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Hexagonal v square tiles

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I have a request for opinions. For a turn-based tactics game, which tiles are the mainstream: hexagonal or square? I suspect that the tile shape affects how easy it is for the average gamer to get into the game, but maybe the bias I have is subjective and uncommon. I hope opinions from the community would help me come to a conclusion. Thanks in advance!

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I think squares are the most common, but I doubt hexes make life more difficult for new players. In fact, it may be more intuitive since it's the closest to free movement.

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just throwing this out there, but is there any real reason you feel you MUST use a tile of any kind? Point to point per pixel movement isn't all that hard really.

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Quote:
Original post by Talroth
just throwing this out there, but is there any real reason you feel you MUST use a tile of any kind? Point to point per pixel movement isn't all that hard really.


From a tactical point of view, as a player, it's harder to get things right without tiles (for instance, when trying to prevent the enemy from crossing some area).

For tactical games, I'd say hex is mainstream.

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Personally, it doesn't matter much to me. Isometric or hex structures with any kind of height, such as buildings or towers, are usually more attractive than screen-relative square tiles.

There are different types of hex tiles, but one thing you might want to consider is that any hex shapes without edges facing all four major directions (up, down, left, right) are going to cause funky movement patterns relative to the screen. For example, the hex tiles used in the Fallout series didn't have an up or down edge. So when characters moved up or down, they needed to run back and forth to move in a "straight line".

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First, let me say thanks for your posts! Keep them coming!

ToohrVyk hit the nail on the head about pixel movement. I think isometric squares are attractive because of the drawback to hex that Kest mentioned.

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Square is much more common in my experience. Hex tends to be limited to tabletop or PC wargames. For consoles, square eliminates all the problems of mapping a 4-way dpad to a 6-way movement pattern.

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Isometric tiles are what I've always seen; to be honest, I have only played one or two games that used hexagons. I believe older games and table top games (which generally tend to be much older than video games) used hexagonal patterns, but isometric graphics stole the field in just about every genre for a long time. The thing is, like someone pointed out earlier, you really don't need tiles. If you want to form blockades and that sort of thing, give characters "zones of control" that enemies either can't pass at all, or cant pass without a free strike (suddenly I'm reminded of D&D's attacks of opportunity). You could get creative, and use elliptical zones of control, so character facing comes into play, or characters with certain weapons or skills could exude a larger zone.

I always felt that the strategy in non tiled games was a lot better, if only because it was a little more believable. No one stands in perfect grids, and terrain that isn't limited to a tile can look far more impressive. Aesthetics aside, non-tile based movement allows more complex maneuvers and prevents some rather illogical ones (you aren't facing the enemy in a linear fashion, and thus you cannot attack!).

As a side note, if you really want a tile system, I believe Hexagonal graphics allow more complex terrain, but isometric is more familiar. Square graphics that aren't isometric at all tend to create an odd perspective and seriously lack depth... but, that's purely aesthetic.

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Quote:
Original post by Kest
There are different types of hex tiles, but one thing you might want to consider is that any hex shapes without edges facing all four major directions (up, down, left, right) are going to cause funky movement patterns relative to the screen. For example, the hex tiles used in the Fallout series didn't have an up or down edge. So when characters moved up or down, they needed to run back and forth to move in a "straight line".


Well, that's an issue of presentation. You could animate movement in the same way you'd do it for Talroth's per pixel movement; you'd just restrict the choice of pixels to move to. I wonder if even the oddity of not always being able to move straight left/right or up/down (depending on how you orient the hex grid) could be managed by proper presentation.

Quote:
Original post by Talroth
just throwing this out there, but is there any real reason you feel you MUST use a tile of any kind? Point to point per pixel movement isn't all that hard really.


In addition to the other answers that've been given, I'd like to add "because it's fun". Basically, I think both have proven to be fun and, even though per pixel is more general and more "realistic", that doesn't make tile based games less fun. People still play chess even though we have Warhammer. People still play Risk even though we have Axis and Allies.

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Quote:
Original post by Way Walker
Quote:
Original post by Kest
There are different types of hex tiles, but one thing you might want to consider is that any hex shapes without edges facing all four major directions (up, down, left, right) are going to cause funky movement patterns relative to the screen. For example, the hex tiles used in the Fallout series didn't have an up or down edge. So when characters moved up or down, they needed to run back and forth to move in a "straight line".


Well, that's an issue of presentation. You could animate movement in the same way you'd do it for Talroth's per pixel movement; you'd just restrict the choice of pixels to move to. I wonder if even the oddity of not always being able to move straight left/right or up/down (depending on how you orient the hex grid) could be managed by proper presentation.

You can help it look better in some situations, but it's still a little hacky. Characters would need to land on an even or odd tile in order to move straight toward their goal. And characters that can only move one tile per turn are going to be zigzagging. It still looks odd from the player's perspective. It could be difficult to guess where such units are trying to move until you see their movement over several turns.

Quote:
Quote:
Original post by Talroth
just throwing this out there, but is there any real reason you feel you MUST use a tile of any kind? Point to point per pixel movement isn't all that hard really.


In addition to the other answers that've been given, I'd like to add "because it's fun". Basically, I think both have proven to be fun and, even though per pixel is more general and more "realistic", that doesn't make tile based games less fun. People still play chess even though we have Warhammer. People still play Risk even though we have Axis and Allies.

I agree. It's far easier to measure time unit spending with tiles. You can humanly estimate (ie: in your head) how many time units a movement will cost without dragging your cursor everywhere.

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