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OurJud

Let's talk about map size

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luisniko

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

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.

Edited by luisniko

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Quinn_flower

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

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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1972

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

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.

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thatstupidbug

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"

Edited by thatstupidbug

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OurJud

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?

Edited by OurJud

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deadx23

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?

 

b1z9Xx0.jpg

 

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 ;)

Edited by deadx23

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RedDagger

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

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.

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luisniko

 

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?

 

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.

Edited by luisniko

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Am Shaegar

 

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
. 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

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).
Edited by Junior_Djjr

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RedDagger

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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OurJud

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.

Edited by OurJud

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luisniko

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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OurJud

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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KilnerLUFC

I was reading an article on a site relating to this whole subject not so long back, and it got me thinking back then. It's not exactly a new tradition in any sense to be making games open-world, but it's more the fact that every game of every genre wants to venture in to the whole open-world aspect, no matter how stupid the reasoning is.

 

For me, as many others have said, it's all about the immersion in to your surroundings and the map, and the diversity of each section of the map, that wins hands-down over the size of a map. My first ope-world game was probably Ocarina Of Time, and back then the map felt massive, yet on the other hand was perfect because each section was divided by Hyrule Field, so every area felt like a whole new world, whereas in reality, and in modern terms, it was a small map. Each section of the map was so different from each other, and was rich in content because of this. Fast forward to Breath Of The Wild, and the map is abolsutely, insanely huge, yet at many points of the game I've felt myself wanting to fast-travel just because I was bored of my surroundings and lack of content. Every now and then you can encounter an animal to kill, an NPC in trouble, or a huddle of enemies, but apart from that, it felt very empty at times. The main towns were far apart, and very small and huddled, meaning you spent like 5 minutes exploring the town before you find yourself heading back out in to the open and in an empty place again. In ways it can work well, as there's always something amazing you stumble across accidentally, and my Switch album is full of photos of just Link stood with a backdrop that looks amazing, and even more so knowing you could actually get to this place in the backdrop.

 

Whilst highly-rated by many gamers, and I've even got two copies of the game myself, Skyrim at times falls under this 'empty' category too at times. Maybe I've yet to play the game for a long period of time, but I remember my first 360 playthrough of the game was put off by getting stuck trying to traverse my way to a point up a mountain, and having to spend a huge chunk of time just trying to find a route up. So yeah, the map may be quite large, but many sections just felt like it was added for aesthetics, more than actually creating a map that was accessible and interactive. Don't get me wrong, I've come across quite a fair few nice places in the game, but majority of my time has been spent wading my way through a generic looking forest with not much to do or see.

 

One game I always slate is GTAV. I remember when this was first getting leaked, and got excited by the prospect of what could be done within the game by watching the trailers, and then seeing the map size got me more hyped. Now, after completing the game once, I still think the map was, in some way, amazing, and had a sh*t-ton to see, but the content within the game made it so bland and boring, and took away the thrill of the size of the map. The map design itself is somewhat lazy too, feeling like they just plomped two completely different areas together to-to-bottom, and just separating it by some hills. My point been here is that, as said above, a map could be massive, but it can also feel very small when it feels empty and has no interaction features whatsoever.

 

Sticking with the 'GTA genre', I believe one of the most ambitious and biggest maps I played on the PS2 was True Crime: LA. It promised us a map that was as true to LA as possible back in the day with the hardware limitations, and back then, yes, it delivered in regards to feeling like the city was absolutely huge...but the downside was, the majority of the map was just bland, generic, repetitive houses that were placed everywhere to make it feel bigger, and the only real landmarks popped up every now and then, which would be lost when you drove away due to the generic surroundings.

 

In recent times, I believe Just Cause 2 is amongst the games I've played with the biggest map, and it succeeded with me because of how much sh*t you could do. Yes, at times I got pissed off when trying to get from A to B and it went on and on, but on downtimes when I was just messing about, the size of the map plus the content and interaction made this one of the biggest maps in my feelings. I love climbing to the top of a mountain and looking at the map spread out around me.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker when a game promises a massive open-world map, but it has to have that perfect balance between content and size. Why does a game like SSX need an open world map, when the races themselves are so bland and samey-feeling, compared to the likes of SSX Tricky? It didn't need to be a victim of map size, and it failed because of this.

 

I think I've digressed majorly here and even lost my own point, so to go to your first question; What is the point of a map that feels infinite in size, yet offers f*ck all in content? Why the f*ck would any game need to offer an infinitely sized map? The lack of immersion would disappear greatly due to not feeling like any landmark truly stands out because you'd always be moving away from this place. Action-Adventure games would become so bland, because each quest would be seperated by what area they were in, because, well, who would want a quest that meant travelling for 1 hour IRL time just to complete?

 

The only games I could think of that would suit an infinitely sized map would be racing games, but that's only because they don't need that interaction feel.

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luisniko
Posted (edited)

I think looking at the open world fans itself, the demand is quite confusing. There are some who wants large map, there are some who wants smaller, yet effective and efficient map. Either way, when both types of map were made, complaints will arise - forgetting the subjective complaints and especially those coming from vocal open-world haters cluttering the feedback pool the developers have to read from.

 

Not only that, the current trend is also putting any map coming from GTA/RDR, Skyrim, Witcher 3 as the untouchables, whilst the same people who consumed the trend tend to be inconsistent in what they would call a good map with those titles they use as paragon of open world map.

 

Back to open-world demand from the fans. I myself can't really say which size of map do I want. Big/small doesn't matter, as long as it's diverse. And if it's an action game, then I would like to have hostiles stationed here and there for major unscripted fight to break out. If it's also an RPG, then I would like to have the map to also be filled with additional, optional, and alternative features that have impact to my character development and progress, such as materials, loots, quests, world info/discovery. Additional real-time activities on these would be a cherry on top of a cake.

 

This is why open world games with beautiful and lively map alone such as GTA's and Mafia3 have never last long for me. Meanwhile I unexpectedly managed to spend more than 300 hours in Ghost Recon Wildlands and captured more screenshots than the more beautiful and solid maps of GTA's and Mafia3's. Hell, I even spent more time and enjoyment in GTA:VCS conquering and defending my territory than doing yoga, races, running in circle 100 lap for Kifflom in GTAV. I even feel GTASA map to be larger than GTAV despite of the fact.

 

Same goes towards the widely-approved Skyrim map; I was excited in the first 15 minutes of the Remastered game and 45 minutes later, my eyes were half closed and my right hand was scratching my head while my left thumb pushing the analog stick riding my stolen horse trying to do a quest somewhere far away. Meanwhile in Fallout 4 map, I was thrilled everytime I walk on the map thanks to the hostiles that are always lurking almost at every corner of the creepy and suspicious environment.

 

So I think open world as a map will have different scratch for different itch for everyone. The demands within the fans will never meet. So I think every open world games will cater to different people. Just support whatever fits you.

Edited by luisniko

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OurJud

I will agree that having something to do - a regular goal and incentive each time you play - is very important. I'll often stick GTAV on when I feel like some free-roaming, but very quickly feel deflated from the absence of anything to do.

 

I do want huge maps, but I also want the things I've just outlined above. This is why I dream of a DayZ type game coming to console, but one which offers a constant incentive to play and explore. That would mean base-building abilities, authentic survival needs (hunting, gathering, shelter/camping etc) and antagonists in the shape of the odd infected/zombie and random encounters with other AI survivors.

 

I want a game world where I can escape to for a few hours, but one where incentive is high.

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Richard Power Colt
Posted (edited)

Jim Sterling just made an interesting video about the open-world map in Yakuza games and how it doesn't matter if the map is tiny as long as you can fill it with enough interesting content:

 

 

I would agree that density is more important than just plain size.

Edited by Richard Power Colt

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luisniko

Yeah that pretty much applies to someone who doesn't like open world game blurting out his opinionated junk on how things should have been run again as usual - or just riding popular opinion for views and approvals.

 

Open world games will do differently for different people. I for one don't know however the f*ck someone would go 'sandboxing' in GTA. But eh, if that works for them, then that works for the audience. You can't do stuff you could do in GTA while in Yakuza street and vice-versa. Selling point and stuff.

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Cosmic Gypsy
Posted (edited)

Thing is, Yakuza isn't making the most of it's space. Playing arcade style mini games is a bit sh*t. Could put all that sh*t in 1 location. I'd rather more map to explore than play an over the top fighting game with just women or play arcade games. Picking up on something he said in that video, i intimately know GTA V's map through exposure. I'd get bored of Yakuzas map/side activities in a day i reckon.

 

Side activities should be street racing, drug dealing, organized street brawls, things that dynamically use outside space and actually involve the city map they've developed. Walking into a shop to play arcade games in a video game is lame and should be something devs focus on after making the actual game as good as can be, rather than basing a lot of the "side activities" on stupid sh*t.

 

The guy who made that video would love GTA if they just made the map a lot smaller and put the bowling alley next to the pool table, darts board and golf course. In reality the bowling alley, pool table etc are just an unrelated to the game waste of time. Creating the illusion of depth when really there is no real side activity to take part in. A respectible side activity in GTA would be to start a heist on a whim without scripted and pre determined missions, cut scenes and loading screens. Playing arcade games just does not cut it.

 

Robbing houses/shops/people/banks, drug dealing, street racing, rampaging, vigilante, fire truck, paramedic, taxi side activities? Acceptable.

Racing Scalextric sets and playing pool? Not acceptable... Unless you're playing The Sims. If a game was already fully developed in every relevant aspect, i'd welcome bowling alleys and golf. As it stands games are left barebones and people just accept absolute bullsh*t as legitemate side activities.

Edited by Cosmic Gypsy

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KilnerLUFC

Robbing houses/shops/people/banks, drug dealing, street racing, rampaging, vigilante, fire truck, paramedic, taxi side activities? Acceptable.

Racing Scalextric sets and playing pool? Not acceptable... Unless you're playing The Sims. If a game was already fully developed in every relevant aspect, i'd welcome bowling alleys and golf. As it stands games are left barebones and people just accept absolute bullsh*t as legitemate side activities.

 

And this right here is what made GTAV so empty and lifeless, and thus the size of the map was ridiculous after playing the game for a few hours. I was amazed at the map at first, and seeing all the different 'areas' was great...until you realised that it was just that, a pretty picture that offered no interaction whatsoever. It quickly became apparent that the map was just a bare sandbox made with the Online in mind. Had GTAV included all the side content that we saw in previous titles, the map would have been amazing. The amount of side content that could have gone with the map is insane - Just a shame Rockstar opted to go for realism over content.

 

A game's map is irrelevant without the right content in place. I don't want an OTT sized map that has f*ck all to do.

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OurJud

Had GTAV included all the side content that we saw in previous titles, the map would have been amazing. The amount of side content that could have gone with the map is insane - Just a shame Rockstar opted to go for realism over content.

Not trying to trip you up as I agree with you on the whole, but what exactly do you mean by side content? Side content in the shape of what?

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KilnerLUFC

 

Had GTAV included all the side content that we saw in previous titles, the map would have been amazing. The amount of side content that could have gone with the map is insane - Just a shame Rockstar opted to go for realism over content.

Not trying to trip you up as I agree with you on the whole, but what exactly do you mean by side content? Side content in the shape of what?

 

 

Side content as in side-missions and that. GTAV had them, yes, but they weren't exactly exciting or that enjoyable for me. Travel round in a slow as f*ck submarine just to piece some things together? Yes, it had the street races and whatnot, but there was what seemed like so little of them, and were completed in minutes. A lot of the map just seemed to be placed there for aesthetics, and yes this helps in trying to create the feel of a living city, but compared to previous GTA titles, it just felt unnecessary, and as stated, was clearly placed there for GTA Online.

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