Game Development Reference
as you can start with any character you like, end the game when you like,
and take on whatever challenges take your fancy along the way. The game
environment of The Sims is also quite open in the way by which players can
decide on the look, personality, and goals of their avatars and the layout
and furnishing of their houses. The city map, however, is not open. It is
physically a network structure with fixed positions of housing blocks
and city buildings.
Physically speaking, the EVE Online maps are open with a variety of starting
positions, numerous ways of traveling from one location to another, many
unordered challenges, and multiple places to end/complete your journey.
The players' choices in these types of games are vast. Of course the game
map isn't one large infinite mesh, as it would be too big to process, but
a series of minimaps cleverly linked together to give the impression
of immeasurable universes.
Most games based around a story are linear; that is, they have a start, a
journey, and an end (shown in Figure 7.4b ). Players typically accompany
their character, the hero, through a series of carefully crafted challenges to
the end. The start is always the same, the journey is always the same, and
the end is always the same. In terms of a map it means a game environment
in which there is only one path to travel to get from the starting position
to the end. Along the way there may be puzzles, barriers, and enemies
to battle, but the path is always the same.
To add some interest to the linear map, sidetracks (shown in Figure 7.4c )
can be added that can take players down a dead end path but provide
extra bonuses or clues to aid in their progression along the main path.
The danger here is that players could choose to skip an entire sidetrack
unless encouraged to go down it because they have no other choice; for
example, the main path might contain a locked door and the key is down
Even more complexity is created when circuits (shown in Figure 7.4d ) are
added off the main path. These provide players with opportunities to bypass
parts of the main path. They can also disorient players and send them back
to the beginning. Dungeons and Dragons and other maze-type games are
created with both circuits and sidetracks. These maze games align perfectly
with the narrative and map structures, as it is the sidetracks and circuits that
dictate the maze's physical layout.
Racing games are another example of a linear path with a circuit. The circuit
takes the player from the start, around a track, and back to the start. The
player's journey is one that evolves according to the player's racing skills;
however, in the end, the game remains linear, as the start position, end
position, and goal always remain the same.