Rio and the future of Curated Maps

With the release of Rio, Nelson is transitioning curated maps to the workshop initially in order for load times to be better as well as having map teams be able to update their maps without having to push a game update. This at first seems pretty cool; no more game updates regarding map bugs and you don’t have to worry about loading times increasing. However, it also poses a major problem to curated maps in the future.

Curated maps were initially supposed to be official maps made by the community, but if the maps are no longer going to be put in the actual game, instead on the workshop, people aren’t going to play the map. This poses a major problem for curated maps. Why bother putting months, even years in Rio’s case, into a map for it only to get a few hundred subscribers in the first day like Rio (this may change in the next few days, but its hard to tell right now). The whole point of a curated map is to be able to feature your map without having to go through the workshop. But if all curated maps are going straight to the workshop now, then what’s the point of doing them anymore

This is all my opinion, but as a person who has worked on a curated project in the past, this new way of doing curation worries me. Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments as well



I agree

Part of what makes curated map making so fun is that something you made is actually in the game. Rio is essentially getting the same treatment as candyland; that being a workshop map that Nelson encourages people to sub to.


Worries me a lot as well. I’m sure Nelson will be willing to change certain parts of this system, as he does value his Curated map creators.

Its definitely worrying, especially with how low the player numbers for Unturned are at the moment, and how over half of the player base plays exclusively on Washington. Makes me feel like no one will play a map that I make.


That’s exactly what the system is. It worked for candyland because candyland was a wacky crazy map that wasn’t meant for curation. The new system isn’t curation.


The thing I propose is a forced download when the map comes out, but the user could unsubscribe from the map at any time.

Also, I came home from a 10 hour car ride and I feel dizzy.

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That was essentially the old system

I see where Nelson’s coming from with this decision, I’m personally fine with it.

Unturned already takes a long time to load into, so why clutter it with monthly/bi-monthly map releases? I say that a map should release and be featured under the curated section, and if it’s timed, then have a ‘subscribe’ button reminiscent of the retired button.

On the topic of having maps release onto the workshop, the workshop could use some good content for once. But hey, that’s just my take on it.


While I don’t disagree that it can slow down how quickly people are willing to hop into a map, the last few updates have all been geared towards making this new system still good for content creators.

Here’s what the new system does for curated content creators:

  1. Rather than the update notes containing the majority of curated map announcements, these announcements are in-game, at the top of the feed, with a heading that prominently announces the map.

  2. The curated map list still shows all curated maps. This includes Rio de Janeiro (a curated map) but not Candyland (a Workshop map). Rio de Janeiro is part of the curation system.

  3. The new announcement system allows for clickable buttons for viewing the Workshop page, subscribing (doesn’t open a new window), and purchasing bundles.

  4. The curated map list has buttons for viewing the Workshop page, and for subscribing (doesn’t open a new window).

  5. Players can subscribe to maps without ever leaving the game, and the map list will automatically update to show the new maps. For the curated map list, this switches from a map being RETIRED to being playable, and it just takes one button click from in-game.

  6. Maps can be updated without a mainline update to the game


  1. Add “Feedback & Bug Reports” to all the curated maps. It could either just link to the Workshop page, or it could link to the Steam Discussions sub-category.

  2. Bunker Arena Workshop, Athens Arena Workshop, and Carpat show up in Misc instead of Curated once installed. All the maps appear in Workshop in addition to being in Curated (or Misc), and I believe Curated maps should see an exception to how that works due to their special circumstances.

  3. Add “unsubscribe” buttons to the maps for when they’ve been subscribed to. The “Manage Subscriptions” button works, but feels excessive given how easy it is to subscribe. Perhaps add a button under “Reset World”.

  4. It should be possible to manually/automatically/periodically check for discrepancies between downloaded version number/date of Workshop content and the latest version number/date of Workshop content, all from the server console.

  5. Still mention new curated maps in the mainline update notes, if an update to the game occurs around the same time as the map is released. The in-game announcement is cool, but it isn’t as effective to reaching those who don’t play Unturned daily.

  6. Maps with the “NEW” tag should be listed at the top of the curated map list. At least, at the top of the section for you aren’t subscribed to. It’d also be nice if there was an “UPDATED” tag that all maps could have, regardless of being subscribed or unsubscribed to them, and it could appear until you either play on the map since that update, or for a week or so (and then it just gives up on trying to get you to play).

  7. A big advantage to automatically having the maps downloaded with the mainline game updates is that the server filter can be used with it. For people who don’t play maps in single-player, this means they have to manually type out the map name into the actual server name filter, rather than browse by something like Rio de Janeiro. The “Map” filter should be improved for people with a lot of maps, and for people searching for curated maps (regardless of being subscribed to the map already or not).

  8. A similar issue to above is that the server filter doesn’t treat them as vanilla, but as “Has Workshop”. I’d support the game either having a separate filter for curated content, or an option between Vanilla and “Has Workshop” that includes curated content.

Understanding the new system:

The main difference that players should care about is that they have to hit a “subscribe” button to get the map, but they can do this without every leaving the map menu. If you’re searching for a server, adjust your filters appropriately.

The main difference that hosters should care about is that the Workshop content can/will be updated at less certain intervals. Since updates are no longer tied to the actual game, you need to consider it just like any other Workshop content. That is to say, it will update, and it might update frequently. Additionally, the “Map” server filter will not show curated maps to those who haven’t subscribed to the map for single-player purposes.

The main difference that creators should care about is that the new system does not turn them into a “Featured Map” like Candyland. I would say that understanding how this impacts your community would also be important, and as curated teams have a decent level of contact with Nelson, you still have good control over how you can better the system and have new features implemented specifically for your maps.


I don’t see too much of an issue with the new system as long as servers keep hosting the new curated maps. Forcing people to download the map won’t benefit creators if players don’t go into singleplayer to look at them. Some people won’t bother checking the workshop for new content though.


Ah, this does bring up one other notable issue for server hosters to consider. I’ve added a 7th suggestion to my own post, but the issue is that the “Map” server filter won’t show new curated maps to players who aren’t trying to subscribe for single-player purposes first.

Currently, this means that people would have to manually type the map name into the “Server Name” server filter, which isn’t ideal.

My suggestion is to just improve the “Map” server filter, since it doesn’t work well for a large amount number of maps anyways.


if your map needs to be curated for people to actually install it and take notice of it, and it also needs curated for you to even be motivated to work on it, then perhaps you should review your priorities and see if you should 100% be aiming for curated

I definitely want everyone from map creators to players to feel good with the curated map system, so I appreciate all this candid feedback. Here are some of the changes I’m currently planning:

  • Change server list default to include servers with or without workshop content.
  • Improve server list map filtering, and take map versions into account on server list.
  • Convert “retired” section of curated maps menu to represent “cool maps not yet installed”.
  • Improve visibility for new and updated curated maps both in the main article, as well as through the traditional “NEW” and “UPDATED” labels used for maps.
  • Support for updated main menu articles about curated maps, and Rio especially will get another article once these changes are implemented since it was the first to use the new system.

mfw belgium was the last curated map


I honestly think the only solution is to revert the update. The game itself is on it’s last legs, people aren’t going to care about longer loading times, they are going to care about getting slightly better workshop maps as new content when they could head out and download one whenever they want.

i do not like this new system cus like people do not want to play new maps and kinda forcing them to do it might be the right way to do it (just like it has been done for like a year now), like i think a comparison to cs:go by valve news network would be good here.

they add like community maps and like that one with the lake but people dont play them cus why should they? they already know all the grenade throws, pre-shoot spots, uhh [other important tihng to know about csgo maps] so why should they re-learn everything from scratch and risk losing their silver 2? recently valve dealt with this issue by adding like this new unranked competitive mode, that people have been wanting to get for years, that u can only play on the community maps and i think that was a good solution.

with unturned, it’s kinda the same but instead of remembering grenade throws (unless ur really hecking tryhard), you remember stuff like the military loot spawns, ranger loot spawns, mega locations, airdrops, base spots, etc. and now, you run into the problem of players not willing to try out new maps because they’re practically the same as the ones they know already but they gotta relearn everything which not everyone is willing to do. some of this of course falls on the map maker, they gotta make a new exciting experience for players to be interested in trying out their map but this new system isnt really encouraging players to try out these new experiences.

people, over time, have come to associate curated maps with high quality content in comparison to the workshop, which often offers mods/maps that don’t fit in with the games art style. this would often encourage players to boot up the game and give these new curated maps a shot, cause they know they would be of decent quality. having them already installed in the game also encourages the players to play them, kinda like the previous thing i said about like valve but a bit different i guess.

now, this comes onto my final point in this mess of a post. why should some map maker/team work on a map for like 2 years (cough cough rio de janero map) for it to be treated like some mod someone cooked up in like 4 hours. like, right now the only way to actually see the map in game is through the main menu which is the same place where mods are (sure this will help with subs but like this goes back to my last point of these maps being associated with lower quality workshop mods cause they’re in like the same bit of the game as workshop content) and the map didnt even get it’s link posted in the update notes. like so now, what reason do people have to make a curated map? nobody will want to stick to vanilla standards and keep a map inside the unturned video game’s box so that it can be in the same category as danaby2 and renaxon’s craftable sawed-off pants mod .

in conclusion



I think as long as the maps are visible in the curated map section even if you haven’t subscribed to them yet it will fix a lot of the problems people have with the new system.

I like the idea of having them in the same section as retired maps because it’s the same joy as having your map in game, just with an extra download before you can play the map

sorry if this post is a little hard to understand I just woke up

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The difference between Unturned and CS:GO is that CS:GO has two different game modes for different communities. There’s Casual, and there’s Ranked. The reason why people who play Ranked don’t play in Casual is because they have entirely different rulesets, and Ranked is the truly “intended” ruleset way to play.

Unturned, being an entirely different game, doesn’t have that same problem. Unranked works because it’s resolving an issue between two different communities. Unturned’s issue is that (as it stands) there’s a few discrepancies with how curated maps appear in the server filter.

I’d assume that a similar system would be used for Unturned II (unless we see curated maps closer to collabs like Russia where they’re entirely official), although I’d prefer a better menu for handling maps overall.

The only thing forcing players to install the map officially does (compared to the new system) is that the server filter recognizes the map as official.

  • It also appears better in the map list than as “Retired”, but part of the reason why so few servers are populated is possibly just because the mainline game update doesn’t really mention the map all that much (which, if it did, it would look weird in-game). [And Nelson said that this issue will be improved upon.]

Also, for arena maps specifically, while they’re often quite popular (when curated) they’re pretty easy to get into multiplayer with because they’re automatically installed, which is still why I think there should be some exceptions for curated content being treated a bit more like official content, when possible.

Assuming U4 handles curated maps the same way, it’d be good to bare that in mind for anyone creating concept art.


I think the old system was fine, but keeping the curated maps for a little bit longer (until the next curated map release?) would help greatly.

A problem with a lot of maps that release are that they’re not very good or intended for long term survival/enjoyment so by the time they’re removed, they’re dead. Take Carpat as an example of failure while France an example of success.

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The most worrying thing to me is that these maps, that won’t get a ton of players, to begin with, are going to get even less attention. Day 1 & 2 of a map’s release is when the map will be played the most. image
This is Rio. It’s being beaten by two Roleplay maps. As of when that picture was taken, only 25 people were playing on Rio. Most empty servers display the server as 1/number so I’m assuming their empty.

The most concerning thing to me is how little attention Rio was given in it’s “Update”. A single sentence in the Update notes.

Candyland, which wasn’t even a curated map, got the same treatment. Rio has been downgraded from a full-blown curated map to a glorified workshop map.

I feel so sorry for the rest of the Rio team, especially since they spent 2.5 years on this project. It’s barely out the door and it has the same player count as Canyon Arena, which doesn’t even have people playing on it any more.

If you’re concerned about load times, move more maps to the workshop. Destruction, Paintball Arena, Washington & PEI Arena, Canyon Arena, maybe even Monolith. While you’re at it you could also move maps like Festive PEI & Russia, Halloween PEI & Space PEI out of the Extra’s folder and onto the workshop, maybe people will finally remember these maps exist.


Halloween PEI, Space PEI, Festive PEI, all of those PEI variants aren’t in the game.