Discussion on iteration three
by Chris F
I met with Rob and talked about my new iteration. We didn’t exactly get to play it, but I went through all the steps with him to see what he thought of how I took his advice and incorporated into my game.
As I walked Rob through the new iteration I had made, I was pleased to see that he seemed to like it more than the previous one. It was more game, as he would put it. Still, he had one very important comment to make, that I think I will focus on a lot for the next iteration.
“Does the location of the PoIs on the map accurately reflect the location of the PoIs in real life?”
What Rob told me when I presented the third iteration to him was that it still seemed very random. Yes I did have the PoI points back on the map and everything, but at the same time the player had no reason to go and explore a particular area, which is the point of a mapping party. When Rob first posed this interesting statement to me, saying that at the moment the game is random, I thought that it might be a good idea then, in order to make it less random, to have the PoIs assigned to a PoI hex at the beginning of the game. To which Rob asked if it wouldn’t be more important and interesting to have the PoIs accurately reflect the real life PoIs on whatever map I make. I said I’d take this into consideration and see what I can do for the next iteration. There are some other things that we discussed about, though, that I will talk about before going back to the current answer I have for Rob’s question.
The first thing that we discussed about after the PoI location accurately reflecting the actual PoIs, we talked about their positioning on the map. With this map that I made for iteration three:
while the PoI distribution is proportional with the actual PoI distribution that you will find in OSM, the position of the PoIs is not. I placed the PoI hexes as I saw fit, roughly evenly distributed, taking care to have more distance between the PoIs in the big areas (that are also fewer for that territory) and less distance for the more dense PoIs, like the ones north of the river.
Rob’s argument for actually having the PoIs in their proper location and having them distributed as they are in real life, distance-wise, is this: as a person who I’m trying to get to use OpenStreetMap, if I find an error or something that’s missing in an area that I know about and your map reflects, then I’m more inclined to go and change it myself, using OSM, as opposed to just finding out random things from around town. That’s a very important point that I think I can use as a core for my next iteration.
Then there’s the issue of movement. I told Rob that if I were to use the actual PoI locations on the map, then I would have a lot of hotspots, such as the centre of town and the Cineworld area, where there are a lot of PoIs, as demonstrated in this map I posted earlier:
If I were to make red every hex that has red in it in that map, I would get some areas that are very red, and some that are not at all red. How would I stop the players from grinding and camping? I then thought about my real-world experience with mapping parties: I went up on the main street of Swindon and took note of each and every shop and all the information I could find about it. All in all that took me about 1 hour and a half. Then I walked down to the return point of the mapping party and took note of everything along that way as well, but since I didn’t have that many things to note, it only took me 30 minutes, although the distance was much larger than the one on the main street. So, in a way, if I were to continue applying the breadth vs depth system that I talked about in the previous post, the game could balance itself as it does in real life. Two suggestions that Rob made regarding this was to either implement a system in which I modify the amount of movement each player has somehow, or a system in which a player needs to unlock the higher PoI density areas, such as levelling up or having a key. I will consider both of these.
The last point that Rob made was regarding the minigames that I talked about in the previous post, which you had to pass in order to unlock tags. The minigames that I had thought about seemed too complex for something that you should be able to know the result of in a few seconds. What was suggested was that I have a simple system in which the player needs to do one of a few easy minigames every turn in a sequence in order to unlock a tag. For example, the sequence could be throw of a die, rock-paper-scissiors and tossing a coin. Each turn, the player would have to do one of these in order to unlock a tag.The next turn, if they choose to continue wanting to unlock tags, they would need to do the next in the sequence. It’s a better system than the one that I devised, albeit one that relies more on luck. I’ll include this in my next iteration to see how it plays.
I will also take Rob’s other two suggestions and put the current PoIs permanently on the map, choosing one of them if there are too many to put in a hex, and see how that plays out. I will probably play another game soon and then post back my results.