge, that probably means that we aren't doing our job as well as we could. Ideally, we would present our reasoning for why we judged the way we did, and the person who's moc we judged would say "I see what you mean" or at least understand where we're coming from. This obviously isn't the case here, so if you have some tips for how you thing we should determine MBC scores (or scores in general), that would be quite helpful.
Quoting Halhi 141
It may be realistic, but realistic isn't always good. It's important, not just to do what's realistic, but to do what looks best. In this case, a flat green landscape may be realistic in some places, but it's still bland regardless of realism. In a large MOC like this, things like variation and elevation changes in the landscape become even more important, because minor details don't stand out much.
It wasn't just the landscape that made it a (high) four - it was overall that it seemed to not be quite executed with the precision of a 5. If the rest of the MOC was built to the standard of the siege tower, then it would have been a 5, but as it is, the back of the wall detracted from it a bit (I know that it was for piece issues, but honestly this is one of those places where not including something can be better than including something: if a backside isn't up to the level of the front side, then just go for a stronger front side and forego the backside). Also, the wall texturing was too mixed in my opinion - I know the technique you used for the side is popular, but I'm not a huge fan of the look - it draws too much attention to the fact that the wall is cut off and thus steals attention away from the front, which should be the part that draws more attention. Keeping the two at the same color, with just some textural differences (probably more cracks (slopes), round parts, and such - "flat textures") would have kept one's attention toward the front while still differentiating between the cut-off wall and the flat wall.
Yeah, pieces didn't allow for the back wall unfortunately.
There are plenty of realistic, flatish (like it is here), mostly green landscapes.....I don't even understand that. That's what left it as a four huh? Based off of a definition of what makes a green landscape realistic? Wow. In all of the staff's points there, my suspicions have been confirmed. Checklist checklist, style style.