Which do you prefer: Hex or Square tile maps?

Running Man wrote:

Of course, Bizarro Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic and Bizarro Civ 4 are hex based and they completely rock.

fixed (blush)

Scaphism wrote:

I prefer hexes but I'm okay with either. I agree with whomever said that hexes tend to work better for larger, outdoor environments.
You might be interested in this article from one of the PopCap co-founders on why casual gamers shy away from hex-based games. Link
It's not terribly in-depth, and I don't know if you need to be concerned about the preferences of the casual gaming market, but I recall reading it recently.

Here's a screen shot from Bookworm (PopCap): http://www.goldsvip.com/gamesfiles/p...
Interesting. It's logically hex, but visually squares.

Triangles.

Also, a hex grid is made up of three sets of parallel lines that you only draw for every other grid space, defined by the size of each line segment. Not sure if that's the best way to implement it but there you go. Fun fact: The reason pixels are square is because it's much easier to carve a square grid rather than a hex or a triangle grid, just two sets of unbroken parallel lines.

Neither hexagon nor square can compare to the mighty octagon and its eight sides.

Whao Cyberstorm? That brings back memories. I feel like an old dinosaur whenever I talk about the games that came before Starsiege and Tribes. Bioderms used to be clone mech pilots but whenever I mention it no one knows what the hell I am talking about.

muttonchop wrote:

Neither hexagon nor square can compare to the mighty octagon and its eight sides.

But... but... octagons can't tesselate by themselves!

Ooo. I was just reminded that xbattle could support other "different" grids. Square and hex were the most common, but as I recall you could also do tesselated octagons and squares. It really messed with your head, though.

Well I'm on my way with 3D hexes. Here's what I've got so far:

IMAGE(http://khoram.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/3dhexes.png)

Now to just add in multiple levels, different terrain types, graphics for the characters, game code, a GUI....

ETA: Now with height!

IMAGE(http://khoram.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/3dhexeswithheight.png)

Congrats! Needs more lens flair and bloom though.

Yeah... I have no idea what I'm going to do about actual figures and objects on the map, though. Will probably have to look around for free models already in existance, I'm not in the least bit artistic past anything geometric.

Khoram wrote:

Yeah... I have no idea what I'm going to do about actual figures and objects on the map, though. Will probably have to look around for free models already in existance, I'm not in the least bit artistic past anything geometric.

Free models can be somewhat troublesome. Making little standee models (if you've never played the original Battletech, these are basically a front/back view on cardboard slid into a base to hold it upright) and then just texturing an image onto them is 1) easy as hell and 2) captures the board game look.

That is pretty cool Khoram. Definitely keep us updated, a goodjer-made turn based tactics game would be an incredibly cool thing to see.

As far as figures on the map, I would recommend starting out with just basic geometric primitives and worry about putting actual art assets in there later.

Hey cool idea! I think I'll try that when I get to that part.

Does anyone know how close you can get "borrowing" ideas from copyrighted games before you start to get into trouble? I mean, obviously using elevation and 3D hexes can't be copyrighted... but what if I used a combat mechanic very similar to HeroScape's combat dice and ATK/DEF/RANGE system? Is that kind of thing generic enough to copy, as long as the rest of the game and art assets are original? I had originally created my own combat rules, but they were much more complex without much benefit beyond what the HeroScape style provides in a very simple, easy to understand way.

JoeBedurndurn wrote:

Congrats! Needs more lens flair and bloom though.

What it really needs is to capture that grim and gritty look so popular among gamers these days. After all, if it wasn't popular, developers wouldn't be using it so much.

In the grim darkness of hex-based gaming, there is only war!
IMAGE(http://img407.imageshack.us/img407/4623/3dhexeswithheightadjustow8.png)

Khoram wrote:

Hey cool idea! I think I'll try that when I get to that part.

Does anyone know how close you can get "borrowing" ideas from copyrighted games before you start to get into trouble? I mean, obviously using elevation and 3D hexes can't be copyrighted... but what if I used a combat mechanic very similar to HeroScape's combat dice and ATK/DEF/RANGE system? Is that kind of thing generic enough to copy, as long as the rest of the game and art assets are original? I had originally created my own combat rules, but they were much more complex without much benefit beyond what the HeroScape style provides in a very simple, easy to understand way.

I believe you can steal implementations of mechanics with impunity. Prose descriptions of the mechanics, not so much.

Tannhauser wrote:
JoeBedurndurn wrote:

Congrats! Needs more lens flair and bloom though.

What it really needs is to capture that grim and gritty look so popular among gamers these days. After all, if it wasn't popular, developers wouldn't be using it so much.

In the grim darkness of hex-based gaming, there is only war!

IMAGE(http://khoram.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/darkhexes.png)

Is that better?

Could you maybe make some of the hexes sparkle in the sunlight? You know, for the kids?

I prefer squares in video games, but I agree that hexes work better on a bigger map. Anyone play Dark Wizard on Sega CD? That game was freaking hard, and that used hexes in maps that felt much larger than Shining Force (the only other turned based tactics game I had played at the time).

Both systems have advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I like hexes for large-scale/overland stuff, and square grids for close-quarters/urban stuff. Note that in both X-Com and Jagged Alliance 2, even though they use a square grid system, it costs more movement points to travel diagonally. Other games (like Fire Emblem) get around this by simply disallowing diagonal movement, which I guess is sort of a non-solution.

I think you need a light source of some sort so that the height will create shadows on the lower elevations.

I'll play games with either, but I prefer hexes. Just feels more natural and comfortable to me.

Running Man wrote:
Running Man wrote:

Of course, Bizarro Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic and Bizarro Civ 4 are hex based and they completely rock.

fixed (blush)

AoW SM has one of the best hex-based implementations I've seen; the hex grid is overlaid seamlessly on smooth height-based terrain. You might not even know it's hexed based if you didn't turn on the grid overlay.

@Khoram: Nice 3D hexes. I was tossing around a similar implementation, but mine is still in the idea phase. You actually made it. Cool.

That brings back many memories of Cyberstorm 1 and 2. The grid looked much like that except the variance in elevation between tiles could be much greater. So you could have your Hercs bunny hop up and down shallow slopes or watch them leap in and out of deep canyons.

If you don't use hexes, then you ain't no friend of mine.

Totally unrelated, but Hex Hex is a fun game. Especially in a drinking, screw-your-buddy-over game setting.

Your hexes need more oogaba, other than that, it's all good!

wordsmythe wrote:

If you don't use hexes, then you ain't no friend of mine.

I vote for squares!

Too late for squares! Though I'm thinking of switching to squares for indoor maps, and using hexes for outdoor maps, with little change in the combat rules. That's down the line, though.

For now, I've got it reading and creating maps from a simple text file:

IMAGE(http://khoram.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/battlehexfromfile.png)

I tried an initial stab at adding textures, but it wasn't pretty:

IMAGE(http://khoram.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/badtexturemapping.png)

I was mostly just skimming some example code and tutorials, just to see what would happen. If I were using square tiles, it would probably have worked as is. But since I'm using Hexes made of triangle fans, I think I have to do some weird calculations to map the texture onto them. That sounds like more brain power expenditure than I can muster today... maybe some other day!

Just think of it as all your grass is moving at high speed. Perhaps it is very windy on the hexagonal plane.

That or Elvis came down from space and left a titanic crop circle with his vinyl record shaped UFO.