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Author Topic: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity  (Read 9004 times)

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Offline General Chaos

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[suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« on: 11 April 2011, 14:42:35 »
I would like make a suggestion regarding an issue I think is very central to the appeal of a game like this (or what I'm assuming Kontor will be): Game-world size.

I consistently see gamers talking about the size of game worlds, and these discussions almost invariably focus on the desire for bigger and bigger game worlds.  Gamers will compare the size of maps and overworlds and the number of cities in the game.  They'll also discuss the number of units one can have in an army, generally implying that "bigger is better."  This is, until they actually play these games and are, a. overwhelmed by the imbalance between this huge size and the required micromanagement, and b. disappointed in how sparse and lifeless these huge worlds are.  Though not the same type of game, one example is Oblivion vs Morrowind.  It seems as though fans of this series almost invariably prefer the rich detail of the smaller Morrowind world to the bland, lifeless world of Oblivion.

Then we come to The Guild and Kontor.  One of the things I love about The Guild is what it's able to do with a very small game world.  In fact, your entire game takes place in one or a few cities.  Instead of seeming boring and limited, I find that this actually encourages me to "get to know" the city and appreciate when, for example, a certain part of the city seems to become "shady," with prostitutes and pickpockets hanging out there a lot.  The little details (especially added in Ren) really help as well.  Seeing people sit around on logs around a campfire, kids running around, dogs, cats, random people selling beer on the corner; this all makes for what I will refer to as a very "dense" setting.

Thus, in Kontor, I would like to see this approach continued and refined.  I am basically suggesting that the developers not be tempted by the "bigger is better" mantra, and instead focus on crafting a rich, detailed, and "dense" game world.  Indeed, I want to see the game world remain the same size as The Guild, and I wouldn't mind it being limited to one city even.  The key is to have this city be alive and imbued with personality.  I mentioned the prostitutes and thieves in The Guild.  In Kontor, perhaps the Guards will patrol in a way that leaves certain alleyways prone to illicit behaviors, or perhaps a certain main street will become a prime walking path for richer citizens, making it an attractive place to open shops.  A local well could become a favorite spot for children to play, or a bar on the outskirts of town could become an attractive spot for workers to drink; a small wooded area outside of town a place where gypsies and cultist practice their ancient rituals.  Mind you, ALL of these things can happen in a very small game world, but they would make it extremely fun to watch and be part of.

Finally, I commend your work on TG2: Ren. in regard to adding ambiance (e.g., dogs, cats, donkey guy) and would like to see you add even more in Kontor.  I want to be able to watch an alleyway for an hour and notice new things the entire time.  That, perhaps, best sums up what I'm talking about with density: make an alleyway interesting enough to spend an hour watching... You'll have an awesome game world at that point.

Offline FH

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #1 on: 11 April 2011, 15:15:52 »
There are some nice ideas in your post :) We tried to add more ambient into The Guild 2 with Renaissance and, despite the fact the engine wanted to stop as more than one time (did you see any animated buildings in PotES? ;)), I think we accomplished our goal.

Of course we want to make Kontor even more detailed than Renaissance. We wanted so much more in Renaissance than we actually were able to implement.. ^^ With Kontor we'll be able to build the engine so that it fits our needs from the beginning :)

Offline General Chaos

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #2 on: 12 April 2011, 23:34:20 »
There are some nice ideas in your post :) We tried to add more ambient into The Guild 2 with Renaissance and, despite the fact the engine wanted to stop as more than one time (did you see any animated buildings in PotES? ;)), I think we accomplished our goal.

That's one reason I have faith that you all will create something great.  You did some great things with The Guild even with the constraints that were placed on you.  With your own game from the ground up I can only imagine what's in store.

By the way, I'm sure you've talked about this but considering you are technically an Indie studio (right?), I bet you could get some exposure on sites like www.indiegames.com.

Offline LordProtektor

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #3 on: 13 April 2011, 02:11:18 »
Well, i for myself always enjoy it to have huge playing grounds, while still not loosing the detail... e.g. Patrician III, Mount and Blade or the Total War series. Those all do have quite detailed cities on different maps which are connected through a big campaign map. 

Offline Art Falmingaid

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #4 on: 27 April 2011, 01:00:47 »
I completely agree with this suggestion.  I prefer dense and small rather than large and empty.  I still think Gothic 1 and 2 had some of the best world design I've ever played in, and they were TINY.

Though not the same type of game, one example is Oblivion vs Morrowind.  It seems as though fans of this series almost invariably prefer the rich detail of the smaller Morrowind world to the bland, lifeless world of Oblivion.

Wait, the Oblivion game world is larger?  Morrowind feels larger, for sure.  It was the better game, beyond doubt.

Offline General Chaos

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #5 on: 27 April 2011, 13:14:12 »

Wait, the Oblivion game world is larger?  Morrowind feels larger, for sure.  It was the better game, beyond doubt.

Well, in the interest of full disclosure, I haven't played through either of the games.  I based this assertion off of what I've read others saying about the two games.  I've almost never heard someone make the claim that Oblivion is better though, and usually one of their main reasons is that Oblivion felt "lifeless" to them.  Another example of a really lifelike, "dense" world that I AM familiar with is Ultima VII.  Not the biggest game world (though still large) but it does have an amazing level of detail that makes the world seem very real and alive.

Offline JFCM88

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #6 on: 05 May 2011, 23:13:49 »
The reason Morrowind feels so much larger is because you have to memorise the transportation route - and the story was ridiculously in depth.  You could be wandering from Dragonfell (or whatever that city just south-east of Vivec was) and it would normally take about 5 minutes, but let's say you found a book on the way, and read it.  That now turns that little trek into about a 15 minute walk.  Then again, who would walk that when you could just rent a little boat to 'fast travel'.

If you really want to talk about HUGE worlds, let's talk about Daggerfall... but I don't think many here have played that.  It was bigger than Morrowind AND Oblivion put together ten times over.

I think that's derailing a bit though, I am definitely one to go for quality over quantity, however they would have to be reasonably spaced out and have their own needs/supplies to allow a reason for long-distance travel.  Maybe rarities like a more dense kind of iron ore, or a different type of tree or something to make each area unique or have some kind of reason for people to have settled there.  Too many games have helter-skelter placed cities just because it 'looks good there' or 'is a reasonable distance away from the other nearby cities'.
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Offline subzero22

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #7 on: 19 May 2011, 17:19:46 »
If you think Morrowind was big you should play Daggerfall. It's in the same series and I still love the game even though it's a buggy game. In the game you got kingdoms and in each kingdom you got 100's of towns, inns, dungeons, graveyards. Some of the towns especially the capital towns takes 5-10 min to get from one side to the other depending on transportation method and your speed rating. Dungeons could be considered their own mini game. You can easily get lost even with the map feature and I've spent over 8 hours in one just exploring areas I haven't gotten to yet.

I love the game but I agree with the OP quality and stability in a game is better than having lots of huge big and fancy stuff in a way to put it. Allthough some games like daggerfall I love even though it's buggy and crashes a lot. But it would have been even better if they took more time working on the bugs than making cities so big and 90% of the buildings in a town/city are useless except for some of the random quests which pick a random house and sometimes the family name of a house changes when getting another quest.

Offline helldiver

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #8 on: 03 June 2011, 22:23:37 »
Quote
Despite this, Kontor will be a complete new economy simulation game situated in the Thirty Years' War, with some RPG elements and other (for that time typical) professions, buildings and features.

I think when you see the suggestion on here for bigger maps at the right scales isn't an regards to the RPG aspects of the game.

An RPG is that, an RPG. The focal point of the fun apex isn't on global economic domination, trans-regional trade routes, or cross country politics, but the Story, the Role, and the adventure. So much so that many modern games prefer a closer inter-twined series of theme parks keeping you in a rich environment. By RPG Elements, I think they mean closer to what you saw in The Guild 2 instead of the depth you see in the Elder Scrolls series.

But thats not what I think they are making stabs at. Keep your cities as detailed as you want. The problem was in the Guild 2 (at least for me) was the unrealistic scale between cities. Cities themselves made no sense, they were too small to plot succesful business networks often times forcing us to build outside the city and destroying the pretty landscape with unrealistic industrial sprawl.

Instead I want large open areas forcing you to set up trade networks between cities. Land locked areas as well as island nations (england comes to mind) where you need either caravans or ship networks. In the Guild 2 it annoyed me that you could walk almost everywhere with the exception of the counting houses. Infact the english channel could be walked over.

I'll put it to you this way; you like watching the little dogs and cats and such in the alley ways of the city right? Well I like watching my little ship sail away encounter pirates along the way. Or my little caravan go on its way to an oassis town. Having my large gallion take 5 seconds to bump into the next harbor just makes no sense to me and looks absolutely ridiculous. Playing a pirate in renaissance just didn't feel right (Age of Pirates 2: City of Lost Ships, should give you an idea of the scale I want).

In Kontor I'm hoping for large 1/4th scale maps. I highly doubt from everything I've read that Kontor is going to be another RPG, but instead is going to be more of an economical-political sim in a similar fashion to The Guild 2. With that in mind, we need lots of space between cities as well as cities large enough to be able to build basic networks. I mean some cities in The Guild 2 didn't even have enough space to set up a successful warehouse.

One thing I never liked about the Railroad tycoon series was the "representational" maps they used where cities were close to each other. One thing I've always liked about Mount&Blade is that it uses an overland map for most things, but then scales up during live play.
« Last Edit: 03 June 2011, 22:32:29 by helldiver »

Offline FH

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #9 on: 03 June 2011, 22:33:09 »
How would you like only one big (huge) city and some small outskirts and villages on the "city maps" and all cities and nations to trade with on some kind of big overview map?

(oh, and yes, the cities in Guild 2 are ridiculous :/)

Offline helldiver

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #10 on: 03 June 2011, 22:56:55 »
FH GOOD idea

Huge city. Plenty of space for urban development, businesses, and inter-city politics. With towns on the outskirts, perfect.

Then we get a "World Map" button. Click that button and we can see other countries, regions and scroll around with the mouse. We can then set up trade routes with other cities/countries etc.

How would ships be accounted for though? Same way?

FH, you should download Mount&Blade and play the trial, it will give you a very very good idea :D

Offline FH

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #11 on: 04 June 2011, 06:36:53 »
FH, you should download Mount&Blade and play the trial, it will give you a very very good idea :D

I made this mistake long ago and got hooked on the cRPG module ;)

Offline General Chaos

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #12 on: 04 June 2011, 12:43:44 »
I like that idea too (big city, lots of maps on the outskirts).

I also love Mount & Blade.

Offline Fausto

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #13 on: 06 June 2011, 17:58:10 »
Hi, The Guild 2 Renaissance is one of the few games I play with from a long, long time so I'll surely get Kontor when it'll be released. For this new project I would like to see more cities on a map (like it is on TG2 Ren) and more larger than in TG2 Ren but not XXL  :)
And more flexibility in placing the buildings.
Runeforge team made a great work with TG2 Renaissance so I can't wait for Kontor.

Offline Robinhood1990

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Re: [suggestion] Cities: quality over quantity
« Reply #14 on: 16 August 2011, 00:52:48 »
The towns should be bigger. There's usually just one type of each building in a town, and often not even that. 4 - 6 of each kind (in a larger town) would make it much more competitive. In the Renaissance there's to many types of shops. Now don't get me wrong. Make fewer base shops, but make them diverge into more paths, like a base building could branch into several separate paths, producing rare special equipment, but still have their common goods (that is usually consumed in large quantities). Like weapon smithy, and goldsmithery just take it a step further. This way, even the small towns would probably have 2 of a base business building, but there may only be a few, or even just one building upgraded in a particular path on the entire map.
There should be a "bureaucracy", a max limit to a certain building type in a town. To keep it easy to plan the town, the town should be made up of building slots. Some are reserved for future public buildings, some are reserved for dynasty residences, and others are reserved for shops (may consist of several categories).
This would make it easy to make towns look good looking, and be functional.

 

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