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A tip for building a prototyping of a hex-tile game

16 replies [Last post]
Joined: 05/05/2014
square bricks cr.gif

I've just built a prototype of a game and the most arduous portion of making the prototype was cutting out the hex-tiles. Just as I finished cutting out the last one, I was struck by the thought that a hex field is topologically equivalent to brick style layout (alternating rows offset) with squares instead of rectangles.

As I'm actively play testing this prototype with real, living people I'm pleased to have actual hexes, but in the future I'll begin any hex-tile based designs with Postit notes in a brick layout for bashing together ideas quickly.

Joined: 04/30/2013
you learnt this from

you learnt this from Pop-Cap's "bookworm" game?

Joined: 07/03/2013
Thank you!

Seriously, I wish I had thought of it myself. Thanks!

Joined: 03/27/2014
Mind = BLOWN

Mind = BLOWN

Joined: 09/10/2013

Nice idea--thanks for posting the tip!

Joined: 11/19/2012
You know, I've played dozens

You know, I've played dozens of video games that do exactly this... yet I still made hexmaps. Why the heck did I not put two and two together?

Nicely done. Now, the real question is whether any of us remember this next time we build a hex tile game?

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011

YAY! And I thought I was the only fan of the offset grid out there. :)

Joined: 03/02/2014
You da man!

I'm just getting started on a game that needs hex tiles, and I was just thinking about the headaches prototyping will lead to.

So thanks! You da man! Unless, of course, you're female, in which case I will stutter apologetically for a bit.

Edit: Hmmm. Except that using squares, I can't turn them 60 degrees, which I will need to be able to do. Well, rats, then. But maybe I can get close enough for the early prototypes. Also, there's these, at 100 for $19.04.

Joined: 05/05/2014
Glad some people find this

Glad some people find this useful. I'd post some images of the actual prototype I've built, but it seems I cannot add an image to replies. Hm.

pelle's picture
Joined: 08/11/2008
Can't believe so many had not

Can't believe so many had not thought of this, but I guess there has to be a first time for everything for everyone. :)

There are many ways to make a hex grid for your prototypes, so you don't really have to choose any other style because you feel it is easier to manually construct. For instance I have made this free effect for Inkscape that generates hex grids for you:

Since about 2.5 years ago it has had support for making brick patterns (like that shown above in this thread) instead of real hexes if you want to. It's just a checkbox to check in the dialog when running the effect. There are actually reasons for using one over the other at times, despite them being topologically equivalent. In particular rectangles waste a lot less space (for rectangular playing pieces), so you can use them if you want to squeeze more tiles into the same-size game board.

I also made this online version a long time ago, but it is lacking some features (including the brick pattern) and it can only make small grids:

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
I thought that most people

I thought that most people here actually had the experience with the brick version?

And the cons of these versions.

For me it was important to play with the centres and corners of hexagons. So I had no other choice but to go hexagon immediately. But it isn't so much of extra work if you know how to draw a lot of hexagons real quick. PnP. There we go :D.

However, to have a better grip on how big your board would be. I suggest using the rectangular bricks instead of square bricks.

The size of a brick is 0,75*X by square-root(3)*X
(where X is normally the side of your hexagon)

In a point of view:
If you normally have your hexagons laying on their side, you will be having your bricks standing on their small side.
If you have your hexagons balancing on their point, you will be having your bricks laying on their big side.

Joined: 05/05/2014
Generating hexes is no big

Generating hexes is no big deal. My point about using an offset grid is that it's a lot easier in the early, early stages of development. If I use an offset grid for working out mechanics, I would still build hex tiles when I put the game in front of play testers.
In any case I don't think you quite understood what I meant by hex tile. I'm not talking about a board with hexes printed on it, I'm talking about tiles that are individual objects (think Carcassonne, but with hexes instead of squares).

pelle's picture
Joined: 08/11/2008
Ooh. OK. Sorry. That makes

Ooh. OK. Sorry. That makes more sense. I had requests for one of my other Iknkscape effects, the countersheet generator, that is used to make sheets of cards or counters or other tokens that it should be able to lay out tiles in a way that makes hex tiles easier to cut. You can manually do that if you think a bit and put them so that just a few long cuts will separate several hexes on the same sheet. I just never bothered to implement it in my tool (partly because I don't think I will use it myself). If you search a bit you can find some templates made by others that could be reused to make easily cut sheets of hex tiles.

Joined: 05/05/2014
No worries. I realized it

No worries. I realized it implied different things depending on what sort of game you were thinking about.

I bashed out a hex tile template in Photoshop that does exactly what you describe. It has 42 2.5 cm (on the flat edge) hexes. It was quite successful. Here's a shot of the prototype during play test:

Joined: 09/12/2013
I just came onto the forum to

I just came onto the forum to ask if anyone had any tips for making hex prototypes... you just saved me HOURS.

Cheers to you, thanks for blowing my mind, and good luck w/ the game!

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Quote:You know, I've played

You know, I've played dozens of video games that do exactly this...

Many koei games like romance of the 3 kingdoms did that many many years ago. So it's not new.

Print and Play production posted a way to layer hex tile on a piece of paper to make the cutting easier by only cutting in straight line. You might want to check it out.

Joined: 07/18/2011
Only drawback I see is lack

Only drawback I see is lack of six sides like hexes usually have. Not big issue just harder to visualize it you can move in to six directions. Other than that it is quite neat idea.

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