Map diversity - yay or nay?

Extazee

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Right, hello there gamers and game makers.

I'm in the process of creating my own RPG game after a long time of playing around with the maker and now I'm kind of torn. I'm making maps for my game and I'm thinking if switching to different biomes is a good or a bad thing. What I mean by that is that since it's a large game, I'm thinking having snow maps, green land maps, desert maps should all be included. But at the same time, I don't know if I should. This would change some of the plot as well. Only slightly though.

So I'm thinking. What do you prefer? Do you prefer when it's all based in one specific biome with slight shifts or do you like map diversity?
 

Vincent Chu

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Diverse as long as it doesn't make the story feel forced.
 

shockra

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It depends on how much of the world you're covering in the game. If the game spans the planet, it's good to have multiple biomes. If the game focuses on one country or continent, you'll want less biomes.
 

bgillisp

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I'd say diverse if you can...if it looks consistent. It might be strange to have a desert right by a snowfield for instance, or a lava map in the middle of ice cold mountains.
 

Extazee

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Right. But you see, one thing that bugged me always was geography. I never knew how and when the biomes are supposed to change in a map. And the visual transition from per se a green map to a desert one.

But I guess I'll just find out about it online haha.
 

Requiem

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Nah. Don't do different maps for the sake of doing different maps.

RPGs are all about story first. If you don't have that, it doesn't matter.
 

Miss Nile

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By all mean, go for it if it serves your story right. If your game is long enough to include the characters traveling around the world and going through long journies that they would come across hot deserts, tropical forests and snowy mountains, it adds diversity to your game. I think most traditional RPGs that have 20+ hours of gameplay go for that approach, e.g. Aveyond, Enelysion, etc.

I would suggest that you try to come up with more different areas, though. I mean, to break away from the cliche style of 'main village, main city, deserts, snowy lands, etc' that has been repeated so much already. Maybe you can come up with new ideas, or use that style but add your own touch to it? For example, think of an elves' hideout in a magical forest, a dark forest where necromancers live happily with the undead, a town in the sky that you can only reach with some sort of a special aircraft, etc. That's what I think anyways. It makes your game more unique. XD

If your game is too short, however, in the range of 2-4 hours gameplay, different biomes would be a little tricky to pull off, and may feel forced. So yup, look for what goes with the flow of your story. :)
 
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Oh, idea:
If you are in a place where the seasons change, you could have the same set of map, but with different visuals.
For instance, a village on the edge of a northern forest could have a snowfall at the end of Autumn.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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I like the idea of having various biomes, and I guess I'll parrot what others have said, but only when it makes sense in the game. You can probably get away with snow biomes just by having the player climb into a mountainous area, it makes sense that there will be snow at higher elevations. Heck, I've driven up a mountain in Colorado before where is was sunshine at the base, it began to rain has we got about half way up, and the rain was turning to snow when we reached the summit. I do think deserts can be a little trickier, but not impossible. For reference, why not take a look at the middle-east/Africa part of the world. There are deserts that transition fairly quickly into jungle areas and plains areas. It's really about locations of water in those parts of the world.
 

Ellie Jane

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It depends how epic your story is supposed to be. Typically the change is a way of highlighting how far the player has traveled. Crossing mountains, oceans, deserts; if your story is a fairly local deal then it's not necessary and can make the world feel contrived and unnatural especially if you suddenly wander from a snow map to a forest.

It's the same as whether or not to include a World Map scene I suppose. By which I mean the typical zoomed out map where the player quickly walks across continents or uses an airship or other vehicle. It's a way of showing that the player has walked a considerable distance, perhaps across many months, while actually only being a few hours of gameplay.

See Guild Wars for an example of this, where the player's journey might be completed in a week or so, but traveling across the Shiverpeaks was a huge moment and made the world seem massive.

User_God_Of_Fissures_prophecies_2005_world_map_3.jpeg
 

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