Map Design Topics

A discussion area for general design issues that staff would like detailed feedback on.

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fydo
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Postby fydo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:22 pm

Roots wrote:We can make enemy sprite graphics which assume a treasure box form and sit and wait idly, but when the character comes to close it suddenly unfolds/uncamouflages itself and aggressively chases after the player.


Haha, that's really awesome.
Makes me want to start working on sprites for a treasure box monster :)
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Postby Roots » Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:41 pm

Another idea I thought of was when a new map is entered, we could have a little menu window centered at the top of the screen with the location name and graphic that displays for 3-5 seconds. Its a small thing, but I think it would be nice. :)
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Postby EmreBFG » Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:48 pm

Roots wrote:Another idea I thought of was when a new map is entered, we could have a little menu window centered at the top of the screen with the location name and graphic that displays for 3-5 seconds. Its a small thing, but I think it would be nice. :)


Yea, that definitely would help orient players with a new location. Much better than assuming the player will talk to the NPC standing at the entrance to say "Welcome to _____!"

In fact, don't some games always display the name of the location upon entering? I can't remember any examples off the top of my head. I think first time would be best, though, since the player can see their location in the status screen.
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Postby MindFlayer » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:08 pm

Good idea Roots. I think that just displaying plain text like "Entering [insert a place]" would suffice - no windows or any extra-bloat.

Also, I'd like to be able to create windows for displaying special textual events such as "This place feels like blah blah" to be able to give additional experience for the player; things that cannot be easily made with graphics or audio. (e.g. moods&emotions!). Let's call it InformationWindow or InformationDialog. Or how about MessageWindow? :heh:
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Postby ChopperDave » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:11 pm

Me likes too :).

In fact, don't some games always display the name of the location upon entering?


Yeah, but those are usually games that have a crap load of locations where it's easy to get turned around.

On a completely different note, one thing we may want to start considering at this stage is how to implement a mini map when wandering around a dungeon. Then we can make dungeons more complex without people complaining of getting lost.
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Postby Roots » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:35 pm

MindFlayer wrote:Good idea Roots. I think that just displaying plain text like "Entering [insert a place]" would suffice - no windows or any extra-bloat.


We'll keep it minimal, but I would like to make use of the location graphic for the map as well as the name.

MindFlayer wrote:Also, I'd like to be able to create windows for displaying special textual events such as "This place feels like blah blah" to be able to give additional experience for the player; things that cannot be easily made with graphics or audio. (e.g. moods&emotions!). Let's call it InformationWindow or InformationDialog. Or how about MessageWindow? :heh:


How about the character popping up a self-dialogue saying "wow, it sure is hot here" or something? A random window of text explaining the context/feeling/mood of the location might be a little out of place.

Actually, way, way back in the beginning I wanted to have a feature like this where the game had a third person narrator that explained events/characters/emotions literary style every so often so that the game felt kind of like a book. But no one else at the time liked the idea so I let it get shot down. :cry:


ChopperDave wrote:On a completely different note, one thing we may want to start considering at this stage is how to implement a mini map when wandering around a dungeon. Then we can make dungeons more complex without people complaining of getting lost.


Hmm, this actually shouldn't be too hard to do. But if we do something like this, it won't be till much later. I have enough work to do in maps already. :eyespin:
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Postby MindFlayer » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:44 pm

Roots wrote:
MindFlayer wrote:How about the character popping up a self-dialogue saying "wow, it sure is hot here" or something? A random window of text explaining the context/feeling/mood of the location might be a little out of place.

Actually, way, way back in the beginning I wanted to have a feature like this where the game had a third person narrator that explained events/characters/emotions literary style every so often so that the game felt kind of like a book. But no one else at the time liked the idea so I let it get shot down. :cry:


I'd like it to be only a generic text window without anything else in it because I find it odd if I could directly see what the player character is thinking or talking to himself. In my opinion, the window would be used primarily as a some kind of message pop-up for the player in certain situations: "The boulder is too big for you to move." etc.

And yes, it might add a bit "bookish" feeling in the game but if not used too often, I don't see any harm in it. :D
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Postby Roots » Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:26 pm

I had a couple ideas the other day about treasures and interact-able objects on map.

Interact-able Objects (wall switches, lamps, etc.)
Similar to how we do the floating speech icon for dialogues, we should display do a "?" or "!" icon as the player draws closer to an object that can be used. This eliminates the need to hit the confirm key to continually search every book shelf, cupboard, etc. like you have to do in so many other RPGs. Only we should make the displayradius a bit shorter than dialogue icons so the player still needs to use their eyes to look for suspicious visuals on the maps.

Also maybe if an object can only be used once, we display a faded out icon with a red X through it after it is used.


Treasures
Same idea with the icons for treasures. I'm thinking of three types of treasures right now:

1) The obvious treasure chests found throughout the game

2) The less obvious "sparkles" on the ground

3) The elusive "sonar" treasures

The first two treasure types would use the icons. The problem with that though is it makes it a bit too easy to find all the game's secrets. So I'm thinking maybe we could have some kind of "sonar" feature in maps where the player can actively send out a ping that echoes off of walls/ground/whatever and enables the 3rd treasure type to be detected if they are within the ping radius. We'd have to make sure that the ping is not continuously abused by the player though, otherwise it would defeat the purpose. So maybe the player can only use an active ping when their run stamina bar is full on the map?
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Postby Roots » Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:23 pm

Thinking about my previous post, maybe we can expand even further on the use of the run stamina meter? Maybe it could instead be called an action stamina meter, and the amount of stamina you have determines what actions you can and can not do.


For example, we have:

#1) Using stamina for running

#2) Using stamina for "sonar" pulses to find treasures

#3) Using stamina for swing swords, shooting bows, etc. in maps that can temporarily stun any enemies that it hits.


#3 is the exciting one. Imagine trying to get through a part of a dungeon that is heavily populated with enemies that you want to try and avoid so you can reach a boss at full strength. You could choose to try and dash for it, or you could stun as many enemies as you can, or you can dash, turn and strike any enemies that are about to get you, etc. for as long as your stamina bar will last. That sounds like fun, because it introduces a little tactics into getting through dungeons safely. :cool: What do you guys think?


Also I'm wondering if stamina amount/regeneration should be a static amount, or if you should gain more stamina and regenerate it faster as the party's average agility level goes up (agility is what determines the speed of characters and enemies recovering their stamina in battle). Sounds like fun to me. :)
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Postby Burnsaber » Sat Jul 14, 2007 11:16 am

Roots wrote: What do you guys think?


Sounds all-round awesome to me.
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Postby gorzuate » Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:28 am

Burnsaber wrote:
Roots wrote: What do you guys think?


Sounds all-round awesome to me.


Yeah I like it too.
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Postby Jetryl » Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:11 am

Roots wrote:Thinking about my previous post, maybe we can expand even further on the use of the run stamina meter? Maybe it could instead be called an action stamina meter, and the amount of stamina you have determines what actions you can and can not do.


For example, we have:

#1) Using stamina for running

#2) Using stamina for "sonar" pulses to find treasures

#3) Using stamina for swing swords, shooting bows, etc. in maps that can temporarily stun any enemies that it hits.


#2 should read "secrets" rather than treasures, just to be a lot more broad in scope. I also think this shouldn't be something the player starts out with - this is something that, because of it's scope, can only really be explained by magic. One explanation for this would be if claudius got an artifact that allowed him to do this, perhaps a key item from the king at the end of the prologue. It would also make sense to have this not give a 100% return rate on secrets detected, so that you could never be completely sure.

For #3, I don't know if that's the exact effect we should have, but I do know that we definitely want to allow use of primary weapons in map mode for puzzle solving. If we went with the stun thing, I think it should be dangerous to use, by having it occasionally make the monster mad instead of stunning it (depending on relative strength).

I'd also add a #4, using stamina to lift and carry objects. I'd like to implement, in the style of "legend of zelda: a link to the past", the ability to lift, toss, and pull map objects, since the possibilities for puzzles involving this are just astronomical.
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Re: Map Design Topics

Postby Orymus » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:39 pm

Roots wrote:Although map mode isn't nearly as intricate as battle mode, there are a few suitable points for discussion and ideas to share and contemplate. Below are a list of some ideas that I've had for map mode in the recent weeks, as well as a mentioning of planned features that we have not yet implemented. And FYI: none of these features will be making it into the 0.2.0 demo, just so we're clear on that.

#1: Running and stamina
I think there definitely needs to be a run/walk option. But the question we need to address is: can the player continue to run continuously, or do they have a limited amount of stamina? I think that we should either add a stamina meter in one of the screen corners, or find some other way to restrict the player from always running (ie enemies spawn faster while running or something). Some random thoughts about this:

- player should be allowed infinite stamina in 'safe' areas such as towns, where no battle occur, but limited stamina everywhere else
- stamina regenerates slowly while walking, and faster when standing still
- stamina should be static throughout the game (higher experience levels do not increase stamina amount or regeneration rate on maps)
- no 'potions' or other typical means available for quickly restoring stamina
- perhaps that if you encounter an enemy with a low stamina, the enemy party has a head start on you (ie they get the first attack), meaning that its not always wise to keep the stamina bar continuously drained in dungeon maps


#2: Running animations
I know that its not wise to further burden our art department, but I really feel that eventually, all main playable characters (and perhaps some more distinguished NPCs) should have running animations. The "turbo walking" just doesn't cut it. :|


#3: New dialogue icons
Refresher: all NPCs that have dialogue that the player has not yet read will have a small little icon appear above their head that indicates they have something new to say. This eliminates the need for constantly querying NPCs to see if they have any new information.


#4: Weapon use in puzzles
If you've ever played Lufia II, you'll know what I mean. Basically, you have different weapons available to you to try and solve puzzles. Swords can slash down brush and vines blocking your way. Arrows can hit distant targets to trigger switches. Fire arrows burn all that cross their path, etc.

I was thinking we could do something similar, only the weapon that is used depends on the active character sprite on the screen (which can be cycled through by pressing the swap key or something). So when Claudius is showing, he swings his sword. When Laila is showing, she can shoot arrows, etc.


#5: Weapon use against map enemies
Perhaps weapons can also be used to avoid encounters with enemies on the map. Maybe a sword slash will stun the foe that it hits for a second to allow the player to run away. Or maybe it allows the player to then encounter the enemy and give them first strike in battle or something.

If we do something like this, we'll have to have a limiter on how many times weapons can be used on maps (ie, only once every 2 seconds). Otherwise, the player can abuse the ability to make it through a dungeon without a single encounter.


I think that's a good list for starters. Basically, I want map exploration to be more than walking around and talking to people. I want the environment to be more interactive and "fun", because I find random dungeon crawling in most RPGs to be a bore. :| Share your ideas here as well please! :angel:


1 & 2 - No, unless you can find gameplay-related elements in which case you could just a contextual "always run" system. For example, the player is chased by lava. Then, all movement speed is X2, but if you miss a step, you fall. This is a "good" application of a running system. Having the opportunity to run, will result in always running. Trying to tone it down will only result in frustration of "why can't I run now".

3 - Yes

4 - The idea of simplifying puzzle ideas to weapons seems a bit limited. I like the idea of zelda-like manipulations (lift big rocks, etc). The problem with turn-based rpgs is that bringing the weapons out while not in combat feels a bit odd. The obvious reaction will be "why must I enter a turn-based battle system when I drew my sword and could slash a switch with it?). I think Mystic Quest did a pretty funny job with this. Some doors could be opened only by bombs, some switches by swords, others by axes, the only downside is that the protagonist had all of them at the same time which kinda ruined the approach of "oh but did you bring an axe along?".
Hence why I'd stick more to protagonist related movements (climb, grab, etc) rather than weapon-based actions. Then again Lufia II did well, although there was a bit too much of it.

5 - Perhaps, although from my answer to # 4, you'll probably guess how I feel about this. Of course, there is always an alternative...

(6) the alternative: The hybrid system. This game is clearly, and out of doubt, a turn-based battle system rpg. There is no denying this. However, it feels as though several real-time ideas have been brought forwards. The most memorable games I've played were games of a genre that allowed themselves to fall out of their own genre when necessary. If you've played Shadows over Imdahl, you'll know what I mean. The game has no combat throughout, but then, oops, real-time boss fight based on position and reflexes. Weird? Definately. Good? You kidding me? It was awesome.
My suggestion is that the game could work with an hybrid environment.
a) The party-based combats, aka, the bulk of the game, would be fought encounters from touching an enemy, as is currently the case. It is much easier anyway to micro-manage a party on a turn-based approach.
b) Rarely, a duel in-game may occur. Rather than stats, reflexes come forwards here. The upside is to wake up the gamer from what he thinks he knows and give a slight taste at something else. Likewise, it makes him understand that "odd" things can happen in this game. It is a GAME, not a turn-based RPG. It is an experience of its own, not tying to fit in the genre per se. It could make up memorable moments, ala, the boss was so cool he couldn't be fought the normal way.
c) By using B once, the player will be more accustomed to thinking outside of the box. Weapons in-game but outside of combat will become a possibility to him that makes some sense. Throwing arrows at targets to go on his quest will make sense in the end because he has seen sword in action. Then again, C can be B. How? The boss attacks you real-time, but you need to solve the puzzle to kill him, aka, toss arrows at each target. Except now, you have a time incentive. See the possibilities?

With the occurence of a slight "hybrid" system, all of these ideas become relevant, even perhaps, the stamina one.

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