Building the world: Overview maps, zoom and transitions

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Building the world: Overview maps, zoom and transitions

Postby youngneil1 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:27 am

As time goes by, the layout structure of the gameworld that I would like to go for becomes clearer to me. In this tutorial post I will try to lay down how to apply this structure via the toolset.

Important note: Much of this is optional, but I think one thing to really do from IB Beta v133+ forward is to use the provided mainUILayout and comabtUILayout files from default/NewModule/data folder (either just delete such files in your custom module or replace them with the ones from the default fodler and start re-adding your own adjustments with these as base). The changes you will find are mainly a shortened log and up to three new graphic indicators for torches/light units, rations and zoom level/time per step of current area which all are displayed above the l0og now (you can control whether to use these indicators/systems to quite an extent by setting useRationSystem and useLightSystem from module properties, 07 - Survival, to true/false). Furthermore, I made made room for up to three overview map buttons (near, area, world) in the bottom row (between the toggle and the party button). On combat screen the new delay turn button made some adjustments and a new sorting neccessary.

I. The concept of time, scale and zoom
The world I will go with is a time driven world (NPC schedules, night & day cycle, weather changes, respawn of certain props(encounters), dynamic development of factions in the gameworld, some timed quests, rations consumed and light sources burning down). For this to work out, the handling of scale is very important.

All areas have a setting for the time consumed per step (in minutes, TimePerSquare). This is the most important cornerstone for setting up scale. To make this more graspable for the player, there are also three zoom settings for areas (use normal, mini and tiny props settings, called useMiniProps an useSuperTinyProps; if both are set to false, then default normal size is used) - these influence at what size the party and all props are drawn. Props themselves have an override setting (alwaysDrawNormalSize) that will cause them to be always drawn at normal size, regardless of zoom chosen. Finally, please remember that you can scale all five tile layer graphics while placing them with q and e hotkeys in toolset (very handy for building the Illusion of scale, eg try giant mountain tiles with shrunken tree tiles).

My next project is adding a trait and a script for influencing party speed (ie TimePerSquare and also chances of other props movement, ie chanceToMove0Squares and chanceToMove2Squares). The chances of success for escaping props chasing the party will then depend on a speed comparison between chasers and party. The speed script will eg also come in handy for assigning different speeds to vehicles (eg a ship or a carriage, maybe horses). Maybe I will add new tile properties that influence party and prop speed setting (like for road tiles or heavy overgrowth tiles) with traits and prop properties negating these tile modifiers or strengthening them. A ranger might eg have a trait allowing to move quickly through difficult terrain.

II. Overview Maps
With IBBeta v133 I introduced overview maps (the isOverviewMap setting of an area, 00 Main category, governs this). On these the party will not move. They just help the player to get orientation in the gameworld.

These maps can be accessed by one of up to three new buttons in the bottom panel of the adventure map (for near overview map, area overview map and world overview map). With a click on such button the player enters the overview map. The party position on the overview map is shown by a red X now (stationary, cannot be moved). The player can control a red selection box to scroll around the overview map. Another click on the same overview map button transports the player back to the adventure map and he can move move normally again (no time passed meanwhile). The player can also switch from one overview map directly to another as the buttons for other existing overview maps remain functional while on an overview map screen. Most other main map functionalities are disabled on an overview map screen though (eg no casting or trait using there).

Currently the following .png are used by this system (feel free to override those by palcing same named files in your module's graphics folder):
overviewMapSelectionSquare.png (the red frame for scrolling around and selecting on the overview map; note: this name is used from v134+ onwards, before it was highlight_red)
prp_partyPosition.png (the red X for party location on overview maps)
ownZoneButton.png (for near overview map)
motherZoneButton.png (for area overview map)
grandMotherZoneButton.png (for world overview map)

To set up the information a normal area needs regarding its overview map(s), I added a new section to area's properties, called "02 - Overview Maps" in the toolset. Here you find all the properties neccessary to:

1. Define the existence and name of near, area and world overview maps that this area shall be part of (note: you can eg have a little dungeon section area have a near map of the dungeon itself, an area map for the the woods this dungeon entrance lies in and a world map which shows where these woods are lcoated in the game world -> the area will point to all three overview maps, including the location X,Y on each respective overview map where you want the current party position marked while the party is in this area, see below). The names of the properties doing this are: filenameOfOwnZoneMap and overviewOwnZoneMapExists (for near overview map), filenameOfMotherZoneMap and overviewMotherZoneMapExists (for area overview map), filenameOfGrandMotherZoneMap and overviewGrandMotherZoneMapExists (for world overview map).

2. Set the location X,Y of the party position marker on each overview map. The six properties used here are starting with partyPositionMarker… and are rather self explanatory.

3. Toggle each show overview map button on or off. This way you can have overview maps hidden form the player unless a script call activates them. Authors can use the gaToggleOverviewMap script for this:
//gaToggleOverviewMap.cs - shows/hides the overview map button for an overview map on all areas referring to this overview map
//parm1 = (string) the filename (no extension) of the overview map
//parm2 = (bool) false = hide button for this overview map, true = show button for this overview map
//parm3 = none
//parm4 = none


Finally, props have gotten a new property called permanentText . Text entered here is always shown on top of a prop (and not only on mouse over). This is very handy for placing names of locations like cities on your overview maps.

With this system you could eg hand draw your world map, scan it and then turn it into an overview map in the toolset. Or you use a graphic program or the ingame tile system to create your overview maps (maybe for a city, showing all its quarters and how they lie in relation to each other). The possibilities are rather limitless.

III. Transitions
In order to make it easier for the player to read the gameworld's structure I have added 20 premade transition symbols (tiles) to the default/tiles folder. They start with t_trans... and are all drawn in neon green color. There are ramps/stairs (up and down), circles (step on transitions) and green lines (bump into transitions for directional entry). They all all come with indicators for the change in scale when moving to next area (++,+,blank, -,--). So, when the party leaves a close zoomed dungeon (using normal party and prop size) and steps onto the world map (using super tiny size for party and props) the -- variant (full zoom out) would be a great choice. That is, if you like such an approach - all of this remains optional (the new tile graphics are purely cosmetical and the transition is done via trigger as beforehand).
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Re: Building the world: Overview maps, zoom and transitions

Postby youngneil1 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:59 pm

Done :) .
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Re: Building the world: Overview maps, zoom and transitions

Postby youngneil1 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:36 am

Corrected a few mistakes and omissions :oops: :lol: .
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