Welcome back to Part 11 in the design series. This week we are going to discuss out galactic map and why Lord of Rigel will feature a 2D map system versus 3D and what players can expect in our galactic map. Let's start with what players can expect out of our map.
In Lord of Rigel like most 4x games players can expect to use the galactic map as their hub for access information and moving their fleets around the map. Players can see the star names and stars are represented by a miniature image of each star indicate to players the size and color of the primary star in the system. Additionally players can expect to see smaller stars in placed near primary stars that indicate that there is a second or third star orbiting the system.
Players can also expect to see some other stellar objects such as wormholes, black holes, neutron stars, and nebulae. Wormholes will be indicated to players via a semi transparent line linking two different stars. Wormholes will allow players to move between two stars connected within one turn regardless of distance. Players will also see black holes that will block the path of ships trying to plot a course through them. Additionally players will see flashing pulses of light from neutron stars. Neutron stars have a higher chance of having wormholes so players can see them as a kind of transportation hub for getting access to distant places in the galaxy. Lastly large colorful nebulae will be scattered throughout the map. Nebulae will disable standard shield technology so players would do well to remember this when engaging in combat in these systems.
There are some strategy games that use a 3D maps especially ones with a space theme. It is certainly true that not all stars in a galaxy lie on the same plane and there is deviation. However when thinking about realism versus usability we felt that a 2D star map provided players with the necessary information they are looking for i.e. star system information, galactic borders, and fleet positions. A 3D map would complicate things with a rotating camera and stars obscuring data from the stars they are in front of. These complications and usability problems would come with no real improvement to the game besides stating that there is a 3D map. We want the map to be beautiful and easy to use interface for the game that lets players quickly access and assess information in Lord of Rigel. The tried and true 2D map provides players those design criteria with no unnecessary complications.
Join us next week!