When mapping - How to enjoy the story instead?

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Darkside

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Jul 11, 2004, 10:05:54 AM7/11/04
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Hi Everyone,

I have been lurking here for sometime and I really learnt a lot from
ye all here. I recently took a re-visit to Zork after all these years
(nearly 15 years since I last touched it) and this time I want to map
and complete it!

I have been constantly restarting my maps for this game. What is
frustrating my attempts is the way that the room twist about each
other. You know... you goes west and then go east and you could be
somewhere entirely different. Secondly, I find myself checking all the
exits in a location n,s,e,w,ne,sw etc.... by this stage the game is a
mapping exercise and the game/story loses it's appeal.

I use GUEMAP by the way.

How have people here gone about mapping?

* Map as much as possible first before settling down and adventuring?
* Map each room and drop an object and check out each adjacent room
and exits?
* Don't map ? (Bet not! :)
* Just generally take the obvious exits?
* Map other exits later on?
* Is actually possible to map all exits and still make the map look
good? (I know the Zork map is there but I don't want to cheat).

I guess guys (and gals) I'm asking how do ye approach mapping
consciously (or unconsciously for that matter?)

Thanks
James.

Stefano Gaburri

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Jul 11, 2004, 10:38:56 AM7/11/04
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Darkside wrote:

> How have people here gone about mapping?

just map as an adventurer would, adding new rooms as you enter them...
this is more or less the only method for me :)

if the map gets jumbled, well, that's it - or, if you really can't stand
it, you can redraw it from scratch periodically as you finish an area.
And use paper, of course!

ciao
S

Mike Sousa

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Jul 11, 2004, 10:40:52 AM7/11/04
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Darkside wrote:

> How have people here gone about mapping?
>
> * Map as much as possible first before settling down and adventuring?
> * Map each room and drop an object and check out each adjacent room
> and exits?
> * Don't map ? (Bet not! :)
> * Just generally take the obvious exits?
> * Map other exits later on?
> * Is actually possible to map all exits and still make the map look
> good? (I know the Zork map is there but I don't want to cheat).
>
> I guess guys (and gals) I'm asking how do ye approach mapping
> consciously (or unconsciously for that matter?)

Hi James.

I take the story approach, in that I map as I run through the game as it
presents itself. If I enter a room that has two new exits, I take the
appealing one and note in my map that there is another one available. I
generally go back to the unmapped area when I'm either stuck or bored.

-- Mike

Darkside

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Jul 11, 2004, 12:16:04 PM7/11/04
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Hi Mike,

That's a good approach...make a note of the other exits and move on
and come back if it stuck. Hmmm... sounds like a method to concentrate
on magic of the story....

I completed "Threatre" and started Anchorhead (which maps lovely). But
Zork... I hope to conquer that gem. :)

James.

Seebs

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Jul 11, 2004, 5:14:59 PM7/11/04
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In article <tkh2f0pi4k4vludki...@4ax.com>,

Darkside <james...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>* Don't map ? (Bet not! :)

I never map anything but mazes. I can probably still find my way around
most of full-sized Zork without a map, ditto with Colossal Cave.

-s
--
Copyright 2004, all wrongs reversed. Peter Seebach / se...@plethora.net
http://www.seebs.net/log/ - YA blog. http://www.seebs.net/ - homepage.
C/Unix wizard, pro-commerce radical, spam fighter. Boycott Spamazon!
Consulting, computers, web hosting, and shell access: http://www.plethora.net/

Collin

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Jul 12, 2004, 5:40:02 AM7/12/04
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On 2004-07-11 07:05:54 -0700, Darkside <james...@hotmail.com> said:

> I guess guys (and gals) I'm asking how do ye approach mapping
> consciously (or unconsciously for that matter?)

Heresy perhaps, but I personally don't enjoy mapping that much. Its
fun to see the world all drawn out on a map to be sure, but I do think
it's a sort of mechanical process that takes away from the enjoyment of
the story.

I have to say I am a fan of games that do online mapping. I thought it
was pretty effective in Zork Zero and didn't do anything to take away
from the gameplay.

That being said I try not to map as much as I can. Some games follow a
relatively logical map with few twists. These games I almost never map
and generally find more enjoyable. Some games will be fairly straight
forward, but might have a maze or something which will require mapping.
Finally, some games are a so crazy and twisty that I find I have to
map them to be able to navigate them enjoyably. (Some games even have
unmappable sections!)

Anyway, when I map I take the evolutionary approach suggested in other
posts. Use pen and paper. Add a room to your map, mark possible exits,
then move on to the next room. Sometimes I will even draw little
arrows to indicate the direction I was traveling when I added the room
to the map. I will do this with games where I don't trust that the
same steps in reverse will get me back to where I started (like Zork).
Eventually your map will reach a point where it requires redrawing. At
this point you've usually got the layout of the earliest rooms pretty
much figured out and can do a better job with the next map.

I keep trying to use computer based tools to do the mapping, but I find
computer based mapping to be laboriously slow and clunky. The best
I've done with these tools is use them to convert a finished paper map
into a nice clean looking one on the computer.

- Collin

Quintin Stone

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Jul 13, 2004, 11:00:01 AM7/13/04
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On Sun, 11 Jul 2004, Darkside wrote:

> How have people here gone about mapping?
>
> * Map as much as possible first before settling down and adventuring?
> * Map each room and drop an object and check out each adjacent room
> and exits?
> * Don't map ? (Bet not! :)
> * Just generally take the obvious exits?
> * Map other exits later on?
> * Is actually possible to map all exits and still make the map look
> good? (I know the Zork map is there but I don't want to cheat).
>
> I guess guys (and gals) I'm asking how do ye approach mapping
> consciously (or unconsciously for that matter?)

For me, mapping comes secondary to the game itself. The priority is to
play the game, and map as I go along. So I don't visit every exit first,
I simply map the room and indicate all visible exits with non-terminated
connection lines. If a path is blocked by an obstacle that seems to be
something that can be removed or bypassed later on (like a locked door), I
put a small X along the connection line to indicate it's something that
needs to be resolved. An exit that goes nowhere (like "You wander around
the woods but find nothing and return to the path") is marked with a loop
that extends from and then returns to the room.

Then when I decide to visit the next appropriate room, I'll map it in the
same way. In this way, my focus is on playing, but I have a record of
which exits I haven't gone through in case I get stuck elsewhere.

/====================================================================\
|| Quintin Stone O- > "You speak of necessary evil? One ||
|| Code Monkey < of those necessities is that if ||
|| Rebel Programmers Society > innocents must suffer, the guilty must ||
|| st...@rps.net < suffer more." -- Mackenzie Calhoun ||
|| http://www.rps.net/QS/ > "Once Burned" by Peter David ||
\====================================================================/

Darkside

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Jul 17, 2004, 5:02:58 PM7/17/04
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Some adventures are a joy to map... I found Theatre and Anchorhead
very enjoyable to play and the mapping was fair in that it didn't
bother me at all since the areas were logically linked. I didn't have
to map Shade anyway! :) I really liked Plotkin's work there.

Actually I tried GUEMap to map rooms but as you say the twistiest room
can start making you go back to paper...

Actually I sometimes use paint and use the copy and paste to move some
of the rooms rather than redraw the map again. Yeah... I'm losing my
ability to write with a pencil. I blame the keyboard. :)

Ally

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Jul 22, 2004, 12:32:58 PM7/22/04
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I've also recently come back to Zork -- it was starting to bother me
that I'd never seen most of its underworld, home to so many
adventurers.

Seeing my map grow more complex and complete with every other turn
was really the main reason I eventually played it "for real" (well,
okay, with a walkthrough nearby). It was more or less a Mapping
Quest, sure -- but that's not really against the spirit of Zork, is
it?

I'm the type who *might* just get lost in Shade -- so unless I draw
a map, I'm likely to waste much of my playing time searching for
that room from three turns ago.

I've found Dia <http://www.gnome.org/projects/dia/> to be rather
suitable for mapping. As a general purpose diagram tool it certainly
doesn't have the narrow focus of GUEMap (and I don't expect to
encounter a 100BaseT Hub Room any time soon) -- and bezier curves
and different arrowheads and line styles and colours really help
straighten out those twisty passages (somewhat). Of course you can
do that with pen and paper... but try moving entire map sections
around that way! As you said, the rooms "twist around each other" --
but with some twisting of your own, even Zork's topography can make
something vaguely resembling sense.

(Also, it can export to a variety of formats, and it's free.)

I understand your concerns, though. In a more story-heavy game,
mapping would likely come second (or third, or not at all).

~a

--
kitzapoo {at} gmx {dot} co {dot} uk

Stefano Gaburri

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Jul 22, 2004, 8:42:47 PM7/22/04
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Ally wrote:

> Of course you can
> do that with pen and paper... but try moving entire map sections
> around that way!

That's the real cut-and paste :)

Al

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Jul 24, 2004, 8:11:13 AM7/24/04
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Back in 1984 when Zork I first came out for the Mac, I got real
confused as a brand new Newbie. Imagine my surprise when Infocom came
out with InvisiClues and a real nice map that actually helped in
solving the adventure. Now I like the convenience of having a
pre-drawn map to guide me through the game in the "rough spots" where
I might otherwise get lost. As for mazes it helps that the author
gives you enough different objects to drop otherwise you might just
quit the game in frustration.
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