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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Warhorse - A Lesson in Cartography

Default Warhorse - A Lesson in Cartography

June 24th, 2012, 03:13
Dan Vavra from Warhorse has a new blog post about map size and scale in RPGs, pointing out some of the resulting absurdities from the "compression". The article also reveals that Warhorse plan to use real-world locations for their CryEngine 3 RPG and discusses some of the compromises they face. First, a lengthy snip from the intro:
You are Krutor, a wild barbarian from the land of Morkroch. You have travelled a very long journey, across high mountains to the famous imperial city of Lhota, the capitol of the world and largest agglomeration in the known universe, whose fame touches the stars.
The city consists of precisely fifteen buildings (one of which is the imperial palace); the town is inhabited by 30 NPCs, including Emperor Lojza, Archmage Lotrando and all of the members of the guilds of thieves, mages and warriors.
You visit the emperor, who sits alone in the throne hall, and he assigns you with an quest. The land is terrorised by an evil dragon from hell and Lojza is powerless. He has sent an entire imperial army against it, but the monster has killed all five soldiers. Now, he needs a hero like you! You have to find and climb the mystical mountain, Lohen, on which no human has ever set foot, and behead the dragon.
You accept the quest and set out from the town gate. The mystic mountain Lohen is precisely 150 metres from the gate and is about 50 metres high. All of the inhabitants of the city are either retarded, blind or crippled if they have not managed to notice it for centuries. After an approximately 30-metre walk to the mountain, you come to ‘no man’s land’ and are attacked by bandits. During another 120m walk to the peak, you also notice an ancient fortress Rumloch, a secret dungeon of doom and a bandit hideout. At the peak of the mountain, you kill a one-hundred-metre dragon by beating its foot with a rusty sword and drinking potions. Then, you rob the corpses of the imperial army (all five) and on the way back to the castle are killed by a wild boar.
Welcome to an average RPG.
…and a little bit on their approach:
I went through many dozens of castles, strongholds and small towns, and with each I studied its history. I ended up with about twenty places which looked promising and I began to investigate them in more depth. In the end, I selected two locations where events had taken place that almost surpassed my expectations, and to my great joy I discovered that they are mentioned in immediately two novels which take place in the same period as our story and in whose immediate vicinity there are many interesting places and beautiful wild nature. Besides that, the fates of the people who lived there directly offered themselves for inclusion in our story.
Unfortunately, those places were about twelve kilometres away as the crow flies from one another, which is really a lot. Such a large landscape is beyond our realisation possibilities and moreover it would be completely unentertaining to play. If we were to keep to reality, we would have to create tens of kilometres of empty forests. If we planted them with something that was not in them, we would negate the reason we are sticking to reality. The time had thus come to make compromises.
More information.

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June 24th, 2012, 03:13
This game sounds better every time I read about it. Using CryEngine 3 to make an RPG sounds to good to be true. Can't wait for the final product.

"Beware the potato for he is easily angered."- Couchpotato
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June 24th, 2012, 03:47
This is the first time I've heard anything about this game. Sounds promising though.. at least with their outlook on modern RPGs and what they would like to avoid. I can't seem to find any information about the game itself though.
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June 24th, 2012, 14:19
They've outlined much of my problems with modern 3-D RPGs. The technology and development resources available don't match the scale of the developer's ambitions. Why don't they just set their games in sparsely populated frontier areas? Gothic is a good case in point. The settlements, society and population levels make perfect sense for an isolated penal colony. Oblivion is a bad case in point. The Imperial City? Seriously? Is this supposed to be the capital of a continent spanning Empire? Morrowind worked much better as it was a relative backwater.
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June 24th, 2012, 15:15
I've been following them for a while but very little information is available. They are a very new studio (I think this is their first game as a studio). The only negative I see is that the developers previous work did not interest me; but it was non-rpg games. Here is the link to the studio:
http://www.warhorsestudios.cz/index….boutus&lang=en
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Given the folks involved I suspect they will take chances (non-conventional game play) in their development. This is not a bad thing but no guarantee it will work. This is the +/- of small studios (larian, Arkane Studios, trump studio, …). They have the freedom to try new things but sometime the elements work and sometime they don't.

So I am looking forward to see what they derive but it is not a guarantee it will be a slam dunk.
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June 24th, 2012, 16:12
The time had thus come to make compromises.
And so it begins.

They took a huge dump on Bethesda RPGs a while back not realizing that shortcomings in those games are also the result of many compromises.
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June 24th, 2012, 16:29
The environment design is exactly what I love and want. I have always wanted to explore a real environment, and this may be it.

And the 'precisely' comments were quite funny.
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June 24th, 2012, 18:13
This article was really entertaining, as were the previous ones. I wish more developers wrote like that.
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June 25th, 2012, 18:37
It's funny, i don't know one thing about this game. But, i'm already looking forward to it.
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June 26th, 2012, 09:22
Daggerfall, still the uncontested champion for largest world award.

They present the topic to validate their own design choices.

While they speak about space compression, they forget to mention time compression.

Travelling involves both time and space.

When they speak of the two castles separated by 20km, they forget to mention that time compression could change the travel between the two and the empty forest thing.

On foot, walking, it is 3~4 hours, jogging 2~2 and half.

Too short a time length to fill in naturally with events. Compress time by ten and crossing the 20km space requires 30 to 40 hours, more suitable to fill in gameplay events.


More than by this feature, large universes are constrained by narration, narrated stories.

Narration creates the urge to move from one point to another point. Hence a tedious relation to travel. Travelling has to be shortened because it is a thorn into the flow of the story telling.

Narrated stories seriously limit the validity of large universes as ultimately, a story only requires the places where narrative events take place.

But large universes are needed to provide with situations to role play a character in certain fundamental actions. Large universes can support food and water needs (a large universe or selective settings like post apocalyptic world [food and water is a problem everywhere] or a remote place, poorly connected to the rest[local scarcity])

Hard to tacle the incompatibility. Only games with a questing approach (like in medieval adventure romances) can make good use of a large universe. The questing approach allows that no urge to move from one point to another to discover the plot is introduced. The travel is the source of the adventuring material, giving space to a large universe.
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