I had no intention of doing what I did this week, but recognising my own ineptitude at designing areas led me to it: I have finally managed to incorporate a version of SoZ's overland map system that is compatible with my own design! I went down this route because my efforts at city design to date have been awful, and I much prefer the way it is handled in SoZ overland map system where the city is simply a placeable with conversation options. Being able to have a player click on a city and take them to certain spots within the city is both easier for me to work with and quicker for the player to navigate to the areas they want to go to.
However, there was an important hurdle I had to overcome before this mapping system could be used. For my campaign, the following design point was implemented well before SoZ hit the scenes: A Vigour System that is designed to track a PC's fatigue levels based on food, sleep and distance travelled. As this system is linked to movement and travel, I had to design a real-time wrapper to work alongside my current system when the player chooses to explore a region using the overland map rather than simply travel to an area via the use of a world map.
With the addition of this mapping system, it now means the player has the choice of travel based upon either: items they have acquired, objects they have activated or how healthy they are to travel. As a game, it means the player can choose the method they prefer to use, or maybe even use a combination of all as they become available. The default/basic map system available will now be the SoZ overland system (subject to how fit the PC is to travel according to their Vigour level). Alternatively, if the PC finds a map and gains locations on the map, then they will be able to choose to use this form of map travel instead (as long as they have enough provisions for the journey). I have even made use of the original NWN2 map system for yet another method of travel, but I won't go into details of that one now - I want to keep some surprises. ;)
Flexible Use & Travel Info
After getting the core system in place, which involved coding for various terrain types (which affect speed of travel), I realised that the system is also flexible enough to allow other modes of transport to increase the speed at which the party could potentially travel. For instance, it is possible to have a special variable check for "flying" or "mounted", which would alter the speed variable and thereby increase the distance covered in a given time. I don't have any immediate plans to do this, but it was good to know that it may be possible.
From the player's perspective, the speed at which their PC crosses the map remains unchanged, which means slower movement for the PC is NOT actually reflected in the player's avatar onscreen. This is useful because it means a player can reach any location on the map in the same time while moving the character across the screen, although the amount of time it takes for the PC in game time is altered according to the terrain type and speed for said terrain. (However, a PC is still slowed if they are encumbered.)
All this information is fed back to the player in real time inside a small GUI designed to show the various aspects of their travel: terrain type, movement speed on the terrain, total distance travelled and total time travelled. For those use to PnP (Pen and Paper D&D), the altered system has a similar feel when used, in that the player says where they want to go (by controlling the PC across the map) and the code behind the scene gives the player feedback as they travel. And the most important point of all (which makes this different o the OC), is that it also calculates the PCs vigour levels and checks for food as they go. (Vigour levels for each PC will be updated in the "Chat" window to keep the GUI clear for other information.) This GUI can be closed if preferred and reopens when using the rest button.
The observant among you may notice I have removed the three menu systems at the bottom of the OC map system that are normally along the bottom in the centre. As far as I could see, there was no need for these in my own use. I have a separate date system GUI (bottom right of screen shot), resting can be controlled by pressing "r", and I could not see any other reason for the player menu. If anybody believes these menus contain anything that may be important, please let me know.
Create Food & Water
For those with the spell ability, there will be a means to acquire a special Arcaene Scroll known as Create Food & Water, which can be used instead of rations while travelling. In this case, as long as the party has someone with the ability to use the scroll, then vigour levels are kept fine without having to acquire further rations.