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Thoughts on the SE world

Sat, 10 Jul 2004 21:48:00

RambOrc

I've been making myself some thoughts on how to build up the world for SE. I could think of following possibilities: 1) The world is just a bunch of loosely connected locations where you travel through portals from one hub to another (like in Hexen). 2) There is a world map where you see where your current location is, but it's just a simple overview map you can only look at and nothing more, the locations are still standalone (like in Heretic II). 3) A fully explorable, seamlessly connected 3D world, like in Daggerfall or Morrowind. I haven't played the latter (even though I have the CD <!-- s:oops: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_redface.gif" alt=":oops:" title="Embarassed" /><!-- s:oops: -->), but I played the former and it was crappy, travelling was a pain, everything looked the same and because of a very near horizon you couldn't find anything. Though this type was originally planned for SE, either the world would have to be randomized like in Daggerfall and become boring, or it'd have to be rather smallish, like one central town, a couple of villages, and not much distance between them and also other things pretty near. For months, I've been trying to find a way how to build such a world in an effective way (best thing I could think of was to use constantly changing skyboxes which would hold the majority of the world details), but I'm still not sure that it'd be possible to make it with our capacity. We'd be enough mappers to build such a seamlessly connected and big world for the kind of game like Betrayal in Antara, where the whole world is a bit symbolic, since you never fight in it, all fights are in a special screen (check out the Antara demo if you don't know what I'm talking about), but not for the kind of world we want for SE. It seems to me that either quality or quantity would suffer. 4) This is one idea I got only this afternoon, after having played an old German RPG series from the mid-90s. There, you've got a special travel system which allows you to travel in a detailed 2D map from town to town (and the towns and dungeons are in 1st person 3D to explore). In this travel system, you can travel only so many miles a day and then you have to make camp for the night, so that both distances and time get a meaning. Both over night and also on the road it's possible to suddenly be attacked by creatures or bandits or whatever, and while on the road one might encounter NPCs. Food managament is also needed so that the characters don't starve during a travel (evenings at camp you can also send out a character to find water and hunt). I'm not yet sure but it sounds quite cool ATM for me, this could add additional depth to the game, changing its profile a bit. Like with some other RPG touches too I think best would be to offer two ways of playing SE, a more action-oriented and a more complex RPG style. In the first one, travel would be a lot simpler, you just go the map and choose where you want to go and then you're there at once, the program telling you so and so much time went by and a couple of seconds later you're in the FPS game again at another location. And in the advanced mode, one could encounter e.g. foes on the road, in which case the gmae would change back to FPS mode, but with randomly choosing one of a bunch of small generic fight maps made for this purpose, in which you'd have to fight a given group of enemies and then if you survive you'd get back to the travel mode and continue down the road. Technically seen, this would allow us to build a BIG world, as much as a continent, and still be able to make it no matter how much mapper resources we have - there'd be simply so many and so detailed locations as we can finish in time, but the world itself would stand regardless of this. These are just ideas, I'll appreciate if you'll discuss the pros and cons of any of the 4 possibilities (and also, if anyone has further concepts, just post them here too).
Sun, 11 Jul 2004 11:01:36

B0rsuk

I think the world map travel is the best idea. Something like Fallout but with added food maintainance and such.? It would make the world more believable.
Sun, 11 Jul 2004 11:55:50

RambOrc

How does it exactly work in Fallout?
Sun, 11 Jul 2004 15:17:16

B0rsuk

It works very well ;] You have a map picture, and each time you click somewhere, you go there in straight line. The map is divided into squares, but it doesn't have any actual meanining because you can stop at the edge of squares, in the middle, etc. .... and the engine mercilessly counts the hours and days. Ocassionally you are ambushed, meet a hermit, trader, trader caravan, bunch of monsters attacking some people, two gangs fighting each other, a body, or something else. (Something else includes crashed UFO, a cursed dog, knights of Round Table, time travel gate and more) <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://fallout.cdprojekt.com/fallout1/art/scr2.jpg">http://fallout.cdprojekt.com/fallout1/art/scr2.jpg</a><!-- m --> I tried to find more interesting screenshot. The red path is your path since entering the map screen. Small red cross is your current position. The green circle - discovered city. Bigger red cross - some kind of special location. As you can see, you can travel in any direction you wish, but it takes time. Time is quite important in Fallout1. Traveling thru mountains takes more time than thru wasteland, this is represented by slower animation. The unexplored squares are black. If you travel onto new square, all adjacent ones are revealed.
Mon, 12 Jul 2004 00:21:57

The 4th Class

I really like #4, but I'm not really 100% sure on something. Do you mean that you actually travel the "uninhabited" parts (ie: outside of town, etc) of the continent in 2D - like in overhead view? BTW I highly recommend you play Morrowind. I have played it (on XBOX), and the gameplay and movements are extraordinary. Loading times are minimal, the scenery is realistic, and sleeping out of town is a dangerous thing to do. Combat is quick (not in the fact that you die quickly, but the action is fast-paced.), and another cool function is the fatigue attribute, where you can actually become too tired to do certain things properly. The only negative though is that there's not a lot to do out of town, other than kill monsters and go on miniature quests.
Mon, 12 Jul 2004 09:15:41

RambOrc

In 2D, but not in the way as of actually steering your character, but in the way of drawing your progress on a map, like this: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://downloads.orcishweb.com/koraxdev/ramborc/dsamap.jpg">http://downloads.orcishweb.com/koraxdev ... dsamap.jpg</a><!-- m --> (this is not a screenshot from the game but a scanned version of the paper map, the map in the game looks very similar, just lower resolution and less colors. The red line I put on the JPEG file myself, but it's about how it looks in the game) Whenever you exit a 3D location, you get to the map and you can choose to travel down one of the roads. I think limiting the player to roads makes things a lot simpler and more straightforward, and it doesn't really limit the gameplay - after all, a road on the map can be just as well a 5m wide well-travelled highway between two big cities as a barely visible animal trail deep in a forest. And as for finding places that aren't on the map, one could either at some points give the option for the player to explore a new road at a crossroads that isn't on the map (like it's done in DSA), or to require him to talk to a certain NPC who tells him about this or that place or road (as a result of which the map will be updated and now he can travel there too). This whole system could be actually put to a test like many other SE features in KMOD 4, which is the main reason I want KMOD 3 development finished ASAP (but not just throwing it away after all the work put into it, I want to give it to the folks so that they can make custom maps and hubs for it, and to have something for the many months KMOD 4 development will take). While still using the original Hexen, we could implement this map travel system in a basic form. p.s. The prob with Morrowind is that I played its prequel Daggerfall, and that was one of the worst traumas ever as far as RPGs go, on paper the concept sounded wonderful in reality it was horrible crap (IMO).
Mon, 12 Jul 2004 14:47:29

Moose

Personally I'd vote for type 4, with the overhead map for traveling. Reminds me of Baldurs Gate and I don't rememebr that getting annoying. It also cut down the time (physical time not game time) taken to get from one place to another because you could tust cluck on the place you wished to go (aslong as you'd been there before). I believe it could work very well in the Hexen world. I also agree that encounters should be possible on the road, it makes thinks a little more exciting.
Mon, 12 Jul 2004 16:45:46

Stryker

I go with 4 also... I like the Idea of map.. I've played several games with those maps, and it was fine...
Mon, 12 Jul 2004 16:53:27

RambOrc

And I think that with the option to choose from a detailed RPG travel modus and a very simple action-oriented one (where you click the point you want to travel to and you're there at once, the calendar being updated with the travel time), it wouldn't cut out anyone from the fun, for action fans it would barely differ from stepping into a portal and getting into a new hub, whereas RPG fans could have additional depth.
Mon, 12 Jul 2004 22:44:37

Firebrand

I have just thought this idea, something like the map Ramborc did post above, for example, you want to go to the next town and there are 2 different ways to make it there, you check your map and decide to go trough way number 1, you choose it from the map and the game loads an small map which has some enemies on it until you make it to the town and make the stuff you need and then decide to take another way to a castle, etc. I don't know if you get my idea or how difficult it could be to implement, but that is my personal idea for it.
Tue, 13 Jul 2004 10:18:32

RambOrc

What you mean is that in a symbolic way you do travel in the 3D FPS environment between towns?
Wed, 14 Jul 2004 21:06:19

Firebrand

Yes, it could be some kind of generic landscapes by type (swamp, forest, plains, etc.) and just make them fill with different enemies for every time they are used, that way you can make the world vary without much effort. Of course, I don't know how difficult it would be to code.

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