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Old January 1st, 2011 (6:06 PM).
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Maruno Maruno is offline
Lead Dev of Pokémon Essentials
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: England
Posts: 5,169
Originally Posted by SpiralHorn View Post
Huge maps- Even though the game I'm working on is enormous, I actually agree with this. I hate games that are massive for no reason. I makes me feel lost and apprehensive, which would be fine if that where the reason for large ares (like in mine), but to do it just for the heck of it drives me nuts. It's not bad though if there's huge areas balanced with smaller, tighter ones. That I actually like.
I think the main problem with huge maps is that they tend to be made for the sake of art rather than the sake of playing through them. That is, the designers forget how big the game window is that the player will be looking through in order to see their maps.

It's all about proportions. Maps can be whatever size you like, so long as the features in them are proportional to the game screen. Personally, I wouldn't like to walk down a forest path for half a minute (traversing many screen widths) only to find it's a dead end. On the other hand, huge forest mazes where the dead ends are short and don't take up much time to explore (i.e. about 10 seconds tops for the return trip) would be fine. It's all about the sense of progression, which is something you don't get when you're forever stumbling down mile-long dead ends and not making much real progress. On the other hand, very long boring paths in which nothing happens is just as bad, even if you are heading in the right direction. You can't even do something clever with the camera angles like that bridge in Isshu (which was still tedious, by the way).

Another disadvantage of large maps is that they're much more difficult to fill in. Consequently some don't, and have awful wide open spaces. And the way you fill in the space is important too - an array of fields is neither clever nor nice. If it's not adding anything to the map other than "realism", and particularly if the player should never have to venture near it, then get rid of it - put it on the other side of an untraversable fence or something. You can still have it, just don't force the player to go through it.

Of course, as I mentioned, not all huge maps are bad by default (just all the ones I've ever seen are). They can be good, so long as you remember how big the window is and keep the map features to that scale, and keep things interesting (enemy trainers/acres of long grass are not interesting).

Oh, and huge maps means more events, which means more lag. Just saying.