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Terrein height

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X3M
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I am looking for as much as possible, different possibilities for indicating terrain height on a hexagon map.

Of course I have tried things out myself like:
- Real 3D. (Which is fine for a last prototype, but slows down the prototype process for new maps, tremendously)
- A number that tells the player the height. (Which is fine, but again slows down the prototype process for new maps, and requires players to look down on the board constantly)

So I want something that doesn't involve 3D or typing in information on each hexagon. A simple, click on/off in paint is what I am looking for. Just like that "this hexagon is brown" "this hexagon is a mountain" kind of thing.

- Ridges:

Further, when I try ridges (which is most logical). It is unclear to players which side is up.
With the rule that the ridge elevates the hexagon where it is part of, it is in contradiction with some of my other terrain mechanics. I did not have that problem with 3D, where the ridge part could be any type of terrain (including waterfalls or tree's sticking out side ways).

Perhaps a symbol that is indicating which side is up? But what would work the best?

Before going 3D, I want to try out a whole bunch of maps. There for I search for the best way to do this 'flat'.

I hope you can help me speeding up my process by giving advice or samples. Thank you.

I already checked out the game ASL. But my game can have mountainous terrain below forests/grass/water. So the colour in my game does not indicate height.
I certainly need a "shape".

I hope you can help me.

Toa Lewa
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Color Coded Dimensional Markers?

I feel you. I ran into this problem with my space fleet combat game. How do you represent three dimensional space on a two dimensional board? I think my problem was a little more difficult because units could be at different depths on the same hex. The way I solved this was by placing "dimension" markers under the unit. I don't remember the exact colors, but it was something like this: red = depth 1, yellow = depth 2, blue = depth 3.

For your game, you could have some basic rules that are normally followed and add dimension markers to indicate exceptions. For example, you could have a normal rule that says mountain terrain is higher than forest, forest is higher than grass, and grass is higher than river. However, at the beginning of the game, you could randomly place dimensional markers. A dimensional marker could change the normal rule by increasing or decreasing the height of the hex. For example, a blue dimensional marker could increase the height by one, making a river equal in height to grass. A red dimensional marker could increase the height by two, making a forest higher than a mountain. Other dimensional markers could decrease the height of the terrain.

firstcultural
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How many different height

How many different height levels are there? I think color may still be possible, with color as the background, and the forest/grass/water/rocks as the "shape" that goes on the background.

laperen
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somthing like this?

X3M
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Again I think I make things too complex

Before I answer to your posts. It has become clear to me that the problem might be either over complicated, or sounds over complicated.

It can actually be solved in an easy way?

Toa Lewa wrote:
I feel you. I ran into this problem with my space fleet combat game. How do you represent three dimensional space on a two dimensional board? I think my problem was a little more difficult because units could be at different depths on the same hex. The way I solved this was by placing "dimension" markers under the unit. I don't remember the exact colors, but it was something like this: red = depth 1, yellow = depth 2, blue = depth 3.

Well, for this, I have SUB-marine, and AIR-plane. Well, the logical stuff. I see how space games create a problem in this area.

Toa Lewa wrote:

For your game, you could have some basic rules that are normally followed and add dimension markers to indicate exceptions. For example, you could have a normal rule that says mountain terrain is higher than forest, forest is higher than grass, and grass is higher than river. However, at the beginning of the game, you could randomly place dimensional markers. A dimensional marker could change the normal rule by increasing or decreasing the height of the hex. For example, a blue dimensional marker could increase the height by one, making a river equal in height to grass. A red dimensional marker could increase the height by two, making a forest higher than a mountain. Other dimensional markers could decrease the height of the terrain.

I am following you on this one. Although, the submarine will be at the same height then the crawler(crawls on mountain terrain) on top of the mountain region. Think of mountain as a terrain type, not the height. Thus an impassable terrain for most units if you will, just like a river that also separates land.

Half of the board would be having "exceptions".

firstcultural wrote:

How many different height levels are there? I think color may still be possible, with color as the background, and the forest/grass/water/rocks as the "shape" that goes on the background.

I like your idea. But we have one map with a height difference of 16. (The Spires map, based on mission 12 of Unreal, "The Sunspire" :) )
From top:
http://www.oocities.org/masstadon4/map/19sunspire.gif
Sideways:
http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s130/UBerserker/Shot0007-4.jpg
and
http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090730155159/unreal/pl/images/0/00/...

Also neat to know is that going up or down by 1, means each unit is 6/5th in size. With 2, it is 6/4th in size etc. A difference of 5 is the maximum since with a difference of 6, we have infinite size any way. This includes planes.

With a difference of 5, the factor is 6/1th. Thus a tank of 600 would become 3600 in size, while one region is basic 3600 space.

Why do I tell you this? Well, the ridge is simply going to be a terrain type. If it is a forest, which multiplies size with 2. It now will multiply size with 2.4 for 1 height difference and 3 for 2 height difference.

@ Laperen
It just so happens, we used that material in the past. But yeah, something like that. But imagine the sides not being brown all the time. Sometimes we have waterfalls, forest ridges, or just steep grassy hills.

We also are changing the 3D concept when a map is approved. 1 height difference will practically have a 30 or 45 degree corner shape on a hexagon. We are not sure yet of which one we start with. But the higher the hexagon, the bigger the corner will be.

Here an examples provided by google:
http://www.matematicasvisuales.com/images/geometry/desarrollosplanos/pyr...

*****

We still need a lot of work on that last part. (Calculating sizes, printing etc.) But for the 2D prototyping, I was thinking that perhaps I should stick with numbers any way. After all, 10 difference is not uncommon. And simply have the ridges coloured as well. A combination of the two as if the future 3D map is viewed from high above.

It requires (once again) a new field for editing. But that will be ok.

Unless someone does know a better way. I do thank you for your time.

Experimental Designs
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If this is purely a hex based

If this is purely a hex based map that consists land, sea and air then colors seems to be the most logical solution to me.

Think of it this way. For ground level stick with earthly colors such as green or browns if you want color themes based on terrain or level types.

Air levels:
-High (Red)
-Medium (Yellow)
-Low (Green)
------
Ground levels:
-Mountainous (Gray)
-Elevated (Brown)
-Sea Level (Black)
------
Ocean levels:
-Surface (Blue)
-Shallow (Cyan)
-Deep (Purple

You may not have to agree with the color selection or using three levels of height.

Mix symbols with the colors if you have to or using simplified pictures to represent a terrain type or features on the terrain like example swamps on sea level ground or cliffs on elevated or even mountainous levels.

I'm not much of a hex player so I hope this helps if any at all.

X3M
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It is funny that 99% of the

It is funny that 99% of the games that are alike, use this colour approach.
But if I want to put something like this:
http://hotwirefoamfactory.com/customer/gallery/images/modeling/gaming/jo...
Into a 2D map, including the game mechanics that I have in mind. I really need to think of something better than giving one altitude; one colour.

The problem isn't any more showing the difference in height.
It is now more a problem; showing the difference in height if it is 1, 2, 3 or even more, between 2 hexagons.

My new hexagon design works fine. And causes no problems with simple flat terrain. When the "ridge" is used as flat, it simply has the colours of the rest of the terrain. When truly using it as a ridge, it will have just one colour. But the region itself will have a number of height.
It is that number on each hexagon that I still dislike using.

firstcultural
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Numbers do add a bit of

Numbers do add a bit of clutter, but perhaps you can simply have contour lines like in a topographic map?

Something like

X3M
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Terrain Height is ready for my board

Good suggestion, but I have "something" like this:
http://images.forwallpaper.com/files/images/5/574d/574d7555/164290/zigza...

In an extreme way too.

Which implies that my contour lines would be very complex and very dense etc.

I think I stick with the numbers. Once I go 3D, they simply disappear. It is now just 1 number for each hexagon, and only there if there is height difference. If the height is more then 9, I simply add one digit.

I got the ridges right as well. And when the difference between 2 hexagons is higher than 5, I will be using dark lines to darken the ridge. Which gives another 3D effect to the 2D board and indicates that it is absolutely impossible to go up and down there, no matter what unit you use (including air units). The only thing that concerns me now is the middle of each hexagon.

Please keep in mind, this is for ultra fast prototyping. And I would like to use a blanc template over and over again.

X3M wrote:

I am not going to make my board colour blind friendly any more. Away with the numbers that indicate the terrain type.

What would be the best option for mixed terrain?
I use:
light green = grass
dark green = forest
brown = rocks/mountainous
blue = water
yellow = dessert sand

With 5 different terrain types, that can be combined in parts of 6.
Thus 50% forest in grass would have 3 parts grass and 3 parts forest.

If I ever make this game more public, I will have an artist do the terrain. But for now it is prototype after prototype any way.
And, ticking + printing >>> drawing, for me.

I do have plenty of idea's for the inner hexagon. But until now they all failed because there are plenty of misunderstandings in how to see them.
Perhaps I turn tree's and rocks into balls. And that way I can keep the other terrain type.

Once I have found a way that it looks good enough. And more specific, doesn't create misunderstandings. I will probably have to change some rules regarding terrain type influence. But no sweat there, that happened 4 times already :D

zdepthcharge
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If you go with a modular map,

If you go with a modular map, you could have "height" spacers under the terrain hexes.

X3M
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Quote: If you go with a

Quote:

If you go with a modular map, you could have "height" spacers under the terrain hexes.

Ok, my english isn't that good. What do you mean with height spacers?
Material to keep it up?

zdepthcharge
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Yes. Exactly as that image

Yes. Exactly as that image someone posted shows. Doesn't need to be huge, just enough so it can be differentiated.

X3M
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You do realize my goal is to

You do realize my goal is to have 2D maps with 3D effects, right?
Going 3D is not the problem, going 3D on 2D >was< the problem. Especially since the colours of my hexagons are very important to the game mechanics.

As said before, the 3D effect is solved. Now all I need is a good simple indication of what a terrain might be.
The problem here lies within mixing 2, 3, 4 or all 5 types up. Without giving players a confused feeling.
Still working of a list of possibilities on that one.

zdepthcharge
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Why is that your goal?

Why is that your goal?

X3M
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My game needs a lot of

My game needs a lot of interaction with the terrain. This includes height, but also terrain types. The strategy is very deep in this area.
For example, going to a higher area might be an investment for the army, but often takes time and/or resources.

When I go 3D, the designing goes slowly. To find out which maps have a good 3D strategy on the other hand. A 2D print is simply, printing. And the map is ready.
With the correct template, I can test out several maps in 1 day. Which is needed since I don't have much time for testing, nor do my friends.

Once a 2D map offers plenty of strategy, I can make a proper 3D map.

Thus, my exact goal is an ultra fast way of making maps.

pelle
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I think X3M is trying to make

I think X3M is trying to make things more complicated than they have to be. Perhaps using Paint is part of the problem?

There are so many games that use flat 2D maps to show 3D terrain with different heights AND different terrain types that it surprises me someone had to ask. Maybe being unfamiliar with wargames in general is another part of the problem? ASL for instance have hexes of different height that also have different types of terrain, so combining hex colors with different terrains is not a problem (X3M, you must have had bad luck and looked at some particularly flat map boards, or boards with not terrain at all on the hills?). There are many other games that do that as well, there is really no reason to think that it will not work to combine terrain textures with different background colors to make levels visible.

Ridges usually have symbols that makes it clear what direction is up-sloap. Usually they are also combined with different background colors, but that is not really required, in particular if you have problems combining your terrain textures with different backgrounds.

Also there are games that do use contour-lines with numbers on them, like someone else suggested above. Look at Tactical Combat Series for instance. Again there are colors to make the levels even more clear. There is really no reason to not do that, in addition to whatever other symbols are used.

http://www.advancedsquadleader.net/images/4/43/Board50.gif
http://www.advancedsquadleader.net/images/5/57/Board36.gif
http://www.advancedsquadleader.net/images/8/8a/Board39.gif

http://www.advancedsquadleader.net/index.php?title=Category:Boards

X3M
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pelle wrote:I think X3M is

pelle wrote:
I think X3M is trying to make things more complicated than they have to be. Perhaps using Paint is part of the problem?

True, I noticed this myself some posts ago. And suddenly I figured a way to make the fast prototyping possible in what I need.

I never thought of going back to 2D. But it is nessesary for ultra fast prototyping. Making each map in 3D will take time. Drawing a good looking map like ASL will also take time. Not knowing yet if the map will be good.

ASL is indeed the first one that comes (very) close to what I was looking for. And I indeed never heared of it before. Untill ExperimentalDesigns briefly mentioned it. I checked it out and put it in my list of games to look at.
To be more exact, some maps represent some old prototype maps that I used. Thanks for the link.

Experimental Designs
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It's a bit out of my area of

It's a bit out of my area of expertise (or more honestly, a comfort zone) but are your looking for something a little more tactile as in actually seeing the difference in terrain rather than a bunch of hexes with little indicators?

X3M
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No problem any more.

Yes, the goal was to see the "tactical" terrain.
No need for fancy graphics.

If you compare to the terrain of C&C. Than [terrain, ridge, terrain, ridge, terrain]. Would mean that the last terrain is 2 higher than the first.

I wanted something similar.

My way of ultra fast designing is going well. And in a way I am happy about it.

The following can be done now:

***

2D ultra fast design:
1 ridge could be a difference of 1 to 16 ("infinite"). And +5 is the highest ridge that can still be crossed by units. Terrain height is with numbers on the main hexagon. The tactical aspect is with ridges.

Let's take a look at an example:
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c129/Brando550/Revamp.jpg

Ridges are just like normal terrain. Whereas a grassy ridge is actually a ramp like displayed in that picture. But it could be rocks like the ones in the right, which can be accessed by (my) crawler and (my) climber units.

In my 2D map, the same is possible to design. Only no fancy graphics.

In 3D, terrain is not going to be sloped. Only the ridges. This allows for units to actually keep standing on a so called slope. With the given example, you could say that the high terrain there is +2. The ramp is +1 and all the ridges are rocky terrain. While the ramp part has an entrance grassy ridge and exit grassy ridge.

No matter what, the ridges do not influence projectiles, only the main terrain itself. Thus a rocky ridge acts just the same like grassy, desert, water and forest ridges if it comes to projectile movement.
Unit movement however, are influenced by the ridge just like how the terrain itself influences the movement:
- Rocky ridges will stop most units except air, climbers and crawlers.
- Forest ridges will stop most units except air, ninja and shinobi.
- Water ridges will stop most units except air, hovers and amphibious. (+6 or higher will be a waterfall)
- Dessert ridges will extremely slow down most units except air and hovers.
- Grassy ridges will slow down most units in a moderate way.

In all cases, even air is slowed down in a moderated way.

***

3D design:
When I am happy about the tactics possible in the 2D design. I make something like this:
http://i665.photobucket.com/albums/vv17/Trent1098S/HexGrid.jpg
But then with paper.

***

Summary.

2D allows for:
- Ultra fast designing.
- And a big pile of possible maps.

3D has things against it:
- Long creation time.
- Some ridges need planning for applying a paper model.

But 3D allows more too:
- Graphics may be fancy now.
- Ridges also take over the numbers, and will have lines for indicating height difference.

Experimental Designs
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X3M wrote:Yes, the goal was

X3M wrote:
Yes, the goal was to see the "tactical" terrain.
No need for fancy graphics.

Tactile not tactical (Lol) as in something you can actually feel or touch but you got the gist of it anyway.

I say stick to 3D or whatever your heart tells you. If you have a thing for things 3D and something physical you can actually hold in your hand like a miniature instead of a piece of cardboard with fancy decals then 3D is what you want.

I'll have to find pictures of a hex board I made from the ol' Battletech days to give you some ideas. There was literal hills, trees and urban areas and I even made impressions into the board for rivers and such. Why have boring indicators when you can see it with your own human eyeballs?!

X3M
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Indeed true. But once

Indeed true. But once finished, and the map isn't as fun. A lot of work has been done and this is a waist of time.

There for I do pre designs in 2D. That is the only reason.

X3M
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Still some new problems.

Will it ever end?

First things first:
1 segments consists out of 19 hexagons.
1 hexagon is one region in the game. It contains; terrain type, additional tree's and rocks, possible ridges, and the height.

When putting at least 2 segments together in our last playtests. 2 problems occured to us:

1 - (Easy problem) Viewing the map from another direction. Or twisting one of the map segments. Leaves the numbers upside down. Or out of place. Suggestions on that one? Let's say; I need to find a way that the height of one individual hexagon is given without using a number.
A number of dots that can indicate the height? Terrein height varies from 0 "cm" - a lot (99 "cm" with the last design). It can be less. But it has to be possible to have 20.

2 - (Hard problem) When translating to 3D, I forsee the problem that 2 different segments will have different ways of combining. This also means that one hexagon with height 1, will be connected to height 2, 12 or 20 or whatever is there. At first I thought of adding ramps considering the 2 ridges of 2 hexagons, thus one ramp containing 2 terrain types. But now it cannot be done.
Should I leave ramps out? They made the maps good looking though. And doing only half work wont do?

***
Semi solutions:

With 3D;
- The terrein height is given with lines on the ridges.
- Perhaps no more ramps? When the ridge is grass or desert, the side color is green/yellow. Each hexagon its own. The highest hexagon gives the proper ridge. This allows for single hexagon pilars to be constructed.
- When I go for realy really good looking maps, I go for ramps again. But the map will be completely non-customisable.

Can't have it all at the same time.

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