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Restricting World-Map Movement

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I'm trying to come up with a method to restrict large-scale movement in the world map. I would prefer not to surround everything with mountains and rivers, and that doesn't leave me much to work with. I've thought about letting the random encounters prevent weaker characters from advancing into certain areas. But my combat system is too diverse, and allows skilled players to defeat enemies way stronger than their characters are. Are there any other methods to accomplish this? Here's a snapshot of my map, even though I doubt it makes much difference: http://www.geocities.com/xmoatz/Map.html Any ideas are appreciated [edited by - Jiia on April 16, 2004 12:49:42 PM]

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Assuming magical type world.

- you have been magicly leashed, literaly, and evertime to go past a certen point you get shocked continuously until you return or you get telaported back to a city.

- the power mage sending you on the mission sends a death squad that follows you and kills you if you go out of bounds. Reason is the mage assumses that you have abandond the mission.

- a monster tracks you down.

- forest that is too dence to walk through.

- if party RPG, NPCs in your group won''t follow you past a certin point. "We''re not paid enough to go there".

- the further you go from the source of magic, the less powerful it becomes till it is usless. Higher levels can better utilize the "weak" magic.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote
- forest that is too dense to walk through./quote

Without a magical axe.

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Or if you could fit it into your game without it seeming too incongruous, you could have the map ''wrap'' so that going off one edge just loops the player round to the opposite one? You could have a fun circular cylindrical world like in the old Terranigma.

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That map that you showed looks like it is completely surrounded by water. You could have an infinitely stretching ocean...

Maybe once you go far enough away from land that you can no longer see it, you boat stops moving, but still looks like it''s moving. This creates the illusion of an infinitely stretching ocean.

--------------------------------------
I am the master of stories.....
If only I could just write them down...

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Assuming that there is in fact something beyond that ocean, you can limit players by restricting access to ocean-going ships. You can get a canoe or take a ferry from landmass to landmass, or even swim if you''re tough enough, but you''ll die if you try to strike out for the horizon in that way.

If you want to restrict movement within this map, take a page from GTA3. The bridge is out until you complete the following six quests. Heck, the first Final Fantasy game used that trick.

In all honesty, you''re imposing an artificial limitation on the player''s character. Without huge mountains, impassable rivers or roving bands of vicious beasts, there''s no real reason that a denizen of this world would be unable to roam at will. If you want to keep the player on track or preserve secrets that rambling might uncover, then you''ll have to cheat the player a little, and that''s a tough thing to hide.

Invisible walls, mysteriously more powerful creatures or little dialog windows that pop up and say, "We should go back and talk to the mayor before we leave town" would be sufficient for this task, but surly ship captains, bureaucratic gate guards, out-of-order ferries and troll infestations are a little bit more elegant, The choice is yours, but you''ll be hard-pressed to come up with something that an experienced gamer won''t immediately spot as a fence.

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As already mentioned, phsyical obstacles are probably the best bet. What you want to do, is convince the player that there is nothing "worth exploring that far" in that particular area.

If you take away their interest to explore those areas, they won''t come to a situation that is clearly designed to "stop them". That type of situation takes people out of your world and reminds them that they are not free.

A real world has "logical boundaries" - be it terrain, unfinished construction, or even hostile areas. If you take away a player''s reason to go somewhere and give them motivation to spend their time in other areas, fewer people will be forced into a situation that is not sincere.

Causing more attention to the feature itself may end up leading more players to that limitation. Don''t give people a reason to test the limits of the level/world. It''s better to let them assume it is unlimited than to pull them aside and say "in case you weren''t aware, you can''t do this"

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It depends on your goal do you want these boundries to overcome when the player reaches certain levels or when they achive certain goals?

You could have

rations - the player can only travel for so many spaces in any direction before a message pops up saying they are low on rations and have turn back or risk dying of starvation, later on the player can buy bigger ration bags so they can travel furthur from town.

Myst - The world is enolved in a dark posinous mist and venturing into it means ceratin death. As such you can only travel to places which are mist free.



-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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Final Fantasy V had a neat trick. In the course of the plotline, you find that there are two worlds that were at one time joined, but some heroes split the world in two because this somehow confined a gigantic power. You begin on one world, then transport to another via a meteor. Later in the game, the worlds are joined again and you can travel to all the important places freely.

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That world map is very small scale. The continents are very huge in contrast to most RPGs, where there are many tiny islands. What you see there is just my layout design, where I can decide easily where towns and castles should go.

At the very beginning, I plan to script world-map movement to force the player to travel to specific locations, just to follow the storyline. But just the very beginning. No more than 20 minutes into the game.

The reason I want to restrict travel is because I don''t want them to be able to go to "that town there" and buy the coolest sword on the continent. Or disover "that secret there" and become practically invincible through half the game. At the same time, I want the player to be able to explore areas, find things, fight enemies, etc. Eventually I would open up the entire globe to them, but I need a way to scale freedom down until progression is made.

I think mountains, impassible forests, and rivers are probably my best bet. Even then, it becomes difficult to stay realistic. For example, the lower right island on my map is to a single country. It''s all under one rule, one king. It would seem very odd that roads or paths do not connect all of the towns and villages. And I can only place so many broken bridges and natural disasters before it gets crazy.

It may be possible to work the story into the situation. The enemy continues to take out villages around the capital, so it''s possible they could have a strategy to slow down defenses coming from other towns. They could do this by blocking travel. It''s one of a billion ideas I''m sure are out there, beyound my reach

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Now, is this an established empire?

Perhaps it is just forming into a single system and the roads/bridges hve yet to be built. As the world''s time progresses, those roads and whatnot are extended away from the original town outwards toward the north/north-west edges of the island.

Can you give us a little insight into your plot/story? Is the story going to revolve around more historically correct situations, or strictly fictional?....Or factional.

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Totally fictional. The storyline isn''t rock solid, yet. The player is the first knight and general of "King Grislan". King Grislan rules the lower right continent, which is called "Arlon". Near the beginning, the player falls ill because of an unexpected fight with his first undead enemy. The King must take charge of his armies to do battle while the player is out.

When the player awakens from his sickened sleep, he learns that the King is dead, and that the enemy is rampaging through the empire''s villages.

The enemy is an evil wizard that found an ancient spell to create an undead army. He attacks the villages to use the fallen warriors to increase his troop count. Of course the player knows none of this. It will unfold through the game.

The Player''s goal is to stop the evil. Or at least drive it out of Arlon, near the beginning. Later on, it will become a personal grudge to destroy it entirely.

The time which the player slept is variable, I suppose. But it will have a huge impact on what''s not destroyed in the empire.

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Consider taking a page from Gladius, the new Gladiator RPG / turn-based fighting game:

There are several lands that can be traveled to, but you''re restricted to a small space containing only a few towns until you accomplish certain tasks. There are roads leading out, but guards block the way until you''ve gotten a pass out of the area. The only way to get the pass is to accomplish all of the the tasks.

It''s elegant because you get to wander around freely but only within a confined space. There''s an ocean to the south and west, and mountains to the north and east that bar your path.


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Just waiting for the mothership...

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Political Backstory:
The other nations hold colonies on the island and the native Arlonians have been fighting a Revolutionary War to reclaim those lands from their oppressors. As the war wages, the other nations (starting with the "future home of evil") begin to pull out. The Arlons see this as they are coming closer and closer to victory. Unbenounced to them, the other nations have fewer troops because of a plague in their homelands. This plague is fairly mysterious and they do not know the cause. There is also riots (in those plagued areas) in each nation, which take away troops from the war.

As victory falls into the hands of the native Arlonians (or perhaps they are called something else beforehand), they are to be united under one nation - one monarchy. The newly appointed King Grislan names the main character to be the general of his royal army.

[This plot gives the player not only a sense of loyalty to his nation, but the player will feel like he is a protector of them instead of just someone wearing a "General" title. Perhaps the first level or two can be fought during this Revolutionary War so that the player does have time invested in a specific cause. This would make his feelings of nationality even stronger and would make the upcoming war of evil and the slaughter of Arlon's people even more dramatic]

As the war of evil touches Arlon's shores, the General is sent to the north-west (or wherever) to combat these people who are seen as a last-ditch effort by the other nations. When you arrive at the shore, you find that they are undead. Over time, you find that there was a terrible plague that hurt the opposing nations' armies and your new goal becomes to find the source of the plague to prevent it from devastating Arlon.

This fight causes you to be sickened and you are brought back to the empire to rest and get better. [Perhaps you spread the plague to the King when you return] When you awaken, you learn that the king has been killed.

[At this point, you can decide whether the player becomes a general - RTS - or the people find out that you were the carrier and you are oucasted - adventure.]

The man who was to become King before King Grislon was chosen, leaves Arlon to live with the other nations. Perhaps he is a native to one of the other nations. Anyway, he is a powerful mage bent on becoming a monarch and his body is overcome by the plague, effectively turning him into a powerful "evil being" who wants nothing more than to destroy Arlon.

World Boundaries
Because the nation is young and un-established (split up by other nations), there are no roads and paths between cities. As time progresses, the people of Arlon begin building these roads. This is where the transportation system comes into place. Because of the topography of the land (mountains, rives, water, etc.), the only way across the island is by road - which has to be built.

[edited by - dgaf on April 17, 2004 6:26:03 PM]

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Don''t restrict the player physically. Just set in place some other reason for them not to go places.

For instance, until the Eleventh Awakening has occured, the gates to Frionard Castle are closed. But then they blow open in the course of the battle. Or there are guards preventing the player from entering a cave out of public safety. But then the Eleventh Beast, having recently awoken, decided to bite the guards'' heads off, effectively clearing the way for you.

Or an other example would be to let the player in, but not have anything worthwhile for them yet. No-one''s going to talk to them about the Eleventh Beast until it''s actually awakened, and the engineer that''s supposed to transform their ship into an airship won''t actually have a reason to help them yet.

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quote:
Or there are guards preventing the player from entering a cave out of public safety. But then the Eleventh Beast, having recently awoken, decided to bite the guards'' heads off, effectively clearing the way for you.

It''s funny. I was thinking about that as I studied some old console RPGs. The way gaurds usually block your path. It would be difficult to pull that off if you''re the general, though

dgaf -> Those are great insights into a story I didn''t know could have such depth. Thanks. One problem with the blockage is that roads wouldn''t need to connect something to allow travel. I just meant that if there were roads, then other blockages would have been romoved to make the road. But the lack of a road is not really a blockage itself. A lot of the game will also take place in forests and on mountains, so it''s difficult to pull any of it off right. What makes one forest passable, but another not? Drawing different densities could make it apparent, but what makes it realistically acceptable? Has anyone ever seen a forest that couldn''t be walked through, excluding rainforest/tropical? I live in stickville, practically dead center in the middle of one

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