Friday Dev Update: Cartography

11:09 AM John Gamble 12 Comments


Progress Report


Progress this week has gone very well. I finished up a new friendly NPC, his quest line, and items associated with that. I also worked on a new enemy, and some of its associated content. One of the new items created is the first upgradeable item in the game, meaning after you get it, you can do something to make it better. It represents one of the first fruitful results of the change to the way items were saved internally in update 1.5. Previously, there was no support to save additional special data about a specific items. After the changes that we made in 1.5, however, we can save all kinds of data on them. Our primary goal for that change was for the possibility of upgradable items like this one.


Cartography


As the content of this patch is flowing nicely, and we are getting closer and closer to its release, we have also been brainstorming what would be best to work on for the next patch. One strong contender is a cartography / mapping system, so I would like to take a moment to discuss that.

First of all, here is the general vision. I envision the core joy of the system to be in filling out the map, and the reward of being able to use the map that you worked to create. The process of filling it out should be somewhat manual and fun. Perhaps it can be a blank grid system where the player is free to mark the locations of islands as he or she sees fit.

I would also like the ability to somehow take note additional information on the map, such as marking where you found a pirate captain and so forth. I personally would find that extremely handy and satisfying.

Additionally, I could add in some items in the game that would make the cartography system a little easier for those who put forth the effort to seek them out. For instance, say to mark an island on your map, you have to open up your map interface, and click on a square to mark it. I could add in an item that you could hotkey that would automatically mark what is at your current location on the map so all you have to do is land on the island and hit that hotkey for it to be marked. I’m sure there are a lot of other cartography-associated item ideas that I haven’t thought about yet.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on the matter of cartography in Salt. It’s absence really stands out in such a large world, and I can’t wait to remedy that.



- John Gamble (Lead Developer)

12 comments:

  1. Hey its been awhile. Honestly what would be cool is using a Table and as you place down collected items you would have a better chance of mapping direction and going places. So a compass, sextant, Map, and possibly light would allow one the best mapping table on a ship. Though that is simply enough a idea and chance to add depth, I'm sure you have your own ideas though and you have yet to miss your mark.

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  2. This is brilliant idea, but I think it should be fairly difficult to get the materials in order to forge the map. The mystery and lack of orientation really makes the start of the game fun.

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    1. Life is hard enough, why do you always want the game to be more difficult all the time?
      those of us who play to relax after a hard day at work and taking care of other people, do not establish our personal pride thru achievements in a game, we don't need to brag to the school children.
      The lack of an in game usable mapping system is keeping this game from being more popular. give us a map system and make it available with the first ship!

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  3. I can't draw to save my life. I would like a system that would require you to "use" the compass, sextant, and map to chart a certain distance around the player. A manual mode to make marks or notes on the map would be very helpful for remembering where materials or treasure were found.

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  4. I'd suggest making the mapping feature available very early, perhaps even from the start. Nobody wants to go over all the places he's already been again for the sole purpose of adding them to a map.

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  5. I hope for a map system that makes a distinction between places I'm aware of but haven't visited (Islands I can see but haven't been too) and places I have been to. Then I can keep track not only of where I've been but where I might want to go. Also, one that allows me to (eventually) share locations when multiplayer gets implemented, and allows me to distinguish between my personal data and the data that has been shared (did i spot that island myself or did someone else share it with me?)

    It might be cool if there was eventually an upgrade that allows me to set an intended destination on my map, and then an indicator shows on the compass to show me the heading to that place, and/or to the sextant to show my distance from my intended goal.

    It would be neat if placing certain items in the real world (placing flags for instance) causes features to be marked on my map. Annotations on the flag/marker in the "real world" = annotations on the map.

    I still hope the mapping resolution gets a bit more fine-grained, so that we can eventually distinguish features (location of chest, buried treasure, grave, etc) and not just the sectors they are in. This may have implications for eventual multiplayer too, stuff like geocaching etc. It enables some emergent co-op gameplay possibilities.

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  6. I love the ideas which you have mentioned in the blog.
    I think have a cartography difficulty setting. Casual and cartographer. Casual wi be available with the first ship and will include hotkeys and auto markers etc. Cartographer setting will be for those who want to plot their own maps using the tools that they have. This will obviously be more challenging.

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  7. I love the ideas which you have mentioned in the blog.
    I think have a cartography difficulty setting. Casual and cartographer. Casual wi be available with the first ship and will include hotkeys and auto markers etc. Cartographer setting will be for those who want to plot their own maps using the tools that they have. This will obviously be more challenging.

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  8. I like the idea of an upgradable mapping table, as long as you don't make it too hard to obtain a basic version. The painting in of the islands should be a somewhat automatic thing (like in Minecraft, it updates the spot where you stand whenever you look at the map).

    Additional tools could get you advanced features. For example, putting a sextant on the table would give you a "current location" marker, a pen could let you write in comments and a log book could automatically track any open currently known quests as well as automatically write some kind of journal.

    Also, i would love the option of fixing a compass to a place near the steering wheel of the ship so i could hold my heading better.

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  9. Hi!
    just wanted to give some feedback on the mapping idea, i think the industry keeps using this "Fill as you go" map system and i think it needs to die now its boring and whichever way im going i always get a sense that im missing out on the other directions... saying that, i don't just want to have the whole map given to me from the start.

    What about if it was possible to find map pieces of large areas? so as people are saying, you could add a map piece on the first island, which would give them a surrounding of a large area which would show them the first few islands. It could still work within a grid system too (that you could zoom in and out of), where you could place arma esque markers down and such.

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  10. This is a fantastic idea. This game would thrive on such an idea. not to mention that this is standard maritime practice per the time period when this stuff was relevant.

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  11. This is a fantastic idea. This game would thrive on such an idea. not to mention that this is standard maritime practice per the time period when this stuff was relevant.

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