Minimap not automatically "free", requires a Palantír?

Post has published by Blutonium

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Blutonium 11 months ago.

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  • Keymaster
    Member since: January 26, 2018

    Thinking about Command & Conquer recently, I actually loved the idea that there are some things you need to build in the game that not only gets you new Units and such, but that actually affects GUI itself and your “control” over the map on a strategical level.

    I’m talking about the Satellite of course – the minimap is not “free” and given to you automatically – you need to build comms/satellite up-link to get this feature. And when players destroy it, you lose it. I fondly remember sending engineers over in multiplayer to steal information, too.

    Now, I’m not certain if it’s a good mechanic to have, yet… just throwing the idea out there for now, for feedback.

    Would it be a good idea to need to build something to actually GET a minimap? A Palantír perhaps, that enables you to see the world? Maybe if stolen by a thief and installed in your own library, enables you to uncover the shroud that the specific played had uncovered. Could add another layer of strategy into the mix, and help when planning surprise attacks.


  • Participant
    Member since: May 26, 2018

    Personally I think no minimap at all is a step too far, however the idea of a static minimap that doesn’t automatically update every few seconds (without building “something”) is kinda cool and would promote exploration, etc in a way that most modern DMGs fail to do.

    How that would work:

    You have a totally black minimap initially, as your minions move around and reveal the world around them, the information is also shown on the minimap. Once they move away from a location and you lose vision of that area, the minimap also fades back to black, whilst the new position they are in is revealed instead. You have a constantly changing area of vision on your minimap based on where your units are, but without careful placement/management of your units, you will rarely (if ever) have the full picture. This also opens up opportunities for ambushes, traps, etc.

    This obviously means that your vision is directly tied to (only seeing) what your units can see, until you start to build the “something” that is, and helps to make scouting an important part of the game.

    This all sort of ties into the initial sense of uncertainty/danger that Dungeon Keeper had when exploring/digging into a new area, and the fear of the unknown you got when you have the “You have discovered a new area” notification and didn’t know if you’d just unleashed a horde of high level enemies or just found a pool of water, etc… but also allows for an eventual tech solution to the problem once you’ve explored for the first time.

    I picture this “something” as both a room (“Scrying Chamber”?) and an actual physical object (your Palantir) which the player can build/place in the world that is connected to the object. The Scrying Chamber therefore acts as a link to all of the Palantirs it has produced and could potentially offer up some upgrades to them, as well as just being the room which allows them to be produced.

    Once you’ve built the scrying chamber room and placed a Palantir, it acts as a static “unit” within the room you place it in providing vision just like a normal unit would, and therefore by placing them carefully around your dungeon you can there always have a full picture of your own territory, with only the neutral and enemy territory being unknown to you (assuming you cannot place them in enemy territory). I would also suggest that they are able to be attacked and destroyed (and potentially stolen by certain units too). Should you lose a Palantir (it gets destroyed) then you lose your constant vision of that area, likewise perhaps you could upgrade it to have things like  “Shadowsight” (revealing invisible/stealthed enemies, assuming stealth is a thing)


    Likewise if an opponent manages to destroy/claim all of your Scrying Chamber rooms (and you therefore have none left) you lose the connection to all of your Palantirs until you build another Scrying Chamber to restore the link.

    That’s my take on the idea. I certainly don’t like the idea of having a (big) part of the UI that is initially locked away/taken up by a black minimap that’s just waiting to be unlocked by building something (unless building that something can be one of the first tasks you do, in which case why even bother having it locked at all?)

  • Keymaster
    Member since: January 26, 2018

    Hmm, i understand the points made here though i agree with Andrew that gating off such an important mechanic entirely may not be a great idea. Namely because if you build these things to unlock a minimap, you’d have do so in the library, i see no other place to put them. But the Library isn’t available till 4-5 missions into the campaign as things currently stand, making you have to go through all of that without a minimap, over and underworld.

    Now, i do find the idea interesting however for later on in the game for two versions of this thing. Either like what andrew said, building essentially “seeing” posts that reveal areas around them and/or making the scrying orb in the library would actually allow you to keep vision of areas you’ve explored either just in the Overworld or both. Essentially it would eliminate the lesser kind of fog of war, perhaps it will require to be used however, either by a creature or by the Lord themselves.

  • Keymaster
    Member since: January 26, 2018

    What if the Palantír was in the throne room, and you start off with it?
    So it’s the same as DK then, you have a minimap from the start – but now with the added mechanics I talked about if it gets stolen or destroyed.  This seems to be a good balance imo – no need to wait till level 4 now.
    I know of a good spot for it in the throne room, too! I’m sure you know what i’m talking about, David?

    I like the other idea, especially that it allows for ambush/etc as the FOW keeps changing, unless you manage it – BUT… is that really something we would want players to have to manage, is the question. Seems like a lot of micromanagement just to make the minimap functioning as it should be in the first place. I’d rather want to focus on other game mechanics, than keeping the minimap working properly.

    TL;DR: I think stealing an enemy Palantír could be a cool mechanic for multiplayer. I’m not sure if micromanaging the fog of war is something i’m interested in, personally. I do agree that it brings some interesting mechanics to the table though.

    Interesting ideas though! Definitely something to think about =)

  • Participant
    Member since: May 26, 2018

    Well think of it this way, if a player does no micromanagement at all.. they’ll have vision of the areas minions are working in/accessing commonly, assuming an average dungeon has “work room” evenly spread around it, you’ll have decent enough vision of your entire dungeon just by the minions you recruit moving around and working in the rooms. The potential for ambushes, etc is more about when all the minions mass in one place (such as all heading to a treasure room for payday) when you’d be “exposed” because they aren’t providing vision of their normal working area.

    But as a compromise between you two and your ideas, maybe the Palatir does affect the underworld minimap but instead allows you to scout/view the overworld remotely (without having to send minions up there) allowing you to keep an eye on heroes (or the activities of other Netherlords on the surface), etc. Could explain why you don’t get it until further in during the campaign (maybe you steal it from a set of heroes during a level?)

    In that sense, stealing one from your opponent in MP blinds them to your activities in the overworld, which if you had win conditions involving the overworld rather than the standard “kill your opponent’s dungeon heart” such as “whoever kills Lord X first in the overworld wins” then losing the Palantir would be a huge setback.

  • Keymaster
    Member since: January 26, 2018

    I do like the idea of FOW changing depending on where your creatures are, due to the fact that it means a better designed dungeon gives that player better visibility. Players more experienced with creatures who take notice how they behave, can build a dungeon that takes advantage of that.

    I like that aspect a lot!

    Maybe Palantírs could be constructed and installed onto pillars (maybe only by mages) to keep the FOW stable in areas that dont see a lot of movement, so you don’t get invaded there without you knowing. If that is too far out, it could be a simpler device made in the workshop.

    I think that’s a good idea actually, and better than my original idea. Great stuff nutter!

    We could even go into the direction of these workshop items having the extra ability of giving you a “ping” on the minimap if they spot enemy units moving about – sort of like the alarm trap. so dual purpose.

    Thoughts, David?

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