Warhorse - A Lesson in Cartography
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.
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