City Planning

After finishing up the encounter mentioned yesterday, I decided to look into some DMC-related encounters. And one of the things I need to decide is how to represent the city to the player once the player passes the main gate.

The way the city is now, there are some wall hexes, the sprawl, and a repeated interior skyscraper hex. So if the player could walk around the city on the map, it'd be kind of boring. I could draw some new interior hexes, but those take quite a bit of time to make (lots of detail), and that would be time taken away from plot and feature development.

So as an alternative, I'm considering making the city menu-driven. I briefly considered making the city navigation like the Cryo facility or House at Seven Gables. It requires no new code, and it gets the job done.

However, I already feel like moving around the cryo facility is too tedious. It's a lot of clicking to get around and do stuff there, and that's only two rooms.

Another possibility is making some sort of schematic or map of the city, and letting the player click destinations directly. E.g. clicking on icons/nodes for "investigate bank clues," "visit shop," "leave city," etc. (actual locations TBD) This way, the player can see all the options clearly, and go straight to any one they want. Each one could resolve in the most appropriate way, whether it be a regular encounter style interaction, combat, scavenge, or whatever. (Probably mostly encounters.)

And when a city encounter finishes, the player is returned to the overview map of the city, where they can go to another location, or leave the city.

It'd take a little time to hook up a new UI, but it should actually be a pretty simple UI (simpler than combat). Most of the work would be doing the map graphics.

I had a couple ideas for how this map could look, and I'll be working on that some more on Monday. Of course, after a weekend of thinking, I may decide there's a better way. But at least I have an idea I'm interested in to kick off on Monday morning. It's always easier to start a week with a specific task.

That's it for this week. Hope everyone has a good weekend!


yuanchueh's picture

You could consider making it so that when you enter the city, a new map is loaded. This new map could be just laid out like the world map, but scaled smaller. So instead of towns, you travel Detroit by blocks or neighborhoods. Then you could have your menu navigation for inside blocks. Some of this could be randomized as well.

dcfedor's picture

That's true, though it would require building two systems to solve the problem, rather than one. There would have to be a system for navigating inside blocks, and a system for unloading world map and loading a local map.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have both of those systems :) I just worry it would take a while to build and test them. And that would be more time delaying plot work, which is overdue.

Also, the city would need some new hex artwork for the expanded size, such as more wall tiles and more inner-city hexes. The single inner-city hex that I have now looks pretty repetitive when used over a large area.

If I focus on the menu navigation first, I can continue on DMC plot sooner. And if I have more time to do the map-loader in the future, the menu system will already be done, so I can use it as a building block to the 2-system approach.

Of course, it will depend on how the menu system feels/looks once I get it running. It's possible the menu system will be boring and reduce the fun-factor, so if that happens, maybe I need to do the map anyway. But that's how iterative software development goes!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Fly's picture

I don't mind a click-to-go-here map of the city, but It would be nice to have a chance for random encounters on-route to locations. It could just be a simple check - like, (distance between points)*(shadiness of locations)=(random encounter chance). And then there's an encounter before you arrive.

If location events change because of plot events, time of day, condition of the player, it will feel more like a living city than a menu exploration.

Just some thoughts :)