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ChristianSA

Hex or square

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Hi All,

I am contemplating writing a 2D tour based strategy game.

What is the benefits of a Hex based game board vs. a square based?

Any input is appreciated.

-Christian

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Square tiles: choice of 4- or 8-connectedness. Easier to create graphics that tile/repeat. Simpler mouse logic. Direct mapping from tile position to tile index in underlying data structure.

Hex tiles: natural-looking 6-connectedness. Easy to create a more organic appearance. More natural, circle-like ranging than the concentric diamonds of 4-connected squares, or the concentric squares of 8-connected squares.

Your mileage may vary on all these points. Its usually a matter of opinion. Nevertheless, the natural-looking 6-connectedness is why many turn based strategies use them, especially old pen&paper ones like Battletech and modern tactical RPGs like "Battle for Wesnoth".

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Quote:
Original post by Wyrframe
Square tiles: choice of 4- or 8-connectedness. Easier to create graphics that tile/repeat. Simpler mouse logic. Direct mapping from tile position to tile index in underlying data structure.

Hex tiles: natural-looking 6-connectedness. Easy to create a more organic appearance. More natural, circle-like ranging than the concentric diamonds of 4-connected squares, or the concentric squares of 8-connected squares.

Your mileage may vary on all these points. Its usually a matter of opinion. Nevertheless, the natural-looking 6-connectedness is why many turn based strategies use them, especially old pen&paper ones like Battletech and modern tactical RPGs like "Battle for Wesnoth".


As you say 4/8-conn is easier to work with but 6-conn gives a more natural appearance. If I go for 4/8-conn, I plan to use a more "realistic" movement model, so that moving north, south, east or west will cost one movement point and moving diagonal (SE,NE,SW,NW etc.) costs square root 2 (i.e. 1.4) movement point.

That way I would have circle looking range instead of diamond shapes while having the relative simpleness of squares as well as having 8-directional movement instead of 6-directional movement.

I have not seen any games featuring such movement strategy and I wonder if there is something I forgot to consider?


-Christian

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Direction and tile shape don't have to be locked. Many rectangular, iso and hex games utilize 8 directional movement since the tiles are only for representing the layout of the terrain and really have no bearing on movement.

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Quote:
Original post by evillive2
Direction and tile shape don't have to be locked. Many rectangular, iso and hex games utilize 8 directional movement since the tiles are only for representing the layout of the terrain and really have no bearing on movement.


That is good news. I am not much of a gamer myself; would you care to supply me with some examples of such games?

-Christian

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Quote:
Original post by ChristianSA
Quote:
Original post by evillive2
Direction and tile shape don't have to be locked. Many rectangular, iso and hex games utilize 8 directional movement since the tiles are only for representing the layout of the terrain and really have no bearing on movement.


That is good news. I am not much of a gamer myself; would you care to supply me with some examples of such games?

-Christian

Isn't runescape like that, using a square/tiled terrain setup, but allowing movement in all directions? I don't really know, I don't play.

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Check out Makai Kingdoms and Phantom Brave. They have free movement over a standard square tile terrain. The main problem with these games is you have to fiddle to get your units into a position that will allow you to do what you want them to do. You could spend a few seconds to get that target reticle just right to get all 4 enemies instead of 3, which was annoying. Without free movement, this is easier since units occupy a specific tile and a skills affect tiles in a predictable way.

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Using hex tiles has the advantage that the distance to the centre of each of the 6 touching tiles is exactly the same.

The distance to the centre of a diagonally-touching tile in a square map is ~1.41 times the distance of the centre of a non-diagonal neighbour.

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Tetragon (stupid google chrome dictionary and firefox dictionary does not know that tetragon is a word that means the same as quadrilateral) tiles are easier to manage because you can use a virtual 2d array (actual 1d array) to hold the values. With hexagons, you have to create a virtual hexagonal grid with an offset effect to the array, a brick wall is a good example of the emulation of hexagonal placement of with tetragons.
The distortion depends on which angle the character transverse. Methods that involve making "free" movement are truly tetragonal system in its core. However, these methods use Pythagorean Theorem for movement cost.

Edit:
Pro Hex link
The point is that in the range of 3 to 6 movement spaces, hex have less distortion, but beyond 9 movement spaces, squares have less distortion.

[Edited by - Platinum_Dragon on October 13, 2010 9:13:35 AM]

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Actually the way that I setup my data backend for my Hex maps, is a little bit unorthodox, and I am not sure if it is too much more overhead, but I invision a hex grid as a stack of cubes.

If you look at hexes they are actually cubes that have their edges hidden. So I refer to them using a 3 dimensional coordinate system rather than a complex offset two dimensional system.

Let me know how this works out for ya.

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