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Hawkblood

Opinion Request

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In a simulation, is it more important to be realistic or functional? I am creating a space simulation game with a star map. I started out just randomly placing stars in a rough circular pattern along a plane. The stars would have a random xyz coordinate but would be more dispersed along the xz plane. This looked nice, but not realistic..... I am now using xyz coordinates (and names) from the HABHYG database. I'm using the first 2000 star closest to our solar system. This gives me a roughly spherical map. I don't think it "looks" as good as the random one, but I want to be as realistic as possible.......

 

Thoughts?

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For a space simulation, I'd hope you are as realistic as possible. For example, you should have realistic physics. Accelerating too fast should crush your crew, and you should limit all travel to below the speed of light. Hyperspace and warp are fake. Also, make sure space is generally empty and boring, with no aliens. Even asteroids should be very far apart. It should be incredibly rare to ever see another ship, or anything interesting at all. If your game is fun, you're doing it wrong. Go back to the drawing board and get that fun out of there.

 

I think I've made my point. This isn't really a technical question, right?

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In a simulation, is it more important to be realistic or functional?

 

it depends on your target user.

 

hardcore sim fans will vote for realism every time. after all, that's the whole point of a simulation, to SIMULATE something. by definition, If its not realistic, its not a very good simulation.

 

OTOH, more casual users will want ease of use / easy learning curve / low difficulty levels. 

 

your question is almost sounds like "looks cooler" vs " is more realistic".

 

again you need to determine your target audience: fans of "realism" or fans of "stuff that looks cool".

 

FYI, starship flight sims are one of the game types i make. i'd recommend a 3d cloud of star systems as your "game world map". put it in a 3d display like a holo-projector so they can spin it around and zoom in and out, and click on systems to pull up info, fly to them, etc.

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i'd recommend a 3d cloud of star systems as your "game world map".

I already have it in a 3D map with an orbiting camera that you can move its "orbit point".

 

I'm thinking of just using the 3D "cloud" idea, but I may have to change the controls a bit on the orbit camera......

 

Thanks guys.

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When it comes to visuals, going with what is aesthetically pleasing unless it gets in the way of gameplay.

 

Do you want casual users to take one look at your game and say, "Wow, this is graphically horrible", and walk away before even trying it?

Or do you want technical users to say, "That non-gameplay related star is in the wrong place! But at least the combat is technically accurate.", and possibly even enjoy the game more because the game isn't perfect and they feel superior because of it?

 

How 'bout posting comparison screenshots between the two star layouts?

 

Also, you're asking people who play sci-fi games alot. Players give bad design advice.

If your responses consist of, "Do X, because I like X", it's advice from a player-viewpoint.

If they consist of, "Do X, because it benefits the player in Y and Z", it's advice coming from a designer-viewpoint.

 

[playerview]Go with the visuals, because I like things to look good.[/playerview]

Edited by Servant of the Lord

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This is a video showing the two styles:

 

 

I had to "super charge" the stars so they could be seen in the video.

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I think the first one, the more realistic one, looks way better visually.

 

The second might be easier to use, but even in the second one there would still be some 3D-ness, so you can't think purely in 2D anyway.

I think the full-3D conflict map would actually be a good selling point for your game, and while, yes, making it somewhat harder, would also make it funner (at least to me).

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Yes, I was thinking that too, but I wanted someone else's opinion before I settled down with it. I need to revamp the way I present it so the player doesn't get lost when looking around the map though......

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