Visible Encounters and the Worldmap

BCj

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jun 19, 2014
Messages
1,694
Reaction score
900
First Language
Dutch
Primarily Uses
N/A
So, my game Escalia has it's encounters visible on the maps, instead of random encounters. However, I started working on the worldmap and just realised that visible enemies on the worldmap might look.. quite weird, and possibly, a major lagfest.
How would you tackle something like that?
 

TheoAllen

Self-proclaimed jack of all trades
Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
Messages
5,288
Reaction score
6,042
First Language
Indonesian
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
How would you tackle something like that?
Depends on what kind of solution you're expecting
1. Are you asking on how to technically reduce lag? (tech support)
2. Are you asking if visible encounter in the world map is even a good idea? (mechanic discussion)
 

BCj

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jun 19, 2014
Messages
1,694
Reaction score
900
First Language
Dutch
Primarily Uses
N/A
Well, I don't think visible encounters on a pretty large worldmap would be a good idea nor look nice, unless you decide not to have a worldmap and all and have everything interconnected.
My question would be, how to have encounters on the worldmap in other ways? Or no encounters at all? How would someone tackle it?

I mean, I have a hard time imagining randomly walking mobs looking good on something like this:


Edit: random pic from google, not my game
 

TheoAllen

Self-proclaimed jack of all trades
Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
Messages
5,288
Reaction score
6,042
First Language
Indonesian
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
World map is probably the only aspect of a game in which I don't mind random encounters. And probably it is better if it's a random encounter anyway. As long as you have a defined path to walk (not randomly walk through the field like the pic you have posted). That way, there is a little exploration you can do, you only have one (or two) destination in mind. However, you could have a choice to something like
  1. Pay traveling service to reach the destination safely (no encounter, but it cost gold or other resources)
  2. Walk your way to the destination with a chance of being harassed on the way.
 

Kes

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Aug 3, 2012
Messages
22,005
Reaction score
11,337
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
In none of my games have I ever had encounters on the world map. But that is mainly because of the function of the world map - and that should be your deciding factor, imo. In my games the world map is a way of moving around, entering various locations etc. etc. It is visually telling part of the story of the world the party is in. Encounters would serve no purpose within the context of the story I am telling and so they are not there.

There is no obligation to have them. Only have them if they enhance what you are trying to give the player as an experience. If you do have them, then practical constraints mean that, imo, they should be random. Visually I just can't imagine evented encounters working.
 

Tiamat-86

old jrpg gamer
Veteran
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
358
Reaction score
140
First Language
english
Primarily Uses
RMMV
take a que from mystic quest legends (FF mystic quest in NA) they placed battle arenas around the map that trigger fight when interact with them
 

Frostorm

[]D[][]V[][]D aka "Staf00"
Veteran
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
677
Reaction score
431
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I agree with the sentiment that the world map should either have random encounters or preferably no encounters at all. Perhaps an exception like the battle arena mentioned earlier could work tho, if it fits thematically.
 

bgillisp

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
13,128
Reaction score
13,625
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
I do think you need to decide how the world map works and your game society too as well. For my last game the game takes place in a part of the world that is well populated with well traveled roads, so the odds random hordes of monsters would just be wandering around would be slim to none as you'd think everyone else would have taken care of them by now, or they'd all be dead.
 

BCj

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jun 19, 2014
Messages
1,694
Reaction score
900
First Language
Dutch
Primarily Uses
N/A
@Kes @bgillisp how do you deal with grinding/player getting enough exp to handle battles, if they can't get any exp on the worldmap?
 

Kes

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Aug 3, 2012
Messages
22,005
Reaction score
11,337
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
In my case they can grind in dungeons, if they want to, as most enemies respawn if you leave & then return to a map. However, I try and balance it so that if the player fights most battles they are presented with, then they should be able to handle the boss. Obviously it will be easier if the player grinds a level or two, and that is their choice, as is the option to avoid as many battles as possible and then be seriously underlevelled.
 

bgillisp

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
13,128
Reaction score
13,625
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
Same. I let them grind on dungeons as some enemies respawn there.
 

Basileus

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
296
Reaction score
432
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
If you need a reference, Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Vesperia both have a world map with visible encounters. Symphonia uses generic blobs, a small blob for easy encounters and a bigger blob with legs for hard encounters, which spawn only around the player and will chase the player avatar for a little bit sometimes. Vesperia was able to make field versions of each enemy to spawn around the player and have more roaming behavior. Both games generated an enemy comp after battle started so even in Vesperia the only guarantee was that at least one of the enemies would be the same as the one you saw on the map.

Vesperia also had a fun mechanic where the player could draw into 2 or more enemies at the same time to create a "Link Encounter" which would give the enemy reinforcements once you started finishing off the initial enemies and had additional rewards. This has carried into some of the later Tales games as well, even though the series dropped using world maps after Vesperia.

As much as some people miss world maps, I'd imagine developers stopped using them for some of the same problems you are having. A world map is inherently more abstract and less detailed, like a camera pulled way back. This has the odd effect where players and enemies look like Godzilla-sized giants roaming around and might look a bit goofy for some games. And random encounters have been a divisive mechanic pretty much since they were invented. Switching to more detailed, zoomed in regional/area maps with proportionally-sized enemy models would probably have been like killing two birds with one stone for many developers.

This is going to depend on what you want for your project. If you don't need battles on the world map then you can avoid the issues by not having enemies there at all. If it is important, then it's going to come down to if you can get some assets for enemy field sprites and control how many are out at once to avoid lag. You could also use random encounters on the world map, but visible encounters allows you to build more mechanics around how players engage in battles that might be worth looking into.
 

Wavelength

Edge of Eternity
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
5,160
Reaction score
4,469
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
To reduce the lag you'd experience from having hundreds of events walking around, I would probably have an "ON mode page" and an "OFF mode page", and use only switches as conditions for each one. Then, I would have a few small choke points around the map that the player walks through from region to region (or a single Parallel Event that checks the player's location and determines which region they're in, which only runs like every 120 frames), and when the player changes regions, the condition switches are changed appropriately. Essentially, you only have encounters in ON mode when you are in that region; all the encounters in other regions are OFF (with no event graphic, no movement, and no event body).

On a more conceptual level, I personally like having Encounters on the world map - they give me a way to fight against a huge variety of monsters (by walking between areas) in a short amount of time. However, I also agree with @Kes that there's no need whatsoever to have them. Don't feel forced to have them! If you think that world map encounters will bring more frustration than enjoyment, leave them out entirely, and make dungeons (and other wild explorable areas) the only places where encounters roam.

Yes, having encounters that are similar in scale/size to entire towns can look really silly, but the same can be said of the player character (and their party) being that big, too, so most players just accept that this is a contrivance of RPG World Maps and don't get bothered by it. One solution would be to just increase the size and scale of everything on your World Map. Another, like @Basileus mentioned, is to use extremely generic sprites like dark shadows to represent encounters on the World Map - this makes them less conspicuous than, say, giant cat monsters walking around. Finally, you could opt for a system where the World Map uses Random Encounters but Dungeons use Visual Encounters.
 

Anthony Xue

Ancient Architect
Veteran
Joined
May 9, 2016
Messages
94
Reaction score
96
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
So... I do agree that worldmaps don't need to have encounters, but unlike @Kes I think they can actually contribute to the story. Not in the sense that they advance a linear storyline, but rather in the sense of worldbuilding. Since only a minority of the world will be detailed, this is a way of showing the player the monster population of the remaining areas, in particular if you go with @Wavelength 's suggestion of regional events (the blue-feathered frost hawk can only be encountered in the Crystalmist Mountains). And beyond experience grinding, it might also be a way of "resource grinding". For instance, if a certain monster drops an alchemy component (hawk feathers), you can either detail an area inhabited by that monsters and have them respawn (we don't want these components to be limited in case something goes wrong, right?), or you can just have a worldmap region have random encounters with them.

The problem of monster sprites which appear just as large as cities can be remedied, as @Basileus suggested, generic symbols. I actually find this more "realistic": Since each square on the worldmap represents miles, not meters, you might notice that something is coming your way in advance, but not the specific being. You might use "blips" of different colors to give the player a rough idea of what's approaching - say, a red blip denotes a flutter of wings, so we're talking about bats or drakes (...or hawks), while a green blip signifies the stomping of a rhino or a mammoth. The player can then learn to interpret these blips (or maybe an in-game text gives hints) and thus decide whether to risk an encounter or flee.

Finally, there's the option of node travel, like in this plugin, and have the travel events call the encounters, but that's probably too much of a design shift for you at this point.
 
Last edited:

Frostorm

[]D[][]V[][]D aka "Staf00"
Veteran
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
677
Reaction score
431
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Speaking of visible encounters w/ respawns, how long or often should they respawn? Everytime you enter/exit the map? Or on a timer perhaps? Or maybe triggered by certain events? This is especially confounding on the world map. Thoughts?
 

BCj

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jun 19, 2014
Messages
1,694
Reaction score
900
First Language
Dutch
Primarily Uses
N/A
Oh that worldmap plugin looks nice. Sadly MV :(
Still a VX ACe user. You guys have given some good comments, I'l have to think it through to see what'd work for my game. I think no monsters would be a bit strange, seeing as it's quite a dangerous world out there to begin with.

@staf00 I currently have my respawn events set at 5 minutes of in-game time. But those are on-map encounters. I haven't thought about the worldmap in that way yet.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

Yo Ho Ho... Time flies when you are having rum...

I'm rewatching Glee, just watched grilled cheesus.
Now I'm not sure if I'm hungry or I want to cry.
I just completed Ara Fell - completing the game unlocks an Epilogue. An interesting thing to possibly consider for my games.
I decided to try to make a mucha-styled artwork, and by now I've sunk more time in studies and sketches than I usually do in the whole thing. Fingers crossed it's worth it!
Since we have a lot of new faces, please be sure to read the forum rules under the Help tab at the top. Thanks!

Forum statistics

Threads
99,451
Messages
965,432
Members
131,067
Latest member
LeoWolf
Top