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[Your View] - Transition Builds, Hubs and Roads


squakhawk
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wassup beijing,

Before our next map-dev meeting we want to look into a few further topics to bring up and discuss, and one of them brought up was transition-builds and road-concept.

Transition Builds refer to builds coming with transition. The way a "City" is put onto the next map. For reference, for both Arcas and Almaris, nations were given a world-save of their starting tile, and built off of it- then pasting it in during the Temp-Map.

Road-Concept refers to our basic thematic, ideas, and goals for roads. Most maps have the iconic "King's Road", which is one road that leads from CT to all other major settlements- expanded upon as necessary in the future. Arcas had a twist on The King's Road, with a circular road that ran across the most proximal part of the map. While not necessarily the case next map as we haven’t discussed where CT should be, on or off map, these are still valuable things to consider.

 

With the recent Freebuild thread and discussion in the discord, there's been a few curious ideas thrown around. Ideas on how builds should be transferred, if they should be transferred. With the soon-coming Paid-LC in tandem with PurchaseFly, how should we implement cities? What should our maps roads look like?

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Transition Builds

While the team has no official stance, or really true preference in which we're leaning (As we are to soon discuss it as a group), the only thing that can be said in firm is the idea of builds conforming to the land is something we'd like to see. Rather than setting flat bricks on terrain like Helena, a city which can shift with the terrain and work with it, rather than against it. This is not to say we don't want to see terraforming- it would just be an interesting idea to have cities which are iconic for their layout and design which fits toward their environment, rather than environment fitting to them. We've found this can create a somewhat narrow angle of areas of the map, and things can be relegated easily to "Oh, that's an Example-Nation part of the map, and not worth our time. 

 

Another thing to look at is these builds coming onto the map themselves. Many were uneasy at the start of Almaris when grandiose, luxurious cities were pre-prepared on the land before they even arrived on it. Many spent their final weeks on Arcas not necessarily involved in Inferi, The Eye of Man, or others, and primarily focusing on toiling away for the next map. We saw in the Freebuild thread a few people thought of having a “Colonization” period at the start of the map which would have players focusing on building, acquiring resources, and building their community rather than having it practically teleport from one place to another. What we mean to ask is, how should this be done?

 

What are we looking for ideas/opinions on?

-Do we have transition builds pasted-in on release? Is there some delayed "Colonization" period? Are they built using gathered resources & LC?

-Do we want map terrain to be conformed or designed around certain nations/cultures/playergroups? Would we like groups to pick and embrace or adapt these environments and terrain?

-Furthermore, while this is a topic of far-later discussion, what do we want to see for map transfer in it of itself? Are nations pre-presented plots, or given a map to work on? An open query, since we aren't setting in final decisions here and now for what will come months and months later. 

 

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Road-Concept

While designing a few ideas, as stated long-before we plan on taking after the design principles of Anthos, and the philosophies of ShiftNative. Far ahead of his time, the guy was down to earth and understood the mechanics in which "Player distribution" is attributed. We can look at previous maps, and see some issues. 

 

For Atlas, we can see here that Atlas struggled with length. While central parts of the map thrived for their easy access and short run times, Belvitz, Renatus-Marna, Haense, Gladewynn and Kadarsi as a few examples- farther-flung edges of the map died out and could often barely sustain activity. Fenn and Warhawkes reached double-digit run times, Dominion aswell was difficult for it's time served and Krugmar was often difficult to reach and in a rather vacant part of the map in it's iterations.

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Red = Main "Ring Road", King's Road, with speedboost and signs.

 

For Arcas, we can see that Arcas was great in equally distributing runtimes. Between all the major nations of the consistent map, the runtime never exceeded 5 or 6 minutes, the shortest being Sutica which sat around a 4 minute speed-run time without a horse from CT spawnroom. Given how lovingly we all probably recall the southern roads being the Mad-Max of the LOTC Canon, sometimes it was a bit longer. However, what we also saw was an almost "relegation" of other parts of the map to an infinite death. While freebuild and a forever-unused event island were on the outskirts, islands such as The Queens Isle or Korvassa were unused for the majority of the map outside of fringe settlements- albeit, one did bloom to notable fruition, Talon's Grotto. The difficult we see with the Arcas map design, is if there is a ring road system, that must be the majority of the map it circles around. Given, you are creating a ring in which acts effectively as the lifeblood of the server- anything beyond it is difficult to reach, while anything closer has a clear advantage. It is awkward, particularly when map-design comes into play and having to maintain a wingspan distance from each other nation.

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Red = Main "Ring Road", King's Road, with speedboost and signs.

Yellow = Added/Additional roads made over time or to specific nations/settlements.

 

For Almaris, we mostly see the effect that Almaris is "Divided" into four different pieces. While Hubs are a different monster entirely to tackle, the map has no central circulatory road. Each road is isolated from another, and the map feels as if it's split into portions or pieces, not acting as a whole functional unit. While a band-aid fix could be applied to add in these roads between hubs, there reaches a point of excessive runtimes. We saw this map a competition to "sit" on hubs, settling as close as possible to have the shortest runtime- and thus, the greatest route to player visitation. This precedent of having a fixed-distance from Hubs was broken a bit into the map, and we are seeing the repercussions of so manifest in various ways. On the inverse, nations which would otherwise be punished for not having quick access, such as Haelun'or, suffer from the lack of a walk, with at one point a five minute ferry- something just longer than simply boating there, and far too long of an effective balking time. 

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Red = Start-of-map "Main" roads, Nation roads.

Yellow = Additions/new nation/settlement focused roads.

Golden stars = Hubs.

 

What have we got in mind?

Taking again after Anthos/Asulon, we've taken a look at their road designs, successes and flaws.

Ideally, a road should reach most parts of the map. If not most, the most geographically accessible- somewhat like an artery, where smaller roads may branch off to reach each piece. You might say, "Well, Atlas did that.". Indeed, they did. But, they took the artery in the most literal sense- a simple, up-and-down path which everything branched off from. It's uneven, and encourages again, access of primary activity toward the middle. While this middle-activity-race will never quite be solved, there's a few ideas in mind.

To begin, while hubs were somewhat poorly implemented this map, at least by some opinion, they could serve a purpose. Rather than acting as access to "different parts" of the map, perhaps they would better serve as effective checkpoints on the same road.

Imagine if Atlas didn't have just the central CT. CT, where it is, up in the sky, it doesn't matter. But you had easy, hub access to points a bit north and a bit south, along that central line. Rather than drawing the "Spawn" at the halfway mark, what if spawn were drawn at 1/3rd and 2/3rds? More evenly spacing out where players can begin, more evenly spacing out where activity is drawn from- as well, keeping the option that hubs give of getting you closer to your desired destination, if you aren't just wandering about. 

 

Take this map as example. A Shiftnative piece (if recalled correctly).

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With the Golden Star acting as spawn, not too shabby- but we can see some areas of the map are not only harder to reach, but are a farther run. The top right of the map is borderline inaccessible unless you are directly going there- it can be troublesome. Now, let's change that a bit.

 

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Now, Orange and Gold star are Hubs. While some parts of the map are still favoured by proximity to a hub, that "outer reach" is vastly shortened. There is no exceptional fringe, as most parts of the map now generally have a ease-of-accessibility. For "Starting roads" on a map, this isn't so bad- additional roads can and will be made, probably to start and probably throughout the map's lifecycle. But to serve as a definitive core of transport, this is a good start.

 

Now, there is a problem with this some may see. Frontiers are cool, frontiers are interesting- We agree, I agree!  This doesn't remove that possibility to exploration, for untamed lands which often will go most of, if not the entire, map without major settlement. And that's fine- maps are not meant to be utilized for each square inch of land. What we're looking for is not that- but for the possibility that there is no disadvantage for settling in a certain area or place, and being deemed "Too long a walk". While speed-roads, horses, and Soulstones help greatly in player movement, roads are the tried and true and work with a lot of our systems. It only makes sense we have maps that work off those thoughts. 

 

What do you think?

Here are the main questions we are considering and really want pointed feedback regarding. There’s only so many ideas a few people can think of alone, especially when it’s things many staff members no longer experience the way the “Average Chad RPer” does.

-How can the location of Cloud Temple affect not only the design of roads and settlements around it, but the experience of those moving through it?

-What potential exploitations or failures are there in using Travel Hubs in Map Layout? 

-What role should Travel Hubs play in the experience of the player? Should they be mini-resource hubs, spawn points, roleplay areas, "Noob Friendly" zones or even shopping zones? Do they have any place other than for faster travel or equal connection to spawn?

-How should roads be established and connected? How should new roads be managed? There is a great utility in having a pre-established road network that is simply automatically expanded with new settlements, though it could limit potential RP freedom to have roads entirely staff managed.

 

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So let us know what you think! We're eager to hear back on your guys' thoughts since these are pretty complex topics with a lot of weight on what they can mean. We'll be meeting soon after the most comments roll in to discuss our thoughts and scan over these ideas here.

Looking forward to reading the comments and discussion,  

Squak & The Map Development Team

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Nation/Settlement Implementation
As I was a nation leader during the last transition I can say that it was quite stressful. We were given a server to build on ran through LOTC which was very generous, however we were met with so many build restrictions and threats. We were told if we made significant terrain edits our build would not be pasted in. faced harsh criticism from WT members and so on while as you can see at the start of the map there were many builds who severely altered terrain, for example Oren and their massive walls or the starting Elvenesse build. Alongside this some nations were given massive groupings of tiles not allowing for new rp development on the server and just consisted of horrendous pvp forts etcetra.

I hope next build transition nations are given respect and instead of criticism and threats perhaps you guys lend a helping hand. I also think that getting builds pasted in free of charge was a very good system however I do have a recommendation.

You could require nations to submit their main nation build on top of an encampment as well. For the first month of the new map nations would have their encampment pasted into a starting tile. In this time they would be unable to do their main/actual paste however they would be able to establish more territories (claiming other tiles). They would be able to do this by establishing more encampment and after the 1 month passes and these encampment had sustainable activity they would be able to begin pasting onto them. This would make good dispute roleplay between the other nations as realistically whenever you move to new lands nations aren't given 10+ tiles worth of territory by minecraft skygod admins. At the end of the one month the nations would be able to begin their main pastes after sustaining their encampment rp and would be able to get the paste in free of charge. 

Merely an idea, hope it can inspire more!

Roads
As per roads and travel hubs I would love to see players being spawned at their racial hub when they begin, however they would be able to /cex and set their nationality to respawn at whichever nation they choose. Once this is done we could simply establish roads in a semi-straight line between each of the settlements. For the start of course I would just add roads to the starting encampments (going off of my idea above here) allowing players to know which way to get to the others. As more tiles are captured and towns established obviously we could add more. Think of this as a free-world map such as in Red Dead Redemption. Every town has a road going to it there is no spawning hub! I also saw the mention of zones, if the staff chose something similar to this it would be cool to see startup towns or even taverns that ST and staff can utilize for staff shops, bounty board events, or just general event roleplay interactions. Example, NPC towns!

 

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Personally I don't care - I was always fine with all the road systems. I like the hubs the most but of Atlas and Arcas were alright too. I personally never really cared about it. Especially with the new horses, it's easy to get around anyways.

 

The main reason for changing for the Hub system was, if I remember correctly (Didn't I set those up? xD) that we wanted everyone to be easy to access. Didn't really work because the nations went so far apart from one another. However, that would fix itself if nobody forces ST to make the new map far too large.

 

Quote

We saw in the Freebuild thread a few people thought of having a “Colonization” period at the start of the map which would have players focusing on building, acquiring resources, and building their community rather than having it practically teleport from one place to another. What we mean to ask is, how should this be done?

God no. I want a freebuild, not grind ressources. 

 

RP > Grinding

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9 minutes ago, SquakHawk said:

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This was by far my favorite set of roads. You just could start on any road and follow in a circle to get to any place on the map

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Honestly, and this is my only thought on the concept above, do not travel hubs whatsoever.

 

I hate hate hate that CT has become this avg. minecraft server separated hub, that it very much feels like in Almaris. You are supposed to move through the CT rather than teleport away from it. The roads are meant to cross at CT rather than four locations across the continent.

 

What happened to RP at CT? What happened to CT shops? What was the reason these very simplistic and enjoyable aspects of the CT was removed, and our beloved CT was transformed into your avg. skyblock, prison, minigame hub design which it has today?

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1 minute ago, MCVDK said:

Honestly, and this is my only thought on the concept above, do not travel hubs whatsoever.

 

I hate hate hate that CT has become this avg. minecraft server separated hub, that it very much feels like in Almaris. You are supposed to move through the CT rather than teleport away from it. The roads are meant to cross at CT rather than four locations across the continent.

 

What happened to RP at CT? What happened to CT shops? What was the reason these very simplistic and enjoyable aspects of the CT was removed, and our beloved CT was transformed into your avg. skyblock, prison, minigame hub design which it has today?

 

If i recall correctly on the later stages of Almaris, the World Team leadership at the time wanted to move all roleplay out of Cloud Temple and into cities- thus why The Library was removed, and shop stalls hadn't been a thing since Atlas.

 

I think aswell given it's complete inaccessibility in the map, hubs were inevitable, but that's a flaw in the map itself being poorly designed for mechanical movement and distribution.

 

On various threads/discords I see people advising CT be thrown into the sky and off the map, what are your opinions on that?

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I've never really minded the long runs, though then again, quite often am I just wandering the map in search of mini secrets (the builds of LOTC are just as important as the RP imo, and it makes for great exploration). Personally, and only able to speak on Arcas and Almaris, the "king's road" is by far my more preferred. it just made CT feel more like a part of the world instead of an actual 'hub'. 

Honestly, I would love CT to have more of a purpose than just a spawn point. Perhaps make it a true neutral marketplace where we have our banks and auction houses but also the items that can't be crafted in game for sale, or maybe it's an island with said marketplace with a dock with a lot of ships that can take you across the map. The portals we currently have are just so strange compared to the rest of the world, even with the mirage of carriages or long walks. Not quite sure how it would actually work, but I hope that at least gets the idea of "part of the world rather than spawn point" across. 

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squakhawk is a dog

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I think in general, the hubs were really great, but CT should not be in the center of the map, it should be off on it's own, sort of like a tutorial island. The walk to the hubs from the starting zone for new players should be significantly shorter and the tutorial area should be more noticeable. What is really important for the starter area for new players is the design language, it should be able to communicate what is the correct direction to go without signs or writing, though that can still be included. (Just keep in mind, even if you put signs and writing in, it does not mean new players will read it.)

You should be able to walk / sprint jump down the road in one direction for less then two minutes and find an active RP hub. This means you need to actually delete inactive nations (Including racial status protected ones if there is another active RP hub of the same race.) and adjust the road accordingly to reflect that. (Whether that is making the road look broken up, or deleting it is up to you.) You also should be able to get to a RP hub without running out of hunger if you have no food.

My suggestions are purely for the good of new player retention, so keep that in mind, I know there are other things to take into account.

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Rest in peace the boat I was gonna give legs to sashay into next map with 😪

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7 minutes ago, SquakHawk said:

 

If i recall correctly on the later stages of Almaris, the World Team leadership at the time wanted to move all roleplay out of Cloud Temple and into cities- thus why The Library was removed, and shop stalls hadn't been a thing since Atlas.

 

I think aswell given it's complete inaccessibility in the map, hubs were inevitable, but that's a flaw in the map itself being poorly designed for mechanical movement and distribution.

 

On various threads/discords I see people advising CT be thrown into the sky and off the map, what are your opinions on that?


It really depend if CT heads further in the direction of a server hub as it is now, or if more rp and shop opportunities are opened up in it.

 

If it is the latter having a floating Cloud Temple would be good, and it would stop the land from being broken up in the middle. If it becomes a more rp centric location then it should be grounded.

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10 minutes ago, SquakHawk said:

-Do we have transition builds pasted-in on release? Is there some delayed "Colonization" period? Are they built using gathered resources & LC?


I think you'll have an issue regardless when it comes to this proclaimed "Colonization RP" people always praise whenever we come to a new map. If the nation / settlement / lair builds aren't pasted in by staff players will just hop on litematica and grind day in and day out to build what is likely the same city they would have if it had just been pasted. 

Players will either grind before the new-map or after the new-map, pick your poison.

 

14 minutes ago, SquakHawk said:

-Do we want map terrain to be conformed or designed around certain nations/cultures/playergroups? Would we like groups to pick and embrace or adapt these environments and terrain?


You never really want to "force" people to adapt or embrace a new area as most of the time the geographical spot they pick pertains to their nations culture. Oren's usually in a warm plains, Haense in the North cold, Dwarves in a mountain. I think separating the map into different niche environments is cool, but it would just require that they are all useable terrain for current nations to be transitioned over and also any pop up settlements which come about. 

The environmental diversity in terrain this map is ******* insane -- really cool honestly. It WOULD be cooler if 80% of it could be used with the altitude not changing every 5 blocks and all being mountainy ****-off areas. The only good land this map is in east hub with tile 86, 88, 91, 93, etc.

ringroadringroadringroad

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10 minutes ago, SquakHawk said:

 

If i recall correctly on the later stages of Almaris, the World Team leadership at the time wanted to move all roleplay out of Cloud Temple and into cities- thus why The Library was removed, and shop stalls hadn't been a thing since Atlas.

 

I think aswell given it's complete inaccessibility in the map, hubs were inevitable, but that's a flaw in the map itself being poorly designed for mechanical movement and distribution.

 

On various threads/discords I see people advising CT be thrown into the sky and off the map, what are your opinions on that?

 

It is a unique concept and could work, but I’d still fear the separation of the CT from the actual continent creates this “mineman hub” feeling that I - personally - do not feel belongs on the server. And honestly, I’d argue the fault here is the WT’s former idea that CT RP or CT interactions are a removable aspect from the server, and quite frankly, I am unsure as to why that thought was ever presented from the WT. 

 

I understand the wish and idea of moving RP away from the CT - and evidently that has been successful in the current map - but it is not like 50% or even 2 - 3% RP’s actively at the CT, imo it has never been an issue that prevents nations or smaller communities to flourish outside of CT. CT was useful to teach newer players of the RP mechanics in a safe and calm environment, somewhere with no PvP or villainy, yet still a living breathing part of the server itself. It does not feel like that anymore: It feels dead and irrelevant. 

 

Personally, one of my first encounters on the server back in 2016 was at CT. I joined without friends or buddies to show me around, so for thirty minutes or so after my first time joining the server, I stayed at CT for safety. And although I stayed at CT, I still had the chance to observe others roleplay, learn about the mechanics, and understand the vibe of the server. JUST FROM STAYING AT CT. And then finally someone approached me and RP’d with me, at CT, and (albeit my unawareness then) that person could not possibly give me a bad first experience: he could not harm me, because of CT rules, and he did not harm me. 

 

Imo, and I will always advocate for this, CT needs to be a center-piece of the map. It needs to be an organic, breathing place which feels like it belongs on the continent; as much as any nation.

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8 minutes ago, Mio said:

ringroadringroadringroad

Ring road... please...

My biggest issue with hubs and CT is that they are just in the way. The tiles they take up hog pretty valuable geopolitical areas- like an oren/urguan border, an Iron'uzg/celianor border and so on, places that nations would probably claim- and the excuse of keeping it as a no mans land you just "pass through" for wars is a touch... silly

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14 minutes ago, Mio said:


I think you'll have an issue regardless when it comes to this proclaimed "Colonization RP" people always praise whenever we come to a new map. If the nation / settlement / lair builds aren't pasted in by staff players will just hop on litematica and grind day in and day out to build what is likely the same city they would have if it had just been pasted. 

Players will either grind before the new-map or after the new-map, pick your poison.

 


You never really want to "force" people to adapt or embrace a new area as most of the time the geographical spot they pick pertains to their nations culture. Oren's usually in a warm plains, Haense in the North cold, Dwarves in a mountain. I think separating the map into different niche environments is cool, but it would just require that they are all useable terrain for current nations to be transitioned over and also any pop up settlements which come about. 

The environmental diversity in terrain this map is ******* insane -- really cool honestly. It WOULD be cooler if 80% of it could be used with the altitude not changing every 5 blocks and all being mountainy ****-off areas. The only good land this map is in east hub with tile 86, 88, 91, 93, etc.

ringroadringroadringroad


Agreed if the map were to be done this way extra attention should be put on making the terrain useable and varried.

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