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Old May 14, 2013, 09:18   #21
LostTemplar
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1) The cities take up so much of the game world that the "wilderness" feels tiny in comparison (IIRC Ultima 7 had this problem).
2) The game world is vast, procedurally-generated at some level, and tedious to explore because there's nothing in it.
This may be a problem only if a map is intendent to be filled with content and somehow saved. Dwarf Fortress e.g. usues very large map, which is generated only when visited, using single random seed, so every chunk of map is fixed but not saved. All the features, objects, etc. can be created separately and stored as an array, and applyed like a patch to a chunk, player is visiting.

BTW very large map can have an impressive gameplay effect. Monster population and some special things density may be so low that it will be almost impossible to find anything just by travel and player will have to use some lore or scouting information to actively search or track something. e.g. if you have 10000 orcs roaming Beleriand, it will be less then 1/1000 chance per chunk to meet an orc randomly. This may be very impressive if e.g. some tracking skills will be added.
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Old May 14, 2013, 09:42   #22
Mondkalb
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You could add inns, guilds, or general shops along the road where keepers could provide hints, rumors, quests and so on to point the player in the right direction.
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Old May 14, 2013, 10:22   #23
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You could add inns, guilds, or general shops along the road where keepers could provide hints, rumors, quests and so on to point the player in the right direction.
Indeed. There's no reason why *everything* outside cities needs to be uninhabited - there'll be hamlets/villages/small towns clustered around wells/mines/quarries/whatever.
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Old May 14, 2013, 11:16   #24
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I have no idea how complicate it might be to implement conversations. In FA we already have the desperate adventurer with whom the player can have something like a short conversation. Unlike in vanilla, there also are neutral creatures in FA who could provide some imformations.

I am only playing the fortress mode of Dwarf Fortress, but in the adventurer mode the player has to talk to people to get quests and informations. That makes the world much more lively than most roguelikes. (Apart from FAangband which is on a different path already.)
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Old May 14, 2013, 16:38   #25
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BTW very large map can have an impressive gameplay effect. Monster population and some special things density may be so low that it will be almost impossible to find anything just by travel and player will have to use some lore or scouting information to actively search or track something. e.g. if you have 10000 orcs roaming Beleriand, it will be less then 1/1000 chance per chunk to meet an orc randomly. This may be very impressive if e.g. some tracking skills will be added.
Yes, this sounds interesting. Ultima had clues such as treasure maps that led to particular places some of which were very unlikely to be found by chance. This was cool. Tracking also sounds cool.

I like the idea of a large hardcoded map with cities and towns on it, as well as broad features of mountains and lakes etc, then having the details of these things determined procedurally based on a unique randseed for each playthrough. I'd let the locations of villages and hamlets be procedurally determined as well, and only have larger settlements be fixed. I'd also have many interesting features (ruins, towers, dungeons, etc) be created and placed procedurally, perhaps with roads or partial roads placed to connect them and guide the player (like tunnels in dungeons). The ruins, towers, dungeons etc could themselves be selected from template files or partly or fully procedural. Perhaps you could think in terms of regular random towers and 'artefact' towers that are only in one place on the map (perhaps fixed, perhaps not). e.g. Sil has special vaults and a special forge that are only generated at most once each game.

In some ways this might be like Brogue with its procedural puzzles. E.g. create a cool tower somewhere, then generate a map to it and a few people who know roughly where it is and place those in other places. In this way, finding knowledge would seem really exciting. Warlords actually had this, with a sage located in an out of the way place and you could ask what was located in a particular ruin, or in which ruin was a particular artefact located.

Imagine having (a subset of?) the artefacts being placed around the map at generation time, so that they had an independent existence from the player and you had to find them, or be led to them by clues or magic. Of course you would have to generate out the whole map, but simply determine at some high level of abstraction that a particular 20 mile square will have a ruined tower and that the ruined tower will have the Spear of Ogbar, then generate the details of this on demand from the seed. Perhaps some characters (bards? people with lore skill?) could get to find out the rough location of an artefact every so often, or at character creation. Or they could find out that Ringil is in Ungoliant's lair, but not yet know where Ungoliant's lair is.

There are so many great ideas surrounding this map concept!
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Old May 14, 2013, 20:19   #26
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Warlords actually had this, with a sage located in an out of the way place and you could ask what was located in a particular ruin, or in which ruin was a particular artefact located.
Allies! Gold! Item! Man, I still play that game sometimes, and it has been on every hard-drive I've owned since 1994.

I am also looking forward to your true-to-Tolkien-wilderness-generator, Nick. I suppose I'm less worried about the game elements, and just want a stroll.
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Old May 14, 2013, 20:44   #27
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Warlords 2 was ace. I cried when a Mac upgrade killed it.

Entirely irrelevant to *band, but I always thought that Civ would have been so much more enjoyable with the Warlords 'unit vectoring' model, whereby you could produce a griffon in City X and an appropriate number of turns later it would pop up in City Y.
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Old May 14, 2013, 21:56   #28
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Well, thanks for all the ideas and speculation - some of it will be right, but I won't tell you which bits

I'm actually going to have to deliver a game now, aren't I...
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Old June 1, 2013, 12:55   #29
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Seriously?
23 billion game grids??!
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Old June 1, 2013, 13:51   #30
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Seriously?
23 billion game grids??!
Actually less than 20 billion; there are 12x15 map squares, not 12x18. There's also an error in my little picture - region grids are square miles, so there are 49x49 of them to a map square.

So, the good news is that I now have something which is probably technically a functional game. It consists of:
  1. A 'wilderness', made up of squares of uniform terrain (all plains are all grass, etc). Forests have some slightly more advanced generation (the odd clearing or pond). But everything is a long walk across the desert, and there's no travel system yet.
  2. A single landmark, the Gates of Angband, which the player starts in front of. This is easily the best part of the game at this stage; it's probably not a coincidence that I'm not responsible for it (HallucinationMushroom is).
  3. A 127 level persistent dungeon. Levels are square, and one third the size of regular Angband (or FAangband) levels. I have done just enough to make this generate successfully. Usually.
  4. Character classes and races, monsters, objects are all as in FAangband; all races start in the same place. There is no town, or shops.
  5. Lots of sand. It's currently kind of a sandbox...

Also, frequent crashes are to be expected.
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