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Cartography Map Setting


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I've been giving some thought to map mechanics after reading over a suggestion posing the idea that the player map should reveal much less as we travel, and only record and reveal those areas within a much narrower radius of where we actually have set foot.  Sort of a "fog of war" effect on our player map.

I am not too fond of the idea, but it did get me thinking what sort of a map mechanics might be more challenging and rewarding to those of us that like challenging exploration and want a map to use, but don't want a map that spoon feeds us data for areas we've never actually set foot near. 

I personally like using a map, but it does feel overpowered to have an entire mountain range given to me on my map when I've never actually been on top of it or on the other side of it, and yet I know there are half a dozen ruins scattered around it, several deposits each of blue and fire clay in the area, maple trees and a few oak stands, a few lakes on the other side of the range that likely have reeds, and two traders on the map as well- one at the top of a 500 block high mountain range I can't even climb yet, much less see the top of.

It got me thinking about what it might look like to have something in between the current map and no map at all.

So I offer the following for discussion...

Offer a cartography map setting.

Def: The study and practice of making and using maps.

Rather than the current map with all the details on it, give us a map setting that shows only the following:
  • Topographical info- elevation and such with crosshatching and dots and such for forests and grasslands/treeless areas. 
  • Only the topographical info is given for terrain we have been within a certain distance of, and only for terrain that is visible to us.  We can see the height of a mountain side for instance, but we cannot see anything rendered for the top of it or for the other side.  This would require some sort of line-of-sight topo map rendering mechanic.
  • Player added icons would be used to mark terrain type, trees that make up a forest area, locations for ruins discovered, clay patches, roads, buildings, etc. None of those details would render on the map.  The player would effectively build their own map as they went and as they chose.
  • Map coordinates and way points would be separate options that can be enabled or disabled on a server.

I slept on the idea over night and like the thought even more after thinking on it. Ironically, earlier today, a new member on my Wilderlands server departed (on good terms) because they felt the map and coordinates/waypoints was too overpowered and took away from the challenge of exploration and discovery.  Turning off the coordinates and mini map does not remove the larger "m" key map from being used, and to my knowledge there is no other setting to remove it, so all of the detailed info over a very large area is still given to a player even with the mini map and coordinates turned off.

I do not like the idea of playing without any map at all, but I also think the exploration and discovery aspect of the game would be a lot more enjoyable if I constructed my map as I went along- discovering things on my own and making notes of my findings along the way as I desired, rather than being given everything on the surface within a loaded chunk as the current map does.

Humbly but hopefully submitted for consideration and discussion...


Edited by Thalius
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1 hour ago, theknopotato said:

But if you chart only where you step, have it all added automatically on map...

I expressly said not to have it added automatically to your map. Nothing would be added at all unless you put it there.
I also did not say that it would chart "only where you step", and referenced line of site. What you could actually see would show up on the map, not the top of a mountain range you could not see from where you were standing, or the other side of it or a hill that was in the way.

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The idea pitch reminds me of the Antique Atlas mod from Minecraft. It was made to substitute the traditionally mini map with its mob radar, massive discovery range, and instant access. The Atlas is supposed to be crafted with metals, easier in Minecraft but we can make a cheap early version called a map but doesn't show where you are on the map, unremovable waypoint markings, and has a limited map size. The higher tier made with leather makes a map book with unlimited range and removable waypoints. The last version, an Atlas or Cartographer's Journal, can be made combining some metal tool like a compass that shows where you are, shows coords, and has a larger discovery size, maybe add a share waypoint or map info feature with other Atlases. The only issue is I don't know if its possible to code a larger discovery radius based on elevation tiers. The maps can also have more detailed drawings/terrain the better it is.

Would also be cool to add a Cartographer class that has cheaper costs, starts with a map, or maybe a massive discovery radius bonus.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I posted a response to your Temporal Compass thread before realizing that this would have been a better one.  As such, I would like to explore a couple of ideas more to see if they are in-line with your ideas.  I called one of the previously suggested of maps, Tabula Rasa, and it reflects what most of us create in real life.  The player simply drops pins relative to previously dropped pins and, thereby, creates a notional depiction of their explored world.  While this implies that the player wouldn't have access to absolute coordinates, it would make adding simple navigation tools to the game a substantive contribution to gameplay.  While it technically wasn't the earliest navigational discovery, the compass would be the easiest to implement as it is already a function in the game.  In my mind it would be a carried item and could be placed in the off-hand like a torch.  On a side note, the game could make meteoric iron magnetic and that would change the relative direction of North when in proximity.  This actually occurs in real live as there are places that have sufficient quantities of natural magnetic materials.  Additionally it would make finding meteoric iron easier to find at that stage of the game.

Leaving compasses for the moment, the next I would suggest would be a Viking Sunstone (Mythical Viking Sunstone Used for Navigation was Real and Remarkably Accurate, New Study Shows | Ancient Origins (ancient-origins.net))  This could just be a piece of the clear quartz and would produce some particle effect when active on your toolbar (or off-hand) when staring at the sun.  This would help navigating on cloudy/foggy days.

There a small number of other historical tools that could make filling in the Tabula Rasa increasingly accurate (relative to absolute coords) and we can discuss them if this is in line with your original suggestions.


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