Live Chat

Top down games: 4vs8 directions, map segments vs open world

Anything else

Top down games: 4vs8 directions, map segments vs open world

Postby Sehiro » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:36 am

What are the differences that occur both from the player point of view that from the developer point of view for a game with different characteristics?
To discuss the subject I would like to bring as examples Zelda (4 direction of movement and map segments) and Hammerwatch (8 directions of movement and much bigger maps). Both games are top down adventure games with pixel graphics.

I already have some hypothesis, but would like to hear from you, as I am not professional in this field.


4vs8 directions of movement

From the developer point of view:
+ Easier to program (e.g. hitboxes, reach, movement speed does not change from diagonal to x/y axis)
+ Less sprites to create (in case of pixel graphic)

From the player point of view:
- Less freedom
- Clunkier feel while moving
+ More thought put into attacking an enemy (e.g. Darknuts)

Map segments vs open world

From the developer point of view
+ Easier to program (no need to optimize number of events, while in an open world the further events are not running)
+ Easier to arrange and modify the map (can move bits around)
+ Easier to present minibosses and puzzles
+ Easier to change weather, ambience and general environment feel

From the player point of view
- Less fluid experience
- Bothering pauses between maps interrupt action and immersion
+ easier to remember the map by heart
- generally less enjoyable


Some of this points are purely subjective, personal opinions, thus the majority of you may disagree.
I would like you to point out my eventual mistakes and to add other issues or advantages for a form or the other.
Thanks for reading and eventually for answering :)
User avatar
Sehiro
 
Posts: 302
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:59 am
Location: Currently in the Lifestream

Re: Top down games: 4vs8 directions, map segments vs open wo

Postby Endoperez » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:43 am

One important difference you're not considering right now, or at least I didn't notice you say it:

When you say "developer", you talk of programming and implementation.

There could be reasons to keep the mechanics on 4 direction because it makes game mechanics more interesting. A rook in Chess, for example, only uses 4 directions. On its own, it's a less interesting piece than a queen. The thing is, all pieces aren't rooks or queens. Rook and Knight, and Rook and Pawn, for example, have some interesting interplay when combined.

Not allowing diagonal movement but allowing diagonal attacks (e.g. a crescent slash that hits 3 nearest squares in front of a character) can create specific tactical options, and make archer enemies much harder to approach without getting hit.

8 directions don't necessarily need 8 sprites, either. Just 4 is probably enough.
User avatar
Endoperez
 
Posts: 5668
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:41 am
Location: cold and dark and lovely Finland

Re: Top down games: 4vs8 directions, map segments vs open wo

Postby Sehiro » Fri Mar 20, 2015 5:33 am

As always, interesting insights Endo.

I can see how having different kinds of movement creates interesting tactics in case a single player has control over differently moving characters, but what if the player has control over only one character?

In this case it would be the enemies to move in different ways (spastically, twitching, chasing, diagonal, x/y axis, trying to surround the player, run&gunning and whatnot), while the player probably should move in 8 directions.
it would make the gameplay harder, probably obliging the player to prioritize a specific kind of enemy.
It would for sure add variety (by creating many different "teams" of enemies). Thus shall I assume it'd be a good idea?
On the other hand: I never personally payed Zelda, but I know that in the later part of the game there are rooms with different enemies and some are pretty hard.
The difficulty increase probably needs to be finely balanced by the developer, in order to avoid a frustrating experience.


Adding on top to this topic, what if we introduce strafing? Does it disturb the tactical thought, creating a more brawn over brain gameplay?
Or does it improve the gameplay, by easing up the controls?
User avatar
Sehiro
 
Posts: 302
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:59 am
Location: Currently in the Lifestream

Re: Top down games: 4vs8 directions, map segments vs open wo

Postby Phoenixwarrior141 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:20 am

Simple solution: Allow for freeform movement with mouse direction and not limit anything. Boom. Done.
User avatar
Phoenixwarrior141
 
Posts: 1433
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:37 pm
Location: I've lost all sense of direction, I'm quite concerned to be honest.

Re: Top down games: 4vs8 directions, map segments vs open wo

Postby Endoperez » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:24 am

Sokoban puzzle games (where you push tiles, boxes or rocks into specific places) only use 4 directions.

Many turn-based games where exact positioning is important might not let you move diagonally. IIRC, neither Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea series allow diagonal movement. In both games, you move 4-8 or so tiles at once, so in most cases it's exactly the same as if diagonal movement was allowed but cost two movement points. It does, however, prevent you from moving past certain obstacles in certain cases.

However, I can't think of a real-time tile-based game where the directional movement would be only 4-ways instead of 8 ways.

I'll try to think of more examples where 4-way movement was made into a game mechanic.

Many roguelikes have 8-way movement, but additionally enemies move in ways that don't match that pattern.

Some enemies prefer moving diagonally, for example, and only move in cardinal directions when in dungeons.

In Dungeon Crawl, bats are faster than normal characters and move, or hit, twice. If you take a step towards them, they usually hit you once, and then retreat one tile, making them unhittable. If you stay still, or retreat, they have to move closer to you, and can't both attack and get back out.

Also, here's a Gamasutra article about turn-based game with tiles and 4-ways movement. They discuss how they handled movement animations from tile to tile — it causes a delay, so the testers thought the controls felt unresponsive.
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/2241 ... _Taken.php
User avatar
Endoperez
 
Posts: 5668
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:41 am
Location: cold and dark and lovely Finland

Re: Top down games: 4vs8 directions, map segments vs open wo

Postby Sehiro » Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:23 pm

I can see how mouse movement could solve a lot of issues.
But I have a question: by personal taste, I like using a keyboard, even if the game is not tile based.
Is this common or do you prefer to move with a mouse? Or does it depend on the game?

I can't think of a 4direction real time tile based game either. Bomberman maybe?
I can see how the guys of Road not taken had difficulties. They found a pretty interesting solution.
User avatar
Sehiro
 
Posts: 302
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:59 am
Location: Currently in the Lifestream

Re: Top down games: 4vs8 directions, map segments vs open wo

Postby Endoperez » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:28 pm

Sehiro wrote:I can see how mouse movement could solve a lot of issues.
But I have a question: by personal taste, I like using a keyboard, even if the game is not tile based.
Is this common or do you prefer to move with a mouse? Or does it depend on the game?


I assume that with "the game is not tile based" you mean that the game's movement is not restricted to tiles, not that it uses tiles to construct its graphics. And yeah, that's totally acceptable, even though it depends a lot on the game. A keyboard is a lot closer to gamepad than a mouse. And gamepads are probably more common than mouse as a game controller in genres that are not PC-exclusive.

Even with a 360-degree joystick, you only control a direction, instead of a position on a screen. Mouse gives not just an angle, but also the distance. Keyboard and directional pad might only give 4 or 8 movemeng angles at once, but they don't give you the distance either, so it's almost the same in the end.

I mean, you won't be playing an RTS without a mouse (although there have been tries), but platformers and 2D JRPGs and racing games and whatever? Mouse need not apply.
User avatar
Endoperez
 
Posts: 5668
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:41 am
Location: cold and dark and lovely Finland


Return to Randomness

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group cron