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mumboi

Automatic and Overhead Maps

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In most RPGs there is usually a map of some sorts. Whether it''s already fully explored or only shows what areas you''ve been to it''s always there to quickly look at. What if this map was taken away? Players wouldn''t know which way to go and could even get lost. Of course, there would be skills to allow easy travelling. A cartography skill allows the player to make a rough map of the surrounding area and even sell to other players. If the game was in 3D and had a rotatable camera other skills and equipment may be needed such as a sextant or compass. We take travelling too much for granted in RPGs. It''s not dangerous and there''s no fear of getting lost. If the automap was taken away I think travelling from one city to another could be just as much an adventure as a dungeon crawl. However, there would also be roads which are relatively safe and will definately reach your destination but shortcuts are always more fun... Comments?

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Now you got me started...

In a design I had back in early 2000, there was actually a cartography skill and it was important because player did not had map as an interface element, but as... OK, let''s get that structured.

1. Map is not provided to the player like an interface element, as seen in every RTS game out there.
2. Maps are artefacts. They could be found, traded (buy/sell), hand made and stored in player''s Atlas.
4. Maps as artefacts have those chars: area shown, scale, detail.
5. Area shown and scale don''t need description. Detail determines what featured of the landscape and to what level of accuracy are shown on the map. Example: Detail 1 - water/land distinction, basic elevation, major cities. Detail 2 - type of terrain added (forest, field), minor cities...
6. Every Map can present any part of the world at any scale with any detail.
7. The value of the map is calculated by thoe three factors.
8. Player has a "Draw map" mode - slow movement, creating map of the area he passed through (like discovering the map)
9. The shown area and the detail depend on player skill and current elevation (better view). Player choses the scale.
10. Once created, the map is stored in the Atlas.
11. If a player passes through an already mapped area, but has raised his skill, he has an option to remake the old map, adding details.

I''m improvising now, as I have to dig the archives for details. There were such things like marking landscape elements for orientation (like pile some rocks, or cut a sign in a tree), compass orientation, chance to get lost... And the travelling options and "skip to destination" solutions and... Oh! It''s coming back to me now...

I''ll find some time and post that later. It could even reserve me a place in the FORPGpedia...

Boby Dimitrov
boby@shararagames.com
Sharara Games Team

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Several bits more... Travelling options:

1. There are several types of roads the player could take to travel from here to there:
--- Maroj road
--- Normal road
--- Minor road
--- Path
--- Offroad route

Each of those has several factors:
--- Speed of travelling
--- Cost (will explain later)
--- Chance of friendly encounter
--- Chance of enemy encounter

Also, on different routes player could have several transportation options:
--- Caravan
--- Horse
--- Mule
--- By foot

Those have the same factors as above:
--- Speed of travelling
--- Cost (will explain later)
--- Chance of friendly encounter
--- Chance of enemy encounter

The factors are actually bonuses/penalties and are cumulative. I''ll post the table later, but it comes down like that (on a 1 to 4 scale):
Example 1: Travelling on Major road by Caravan has Speed 2, Cost 3, CFE 3, CEE 1. That means, that it''s not quite fast and takes money, but it''s safe and you can meen interesting people (eventually find quests, info, artifacts).
Example 2: Travelling on Path by Horse has speed 4, Cost 3, CFE: 1, CEE: 4. That means, that''s the fastest way to travel on path, but it costs some and it''s risky.

And so on... More to follow!

Boby Dimitrov
boby@shararagames.com
Sharara Games Team

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I don''t know how I missed this one.Yes, I completely agree with you.I believe that travelling the wild should be an adventure,you could get lost, starve to death, get robbed, eaten by monsters ... anything ! And weather would be important, too if suddenly there was a storm you''d have to find shelter.

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Nice ideas here.

I like the idea that the character has some sort of internal map right from the start of the game. Think of it as your characters initial geographical knowledge. This map would not be 100% accurate, only an approximation. The map is most accurate around the characters home town, and gets less detailed and less accurate further away. He might now the exact route to the next village, but he only has a rough idea where the neighbouring nations capital city is. Rather than update the map automatically, perhaps the player should have to update it himself, using some simple tools. (of course the player could ignore it and keep all that info in his head, it is up to him) Alternatively, you can buy a more accurate map, but this could be stolen or dropped, or lost.

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By spending more time in a place you get more familiar with the terrain...

You could prehapse get away with this by using a blurring effect over not so well known parts of the map... or a kind of fog (not as dense as the fog of war though )

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - The future of RPGs Thanks to all the goblins in the GDCorner niche

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Cool, that''s fit nice with the blurring and shadowing of the not-in-viewrange areas (look for older post on view range)

Boby Dimitrov
boby@shararagames.com
Sharara Games Team

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I wonder if you speak of the Vision Mosaic that was discussed in the doc. This was a rant on zooming out (in top-down view) and how much detail you would be able to make out of the countryside by turning the vision into a mosaic to stop the player from cheating. I might have to read through some of the older threads (I am archiving them all right now onto my HDD for quick reference when updating the doc)...

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - The future of RPGs Thanks to all the goblins in the GDCorner niche

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On the concept of having several places marked on your map to start with, I think that this is quite a good idea.

Ie. Somewhere to the West is the sorcerer''s tower
The mountain''s of the Frostbitten Snowman are in a NNE direction.
The temple of Agoodgod is to the NW of the FSmountains.

Having this would not drastically reduce the element of exploration, and would in fact enhance it.

Ie. The point of exploration is not to FIND the temple/tower etc. But to GET there. It is the obstacles and events that you encounter in reaching the destination that would make it exciting.

At the same time, the fact that you have a GENERAL idea of the location reduces the amount of frustrating AIMLESS wondering that the player would have to do.

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