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evanofsky

Boundaries

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I'm curious: how do you keep the player inside a level? I mean in a first person shooter or a game where the player is a human, you can just line the level with buildings or fences or mountains. But what about a helicopter or airplane? Like in Battlefield you can get in a helicopter and fly around, but from what I've heard the maps are about 2 miles square. Do you just "loop" the level, so if you keep going north, you end up in the south end of the map?

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Depends on the game. In Battlefield, I think it gives you a warning that you're leaving the combat zone, and then you die or something. I played some motorcycle game, where if you got to the edge it catapulted you back into the level. I've played games that loop. You just have to come up with something that makes sense.

tj963

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Yes, I mostly see warnings about leaving the battle area. If you ignore the warnings and go too far out, your vehicle self-destructs.

This works, but I'd prefer to find an in-game explanation - radiation damage, heat damage, loss of power, something that legitimately explains why you can't go too far from the action.

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But often, there's no good reason why you can't, so the designer needs to put in a straightforward rule to prevent it, like, "if you go too far you blow up". Two methds I haven't seen mentioned yet in this thread were in A-10 Attack! and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

A-10 is a (pretty old) flight sim with huge maps, and if you went to the borders and kept going, the terrain just flattened out and ground clutter rolled past randomly. Your air speed and flight controls were normal, and you could fly for hours and hours, but if you turned around, you'd be back on the map after about a half-mile. You could fly all you wanted to, but your position would never get far from the edge.

In GTA:SA, you actually could fly forever into the distance, and when you turned around, you'd have the whole return trip ahead of you. That's set on an island, so it's just ocean to the horizon forever in front of you, but it'f freedom, I guess.

Star Fox just has you do an automatic U-turn at the borders. This is good for fighting, but since the enemies can go well beyond the edges of the maps, you sometimes feel cheated by your short rope. It's like that dog that Foghorn Leghorn is always whaling on: They shoot at you, and you go blasting out there to take your revenge, and the chain goes taut just before they come in range of your blasters.

Wind Waker did the same thing. The boat says, "The waters beyond this point are too dangerous!" and refuses to sail farther.

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Maybe a message like "Warning: You are leaving secured air space." would pop up and if you kept on going, a SAM or something would fire at you, and no matter what it would hit you. Whatever it is, it ruins the realistic effect and leaves the player feeling cheated. How depressing.

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This wouldn't work for every type of game, but many times you can have some kind of limited fuel/energy level, and the only sources are within your city/play area. The player can wander around, but will be guaranteed to run out of fuel/energy before reaching the actual limits of the map.

Once out of fuel, the player dies or gets picked up and brought to a refueling station. If the player wants to explore, he/she will have to make sure that there is enough fuel for the return to a refueling station, thus realistically limiting his mobility.

Just my 2 cents.

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In Morrowind if you've got permanent levitation or waterwalk you enter "wilderness" whenever you get too far out in the water. But you don't really get anywhere.

Crimson Skies uses a really elegant approach. Rather than the stupidity of blowing you up, you get a warning and a gentle reorienting of your plane.

It's going to be some time before we get a large, procedurally generated world filled with millions of buildings and terrain features. (And maybe that's a good thing, else the signal to noise ratio would be ugly.)

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I remember one of the MMORPG threads discussed this a while ago, and one idea (maybe mine, I'm not sure) was to have the challenges get so absurdly difficult as you approach a boundary that nobody could hope to survive. It would make expeditions fun and challenging no matter your skill or character level, but would prevent even the uberplayers from actually crossing the world's threshold.

In a flight sim this could translate to SAM sites like evanofsky suggested, or a half-dozen enemy MiGs show up "on patrol" with heavy armament and vaporize you with a barrage of missiles that nobody could possibly avoid. And if by some miracle you manage to hold your own, another one will spawn for each you destroy, and you'll finally be overwhelmed.

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Making going over the border spawn lots of enemies or such will only encourage power gamers to try it. If you do that, expect it to become a standard competition in your game ("let's see if you can beat me! i went 430mt out before dying!")
as for turning ala Starfox, as someone said: It only feels fair if enemies aren't allowed to get out of those boundaries either.
As for Motocross Madness 2, that's the most hilarious boundary I've ever seen. BOOM! blasted back to the *center* of the arena.
The mentioned out-of-fuel approach was used beautifully (imho) by a game called "Darker". Quite an oldie. Look it up @ www.the-underdogs.org

Notable implementations:
in Half Life 2, if you try to swim too far, you get eaten by schools of mutant fish in seconds.
GTA San Andreas' approach sounds nifty, but limits you to use it in islands of sorts.
A-10 Attack's approach sounds the best to me. Soon you figure out you're going nowhere and turn around, and spontaneously you're back in track.

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Another option might be to have mountains or some sort of rocky terrain at the edge, and create increasingly higher wind speeds as you get out so it becomes more and more difficult to not crash into the jagged rocks below. Not too terribly different than the many many enemies approach, but probably less distracting- if you had enemies out there, the players might get cunfused as to where they are supposed to be fighting (regardless of messages from command or whatnot) because they get the same sort of gratification, just a harder challenge.

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