solidifying the Void

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turin
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Post by turin » May 7th, 2007, 9:11 pm

Eleazar wrote:As an example, many maps from tSG have large portions that aren't tactically relevant to the scenario.
That seems like the best solution to me... yeah, having the map stop suddenly at the edge instead of continuing can be disconcerting if the edge of the map is tactically relevant, but it seems equally strange to me to have hexes that are visibly mountains/hills/forests but that cannot be moved into.
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Post by Sapient » May 7th, 2007, 10:50 pm

Eleazar wrote:
esr wrote:I did read the thread, and I don't see where this point was addressed.
Eleazar wrote: If a map maker is interested in that, he's free to add extra hexes around the outside of the map. I think he can even make certain hexes arbitrarily impassable. That would much more effectively convey the feel of a big world.
How many people are going to take the time to create a custom impassible terrain for every single hex that otherwise might appear on the screen and then create transitions that don't look bad when placed around the inevitable jagged formation that occurs around a square map unless we have half-hexes? That sounds like creating a new (and worse) problem in the attempt to solve the existing one.

I've got an "inner frame" proposal that might satisfy both camps, however. I'll post a mockup later tonght.
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Post by Sapient » May 7th, 2007, 11:26 pm

As promised, here's what my "inner frame" proposal would look like. Just a quick mock-up, of course.
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Pretend it's a really big screen and a normal sized map.
Pretend it's a really big screen and a normal sized map.
vivahalvas.jpg (29.69 KiB) Viewed 5283 times
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Post by Jetrel » May 8th, 2007, 4:30 am

Sapient wrote:How many people are going to take the time to create a custom impassible terrain for every single hex that otherwise might appear on the screen and then create transitions that don't look bad when placed around the inevitable jagged formation that occurs around a square map unless we have half-hexes? That sounds like creating a new (and worse) problem in the attempt to solve the existing one.
That's not what he was suggesting. You're assuming these hexes would be impassible.

He was suggesting doing what TSG did, which to be exact was:
• Put a reasonably large swath of normal, terrain hexes outside of the "core" of the map.
• Discourage units from entering there by having no villages or active elements out there. But don't forbid them from going in. They can wander around in it if they'd like, there's just not going to be anything there. Usually.

Personally, I think it worked amazingly well. I coincidentally was playing TSG recently, and I think it has some of the best map design I've ever seen in this game; due in large part to this fact. Scott could (rightly) give us lessons on map design - it's part of why he was made maintainer for HttT.

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Post by Eleazar » May 8th, 2007, 4:58 am

Jetryl wrote:That's not what he was suggesting.
Exactly.

My "I think he can even make certain hexes arbitrarily impassable." comment was not an endorsement or recommendation, but basically a "you can already do that with WML" sort of comment.


Your "inner frame" thing would be fine if all we were trying to address was the display of maps smaller than the screen. But it doesn't address the other reasons previously listed for removing the half-hexes.

It's possible we'll use something like the grey edge in your example. It will certainly be do-able in WML. But the shape of the edge will follow the edges of the hexes.
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Post by mog » May 8th, 2007, 10:40 am

Hmm... we could allow the scenario designer to define a kind of "core-map" rectangle. Tiles outside of that rectangle would be treated as border tiles (they would be impassable and should never be fully visible, either by not scrolling so far or by drawing a border like in sapient's example).

It would be backwards compatible (if the rectangle defaults to the whole map), and one could do interesting things in scenarios by enlarging/shrinking the core map during the game.
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Post by turin » May 8th, 2007, 8:24 pm

Jetryl wrote:Personally, I think it worked amazingly well. I coincidentally was playing TSG recently, and I think it has some of the best map design I've ever seen in this game; due in large part to this fact. Scott could (rightly) give us lessons on map design - it's part of why he was made maintainer for HttT.
Exactly.

An example of a map that completely fails to do this (last I checked) is the one for Bay of Pearls.
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Post by Eleazar » May 8th, 2007, 10:35 pm

turin wrote:
Jetryl wrote:Personally, I think it worked amazingly well. I coincidentally was playing TSG recently, and I think it has some of the best map design I've ever seen in this game; due in large part to this fact. Scott could (rightly) give us lessons on map design - it's part of why he was made maintainer for HttT.
An example of a map that completely fails to do this (last I checked) is the one for Bay of Pearls.
I don't think Scott did any of the Mainline maps. Aelius certainly did the ones for tSG. But, yes i too dislike the Keep-on-the-edge-of-the-map thing in BoP and other maps. But back to the point...

Adding tSG-style margin to the edges of the maps is a valid plan whatever happens to the half-hexes. On the other hand it is not a real solution to any edge of the map issues— except that it makes the edge less frequently seen. Incidentally, i don't think it will be easy to add to maps with a lot of WML that references the map.

Having a "core map" arbitrarily sized smaller than the actual map could be interesting for certain situations.
But i don't really see it as a solution for the map-edge issues. I rather think common screen sizes will increase more rapidly than the practical rate at which padding would be added to the edges of maps.


:arrow: So the basic proposal isn't changing, but discussion has brought up some other avenues for improving the maps.
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Post by SkeletonCrew » May 9th, 2007, 5:48 am

I think adding extra areas to a map in order to show the borders less often is a good idea. I think discouraging the player to enter those areas is the KISS solution. I think adding support to make terrains impassable might work counter intuitive why can't I enter that forest but can this. Resizing the map in game might be nice, but I fear it might be tricky to implant...

Sapients proposal with a bordered map on a "table" was also my first idea but it doesn't solve the half hexes problem.

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Post by Darth Fool » May 9th, 2007, 1:15 pm

How about adding an extra tag like "map_border=yes" If set to true, then the outer most set of hexes on the map would be interpreted as unreachable and used to generate the half hexes needed for rectangular border? If set to "auto", it would auto generate the half hexes using the current method and if set to no it would leave the half hexes unfilled.

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Post by Eleazar » May 9th, 2007, 6:23 pm

Darth Fool wrote:How about adding an extra tag like "map_border=yes" If set to true, then the outer most set of hexes on the map would be interpreted as unreachable and used to generate the half hexes needed for rectangular border? If set to "auto", it would auto generate the half hexes using the current method and if set to no it would leave the half hexes unfilled.
Is this really so important that we need to provide options?

The work of maintaining the half-hexes becomes even less worth-while if they won't even show up on many maps.

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* Hexes Are Not Evil—Embrace the Hex
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Post by Eleazar » May 9th, 2007, 8:04 pm

OK, based on the discussion so far, here and on IRC, i'm going to attempt to list what's generally agreed needs to change:

• Due to issues with villages, and tall units standing on raised terrain on the top row getting cropped off, animations spilling off the edges, and the general tackiness of cramming important stuff into the edges of the screen, there should be some (approx. 72 px) padding beyond the playable area of the map.

• When the map+padding is smaller than the screen, (in either or both axes) the map will be centered in the middle of the map area. The background beyond the map will have some sort of texture, probably definable by WML.

The nature of the edge between the map and non-map and how much it can be controlled is the center of the disagreement.
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Post by zookeeper » May 9th, 2007, 9:14 pm

Here's my idea, which looks like it's actually a new one.

Automatically generate a 1-hex wide border around the actual map. Don't draw half-hexes, draw a background. Then, apply a fade to the border hexes, making them smoothly fade into the background. This fade could involve also a desaturation effect or something like that, or it might not be a gradient fade but based on some other pattern (since it would probably be done using an alpha map).

EDIT: And I think we can fix the current graphics problems with for example villages and great trees in the top row with some small code and WML fixes, which would probably need to be fixed for this proposal to work well too.

EDIT2: Updated the image to a one which doesn't have all screwy hex borders.
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border-mockup.jpg
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Last edited by zookeeper on June 12th, 2007, 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by turin » May 9th, 2007, 9:30 pm

HANE—EtH!

I like this mockup, with the understanding that there would be a pattern (perhaps a wood grain) in the background.

I think it would be better if the tile transitions were not shown on the edge of the map, but rather there was something like the border on this mockup, except with the border tangent to the hexes themselves instead of forming an arbitrary rectangle.

I also think it would be better if it was always possible to view at least a one-hex-sized border around the map proper. The reason is, I personally find it frustrating to have to move units that are on the very edge of the map and thus cannot be in the center of the user's "field of vision". I would like to be able to scroll towards the edge of the map until the map proper (as opposed to the wood-grain pattern) didn't take up a majority of the map size.
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Post by mog » May 10th, 2007, 9:52 pm

Mordante asked me to comment on the IRC discussion. So...

First, I agree with (the current version ;)) of Eleazar's last post.

Second, the matter of hexes or half hexes...
21:53 <Ivanovic> 1) stay the way we currently do it
21:53 <Ivanovic> 2) change the logics for handling halfhexes by making some border be specifiable in the editor by the author of the map
21:54 <Ivanovic> 3) leave out these halfhex stuff and just put the whole on some "general background"
21:54 <Ivanovic> 4) mix of 2 and 3, definable by the map creator
I'd prefer 2) with maybe 4) as a temporary solution for backwards compatibility. Zookeeper's mockup is nice too, but it's essentially an half-hex approach with a soft edge.

[edit]
As Ivanovic asked me about the look of the edge: I'd prefer the current way (cut it off) if the map fits the screen and something like sapient's mockup if not.
[/quote]

For non-rectangular maps one can simply fill the outside with void (or something) which would result in Eleazar's proposal.

WML/Code changes for half-hexes: I don't think we need any WML changes for the half-hex approach. We might need to define additional transitions to the background for irregular maps, but we'd need that for all proposals.

The main problem we currently have, is the painting bug in the top row. It's probably a matching problem with WML like this

Code: Select all

     map="
, *
* , *
, 1
* , *
, *"
not working when part of the "map"-parameter are outside the map.
This needs to be fixed in every case. No proposal would magically fix this bug, though 2) might (depending on the actual implementation) push the bug to the border where it wouldn't matter that much.
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