World scale
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 7:22 pm    Post subject: World scale Reply with quote

In another thread, while talking about movement speed, I mentioned:

Quote:
My original plan was to change each plot to represent 300x300 feet


I've just remembered another reason why I wanted to do that - scale. With people moving around the world and each plot representing 300x300 feet, that would allow me to have a tile (which is always 10x10 plots) representing a settlement 3000x3000 feet. Entering the settlement could then change to a scale of each plot representing 10x10 feet, allowing space for lots of buildings (for example a single plot could hold a tiny hut). This would allow me to have towns which really are towns, containing hundreds of buildings, rather than the half-dozen shops that you see in your typical Diku city.

However there are still the other problems associated with having the mud on that sort of scale (in particular the whole weapon-reach thing). One possibility would be to say that movement is much faster in the outside world (making melee reach less relevent outside) but much slower in cities and dungeons (where melee would be more important), but that might feel a bit artificial. Another would be to have much smaller settlements, perhaps representing more of a frontier town than a real city, although such a concept wouldn't be very expandable to other muds. A third option would be to ignore the realistic elements of scaling and have cities which appear small on the outside, but which are much larger inside.

What I really want to avoid is having the inside of the settlements on the same scale as the rest of the world - this would make the settlements too large, and require too long to navigate through, and the focus of the game is intended to be rural rather than urban. I may also scale the buildings on another level still, for the same reason.

Another thing to keep in mind is that I'd like to have player-build and randomly spawned settlements, so it's vitally important that the settlements don't grow outwards into the world itself. I don't want them getting out of control and blotting out the landscape, and particularly don't want them growing into each other (yes, I know that would be realistic, but it goes against the game design).

However there would be some advantages in having settlements that take up multiple plots when it comes to seige warfare - allowing people to take down specific towers, or attacking two different walls at the same time. This could be handled with a zoom-in mode, however, allowing players to approach the settlement (which would appear to cover one 'plot') then type 'enter', then place them at the edge of a border of plain which goes around the outside of the settlement (technically part of the settlement Thing, but appearing to be outside of the visual representation).

Whichever approach I go for, I'd also like it to work for vehicles in the same way. The zoom-in mode could extend well in this regard, particularly for battles where one ship attempts to board another.

Anyone have any thoughts on this, or solved this issue already?
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Ashon



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a tough topic to cover. One of our intial design decisions, was to have a world view, using a coordinate system layer which would be used for world travel. Aka, a wilderness system. And then for area's and cities, we'd do it pretty similiar to the way that RogueLikes do it, and have a character assigned to Entrances that take you from the coordinate system to the room based system. But the problem becomes as you note, a feeling of artificiality, and a distorted sense of comparable size.

But on the other end of things, a lot of the 3rd generation MMO's have gone in the direction of quick travelling to zones, and instanced areas. So, it could quickly become an outdated thought process, to even worry about this. As players are going to get used to not needing to crawl around the world and discover things, but zoom right to where they want to go.

A simple solution, which is more a hack then a solution to your zooming problem is to have a key underneath the plot saying City Scale, Wilderness Scale, etc, etc. But I'm sure someone else will be able to think of a more elegant solution.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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Location: Munich

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ashon wrote:
This is a tough topic to cover. One of our intial design decisions, was to have a world view, using a coordinate system layer which would be used for world travel. Aka, a wilderness system. And then for area's and cities, we'd do it pretty similiar to the way that RogueLikes do it, and have a character assigned to Entrances that take you from the coordinate system to the room based system. But the problem becomes as you note, a feeling of artificiality, and a distorted sense of comparable size.


Well I think that's okay when you're using rooms or suchlike, where distances are never clearly defined - the problem is that I'm scaling everything to the nearest foot, which really brings home how small that settlement must be!
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Ashon



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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess my question comes down to why can't you display different 'zoomed in/out' tiles?

You're plots are 30x30 feet, and your tiles are 10x10 plots. So let's take the town as our most zoomed in level. This is the same view as players are going to see in dungeons and works as you say, really well for making a believable building. Why can't you when you are travelling, or using a bow for example, 'zoom out'? And use a blending algorithm to make the map 'look right'?

Travel will look slower, but won't actually be slower. You haven't changed anything to do with your plots. It's just the display of the tiles that has become a little more distorted. You could even take this further, and when someone is flying 'zoom out' even more.

... or is there a fundamental fact that I'm missing?
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ashon wrote:
I guess my question comes down to why can't you display different 'zoomed in/out' tiles?


I can, and I probably will, it's just that that'll make settlements take up a very large amount of map space (unless I go for a Tardis-affect, with settlements that appear small on the outside but large in the inside). I don't want settlements to appear huge on the map, with players spending ages just walking past them, because the main focus is supposed to be on rural locations (and because the settlements are intended to be dynamic).

Quote:
You're plots are 30x30 feet, and your tiles are 10x10 plots. So let's take the town as our most zoomed in level. This is the same view as players are going to see in dungeons and works as you say, really well for making a believable building. Why can't you when you are travelling, or using a bow for example, 'zoom out'? And use a blending algorithm to make the map 'look right'?


It's not detailed enough for accurate navigation - travelling in that form would result in people accidently falling off cliffs or into rivers. It'd be fine for bows though.
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Ashon



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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So why not use the collision Detection, to detect dangerous/changing terrain, to update the player on any problems that they may likely run into?
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I do, but if you're running you'd only have about 3 seconds notice before you went into the river. Gallop around on your horse and you'd likely only have 1 seconds notice.

I suppose that's a bit of a lazy answer though - there's no reason why I couldn't check for changing terrain as it moves into your line of sight.

However I really see that as a separate issue. The map scale is certainly an issue I need to think about, but I'm really concerned more about the scale of settlements compared to the rest of the world.
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kelson76



Joined: 27 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:08 am    Post subject: Re: World scale Reply with quote

Kavir,

Just a couple of thoughts....

I don't know that there is really a need to have a direct relationship between movement in different "areas".

When you move from room to room, the emphasis should really be on the change from one point of focus to another point of focus. This means that walking around a town may encompass moving 6 "rooms" to get from one side of town to the other when you are outside the town. However, if you are moving through the town, due to the greater level of detail, it may be 30 rooms from gate to gate.

There is no good reason that when you are mapping the entire world, there is a direct distance relationship between rooms at the macro level. I also do not see the point in adding a directly 10:1 or 5:1 ratio between town vs "wilderness" for instance, unless you are plotting against a strict coordinate system.

That sounds like alot of complication for very little ROI.

- Kelson
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KaVir



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
When you move from room to room, the emphasis should really be on the change from one point of focus to another point of focus.


That's how rooms are typically handled, yes - but I'm not using rooms.

Quote:
This means that walking around a town may encompass moving 6 "rooms" to get from one side of town to the other when you are outside the town. However, if you are moving through the town, due to the greater level of detail, it may be 30 rooms from gate to gate.


And as I pointed out earlier in the thread, you can get away with that with rooms, because the size of a room doesn't have to be clearly defined. But I'm measuring distances to the nearest foot, and it's going to seem a bit strange if the settlement is 60x60 feet on the outside but 300x300 feet on the inside.

Quote:
I also do not see the point in adding a directly 10:1 or 5:1 ratio between town vs "wilderness" for instance, unless you are plotting against a strict coordinate system.


Which I am.

(We have two Kelsons now?)
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Huri



Joined: 18 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My preferred solution to the problem of movement is to allow for faster modes of transportation. First, you could assume that characters are very fit, and able to move quite fast on their feet just by walking (historical armies used to be able to march 100 km in one day). Then you add horses, magical spells and artifacts, dragons and so on. You could assume/implement that the streets are crowded or full of obstacles, and so only allow walking in settlements.

About your map, what does it represent?
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KaVir



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My preferred solution to the problem of movement is to allow for faster modes of transportation. First, you could assume that characters are very fit, and able to move quite fast on their feet just by walking (historical armies used to be able to march 100 km in one day). Then you add horses, magical spells and artifacts, dragons and so on. You could assume/implement that the streets are crowded or full of obstacles, and so only allow walking in settlements.


I may well do that - time in the mud passes at 4 times RL speed, so assuming a running speed of 10 miles/hour, that'd let people move around 60 feet per second, which is 5 seconds to move across one 'plot' of outdoor terrain. That would still render weapon reach pretty much redundant outdoors, but would still make it an important part of combat within more enclosed locations, such as within settlements and dungeons. This might also offset the fact that ranged weapons aren't so effective in enclosed spaces.

The movement itself would be pretty slow for someone on foot, but I'm okay with that, as I think it'll drive home the value of a good mount (and also make it well worth shapechanging into another form for long-distance travel). Teleportation spells, magical boots, etc, will also help in this respect.

Limiting people to walking speed within settlements is one possibility, although I'm planning to add speed modifiers for terrain anyway, so it could also be handled through that.

Quote:
About your map, what does it represent?


The world - although the zoomed-in version will likely just represent a settlement.
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Huri



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Quote:

About your map, what does it represent?

The world - although the zoomed-in version will likely just represent a settlement.


I meant from a character's point of view, or is the map considered to be ooc? If it represents a character's view of his/her surroundings I think it'd make sense to zoom-in when entering settlements, since you're not likely to pay much attention to the rest of the world while moving about in a settlement.
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kelson76



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:46 pm    Post subject: Ahh...I...see... Reply with quote

KaVir wrote:
Quote:
When you move from room to room, the emphasis should really be on the change from one point of focus to another point of focus.


That's how rooms are typically handled, yes - but I'm not using rooms.

Quote:
This means that walking around a town may encompass moving 6 "rooms" to get from one side of town to the other when you are outside the town. However, if you are moving through the town, due to the greater level of detail, it may be 30 rooms from gate to gate.


And as I pointed out earlier in the thread, you can get away with that with rooms, because the size of a room doesn't have to be clearly defined. But I'm measuring distances to the nearest foot, and it's going to seem a bit strange if the settlement is 60x60 feet on the outside but 300x300 feet on the inside.

Quote:
I also do not see the point in adding a directly 10:1 or 5:1 ratio between town vs "wilderness" for instance, unless you are plotting against a strict coordinate system.


Which I am.

(We have two Kelsons now?)


Okay, it was kinda late last night, and into a few bottles of wine when I found my way onto the forum.

Anyway, so you are going with a strict scaling ratio? Is this to support a more advanced form of combat, like weapon reach, etc?

I'm curious what the benefits of doing a strict coordinate based system is when the scope is increased to the entire game, outside of just the combat scenario.

I'll admit that I've not given alot of thought to strict coordinate based systems, because conceptually, I find it clumsy and complicated, but that is most likely based on my extensive experience in room based systems.

Oh, yeah I saw someone had taken my nick (Kelson), but since I've been using it on-line since 1990 or so, I wasn't about to give it up.

- Kelson
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Huri wrote:
I meant from a character's point of view, or is the map considered to be ooc? If it represents a character's view of his/her surroundings I think it'd make sense to zoom-in when entering settlements, since you're not likely to pay much attention to the rest of the world while moving about in a settlement.


Yes, it represents the character's view of their surroundings (things blocked by walls and such are not visible on the map) - and I agree that it would make sense to zoom-in, although I could also see some valid arguments for being able to see people a long way down the street (particularly if you climbed on a roof or something).
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A recent discussion with one of my players brought up the topic of other units of measurement - in particular, those which were used alongside feet:

1 yard = 3 feet
1 rod = 5 yards, 1 foot and 6 inches (16.5 feet)
1 chain = 4 rods (66 feet)
1 furlong = 10 chains (660 feet)
1 mile = 8 furlongs (5280 feet)

1 acre = 1 chain by 1 furlong


Now I'm wondering if maybe I should make a plot equal to 1 chain (66x66 feet) in size. As tiles already represent 10x10 plots, this would make them 1 square furlong in size, with 8 tiles being 1 square mile. There's a certain symmetry about that that I find rather appealing :)
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