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Raumata

Do You Have a Favorite World Map, Level, or Route Design?

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I have a appreciation for how far Pokemon has come, since it's beginning with red and blue. I'll give you guys an example of what I mean with Johto's Violet city. Compare the city with HG/SS's and G/S/C's lay out.

You'll see that HG/SS's Violet city is much more detailed (giving it a bit more individuality other than G/S/C coloring the town violet) and compact, while G/S/C's Violet city is huge and a bit same-looking with sharing it's building design with the other cities. It's really neat imo.

http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Violet_City

(Unable to provide an image link. Sorry.)

Edited by Raumata

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For World Map, I'm biased to say Jugdral (clock the flair), mainly since you traverse the whole continent over the course of the game.

If you're wondering for a good game environment, I'd say that the world must have:

  • some sort of history or backstory- why is the world the way it is? What's its name? What's the relationship between countries? Political climate? Royalty?
  • Diverse regions- deserts, snow, fog, forests, swamps, plains, castles, etc. I'd say FE9/10, Fates, and the GBA games had plenty of this, with FE10 being my favorite.
  • What's our protagonists' role in this world and why is their involvement important?
  • How has the world affected the characters? What are the characters' reactions to the past and current events happening? FE4's 2nd Generation characters are a decent example of this- their personalities and goals were shaped by the circumstances they were raised in. Awakening's 2nd generation were also characterized by this as well.

As for route/map level designs, I may be the minority, but I find fog of war and defense battles so much fun. I find them more challenging and harder to predict. It's not "Lure Them Over Here Emblem".

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Nothing particular comes immediately to mind. Well, actually, Xenoblade Chronicles was of course good, as obvious a choice as it is. I mean you had errors like Colony 9's layout (the Military District should not be meat-shielded by the Residential and Commercial!) and maybe some errors how all the locations are arranged on Bionis, but otherwise the blend of naturalism and fantasy is pretty good. I particularly love those beautiful secret location viewpoints. XBCX is not quite as good, but still solid.

And now that I've got the juices flowing, Baten Kaitos! The 2D-3D style done in that game goes back to FF7, but BK was one of my first JRPGs not Pokemon or Paper Mario, and it introduced me to that aesthetic approach.

Castle Elnath- my love for thee is genuine, particularly your heart, that throne room! That towering golden flame so tall you can only see it in full off the reflective floor. And lingering just above that floor is purple smoke, as though produced by the glided flame. Yet the smoke does not conceal the throne itself, which rests in the radiant blue origin of that spectacular fire.

Parnesse makes everyone hyperglycemic, and Mira overall embraces its surreal nature, with Balancoire's normalcy standing out as a result (shame they never let you see the city covered the mist which supposedly covers it from time to time). All of the major islands are fairly unique in BK, and while some places like Zosma are duds I concede, overall the game is very beautiful. And the Magnus cards are just as much works of art as the world itself. BKO was just as inspired too.

Could someone please build a real Endmost Bethel (the church blue flowers take you to)?

I'm not going to bring up FE, given we get the perennial map design topic on this site.

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If this is supposed to be pokemon specific- not really sure, I probbably like Pearl or Black 2's general overworld the most.

I would put even more platform games here. Also I don't tend to think of strict 2-d games for their worlds, even if I love every individual level in the game.

Banjo Kazooie: Grunty's lair is in many ways, a very conservative kind of overworld design, however, it had its share of awesome innovations- the random taunting from Grunty herself- and more importantly the alternate musical arrangements of the castle theme that played as you entered the foyer of every area- This would of course practically become a standard, but it's appearance here made the Castle infinitely better than lesser overworlds.

 Banjo Tooie- This game outdid its contemplates to make its world seem like an interconnected place. It wasn't the only thing from the time period to do so (eg the dreamcast version of rayman 2), but it was a standout effort, because the Isle of Hags was pretty clearly defined, and every "world" was connected with at least two others, a train system ran throughout the whole thing, and towards the end of the game you got an overhead view to see the island.

Steambot Chronicles: Irem's Sandbox game, while not nearly as playable as other sandbox games, I still adore how full the cities of Garland, Nefroburg, and Neuhafen are. Even the minor areas of this game are made into a "world' thanks to stuff like the album that actually incentives you to meet EVERY NPC, and the sidequests that  take place just about everywhere. get you away from the awful tank controls of the main game

Metal Arms: Glitch in the system- the planet Ironstar partly relies on the story to tell you that you are moving from one place to another, but more often the ends of one mission meet up with the start of the next mission- even the ones with slight hiccups still do so Tonally- the wasteland missions make a clear transition into the center of the planet missions and then into the grimy city. Of course, the game is held together by the enemy Milbots, whose crazed antics, sadism, and wild panic make almost every area pretty lively. It's not often that the generic footsoldier holds a game together so well.

MDK2: You only revisit a few areas, but well, the cutscenes hold it together so well, and they make the whole changing charathers between each chapter work seamlessly. Additionally, pretty much every level in the game is still pretty awe inspiring today despite the age of the technology, the sheer spectacle of the setpieces in the alien environments still impress today, and the personalities of most of the enemy types make a world worth playing through.

Bully: I really like  this game's over world, earning all the clubhouses was fun, and I like how the different neighborhoods have distinct personalities, as well as their school grounds counterparts. 

Star control 2: The starmap is a truly special, unusually pure kind of exploration- Some players might only ever want to land on story important planets, but others will try to find everything, filling notebooks with stuff like the amount of Bio on Zeta Circini, and so on. Additionally, you always have a mystery to find out, and failing that, staying in one area long enough will give you unexpected  masses of backstory, provided you can survive repeated fights.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas- The world of San Andreas is a sometimes overlooked part of the game's success. But honestly, just having the mountian, the woods, the place beyond the train tunnel, and the winding cities open to you just makes your freedom mean all that much more.

Vex- This game takes "thinly veiled teleporters" to its logical extreme, but nevertheless, I think it's really cool how the doorways to each world just open up to show the place as if it were just a step away from the hub (unless playing on the wrong console and facing loading tiimes). 

Creatures: The original game's version of Albia is a truly impressive game world, and as the creatures themselves are seemingly filled with an insatiable wanderlust you even have company while exploring it- C2 is also pretty, going in for more ancient ruins and darker hues, and having an "ecosystem" for you to watch, but it is strangely quiet, and does not really inspire the joy that C1 does, especially since the different AI of the creatures means you will be looking at its far regions by yourself a lot of the time. Beyond that, even if they do explore with you,  you might want to actively fight their curiosity- C2's Albia has too many hazards for its own good-  (not even mentioning that you have to unlock the ability to scroll freely) C3's use of metarooms, while somewhat detailed, is also hampered by generally exploring it alone- it's creatures are even more likely than in C2 to just find the area where the food is and stay there. Additionally, it's metallic/crystalline aesthetic is far removed from both the sunny world of C1 and the ancient ruins of C2.

System Shock 2: The Van Braun and Rickenbacker are still probably the greatest space ship environments ever put in a videogame. It's more structured than many of its fans claim, but this doesn't hurt it, and this structure is only relative- compared to modern games, its still very open-ended. Like with star control, the mystery and the ability to look through the logs of the crew give you all the reason you need to explore.

Pikmin 1: Music and lighting play a big part here, the 2/3 wouldn't quite match what the first game's world, even though they made brave attempts, especially by both having final maps that were implied to be pikmin 1 areas that had been warped a little by time. Pikmin 1 though, had the captain's log played straight just as much as for comedey, and the music could be downright wistful- The other captain's were technically stranded, but you'd only know it through the cutscenes, but for olimar, the whole world served to reinforce it.

Metroid Prime: Tallon IV is the most beloved of all the planets featured across the series, and really, there's little reason to wonder why.

Zelda: The dungeons aren't transcendentally connected to the game world, and their openings just kind of exist on surface level and lead into towers/basements that have nothing to do with the overworld, (especially on say, awakening/oracles) but nevertheless these games tantalize by hiding a sizable portion of the heart containers in the land instead of the dungeons, and usually the journey between each dungeon requires a mini-adventure in itself (majora's mask being the most extreme in this regard). 

Sly 2 - The first sly game is quite like a 5th gen platformed caught out of time on the ps2. I love it, but it's hub areas, while giving you place to run around with and a great comic map, do not really go above and beyond what players expect. Sly 2's maps though, make up 70% of its mission areas, and each one of them is basically yours to climb over, with plenty of patrolling guards, clue bottles, and sometimes traps to play with at your leisure. It's only real downside is that Bently/Murray don't really work for non-mission exploration very well in some of the levels due to the climbing focus. 

RPGS: Chrono Trigger, Skies of Arcadia, Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate, Avernum, Planescape Torment, Paper Mario.

Edited by Reality

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1 hour ago, Reality said:

If this is supposed to be pokemon specific- not really sure, I probbably like Pearl or Black 2's general overworld the most.

I would put even more platform games here. Also I don't tend to think of strict 2-d games for their worlds, even if I love every individual level in the game.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Banjo Kazooie: Grunty's lair is in many ways, a very conservative kind of overworld design, however, it had its share of awesome innovations- the random taunting from Grunty herself- and more importantly the alternate musical arrangements of the castle theme that played as you entered the foyer of every area- This would of course practically become a standard, but it's appearance here made the Castle infinitely better than lesser overworlds.

 Banjo Tooie- This game outdid its contemplates to make its world seem like an interconnected place. It wasn't the only thing from the time period to do so (eg the dreamcast version of rayman 2), but it was a standout effort, because the Isle of Hags was pretty clearly defined, and every "world" was connected with at least two others, a train system ran throughout the whole thing, and towards the end of the game you got an overhead view to see the island.

Steambot Chronicles: Irem's Sandbox game, while not nearly as playable as other sandbox games, I still adore how full the cities of Garland, Nefroburg, and Neuhafen are. Even the minor areas of this game are made into a "world' thanks to stuff like the album that actually incentives you to meet EVERY NPC, and the sidequests that  take place just about everywhere. get you away from the awful tank controls of the main game

Metal Arms: Glitch in the system- the planet Ironstar partly relies on the story to tell you that you are moving from one place to another, but more often the ends of one mission meet up with the start of the next mission- even the ones with slight hiccups still do so Tonally- the wasteland missions make a clear transition into the center of the planet missions and then into the grimy city. Of course, the game is held together by the enemy Milbots, whose crazed antics, sadism, and wild panic make almost every area pretty lively. It's not often that the generic footsoldier holds a game together so well.

MDK2: You only revisit a few areas, but well, the cutscenes hold it together so well, and they make the whole changing charathers between each chapter work seamlessly. Additionally, pretty much every level in the game is still pretty awe inspiring today despite the age of the technology, the sheer spectacle of the setpieces in the alien environments still impress today, and the personalities of most of the enemy types make a world worth playing through.

Bully: I really like  this game's over world, earning all the clubhouses was fun, and I like how the different neighborhoods have distinct personalities, as well as their school grounds counterparts. 

Star control 2: The starmap is a truly special, unusually pure kind of exploration- Some players might only ever want to land on story important planets, but others will try to find everything, filling notebooks with stuff like the amount of Bio on Zeta Circini, and so on. Additionally, you always have a mystery to find out, and failing that, staying in one area long enough will give you unexpected  masses of backstory, provided you can survive repeated fights.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas- The world of San Andreas is a sometimes overlooked part of the game's success. But honestly, just having the mountian, the woods, the place beyond the train tunnel, and the winding cities open to you just makes your freedom mean all that much more.

Vex- This game takes "thinly veiled teleporters" to its logical extreme, but nevertheless, I think it's really cool how the doorways to each world just open up to show the place as if it were just a step away from the hub (unless playing on the wrong console and facing loading tiimes). 

Creatures: The original game's version of Albia is a truly impressive game world, and as the creatures themselves are seemingly filled with an insatiable wanderlust you even have company while exploring it- C2 is also pretty, going in for more ancient ruins and darker hues, and having an "ecosystem" for you to watch, but it is strangely quiet, and does not really inspire the joy that C1 does, especially since the different AI of the creatures means you will be looking at its far regions by yourself a lot of the time. Beyond that, even if they do explore with you,  you might want to actively fight their curiosity- C2's Albia has too many hazards for its own good-  (not even mentioning that you have to unlock the ability to scroll freely) C3's use of metarooms, while somewhat detailed, is also hampered by generally exploring it alone- it's creatures are even more likely than in C2 to just find the area where the food is and stay there. Additionally, it's metallic/crystalline aesthetic is far removed from both the sunny world of C1 and the ancient ruins of C2.

System Shock 2: The Van Braun and Rickenbacker are still probably the greatest space ship environments ever put in a videogame. It's more structured than many of its fans claim, but this doesn't hurt it, and this structure is only relative- compared to modern games, its still very open-ended. Like with star control, the mystery and the ability to look through the logs of the crew give you all the reason you need to explore.

Pikmin 1: Music and lighting play a big part here, the 2/3 wouldn't quite match what the first game's world, even though they made brave attempts, especially by both having final maps that were implied to be pikmin 1 areas that had been warped a little by time. Pikmin 1 though, had the captain's log played straight just as much as for comedey, and the music could be downright wistful- The other captain's were technically stranded, but you'd only know it through the cutscenes, but for olimar, the whole world served to reinforce it.

Metroid Prime: Tallon IV is the most beloved of all the planets featured across the series, and really, there's little reason to wonder why.

Zelda: The dungeons aren't transcendentally connected to the game world, and their openings just kind of exist on surface level and lead into towers/basements that have nothing to do with the overworld, (especially on say, awakening/oracles) but nevertheless these games tantalize by hiding a sizable portion of the heart containers in the land instead of the dungeons, and usually the journey between each dungeon requires a mini-adventure in itself (majora's mask being the most extreme in this regard). 

Sly 2 - The first sly game is quite like a 5th gen platformed caught out of time on the ps2. I love it, but it's hub areas, while giving you place to run around with and a great comic map, do not really go above and beyond what players expect. Sly 2's maps though, make up 70% of its mission areas, and each one of them is basically yours to climb over, with plenty of patrolling guards, clue bottles, and sometimes traps to play with at your leisure. It's only real downside is that Bently/Murray don't really work for non-mission exploration very well in some of the levels due to the climbing focus. 

RPGS: Chrono Trigger, Skies of Arcadia, Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate, Avernum, Planescape Torment, Paper Mario.

 

 

This thread is not restricted to just Pokemon. I was just stating it as an example. All games may be freely discussed here.

Edited by Raumata

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World map? Probably Dragon Quest 8. It feels... I dunno, it feels more real/alive than most RPG maps, and it's jam-packed with charm, random time-based events that the game never hints at that you can just stumble across, really good town designs, and just plenty of shit to do without the map feeling cramped.

If we wanna talk specific levels, then it's like, all of Psychonauts for me. Even the levels that aren't super fun to play are compelling just because of the concepts and visuals behind them(Black Velvetopia, Brain Tumbler and Lungfishopolis). And some are just a joy to play while also just being amazing conceptually/visually, like the Milkman Conspiracy and Mila's Dance Party. A good 3D platformer is only as good as its level design, and dammit, I'd say Psychonauts has hands down the best level design in basically all of gaming.

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I lack a particular favorite, but I really like the Castlevania series' general level build. It isn't simply a generic build for most classic Castlevania games, the stages really are sections of Dracula's castle that could be fit like in a jigsaw puzzle and show an even bigger, coherent map if you put them together frame by frame. They were a thing since before Castlevania decided to step into metroidvania territory.

Edited by Rapier

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The world of Ivalice is one of the many reasons why FFXII is my 2nd favorite game of all time: every environment of the game is just a joy to traverse because of how amazing and detailed they are to watch and visit. The monsters/citizens also helps in making these environments even better(and yes, I'm including the monsters too). Oh, and the soundtrack contribuits to their atmospheres as well.

However, what I really like about Ivalice is thst esch one of Its cities and dungeons has a clear story for why It's in the state the player finds it and - in the case of the cities - how the citizens lives, how the economy there works, etc...(basically It gives you a lot of world building  which is something I love about FFXII)

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