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Re: The Road Taken... Ideas for mapping your personal univer

#16
Ixos wrote:Please no sphere maps with connections going around everywhere in 3 dimentions.
They are aweful and should be banned.


The human brain can not understand a spherical 3d map as well as one in 2d.
I think a spherical map could work fine if you provide enough support tools around it, like: a 2d mode where everything's flattened, the ability to search for planets, systems, or galaxies, the ability to favorite planets, systems, or galaxies. browsing your favorites or searching then shows selected destinations your 2d/3d map.
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Re: The Road Taken... Ideas for mapping your personal univer

#17
I have never seen a good / useful 3D map of anything in a computer game.
In theory it's a great idea, realistic and all, which fails miserably when you have to display it on a 2D monitor.
My human brain doesn't have any problem with 3D. My Samsung monitor does.

Since the main mode of travel appear to be jumpgates, the distance between these sectors / systems is a completely arbitrary value.
There is no point in displaying the universe "to scale" when there is no scale.

What's the advantage of a 3D map anyway? The space between the "playable" sectors does not even exist!
All the 2D map does is display the distance between sectors while the more complicated 3D map displays the distance between sectors...

I'm not saying there must never be a 3D map in a game. There just has to be a very compelling gameplay reason to have one.
"It has 3D" means about as much as "it's got electrolytes".
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
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Re: The Road Taken... Ideas for mapping your personal univer

#18
Hey guys!

I hope it doesn't disappoint you too much to know that I was planning on a 2D, planar Universe map. Technically, it is not at all a challenge to create the Universe with a 3D structure, but, practically, I don't see any reason to add the extra complexity. Personally, I am much more comfortable coming to a spatial understanding of things with a 2D map.

What do you guys think? Would the be a deal-breaker?

Also, please note - planets/bodies in solar systems are static! They do not orbit. I have addressed this before, but, basically, my reasoning is that it disrupts the ability of the player to feel as if they "know" the system spatially. I know, i know...say what you will about realism, but, personally, I do not want to have to re-learn the system every time I come back to it!
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: The Road Taken... Ideas for mapping your personal univer

#19
JoshParnell wrote: What do you guys think? Would the be a deal-breaker?

Also, please note - planets/bodies in solar systems are static! They do not orbit. I have addressed this before, but, basically, my reasoning is that it disrupts the ability of the player to feel as if they "know" the system spatially. I know, i know...say what you will about realism, but, personally, I do not want to have to re-learn the system every time I come back to it!
Haha, of course that's not a dealbreaker - basically nothing could be a dealbreaker except for you to not make the game at all! Yeah, people have convinced me that there's really nothing to be gained from a 3D map. It's not a problem for it to be in 2D.

And yeah, I think it's for the best that systems will be stationary. While it'd be realistic for planets to move, I agree that for planets and stations to be stationary worked well in Freelancer and in other such games, and will keep players from wondering where the heck Planet X went while they were away in system Y. It also helps systems feel like familiar places you come to know quite well, which will be important when there's an infinite number of systems to go to; you'll want at least a few of them to feel like home.
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Re: The Road Taken... Ideas for mapping your personal univer

#20
Personally, what I think I'd like to see in addition to any map is a plain, text-based, table of data, which I could then sort and filter by factors like travelling distance from my current point/travelling distance from some other defined point/population/ownership/industrial makeup/etc.

(e.g. if I wanted to show a list of planets with a population of 2 billion+, with shipyards, owned by faction X, sorted by how long it would take me to get there. Or uninhabited planets with a mineable quantity of mineral X, sorted by distance relative to planet Y.)
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Re: The Road Taken... Ideas for mapping your personal univer

#21
Stellen wrote:Personally, what I think I'd like to see in addition to any map is a plain, text-based, table of data, which I could then sort and filter by factors like travelling distance from my current point/travelling distance from some other defined point/population/ownership/industrial makeup/etc.

(e.g. if I wanted to show a list of planets with a population of 2 billion+, with shipyards, owned by faction X, sorted by how long it would take me to get there. Or uninhabited planets with a mineable quantity of mineral X, sorted by distance relative to planet Y.)
That's probably a really good idea in a game of this scope. Much easier to find systems based on what you need them for than having to use a map.
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Re: The Road Taken... Ideas for mapping your personal univer

#22
Yup exactly.. having a map of the known universe, places you have been too etc, is something that would sem obvious to have.. but something else more hands on.. something I mentioned in my first post on this thread, where you actively engage in making the contents of the map and data makes me think of the time spent travelling while pouring over notes and data in the galley (or other rooms) of the ship. Remember that scene from Star Wars on the Falcon with Luke, Obi-wan and the two droids sitting around in one of the rooms of the ship while C3-PO played chess with Chewbacca.. they are all sitting around while the Falcon flies to its destination..

When I have played these sorts of games in the past, I would make my own maps and information sheets detailing all the places I need to go to buy the things and sell the things and collect things from etc.. building up, sometimes, piles of sheets of paper.. I'd like this same thing to be in the game itself in some form.. basic spreadsheet and database screens to access and fill in data while I am travelling between places..
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Re: The Road Taken... Ideas for mapping your personal univer

#24
Josh has already mentioned that he has some good procedural text generation algorithms / ideas, so maybe one way of tracking what you have done over time and at given locations is through an automatically generated personal diary. I guess it would make sense that you could also add to / edit the content, but for ease of use the auto-generation would be great.

On top of that you would then want to have some good search ability, and for diary items related to the current system and if you are interacting with an NPC diary items related to them to be easily accessible.

So say you come to a system that was selling an item really cheaply, sometime recently you had been at another system where that item was in demand (which was noted in your diary), so automatically that diary item is shown to you (in some unobstructive manner).
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Re: The Road Taken... Ideas for mapping your personal univer

#25
Bryce wrote:Josh has already mentioned that he has some good procedural text generation algorithms / ideas, so maybe one way of tracking what you have done over time and at given locations is through an automatically generated personal diary. I guess it would make sense that you could also add to / edit the content, but for ease of use the auto-generation would be great.

On top of that you would then want to have some good search ability, and for diary items related to the current system and if you are interacting with an NPC diary items related to them to be easily accessible.
That is a great idea. The diary could automatically write time-, location- and date-stamped entries as you perform certain actions, and could write simple entries like "Jumped to the ____ for the first time. System contains four planets, __, __, __, and __." "Bought 2,000 units of platinum from Planet y at 1,200 credits each." "I fought with <NPC1 name>, <NPC2 name>, and <NPC3 name> near Planet y. I destroyed NPC1 and NPC2. NPC3 fled."

And yes, I agree that a Google-esque search capability would be exquisitely useful.
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Re: The Road Taken... Ideas for mapping your personal univer

#27
Well, I'm going to separate from the crowd and say I'd prefer a 3-D map as I think that gives a better sense of "being in space" immersion. It would be nice to have features like clusters, fingers, stellar nurseries, etc. where stars are in greater concentration, and these are very much 3-D features. By all means have a "flatten to 2-D" option, but having the 3-D available would be good. I have fond memories of the old Elite Frontier 3-D map which IMO worked rather well.

I reckon a "complete universe" 3-D map is too much to ask for as it's potentially limitless, but a maximal map could still display a sizeable region. It doesn't need to be spherical, just cuboidal to show the current region of interest - maybe with optional gridlines. It could also be scrollable so you can still cover every area generated, and of course it should be zoomable to show greater detail. Rotating would be good too, and utilities like displaying the distance between two stars - possibly useful depending on how jumps are implemented. The star/world detail can just be symbolic, such as icons showing what planets/moons/stations are there. Common functions would include "centre on ship" and "centre on selected object".

Auto-generating journal entires would be welcome indeed, complete with reasonable search/filter functions. Entries would relate back to the map, such as showing where I left some item or displaying a route I need to take to carry out a quest. A lore/library/news database would be useful too; if I right-click (sorry, Mac peeps!) on a world in the map it could give me an option of seeing its library entry or the latest news e.g. a particular faction has taken it over.

A local tactical map could work in a simlar way, showing a region of interest in the current star "room".

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