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Map design

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Hi! My current project is, yet another, single player RPG. Because its my first official project, I'm making a simple (couple of spells, simple battles, etc), short (about 4-6 hours of gameplay) but very stylish game with a strong story. I'm in the process of writing the design document for my game and, obviously, I'm banging my head on the walls with couple of thingies. My current problem is how to implement the maps (read: landscapes). Right now, I'm unsure what to use for map design and even better, I'm unsure what the final product should look like. For example, the tools I have to make landscapes are Terragen and World Builder. Now, my main problem actually is I have no clue what the final product should look like. Should I try seaming the maps just like in morrowind (which is going to be a serious pain in the neck) or should I go with a simple base like everquest qith zoning? Any other ideas, anyone?

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Hum... I had to cut my message short as I had someone in my office waiting for me.

Long story short, yes, zoning is probably what I was going towards. I tried to create landscape and juxtapose them in a way to make them seamable and it's WAY too hard for me right now: adjust textures, adjust vertexes height, adjust physics, etc, etc, etc. Not impossible, but a heck of a work for a small freeware game.

So I would like to know what other methods/way you guys know that could handle players in those maps. Hum... thats not clear at all... To help me out express my thoughts, let's take for example Battlefield which had a simple way of avoiding player to run off the map: by warning them that deserters would be executed. That would prevent a player to get off the playing zone quite quickly and force him to get back to the playable zone.

But in a RPG world (with only a couple of maps... like 10 of them), executing a dwarf because hes getting out of the region would be quite stupid. Everquest had a simple but very ugly way to handle it: rock walls. Dark ages of Camelot even more simple: If Position.X > 1000 then Position.X = 1000.

So instead of using tree walls and other ugly things, what would you guys suggest?

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Just my advice:

I would hold off on map considerations until you know what your gameplay is going to look like. Much will depend on the amount of content you want to represent, which is contingent on your art resources, and how much engineering you're going to have to do in terms of gameplay mechanics.

If you spend a bunch of time now working on how to represent the world you may find that you don't have enough to put into it. This may be particularly true for a first project.

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