Modeling and presenting rings

I mentioned in an earlier post the concept of the rings around the core colony being concentric circles. However, I am currently doing some prototyping in Java of the colony modeling code and have been looking at a simpler approach. One involves using 2×1 rectangles forming concentric square rings around the colony core. Here’s what I drew out on my graph paper pad (my favorite architecture/design tool):

frasgird-mapping

The 2-rectangle square in the very center (ring “0”) represents the initial colony, most likely an administrative complex and the spaceport/warehousing area. Each successive ring (r=1, 2, 3) has 2+4r of the 2×1 rectangles (“plots”). This diagram numbers the plots starting at the upper left corner and proceeding clockwise. I suspect I can derive mapping functions such that — given a particular plot p in a particular ring r — I can tell which other plots are overlap it.

I am also looking at doing 1×1 plots; that yields 4 squares in the ‘core colony’ and 4+8r squares in each ring r:

frasgird-1x1

This has the advantage of requiring the least screen space for the most number of plots, which could be important if Frasgird is presented on mobile devices. Again, mapping functions, while a bit kludgy (as mapping functions tend to be), would tell us which eight (8) plots surround any given plot in any given ring, though one could argue that only four (4) are “significantly” adjacent.

I’m not tied to a rectangular layout; I still think concentric circles may be more interesting visually. Here’s an example I found on the web (being too lazy to draw one myself):

frasgird-circles

I’m not sure this is exactly what I would use; my goal would be to have each segment be as close in overall surface area as all the others, while keeping the width (outer radius – inner radius) of each ring the same, all while using a numbering/mapping scheme that would actually work.

Finally, I’m personally very fond of hex maps; in my wargaming days in college nearly 40 years ago, I worked out algorithms for calculating minimal hex paths on numbered maps (that work actually led to both my writing and game design careers). In that case, the colony might look something like this:

hexmap-cropped

You would have one hex in the center and would have 6r hexes in each ring r. I’ve been fascinated to see more and more 4x games go back to hex maps in recent years; they have the advantage of offering the most accurate move paths for units without having to resort to sub-unit (X,Y) coordinates, though that’s not a real issue here. The only disadvantage to this approach is that planned human cities tend to be laid out on a square or rectangular grid rather than a hex map, which argues back for the 1×1 or 2×1 rectangular layouts. Still, we could say that Frasgird is following an ancient human tradition documented in many of the virtual cities found in human simulation media. 🙂

OK, having written this post, I’m probably going to use the 1×1 square mapping for now. Since my prototyping is using pretty simple (primitive) graphics, that will be the easiest to implement to show the colony’s state. However, I’ll note for the record here that this is a present conveniences, not a permanent game design decision.

 

Filed Under: DevelopmentGraphicsMainModelingThe Colony

About the Author

Webster has been doing game design since 1980, but only has one actual published game to his credit -- Sundog: Frozen Legacy (Apple II, 1984; Atari ST, 1985). This is his second.

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