Solis

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So, I'm making a game :D


And my town maps are what I'd consider larger than normal. I like it...but I saw a post earlier about how if a map is too large, it grows boring...


do you guys prefer large maps or small maps. 
 

raymi100

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It really depends on what you're trying to make. :)  If your town is large, then a larger map is perfectly acceptable. However, if your town is small, then a smaller map would most likely work better. I prefer smaller maps, in all truth, because they're easier to map and I'm pretty bad at mapping.  :rswt:
 

Crimson Dragon Inc.

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i prefer larger maps over all...... thoughs thats cuase i dont use a world map and have entire dungeons in one map.....and any map thats not a town is a dungeon..... i also make towns in one map..... though difficult to acheive with buildings..... so i make seperate maps for building insides.... also castles are considered towns and dungeons due to having dual purposes


and i'm terrible at mapping so the less maps i have to make the better
 

Liandra Aura

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So if you need a great example to find the best of both worlds, play up to and explore the city of Lindblum in Final Fantasy 9. 


My notes: 


This style of mapping uses elements that make the player believe and understand the elements of an enormous city, offering the player some "free-roam" in parts of the city not actually used outside of story development but still making you feel and believe these places are actually a part of Lindblum. While the game maker doesn't really work well with side view maps as opposed to 3/4 maps, it might be worth drawing up some parallaxes using the makers save map as screenshot function making a part of the "sky" overplayed with portions of your city.


Take into account what the purpose and use of your city or village serves. Do you want the player t spend a lot of time in this place or is it simply a check point on to better things? For example, the village of Dali. The town is visited only in end game for the purpose of a single chest but the airship tower isn't used at all in disc 4.


As for caves and dungeons, you should think about several things. Does it make sense geographically? How can I make this place big without boring the player? Clutter can make things look better aesthetically but the game developer should find ways other than clutter to make it interesting. Perhaps some areas where you go "behind the map" which would require some parallax mapping but it would be very minor and add a nice effect. Puzzles and traps are also a great way to make things interesting. High level areas that have low-level accessibility might also spice up your game. The player finds some puzzle that is mindblowingly difficult. Player could move on but decided to solve the puzzle instead and ended up trapped in this high level area. The map just became a LOT bigger but it remains interesting!
 

Crimson Dragon Inc.

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i cant wait for you to play my game and have to deal with just the 7 story labyrinths (out of 30 total) that using events and a timer change the layout of the map :D
 

Musashi

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The map size doesn't matter, what you want to avoid is making it too empty. It's easier to fill smaller maps, so its usually better to make them small  :D


If we are talking about gameplay, giant maps can get boring if the player has to walk too much from point A to point B without anything else to do,specially with linear paths.
 

hardqueen

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By using a large map with a large number of hidden features, players will find gameplay interesting.
 

beenbaba

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The map size doesn't matter, what you want to avoid is making it too empty. It's easier to fill smaller maps, so its usually better to make them small  :D


If we are talking about gameplay, giant maps can get boring if the player has to walk too much from point A to point B without anything else to do,specially with linear paths.



I second this. I also want to just add that going the other way with too much stuff can be bad as well and cramped. Again, depends on the environment/geography of the map. If I'm walking through a forest, I would expect there to be lots of plants, grass and trees etc. Alot of stuff everywhere. If I'm taking a stroll through the desert, I'd expect this to be much more desolate, some choice objects, bones, cactus', palm trees scattered about the place and not filled to the brim with stuff.
 

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Because of the small visibility area in RPG Maker games (which make it easy to get lost or lose the big picture), I tend to prefer smaller maps in RPG Maker.  However, in games which better navigation or highly customizable views, large maps with lots of things to do and room to explore can be nice.
 

Solis

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Thanks so much guys :D
 

ash55

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To echo what others have said, the question isn't entirely relevant. It's not about how large or small it is, but how dense it is with stuff to do. Walking through a vast game might seem like a selling point, but not if there's very little content in that space.

The size of your maps is really only relevant to how fast your player can run. If you want to disable sprint on every map (I personally did this in my game) then make your maps smaller so there's not a lot of wasted time. If you can sprint, make your maps larger so they don't feel cramped.

These aren't the only considerations of course. Occasionally, for pacing reasons, you'll perhaps want areas larger than your "average content density" goal. Areas that let you breathe, recharge, and where you can just walk and take in the scenery (Shadow of the Colossus is a good example of such pacing). In other areas like an urban environment, you might want denser content in order to get across the sense of a bustling and hectic world.

Pokemon is a good example of both. The Routes are a nice reprieve from the towns where you can just walk merrily as you listen to the cheerful music. That's a key/memorable part of the game's charm even though it's rather uneventful.
 
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Large maps, particularly maze-like caves, can make things more interesting if you want a player to feel lost or fatigued - for example much of Pokemon was quite easy but when in large hostile areas you only have a small number of pokemon left with limited health it gets very exciting!
 

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As has already been said, it really is personal preference. Some people like to have large dungeon or city maps. Some like smaller maps with "sections" of town that the player is transported to. For example, a center map of town, the north side of town, etc. Newer games do this to create the illusion of being large. 


For me, I like the smaller maps with sections, but that goes back to RMXP which could sometimes lag if it got too large. For indoor maps though, like to have houses with walk through walls for sub rooms instead of individual rooms. The game that comes to mind that does this very well is Star Stealing Prince. All smaller sub rooms are in the same map. This can help your player from feeling lost in a mass of complicated rooms. It ends up feeling like nesting dolls. 
 

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It's all about the type of the game you want to make,and the personal preference (as said before) of the player.


Some types of games tend to have larger maps than others,but my personal preference is smaller,interactive maps.


It also depends on the type of location and the atmosphere you want your map to give off.


for example: A small farming burg : You'll need to give the atmosphere of peacefulness,small world-liness,and isolation.I don't think a small fishing port would need to be as vast as Daggerfall.So your best bet is to make the map small,and full.Don't overfill the map with useless things.This'll make the player overwhelmed,so the right quantity of objects,the vibe and the atmosphere are the recipe to map size balance.The rest is up to you.


good luck in your quest.
 

Tai_MT

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So, I'm making a game :D


And my town maps are what I'd consider larger than normal. I like it...but I saw a post earlier about how if a map is too large, it grows boring...


do you guys prefer large maps or small maps. 



Okay, I'm going to give you the dirty little secret.  "It isn't the size of the ship, it's the motion in the ocean".

What does that mean?  The size of your map really only matters in RPG Maker if you've got a whole lot of empty space, uninteresting stuff to look at, or it's causing lag in the final product of the game.  Edges of maps are "transition points".  Basically, they are when you move from this location to the next location.  As a player, I often wonder, "okay, if this directly connects to this other location without any hidden "boring" space in between...  Why does this have to be on a separate map where I have to load it?".  Granted, most of that is "the game can only handle so much at a time", but it does often beg the question.  Why is there a 5 second load between THIS tile and the NEXT tile that I somehow can't see, 'cause it's the edge of the map?


There's a reason overworld maps aren't broken up into sections and load as you travel to them in pretty much every RPG.  Every transition you make, from map to map, temporarily mucks up immersion.  It's difficult to believe a world is big, if it's split up into several different maps that load the moment you hit the edge of one of the maps.  It's difficult to link those maps in the mind of a player when you do that as well.


The example above with Lindblum in FF9 is kind of an example of how to do "big city" well.  A player traversing those map edges doesn't assume each map DIRECTLY connects with the next section.  The way they're put together, most players assume that you're only playing the "relevant" sections of the city and the game is skipping all the boring junk with nothing to see or interact with.  There might be two or three missing screens between maps.  Nobody really wants to walk the 500 yards down the street to get to the next section (a few of the newer Pokémon games prove that with their massive main cities with nothing on them 'cept random NPCs).


So, when you do a map transition, you have to have a good reason for doing it.  Each short transition to the next map immediately shatters immersion until you get control of the character back again.  So, "travel time" should usually be at least implied by the map transition.  You know, like in dungeons.  You hit the staircase tile, map changes, you're on the next floor down.  A player naturally infers you're skipping the boring nonsense of watching the character walk all the freakin' steps down to the next floor.  Walking into a house/cave is a bit different.  When a player walks into a cave, they immediately make the distinction "This is connected to the world outside, but it isn't part of the world outside.  This is a separate world".  They usually do this subconsciously.  So, the map transition when walking into a house or into a cave is an indicator that the immersion should be broken for a second because you're suddenly doing something different than when you were outside.  You step into a house, your goal is to find the NPCs and the loot.  Outside the house... your goal is usually to explore the city, find the places you can buy stuff, and buy stuff.  You walk into a cave, your goal is to usually find the end of the cave where the exit is... or the monster is... or the plot device... or the treasure.  On the overworld, the goal is to explore, fight monsters, and get to the next plot relevant area.


Map transitions mark a break in a player's brain.  We're naturally inclined that it means something.  Think of it kind of like how a movie will black screen for a moment before switching scenes.  Or, just jump locations entirely.  That's pretty much what you're doing with a map transition.


So, with that in mind, your maps should be as big or as small as you need them to and less about intricacy and more about being memorable.  Most people remember nothing about a maze except how much of their life they wasted in it and how frustrating it was.  Most people will remember Twoson from Earthbound because of it's Apple and Orange Kid... and the Happy Happyists...  And various other stuff.  Maps in Earthbound were sometimes huge.  Sometimes small.  But, there wasn't an inch wasted.  Much of even the "empty space" went towards simply creating atmosphere in the game.


Basically... I think the only answer any person can give for "do I make large maps or small ones?" is to simply ask you back, "what purpose is your map going to serve and will more or less space change the atmosphere, tone, or gameplay of the game?"
 

Alpha-mad

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Tai brings up some amazing points. One that I would like to add is that a transition between maps is also a good way of setting up cutscenes or boss battles. 


A few times I did this in my game when I would normally have just made a bigger map. 
 

mistFAWKES

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mmm as far as 'edge of map' problem, even skyrim/morrowind uses 'cells', they just stitch them together real-time. if you ever played morrowind, you'll remember the 'loading cell' popup that stops gameplay every quarter-mile or so. the advantage they(gamebryo) have is that they can load a 5x5 grid of cells, then they have a 'fake' map in the distance (LOD mapping)


i've prototyped every sort of map. 500x500, 250x250, etc. the unique problem we, as isometric rpg developers have, is this: every screen must be interesting. we can't rely on the pretty mountains in the distance to get player from point a to point b. no matter where the player stops, the scene can't just be a green screen with an unanimated sprite. this devalues the product in your clients mind significantly. if they come back to your game and they see that, you're pretty much done.


the other issue you're going to run into is event density. especially if you have common events running in bg (time loops, game loops, invasion mechanic loops, hairgrowth mechanic loops, etc.)


i have found through rigourous testing that the best mapsize for rpgm mv is 120x120. a 20x20 grid of 120x120 maps (400 maps total) comes out to about 20.5 square miles(if each tile is 10ft x 10ft). this is assuming that the bulk of the mechanics of your game are unique and running as parallel commons. if you're not running a day/night cycle or anything like that, 250x250 is totally viable as well. 500x500 is dishearteningly vast. i'd avoid it.


again, ultimately, if you don't have compelling content along every step of the way, that's what will kill you. a player can't divine a sense of belonging if they're constantly lost because half the game is just green flatness (trust me on that one. nothing worse than having a friend 1.5 hours into a prototype, just unable to have fun because they keep running in a tiny loop)


edit: btw i did the math wrong. those 400 maps come out to about 400 sq mi. i'd avoid doing it unless you have a really good idea of what's going to fill that space lmao.
 
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Phonantiphon

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the unique problem we, as isometric rpg developers have, is this: every screen must be interesting. we can't rely on the pretty mountains in the distance to get player from point a to point b. no matter where the player stops, the scene can't just be a green screen with an unanimated sprite. this devalues the product in your clients mind significantly. if they come back to your game and they see that, you're pretty much done.


the other issue you're going to run into is event density. especially if you have common events running in bg (time loops, game loops, invasion mechanic loops, hairgrowth mechanic loops, etc.)

I think ultimately it boils down to how interesting the map is, rather than just how big it is.


But these are some good points, I actually didn't get emotionally invested in Skyrim because although the map appeared huge, it was empty and ultimately became tedious. In contrast one of the reasons I became extremely invested in Oblivion was because the, although smaller, was extremely dense and diverse and full of stuff to see and do.


Secondly yes, if you've got loads of events firing off all over the shop, then you need to balance performance against expanse as a big map will be no good if no one can get from one side to the other without st-st-st-stuttering through it. For me that would way more off-putting than having a transition. I don't think that transitions are as much of an issue in games like this anyway as player expectations are different.


Unless you are specifically making an openworld-type game in RPGM then my expectation is that there would be more, focused, maps rather than fewer, larger, maps. If that makes sense...?
 

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