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infrmtn

People, people! Stop making large worlds!

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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
[...]Imagine if you could be a cartographer in an MMO. Would you ever think there's too much map to find?[...]
Unless they can find some way of making exploration fun, YES! The fact that there is something to do doesn't make it interesting unless that something is fun. Walking around drawing lines on a paper doesn't sound fun to me, and truly I can't think of any way to make playing a cartographer interesting in the long run unless you can actually find new areas and name them after yourself and claim them and build castles and keeps on them and run yoru own kingdom etc, ni which case you're more of an explorer then king than a cartographer.

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Original post by Kylotan
I must point out that I'm fed up of small worlds. I like exploring, and looking for interesting things. Obviously there needs to be these interesting things hidden among the terrain, but I don't agree that the same number of things in a smaller area is better. The feeling of exploring a vast territory adds a lot to the feel of a game for me.
Do you prefer the modern games that have square miles of terrain with at most a few square feet of content in it? Do you truly find it rewarding to wander for hours to find a single interesting thing when you could instead kill a monster and find 10 of them or go into town and find hundreds in only a few seconds?
Personally, I find the terrain in most modern games entirely and completely boring. I have no feeling of exploration as I walk around, and no feeling of discovery when I find that single interesting thing in all the wilderness because the time taken to find it was far too long. This is part of the #1 reason I don't play MMOs or MMO-like games.

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Original post by infrmtn
Really, please learn the art of quoting or refrain from doing it, would you?


I'm probably not alone in interpreting this and the other responses you've made as pretty condescending. Now, notice that whatever point you were trying to make (which is not clear to me, either), that we've shifted from talking about the debate you wanted to have to pointing out the language of the post. By comparison, look at the other posts in this forum, and notice that the same thing is not occurring.

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But seriously, if two moderators can't even quote me right, horribly deforming any point I'm trying to make, then how could anyone else understand it?


I've made a lot of weird and hard to understand posts since I've been here. Whenever someone doesn't understand my ideas, it's my responsibility to try to build a bridge between where they are, and where I am (so that we both can learn).

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Anyway, I can't see how someone could be insulted by me telling them they think narrowly. Come on, these people aren't kids, and even if they were do you think it would insult them?


Your communication style is narrow, immature and ineffective. (You, of course, won't take that as an insult, right?)

If you want your point taken more seriously, how about contributing a plan of action with details that makes clear the nature of the problem, exactly how you'll solve it, and what you think the effects of your solution will be. Then, people can respond based on the merits of what you write, not your unclear communication style.

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An old example of a small world that's (sometimes) too large:

XCOM: UFO

Anyone whose ever had to track down the last alien on a map knows that the 5 or 6 tiles square maps (each tile being something like 15 by 15 squares) are suddenly very large when you have to spend up to quarter of an hour retreading previously explored ground to find the one survivor who slipped through your net earlier...

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Original post by rmsgrey
Quote:
Original post by pink_daisy
I won't comment on all games, but i will look at MMOs. Someone recently commented on the forums that they wanted bigger worlds in MMOs, but also wanted better teleportation systems. These two ideas are at odds. Teleporting has the effect of shrinking the game world. If you can move from your current location to any other location, then the world isn't big, it's very small.

Unfortunately most MMOs have these instant travel systems. People want large worlds, but then they want instant travel systems so they can bypass all the content. Again a big world with instant teleporting isn't a big world. There's no difference between a system where the dungeon is just outside of town and where you teleport from town right to the dungeon. In both cases you bypass everything inbetween.

PD


Except that, if you have 1000 dungeons, all of which you can teleport to from town, that's a larger world than the one where there's only one dungeon.

That's an apples and oranges comparison. I'm not talking about two different worlds one with 1 dungeon and the other with 1,000 dungeons. I'm talking about two worlds, both with the same number of dungeons, but in one travel is instant.

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What teleporting does is reduce the distance between locations, rather than changing the number of locations - effetively it alows you to choose the sequence you visit locations in rather than being forced to visit them in one of a limited range of patterns.


If you allow people to travel instantly between locations, then why have the intermediate areas at all? As soon as people gain the ability to travel instantly, very few will walk, and the vast majority will use the teleport system. This creates huge "dead space" areas where people simply bypass the content. It is a waste of time to designers to plan/build these areas when people don't play in them. If you are going to allow instant travel, then why not just remove the areas inbetween? Creating a city where all the dungeons are one screen away is the same as teleporting to them.

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It's similar to the difference between world that's 100 screens lng but only one screen wide, and one that's 10 screens by 10 screens. In one sense, the first is larger, because it can take longer to get from A to B; in another, it's smaller, because there are fewer routes through it; in a third, it's the same size, because there are as many locations.

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100x1=10x10, they are the same. The first is *not* larger or smaller, it's the same size. Whether it's 100x1 or 10x10 a player must physically travel in either case. In a teleport system, everything is 1x1 because you have removed the need to make such journeys.

Beyond the wasted areas that very few visit, there are other effects. One is the economy. If it's easy to move (and transport goods) from one area to another, then there will be no regional price differences and it greatly reduces scarcity. If a player must travel through the troll infested forest to get to the rare crystal mine, then the prices of crystals will be higher than if a player could simply teleport back and forth. Note the teleporting also removes additional gameplay. Players have to take greater risks to get the crystals, and they are rewarded with higher prices. It is also a form of accomplishment. Teleporting removes this.

When players can teleport for the various areas in a game world, then prices will tend to homogenize. Since there are basically zero transportation costs involved, the prices for same goods will move toward a single price. This eliminates yet another aspect of gameplay: arbitrage. While many players don't want to deal with these price differences, there are plenty of players who like the economic aspects of virtual worlds. To them playing the economic simulator is fun. They identify price differences in various areas and move to expoit those. EVE Online is a good example of this and there were players who did nothing but play the economic simulator. Not everyone wants to mindlessly bash orcs over the head for months at a time. Again this makes the world more dynamic and appeals to a greater variety of players.

Again there was a post just in the past couple weeks on this forum where someone wanted bigger worlds and at the same time asked for better teleporting systems. These are at odds with each other. The reason many keep asking for bigger worlds is because they already have teleport systems which allow players to bypass much of the content which in turn makes the world feel much smaller.

Should worlds be bigger or smaller than they current are? I dunno, but i do know that removing teleportation systems is the first step. Then designers can re-evaluate to see if a world is too big or too small. Until then changing its size is meaningless.

PD

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An old example of a small world that's (sometimes) too large:

XCOM: UFO

Anyone whose ever had to track down the last alien on a map knows that the 5 or 6 tiles square maps (each tile being something like 15 by 15 squares) are suddenly very large when you have to spend up to quarter of an hour retreading previously explored ground to find the one survivor who slipped through your net earlier...


I think you maybe thinking of UFO2: Terror From The Deep (or not), either way, that game was FAR worse for the "Stray enemy" than the first UFO was because of their larger maps. Nothing sucks more than trying to track down (and be killed instantly by) an alien hiding on football-field sized 4 layered map.

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If you allow people to travel instantly between locations, then why have the intermediate areas at all? As soon as people gain the ability to travel instantly, very few will walk, and the vast majority will use the teleport system. This creates huge "dead space" areas where people simply bypass the content. It is a waste of time to designers to plan/build these areas when people don't play in them. If you are going to allow instant travel, then why not just remove the areas inbetween? Creating a city where all the dungeons are one screen away is the same as teleporting to them.


Hmm.. You guys may be taking this in to much of a Black & White comparison. Ragnarok Online is an example of good Teleportation, but at a cost. Certain Area's have certain monsters that people have to, or want to kill for items/quests/better XP, and teleportation costs resources to use. Most people tend to walk because its free and Acolytes can teleport to only 3 places, but if they want to meet someone in a dungeon halfway across the world, it would be faster and more efficient to simply hunt down an Acolyte with the right warp memorized and teleport to the dungeons entrance.

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Hmm.. You guys may be taking this in to much of a Black & White comparison. Ragnarok Online is an example of good Teleportation, but at a cost. Certain Area's have certain monsters that people have to, or want to kill for items/quests/better XP, and teleportation costs resources to use. Most people tend to walk because its free and Acolytes can teleport to only 3 places, but if they want to meet someone in a dungeon halfway across the world, it would be faster and more efficient to simply hunt down an Acolyte with the right warp memorized and teleport to the dungeons entrance.


Your point is well made. If teleporting fits within the game fiction, then i can understand its inclusion. Most often, however, it's added as a way to skip much of the content. If you are going to allow players to avoid the content, then why put it in to begin with? It would be analogous to frodo baggins starting out in the shire /cut scene/ an next we see him at Sammath Naur, wherein lay the Cracks of Doom ready to destroy the ring. Much of the experience lies in the journey, not the destination.

I think teleporation is one of a slippery slope. If you allow players to bypass content in a trivial way, then they will lobby for an ever increasing level of it. If you only allow teleporting to certain cities or dungeons, they will complain that other cities and dungeons should be included. If there is a cost, they will complain it's too much (regardless of the cost) and petition for it to be lowered. In the end you have a system where you can teleport from anywhere to anywhere at a neglibile cost.

True, you *could* teleport in EVE, the only caveat being you had to die. Buying a new clone was not a trivial expense, and you couldn't teleport any items with you. In addition if you had any implants, it could be extremely costly to die.

Your best point is one of being able to join friends while adventuring. If you were logged out when your pals started through the forest of trolls, then it might well preclude you from joining them if you log in late. Some games use a method whereby it will determine how far you could have moved while you were logged out. When you log in you can decide where you would like to be located based on how far you could have moved during your absense.

Still, players had to deal with this in EVE Online, and i don't remember players making a big stink about it. It added another element to the game in which players had to make strategic decisions. People want instant gratification, but giving it to them often lowers the magnitude of their accomplishments.

Some games are all about instant gratification: FPSes, for example, are all about bunny hopping around and blasting everything that moves. You get the instant reward, but they are also very shallow experiences overall.

PD

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I think it all depends on the type of game you're making.

If you're making a content oriented game like World of Warcraft, a small, tight world is essential. Players can't spend all their time wandering around lost when there are quests to be done. Landmarks and hand-crafted terrain are essential. In this instance the world is like a supervised playground.

If you're making a player oriented game like (urg) Shadowbane, a large, permeable world is essential. There's no point in handcrafting an area when players are eventually going to mow it down to make room for their fortress of doom. In this instance the world is a lump of clay that a player moulds to their liking.

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So what do people feel about Serious Sam (1 & 2)?
I personally found this to be to big because it took ages to walk to where you wanted to get to. Fortunately the action usually came to you. It would be better however if there was something to tell you which way to go at times.
When you have to walk to a place in the distance it's really good if enemies pop out of different strategic places as you get closer. Or if something unexpectedly blocks your path that you have to go around, like an earthquake opening up the ground.

I think that most people will agree that HL2 was one that has it bang on the mark. A huge world, with so much variety, and so much to do, every step of the way. Of course it wasn't something where they could hold the entire world in memory at once!

I dislike worlds that are too limiting also.

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I didn't come here to say 5 * 5 = 25, Wave. I didn't consider that post to be extremely helpful and/or friendly, but it wasn't insulting either. It's what you think, isn't it, so it must to be true on some level.

If you like to present your ideas in the manner you described, do so. I've chosen a different approach. A designer knows he can't please everyone so he just has to do what he thinks is suitable.

I don't think it's as bad as you say. The discussion has been more diverse than one might think, no?

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Quote:
Original post by pink_daisy
Quote:
Original post by rmsgrey
Quote:
Original post by pink_daisy
I won't comment on all games, but i will look at MMOs. Someone recently commented on the forums that they wanted bigger worlds in MMOs, but also wanted better teleportation systems. These two ideas are at odds. Teleporting has the effect of shrinking the game world. If you can move from your current location to any other location, then the world isn't big, it's very small.

Unfortunately most MMOs have these instant travel systems. People want large worlds, but then they want instant travel systems so they can bypass all the content. Again a big world with instant teleporting isn't a big world. There's no difference between a system where the dungeon is just outside of town and where you teleport from town right to the dungeon. In both cases you bypass everything inbetween.

PD


Except that, if you have 1000 dungeons, all of which you can teleport to from town, that's a larger world than the one where there's only one dungeon.

That's an apples and oranges comparison. I'm not talking about two different worlds one with 1 dungeon and the other with 1,000 dungeons. I'm talking about two worlds, both with the same number of dungeons, but in one travel is instant.

So what is 1000 dungeons an eyeblink away compared to one half an hour away if not a larger world with better teleportation?
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What teleporting does is reduce the distance between locations, rather than changing the number of locations - effetively it alows you to choose the sequence you visit locations in rather than being forced to visit them in one of a limited range of patterns.


If you allow people to travel instantly between locations, then why have the intermediate areas at all? As soon as people gain the ability to travel instantly, very few will walk, and the vast majority will use the teleport system. This creates huge "dead space" areas where people simply bypass the content. It is a waste of time to designers to plan/build these areas when people don't play in them. If you are going to allow instant travel, then why not just remove the areas inbetween? Creating a city where all the dungeons are one screen away is the same as teleporting to them.

But what content is being bypassed? Yes, the correct solution is not to implement teleportation for everyone to everywhere, but nor is forcing the level-50 character to walk across 50 screens to get from town to the level-50 dungeon when the only things he'll encounter on the way that won't flee in terror are level-60 characters who've got bored of trekking back and forth and decided to resort to PKing to kill the time until their subscription expires...

Players may well not know what they want, but if enough are complaining then it's a strong indicator that you do have a problem, even if the solution isn't what they think they want.
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It's similar to the difference between world that's 100 screens lng but only one screen wide, and one that's 10 screens by 10 screens. In one sense, the first is larger, because it can take longer to get from A to B; in another, it's smaller, because there are fewer routes through it; in a third, it's the same size, because there are as many locations.



100x1=10x10, they are the same. The first is *not* larger or smaller, it's the same size. Whether it's 100x1 or 10x10 a player must physically travel in either case. In a teleport system, everything is 1x1 because you have removed the need to make such journeys.
[/quote]
You seem to be inconsistent in your arguments here. First you say that a world with 100 locations where you can move from one location to another without passing through others is smaller than one where you must pass through other locations, then you say that a world with 100 locations is the same size whether you have to pass through all 98 others to get between the two test locations or only 19 of them. Then you repeat that a teleporting world is smaller. A teleporting world has a denser direct connection graph.
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Should worlds be bigger or smaller than they current are? I dunno, but i do know that removing teleportation systems is the first step. Then designers can re-evaluate to see if a world is too big or too small. Until then changing its size is meaningless.

I agree that mindlessly inserting teleportation systems is extremely unlikely to be the best answer. The question that should be asked is why do players ask for teleportation and larger worlds simultaneously?

Larger worlds mean more content, which means more content of interest.

Teleportation means the ability to skip content, which means less content which isn't of interest.

Suddenly the two ideas make sense together - what's really wanted is more selective content. Which doesn't solve the problem, but does at least help identify the right problem to tackle...

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