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hex based 2d engine

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  • Brandon Van Every
    Does anyone know of a hex based 2d game or game engine that s under MIT / BSD / zlib style license? I have a completed campaign for the Battle of Wesnoth
    Message 1 of 20 , Mar 16, 2011
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      Does anyone know of a hex based 2d game or game engine that's under
      MIT / BSD / zlib style license?

      I have a completed campaign for the Battle of Wesnoth engine.
      https://bitbucket.org/tolandsunknown/tolandsunknown . Wesnoth is
      under the GPL, I hate coding in its "Wesnoth Markup Language," and I
      was recently kicked out of the Wesnoth forums by some 18 and 21 year
      old 'moderators'. So, enough of that! The next project needs to be
      done with something else. I think my partner is probably going to
      want to continue with the 2D art thing for now. I may want to port
      our extant content to a different engine, then adapt the engine to our
      gameplay requirements. Or, I may leave the extant content on the
      Wesnoth engine and do a sequel with a new engine, reusing art assets.


      Cheers,
      Brandon Van Every
    • Joel Davis
      Cocos2D supports hex maps: http://www.cocos2d-x.org/ http://www.cocos2d-iphone.org/wiki/doku.php/prog_guide:tiled_maps Lots of cocos2d activity on iOS right
      Message 2 of 20 , Mar 16, 2011
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        Cocos2D supports hex maps:
        http://www.cocos2d-x.org/
        http://www.cocos2d-iphone.org/wiki/doku.php/prog_guide:tiled_maps


        Lots of cocos2d activity on iOS right now but pretty sure it also targets SDL
        and other desktop backends.

        joel




        ________________________________
        From: Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...>
        To: gamedesign-l <gamedesign-l@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wed, March 16, 2011 1:56:03 PM
        Subject: [gamedesign-l] hex based 2d engine


        Does anyone know of a hex based 2d game or game engine that's under
        MIT / BSD / zlib style license?

        I have a completed campaign for the Battle of Wesnoth engine.
        https://bitbucket.org/tolandsunknown/tolandsunknown . Wesnoth is
        under the GPL, I hate coding in its "Wesnoth Markup Language," and I
        was recently kicked out of the Wesnoth forums by some 18 and 21 year
        old 'moderators'. So, enough of that! The next project needs to be
        done with something else. I think my partner is probably going to
        want to continue with the 2D art thing for now. I may want to port
        our extant content to a different engine, then adapt the engine to our
        gameplay requirements. Or, I may leave the extant content on the
        Wesnoth engine and do a sequel with a new engine, reusing art assets.

        Cheers,
        Brandon Van Every



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Brandon Van Every
        ... Hmm, do you know of an actual hex-based working example? Cocos2D seems to be relying on the Tiled .tmx format for the hex maps. The old Java version of
        Message 3 of 20 , Mar 16, 2011
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          On Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 5:39 PM, Joel Davis <joeld42@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          > Cocos2D supports hex maps:
          > http://www.cocos2d-x.org/
          > http://www.cocos2d-iphone.org/wiki/doku.php/prog_guide:tiled_maps
          >
          >
          Hmm, do you know of an actual hex-based working example? Cocos2D seems to
          be relying on the Tiled .tmx format for the hex maps. The old Java version
          of Tiled has hex map support, but that support is listed as "experimental"
          in the tool. The Java version is no longer developed. The new Qt version
          of Tiled does not have hex map support. This makes me question whether
          anyone is really doing hexes with Tiled or the Cocos2D engine.


          Cheers,
          Brandon Van Every


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Ken Paulson
          It s not a full engine, but Mappy has an editor and comes with playback libraries to render the maps in just about any environment you want.
          Message 4 of 20 , Mar 16, 2011
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            It's not a full engine, but Mappy has an editor and comes with
            "playback" libraries to render the maps in just about any environment
            you want.
            http://tilemap.co.uk/mappy.php


            On 16/03/2011 3:56 PM, Brandon Van Every wrote:
            >
            > Does anyone know of a hex based 2d game or game engine that's under
            > MIT / BSD / zlib style license?
            >
            > I have a completed campaign for the Battle of Wesnoth engine.
            > https://bitbucket.org/tolandsunknown/tolandsunknown . Wesnoth is
            > under the GPL, I hate coding in its "Wesnoth Markup Language," and I
            > was recently kicked out of the Wesnoth forums by some 18 and 21 year
            > old 'moderators'. So, enough of that! The next project needs to be
            > done with something else. I think my partner is probably going to
            > want to continue with the 2D art thing for now. I may want to port
            > our extant content to a different engine, then adapt the engine to our
            > gameplay requirements. Or, I may leave the extant content on the
            > Wesnoth engine and do a sequel with a new engine, reusing art assets.
            >
            > Cheers,
            > Brandon Van Every
            >
            >
            > __



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Joel Davis
            I don t know of any example of someone actually using it. It does look pretty incomplete. Even for regular square tilemaps, there s not a lot of library
            Message 5 of 20 , Mar 17, 2011
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              I don't know of any example of someone actually using it. It does look pretty
              incomplete.


              Even for regular square tilemaps, there's not a lot of library support out
              there. It's a little better for Flash where they have Flixel and Flashpunk so
              there are some common reusable starting point. My feeling is that the hard parts
              -- like pathing, AI, terrain reasoning -- are going to be pretty game specific
              so no one really makes libraries for them, and the common stuff -- like drawing
              the map -- is simple enough it's not worth splitting out.


              You'd probably be better off picking a general 2D engine that suits your
              platform/license and implementing the hex map yourself. The lack of an editor is
              a bit of a problem, I didn't realize that the new Tiled didn't support hexes.
              What do you use to edit Wesnoth maps? Perhaps write a converter from that.

              joel




              ________________________________
              From: Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...>
              To: gamedesign-l@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Wed, March 16, 2011 6:24:18 PM
              Subject: Re: [gamedesign-l] hex based 2d engine


              On Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 5:39 PM, Joel Davis <joeld42@...> wrote:

              >
              >
              > Cocos2D supports hex maps:
              > http://www.cocos2d-x.org/
              > http://www.cocos2d-iphone.org/wiki/doku.php/prog_guide:tiled_maps
              >
              >
              Hmm, do you know of an actual hex-based working example? Cocos2D seems to
              be relying on the Tiled .tmx format for the hex maps. The old Java version
              of Tiled has hex map support, but that support is listed as "experimental"
              in the tool. The Java version is no longer developed. The new Qt version
              of Tiled does not have hex map support. This makes me question whether
              anyone is really doing hexes with Tiled or the Cocos2D engine.

              Cheers,
              Brandon Van Every

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Brandon Van Every
              ... The testing suite for Cocoa2D-x has only 1 hexagonal test map, compared with 9 iso test maps and 12 ortho test maps. I think the support for hexes is
              Message 6 of 20 , Mar 17, 2011
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                On Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 12:53 PM, Joel Davis <joeld42@...> wrote:

                >
                >
                > I don't know of any example of someone actually using it. It does look
                > pretty
                > incomplete.
                >

                The testing suite for Cocoa2D-x has only 1 hexagonal test map, compared with
                9 iso test maps and 12 ortho test maps. I think the "support" for hexes is
                probably no more than making sure everything nominally compiles.


                >
                > Even for regular square tilemaps, there's not a lot of library support out
                > there. It's a little better for Flash where they have Flixel and Flashpunk
                > so
                > there are some common reusable starting point. My feeling is that the hard
                > parts
                > -- like pathing, AI, terrain reasoning -- are going to be pretty game
                > specific
                > so no one really makes libraries for them, and the common stuff -- like
                > drawing
                > the map -- is simple enough it's not worth splitting out.
                >
                >
                I've sort of noticed while Googling around. An evening of hunting and
                pecking for someone else's off-the-shelf solution, and I'm like, geez, I
                could have implemented a lot of game features for this trouble. Also if the
                library comes at the expense of being stuck with XML, it's not worth it. I
                prefer representations that expect a human to edit them by hand. Frankly
                XML culture is a disease. :-)


                > You'd probably be better off picking a general 2D engine that suits your
                > platform/license and implementing the hex map yourself.
                >

                I'm leaning towards blowing off hex maps entirely and doing direct geometric
                calculations. We have a lot of animated sprite unit artwork, not any tile
                blended terrain artwork. The latter was provided gratis by the Wesnoth
                engine, and we have to replace that artwork if we want to be free of the
                GPL. Dealing with hexes might have some advantages for discrete AI
                processing, but it's a real PITA for art assets. There are some kinds of
                "retro" that I feel have no advantages and should be left for dead.


                > The lack of an editor is
                > a bit of a problem, I didn't realize that the new Tiled didn't support
                > hexes.
                >

                It also looks like the old Tiled never really did, in any kind of
                "production ready, being improved upon" sense. More like someone
                implemented proof-of-concept and then no one used it.


                > What do you use to edit Wesnoth maps? Perhaps write a converter from that.
                >
                >
                They have a built-in hex map editor under the GPL. It already fails to
                display the custom terrain tiles that we devised for the campaign.
                Fortunately, the format is easy to edit by hand, so some maps were manually
                altered. I am generally not interested in improving GPLed code, as the code
                won't have any commercial value to me. I probably want an in-game map
                editor eventually, and I can't take theirs. Generally speaking, it's hard
                to find a MIT / BSD / zlib game project worth leveraging, so I'm probably
                going to put my "from scratch" hat on in a few days.


                Cheers,
                Brandon Van Every


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Joel Davis
                Well if you do write something from scratch, put it on github or sourceforge or something. It s definitely a gap in the open source ecosystem. As far as tiles
                Message 7 of 20 , Mar 17, 2011
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                  Well if you do write something from scratch, put it on github or sourceforge or
                  something. It's definitely a gap in the open source ecosystem.

                  As far as tiles vs. direct calculations I think that's really much more of a
                  gameplay decision than a technical one. The days are long gone where people use
                  tiles to save memory -- you can easily store an entire world map as a bitmap
                  these days (baldur's gate was the first to do this IIRC). In fact, many tilemap
                  engines these days just draw the tilemap to a big bitmap under the hood, the
                  "tile" is just a historical artifact that's kept around because it's useful for
                  gameplay.


                  Tiles are nice because it's easy to express game rules (like, unit can move 3
                  squares is much easier to understand than 5 meters). Hexes have the advantage
                  that there are no diagonals, so you don't have to make different rules for the
                  four primary directions and the four diagonals. I've seen a few strategy games
                  that tried the completely open, geometric approach but I think it's much better
                  suited for real-time strategy. But if you can make it work it could be really
                  awesome.

                  Personally I like the "offset grid of squares" discussed here:
                  http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21701
                  screenshot example: http://www.macgamesandmore.com/bookworm_wordgames.jpg

                  It's really a hex grid topologically, but a lot more approachable and feels
                  familiar. It's also easier to make art for, and in a pinch you can use a
                  grid-based tile map editor, just keeping in mind that each column is offset a
                  half a tile.

                  joel







                  ________________________________
                  From: Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...>
                  To: gamedesign-l@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Thu, March 17, 2011 10:56:13 AM
                  Subject: Re: [gamedesign-l] hex based 2d engine


                  On Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 12:53 PM, Joel Davis <joeld42@...> wrote:

                  >
                  >
                  > I don't know of any example of someone actually using it. It does look
                  > pretty
                  > incomplete.
                  >

                  The testing suite for Cocoa2D-x has only 1 hexagonal test map, compared with
                  9 iso test maps and 12 ortho test maps. I think the "support" for hexes is
                  probably no more than making sure everything nominally compiles.

                  >
                  > Even for regular square tilemaps, there's not a lot of library support out
                  > there. It's a little better for Flash where they have Flixel and Flashpunk
                  > so
                  > there are some common reusable starting point. My feeling is that the hard
                  > parts
                  > -- like pathing, AI, terrain reasoning -- are going to be pretty game
                  > specific
                  > so no one really makes libraries for them, and the common stuff -- like
                  > drawing
                  > the map -- is simple enough it's not worth splitting out.
                  >
                  >
                  I've sort of noticed while Googling around. An evening of hunting and
                  pecking for someone else's off-the-shelf solution, and I'm like, geez, I
                  could have implemented a lot of game features for this trouble. Also if the
                  library comes at the expense of being stuck with XML, it's not worth it. I
                  prefer representations that expect a human to edit them by hand. Frankly
                  XML culture is a disease. :-)

                  > You'd probably be better off picking a general 2D engine that suits your
                  > platform/license and implementing the hex map yourself.
                  >

                  I'm leaning towards blowing off hex maps entirely and doing direct geometric
                  calculations. We have a lot of animated sprite unit artwork, not any tile
                  blended terrain artwork. The latter was provided gratis by the Wesnoth
                  engine, and we have to replace that artwork if we want to be free of the
                  GPL. Dealing with hexes might have some advantages for discrete AI
                  processing, but it's a real PITA for art assets. There are some kinds of
                  "retro" that I feel have no advantages and should be left for dead.

                  > The lack of an editor is
                  > a bit of a problem, I didn't realize that the new Tiled didn't support
                  > hexes.
                  >

                  It also looks like the old Tiled never really did, in any kind of
                  "production ready, being improved upon" sense. More like someone
                  implemented proof-of-concept and then no one used it.

                  > What do you use to edit Wesnoth maps? Perhaps write a converter from that.
                  >
                  >
                  They have a built-in hex map editor under the GPL. It already fails to
                  display the custom terrain tiles that we devised for the campaign.
                  Fortunately, the format is easy to edit by hand, so some maps were manually
                  altered. I am generally not interested in improving GPLed code, as the code
                  won't have any commercial value to me. I probably want an in-game map
                  editor eventually, and I can't take theirs. Generally speaking, it's hard
                  to find a MIT / BSD / zlib game project worth leveraging, so I'm probably
                  going to put my "from scratch" hat on in a few days.

                  Cheers,
                  Brandon Van Every

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • TAZ
                  ... My wife and I have played several of the Bookworm games to the point of nearly burning the pixels into the screen. :-) ... Just to pinch in, I also used
                  Message 8 of 20 , Mar 17, 2011
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                    --- In gamedesign-l@yahoogroups.com, Joel Davis <joeld42@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Personally I like the "offset grid of squares" discussed here:
                    > http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21701
                    > screenshot example: http://www.macgamesandmore.com/bookworm_wordgames.jpg

                    My wife and I have played several of the Bookworm games to the point of nearly burning the pixels into the screen. :-)

                    > It's really a hex grid topologically, but a lot more approachable
                    > and feels familiar. It's also easier to make art for, and in a
                    > pinch you can use a grid-based tile map editor, just keeping in
                    > mind that each column is offset a half a tile.

                    Just to pinch in, I also used an offset squares map for a strategic space empire game that I worked on. The math is certainly easier and can even skip floating point numbers if need be.

                    If play is on a big bitmap and no grid is displayed, you can use the simple system for movement and rules. After all units move from center point to center point anyway. Player won't notice or care about the bit of distortion between offset squares and hexes.
                    --
                    TAZ

                    Fixed width font fun, tiles and graphics are over rated... :-)
                    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                    / \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/
                    \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \
                    / \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/
                    \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \

                    ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
                    /0000\ /0000\ /0000\ /0000\ /0000\
                    / \____/ \____/ \____/ \____/ \
                    \ /0000\ /0000\ /0000\ /0000\ /
                    \____/ \____/ \____/ \____/ \____/
                    /0000\ /0000\ /0000\ /0000\ /0000\
                    / \____/ \____/ \____/ \____/ \
                    \ /0000\ /0000\ /0000\ /0000\ /
                    \____/ \____/ \____/ \____/ \____/
                  • Brandon Van Every
                    ... Uuuuh well there s the quandry. If it s only my sweat equity, why open source it? For the extra work of making it usable to others, how do I benefit from
                    Message 9 of 20 , Mar 17, 2011
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                      On Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 2:28 PM, Joel Davis <joeld42@...> wrote:

                      >
                      >
                      > Well if you do write something from scratch, put it on github or
                      > sourceforge or
                      > something. It's definitely a gap in the open source ecosystem.
                      >

                      Uuuuh well there's the quandry. If it's only my sweat equity, why open
                      source it? For the extra work of making it usable to others, how do I
                      benefit from it? What's too valuable to give away? I don't think I want to
                      give away an AI to win a battle on a non-tiled 2D map, for instance. I
                      think that level of game service is something people can pay for. What
                      kinds of game terrain generation would I be willing to give away, and what
                      would be "my advantage" as a commercial product? I haven't thought through
                      the boundaries of this stuff yet.


                      > I've seen a few strategy games
                      > that tried the completely open, geometric approach but I think it's much
                      > better
                      > suited for real-time strategy. But if you can make it work it could be
                      > really
                      > awesome.
                      >
                      > It's going to need to be a turn-based game, because we are so heavy on the
                      story stuff. If a person gets a bit of dialogue before or after their turn,
                      that's not a big disruption. In contrast a RTS is going to be inhabited by
                      people who go CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK. They will see the story as
                      a nuisance in the way of the gameplay. I also strongly dislike most of the
                      RTS genre. The only RTS games I've found passable are either "city builder"
                      games like Zeus, where the speed of the simulation isn't all that material
                      to the sandbox play style, or games like Ground Control that have very few
                      units to command. Games such as the latter are a lot closer to being FPS,
                      and we've got too much story text for a FPS, due to the twitchus interruptus
                      problem again. A 3D RPG would be appropriate for us though. RPGs do
                      typically have realtime play nowadays, but people expect a lot more story
                      and dialogue trees and don't inherently complain about them.


                      Cheers,
                      Brandon Van Every


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Gerry Quinn
                      From: TAZ ... Indeed, I don t see any real distinction between square maps and hex maps anyway. You implement both as a 2D array, and
                      Message 10 of 20 , Mar 21, 2011
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                        From: "TAZ" <tzircher@...>
                        > My wife and I have played several of the Bookworm games to the point of
                        > nearly burning the pixels into the screen. :-)
                        >
                        >> It's really a hex grid topologically, but a lot more approachable
                        >> and feels familiar. It's also easier to make art for, and in a
                        >> pinch you can use a grid-based tile map editor, just keeping in
                        >> mind that each column is offset a half a tile.
                        >
                        > Just to pinch in, I also used an offset squares map for a strategic space
                        > empire game that I worked on. The math is certainly easier and can even
                        > skip floating point numbers if need be.
                        >
                        > If play is on a big bitmap and no grid is displayed, you can use the
                        > simple system for movement and rules. After all units move from center
                        > point to center point anyway. Player won't notice or care about the bit
                        > of distortion between offset squares and hexes.

                        Indeed, I don't see any real distinction between square maps and hex maps
                        anyway. You implement both as a 2D array, and all that changes is the
                        squares you can move to from a given square (4, 6 or 8 for the three
                        commmonest choices). It would be entirely possible to write a complex game
                        with a preprocessor switch that changes betwen hex and square modes

                        - Gerry Quinn
                        .
                      • Brandon Van Every
                        ... I think if you wrote AIs for all those different cases, there s a good chance you d see different AI behavior. You d also probably get less performance
                        Message 11 of 20 , Mar 21, 2011
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                          On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 12:27 PM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:

                          >
                          >
                          > Indeed, I don't see any real distinction between square maps and hex maps
                          > anyway. You implement both as a 2D array, and all that changes is the
                          > squares you can move to from a given square (4, 6 or 8 for the three
                          > commmonest choices). It would be entirely possible to write a complex game
                          > with a preprocessor switch that changes betwen hex and square modes
                          >
                          >
                          I think if you wrote AIs for all those different cases, there's a good
                          chance you'd see different AI behavior. You'd also probably get less
                          performance trying to be so generalized, if you have a low level
                          optimization mentality about set operations on tiles. From a testing
                          standpoint, in practice you'd find that some of those cases never really get
                          tested by anyone. For instance, Freeciv has had a nominal hex capability
                          forever, but I doubt anyone actually plays Freeciv on a hex map. Ancient
                          and ugly tile artwork exists for hex maps, compared to nice and modern
                          artwork for the default isometric square maps. Prevaricating between hexes
                          and offset squares would also affect the artwork, even though both have the
                          same topology. I think it is better to make a choice and stick with it,
                          because there's really very little to gain from trying to support all the
                          different cases. From a testing and asset standpoint, there's a lot to
                          lose.

                          Other "pointless testing" issues: does the map wrap from East to West,
                          and/or from North to South. Freeciv has those options but I bet almost no
                          one uses a E-W and N-S map. I've done it "for kicks" in multiplayer a few
                          times, but when you've got 1 zillion configurable options in a lobby, the
                          reality is you just don't bother with them all.

                          I don't understand why Civ V switched to a hex format. Maybe they got tired
                          of the way they were handling rivers. I'd like to know what drove that
                          decision, as the franchise did square tiles for almost 2 decades. Civ IV
                          abandoned the isometric perspective in favor of an overhead slanted
                          orthogonal perspective, a move clearly driven by the wide availability of 3D
                          graphics cards, but topologically it was still the same game.


                          Cheers,
                          Brandon Van Every


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Gerry Quinn
                          From: Brandon Van Every ... Not really, IMO. You d just have a geometry class that is a vector of offsets to cells adjacent to a given
                          Message 12 of 20 , Mar 21, 2011
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                            From: "Brandon Van Every" <bvanevery@...>
                            > On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 12:27 PM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:

                            >> Indeed, I don't see any real distinction between square maps and hex maps
                            >> anyway. You implement both as a 2D array, and all that changes is the
                            >> squares you can move to from a given square (4, 6 or 8 for the three
                            >> commmonest choices). It would be entirely possible to write a complex
                            >> game
                            >> with a preprocessor switch that changes betwen hex and square modes
                            >>
                            > I think if you wrote AIs for all those different cases, there's a good
                            > chance you'd see different AI behavior. You'd also probably get less
                            > performance trying to be so generalized, if you have a low level
                            > optimization mentality about set operations on tiles.

                            Not really, IMO. You'd just have a geometry class that is a vector of
                            offsets to cells adjacent to a given cell. It will have 4, 6 or 8 elements
                            depending on your model. You'd want such a vector for maximum efficiency
                            anyway, so there's no performance loss except for reading the 4, 6 or 8!

                            The AI doesn't have to know anything else about low-level tile geometry.

                            > From a testing
                            > standpoint, in practice you'd find that some of those cases never really
                            > get
                            > tested by anyone. For instance, Freeciv has had a nominal hex capability
                            > forever, but I doubt anyone actually plays Freeciv on a hex map. Ancient
                            > and ugly tile artwork exists for hex maps, compared to nice and modern
                            > artwork for the default isometric square maps. Prevaricating between
                            > hexes
                            > and offset squares would also affect the artwork, even though both have
                            > the
                            > same topology. I think it is better to make a choice and stick with it,
                            > because there's really very little to gain from trying to support all the
                            > different cases. From a testing and asset standpoint, there's a lot to
                            > lose.

                            Certainly from the graphics standpoint you need to pick one or the other
                            (assuming you are using pregenerated tiles).

                            > I don't understand why Civ V switched to a hex format. Maybe they got
                            > tired
                            > of the way they were handling rivers. I'd like to know what drove that
                            > decision, as the franchise did square tiles for almost 2 decades. Civ IV
                            > abandoned the isometric perspective in favor of an overhead slanted
                            > orthogonal perspective, a move clearly driven by the wide availability of
                            > 3D
                            > graphics cards, but topologically it was still the same game.

                            Hex tiles have the advantage that the model corresponds better to peoples'
                            idea of realistic geometry. All six moves you can make are geometrically
                            equivalent. You can't optimise exploration by moving in a zig-zag pattern.
                            Things like that. Wargamers often have a preference for them -
                            unfortunately computers and interfaces often like squares better, so there
                            is always this conflict.

                            Artistically they are different too, I guess there are pros and cons to
                            both.

                            - Gerry Quinn
                          • TAZ
                            ... If you take the big bitmap approach, you can overlay dots, squares, hexes, circles, or triangles using the same art resources on the bottom layer. Just a
                            Message 13 of 20 , Mar 21, 2011
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                              Gerry Quinn wrote:
                              >
                              > Hex tiles have the advantage that the model corresponds better
                              > to peoples' idea of realistic geometry. All six moves you can
                              > make are geometrically equivalent. You can't optimise exploration
                              > by moving in a zig-zag pattern.
                              > Things like that. Wargamers often have a preference for them -
                              > unfortunately computers and interfaces often like squares better,
                              > so there is always this conflict.
                              >
                              > Artistically they are different too, I guess there are pros and
                              > cons to both.

                              If you take the big bitmap approach, you can overlay dots, squares, hexes, circles, or triangles using the same art resources on the bottom layer. Just a thought, leave the tiles in the map editor, build a big bitmap as a mosaic and then allow the artist to further embellish the big bitmap with non-tile information like names of geographic features, a compass rose, or sea monsters in the ocean.
                              --
                              TAZ
                            • Brandon Van Every
                              ... I think you re grossly underestimating the corner cases of AI behavior on different topologies, especially when augmented by human scripting written
                              Message 14 of 20 , Mar 21, 2011
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                                On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 4:22 PM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:

                                >
                                > Not really, IMO. You'd just have a geometry class that is a vector of
                                > offsets to cells adjacent to a given cell. It will have 4, 6 or 8 elements
                                > depending on your model. You'd want such a vector for maximum efficiency
                                > anyway, so there's no performance loss except for reading the 4, 6 or 8!
                                >
                                > The AI doesn't have to know anything else about low-level tile geometry.
                                >
                                >
                                I think you're grossly underestimating the corner cases of AI behavior on
                                different topologies, especially when augmented by human scripting written
                                towards only 1 topology. Algorithms you write for a battle line on 1
                                topology aren't going to "just work" on another. They aren't going to get
                                the testing.


                                >
                                >
                                > > I don't understand why Civ V switched to a hex format.
                                >
                                > Hex tiles have the advantage that the model corresponds better to peoples'
                                > idea of realistic geometry.
                                >


                                That's not an important reason to buck the history of the franchise. The
                                lack of realism suited people just fine for 19 years, and hexes aren't
                                perfect realism anyways. You always lose pure north-south or east-west
                                movement, depending on the orientation of your hexes. Square tiles are
                                cardinally navigable.



                                > All six moves you can make are geometrically equivalent.
                                >

                                Only true for immediately adjacent hexes. It's an advantage for some things
                                but it's not a slam dunk.


                                > You can't optimise exploration by moving in a zig-zag pattern.
                                >

                                Hexes have their own zigzag. From a center hex, the line straight out on a
                                spire is most restricted in terms of obstructions. The zigzag towards a
                                side of the expanding megahex is the least restricted. From an abstract
                                standpoint it's just trading one zigzag artifact for another, it's not
                                inherently better.


                                >
                                > Things like that. Wargamers often have a preference for them -
                                > unfortunately computers and interfaces often like squares better, so there
                                > is always this conflict.
                                >

                                Not in the Civ franchise. Again, I don't see why they did it, other than
                                they just decided to do it.


                                >
                                > Artistically they are different too,
                                >

                                It doesn't matter for unit artwork. Tile artwork in 3D? Doesn't sound
                                compelling. Civ IV tiles were ortho squares and looked just fine.


                                Cheers,
                                Brandon Van Every


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • David Lamb
                                ... Indeed; I fiddled around with some Java prototype code a decade or so ago that would let you switch among square, diamond ( isometric ), and hex grids.
                                Message 15 of 20 , Mar 21, 2011
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                                  On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 12:27 PM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:

                                  > Indeed, I don't see any real distinction between square maps and hex
                                  > maps
                                  >
                                  > anyway. You implement both as a 2D array, and all that changes is the
                                  > squares you can move to from a given square (4, 6 or 8 for the three
                                  > commmonest choices). It would be entirely possible to write a complex game
                                  > with a preprocessor switch that changes betwen hex and square modes
                                  >
                                  >
                                  Indeed; I fiddled around with some Java prototype code a decade or so ago
                                  that would let you switch among square, diamond ("isometric"), and hex
                                  grids.


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Brandon Van Every
                                  ... http://kotaku.com/#!5532853/casting-a-hex-on-civilization-v sheds wisdom in a Sid Meier interview. Most interesting is why Civ wasn t hexy in the 1st
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Mar 21, 2011
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                                    On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 5:34 PM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...> wrote:
                                    > On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 4:22 PM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:
                                    >>
                                    >> Things like that. Wargamers often have a preference for them -
                                    >> unfortunately computers and interfaces often like squares better, so there
                                    >> is always this conflict.
                                    >
                                    > Not in the Civ franchise.  Again, I don't see why they did it, other than
                                    > they just decided to do it.

                                    http://kotaku.com/#!5532853/casting-a-hex-on-civilization-v sheds
                                    wisdom in a Sid Meier interview. Most interesting is why Civ wasn't
                                    hexy in the 1st place. Back in the day, they didn't want to be
                                    perceived as a boring grognard hex wargame with piles of cardboard
                                    units and combat that takes forever. That style of gaming has all but
                                    disappeared nowadays, so it's "safe" to do hexes now. They think the
                                    coastlines look better with hexes, which is something I hadn't
                                    considered. Otherwise though, they give touchy feely reasons that IMO
                                    amount to "we're programmers and we're bored." Somebody wanted to do
                                    it and got paid to do it. Apparently the Civ V engine was a from
                                    scratch rewrite.


                                    Cheers,
                                    Brandon Van Every
                                  • Gerry Quinn
                                    From: Brandon Van Every ... I suppose it depends on the type of algorithm. In principle, hexes should make algorithms for battle lines
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Mar 21, 2011
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                                      From: "Brandon Van Every" <bvanevery@...>
                                      > On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 4:22 PM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:
                                      >>
                                      >> Not really, IMO. You'd just have a geometry class that is a vector of
                                      >> offsets to cells adjacent to a given cell. It will have 4, 6 or 8
                                      >> elements
                                      >> depending on your model. You'd want such a vector for maximum efficiency
                                      >> anyway, so there's no performance loss except for reading the 4, 6 or 8!
                                      >>
                                      >> The AI doesn't have to know anything else about low-level tile geometry.
                                      >>
                                      > I think you're grossly underestimating the corner cases of AI behavior on
                                      > different topologies, especially when augmented by human scripting written
                                      > towards only 1 topology. Algorithms you write for a battle line on 1
                                      > topology aren't going to "just work" on another. They aren't going to get
                                      > the testing.

                                      I suppose it depends on the type of algorithm. In principle, hexes should
                                      make algorithms for battle lines etc. either easier or (at a high enough
                                      level of abstraction) identical.


                                      >> > I don't understand why Civ V switched to a hex format.
                                      >>
                                      >> Hex tiles have the advantage that the model corresponds better to
                                      >> peoples'
                                      >> idea of realistic geometry.
                                      >
                                      > That's not an important reason to buck the history of the franchise. The
                                      > lack of realism suited people just fine for 19 years, and hexes aren't
                                      > perfect realism anyways. You always lose pure north-south or east-west
                                      > movement, depending on the orientation of your hexes. Square tiles are
                                      > cardinally navigable.

                                      Lots of things suited people just fine without necessarily being what they
                                      preferred. For most gamers, hexes versus squares is not a make-or-break
                                      issue if the rest of the game is good. I haven't tried Civ5 yet, but as far
                                      as I am concerned hexes are a plus point. But I could live with squares if
                                      they decided to use them again.


                                      >> All six moves you can make are geometrically equivalent.
                                      >
                                      > Only true for immediately adjacent hexes. It's an advantage for some
                                      > things
                                      > but it's not a slam dunk.
                                      >
                                      >> You can't optimise exploration by moving in a zig-zag pattern.
                                      >
                                      > Hexes have their own zigzag. From a center hex, the line straight out on
                                      > a
                                      > spire is most restricted in terms of obstructions. The zigzag towards a
                                      > side of the expanding megahex is the least restricted. From an abstract
                                      > standpoint it's just trading one zigzag artifact for another, it's not
                                      > inherently better.

                                      It *is* inherently better (or, more precisely, different - it should not be
                                      assumed that artefacts are intrinsically bad). The exploration coverage
                                      artefact that comes from diagonal movement on a square grid being faster in
                                      Euclidean terms doesn't exist in hex grids. But the 'restriction' artefact
                                      you describe *does* exist on square grids if you consider diagonal rather
                                      than orthogonal lines. Orthogonal lines don't have it because they are slow
                                      in Euclidean terms.

                                      Hexes are a good fit for Civ and similar games because the maps mimic
                                      natural forms. If you want to make a tactical wargame in which battles take
                                      place inside buildings, hexes have the disadvantage that they fit poorly
                                      with rectangular rooms.


                                      >> Things like that. Wargamers often have a preference for them -
                                      >> unfortunately computers and interfaces often like squares better, so
                                      >> there
                                      >> is always this conflict.
                                      >
                                      > Not in the Civ franchise. Again, I don't see why they did it, other than
                                      > they just decided to do it.

                                      What better reason is there?

                                      Seriously, I think a majority of players of this type of game, given the
                                      choice, would prefer hex.

                                      From the designer's perspective, both are clearly perfectly doable - there
                                      are no overwhelming reasons to choose one or the other as far as I can see.
                                      Both models are well understood; there are no unexpected roadblocks likely
                                      to surface whichever they choose. The tech is maturing - it cares less and
                                      less about such matters. So if they want to go hex this time - why not?


                                      >> Artistically they are different too,
                                      >
                                      > It doesn't matter for unit artwork. Tile artwork in 3D? Doesn't sound
                                      > compelling. Civ IV tiles were ortho squares and looked just fine.

                                      Not saying one or the other is better - just slightly different.

                                      - Gerry Quinn
                                    • Brandon Van Every
                                      ... Why? I ve been playing Freeciv and Battle for Wesnoth forever. One s square, the other s hex. I know everything there is to know about small area combat
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Mar 21, 2011
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                                        On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 8:57 PM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:

                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > From: "Brandon Van Every" <bvanevery@...>
                                        > > On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 4:22 PM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:
                                        > >>
                                        > >> Not really, IMO. You'd just have a geometry class that is a vector of
                                        > >> offsets to cells adjacent to a given cell. It will have 4, 6 or 8
                                        > >> elements
                                        > >> depending on your model. You'd want such a vector for maximum efficiency
                                        > >> anyway, so there's no performance loss except for reading the 4, 6 or 8!
                                        > >>
                                        > >> The AI doesn't have to know anything else about low-level tile geometry.
                                        > >>
                                        > > I think you're grossly underestimating the corner cases of AI behavior on
                                        > > different topologies, especially when augmented by human scripting
                                        > written
                                        > > towards only 1 topology. Algorithms you write for a battle line on 1
                                        > > topology aren't going to "just work" on another. They aren't going to get
                                        > > the testing.
                                        >
                                        > I suppose it depends on the type of algorithm. In principle, hexes should
                                        > make algorithms for battle lines etc. either easier or (at a high enough
                                        > level of abstraction) identical.
                                        >

                                        Why? I've been playing Freeciv and Battle for Wesnoth forever. One's
                                        square, the other's hex. I know everything there is to know about small
                                        area combat in these 2 games. The packing arrangements are rather
                                        different. When 2 lines of hexes clash, a given unit in the line is only
                                        exposed to 2 opponents. On a square or diagonal line, it's 3. The force
                                        capabilities of the units can't be balanced for both cases simultaneously.
                                        Topological exposure and the density of the lines is the main determinant of
                                        victory in these games. Combat with a small number of units is again
                                        different from a larger number of units. With larger forces, units in a
                                        line have limited exposure. Also, you get more traffic jams. Having 8
                                        exits from a tile is a lot more mobility than 6 exits.

                                        You can pretend that micro-tactics don't matter, and that it's only about
                                        making accurate force estimates for strategic movement. But in my
                                        experience, tactics always matter, particularly against humans.


                                        >
                                        > It *is* inherently better (or, more precisely, different - it should not be
                                        >
                                        > assumed that artefacts are intrinsically bad). The exploration coverage
                                        > artefact that comes from diagonal movement on a square grid being faster in
                                        >
                                        > Euclidean terms doesn't exist in hex grids.
                                        >

                                        Yes it does. Do your geometry. Just because the hex is *closer* in shape
                                        to circle, does not make it a circle. It's still a discrete approximation
                                        of distance, with artifacts. You can determine this trivially using a
                                        compass on a paper hex map.


                                        > Hexes are a good fit for Civ and similar games because the maps mimic
                                        > natural forms.
                                        >

                                        The only natural form they mimic is a honeycomb. I've never seen a
                                        hexagonal coastline, nor a square one. Coastline aesthetics problems are
                                        generally solved with blended tile artwork, making them wrinkly enough that
                                        the polygonal bases of whatever sort are not so objectionable.



                                        > If you want to make a tactical wargame in which battles take
                                        > place inside buildings, hexes have the disadvantage that they fit poorly
                                        > with rectangular rooms.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        In our culture, that they do. But buildings that are not aligned NSEW don't
                                        fit on a square grid either. The only solution here is a smaller tile
                                        size. Discretization is what it is.


                                        >
                                        > >> Things like that. Wargamers often have a preference for them -
                                        > >> unfortunately computers and interfaces often like squares better, so
                                        > >> there is always this conflict.
                                        > >
                                        > > Not in the Civ franchise. Again, I don't see why they did it, other than
                                        > > they just decided to do it.
                                        >
                                        > What better reason is there?
                                        >

                                        They could have saved production labor by keeping the engine and AI they had
                                        before. It was already working code. Similarly, they could have retained
                                        the art production processes that they already had in place for Civ IV.
                                        Instead they just decided to up and change everything. I figure programmers
                                        were having fun getting paid and there's no other significance to it. A
                                        bunch of fiddling with stuff.


                                        >
                                        > Seriously, I think a majority of players of this type of game, given the
                                        > choice, would prefer hex.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        I think it's totally irrelevant, as 19 years of the Civ franchise already
                                        proved.


                                        Cheers,
                                        Brandon Van Every


                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • Gerry Quinn
                                        From: Brandon Van Every ... The algorithms for hex should tend to be less complicated in general (where they are not the same). Two
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Mar 22, 2011
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                                          From: "Brandon Van Every" <bvanevery@...>
                                          > On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 8:57 PM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:

                                          >> I suppose it depends on the type of algorithm. In principle, hexes should
                                          >> make algorithms for battle lines etc. either easier or (at a high enough
                                          >> level of abstraction) identical.
                                          >
                                          > Why? I've been playing Freeciv and Battle for Wesnoth forever. One's
                                          > square, the other's hex. I know everything there is to know about small
                                          > area combat in these 2 games. The packing arrangements are rather
                                          > different. When 2 lines of hexes clash, a given unit in the line is only
                                          > exposed to 2 opponents. On a square or diagonal line, it's 3. The force
                                          > capabilities of the units can't be balanced for both cases simultaneously.
                                          > Topological exposure and the density of the lines is the main determinant
                                          > of
                                          > victory in these games. Combat with a small number of units is again
                                          > different from a larger number of units. With larger forces, units in a
                                          > line have limited exposure. Also, you get more traffic jams. Having 8
                                          > exits from a tile is a lot more mobility than 6 exits.

                                          The algorithms for hex should tend to be less complicated in general (where
                                          they are not the same). Two units beside each other are always in the same
                                          relative configuration, unlike the case for squares. As for the mobility
                                          issue, it is possible that that might make things easier or harder for AIs
                                          depending on circumstances. Certainly AI techniques for dealing with
                                          bottlenecks tend to be poor which might be an argument in favour of squares
                                          (or other rules increasing local mobility).


                                          >> It *is* inherently better (or, more precisely, different - it should not
                                          >> be
                                          >> assumed that artefacts are intrinsically bad). The exploration coverage
                                          >> artefact that comes from diagonal movement on a square grid being faster
                                          >> in
                                          >> Euclidean terms doesn't exist in hex grids.
                                          >>
                                          > Yes it does. Do your geometry. Just because the hex is *closer* in shape
                                          > to circle, does not make it a circle. It's still a discrete approximation
                                          > of distance, with artifacts. You can determine this trivially using a
                                          > compass on a paper hex map.

                                          Sure, artefacts exist. But that particular artefact doesn't exist. Taking
                                          a zig-zag path from A to B on a hex grid will not expose more cells adjacent
                                          to the path than a straighter path of the same number of steps. On a square
                                          grid this artefact is huge and good players always exploit it during
                                          exploration.


                                          >> Hexes are a good fit for Civ and similar games because the maps mimic
                                          >> natural forms.
                                          >>
                                          > The only natural form they mimic is a honeycomb. I've never seen a
                                          > hexagonal coastline, nor a square one. Coastline aesthetics problems are
                                          > generally solved with blended tile artwork, making them wrinkly enough
                                          > that
                                          > the polygonal bases of whatever sort are not so objectionable.

                                          I would say that approximate hexagonal forms do occur more often in nature.
                                          Layers of bubbles form them, for example. Any slightly compressible objects
                                          of a similar size that are squeezed into a layer are likely to take up such
                                          a configuration naturally.

                                          But really that's not relevant, it's a matter of aesthetics. You mentioned
                                          rivers earlier. Rivers with 90 degree angles just don't look natural.


                                          >> Seriously, I think a majority of players of this type of game, given the
                                          >> choice, would prefer hex.
                                          >>
                                          > I think it's totally irrelevant, as 19 years of the Civ franchise already
                                          > proved.

                                          There we must disagree. I think it's a natural option for incrementally
                                          evolving the franchise. I am not saying this was the first thing that would
                                          have been on my mind for them to change, but on the other hand I really
                                          don't see any good reason to rule it out as an option either. I doubt they
                                          threw out too much stuff that they wouldn't have been throwing out anyway.
                                          Plus, they can point it out to anyone who complains at paying a fifth time
                                          for an iteration of Civ: "Look, we totally rewrote everything from the
                                          ground up". Programmers know square to hex isn't really a big deal, but the
                                          public don't.

                                          Now here's hoping that HOMM6 will take a leaf out of their book and go back
                                          to The Only True Grid Topology on the tactical screen ;-)

                                          - Gerry Quinn
                                        • Brandon Van Every
                                          ... Fine, there s no coverage artifact for exploration. There is still a flexibility artifact for combat and terrain obstruction. If I move outwards along a
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Mar 22, 2011
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                                            On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 6:21 AM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:

                                            >
                                            > From: "Brandon Van Every" <bvanevery@...>
                                            > > On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 8:57 PM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > >> It *is* inherently better (or, more precisely, different - it should not
                                            >
                                            > >> be
                                            > >> assumed that artefacts are intrinsically bad). The exploration coverage
                                            > >> artefact that comes from diagonal movement on a square grid being faster
                                            >
                                            > >> in
                                            > >> Euclidean terms doesn't exist in hex grids.
                                            > >>
                                            > > Yes it does. Do your geometry. Just because the hex is *closer* in shape
                                            > > to circle, does not make it a circle. It's still a discrete approximation
                                            > > of distance, with artifacts. You can determine this trivially using a
                                            > > compass on a paper hex map.
                                            >
                                            > Sure, artefacts exist. But that particular artefact doesn't exist. Taking
                                            > a zig-zag path from A to B on a hex grid will not expose more cells
                                            > adjacent
                                            > to the path than a straighter path of the same number of steps. On a square
                                            >
                                            > grid this artefact is huge and good players always exploit it during
                                            > exploration.
                                            >

                                            Fine, there's no coverage artifact for exploration. There is still a
                                            flexibility artifact for combat and terrain obstruction. If I move outwards
                                            along a megahex spine, I don't have any choice about my path. There is only
                                            1 path. If I move outwards towards the center of a megahex side, I have
                                            many choices of path, with the greatest flexibility midway between the start
                                            and the destination. I think the path flexibility artifact is far more
                                            important than the exploration coverage artifact, and it exists for both
                                            squares and hexes. Thus I do not see hexes as better than squares. They're
                                            both unrealistic.


                                            >
                                            > I would say that approximate hexagonal forms do occur more often in
                                            > nature.
                                            > Layers of bubbles form them, for example. Any slightly compressible objects
                                            >
                                            > of a similar size that are squeezed into a layer are likely to take up such
                                            >
                                            > a configuration naturally.
                                            >

                                            Walk around a natural landscape and tell me what hexes you see. None.


                                            >
                                            > But really that's not relevant, it's a matter of aesthetics. You mentioned
                                            > rivers earlier. Rivers with 90 degree angles just don't look natural.
                                            >

                                            They aren't much better with 60 degree angles, or a series of 120 degree
                                            angles around the successive edges of a single hex. Only wargamers accept
                                            these rivers.


                                            >
                                            > >> Seriously, I think a majority of players of this type of game, given the
                                            > >> choice, would prefer hex.
                                            > >>
                                            > > I think it's totally irrelevant, as 19 years of the Civ franchise already
                                            > > proved.
                                            >
                                            > There we must disagree. I think it's a natural option for incrementally
                                            > evolving the franchise. I am not saying this was the first thing that would
                                            >
                                            > have been on my mind for them to change, but on the other hand I really
                                            > don't see any good reason to rule it out as an option either.
                                            >

                                            You say "evolve." I say churn.


                                            > I doubt they
                                            > threw out too much stuff that they wouldn't have been throwing out anyway.
                                            > Plus, they can point it out to anyone who complains at paying a fifth time
                                            > for an iteration of Civ: "Look, we totally rewrote everything from the
                                            > ground up". Programmers know square to hex isn't really a big deal, but the
                                            >
                                            > public don't.
                                            >

                                            They can *say* that, but the game *looks* the same as Civ IV, except for the
                                            hexes. I don't think "we rewrote it" is a sales point at all. What matters
                                            are things like "we have a new combat system," "leaders are speaking in
                                            their native languages now," and "we got rid of the stupid religion and
                                            corporation system that's so freakin' tedious." "We rewrote it" is a pretty
                                            weak bullet point.


                                            Cheers,
                                            Brandon Van Every


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