To Automap or not to Automap?

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Gizmo
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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by Gizmo » August 21st, 2017, 7:34 pm

Ether wrote:
August 21st, 2017, 6:25 pm
Only time you couldn't notice is if you teleported in a darkness zone (which, keeps silly because one would think the real life adventurers would notice that they were teleported somewhere)
I dunno... I'd kind of lean on the side of them thinking the lights just went out, rather than them thinking their that their bodies were just picked up and deposited elsewhere.

_____

I am not really against an automap that marks down what the party perceives; even marks the traps they detect, but haven't disarmed. My concern with that though, is that IMO the automap should incrementally refine itself while they are in the area**, starting with cursory details; such that running through halls in a blind retreat, doesn't net them a fully drawn map that details everyplace they passed through.

**It could even be done statistically, via stat checks while they explore. It was the case in Lands of Lore that PCs would notice secret doors; and I think it was in M&M?? that PCs would notice collectible loot in the area, or even on tables; the stuff would only appear once they'd seen it. I wish the traps in FO3 had been like that.

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Zombra
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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by Zombra » August 22nd, 2017, 11:43 am

Gizmo wrote:
August 21st, 2017, 7:34 pm
_____
Paging Gizmo ... paging Gizmo ... clear some space in your private message Inbox ...

Sorry for this off topic post, everyone else please ignore this and return to your lives ...
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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » August 22nd, 2017, 4:44 pm

Ether wrote:
August 21st, 2017, 6:25 pm
It was pretty obvious when you hit the spinners in those; the screen went crazy.
Not that I recall from the platforms on which I've played. For example, I'm pretty sure that walking through the spinner at 18N, 6E in the third level of the Catacombs in BT1 is not noticeable for some spins, because of the symmetry of the surrounding passages.
Ether wrote:
August 21st, 2017, 6:25 pm
Teleports were a little more subtle in BT1 and BT2.
Yes and that is what I'm talking about.
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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by Ether » August 23rd, 2017, 2:14 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
August 22nd, 2017, 4:44 pm
Ether wrote:
August 21st, 2017, 6:25 pm
It was pretty obvious when you hit the spinners in those; the screen went crazy.
Not that I recall from the platforms on which I've played. For example, I'm pretty sure that walking through the spinner at 18N, 6E in the third level of the Catacombs in BT1 is not noticeable for some spins, because of the symmetry of the surrounding passages.
Ether wrote:
August 21st, 2017, 6:25 pm
Teleports were a little more subtle in BT1 and BT2.
Yes and that is what I'm talking about.
I don't remember spinners all that well in BT1, but I've always found that it was pretty obvious that something was happening, whether it was the screen or MACO (I always had it active, if possible). Unless, of course, I had a Nospin Ring.
I'll have to try that Catacomb spinner (Kindle platform) to see.

As for teleports in BT1 and BT2, while not as obvious in BT3, they weren't that subtle. If you were paying attention you probably saw it. Now, I suppose nowadays if someone was trying to play and post of Facebook simultaneously they may not notice.

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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by thebruce » August 23rd, 2017, 6:29 am

Another benefit to spinners and teleports with the design of the time was the repetitive nature of the graphics. Walls and doors were identical. Whether we knew we were spun or teleported or not, determining orientation was additionally difficult because everything looked the same.

So, all of this automapping discussion as it pertains to affecting spinners and teleports may be moot if environment design as we've seen to date is so much less tile-ized and repetitive and more like other 3D games.

Then again, maybe they'll be saving those types of confusions for dungeons where there's no real reason for the environment to be entirely unrepetitive. They may make them rarer and nastier, by placing them in parts of a dungeon that are specifically designed around said spinner or teleport.

In the classics, the dungeons were already "ready" for such map elements, and they could be placed essentially anywhere with the same effect (given a bit of creative wall/door layout). How much more evil would it be if you walk into a dangerous area in BT4, noticing how hard it is to keep your bearing because suddenly everything is looking similar, and then you're spun or zapped around, lose your orientation, and you can no longer rely on the walls or markings to get your bearing? Your breadcrumbs have disappeared.

Of course, the existence of an automapper will still play a role in this, however they design it. But I don't think I'd mind that style of map design around those elements. Spinners and teleports fewer but nastier. Still mappable. And map design would still have to be (hopefully) really well done.
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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » August 23rd, 2017, 4:49 pm

Ether wrote:
August 23rd, 2017, 2:14 am
As for teleports in BT1 and BT2, while not as obvious in BT3, they weren't that subtle. If you were paying attention you probably saw it. Now, I suppose nowadays if someone was trying to play and post of Facebook simultaneously they may not notice.
On the platforms which I have played BT1 on, I do not recall the teleports giving any visual cue, whether the one on Sinister Street or in a dungeon. And, no, I'm not a multitasker - when I play a game, it has my undivided attention. Not posting to my non-existent Facebook account.

But, in any case, if I had to pick a hill die on, it wouldn't be this one. Doesn't hurt to discuss these things, though. If an automapper ended up precluding these dungeon features, I would be disappointed, or course, but probably not enough to walk away from the game as a successor to the original series. There are far more disturbing things that I see in what we know of inXile's presently charted course... things that would be enough to walk away from this title.
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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by Ollieonly1 » August 24th, 2017, 6:20 am

As I was young and unaware of the genre of spinners and teleports on BT1 back in the 80s, I just assumed that walls randomly appeared/disappeared. I alos memorised all maps in my head! (needless to say, I didn't get much further than Catacombs).

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Lord of Riva
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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by Lord of Riva » August 24th, 2017, 7:21 am

I would actually love a decently sized Retro Dungeon, including no Automap et al.

what do you guys think? what does inXile think?

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Gizmo
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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by Gizmo » August 24th, 2017, 8:17 am

Lord of Riva wrote:
August 24th, 2017, 7:21 am
I would actually love a decently sized Retro Dungeon, including no Automap et al.

what do you guys think? what does inXile think?
8-)

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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by thebruce » August 24th, 2017, 9:42 am

I can grok that.
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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by ZZGO » August 25th, 2017, 12:55 pm

I think it can be said that the dungeon level design in BT 1+2 made heavy use of the fact that you wouldn't notice a teleport unless the environment changed drastically. That was a feature, as in design decision, and it doesn't work with automap.
Contrast with BT3 which had automap and a visible flash/wall of light when teleporting. The BT3 dungeons never even attempted to mislead you or make your head spin through "sneak teleportation". It followed a different level design philosophy.

I'm not saying one or the other was better; but they certainly aren't the same thing.

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Re: To Automap or not to Automap?

Post by Loswaith » August 25th, 2017, 8:44 pm

For me when I consider such things as teleporters and spinners there are two big questions as to how their intent goes.
1. Are you trying to confuse the player?
This is essentially what all the older games tried to do, and in some cases succeeded. A typical auto-mapper tends to 'cure' or prevent this issue (though for me they didn't much break the mystery or fun of the exploration). As it is today anyone that would want to 'cure'/bypass that effect would likely find all the information they need on the internet in short order (something we didn't have to the scale we have now, or have at all for many earlier stuff).
Players may have to compile various maps together pending on how their mapping skills are or the positioning and map layout tools work in the game.

2. Are you trying to confuse the characters? (after all many players want to feel how these folk would feel)
On this aspect many of the aspects like spinners or teleporters would need some serious magic to actually confuse any but the most green of adventurers, because if we presume they just don't notice getting dizzy (in the case of spinning) or have been transposed (for teleporters or facing changes), characters at least have the ability to carry useless objects (like stones, berries, chalk, or anything that can make/leave as markers) that extra coding and art assets for is rather cumbersome for the game-play gain.
At the end of the day an auto-map is saying the characters are doing the mapping.
Characters likely have various maps here and there broken by their teleports or spinners too that they compile as they go.


I'd expect that answering either of these two questions really will weigh on how the auto-map will work out at it's core (there will obviously always be different player preferences too). Along with a simple does the player/character even notice?

Then we consider how complex would the auto-map features want to be made.
A fairly complex system would be to go with groups of maps, thus starting a new map after each spinner/ teleport, but then merging them together as it becomes obvious as to how they link (like some big jigsaw puzzle). So for example we start with map for area 1.0 mapping away (having an entrance to orientate it to the world), then teleport and start map 1.1 (we now have no world orientation) after a while we hit a spinner starting map 1.2, after a while we hit a feature that makes us certain we are back in parts mapped on 1.0 and compile maps 1.0 and 1.2 together (or just have a note linking them).
Obviously with many teleporters or spinners this could get very large pile of map pieces. Not to mention needing some great thought on how to recognise when to merge the maps (if its done at all).

A simpler option is to just have a very basic map of walls and spaces with a good collection of annotation abilities for the player to add features and notes in (though that still gives world orientation and locational relevance to each other). Thus essentially meaning the characters map the basics and players add the features.

At the end of it all I can only think that the teleporters or spinners themselves may need to be made interesting in game-play so as that even if the auto-mapping allows players to 'cure' or prevent the disorientation aspect, they do still have some wonder about them. Maybe the spinner/teleport mixes up the party order or similar effects.

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