[GP/UI] Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps

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[GP/UI] Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps

Postby scottp on Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:18 pm

Make neutral values visible on browse-able maps:
  • The map image you see when you click a map on the game finder page, et al, shows territories and boundaries, but not starting values.
  • This information is incomplete. On many maps, particularly Conquest maps, you're not ONLY playing the other players, but you're working in/against the terrain, which includes many neutral territories. On some maps, all neutrals start with the same number of troops, but on many (Oasis, Treasures of Galapagos, City Mogul, etc) they vary from territory to territory.
  • These maps are also often (usually?) played Foggy. Unless you have total recall, it's hard to plan how to proceed from point A to point B, without knowing what's in-between.
  • The information is available, for example if someone has recently started a sunny game. So, providing it (conveniently) will not negatively affect the "unknowable information" aspect essential to the experience of a Foggy game.

Specifics:
  • Provide map images that include neutral starting values.

This will improve the following aspects of the site:
  • Ease of use
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby ManBungalow on Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:36 pm

It would mean changing every single thumbnail image :?
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby scottp on Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:27 pm

it could be done just for the maps which have non-trivial neutral distributions. i.e. on classic shapes, neutrals are only present at random, and always with a value of 3. that's trivial.

On Oasis or City Mogul, different territories ALWAYS start with neutrals and they're always the same values. Those are the ones that need to be available somewhere.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby spiesr on Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:58 pm

ManBungalow wrote:It would mean changing every single thumbnail image :?
Actually, the thumbnails would not need changing, just the image that appears when you click on them...
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby MoB Deadly on Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:31 am

I like this, I had to find the the thread in the map foundry to remember how many armies were on the each grand oasis the first couple times I played
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby Incandenza on Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:39 am

ManBungalow wrote:It would mean changing every single thumbnail image :?


It's absolutely worth the effort, and it's the sort of thing that would seem to need a not terribly significant amount of lack's time and effort, as much of the work could be done by the mapmakers themselves.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby Thezzaruz on Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:29 am

scottp wrote:Specifics:
  • Provide map images that include neutral starting values.


Sounds like a great idea. =D> Few maps have such info in its legend and I don't see why we should be expected to search the foundry for it (IIRC it's not even easily available in all map threads).
Ultimately I would have wanted a "Map FAQ" amended to the instructions (and update them too) but this is a great first step.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby chipv on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:12 am

Thezzaruz wrote:
scottp wrote:Specifics:
  • Provide map images that include neutral starting values.


Sounds like a great idea. =D> Few maps have such info in its legend and I don't see why we should be expected to search the foundry for it (IIRC it's not even easily available in all map threads).
Ultimately I would have wanted a "Map FAQ" amended to the instructions (and update them too) but this is a great first step.


Since I know how you feel about scripts (Games Filter shows neutral starting values for example) there is a website for all browsers with
Map Info you might appreciate:

Map and Mapmaker Information

Let me know if you want things added to that.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby BaldAdonis on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:17 am

When I want to know this, I go to http://www.conquerclub.com/maps pick the map, and search the xml page for the territory. It'll give you the starting value. Also a useful page when you want to link to or download images of maps, or see new maps before they have been released (like St Patty's Day).
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby chipv on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:23 am

BaldAdonis wrote:When I want to know this, I go to http://www.conquerclub.com/maps pick the map, and search the xml page for the territory. It'll give you the starting value. Also a useful page when you want to link to or download images of maps, or see new maps before they have been released (like St Patty's Day).


Laborious. The link I posted shows you the starting neutrals on the map image graphically amongst many other things.
That's pretty much what scottp asked for.
Have you seen it?
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby BaldAdonis on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:37 am

Yes, I use your page for many other things, mostly related to features and sorting maps by nice categories.

I couldn't find starting neutrals anywhere on there though. I started with Oasis, which was the blank map we'd see here, then I tried the "Starting neutrals examples" window, but it just gave a bunch of 88s. I thought it might be a cache issue (since I've looked at Oasis before on the same page), but clearing it and trying a different map (Europe 1914) which I'm certain I've never checked before didn't work. Is there something I'm missing?

I know Games Filter does this, but I hardly ever need my games filtered, so I leave it off. It doesn't feel like it takes a long time when I look up the starting values (probably because I haven't needed to do it in a while), but it's a nice low-tech solution which will always be available (and tells you some other interesting things, like the xml territory order).
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby chipv on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:50 am

BaldAdonis wrote:Yes, I use your page for many other things, mostly related to features and sorting maps by nice categories.

I couldn't find starting neutrals anywhere on there though. I started with Oasis, which was the blank map we'd see here, then I tried the "Starting neutrals examples" window, but it just gave a bunch of 88s. I thought it might be a cache issue (since I've looked at Oasis before on the same page), but clearing it and trying a different map (Europe 1914) which I'm certain I've never checked before didn't work. Is there something I'm missing?

I know Games Filter does this, but I hardly ever need my games filtered, so I leave it off. It doesn't feel like it takes a long time when I look up the starting values (probably because I haven't needed to do it in a while), but it's a nice low-tech solution which will always be available (and tells you some other interesting things, like the xml territory order).


I just tried them , works fine. The 88s are the territories in question for each example. So for Starting Neutrals the 88s are the Starting neutral territories. Europe 1914 shows 8 starting neutrals which tallies with the map xml. Oasis same - the map xml shows all of those territories as starting neutral. Hmm curious.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby BaldAdonis on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:52 am

I know it shows the correct territories, but it doesn't show the starting value (as far as I can tell). That's the interesting part, because when you're roaming through the desert (or in the Age of Realms), you want to take the path of least resistance, but if it's all foggy you have no idea which way that is.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby chipv on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:56 am

BaldAdonis wrote:I know it shows the correct territories, but it doesn't show the starting value (as far as I can tell). That's the interesting part, because when you're roaming through the desert (or in the Age of Realms), you want to take the path of least resistance, but if it's all foggy you have no idea which way that is.


Oh I see you mean the number of neutrals on each territory?
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby BaldAdonis on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:58 am

Right. On most of the maps it's well known which places are neutral (ie. the whole desert in Oasis, everything but castles in Age of Realms) but the actual number of armies varies from 1-75.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby chipv on Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:03 am

BaldAdonis wrote:Right. On most of the maps it's well known which places are neutral (ie. the whole desert in Oasis, everything but castles in Age of Realms) but the actual number of armies varies from 1-75.


Ok, great idea, I don't see why not!

PS can you respond to the Assault Odds post for your suggestion, I'd like to proceed with it, thanks.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby BaldAdonis on Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:21 am

Sure thing. I don't monitor threads, so if you need an answer in the future, PM me and I'll get back to it.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby chipv on Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:21 am

BaldAdonis wrote:Sure thing. I don't monitor threads, so if you need an answer in the future, PM me and I'll get back to it.


Ok, fair enough.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby oaktown on Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:31 am

It's a good idea. I suspect that the browse maps image links directly to the playable map, so this would require that mapmakers create a neutral mock-up (using a format that we standardize) as well as a change to the links in the browse maps page.

A better idea would be to provide a link from the game page itself. Usually you want to know the neutral value because you're in the middle of a game, in the fog, so it'd be nice to bring up a clean map from your game. If we're going to require mapmakers to create a neutral mock-up and make some site changes, may as well provide the link from the place where it is most needed.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby scottp on Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:15 pm

yes, that would be awesome!

(and chipv, I'm sorry I was unclear in the beginning. as you have deduced, it is indeed the SIZE of the neutral armies on each of the various neutral territories that I'm wondering about.)
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby sully800 on Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:54 pm

It would be nice if the mapmaker didn't need to create these images. I mean, the XML already exists and puts the neutral armies in the correct place in the game. Why can't a map be generated from the XML with no players armies on it? Then all images could be switched and updated automatically based on their XML. If the XML is ever updated the image would be updated as well.

I don't expect it to happen, but this is information I have always been wanting to see when playing new maps.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby neanderpaul14 on Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:15 pm

This is a great idea, I have played enough Oasis to know the neutral numbers on that one by heart, however on some maps that I haven't played 300+ games on this would be extremely helpful, I'm thinking of all the AoRs in particular.

Awesome Suggestion =D> =D> =D>
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby chipv on Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:22 pm

sully800 wrote:It would be nice if the mapmaker didn't need to create these images. I mean, the XML already exists and puts the neutral armies in the correct place in the game. Why can't a map be generated from the XML with no players armies on it? Then all images could be switched and updated automatically based on their XML. If the XML is ever updated the image would be updated as well.

I don't expect it to happen, but this is information I have always been wanting to see when playing new maps.


How about modifying the Map Info Pages as suggested earlier?
All that needs to be done is convert the 88 on Starting Neutral Examples to the real number of assigned armies.

I do see your point, though, and this change boils down to the same thing, - read XML, show image, only plot neutrals.
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby sully800 on Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:41 am

chipv wrote:
sully800 wrote:It would be nice if the mapmaker didn't need to create these images. I mean, the XML already exists and puts the neutral armies in the correct place in the game. Why can't a map be generated from the XML with no players armies on it? Then all images could be switched and updated automatically based on their XML. If the XML is ever updated the image would be updated as well.

I don't expect it to happen, but this is information I have always been wanting to see when playing new maps.


How about modifying the Map Info Pages as suggested earlier?
All that needs to be done is convert the 88 on Starting Neutral Examples to the real number of assigned armies.

I do see your point, though, and this change boils down to the same thing, - read XML, show image, only plot neutrals.


heck, there wouldn't even be a problem with showing all the other armies! It might be helpful on maps that don't have army shadows because it would clearly show the possible starting positions for players.

I guess the problem would be maps that aren't evenly divisible by the # of players, because then you would get neutrals and you might think they were starting neutrals. :-s
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Re: Add neutral starting values to maps in Browse Maps area

Postby scottp on Wed May 06, 2009 12:05 pm

this is an example of what I'm looking for:

Click image to enlarge.
image


I put the army values in manually, so they're not in the normal font or exact location as the "army bubbles" on the real map, but it does the job. Players on Oasis, Treasures of Galapagos, Ages of Realms, etc could really use this info.

Thanks!
Last edited by scottp on Wed May 06, 2009 12:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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