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 Post subject: Towns and world maps
PostPosted: Mon May 4, '09, 4:57 pm 
Most games, RPGs especially, there's going to be a world map of some kind. I've seen the world that the game is set in take on a few different forms in terms of layout. You have Phantasy Star, in which you have a world map with other areas, like caves, towns, dungeons, etc. represented by a little sprite on the map which you touch to enter. But the larger geographic land mass(es) are one map. Towns are generally the safe havens. I've also seen a system like in the Earthbound games. There isn't some larger world map to which everything is connected...instead, everything is part of the same basic map, but different areas are generally separated out by long roads or tunnels so you get some screen changes, and of course you get screen changes for caves and such. Mother 1 takes this to the extreme in which there towns are not separated out like this all the time. It is just one great big enormous world (except for Magicant.) And here, towns aren't safe havens. At all.

I'm curious...what other map layouts of you seem games use? Were they used well or not and did you like the layout?

Answering my own question...the two layouts I pointed out above I liked. I can't say I strongly prefer any over the other in itself, as all three certainly fit for the game it was in. Phantasy Star, with so many towns, would need such a layout to get them all in there. I could not imagine playing that game in a contiguous world like Earthbound. But I guess I prefer the world map layout of Earthbound, because they represent geographic realities like elevation well. There are obvious hills and such in some areas, and in caves there are long cliffs that you have to scale with ropes or ladders. I really had a sense of geography in Earthbound and knew where I was in relation to everything else. But on the flipside...I actually didn't like the contiguous world layout in Mother 3 for some reason, even though it was done very well in Mother 1 and 2/Earthbound. I had a hard time getting any sense of geography in Mother 3. I just couldn't always figure out precisely where I was in relation to anything else.


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 Post subject: Re: Towns and world maps
PostPosted: Mon May 4, '09, 11:30 pm 
I've played games where the world map is just like a simple paper map you would fold out. The towns or dungeons are spots on the map you select to visit, which each being a separate area that is not connected to anything. When you select an area, that specific area loads. Leaving brings up the map again. Grandia I & II and Lost Odyssey use that. It's okay, but it can make the world seem smaller in some ways. Some games do it better than others. In Grandia, you couldn't return to previous areas at all, but Lost Odyssey allows that to an extent.

A few games do away with the world map and just have a single path. When I played Final Fantasy X, most of the game was just a single continuous road from point A to point B. I didn't like that much. It removes most of the exploration thrill from finding a hidden area.

May favorite is probably the Phantasy Star style. Wild ARMs 3 had a great version of it. It's 3D, so there's a more angled view than top down. It really impresses the massiveness of the world, though. Especially when transportation is upgraded from walking to horseback to flying.


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