Size of the map

When designing your game, do you usually have a few rooms that the player can explore, but have no real raison d’ etre for the plot itself?

What’s a good relevant room: irrelevant room ratio? I have a number of rooms that do nothing but add atmosphere - while they aren’t relevant to the actual GAME, they are full of scenery items and description.

My map is pretty small, anyway, and that’s another problem I’m having. I think my game will be pretty short, probably allowing 3-4 play throughs in 2 hours, depending on skill level and how well I actually lead the players along to the solution.

What I’d suggest is having no unnecessary rooms that are dead-ends (unless being at a dead-end is somehow import, and then the room is no longer unnecessary). Unnecessary bridge rooms are usually okay, in my opinion – especially if they connect one “area” to the next. For example, putting an open walkway between the West Tower and the East Tower makes perfect sense, even if nothing happens on the walkway.

Whether it’s a conscious process or not, I think we as players look for a purpose to everything in a game – objects and rooms alike. When I play IF, I sometimes wonder things like “okay, what am I supposed to do in the Music Room?” If the room exists only because this old mansion has a spooky old music room, then as the author, it probably wouldn’t hurt to give it some sort of purpose. Maybe there is a letter with an additional clue to a later puzzle. Maybe you can even work a puzzle into the room. That’s sort of what I try to do. If I really want a room in a game – and it’s not just meant to connect two areas – I’ll try to come up with a purpose that fits the game.

The Silent Hill series is a good example – sort of. Doors abound, but most are locked or damaged. If you can enter a room, there is almost always a reason for you to do so – whether it’s just to pick up more health and ammo, to save your game, or to encounter a puzzle or cutscene. Imagine if Silent Hill let you go inside every room everywhere, and put a few token pieces of furniture around. You’d quickly start to wonder just where you were supposed to be, and what the next goal is. Silent Hill games may take this too far in places, but I always found it easier to understand the world logic that way. If there is a locked door that isn’t blocked entirely, you know to come back to it.

I used to really like map-making, when playing IF. I’m less a fan now. I’d rather have a really small play area that I can comprehend and track mentally.

I’m curious what other people think about this!

The old joke that goes with Silent Hill is that in the next game you’ll play a locksmith, since you encounter so many locked and doors with broken locks. :slight_smile:

I don’t mind it, I actually love Silent Hill and it influenced my IF somewhat.

My game has several dead ends, actually. The game world isn’t interconnected, meaning you can’t just go in a circle and arrive back at the same spot. However, I think there are only 17 rooms, so hopefully that won’t cause too big of a problem.

Yeah, 17 rooms is no big deal.

If you’re entering the IFComp, though, you might want to avoid listing specifics about your game. It’s against the rules to talk about your own entry before judging ends… which, I assume, includes saying much about it before the competition starts. But I’m not for sure. :slight_smile:

Well, everything I said was hypothetical :wink: and nothing is set in stone. SO I’ll clam up now, and let the beta testers let me know what they think when that time comes.

Although if Panks can enter Ninja II and not get disqualified, I don’t see how some general talk about a game can get anyone removed.

I think Panks is a special case.

“Special” in both senses of the word unfortunately. :confused: