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Dynamic shapeshifting maps

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Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby DiM on Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:04 pm

i've suggested this years ago and got a stern NO for an answer. but since i came back i see a lot of new xml features and a general "can do" attitude towards new map ideas. yeah the foundry is pretty much in a vegetative state but that's another discussion.

anyway, i can't for the life of me find my post from years ago so here's what it's all about.

basically we have triggers and conditions in the xml. but that's not reflected in the map image cause we have just 1 image.
so i'd like to make a map in the form of squares. a map that's 800*600 could be split into 48 squares of 100*100px each. now some squares will be fixed and others will be changeable according to what's going on in the game. let's say we have a terit that acts as a trigger that opens the path between 2 other terits allowing you to attack there. this could change from a closed gate to an open one. it would not only be a neat cosmetic feature but it would also provide an immediate visual clue for the player, telling him that path has opened.

or another example. let's say you have a steel factory and an iron mine that form a bonus of +2. but if you own just of them then it's a bonus of -1. this could easily be represented on the map by changing the factory from a nice productive one to an image with an abandoned one, or to one that has little men on strike.

or a well + crop field and when you own both the crop field is a lush green and when you own just one it looks like a barren land.

or a terit that becomes affected by a virus and starts to decay. it could change it's appearance completely showing you at a glance that a terit that was once safe to leave troops in, is now a danger zone that will decay your troops.

yes, this would involve more work for the mapmakers. but it wouldn't be a lot more as only some key areas would need multiple variations. plus it would be completely optional.

i'm completely oblivious when it comes to programming so maybe there's an easier and better solution. but at this point i'm thinking that 100*100px squares would be just what's needed. each square receives a name according to it's coordinates and version (A1-v1, D8-v3, etc) and then in the xml you'd just have to write something like change "change A1-v1 to A1-v2 if continent X is held". or something along these lines.


thoughts? ideas?
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby DiM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:39 pm

woah, guys, hold your horses. one opinion at a time. let's pace ourselves and not rush in head first. :)


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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby Dukasaur on Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:36 pm

It's a good idea.

Don't know if the clunky server could handle the load, but it would definitely represent a step forward.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby DiM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:50 pm

as i said i'm no tech guy but would the extra load really be that much?

for one the total size of the fragments that compose one whole image would be roughly the same as that of the unsplit image. and whenever there's a change in the map it will only have to load just a 100*100px fragment. considering the current compression used i just checked an 840*800 map and it has just 221kb. split that into 100*100 fragments and it will mean each fragment has a bit over 3kb. so that's not really a whole lot of extra load, is it?
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby bigWham on Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:27 pm

DiM wrote:i've suggested this years ago and got a stern NO for an answer. but since i came back i see a lot of new xml features and a general "can do" attitude towards new map ideas. yeah the foundry is pretty much in a vegetative state but that's another discussion.

anyway, i can't for the life of me find my post from years ago so here's what it's all about.

basically we have triggers and conditions in the xml. but that's not reflected in the map image cause we have just 1 image.
so i'd like to make a map in the form of squares. a map that's 800*600 could be split into 48 squares of 100*100px each. now some squares will be fixed and others will be changeable according to what's going on in the game. let's say we have a terit that acts as a trigger that opens the path between 2 other terits allowing you to attack there. this could change from a closed gate to an open one. it would not only be a neat cosmetic feature but it would also provide an immediate visual clue for the player, telling him that path has opened.

or another example. let's say you have a steel factory and an iron mine that form a bonus of +2. but if you own just of them then it's a bonus of -1. this could easily be represented on the map by changing the factory from a nice productive one to an image with an abandoned one, or to one that has little men on strike.

or a well + crop field and when you own both the crop field is a lush green and when you own just one it looks like a barren land.

or a terit that becomes affected by a virus and starts to decay. it could change it's appearance completely showing you at a glance that a terit that was once safe to leave troops in, is now a danger zone that will decay your troops.

yes, this would involve more work for the mapmakers. but it wouldn't be a lot more as only some key areas would need multiple variations. plus it would be completely optional.

i'm completely oblivious when it comes to programming so maybe there's an easier and better solution. but at this point i'm thinking that 100*100px squares would be just what's needed. each square receives a name according to it's coordinates and version (A1-v1, D8-v3, etc) and then in the xml you'd just have to write something like change "change A1-v1 to A1-v2 if continent X is held". or something along these lines.


thoughts? ideas?


i give a stern YES.

well, with details TBD.

i had a variation of this in mind whereby the entire map image could change according the sames types of conditions that are used in Transformations. in theory i believe this feature could handle this idea, simply by loading a different map image depending on game state.

it may seem like overhead to load an entire image when only a small part of it has changed, but it strikes me that it may be a lot easier to manage for the mapmaker... and it certainly easier programmatically. in terms of affecting performance, map images are hosted by amazon, so there should not be a serious performance issue... though there will be a cost. the cost will only be significant though if such a map became very popular.... which we all hope it would!

aside from the ideas above... imagine a game that progresses through ages. imagine playing the Age Of Realms series one in sequence. imaging finding hidden keys and unlocking secret undiscovered map areas. all of this is possible!
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby DiM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:31 pm

OMG i think i just came in my shorts. 8-[ :lol:
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby bigWham on Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:35 pm

DiM wrote:OMG i think i just came in my shorts. 8-[ :lol:


wearing shorts to conquer club is a mistake ;)

start with something simple. if you want to design a single image change into one of your existing maps in production, for example, using any of the logic rules in the Transformations, i will code something up and will we see how it rolls.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby DiM on Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:20 pm

how about Island of Doom?

when you hold the military base and the 3 radio antennas you signal for "help" which actually means a bomber comes and destroys the island. so whenever somebody holds that objective the map changes to one that actually features the bomber leaving a trail of destruction:

large:
Click image to enlarge.
image

small:
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby bigWham on Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:25 am

DiM wrote:how about Island of Doom?

when you hold the military base and the 3 radio antennas you signal for "help" which actually means a bomber comes and destroys the island. so whenever somebody holds that objective the map changes to one that actually features the bomber leaving a trail of destruction:



Good idea. Right now the logic rules do not cater for objectives specifically... however if the objective is very straightforward, like just 4 fixed terits, same for every player... then that is not hard.

It does bring to mind a question though... Fog

Transformation rules do not cater for fog, or the individual player's view of the map. This is possible, but complex. Objectives like this one rarely get taken without fog because everyone can see that they're taken... so i don't think we want to lift the fog by changing the image.

So... because I'd rather approach this along a simpler path, can we cook up another idea that doesn't have fog problems?
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby sempaispellcheck on Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:43 am

bigWham wrote:
DiM wrote:how about Island of Doom?

when you hold the military base and the 3 radio antennas you signal for "help" which actually means a bomber comes and destroys the island. so whenever somebody holds that objective the map changes to one that actually features the bomber leaving a trail of destruction:



Good idea. Right now the logic rules do not cater for objectives specifically... however if the objective is very straightforward, like just 4 fixed terits, same for every player... then that is not hard.

It does bring to mind a question though... Fog

Transformation rules do not cater for fog, or the individual player's view of the map. This is possible, but complex. Objectives like this one rarely get taken without fog because everyone can see that they're taken... so i don't think we want to lift the fog by changing the image.

So... because I'd rather approach this along a simpler path, can we cook up another idea that doesn't have fog problems?

I don't think objectives would have any fog problem - as I understand it, the change(s) would only occur if the objective was held - which would mean the game was over and the fog lifted.

This could be the image of the map used for finished games won by this objective.

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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby bigWham on Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:13 pm

sempaispellcheck wrote:
bigWham wrote:
DiM wrote:how about Island of Doom?

when you hold the military base and the 3 radio antennas you signal for "help" which actually means a bomber comes and destroys the island. so whenever somebody holds that objective the map changes to one that actually features the bomber leaving a trail of destruction:



Good idea. Right now the logic rules do not cater for objectives specifically... however if the objective is very straightforward, like just 4 fixed terits, same for every player... then that is not hard.

It does bring to mind a question though... Fog

Transformation rules do not cater for fog, or the individual player's view of the map. This is possible, but complex. Objectives like this one rarely get taken without fog because everyone can see that they're taken... so i don't think we want to lift the fog by changing the image.

So... because I'd rather approach this along a simpler path, can we cook up another idea that doesn't have fog problems?

I don't think objectives would have any fog problem - as I understand it, the change(s) would only occur if the objective was held - which would mean the game was over and the fog lifted.

This could be the image of the map used for finished games won by this objective.

sempai


objectives need to be held for a round to win.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby degaston on Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:09 pm

I think that if this were done, it should use small overlays instead of replacing the entire image. Suppose you had three drawbridges that could be up or down, depending on some conditional territories. Would you want to make 8 separate full size map images to handle all the possible combinations, or just 3 small overlays?

It should allow for transparencies, so that two of these images with overlapping rectangles don't overwrite each other. The coordinates for each overlay could be specified in the XML rather than having fixed 100 pixel squares.

For fog games, it should only show the overlay if all of the conditional territories can be seen.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby sempaispellcheck on Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:21 pm

bigWham wrote:
sempaispellcheck wrote:
bigWham wrote:
DiM wrote:how about Island of Doom?

when you hold the military base and the 3 radio antennas you signal for "help" which actually means a bomber comes and destroys the island. so whenever somebody holds that objective the map changes to one that actually features the bomber leaving a trail of destruction:



Good idea. Right now the logic rules do not cater for objectives specifically... however if the objective is very straightforward, like just 4 fixed terits, same for every player... then that is not hard.

It does bring to mind a question though... Fog

Transformation rules do not cater for fog, or the individual player's view of the map. This is possible, but complex. Objectives like this one rarely get taken without fog because everyone can see that they're taken... so i don't think we want to lift the fog by changing the image.

So... because I'd rather approach this along a simpler path, can we cook up another idea that doesn't have fog problems?

I don't think objectives would have any fog problem - as I understand it, the change(s) would only occur if the objective was held - which would mean the game was over and the fog lifted.

This could be the image of the map used for finished games won by this objective.

sempai


objectives need to be held for a round to win.

Right - and once they have been held for a round, then the change would take place. No?

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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby bigWham on Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:29 pm

sempaispellcheck wrote:
objectives need to be held for a round to win.

Right - and once they have been held for a round, then the change would take place. No?

sempai[/quote]

No. Not under any simple rules/process that i have at my disposal. I am just saying it is not that easy to implement, let's try something simpler. For example, any rule currently supported under Transformations.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby DiM on Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:40 pm

not sure what else i could come up with.

i don't have the files for the oldest maps (they might be backed-up somewhere but not sure) and for the newer maps there's not much i could do cause i don't have situations like those i described in the first post. basically i could do something for objectives and that's it. for a future map i could implement more things that can accommodate various graphical versions.

also, can't this dynamic map thing be personalised for each user?
i mean if it's a fog game and i get the island of doom objective (see above) then i get the changed image with the bomber plane but the others don't. and if it's a sunny game then everybody gets the bomber image.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby bigWham on Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:56 pm

DiM wrote:not sure what else i could come up with.

i don't have the files for the oldest maps (they might be backed-up somewhere but not sure) and for the newer maps there's not much i could do cause i don't have situations like those i described in the first post. basically i could do something for objectives and that's it. for a future map i could implement more things that can accommodate various graphical versions.

also, can't this dynamic map thing be personalised for each user?
i mean if it's a fog game and i get the island of doom objective (see above) then i get the changed image with the bomber plane but the others don't. and if it's a sunny game then everybody gets the bomber image.


yes, it is just significantly harder. i'm trying to get something happening here in the short term. for example, at round 10, the island of doom gets an exploding volcano. there is no real tie in the gamneplay but at least it would help us get the idea on the road.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby DiM on Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:57 pm

interesting idea.
can this be coded to affect the gameplay and not just the map image?

for example on a map there might be a rule where there's a bridge that moves position every X turns thus making/breaking new connections each turn.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby bigWham on Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:22 pm

DiM wrote:interesting idea.
can this be coded to affect the gameplay and not just the map image?

for example on a map there might be a rule where there's a bridge that moves position every X turns thus making/breaking new connections each turn.


Yes, it is possible... Transformations only currently affect armies though, now map rules. It would be a modest enhancement to expand the concept to map images. Expanding to dynamically change map rules would be... an immodest enhancement. Something we should move towards, but it does not exist right now.

Transformation have been released for some months and so far we do not have a single use of them.... but a lot of ideas about expanding them ;) I'd love to see some of the new features we actually have start to get used, before complicating things further with new features!
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby DiM on Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:36 pm

ok for testing purposes here's the large and small island of doom with a volcano eruption bigger lava flow and more steam

Click image to enlarge.
image


Click image to enlarge.
image



as for the transformations i have a tron-like map in the (very) early stages of development that uses them extensively. a map that when it's done could potentially be transformed to a dynamic map too.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby degaston on Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:09 pm

bigWham wrote:
DiM wrote:interesting idea.
can this be coded to affect the gameplay and not just the map image?

for example on a map there might be a rule where there's a bridge that moves position every X turns thus making/breaking new connections each turn.


Yes, it is possible... Transformations only currently affect armies though, now map rules. It would be a modest enhancement to expand the concept to map images. Expanding to dynamically change map rules would be... an immodest enhancement. Something we should move towards, but it does not exist right now.

Transformation have been released for some months and so far we do not have a single use of them.... but a lot of ideas about expanding them ;) I'd love to see some of the new features we actually have start to get used, before complicating things further with new features!

Did you mean to say that it could be possible, but not right now? I think that transformations are currently missing some very basic capabilities, (like the ability to run for 3 rounds starting with round 5), and should be fixed before anyone uses it. Additionally, it is very cryptic and doesn't match the standards for readability set by the rest of the XML. I started a suggestion thread about this, but I don't know if anyone read it. http://www.conquerclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=203814

I had some ideas along similar lines about conditional borders and bombardments that would allow DiM's example to work, but to do it right would require implementing an XML version tag.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby bigWham on Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:56 pm

degaston wrote:
bigWham wrote:
DiM wrote:interesting idea.
can this be coded to affect the gameplay and not just the map image?

for example on a map there might be a rule where there's a bridge that moves position every X turns thus making/breaking new connections each turn.


Yes, it is possible... Transformations only currently affect armies though, now map rules. It would be a modest enhancement to expand the concept to map images. Expanding to dynamically change map rules would be... an immodest enhancement. Something we should move towards, but it does not exist right now.

Transformation have been released for some months and so far we do not have a single use of them.... but a lot of ideas about expanding them ;) I'd love to see some of the new features we actually have start to get used, before complicating things further with new features!

Did you mean to say that it could be possible, but not right now? I think that transformations are currently missing some very basic capabilities, (like the ability to run for 3 rounds starting with round 5), and should be fixed before anyone uses it. Additionally, it is very cryptic and doesn't match the standards for readability set by the rest of the XML. I started a suggestion thread about this, but I don't know if anyone read it. http://www.conquerclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=203814

I had some ideas along similar lines about conditional borders and bombardments that would allow DiM's example to work, but to do it right would require implementing an XML version tag.


sorry that they are "missing some very basic capabilities"... but it seems clear that they have more capabilities that what existed before them. i work incrementally, and like to adapt based on actual use cases rather than sit around concocting the world's fanciest features that may or may not ever get used. my intention was to work with the first mapmakers that started using the feature in beta to refine them. there is a period of months between a map going to beta testing and going live on the site... so ample time to refine. thx for your suggestions and i will look at them soon.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby bigWham on Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:58 pm

DiM wrote:ok for testing purposes here's the large and small island of doom with a volcano eruption bigger lava flow and more steam

Click image to enlarge.
image


Click image to enlarge.
image



as for the transformations i have a tron-like map in the (very) early stages of development that uses them extensively. a map that when it's done could potentially be transformed to a dynamic map too.


thanks. i should have something rolling by next week.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby bigWham on Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:40 pm

DiM wrote:ok for testing purposes here's the large and small island of doom with a volcano eruption bigger lava flow and more steam

as for the transformations i have a tron-like map in the (very) early stages of development that uses them extensively. a map that when it's done could potentially be transformed to a dynamic map too.


Ok, this was a little harder than I had expected, but I got something done. On Beta if you play Island Of Doom, the map changes on Round 4. Best way to see it is play a bot and watch carefully as it goes from Round 3 to 4. Looks pretty cool if you are watching it... but probably would not be noticed otherwise.... but this is just a proof of concept, so we can start strutting down this path together. The rules currently support changing the map image any number of times based on the round.
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby kizkiz on Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:43 pm

Anyone seen the film called cube?
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0123755/

For those that haven't, imagine a giant rubiks cube. every cube is a room with 6 doors. The "rooms" shift around and the people inside have to work out how to escape.
The cube hangs in a vacuum and there is one single "room" that moves around the outside, which is the only way out.
just to add to the fun, most of the rooms are instant death booby traps.

So, a map where the territs themselves move. You leave a stack and the board moves, with your stack now in a decay zone.
Moves could be a known pattern or completely random
I know nothing about xml, but keep troops the same and move the board around them. Would need a grid like map i guess
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Re: Dynamic shapeshifting maps

Postby bigWham on Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:00 pm

kizkiz wrote:Anyone seen the film called cube?
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0123755/

For those that haven't, imagine a giant rubiks cube. every cube is a room with 6 doors. The "rooms" shift around and the people inside have to work out how to escape.
The cube hangs in a vacuum and there is one single "room" that moves around the outside, which is the only way out.
just to add to the fun, most of the rooms are instant death booby traps.

So, a map where the territs themselves move. You leave a stack and the board moves, with your stack now in a decay zone.
Moves could be a known pattern or completely random
I know nothing about xml, but keep troops the same and move the board around them. Would need a grid like map i guess


sounds groovy. to the drafting room! the xml does not currently support the terits moving, but while i was working on the image changing i scoped out the possibility.
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