Geographic Accuracy versus Simple Shapes

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mollyemo
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Geographic Accuracy versus Simple Shapes

Postby mollyemo » Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:18 pm

Which do you prefer (either as a map-maker or as a player), geographic accuracy or simpler shapes. More complex shapes are more geographically correct, but less complex shapes load faster. Either can look good, depending. Which do you use/prefer to see and why?

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SunTzu
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Postby SunTzu » Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:57 am

I prefer geographic accuracy, as long as the countries are clickable and the country connections are obvious.

As a mapmaker, however, they take a much longer time to make.

I haven't really noticed that much of a difference in load times. Do people notice a big difference between maps?

I would guess that the background/foreground/overground images would make the most difference in load times. Dustin would probably know for sure...

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mollyemo
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Postby mollyemo » Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:28 am

I haven't noticed any bothersome difference in load time, I'm just basing that off what the wiki says:
The fewer points you use the better in general - this particular map makes this very easy, as the outlines already have nice straight edges, but for other maps, you needn't be 100% geographically correct, we are looking to reproduce a recognizable shape more than anything else. Too many points will not only make lining up neighboring areas more time-consuming, but will increase the overall load time of the file in Lux. Once you have all but one point of an area complete, press the spacebar to seal it up and create your polygon.

http://sillysoft.net/wiki/?Map%20Tutorial

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AquaRegia
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Postby AquaRegia » Tue Apr 04, 2006 1:09 pm

I like the look of geographically accurate maps, but when it comes to gameplay, I think simpler is better. I've always preferred dustin's classic to all the more accurate classic versions... it just seems much easier to tell who owns what and what connects. Most of my other favorite maps (the castle series, the hex series, octagon, space station, booze, slux, etc) use highly stylized country shapes. The geographically accurate maps (Sun's classic and Canada come to mind) always seem to have tiny little countries that a) make it really hard to click on and b) are tough to tell ownership of, and also often have "dead ends" where connections are not clear.

As far as load time, I've noticed some maps take longer to load than others, but I never really thought about why. I have DSL, so it's the difference between 5 seconds and 30 - not really a big deal.

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slayer
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Postby slayer » Tue Apr 04, 2006 1:31 pm

I think there's much to be said for simplicity. So many of those Europe Large style maps are a pain in the neck to play because of the plethora of microscopic nations, unless you own a screen the size of a Cadillac. Geographic accuracy is nice with respect to country shapes, though. I think if one is going to make a map, good shaping is worth the time and effort. I wish my computer art skills were better, for that matter, because the two maps I made look a bit sketchy.

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hoodie
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Postby hoodie » Tue Apr 04, 2006 1:38 pm

Detail and useability are two different things. Detail is fabulous; useability is essential, and should always be the priority.

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SunTzu
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Postby SunTzu » Tue Apr 04, 2006 2:35 pm

I agree hoodie, usability should be the highest priority.

Geographic detail and accuracy doesn't necessarily mean low usability, but it can be a problem if the map is not planned and tested properly.

In Art of War, for instance, I tried to make the map fit on a 1024 x 768 screen and still have all the countries easily clickable. Although it works for me, people with different screen resolutions have trouble, usually because of how they setup their screen real estate (map, player info, and chat windows), which was something I hadn't anticipated.

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dustin
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Postby dustin » Tue Apr 04, 2006 9:37 pm

In my personal opinion the original Classic Risk layout is a testament to how great simplistic maps can be. The borders are pretty straight edged, and yet they have a great minimalist style to them. Likewise with the actual countries. It is incredibly inaccurate compared to the true world political map, lumping countries together and slapping the name of the biggest one on them, etc. All the accuracy compromises make it a better map though. Everything is very clear just from looking, and it still looks good.

I'm not against geographic accuracy, but I think it's easy to let such accuracy draw you away from making a map as playable as it could be.

With regard to speed, the fewer total points in a map the faster it will be, both to load and when redrawing during play. Normally it doesn't really make a difference though. Exceptions being maps with a really huge number of country points or people with really slow computers.

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Blind Willie
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Postby Blind Willie » Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:13 pm

dustin wrote:...people with really slow computers.


Crap. I guess my old 800 MHz G3 is considered really slow these days, because I notice a huge difference in load times between simple and complex maps.

/me empties out his penny jar to see if he can afford a new Mac yet.


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