Will there be a world map in Driftmoon?


One of the things I've had in my head for over a year is a map of the Driftmoon world. I'm of course talking about a world map where you go to when you come out of a town or forest, where you can select where to go next. The whole idea is now on the drawing board, while I'm still working on the new levels for the demo part where you won't need the world map that much.

There are many ways to organize the world map. One is to use squares where you can open a map square by finishing the level in each square, and the squares next to it opens up. We've been using it in Ekapeli at work, and it's ok for that purpose. Most players select the optimal path, they play about 10 percent of all squares/levels if they know they're going somewhere. It's a bit different for roleplaying games, but I wouldn't want my players to miss 90 percent of the game I put in.

Another way to organize the main map is to use openable locations, for example in Baldur's Gate or Fallout finishing certain missions opens up new locations on the world map. We just pretend the player didn't see that exact location the last time he walked by here, he had to learn the location from the NPC. This system forces a rigid order on playing, you have to play the missions here first to open up new locations there. Another thing is that you don't know exactly how many locations there are to visit. That's something I would like to know as a player, even if to know how much of the game I've completed.

My favourite for Driftmoon at the moment is a mixture of the two. Levels are joined by roads on the main map, and passing a level opens up the roads leading away from it. This screenshot is from Puzzle Quest, it shows what I'm talking about. If you're coming from the Horned Temple, and you pass the missions at The Pike, the roads to Tusk and Hyaan open up for you.

One of the main problems I see with this kind of structure is that the levels need a clearly defined passing mission. I haven't decided on how to tell the player in each level that they need to pass this mission to continue forward. One possibility is that it's not a mission at all, just a location you need to get to. Going from one edge of the map to another would be realistic in regards to being able to pass through the area. Possibly the walk from one edge to another would require you to pass missions, or fight enemies, or sneak past them (Although I'm not planning on including a lot of sneaking, I personally don't enjoy sneaking games).

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