Map sizes, best practices? (MV in specific)

Edgre

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Ok, looking through the manual, it appears that the play screen has a resolution of 816x624 or 17x13 tiles. Is there a general best practice for how big to make maps? When I started doing some sketches for designing maps on my lunch hour, I just naturally used the size of my graph paper. Then when I started making the maps in game, I set them to the size of my paper, because that was convenient. Now, I'm just making some started sample games to get the hang of it, so this isn't critical. On the other hand, I know habits you pick up can tend to stick. So, I figured maybe there was a general rule of thumb that people might adhere to for good gameplay or performance reasons as to the size of maps, etc. I figured I might as well ask now, as I'm just getting started so I can try to develop good habits.

Most importantly, are there limits I need to keep in mind as I embark on development that might not be obvious now, as I try some small projects that if I were more conscientious from the beginning could avoid me trouble when I graduate to larger projects?
 

mlogan

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Big enough? Really, a map is first and foremost there to a serve specific purpose. Whether that's a means to get from place A to place B; an area to do business such as buying/selling, sleeping in an inn, etc; a place to gather information; a place to play a minigame. So, you would need to think about that map's intended purpose first. Then you would need to think about the things you would need to serve that purpose. Once you've done that, lay those things out in a reasonable manner - you don't want a town map with 20 spaces between the inn, the shops, etc., because then your player would be needlessly spending a lot of time walking.

Thinking about these sorts of things should help you determine how big your maps will need to be.
 

Edgre

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Ok, yeah, I'll have to keep in mind not to overdo it. :smile:

I guess I'm just looking for both what's typical, as well as be on the look out for any limits I could unintentionally run into. If the answer is, "no practical limits, just do what works," then I'll leave sizing more up to play testing and feedback if I'm going too small or too large.
 

gstv87

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measure the smallest significant object of your scene, and build up from there.
most of the time, the SSO of a scene, is a door (the size of one character)
if one door is one character size, one house would be three or four characters wide.
two or three houses a block, a couple of blocks per scene, and you've got yourself a nice little town.

one thing is scene engineering, another thing is scene *object* engineering.
say you want your map to have building X to the left of building Y..... regardless of how big they both are, for narrative purposes, you sketch a random block X left of block Y.
then you design each block individually (IE, each scene *object*)
is block X an L shape? or a square? is it one or two stories high?
regardless of how it looks, it will always be left of block Y, at world level.

you can also trick the eye by adding random NPCs around, who move between outer boundaries of your scene objects.
from the player's perspective, when they move from one place to another, they'll use the NPC's position as reference.
if the NPCs move, their reference point moves as well, so the actual resulting distance travelled gets distorted.
say, you come from "city square" into "commercial district".
you have to draw an imaginary line somewhere, separating both areas.
if an NPC moves back and forth past that line, the player's perception of that line gets broken.
 
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Andar

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the key is not how big a map is, but how cluttered it is - with limits in both ranges.

A large and empty map is booring - no one wants to press the arrow keys for five minutes without anything interesting just to get from town A to town B.
On the other hand, a map that is cluttered with so many obstacles that it is a labyrinth is not a map to go from town A to town B either, that will only frustrate people.

Generally, small maps are better in most cases as long as you don't make them too small for their purpose - but that purpose is exactly what you need to decide on before designing the map.
Small peasant hut on a miserable vilage? you better let some black outsides even on a minimum side map.
King's castle in the capital? People expect to walk a while through a throne room that is bigger than that peasant hut.
 

somenick

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There are some technical limitations in MV. For example maps cannot be bigger than 256x256 (HUGE). Don't try to use hacks to overcome this, you will end up with a buggy game. You will also not want to place more than 70 or so events per map, to keep the game from slowing down or getting a poor performance. Other than that almost anything is fair game.
 

Edgre

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Okay, so that's some outer bounds, that's good to know. For that eventing threshold, do things like setting the random encounters count?
 

Andar

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no (random encounters are not using events) - and it is not even a fixed number of events, it depends on what those events do.
If we are talking about decorative events (fixed positions, one page, no or minimal content on action button) , you can go to a few hundred events without problems. If they're using autonomous movement it will strongly depend on the map structure and how many of the autonomous events are active at a given time.
And place a single badly designed parallel process event, and even the fastest computer might lag to hell.
(if you're taking care with the design and coding of the parallel processes, a dozen should be no problem, but it depends on what they do.)
 

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