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Let's talk about map size

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luisniko
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#31

Posted A week ago

Well, can you make something 'infinitely'? I don't think so. But you can make something to work 'infinitely'. So I guess when you want a world that works 'infinitely', the world will have to be built based on several objects which automatically mixed together into random variables. I've played games that does this, except they did it for dungeons instead of open world. Anyway, this kind of thing basically makes the map to be different but similar.

Those mountains in the horizon that you see could be a backdrop set far away from where you stood. It's nothing but plain image like a cardboard caging the world. Games these days also use a combination of, I don't know the official term in 3D design, but let's just say: 'bleed', which adds another several percent outside the explore-able area for more blending backdrop that obviously you can't visit.

Back to map, developers up until today still have vision and taking on challenge in creating a diverse map whether it's focusing on cities or wild environments. Hence you see hand-made map which comes in smaller size, though the next games will compete against the last games regarding to map detail and size. But this also doesn't mean that hand-made map is good. Saints Row The Third Steelport, for example, the city comes with different districts, but the feel is too similar to one another. Industrial, downtown, urban areas are all like coming from one full district. There are the so-called landmarks there, but it's unable to distinguish the district very well. Basing itself to New York city, Steelport was unable to present on the same line as III and IV Liberty City.

Another example is New Bordeaux from Mafia III. The map is really small compared to recent maps. The map is very diverse, the streets have quite a natural feeling, making the travelling in the small map doesn't really feel that small but also not dragging as well - at least IMO. Forgetting how much the map supported the gameplay, you can see how much they really developed each districts even though you can spot reused assets here and there. This obviously took more research and work that adds on to the production time on top of the ever-increasing data size that keeps as many assets that are required to built a better looking map.
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luisniko
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#32

Posted 6 days ago Edited by luisniko, 6 days ago.

It seems to me, that people don't actually want huge open-worlds when gaming, despite getting all excited about the suggested map size of upcoming titles. They want to be able to access locations instantly, whereas I really like the idea of having to grind out distances, providing the means of travel is engaging. And by engaging I simply mean intuitive and that it 'feels' right. Sometimes I play GTAV, merely to drive about, because the driving in that game (at least to me) feels 'right'.

I think opinion is also probably divided between arcade junkies and role-players, with the latter being far more prepared to do the donkey work in an open-world environment.


I can understand both sides of the fence and I'm sure this is what developers are also taking into account. I love open world game, I love traversing in the world rather than seeing loading screen, but if it's just a big map which only increases travel time, I personally wouldn't be pleased as well. If it's an action game, then I need something that pumps out the action as well as something else that breaks out from the core stuff of the game.

At the same time, I also don't think developers need to stop trying to develop open world. Because if they had to listen, whatever they make will always be wrong. You can see people complaining and making fun of the game about map being small and the next time you see, they complain about the map being too large. It's going nowhere; it's not constructive.

Since you brought about 'arcade'. I have a niche series that just had released its newest title, moving on from stage-to-stage arcadey game that each stage lasts as long as a basketball match into an open world RPG. It's not perfect but they took note from past games. Apart from the big map filled with diverse nature, architectures, environment, village, towns, cities that are filled with its population and shops, the map is also filled with wildlife to hunt, hostile bandits, materials, dynamic war and their colossal attributes, soldiers marching and fighting, side quests from civilian and army, and minor features such as fishing, sightseeing landmarks, buying/customising hideout, which everything I mentioned supports back to your progress and development, instead of doing just for the sake of doing - and honestly this pleases me more than some recent western action open world games. Still though, the community calling the map is empty.

I mean, the game is set in ancient China during war time. What do they expect to happen in the forest? Black Friday crowd fighting each other to buy DVD player?

What I'm trying to give example above is that there are people who are just anti open world and won't just leave it alone. And I think this is what developer need to be careful of when taking feedback to develop open world games.

Quinn_flower
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#33

Posted 6 days ago

im still waiting for a gta that is acurate map size to a tee. i mean by block to block radius. i wanna feel like i been driving 15 mins to get to other side of town.

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Sanches
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#34

Posted 6 days ago

Rolling around the [email protected] map is nothing unless it's feels like a real world.
For example, let's take Arma 2, 3 and DayZ SA maps. They're so big, but 80% of the map are just forests (which are made so cool, i won't argue). And houses are the same models they use all over the map. Feels like you visit the same place all over again.

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fashion
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#35

Posted 6 days ago

Size doesn't matter if it's copypaste material with mediocre filler content.

Look at Yakuza's open world hub(s). You explore a tiny fraction of the real life city that will take you minutes to explore. Yet, they're full of life, things to do, detail and incredible activities as well as superb side stories. It's so tiny, you can't really call it an open world and yet it offers more than many other games with large worlds.

I also love sandbox open worlds, where you can do things outside of missions and let your creativity do its own thing. Saints Row 2, GTA games and Watch Dogs 2 are my favorite sandbox open world games.

Then, you can do the exploration open world game in the right way, such as AC Origins, Skyrim and Fallout. Just go out and explore. While some of it could be filler content, I still had a ton of fun exploring those worlds. Hats off to AC Origins especially, since they managed to turn the dull filler content with no sense of exploration formula of the previous games to something much better. No matter what I did, there was always interesting content awaiting me.
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OurJud
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#36

Posted 6 days ago

i wanna feel like i been driving 15 mins to get to other side of town.

This is a really interesting point, and a view I share myself, but it opens up a whole other kettle of fish concerning open-world games.

And that is, as you say, the distances in OW games never appear accurate. There's rarely any sense that when you travel from A to B in these game, any distance has actually been completed. This has, of course, a lot to do with the fact that factors such as fatigue and difficulty in traversing certain terrain don't apply. Take Mount Chilliad in GTAV, for instances. It's perfectly possible to run to the top of this location in about 6-7 minutes - which simply wouldn't be possible in the real world. And the whole map, when you look at the distance from the northernmost point to the southernmost, it looks like a typically-sized city found in most countries, but driving that distance - even when keeping your speed to a realistic MPH and observing all the traffic laws - there's still no sense that you've driven that amount of distance.

Unfortunately not a lot can be done about this, because we can't really compare driving a car in a video game to driving a car in real life, because there are elements, factors and forces at work in real life that can't be recreated in a video game.

thatstupidbug
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#37

Posted 6 days ago Edited by thatstupidbug, 6 days ago.

I think that "interactivity" is much more important than size.
The more you can interact with the world, the real it will seems for the player.
What's the point of having a "real size" district if you can only go up and down the road? it's better to have a small road where you can enter places, destroy the environment, watch people doing different stuff or take part in/disrupt them
in a perfect world, we would be able to do both. But if I have to choose, I'll go with a narrow "living, breathing world" rather than a huge, lifelike "movie set"
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OurJud
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#38

Posted 6 days ago Edited by OurJud, 6 days ago.

What's the point of having a "real size" district if you can only go up and down the road? it's better to have a small road where you can enter places, destroy the environment, watch people doing different stuff or take part in/disrupt them

There's that bizarre assumption again. Where does it come from? Why does everyone assume a big map means less to do??

Why can't a map three times the size of another, contain just as much to do?

deadx23
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#39

Posted 6 days ago Edited by deadx23, 6 days ago.

in a perfect world, we would be able to do both. But if I have to choose,

I choose both :p







There is no reason to only have a small map with that much detail if it's possible to make a planet size map.just because there is a vast map does not mean we have to explore every inch of it if we didn't want to.just imagine you were on top of a canyon irl would you expect to visit every inch of the land?
Spoiler

It's more about realism and with hand crafted hero locations I believe a map that size can be pulled off if done correctly.yes it has to have worth while activities (and with a map that big it just means that much more activities than a smaller map) and have a diverse buildings,biomes I agree. But that is up to the developers isn't it ;)

RedDagger
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#40

Posted 6 days ago

There's that bizarre assumption again. Where does it come from? Why does everyone assume a big map means less to do??

Why can't a map three times the size of another, contain just as much to do?

Limited resources.

If you have 10 quests, putting them into a single tavern will make the tavern feel more dense, purposeful and interact than if you have 10 quests scattered around an entire city. If you have the modelling budget for the gibs of 20 unique destructible objects, you can either have them in a small area of scatter them around a large area, etc.
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OurJud
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#41

Posted 6 days ago

If you have 10 quests, putting them into a single tavern will make the tavern feel more dense, purposeful and interact than if you have 10 quests scattered around an entire city.

I honestly don't see why the latter would take anything away from the gameplay. In my opinion it would add to it.

luisniko
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#42

Posted 5 days ago Edited by luisniko, 5 days ago.

If you have 10 quests, putting them into a single tavern will make the tavern feel more dense, purposeful and interact than if you have 10 quests scattered around an entire city.

I honestly don't see why the latter would take anything away from the gameplay. In my opinion it would add to it.


It's the feel of it. One in concentrated. The other is scattered. The point makes sense.

I personally would rather have the quests scattered everywhere. Otherwise why even make the open environment? If it's like that, then just make the tavern and teleport the player to the mission area upon leaving. Saves production time and memory.

There is no reason to only have a small map with that much detail if it's possible to make a planet size map.just because there is a vast map does not mean we have to explore every inch of it if we didn't want to.just imagine you were on top of a canyon irl would you expect to visit every inch of the land?
[spoiler]b1z9Xx0.jpg


Unfortunately, things like these will be massively rejected. There are a lot of vocal anti-open world who just like to sh*t on every open world games except if it was GTA or Witcher or Skyrim no matter when these games' open world aren't much better or even lacking than they are complaining and calling 'empty world' on.

Us who love open world can definitely appreciate this more or less. I personally wouldn't travel every inch of it obviously. But knowing the game has it on top of an enjoyable gameplay (which is a must) and if I could do random activity outside of the core gameplay while we are in these kind of locations, then I'll be content.

For example in Ghost Recon Wildlands, I really like to take on random paths or trails up and down the mountain and just go, take screenshot while at it, and I will eventually find myself asking "where the f*ck is this?". It's just great to get lost sometimes. Although of course if the game had more things to do or a feature while I'm in this secluded area, it would be better.
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Am Shaegar
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#43

Posted 5 days ago

What's the point of having a "real size" district if you can only go up and down the road? it's better to have a small road where you can enter places, destroy the environment, watch people doing different stuff or take part in/disrupt them

There's that bizarre assumption again. Where does it come from? Why does everyone assume a big map means less to do??
He was simply saying that if the developers are truly serious about offering bigger maps, and marketing them as living, breathing world's, then it should practically reflect in game, and the best way to test this is, obviously the amount of interactions and content present in an area. If it's too scattered around many different areas then the content to size ratio isn't anywhere as great as say, the old open world games dating all the way back to Ultima series, which still puts many of the modern world games to shame in terms of exploration, environmental interaction, surprises and content stored in many areas, including the use of clever techniques in designing the maps despite all the constraints to make the world feel more deeper, more complex as you progress into the story.

Why can't a map three times the size of another, contain just as much to do?

As already discussed, the current status of developing video games is far too complex and time consuming than the era of 2D styled open world maps. Take a look at the recent example of Kingdom Come Deliverance video. If a map of this scale and size took them four years to make, then imaginehow much time and money it'll take to make a map 10 times bigger than that one. AAA games have the luxury of financial backing and manpower to get this done, but even then it takes them so much time, and honestly, most of these AAA open words don't have much iteraction to offer,other than the scripted story mission areas. Once you complete the story, the open world starts showing it's weaknesses in keeping the player invested into the game other than taking selfies, screenshots and the basic rampage opportunities. These games are still nowhere close to what the old games had to offer in their smaller 2D hand crafted worlds, despite the copy pasted textures and areas.

This is why it's best to make use of the time for making an ideal looking map that evolves the game in the right direction with the ideas and unique possibilities that the predecessors have already established many years ago. It's time to focus on more complex AI, tons of unthinkable and unimaginable experiences using the modern day technology than rehashing the same old experiences in the name of size over quality.
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Junior_Djjr
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#44

Posted 5 days ago Edited by Junior_Djjr, 5 days ago.

Size is restricted purely by development resources, i.e. how many modellers/texturers/environment artists etc. you have, and how repetitive you're fine the map being. If you don't mind obvious repetition over larger scales, then a procedurally generated map can be infinite in size

I don't know if you know, but just making it clear to everyone that one of the biggest problems with large maps is that 3D rendering happens in float points, where a float point has a limit, when there are many decimal places (both right and left), the accuracy begins to fall and so the game has an inaccurate 3D rendering.
 
To test what I'm talking about, download and install the NoClip mod for GTA San Andreas (I created it, but similar things can work in other games), increase the speed of locomotion a lot, after a few minutes going away from the map, the coordinate becomes hundreds of kilometers and the game begins to is inaccurate, with 3D models causing bugs (very funny bugs btw).
 
64 bits games using 64 bits floats have better results, since the amount of information inside a float point can be 64 bits and not 32 bits, so much more accurate, but never infinite.
Remembering also that this is a limit "up" and not "down". GTA San Andreas uses 1 meter unit (1.0 = 1 meter), if the unit were 1 kilometer (0.001 = 1 meter), it would take 1000 times more to break the accuracy.
 
To have an infinite thing, it is necessary to make workarounds like separating everything by sectors, like several worlds side by side, where you think you went to the right side but actually restarted on the left side loading of a new map, thus tricking the player. Is a both procedural and non-procedural solution.
(probably some games works like that, I never seen, just my head).
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#45

Posted 5 days ago

I honestly don't see why the latter would take anything away from the gameplay. In my opinion it would add to it.

The point was more why people treat there as being a finite amount of content, and why you can't scale a game up 3 times and have the same amount of content. You have a finite amount of resources, so if you make a map 3 times as big, it's going to have on average 3 times less content per area, since it has the same overall amount of content.
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#46

Posted 5 days ago Edited by OurJud, 5 days ago.

I personally would rather have the quests scattered everywhere. Otherwise why even make the open environment?


My point exactly.

I do take on bored the points being made my others concerning resources, though, and suspect this is the real reason we're not seeing genuinely massive maps.

That said, it's very hard to imagine that each new OW game that get's released, won't have a bigger map than the last - if only by a small degree.

luisniko
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#47

Posted 4 days ago

I think how massive the map will also take the speed of your travel into account.

The map of The Crew will be extremely massive if we are travelling on foot like Fallout.
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#48

Posted 4 days ago

I think how massive the map will also take the speed of your travel into account.

The map of The Crew will be extremely massive if we are travelling on foot like Fallout.

Yes. Imagine how big The Fuel map would feel on foot??





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