Borderless Maps-Yes or No?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Ugouka, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Ugouka

    Ugouka Veteran Veteran

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    I've been making a few maps recently, and I'm stumbling across an issue that's kind of bugging me. You make your map, it looks okay, but there's all those edges with nothing stopping the player from derping into the border, like the map below. As a general rule of thumb, do you think this okay if the player isn't transported to a different map upon touching the edge? Or should an attempt be made to block off those areas? If so, what's a good way to do that without relying on cliffs/forests for every. single. map?

    Example Map.png
     
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  2. mjshi

    mjshi Jack of Most Trades Veteran

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    To answer your last question: NPCs. NPCs make for great obstacles! You can also make the design decision that players shouldn't be allowed to step on flowers, and then you get a bunch of newer and prettier ways to block off paths.
     
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  3. Pine Towers

    Pine Towers Knight Hospitaller Veteran

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    I think you should try to block the path: Trees, lakes, cliffs, houses, crates, fences, NPCs... This way the player will always know that a reachable border = transfer.
     
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  4. Musashi

    Musashi Veteran Veteran

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    I like to block all the edges, I think it makes more sense this way, but it's also ok if you don't, as long as you give the player some visual clue about which part will actually transport him to a different map. If you do it right, the player will learn right in the first map that, in your game, empty edges don't  connect to new areas.
     
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  5. Ugouka

    Ugouka Veteran Veteran

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    Thanks for the input, folks! I'll probably cover up the edges. I'm thinking I just need to make my maps a bit smaller, then it won't be as big of an issue or as awkward looking.
     
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  6. EternalShadow

    EternalShadow Veteran Veteran

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    Block all the non-transferring edges, it's really weird when playing a game and only a small bit of the edge performs a transfer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2016
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  7. mauvebutterfly

    mauvebutterfly Veteran Veteran

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    I generally prefer to block all the edges off, but I had one project that used a different approach and it was fine. Whenever there was an option to travel to another screen, there would be some kind of path (dirt, cobblestones, bridge, etc) that led off the side.


    As long as you have an obvious indicator to the player, they will find things intuitively. I think it is only a problem if you have secret areas that break the rules for transitions, since then the player loses faith in your design and playing gets really irritating, since now they have to test all unmarked edges just in case there is a hidden transition.
     
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  8. Henryetha

    Henryetha Veteran Veteran

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    I use to just enable the Teleport to the next map everywhere, where the player is able to go. Else... block. Doesn't need to be like a frame. Sometimes you can just put stuff close to the center of the map, making it impossible for the player to walk on the upper half of the map.


    Another option I would try, would be "Orange Region Collisions" plugin.
     
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  9. Menos

    Menos Veteran Veteran

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    Though I favor blocking, like most of the people in this thread, I think leaving sides open can be fine if you set a precedent for it and stick with it. What's frustrating is when a project uses both conventions, leaving you uncertain about hidden exits or where to go next.
     
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  10. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    As an example, you could cover up the top red box with barrels and other "things left around" in a backyard (it doesn't need to be a straight line; just make sure it's impassable), and the bottom with an extension of the fence/crops.


    I don't hate when the edges aren't covered up (though I agree with Musashi that it's important to visually mark which edges will transport you and which won't), but I think it's preferable to do so because uncovered edges reinforce the notion that you're playing a game instead of living in the RPG world.
     
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  11. DanPixel

    DanPixel Veteran Veteran

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    Borderless makes the map looks unfinished and gives the 'lazy' developer feeling. Since you are using general RTP where people can compare to other RM games. You should block the paths to make the maps look "clean" and "finished". Most games, be it RM or classic rpgs, will use something (NPC, Rocks, Trees, Water, Bricks, Stones, Boulders.....) to block unusable routes. Personally for me, I expect an 'open' patch to contain a hidden passage and it often frustrates me when I move to a certain path to see that it does not teleport me to another map, especially for huge maps when you need to walk with random encounters....this pisses me off!....just my 2cents on your question.
     
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  12. Solis

    Solis Veteran Veteran

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    Could use a path that leads into a road. 
     
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  13. bmwd Gaming

    bmwd Gaming Villager Member

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    Eventing can fix this issue (sort of).
    I've been using 'dim windowed' text boxes, that show up upon the player stepping on a space that is not really accessible. The character reacts with some kind of dialogue, usually an 'in their head' kind of statement.

    While as stated above by DanPixel; most areas look rather unfinished and may give the impression that either an area is suppose to be there, or is unfinished. While using the eventing method, it also begs the question for players, "what is here if I come back later". Again - making it feel incomplete.
     
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  14. Titanhex

    Titanhex Do-It-All Veteran

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    Here's the problem. You're worrying about borders when you should be containing your maps better.


    Borders, on their own, look unnatural when in a non-contained map.  Designers never start a map's design with the borders. Instead they create the key points in the map that the player should be drawn to. Then the paths that lead to the borders of the map that will draw the player to those key points. From there, they set up the scene to get the player to head towards those points.


    The borders you need to consider are the ones that extend through the map, creating divisions between paths and lead players to important points. These borders create shape to the map. When you have only objects lining the outskirts of a map, and do not extend those borders inside the map to create shape, you end up with just a square map that feels far too flat, and far too open.

    You have to use height, color, and paths to direct the player. It's called visual communication, and it's extremely important.


    Take a look at this map from Chrono Trigger:
    [​IMG]


    And this map from secret of mana:
    [​IMG]


    Or this map from FF6:


    [​IMG]


    There's a whole library of Chrono Trigger maps to look at as well.
    http://www.snesmaps.com/maps/ChronoTrigger/ChronoTriggerMapSelectBG.html

    Study some of these maps from professionals and try to figure out how to design your maps based off of what I have told you and the examples.

    Most people will give you their visceral opinion, or their ideas or preferences.
    What you should be looking at is your execution of technique. I would suggest breaking out some paper or mspaint or somethin, and making a square that would represent your map. then creating the entry and exit points with red dots, then key points wit green, then the paths to and from various parts of your map with brown and then filling in shapes that would be the extending border and walking points of that map.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2016
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