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Detail VS Playability

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I am currently working on designing the visual aspect of my maps for my game. After much thought I am not sure which route to take as for a nice balance between detail and artwork and then ease of playing. The situation: I am designing a tbs strategy game. I have to decide whether or not to render the game board in its entirety or make it scrollable. My aim is to create a pretty isometric view with a painted playing board. The idea is that the board will be a jpeg that is sliced up into squares. The units will be represented by isometric view squared tiles that are png for transparency. (I know this sounds confusing, the game board is in html and only supports squares). The question: What is the optimum LOD for a strategy game? Without having to scroll your screen so much that it becomes annoying and frustrates the player. I know my personal preferences but I'm not designing this game for myself to play. Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.

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Simply create a fully rendered image map page and then use that in an i-frame. That way you get the full map the way you want easily, you get the scrolling ability, you kill the reloading, and you get menus that won't move. That along with the fact you can make it fit on multiple displays all means it's probably the best solution.

Oh yeah you can also replicate a isometric grid by creating 2 tables over laying each other using DHTML (javascript+CSS+HTML).

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If you can scale your graphics, you could just allow zooming.

If the zoom is hardcoded at a specific distance, then you need to decide the distance by looking at the gameplay. For example, what is the farthest a unit can fire a projectile? Make your zoom that + some spacing. Consider all of the things that need to happen on screen before deciding how far to place the screen.

As far as detail at a specific level, I don't think it matters. You don't necessarily have to lose detail with playability. Some cluttered up maps are difficult to play through, while some cluttered up maps are not. It depends on the art style, the animated nature of units, and etc. It might not be a bad thing if a tank can park between some wreckage and shut off its engine to not be seen.

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