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Let's talk about minimap support


MirceaKitsune
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5 minutes ago, Gin said:

I think navigation would be a bit more difficult, but that's it.

Indeed, but I was thinking in terms of map design, would the authors have done anything differently if the automap was not available through any means.

5 minutes ago, Gin said:

Thief style auto maps would be like an easier difficulty setting on navigation without going too far with telling the player where they are, and has the flexibility to still be vague if the mapper wants it to be. (An example would be the burrick caves in The Bonehoard level in Thief 1, where they're only marked as "Where am I?")

Yeah, I'm strictly thinking of how Thief 2 did the automap. It's there if the mapper wants to use it, but I don't think it has been a hindrance, seeing T2's FM community.

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Mappers are definitely competent people too, though often need the proper tools to do their work: We wouldn't be anywhere near as good at it if DarkRadiant wasn't such an easy and awesome map editor after all :)

Drawn map versus generated map should indeed be a choice of the FM in this format, both are valid approaches. There are mainly two issues with the current map system: On the mapper's side, it's extra work drawing a map for your FM... some mappers might not be good 2D artists, or may not have a drawing tablet which is kind of a necessity to do such a thing right. On the player's side, you often have to guess what the map is meant to represent especially when it's not detailed enough... it's a nice mental challenge I admit, but like I said there comes a point (in many FM's) where you're stuck for more than an hour and have gotten sick of walking back and forth trying to figure out where you're supposed to go while wondering if you understood the indications right. Mind you that usually happens because a switch or door or key is well hidden and you can't find that little crevice where the item needed to progress is located... having to ask yourself "is this really that building on the map where I should be looking or am I on the other street" is a big annoyance in those cases.

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13 minutes ago, roygato said:

Indeed, but I was thinking in terms of map design, would the authors have done anything differently if the automap was not available through any means.

Generally speaking, the automap does reduce the need for landmarks for the players connect the world with the map. Over-reliance of an automap could result in levels that have very samey areas, but the automap isn't necessarily the fault here.

Personally, I do prefer no automap because I like to figure out where I am based on my surroundings and comparing it to a map, but the thief style auto map is pretty inoffensive compared to most games.

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11 minutes ago, Gin said:

Generally speaking, the automap does reduce the need for landmarks for the players connect the world with the map.

Yes, this is the theory. I don't believe it would be the reality. I'd have a little more faith in the mappers than that.

20 minutes ago, Gin said:

Personally, I do prefer no automap because I like to figure out where I am based on my surroundings and comparing it to a map, but the thief style auto map is pretty inoffensive compared to most games.

Pretty much. I never wanted or needed an automap in the missions that don't have it, but when it does appear, I don't mind.

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3 hours ago, nbohr1more said:

Of course, I would be 100% against the ability for players to add this to existing missions via a menu setting.

If it were ever implemented it's availability should depend both on the mission author preference and player setting together.

What NBohr suggests might be an option I could live with. Old FMs must be left as they are.

Shockingly, I haven't played The Painter's Wife, yet. So, I shamefully have to admit that I don't know what the Team behind that FM pulled off with respect to the auto-map feature.

That bing said, a thief-style auto-map is definitely more acceptable than a fully fledged "you are here and look in that direction"-pointer.

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17 minutes ago, STiFU said:

Shockingly, I haven't played The Painter's Wife, yet. So, I shamefully have to admit that I don't know what the Team behind that FM pulled off with respect to the auto-map feature.

In case you want to have a look, here's a screenshot.

Spoiler

8Hkt7aU.jpg

The map will highlight in blue in a relatively generous area, and when you cross over to another "zone", it will update. Worth mentioning that, as opposed to T2, it won't leave a mark on the areas you've already been in.

 

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10 hours ago, Gin said:

Generally speaking, the automap does reduce the need for landmarks for the players connect the world with the map. Over-reliance of an automap could result in levels that have very samey areas, but the automap isn't necessarily the fault here.

I think it's kinda the other way around; if the level is samey, labyrinthine and it's too late to change it, auto-map can be added as an afterthought. Better level design is of course much better alternative. TPW is a great example that automap doesn't automatically make things better, since walking a few meters, checking the map, walking another few meters, checking the map, etc. isn't particularly interesting gameplay loop.

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I still think that the way it has been solved in the old DOOM games would be the most appropriate, either to consult it separately with a key, marking the point where it is at this moment, or in an optional transparent ovelay, rotating according to the orientation of the player.
In this way, a glance was enough to be able to orient oneself. 

A minimap only obstructs the view of the environment by occupying part of the screen, quite important in missions, where there may be a guardian somewhere, covered by this map and that is why we do not see. A minimap can be useful in some RPG or somilar, but not in TDM, where it disturbs anything on screen that hinders the view.

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I dont think darkmod needs a mini map. Its not really trying to solve any problem and goes against so much of what makes the thief formula work. 
 

Although, I could see making better support for highlighted areas on the current in game map (this is possible now with some scripting but requires individual hand drawn maps for each change in area) It would be entirely up to the author to create the content for it and we would not be able to retroactively integrate it into current missions. 

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37 minutes ago, kingsal said:

I dont think darkmod needs a mini map. Its not really trying go solve any problem and goes against so much of what makes the thief formula work. 
 

Although, I could see making better support for highlighted areas on the current in game map (this is possible now with some scripting but requires individual hand drawn maps for each change in area) It would be entirely up to the author to create the content for it and we would not be able to retroactively integrate it into current missions. 

I still think an automap as an option for new FM's would be good though. Like I said not everyone who can do great things in Darkradiant is also a trained artist or has the tools to draw, whereas most FM's do require having a map in some form. It would be neat if for starters we could allow DarkRadiant to export the top-down view to a transparent png, so mission authors can then include it without having to draw their own by hand.

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1 hour ago, MirceaKitsune said:

It would be neat if for starters we could allow DarkRadiant to export the top-down view to a transparent png, so mission authors can then include it without having to draw their own by hand.

Yeah I'm sure its possible. For automaps we'd want some kind of tool in DR where the author can "draw" or select  areas, label them, and then export those out as gui images. Those could then get rendered as transparents on top of the current in-game map OR just be exported as  entire map images. The author would also have to label all their locations correctly and we'd need scripts to drive all that.  This exists in some form already, but it would take a lot of thinking and effort to truly  automate in-game map creation.

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7 hours ago, MirceaKitsune said:

It would be neat if for starters we could allow DarkRadiant to export the top-down view to a transparent png, so mission authors can then include it without having to draw their own by hand.

Just in case, someone really implements that feature: Please go for SVG instead.
Even unshaded, vector data is way better suited as a basis for making an ingame map.

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14 hours ago, Abusimplea said:

Just in case, someone really implements that feature: Please go for SVG instead.
Even unshaded, vector data is way better suited as a basis for making an ingame map.

Does the engine support using svg as a graphic or texture? That would be cool now that I think about it. If not though the mapper can simply convert to png and include the svg as a source, given those are usually tiny text files anyway.

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On 8/15/2021 at 5:36 PM, MirceaKitsune said:

Does the engine support using svg as a graphic or texture?

No it doesn't. It was only recently that it gained support for PNG at all; previously it was just TGA, JPEG or DDS. Somehow I can't see a full SVG parser making it into the engine, although perhaps it would be an interesting way to design resolution-independent GUI elements.

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If you want to add a minimap, cool, however i am a bit shocked by this sudden change of heart XD
Werent we of the position that minimaps are really bad for this kind of game?

Do i understand this right?

Can we have more scary Zombie Horror maps?

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13 hours ago, OrbWeaver said:

No it doesn't. It was only recently that it gained support for PNG at all; previously it was just TGA, JPEG or DDS. Somehow I can't see a full SVG parser making it into the engine, although perhaps it would be an interesting way to design resolution-independent GUI elements.

+1 towards resolution-independent GUI elements (don't care whether they are implemented via SVG or some other declarative language).
Screens get more pixels, the GUI elements of the past look blurry on lowly 1080p (!) already...

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17 hours ago, OrbWeaver said:

No it doesn't. It was only recently that it gained support for PNG at all; previously it was just TGA, JPEG or DDS. Somehow I can't see a full SVG parser making it into the engine, although perhaps it would be an interesting way to design resolution-independent GUI elements.

Wait,
So I don't have to use dds anymore if I add custom textures?? :o

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You were never required to use DDS for custom textures, but DDS is still the most efficient choice for many textures.

PNG compression is not particularly effective on high-frequency content such as rough stone or brick, since it is lossless and has to preserve every pixel of detail. With these sorts of images you will likely only see a very modest reduction in size between PNG and RLE-compressed TGA (which was always supported).

DDS also has the advantage of being directly usable by the GPU, whereas a PNG image has to be decompressed by the PNG loader, then re-compressed for upload into the GPU if you have image_use[Normal]Compression enabled.

What PNG does well is compressing images with smooth gradients and no fine detail, such as light falloff textures. If you have any such images and they were previously in TGA (to avoid compression artifacts), you might see a considerable size reduction if you convert them to PNG.

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