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Hawkblood

Opinion Request

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Hawkblood    1018

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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Pink Horror    2459

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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Norman Barrows    7179


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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Hawkblood    1018


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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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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Hawkblood    1018

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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Functional and fun, with a "plausible" amount of semi-realism. Thing with realism is that it sucks, and nobody wants to play a game that sucks.

 

Realism is that space is... astronomically big. There is no better word to describe it. Things in space have passed from history to legend to myth before you see them (even the pro's don't get this quite right -- note that the center of our galaxy is roughly 50,000 light years away, give or take a few inches, so what is "about to happen" to that gas cloud acutally happened before we knew about using fire...).

 

Realism is that it takes years to get from here to the next planet, under ideal conditions. There is no way you could travel faster than light, and there is no way you could pass through a wormhole without being torn to pieces. Thus, there is no travelling farther than a few million kilometers from earth. Reality has it that there's such things as the Oort cloud (or similar stuff) that make leaving a solar system next to impossible. Reality also has it that most things in space are either insanely fast or insanely big (or both!) and will wipe you out within an instant if you collide with them. And, you can barely see them in time, if you can at all. This totally sucks.

 

Realism is that there is no sound in space. Yeah, that means you don't hear laser shots, among others. Your kick-ass hyperdrive and your planet-killer missles don't make any cool sounds either.

There's also no communication via radio in space, unless "space" means within a few million kilometers from home. Playing correspondence chess with your mate on Proxima Centauri will have roughly 8 years of waiting between moves due to the speed of light -- hopefully you're able to beat him in fewer than 10 moves! Now let's hope you're not having a long distance relationship.

 

Realism is that teleportation is not possible, and if it was possible, there'd be many logical and practical issues. But realism also has it that wasting 30 minutes of game time on board of a shuttle just to get to your ship sucks ass, and simply going whooosh is cool.

 

Realism is that lasers hit you before you see them (in fact, unless there is an interaction with dust or mist, you don't see them at all!). Which, frankly, totally sucks, as there are no countermeasures you could take. In particular, since reality has it that the slightest damage to your hull basically means you're dead. Which more likely than not happens if you destroy another ship too, from debris.

 

What people (even hardcore gamers) want is a game that is fun and challenging. Realistic? Maybe, but it still needs to be playable and fun.

That includes artificial gravity, faster than light travel, engines that go "whoosh", and guns that go "boom". And, of course, a way to instantly communicate with someone 30 light years away.

Edited by samoth

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Hawkblood    1018

Good points. I want to make a game that balances reality with "FUNALITY".

 

The space travel reality for us in 2013 is all those points you made and more-- it sucks! In the future, perhaps that won't be so. Sure, sound still won't travel through a vacuum, but we will have shields that at a minimum will protect the ship from micrometeoroids and random space debris. Light speed will still be the speed of light, so conventional radio communications would be impossible, but tachyons travel faster than SOL (as far as we can tell), so maybe that can be used. Lasers are kind of weak (even the most powerful ones), but perhaps super charged plasma could deal massive damage (it's slower but it has mass).

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