DMC Experiment #1

This morning was a bit slow, as I knew I wanted to try some DMC mapping ideas, but I wasn't really sure where to start. I know the player is entering the DMC via a gate in the west, but I wasn't exactly sure about the boundaries of the city. So after some research and map-gazing, I ended up deciding on some demarkation lines for the city, and picked a spot for the gate the player uses: Gate 11.

Once I had done that, I chose a sub-section of the city around that gate to use as my first map test. It's only a fraction of the city (probably about 10%), but the city is so gigantic that it should offer ample city-romping. I'll probably leave most of the city undefined and inaccessible, so I can focus on adding color and interest to this representative area.

One of the UI/map styles I'm considering is a sort of aerial photo of the city at night. I think a lot of the mystique of the city comes from the night skyline picture, so it makes sense to carry that theme into navigating the city.

Using some actual maps of Detroit's outlying areas, I was able to lay down gridwork and major traffic arteries as they stand now. I wanted to see how hard it would be to make it look like some of the cities photographed from orbit by the ISS. Using some layering and filtering combined with dissolve and glow effects, I was actually able to get a decent base to work from:

IMAGE(http://www.bluebottlegames.com/img/screenshots/screenshot-2012-11-26.png) A base texture to start working from.

I threw in a few dark patches, to help break it up, and I think it has potential. It needs more features to break up the sea of dots, but the overall effect shows promise. For reference, Detroit is roughly partitioned into 1-mile blocks (like many midwestern US areas). Each of those grid lines you see is a "mile road," such as "11 Mile Road," or "16 Mile Road." So those grid boxes are actually pretty big. There are sub-blocks within those, which are more along the scale of a city block one would find in Manhattan.

The western edge of the map is the wall, and the point where the major arteries converge is where the gate will go. The DMC will probably have a monorail system, running along the inner side of the wall, with spokes to Core City. So I'll need to clear a buffer zone between the city buildings and the wall for that. I'm also trying to figure out how traffic works in the DMC. We know that there are hover vehicles, so I'm unsure how much of the grid will be visible as roads vs. just gaps in buildings. Probably, the ground-level will be layers deep for ground traffic (sort of like a parking garage), and the uppermost layer is all we will see from above (which could very well be non-road).

And, of course, I still have to see how the UI portion of this will look and work. Right now, it's pretty busy, so it could be hard to see different clickable locations without some editing. That might be my next task.

Anyway, I think it's coming along, and I'm anxious to continue work on it. Just a heads-up, though, I'll be in town tomorrow for errands, so I probably won't be responding to emails and such until Wednesday.

Hope everyone has a good night!

Comments

drakcothedark's picture
drakcothedark

Brilliant!

Kuranes's picture
Kuranes

I too am very happy about your initial texture, but so far its only crowded by some major roads, dots and lack there of. I'd like if more elements on the map were distinguishable. But for a first go, its very good. :)

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Thanks! And I agree, it needs more definition. Right now, this is a texture that I can use as a filler or background. I plan to try adding some visible features like the monoral system, arcology, wall lighs, power plants, etc. I'm not sure how much detail I can add to these things at this zoom level, but I still want to see what it looks like with those features in place.

Hopefully, it creates an interesting illusion of a busy city!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Kuranes's picture
Kuranes

Having the image be an animated loop might give a lot of sense of stuff happening. Lights turning on or off, and some of them moving along the large roads. :)

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Yeah, I was thinking that'd be a fun thing to try too. Since it'd just be a Flash UI, it should be possible to at least get some mini-animations going. I'll definitely try it out!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games