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menyo

How large should my map be?

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menyo    972
Hey guys!

I'm currently designing a browser based MMO sandbox space simulator. I'm currently trying to find out how big of a map i should need. It would be a tile map.

What i currently have, each system has a 100*100 tile map and you can warp to any significant location like planets, moons, stations, asteroids, etc. On average there will be about 20 locations in each star system. When you arrive at such a locations you can enter the local map which also consists of a 100*100 tile map where you can fly to each tile. This makes up for an average tile count of 200000 per system.

Now 200000 tiles sound pretty good but i have a problem. I want a simple ship to see other players up to 4 tiles around him on the local tile map. But i want ships specifically designed for scouting to see far more then a simple ship.

let's say 10 times more that makes it 40 tiles, now that ship can almost see the complete map and i think thats a bit overpowered. But if i lower it the use of the "scanning" ship loses it's purpose. As a good battleship with a scan booster should scan at least 4 time the range of a "simple" ship.

So i have 2 choices i guess...
1. Make it so the scout/scanning ship can view almost all tiles like in my example. This leaves the local tile map 100*100 and this permits me from adding a higher tier scanning ship.

2. Increase the map size to like 500*500 or even higher, this allows me to make higher tier scanning ships but the map size might be overkill. as each system would have an average of 3.2 million tiles. And i want to start off with at least a couple of system.

Now what do you think i should do?

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menyo    972
Good point, but i still like to think it out as much as possible before i start. It saves work and i might need to change a lot in the database if i keep changing the map size.

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Acharis    5979
Shouldn't you be asking "how many tiles per player should the map have"? Asking for an arbitraly map size in multiplayer sounds strange to me...

What players density you aiming for? What is the desired frequency of encounters?

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Deyja    920
Store the size with the map, and you should be fine. Your code should work with any size map. If it doesn't, change it so it does. Then you won't need to throw away old maps while experimenting.

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It's less a question of hard numbers and more a question of ratios. You want to have ship scan range at a default size, with ship modifications theoretically expanding that range up to 5x. You also want a role-specialized scoutship that sees 10x base sight range, but you're afraid that the scout's vision will expose too much of the map and break balance and/or immersion.

I suggest lowering the bonuses from both modifications and the scout role. Let a ship boost its range up to maybe 3x--at the cost of foregoing other upgrades and becoming weaker--and give the scout a 5x sight range. Assuming that the scout is also a fairly nimble ship, it should be able to keep most adversaries in view without exposing itself to them, and a 20-tile range would only cover about 12-15% of the total 100x100 grid while providing a massive advantage over the 4 or even 12-range sensors of other ships.

You say it's an MMO, so I'm inclined to assume that players will be cooperating, making fleets that include scouts. Balance shouldn't be an issue in this case, although the idea puts me in mind of EvE Online, where most fights were imbalanced by virtue of one team being five times the size of the other. That's another topic entirely, though.

Good luck with your idea, I love this sort of thing, and hope to see what you do with it.

Edit: I'm also assuming that your "local map" will wrap at the edges, eliminating "corners" from the equation. If you'll be bouncing around in there, or hitting the edge and zooming out to a starmap, then you'll want it to feel bigger, maybe 300x300 with all the important stuff in the system clustered in the center. That way, you have a playing field that's effectively 100x100, and then a lot of hiding/maneuvering space around it before you go out of bounds.

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