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PoT667

Revise map generation and isometric roads

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PoT667    10

Hi,

so I downloaded (from Steam of course) Don't Starve yesterday and squandered my whole sunday (take this as praise). The game is cool and quite challenging, has a nice feel to it and this wonderful sense of exploration.

So let me tell you what my problem is and why I wouldn't recommend it (right now):

1. The island sort of layout: I find it terribly inorganic and boring. You walk around and then there is a bridge (which frequently extend faaar faaar to far (I don't see the point in walking between island 1-3 ingame hours)) and then aha, now I'm on the forest island, and now I'm on the swamp island and now I'm on the beefalo island, rock island, etc. etc. It totally kills the sense of exploration, when I am looking for rocks and I find a different island just run straight through searching for the next exit. Also with the road eventually leading me to the exit of the island and thereby to the next island, exploration is even more meaningless. It doesn't feel like exploration, when I enter an island and I basically know what expects me.

Let me tell you how it looked when I started my first game. I had a brilliant layout, I didn't even notice I was on an Island. There was the start of a road, when I followed it, I came upon the plains with all that you need for a nice start and tons of rabbits. After a bit of exploration I found beefallos to the west, beyond that a forest, a graveyard north west, rocks to the north and a swamp and more forest to the east. Far further north beyond the rocks (or mountains as I thought first) was a greater forest with some pigs. After a few plays I wanted to try a different map and found out that they were all sh*t. With the terrain basically isolated to single islands with large inorganic flow breaking bridges in between.

Also the road is a nice thing and I'm certainly not against it, but if you'd abolish the island-layout towards a more organic large world layout, you could reduce the amount of road that's there, making the exploratory aspect better.

If you haven't figured out how terrible I find the current isolated-terrain-island-bridge-isolated-terrain-follow-the-road-layout let me express it again. ITS SH*T! It looks like a 12 year's old first try with the Starcraft: Broodwar map editor. It's the only aspect of the game that I hate, I love everything else, I love how you set up a camp and gather rescources and die unexpectedly (just 20 minutes ago, I found out that the pigs turn into werepigs during full moon and then kick your ass (another good use of the sleeping mat)). But the horrible island based map layout...

2. Which brings me to the 2nd point: Isometric roads (okay this is more of a aesthetic point, but you know, wrong use of isometric terrain was considered an almost unpardonable faux-pas in modding and mapmaking in Broodwar and 15 years later, you're not getting away with this!). Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against isometric terrain layout per se. What I dislike is the isometric roads. I'm sure all your expensive computers should be able to generate the road as something that is ON the terrain and therefore doesn't need to look isometric.

So that's my tuppence. I really like the game, but the island layout just kills it for me.

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PoT667    10

It seems to me that you haven't tried the Test/Beta Map generator. It has minor bugs, but worth playing in. Enjoy~

You know it doesn't really solve the issue if you just remove the road and put the islands closer together, still connected with bridges. Granted, it resolves the annoyingness of the bridges somewhat, because they are not that long anymore and everything looks a bit nice, not like you took the largest brush-size in paint and just painted one piece of color everywhere and drew lines between them. But its just one step above that...

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PoT667    10

Like I said, the roads were not my main point of critic. It's the island layout. And it doesn't matter if the island is far away or within spitting distance. As long as I'm on a swamp island, but I want to go to a rock island, I need to get off the island I'm on! And so with the roads I just follow the roads, and without the roads I just follow the coast (which makes it acutally more annoying)

My suggestion is to just get rid of the bridges and the stupid islands and let one terrain flow into the next one. So I can explore the map and find what I'm looking for. If I enter an island with a terrain type I'm not looking for right now, it's basically "seen one, seen them all" so there is no exploration to be done, except find the exit. I want exploration in which I am not constantly looking for the exit!

If you HAVE to keep islands (for whatever abitrary reason) make the islands big and diverse, with a bit of beach and a bit of grass and maybe some rocks/mountain so there is something to explore on the island. Even if the island has a "theme" let there be some variety, so that exploring the island might actually yield something more than just the same thing I saw when I first set foot on it.

Edited by PoT667

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McMatthew    23

I don't see how having one giant mass of land would be any more interesting than separate islands, it would just be really boring. The thought of another island to explore would be more encouraging than trying to cover a single island, and also introduces the different biomes gradually to new players.I like to fill in my entire map by exploring which is a more pleasant task if I can do it island by island. The other good thing about islands is that it forces you to explore the land, without avoiding the hard bits. If you could just go around the swamps to get to the biome you wanted, it would remove a lot of risk from the game, which is a bad thing.

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Pelagius    10

I agree with him. I like the old one giant landmass style best. Islands could be okay but as of now they are mostly (or entirely) one biom each which is kinda boring imo. The test generator is a nice in-between but i think some sort of bridge building mechanic needs to be added to keep it from being really annoying.

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beachjustice    11

It sounds like you got the same setup I did. I don't think I clicked Test for my first map but I'm not sure but I got the same thing. Islands with specific biomes each and long bridges. It wasn't terrible but it did kill the feel a little. I generated a new one using the Default option and got a MUCH better result. The world is pretty small but it's much more natural.

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PoT667    10

I found another map that is a bit like the map I had in my first play and that I want what the maps look like, without stupid flow breaking bridges. (or are possible to look like, if you implement a world generation tool where you can tick things on and off and change the prevalence of different biomes etc.)

post-8035-1376459043808_thumb.jpg

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sarah    10

I really like having multiple islands. It can really add a lot to the feeling of exploration in the game, and I love the idea that we could eventually make our own bridges or rafts. In a real lost-on-an-island scenario, additional nearby islands are quite likely.

The real problem is that the islands shouldn't be round, and having one biome per island is terrible. The biomes and terrain need to be much more naturally distributed, but I don't think that should necessarily mean one big landmass. I also don't think it should be a binary choice between lots of small islands or one big one: there could be hybrid maps. Admittedly, I haven't tried the test generator yet, because I don't really want to invest so much time in something that is so messed up it requires a big warning, especially if I can't have two games going at once. :-|

The only improvement I would really want for the roads is to do something to eliminate the aliasing (yes, it is technically aliasing) produced when the roads are on a diagonal. It really breaks suspension of disbelief when the roads form a rapid series of 90° turns. It may be a little difficult to implement, but I would just eliminate the requirement that road elements sit on the same tile grid as terrain. I suspect this is what OP was really reacting to, and I have to agree on this one. There is no pressing need, in my opinion, to do anything more complicated than this. You can still get by with isometric road tiles, they just need to be tiled better.

However, there are much more pressing things than any of this, particularly adding to the complexity & difficulty once you are a few weeks into your survival.

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