World map and battlefields

Today, we’re going to talk about the world map of Ultima Ratio Regum. Originally, it was a mere million squares – 1000 x 1000, and I somehow expected that to hold an entire world. This was, I will admit, a tad naive. Now that I have found a way to generate, load and save only portions of the world at any one point, the world has shot up in size. It is currently 40,000 x 40,000, but this can be increased by just fiddling with a particular variable. This makes the world map over 1.5 billion squares in size, and much more fitting for an entire world.

Firstly, the map is divided explicitly into cells. The world map is 200×200 squares, and each of these – be it a mountain, a gorge, a forest, a city – can be explored on a ‘human-scale’ map of 200×200. The world map can be viewed, or moved through, and looks like the picture below. It is only a snap of a world map, and I’ll unveil a full example later.

– Moving on the World Map

You can move between squares on the world map. This is effectively fast-travelling. When you enter a new square, it will become explored, and then you can see it on your world map. When you both enter and exit a square of the world map, you will be informed whether:

a) You or someone in your group has located something in the square

b) You or your group has been attacked.

On the world map, you cannot fast travel through squares that are ocean, desert, gorges, or mountains. These must be entered directly to pass through; you must find your way across mountain passes, traverse gorges, or take enough supplies to make your way across the desert. You could also find your way across the ocean, though I’m not yet quite sure how that will function.

The larger your group, the larger the chance is that you will find something if you fast travel through that square. Trekking through with an army will locate every last nook and cranny in a square; simply fast-travelling yourself is likely to miss almost all the dungeons, towers,
forts, villages, monoliths and whatever else that square might contain. The further you move from your starting location, the less friendly the intelligent races will be (if you stray into their territory!) and the tougher the creatures will likely be, so it is wise to explore your initial area thoroughly. With each subsequent version, the each world map square will fill up with more and more – for the initial alpha, I’m still hoping to have a lot of variety in environment and features in each map grid, but this will only increase.

If you are attacked, then depending on who attacks you, what direction you are moving, and what direction your attackers are moving, you will be taken into the map and delivered into the battle. The larger your army, the more warning you will get, and therefore the longer at the start of the battle you will get to arrange your forces. If you’re on your own, you might not see the foes coming until they’re almost upon you.

– Moving across the world normally

If you move across the world normally, you come to the edge of each square and the transition into the next one along is explicit. While I considered keeping the map smooth and glossing over the transition between world map grid-squares, I wanted to make it clear where one battlefield ‘starts’ and where one ends. Additionally, if you leave a battlefield during a conflict, this will have an obvious psychological impact on your army, and will
likely cause them to rapidly scatter. It also helps you keep track of your progress without having to always refer to the world map!

Map generation isn’t totally finished – more work on volcanoes and islands are needed – but it’s getting there, and much faster than I ever expected. Weather systems will exist, but they’ll have to wait or a later update. At the moment, the map contains ordinary land, forests, mountains, gorges, and volcanoes. If anyone can think of any other geographic feature to add, throw it in the comments, and I’ll see if I think it’ll fit!

Coming Monday 7th: Some thoughts on uniques, ‘bosses’, and how exactly leveling should work. 

Coming Monday 14th: The final world map!

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12 thoughts on “World map and battlefields

  1. Thanks! I’ll have to playtest how the world size works, but I’ve put in the ability to make it bigger/smaller as required. Given how much I hope to cram into it, it may get even bigger as time goes by…

  2. So, I take it you can be a deserter (if you are not the commander) if you leave the battlefield. I was thinking of playing as a traitor assassin who kills his commanders for fun ^_^

  3. Oh yes – if you’re serving in an NPC army (which will be on your way up to commanding one yourself), you can flee the battlefield. It’ll have repercussions, of course, but you can kill your commanders then make a run for it!

  4. I can promise it won’t – villages will exist, and should be relatively detailed, but that’s only one portion. As I think I’ll end up working on features simultaneously to a certain extent, I hope I won’t get bogged down in making villages just that LITTLE BIT more realistic each time : )

  5. holy sweet mary jesus balls!
    I WANT this game!
    this is looking like an extremely advanced DF adventure mode, and because you won’t have a fortress mode, you can work on this even more.

    you have created an itch I never knew existed. now, stop taunting me and gimme! [/jk]

  6. Extremely advanced DF adventure mode is pretty close to what I’m going for! Well, with a strong emphasis on large-scale combat, and a very different kind of world generation. I’ll stop the taunting as soon as possible, I promise – but it’s going to be a few months yet before the first alpha. Thanks so much for the enthusiasm!

  7. I just need to know where I can find a tutorial on how to play this game. Looks really cool. I have a sucky computer and can’t play Minecraft so I looked for alternatives. This looks very promising!

  8. If you want something similar to Minecraft, you’ll be disappointed, I’m afraid! But if you give it just an hour or two, version 0.2.0 is coming out, and that brings with it a guide and a little bit of a tutorial : )

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