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infrmtn

People, people! Stop making large worlds!

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I think game world sizes are just like any other aspect of a game. There are right ways to do it, and there are wrong ways to do it. In this case, I don't think a large game world is necessarily flat out wrong. Some games have done it right (in so far as trying to create the game experience they were targetting anyways).

It's interesting you should mention Morrowind as well, cause I feel this is a game that did it right. The world was large, but I never felt it was overly large. It was a very open ended game, and some people don't want that in a game whether it's large or small. It did provide plenty of means to figure things out without just wandering around aimlessly. Involved talking to a lot of people, but getting the information was part of the challenge. Knowing where to go so you didn't wander around aimlessly was another part. In an open ended game like this, a large environment is almost a requirement, else it becomes far to easy to just stumble onto the things you are looking for.

World of Warcraft, for all it's flaws, has done a good job with it's game world as well. Every area has it's flavor, it's residents (good or bad), and it's own story and history. There are the repetitive trees and bushes and what have (but in all reality, even in the middle of a real forest, a tree is pretty much a tree), but there's almost always something unique within a few minutes run of where ever you are, and for most of those places there's an actual story behind them, if you're inclined to dig for them (though most players aren't)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I know a very bad game world example: Rubies of Eventide. It's a free MMORPG and not so bad, but the game world is
1.) too small (i've played 4 days and seen everything)
2.) there's nothing to see / no content / sometimes not even trees or flowers

The world is parted into 6 smaller maps (It may be more in the future, there are streets that end at an "invisible wall")
Everything there is until now:
3 small villiges with some trainers, some dealers and some guards and about 2 npcs with a quest
2 smaller villiges with even less people
1 mine with some dealers in front and lots of kobolds inside (nothing to see, but some shining crystals and strange moving textures / bug)
1 keep: here you respawn and can store things
1 cemetary with lots of undead/skeletons running around and one realy bad undead
ruins: again a lot of (harder) undead
1 inn: few trainers and one or two quests
half a dozen people standing somewhere in the wilderness with a small quest
Most of the time not even trees, but only wide landscape with a bunch of bears, boars, tigers, wolves, goblins, zombies, skeletons, snakes and lizards
And there's something in the underground, but I didn't get into it, because it is still closed for me

And the few quests I found until now are even pretty "simple" (I've just read another thread about roleplaying / interesting quests / npcs). They were like deliver this scroll to xy, get me some wood, etc., fetch a box for me. Kill xy. There are quests for higher level chars, but after running around hours and hours killing bears and improving some skills it gets really boring.

There are only few people on the server I am on (<

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I prefer large (CRPG) worlds, as I like the feeling of freedom and the ability to explore relatively unhindered. Finding "action" is not every player's primary objective.

For me, smaller worlds often induce claustrophobia and a sense of being "herded" along a particular path.

As far as Daggerfall and Morrowind are concerned, I'm probably the exact opposite of Gyrthok, as I much prefer the former to the latter.

Incidentally, it supposedly takes 2 weeks in real time to walk from one side of the Daggerfall map to the other, so a map that can be traversed in 15 minutes in tiny in comparison. At an average walking speed, a person can only travel about a mile in a quarter of an hour.

As others have mentioned, world size is another aspect that is down to personal preference. Personally, I intend to create the types of games that I like to play, rather than creating something I would dislike, merely to please a particular demographic.

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Funny, I've been meaning to start a topic that's just the opposite of this, called "Curb Your Enthusiasm: How Unrealistic Expectations Are Killing Games." (or something like that) [wink]

I do understand where the desire for greater fidelity and variety is coming from. But I'm also supremely aware that that same desire is pushing game budgets into the astronomical range.

More important than anything else, I see that the problem isn't terrain, it's choices and results per time segment. If your paradigm is monster bashing, as is the norm, that means you'll need wildernesses filled with monsters (that players are going to get bored with unless you have a lot).

I suspect you can make a game interesting with a flat red texture stretching to infinite horizons, if the gameplay itself doesn't concern itself with geography. Combat and Fedex missions, the staple of RPGs the world over, are all about geography-- finding it, negotiating it, using it to your best advantage.

But the flight sim example ICC brought up is a great contradiction to this because the gameplay isn't so much embedded in the geography, it's embedded in the object being controlled and the forces controlling it.

For the medieval RPG, which is the norm, this posses some serious problems, because it's hard to embed gameplay in flesh. But it could be done with what the person is carrying, how their magick works-- all sorts of things that make the terrain secondary to the real goals of the game.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Having an oversize game world isn't really a problem if you've allowed the player to "live" in it with autotravel/mapping features...e.g. Fallout.

The problem is when you backtrack a lot, or get lost. Most games now try very hard not to let you get lost, but they consider backtracking OK. But it's not ok...

Travel time for its own sake is fine the first time only.

And after that you should probably start inserting cinematics to depict travel instead. Complexity of travel is a very off-putting aspect of modern games. It robs one of the immediacy of reaching the next plot point or character advancement. Simply shrinking down the world results in something like DX:IW where the world feels miniature and all locations contain something relevant, to the point where exploration is robbed of meaning; the player decides "if I wander around at random the game solves itself."

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Quote:
Original post by infrmtn
So our computers get faster and we can show more polygons, but the developer still has to come up with ideas to populate the world with. Forget about making a large world if all you're gonna do is spray it with trees and move on to design towns, "'cause that's where the action is."

So does that mean you're not going to like my game set on the surface of a Dyson sphere? [wink]
Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
Almost all the locations in a game should either have something to do, someone to talk to, or at the least be particularly interesting to look at and explore. Its often argued that the world should be large and unconstrained to help the players immersion, and this is a good point - but personally I'd prefer to have a slightly less realistic world where I can't just go look 'over there' unless there's actually something to do or see over there.

Argh! No, that would be totally evil. Not the mention being the lazy way. The right approach would be to make sure that interesting things are happening wherever you go. If there are quests waiting to be introduced to the player, instead of putting them in a fixed location, you could put them in whatever towns that the player visits. Or you could procedurally generate random quests.

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Quote:
Original post by infrmtn
I'm saddened to see people (designers!) thinking of games so narrowly.


That's not a very productive thing to say, is it? If there's a point in question that you disagree with, why not highlight it? After all, it's not as if your original post really said all that much apart from "don't make things repetitive", which isn't terribly constructive.

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Now Final Fantasy XI has really really big areas. As a low level player, your time will probably be spent running around. Just running from one edge of a zone to the other edge would take anywhere from 15 - 20 minutes, but at least each zone had distinctive geographical characteristics, which you probably need to use some times to avoid being detected by monsters that roam the area. The developers have been expanding the world and some of the new areas just have a very interesting sense of design to them, yet have the natural organic touch. Warrant that it does get mundane after a while, but that's where teleporting and warping comes in.

I had wished to be able to see the entire world, but sadly after about 18 months of playing, i still have not seen more than 60% of it, and it just keeps growing. :|

But truthfully speaking, I agree that levels should not be larger than their content. If you are going to have large regions, you better have it make sense. Immersion is a nice arguement for large levels and zones, but you have to do it right. Its okay if you have a large desert, just don't put a rain forest or swamp right next to it, because that's probably never going to happen in real life anyways. Randomness is also nice, but things still have to make sense.

I think, in general, the industry is getting better at it. But probably the worst example of level design recently was Suikoden4. It was horrible. Large world, little content, high encounter rate, and the actual dungeons and areas were relatively small and linear. The game was horrible compared to Suikoden3. I would say that in recent memory for me, Suikoden 4 is probably the best case study of what NOT to do in a game, gameplay-wise, level design-wise, etc.

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Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
That's not a very productive thing to say, is it? If there's a point in question that you disagree with, why not highlight it? After all, it's not as if your original post really said all that much apart from "don't make things repetitive", which isn't terribly constructive.


Hey, I don't see you adding much to the topic now. Maybe you'd like me to fill a form and draw a picture? Look, if you can't extract my point from my THREE previous posts (read the second one) then here it is, as clear as an unmuddied lake: Think of something new NOT ALREADY DONE in the last big names of genre x.

OK, let's go back, if you read that and thought it really was the point I was trying to make then you need to pay more attention. The real point (thus not the slightly fake point above) I will leave to the individual to solve. But when they think of games as black and white they can never achieve anything.

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