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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Tactica: Maiden of Faith » Empty Big World / Small Full of Content

Default Empty Big World / Small Full of Content

October 19th, 2010, 09:52
Here is something I have been thinking a lot about and I want your guys opinion about it. Personally I prefer a game which only has small cities with a lot of meaning to them… compared to oblivion/morrowind/Baldurs Gate which has some enormous cities… these cities are acctually full of people but especially in Oblivion these people are just puppies…. making it a boring task to explore the city and try find someone which has something meaningful to say. My favorite is Ultima 7 what a fantastic cities it have! But this question doesn't go only for cities but for other areas too.

So should we aim for smallish but meaningful? slightly bigger but less meaningful? what is your opinion? The drawback of too small and too meaningful is it will create a very small world…. so too small is also not good IMHO.

Big and empty like Oblivion is not an option.. no matter how much someone want it I won't do it
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October 19th, 2010, 10:07
It depends I would love to see a game spanning a whole continent with more cities towns and villages.A story where you rise to power from a peasant or slave to become king,emperor,or queen.Include battles/betrayals /and how the world reacts to you.That would be my dream RPG.Many games only have two or three cities with some small towns.Mount and Blade Warband has come close but still feels lacking.I realize it would cost alot of money to make a game like this but its is a dream just imagine playing Eberon or Faerunwith with every city/town/village and landmarks.You and ai characters make the history of the continent.
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October 19th, 2010, 10:32
I know too little about your game to give a valid answer. Something I don't like so much is when games try to pass a collection of 5 houses and a castle as the grand capital of the empire. I prefer if the only thing you can afford to do in your game is a village, then make it a village. Or make only a few locations of a large city available, but convey the sense of a much larger city (Bioware-style). Depending on the game, I would even be fine with a complete abstraction of city activities into a menu (Krondor).
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October 19th, 2010, 12:19
Two Worlds I is a bit like this : really small villages, with lots of interesting people & content - and between them a vastness of wilderness.

It looks to me as if they were trying a bit … the balance between the Gothic model (small villages, interesting stuff) and … let's say Daggerfall (from what I've heard) : many towns and huge, empty land between them, or like in Oblivion ?

Gothic 1 has taught me that you can have something very interesting if you have small vilages with lots of meaningful content crammed in. Since then, I personally prefer that style.

I don't quite like the approach of Two Worlds I, because the villages there are in my opinion *too* small, and not interesting enough anyway. This is just a borderland, wilderness, and almost nothing but wilderness.

I don't have any "ideal model" of a small, but meaningful village. I always come back into thinking of Drakensang 1 & 2, but they also had bigger towns and too small towns. Moorbridge and Tallon as examples of something rather interesting, perhaps, with Moorbdridge being a tiny bit too small for my personal taste.

What we often see are towers. Huge towers. But what one rarely sees are mid-size towers. Either they are just too big (mage's circle tower in Dragon Age) or too small (the one of the magician in Nadoret … it's almost built like a lighthouse, so small it is).

The only mid-size example I can currently think of is the tower of Hommlet (I think it was the name).

What I always like, by the way, is, to stumble upon a small cottage deep within the wilderness. With lots of helpfullness included.
No, no irony, I'm serious on that. I always find it funny to find something entirely unexpected. And of course the inhabitant should have means to survive there.
Yesterday or the day before I found two such houses alond a road in Two Worlds I. One was simply closed (not accessible), the other one was overrun by an ogre which had slaughtered the two inhabitants. I don't like it. I always want to find something or someone living there.
And two additional ideas regarding this "cottage in the wilderness" : a) there could live a creature so "alien" it would have been outcast everywhere else. It finds his or her living only there, because no-one is looking after him or her in an unfriendly way. It could even be a couple of … let's say lizards. Happily married, but still being outcasts from human, elven, dwarven societies. The only other ones of their race would be thousands of kilometres south. The other idea is b) read about Procrustes of the ancient Greek mythology …

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October 19th, 2010, 13:55
I prefer small cities. I hate big cities in games, I always get lost, take hours to find the NPCs I need, and in games where the automap doesn't have markers for the important buildings, I hate it every minute I'm running around trying to find the blacksmith. I prefer the U7 style as well, compact (and I still managed to get lost in Britannia, but it was manageable)
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October 19th, 2010, 15:00
Gothic II was perfect, imo. Not a ton of places to visit, but it felt like a real town where people lived.

I think you should go with your gut on this. I think you're leaning towards a happy medium. Not too big and not too small.

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October 19th, 2010, 15:07
With the way the question is set up, I'm guessing you're more looking for validation of a decision you've already made. That's perfectly fine with me, BTW.

I'd agree with your choice with one caveat—as a dedicated map-mower, you can't give me a reward for being an explorer if there's no "middle of nowhere" to explore. With a tight, focused map, you're limited because the player knows, "if there's a path, there's a good reason to take it" because it *is*, as we defined it, a focused map.

Hitting the balance between "empty big world" and "big enough to include some truly pointless exploration so that rewarded exploration stands out" is going to be a bit tricky, me thinks, but that's the point I think you should aim for.

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October 19th, 2010, 16:52
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
Hitting the balance between "empty big world" and "big enough to include some truly pointless exploration so that rewarded exploration stands out" is going to be a bit tricky, me thinks, but that's the point I think you should aim for.
I believe the same.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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October 20th, 2010, 14:03
I'm one of those that just follows the paths. Fallout 3 I finished in a couple of days, because I just went to where I needed to go, helping people on the way, but never went anywhere just to explore. My impression of the game is that it sucked, for my playstyle. So if a game requires you to go out of the way for the simple reason of exploring, it's not going to work for me. Now, if there was at least a side quest that sent me to the end of the world, I would go. I'm a sucker for completing side quests as other people are suckers for exploring the map.
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October 21st, 2010, 08:39
Thank you for a lot of good feedback so far!

Basically it is necessary to have some pointless exploration, to make it worthwhile to explore and get excitement of finding something?

But we should also remember to make some reasons for you to visit an area.. like for example find Dario the hunter in the western wilderness region.. so that there would be some reason to at least visit that region…
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October 21st, 2010, 11:58
Yes, reasons are good, imho.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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October 21st, 2010, 19:56
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Basically it is necessary to have some pointless exploration, to make it worthwhile to explore and get excitement of finding something?
I think so. Now, you might be able to make things contextually pointless rather than empty pointless, but that's a little tougher. See below.
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
But we should also remember to make some reasons for you to visit an area.. like for example find Dario the hunter in the western wilderness region.. so that there would be some reason to at least visit that region…
Your quest (the reason for being in the area at all) is to deliver a basket of goodies to Grandma Dario. Perhaps in Dario's back yard, there are 13 broken arrows scattered around. Grimpack the Mook (Whom the party hasn't met yet) just so happens to want 12 broken arrows for a bit of impressionist art he's working on. Thus, if the player takes the time to look around find 12 arrows, there will be a reward that they don't even know is coming. But what of lucky arrow #13? Well, it just so happens that Phoonzang's little brother Poontang (whom the party probably hasn't met yet, either) stole and scattered the Epic Archery Set of Awesomeness and that f'in-hard-to-find 13th arrow is a piece. So, even if your player meets Grimpack and backtracks to Grandma Dario's place to complete that quest, it will take a true map mower to collect everything. Similarly, if your player is a proper explorer, he'll find and keep all 13 pointless broken arrows until suddenly they become rewardingly non-pointless.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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Last edited by dteowner; October 21st, 2010 at 20:19.
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October 21st, 2010, 21:11
When I played Baldur's Gate I had major wtf moments in the title city. It was huge and I had no idea where to go. I'd probably like that now.
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October 21st, 2010, 22:18
The "city" of Divinity 1 was so much scattered it appeared to me as several small "cities".

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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October 26th, 2010, 11:23
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Basically it is necessary to have some pointless exploration, to make it worthwhile to explore and get excitement of finding something?

But we should also remember to make some reasons for you to visit an area.. like for example find Dario the hunter in the western wilderness region.. so that there would be some reason to at least visit that region…
Pointless exploration is just fine as long as you discover some interesting things. I'm not just talking about loot.

I've been going on and on about Fallout:New Vegas almost every day and there is a good reason. It is INTERESTING. It captures my imagination to just go wandering around and discover these places off the beaten path. I've found more than a few areas where they did not have much loot or monsters, but there was a history to why it was there. Sometimes you find some notes and sometimes you don't find anything except for the equipment and furniture that was left. What was left tells a whole story unto itself. They left it up to us the player to fill in the gaps.

They tried doing that in Fallout 3, but for the most part failed miserably. In this one I go exploring everywhere. Not for epic loot, but to learn more about this world I'm playing in.

Also these places made some kind of sense. I really can't explain without getting into serious spoiler territory, but suffice it to say everywhere I went felt like it belonged there. That makes a huge difference as well. Makes the world feel more alive.

Alrighty then, I think you got a good handle on what is best. So keep to that vision

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October 26th, 2010, 13:44
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Pointless exploration is just fine as long as you discover some interesting things. I'm not just talking about loot.

I've been going on and on about Fallout:New Vegas almost every day and there is a good reason. It is INTERESTING. It captures my imagination to just go wandering around and discover these places off the beaten path. I've found more than a few areas where they did not have much loot or monsters, but there was a history to why it was there. Sometimes you find some notes and sometimes you don't find anything except for the equipment and furniture that was left. What was left tells a whole story unto itself. They left it up to us the player to fill in the gaps.

They tried doing that in Fallout 3, but for the most part failed miserably. In this one I go exploring everywhere. Not for epic loot, but to learn more about this world I'm playing in.

Also these places made some kind of sense. I really can't explain without getting into serious spoiler territory, but suffice it to say everywhere I went felt like it belonged there. That makes a huge difference as well. Makes the world feel more alive.

Alrighty then, I think you got a good handle on what is best. So keep to that vision
And that is all lost for many people unless there is a reason to go there. I wonder how much time and resources have been spent in games on those areas people like me will never see. It would be interesting if a game could collect this information, like, how many people visited a remote area that took them X developer-hours + artist-hours + tester-hours only to be seen by Y people I know they do this in MMOs all the time, and using this info, sometimes they revamp certain zones, add new quests, etc. basically, add *reasons* to go there.
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October 27th, 2010, 04:38
I liked the world of Sacred 1 which was big and varied. Throw in some some proper role-playing elements at spread out locations, I wouldn't mind generated content in-between.
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October 27th, 2010, 05:57
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
And that is all lost for many people unless there is a reason to go there. I wonder how much time and resources have been spent in games on those areas people like me will never see. It would be interesting if a game could collect this information, like, how many people visited a remote area that took them X developer-hours + artist-hours + tester-hours only to be seen by Y people I know they do this in MMOs all the time, and using this info, sometimes they revamp certain zones, add new quests, etc. basically, add *reasons* to go there.
Thank god Obsidian didn't listen to people like you or this thing would not be the Fallout I've been waiting to play since F2. Seriously, just wander off the beaten path. Is that so difficult?

Those man hours might be wasted on you, but they sure as hell weren't wasted for me.

Maybe stick to linear titles then. Those are fun as well and it seems like you would get more enjoyment out of them.

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Last edited by skavenhorde; October 27th, 2010 at 07:22.
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October 27th, 2010, 09:10
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
And that is all lost for many people unless there is a reason to go there. I wonder how much time and resources have been spent in games on those areas people like me will never see. It would be interesting if a game could collect this information, like, how many people visited a remote area that took them X developer-hours + artist-hours + tester-hours only to be seen by Y people I know they do this in MMOs all the time, and using this info, sometimes they revamp certain zones, add new quests, etc. basically, add *reasons* to go there.
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October 27th, 2010, 10:11
I love the feeling of finding something… like a mysterious temple… and since it isn't part of a quest you are really wondering why it is there. You find the enemies are dangerous but just dangerous enough for your party to manage to get deeper and deeper inside… until finally you find the hidden treasure of the temple in a hidden room…… but woooops it is guarded by a really strong mage…. you'll have to escape and come back at a later time when you are stronger.


On the other hand I hate explorer auto-generated wilderness with nothing interesting to find…… it is really hard to find the right balance.
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