For this to work I think you would need to develop some map prototyping tools or guidelines.
Guidelines are the important thing. There are quite a few ways to prototype maps already:
- Scened is extremely rapid and WYSIWYG at this (but doesn't support 16-bit heightmap export on Windows).
- My Blender workflow is also extremely rapid until you get to fine details, and produces a reasonably high quality.
- Just use your graphics editor.
As for guidelines and requirements, it makes sense to align them with the tournament that they would later support. Maybe it makes sense to rule out some types of terrain (lava, acid) or climate. A theme - LD style - would also be a great thing to have.
For a serious-er type of contest, a set of features and textures to accomodate the tournament's climate could be presented before the event to make it even more easier to rapid-prototype a map. Generally, making the artistic style irrelevant and uniform means the actual map design becomes much more important.
Here's a bunch of requirement/guideline ideas that i think could work as an example an 1v1 / 2v2 type of tournament.
- Map size: 10x10 to 14x14 (non-square maps allowed but the most uneven would be 10x14 then)
- Climate: industrial wasteland (dirt, minimal vegetation, rocks, concrete ruins, asphalt roads)
- Up to 40 mexes valued up to 4.0 income, most should be 2.0
- Rotational or mirror symmetry
- Aquanim's water map design
article contains some general ideas on how to design maps in general as well.
the days between 24.12. to 30.12. should be probably a good time for mapping? so early deadline?
Deadline 01.1.2019, start 01.12.2018?
Additionally, a contest needs some judging criteria. I guess some players could be let loose to play all the prototypes, and anyone who played all of the prototype maps can then vote on them.
The prize, i guess, would be getting matchmaker-featured after the game tourney.