Overworld or Area travel

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Yougotsomechocolate, Mar 4, 2019.

?

Which one?

  1. Overworld

    20.0%
  2. Connecting Areas

    30.0%
  3. Both

    45.0%
  4. Neither (Explain what style you like best)

    5.0%
  1. Yougotsomechocolate

    Yougotsomechocolate Random Chest Veteran

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    I wanted to ask what you'd think about these two types of map travel and which ones you'd prefer.

    Overworld:
    Basically, waking on a world map to get to locations, or points of interest.
    Examples are Some of the old dragon quest games and rpg games.

    Area:
    Traveling in areas/Maps such as fields, to get to other areas/PoI
    Examples are OOT, Open world games, and some newer rpgs.
     
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  2. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    Either (or both) is fine, but for the connected area, it needs a fast travel option.
     
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  3. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    overworld is quicker, area travel allows you for more detail.
    the only thing that matters is that in area travel, the player takes physical time to traverse it all, so that adds up to your final play time.
    if you want to simplify it, use overworld.

    I'm thinking of adding a hybrid to my game: long-range teleport and contiguous area travel, so the player can choose to spend a coin in the teleport for quick travel (to specific fixed locations) or physically walk there, potentially losing time or triggering encounters.
    making the teleport not 100% dependable, cuts down on the play time load, but not to the point where it could be speed-run.
     
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  4. RachelTheSeeker

    RachelTheSeeker Suddenly, a summer breeze... Veteran

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    Both have their merits, but I kind of like a third option: having maps of just for the town and dungeons, without any overworld. When one goes to leave town, they're given a list of dungeons to visit based on what's unlocked in the game so far. As my current project is more story-based, I feel it'd work easier like that. Not to say one can't interrupt the trek to the from the adventure spots to mix things up, either...!
     
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  5. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

    Engr. Adiktuzmiko Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy' Veteran

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    As a player I like both because I've played games that used them nicely..

    As a developer, I prefer using area travel mainly because my games are kinda linear anyway and I'm kinda lazy to make an overworld map.
     
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  6. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I don't think that the choice of mapping style is a mechanic as such.

    I've moved this thread to General Discussion. Please be sure to post your threads in the correct forum next time. Thank you.

     
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  7. Sharm

    Sharm Pixel Tile Artist Veteran

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    I think it depends a lot on what type of game you're making. As a player I prefer real time travel, but that's because I like the immediacy of it. I feel more immersed and connected to the places I'm going and I get a better feel for the distances between them. I also play a lot of action rpgs and since this is an almost necessary part of the experience in those games, I'm probably biased towards them. Overworld is great for giving a broader sense of scale and wonder, so it can be important for an epic game. I think both at the same time can be really great, like Secret of Mana, where you usually travel the slow way, but as the scale of the story ramps up you use the overworld map more and more and get an idea of just what some of these places look like in a wider view. Or Chrono Trigger, where the ability to travel overworld gave a sense of how civilized the area was, since the safer areas had less "locations" in your way to getting somewhere else, but fairly normal places could still be dungeons. I donno, it's hard to say. They're both equally pretty great options, if done well and can be used together to do fun things. I think the more important question is what is right for your game in particular? What would reinforce the mechanics, tell the story better?
     
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  8. ShadowHawkDragon

    ShadowHawkDragon Veteran Veteran

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    Just to add but there's also a third method which is a combination of the two, node travel.

    Node Travel:
    Displays a large map with specific points marked out. The character is limited to moving along predefined linear paths from node to node with each one representing a playable in-game area. Usually you have to complete an area (or advance the story) before being able to pass through, but once unlocked there's no limit on skipping these areas (excluding story reasons).

    Personally I tend to lean more towards node travel than the others as it gives a sense of scale while allowing easy back-tracking. But it still has its weaknesses. i.e. node travel tends to lack the large-scale exploration provided by overworld travel and is less immersive than area by area travel.

    Overall I'd say it depends on the type of game and general feel you're going for.
     
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  9. Sharm

    Sharm Pixel Tile Artist Veteran

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    I wouldn't call node travel a combination, because functionally it's very different than either of them and is more like a limited fast travel. Personally, I don't like node travel at all. It's just too limited, can break immersion, and takes all the fun out of exploration, puts the entire thing on rails. Very obvious rails.
     
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  10. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    I like connected areas, because it's best for the immersion factor, but obviously, it does require a lot more effort to make each travel area interesting in some way. Overworld, especially in RPG Maker games, always looks super bland and there's nothing to do on them except walk around and get into random encounters. Count me out. The only times overworld would be in favour over connected areas is if there's a lot of backtracking to be done in the game, but then I'd rather just have fast-travel spots.

    As for node travel, it works in games that have a lesser focus on exploration. Recently started playing Neptunia, which uses node travel between areas and only lets you freely walk around inside dungeons, but it also gives a lot more in the form of visual novel-style dialogue sections. It can work, as long as there's something else to make up for the lack of exploration.
     
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  11. ShadowHawkDragon

    ShadowHawkDragon Veteran Veteran

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    Most of the modern Atelier games use node travel and are not exactly 'On-Rails' with a new network of nodes becoming available each chapter. But their main focus is exploring the newly formed networks through constant back travel between points, collecting materials and completing quests.

    Its more down to implementation but I won't deny the flaws of a node system.
     
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  12. Sharm

    Sharm Pixel Tile Artist Veteran

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    About the overworld flaws, yep, I totally agree that not actually having anything to do on an overworld is a problem. I don't know why this happened, a lot of the earlier RPG's didn't do this. Overworlds were useful for other things like recovering in a tent before entering a known problem town where you can't find an inn or people who will sell you things, adding interesting puzzles blocking you from the next location, letting you gather resources by hunting/digging/fishing, and all sorts of things. I think bringing those back can make overworld travel interesting again.

    For the node travel thing, I admit, I haven't seen it done well and haven't played any of the atelier games. The way you describe it does sound more interesting than the ways I've seen it done.
     
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  13. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    basically, FTL.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. TWings

    TWings The Dragon Whisperer Veteran

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    Unless it's a pretty small game, I'm mostly lost without an Overworld. Everything feels "too big".
    I have trouble understanding where I am, where I can go, when I properly explored an area...
    Most of the RPG I've played had overworld maps, and for the few that didn't, I often felt like it was missing.
     
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  15. Basileus

    Basileus Veteran Veteran

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    I like interconnected area maps for games like Castlevania where all of the action takes place in a relatively concentrated area. Each region is a manageable size and loops in on other regions, so finding new pathways into old areas can be a lot of fun. The Zelda overworlds can have a lot of fun with this.

    But when I'm playing a globe-trotting adventure I really want that world map. I like separate continents and spread out islands so I can explore on a ship. I like optional caves and ruins hidden off the beaten path. I like having to actually find the next town I'm supposed to go to or track down the next dungeon by landmarks like rivers and mountains. It makes the world feel huge and gives me the sense of scale that all of the places the story takes me are far apart. It would be super weird to have multiple completely different cultures when every city feels like it's only a day's walk away due to interconnected maps. The zoomed out world maps make me feel like I'm traveling hundreds of miles so the places I'm going to can be totally different than the place I'm leaving from.

    There's a time and a place for small, intimate maps that the player is expected to master traveling over the course of the game. But there are also times where you need the big, sprawling maps to really capture the feeling of an epic story.
     
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  16. VisitorsFromDreams

    VisitorsFromDreams Veteran Veteran

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    I really like the sort of mapscreens you find in games like Super Mario Bros 3 or Super Mario World. They do pop up in some modern retro RPGs from time to time. I like the fact they give you a general idea of where everything is in relationship to each other but you dont need to spend time exploring to work the stuff out.
     
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  17. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    I'd say I greatly prefer overworld travel because:
    1. It takes less time to get around the world compared to slogging over areas you've already been through several times.
    2. As you progress, you gain more and more mastery over the world (canoe, ship, airship) which lets you explore more and more.
    3. it's fun to find hidden, out-of-the-way locations with bonus loot or other things, like mini-dungeons and such. While you could do this in a connected areas layout as well, it just isn't the same.
    4. It's easier to see the game world as an actual world when you have an overworld map. I have yet to see an RPGMaker game that does the connected areas thing well enough to make their world feel like anything beyond a patchwork tangle of nonsensical zones.
     
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  18. CountofArath

    CountofArath Villager Member

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    As I've become older I've come to like the node system on top of a world map. I fundamentally like world maps both because I like to know the shape of the land and because it contextualises the smaller maps.
     
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  19. dkun

    dkun Veteran Veteran

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    I prefer area travel.

    Not only are you able to see and experience the world in more detail, it also makes it feel bigger (for me). The overworld often feels barren to me. Sure, it may be faster if the other one doesn't have a fast travel option but one thing area travel does well is for me create a sense of scale. You can't just walk over the whole world. You actually have to go through these different places.

    For me, it feels like if you explore every town/cave/forest/etc. in the overworld, it makes the world feel small whereas I feel this isn't the case with area travel. It entirely depends on the player's imagination of course, but as you can't see the whole world, it reminds you that you're just someone that's probably like the size of an ant compared to the grand scale of things.

    There's also the fact that assets are often reused over and over in the overworld so every forest, mountain, etc. feels kind of the same when you're walking through the world. There may be new assets when you actually switch to area exploration mode as you walk over them but its appearance in the overworld doesn't help differentiate it.

    I suppose in the end, what I'm saying is that I feel like area travel vs overworld is often kind of like quality vs. quantity for me.
     
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  20. atoms

    atoms Veteran Veteran

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    I don't mind either, both can work if done well. I do like them both in different games.
     
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