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Kolyana

Maps, data-design and bringing it all together.

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Okay guys, I''ve posted a few times in other forums - general concept questions and the likes. Now I need to be a little more specific. I''m developing an *online* game. Because it is online, the information that I send to the client obviously has to be as small and as compact as possible. Likewise, any dynamic image manipulation will be server-side. The game falls into the typical genre of world-empire-armies type of stuff, so there will be an entire world, viewable on several levels. But now here a little advise and some opinions would be very helpful. It''s going to be a sql server 2000 database. Whatever detail I''m on, it would be nice to know - say - what terrain a given unit is standing on. If one thinks within a grid, hex map or isometric frame work, then this is not an issue. *However*, if a hex is 10 miles across, and my world will be an accurate representation of something 24,000 miles in circumference, then we''re looking at a hex-sheet atleast 2,400 hexes across ... and perhaps close to that in height. Well, that''s a lot of data - but sql server can handle it - and it''s also a lot of hexes, but with a good world builder, plenty of time and no life, it''s do-able. But here''s the catch ... a. Is there a better way of developing such a huge playing area? The objective is to have server-side code (C#,c++ etc) extract the actual viewable area and construct an image representing this from the correct tile set/s. This is then sent to the player. b. If one looks at a map of - say - England, you''ll see that it''s perhaps only 250 miles across (ish). If I increase the scale of each hex, to make a more doable project, I decrease the detail of the visuals, what a given area represents etc. Now, I realize that I''m probably confusing the hell out of people here, but is there a way to store detailed data, construct an image from this data and then - through any web interface - know the circumstances surrounding a given unit ... or, more specifically, what''s under the mouse? I mean, in an ideal world it sure would be swell to roll the mouse across a detailed mountain range - not drawn from hexes - and have the game know that''s what I was over ... or have villages, towns and cities drawn anywhere, rather than in a specific hex. Is there a trade off bewteen detail and playability? Would I have to go wth some form of activeX control or Java applet? (I''ve seen some very powerful ones out there and I''m wondering if they are *too* much). So, I guess, my question is; is there a more detailed way of building a playable map - for us on the web - that''s a step above hex tiles? Or do I then have to create some form of embedded object and downloadable code (which I really want to avoid, I want a client-side lightweight solution, all the work done on the server).

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One idea would be to generate the map as if randomly from a seed value. If the same value was used then the same map would be generated. Thus you only need to transmit the seed and the maps could be built client side.

Just my initial thoguhts.

Mark
mark@cornutopia.co.uk
http://www.cornutopia.co.uk

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