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WiseElben

World Map

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I've been having trouble deciding if I should have a world map or not in my 2d RPG. I've been flip-flopping my choice for a year and a half now, ever since I started development. XD What I'm thinking now is that I should NOT have a world map. Rather, each city/town/dungeon can be accessed by walking through maps, like you see in a lot of action RPGs like Fable or Ragnarok Online. That's a crappy explanation.. Here, I explain better using pictures: c - city 1 t - town 1 d - dungeons f - fields [f][f][f][f] [d][f][t][f] [f][f][f][f] [f][c][f][f] [f][f][f][f] So if you want to go from city 1 to town 1, you'll need to pass thourgh 3 fields. Would this work for a top-down RPG like mine?

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This is pretty much what I'm planning on doing in my RPG. IMO this kind of game is more immersive without an overworld. You'll probably have to balance the distances between areas on the map so that it doesn't take too long to get from place to place, and the areas don't seem like they're too close together. You might want to implement some kind of teleportation system. Some examples of games that are like this are Secret of Mana 2 and Seiken Densetsu 3... IIRC they don't use world maps (although in SD3 you go into world map mode when you're flying).

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Remember that its important to have A map. What I mean is that a player can get lost quite fast, and its important to have some form of bearing on where you're going. If you go with large fields between places, then give the player an option on his menu screen to see a map and the names of the places hes been.

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That's what I was thinking. An excerpt from my documenties:

Quote:

-World Map:
-World map will be divided into parts, instead of having one large map. Try to make it feel like a real world, instead of a small, closed world.
-There will be no world map. All maps are connected, like in Fable and Ragnarok. Teleportation or a fast way of transportation is a must.


I was thinking about putting in a teleport item that would randomly teleport you to a random position, but that would be cheap, and the non-world map design would loose its purpose.

Anyone else have any comments?

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Quote:
Original post by Inmate2993
Remember that its important to have A map. What I mean is that a player can get lost quite fast, and its important to have some form of bearing on where you're going. If you go with large fields between places, then give the player an option on his menu screen to see a map and the names of the places hes been.


Ah yes, I've been thinking about that too. At first, I dind't like the way the new RPGs had mini maps that told you where you were on the map, since I started using the map, and didn't bother to look a the surroundings. Then, I stopped using only the map and found it quite useful.

Another problem I dind't realize until you brought it up is about the fields between the towns/cities. Would it be more benificial to the player if I had, lets say, 3 field maps between towns, so the user won't get lost as easily, or have one huge field, which will give it a "world" feel to it.

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So there's really two discussions to this topic: a world map, in general, and transportation within that world.

Most people will agree that a map (of some kind) is a must. Most players won't have enough experience traversing your map (more than likely) unless you deliberately force people to track through the same terrain enough times that the map itself is burned into their memory piece-by-piece.

Ways to avoid having players rely on a map (although it may still be a good idea to have one) is to have a number of familiar (and unique) areas to help players navigate. This is generally how women become familiar with their surroundings (by memorizing specific locations), whereas men have a small amount of mercury at the tip of their nose to help guide them....which is why we never get lost [looks around awkwardly]. The problem is that isn't going to help male players play your game and learn the world.

Trying to learn how to help people become familiar with your world using cognition and various psych/physi-ological studies would be too time-consuming and inefficient.

One type of map system that I prefer is not jus to have a miniature map that I can pull up (that includes symbols for towns and your current location among other things), but also some kind of a compass system that is a part of the in-game interface. Knowing that you have to travel north-east can be enough information to get you where you want to go and almost give a sense of exploration to those of us who have trouble sometimes visualizing an entire map with various locations.

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Personally I never liked the games with 2 scales on them, where you travel for long distances over some overland map and then it all changes for the cities or dungeons. I find it much more immersive to have it all on the same scale. I want to enjoy the wilderness to the same degree of detail as the settlements.

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I agree with Inmate2993 ("it's important to have a map"). But I don't like when maps are divided in "fields" (as the original poster suggests); I prefer a continuous map.

About travelling long distances, I don't mind if it's something puntual (i.e.: crossing a desert once to reach some temple or anything similar). But if I need to travel a lot, and a lot of times, just because you've dispersed too much the items in the game (stupid example: the key of the right-most door is in the left-most box. And that box is closed so you need the right-most key to open it. Of course, you start at the left-most point of the map... So you have to cross all the map 3 times to open just one door). Maybe you can provide short-cuts (instead of tele-transport, if you don't like it) that get opened when you've reached both sides (e.g.: a tunnel that opens once you've gone all the way around the mountain).

And about too opened spaces: I prefer to see a path from town to town, so I won't get lost easily. Of course, I can follow it or leave it and go my own way (and find some secret places, by example).

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The approach I like but haven't seen implemented is to have area maps and a world map. However the world map is just that a map with paths marked on it. So if you want to get from town 1 to town 2 the first time you have to walk there through the area maps, this will create a path on the world map between the two towns based on the route you took. From then on you can travel between the two towns quickly by selecting that path from the world. In this way you keep the immersion of exploration without the tedium of having to repeatidly travel through the same set of area maps whenever return to a location.

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On a 2d game, you probably wouldn't need a compass, but pretend for a moment that we have a 3d free camera type of game. It would be important to have some form of always on-screen compass. You wouldn't even need cardinal directions, just a marker. In the 2d world, this would translate to the player marking where he wants to go on his big parchment map, and on-screen an arrow pointing towards where he wants to go. In the 3d world, this arrow (actually, compass. I prefer compass, not arrows) this compass would point in the direction the player wants to go and turns with the player so the player doesn't lose sense of direction.

Important note: If you have a minimap, DO NOT put a compass on the minimap. I've been playing Star Ocean 3 and I keep getting lost because the compass turns and the minimap doesn't.

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