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How should a Mini-Map work on infinite terrain?


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#1 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 06:52 AM

I have an interest in setting up a mini map, on what is otherwise an infinite terrain.  I'm trying to think of the best way to handle that.

 

my initial plan is to turn each tile into its average color and draw a map (each tile = 1 pixel) where the mini map is just a region extending past what you see in the UI.  (Essentially just the in memory map part of my game.)

 

I'm interested in hearing other opinions of feature ideas surrounding the concept of a mini map, or better ways to do it.  Any thoughts on what might work better, or be more fun?

 

Thanks.


Edited by Dan Violet Sagmiller, 29 March 2013 - 06:55 AM.

Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


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#2 Waterlimon   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2564

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 07:36 AM

Hmmm...

 

-Generate lower detail minimap for far away chunks, so that the detail goes down as you go farther from the center of the minimap.

 

-Only add lit areas to the minimap (if you have lighting of some sort), unless already visited or unless it would be visible anyways (low detail, oceans, rocky areas...)

 

-Compress the minimap near the edges. First you see people, then you see houses, then villages, then big cities(, then huge landscapes?) but all the same size. This might be difficult to pull off, but would be certainly interesting. Near youre interested in the small stuff, far youre interested in things like big cities, mountains etc.

Imagine like if it was a sphere, more land area near the edges.

 

-Allow making notes on the minimap (for example if you open it in some sort of big mode, you can draw a path to your destination, and that path is visible when its in minified mode. Its annoying in many games how you need to keep the big map open all the time to find your way to some remote location)

 

-Only add a very low detail minimap that shows oceans / mountains (if you have height) / different types of land, and allow people to make their own markings there (here be ore, here be home, here be evil monstar)


o3o


#3 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1542

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:53 AM

infinitely!

 

I'd add a layers system, a [+] and [-] key, drag and drop for sharing between players above the mini-map to overlay an interactive layer for notes, strategy, simulation, obscene pictures, etc.

 

Painting and erasing over the map.

 

Any RTS controls/commands like unit selection, waypoints, marking targets, etc are useful again depending on what the player needs.

 

A simulation system could allow players to test gameplay ideas in the mini-map before they attempt it in game. So they don't needlessly lose lives (if lives are a gameplay aspect).

 

Augmented reality display, allows the player to overlay the map's data as an extended HUD.

 

My $0.02



#4 Waterlimon   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2564

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:55 AM

What was the game like btw?

o3o


#5 GaldorPunk   Members   -  Reputation: 1027

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 10:06 AM

It seems there’s usually two different levels of detail in minimaps for games with really big worlds.

 

1) you can have a size limited minimap that’s in the corner of the screen or brought up as a semi-transparent overlay, which shows a relatively small area around the player’s current position. These could be created on the fly and should show dynamic data like other NPCs by just taking the chunks around the player, since the nearby terrain would presumably be loaded already. You’d probably want at least some amount of saved minimap data with the terrain data, either saving a minimap image that you can piece together for each chunk of terrain or at least saving the average color of each tile so you don’t have to recalculate it for every tile.

 

2) there is also often a “world map” which can be brought up fullscreen and pretty much prevents the player from moving or fighting while he’s looking at the map. (which wouldn't work if the terrain is procedural) The world maps pretty much have to be one or more pre-rendered images since they show data from the whole world – probably more data than you can pre-load in RAM. A lot of the time these are more stylized, as a 3D model like in Skyrim, or to look like worn parchment, e.g. http://www.the3rdage.net/item-111.


Edited by GaldorPunk, 29 March 2013 - 10:08 AM.


#6 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4917

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 03:39 PM

Minimaps are kinda useless unless they have symbolic content, such as quest-givers, doors, walls, your mount or pet if it's possible to lose it somewhere, an of course nearby enemies. Water, unclimbable slopes, and gatherables would all be nice too.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#7 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:55 AM

-Compress the minimap near the edges. First you see people, then you see houses, then villages, then big cities(, then huge landscapes?) but all the same size. This might be difficult to pull off, but would be certainly interesting. Near youre interested in the small stuff, far youre interested in things like big cities, mountains etc.
Imagine like if it was a sphere, more land area near the edges.

I like this, instead of a rectangular minimap, I could use a magnifying glass.  With each ring out being a lower resolution.  Probably will end up being a lot of work/processing though.

 

a [+] and [-] key

That seems like a good idea.  +/- buttons/key responses.  

 

What was the game like btw?

City Builder Game.  Web Based, 3D.  Like Sim City classic but fairly expansive.

 

 

Minimaps are kinda useless unless they have symbolic content, such as quest-givers, doors, walls, your mount or pet if it's possible to lose it somewhere, an of course nearby enemies. Water, unclimbable slopes, and gatherables would all be nice too.

You also bring up a good point.  Its not the map that is important, but the content.  It seems that instead of a Map, I need to be looking at how to identify what is important to a player.  And how to get to that.  It doesn't "need" to have a mini map.  More along the lines of another way to list the buildings, alerts, events, etc and get to them quickly.  Such as events show up with an arrow pointing off screen.  you can move to follow the arrow, or you can just click on it, at be taken there.  

 

 

I should also consider something else.  I built the engine to have a near infinite map, because the terrain generator was fairly easy to build  (procedural, based on TileX/Y & PlayerId)  Just because I built it, does not mean I should use it.  Limiting a players range could also be part of the games increase over time.originally a 20sqkm to begin with, but then increase it as bonuses.  The range would be limited, but I could set up a function where you just buy more land, each time essentially doubling it, as much as the user wants to spend.

 

There are several considerations here, and I'll need to weigh them carefully for their value in the end product.

 

Thanks for everyone's help so far.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#8 mippy   Members   -  Reputation: 1002

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 03:19 PM

My suggestions:

  • Even though the world is infinite, there might still be restrictions in the proximity of the player. It could be a wall, a cliff, an enemy or an interactive object. These things should be clearly marked on the minimap.
  • Click minimap to display a larger regional map. This map should be able to support different layers. If you have a larger map of the world, then this could be an additional zoom level.
  • It should be possible to push your own pins to the regional map as well as the minimap, for guidance.
  • The background color should not have terrain colors. It should be colored according to "logical" pathing, marking out cliff edges and building borders so that the player can check if a terrain should be walkable or not.
  • Optimize it for function, good contrast and readability, not "beauty" or style.

Edited by mipmap, 01 April 2013 - 03:23 PM.


#9 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:09 AM

Click minimap to display a larger regional map. This map should be able to support different layers. If you have a larger map of the world, then this could be an additional zoom level.

 - Interesting feature, though in my mind, clicking the mini map tends to be reserved to moving the View to that spot on the map.  However, I could definitely an expansion button for the map and/or a hot key to bring up a larger map.

 

It should be possible to push your own pins to the regional map as well as the minimap, for guidance.

 

- This idea intrigues me.  Instead of depending on buildings/events to put value/focus on the map, perhaps players could define regions.  I was already thinking of this city builder as a bit more like the classic Sim City.  Perhaps instead of Industrial/Resiedential, etc...  I can let the player define generic regions.  If there are alerts going off, they filter up to the region first, which might make the region flash red/green on the minimap.  You can focus on only the regions that are most important to you, and gets stats for those regions.  If I created the regions, I would want it to have more play into the game, than just view filtering.  But this is an excellent idea.

 

Optimize it for function, good contrast and readability, not "beauty" or style.

Agreed, in general.  


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.





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