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What's the big deal about Hexagonal map grids?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by yturk39, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. yturk39

    yturk39 Chieftain

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    I'm just wondering why this seems to be such a popular request for any new version of Civ that comes out. Why do people want this so much?
     
  2. s.bernbaum

    s.bernbaum Mostly lurking

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    Harking back to my misspent youth (when strategy games all took place on physical playing boards and units were usually cardboard squares), on a hex tile board the distances are all the same when moving any given number of tiles in any direction. On a square tile board, diagonal moves are not the same distance as horizontal or vertical moves.
     
  3. karadoc

    karadoc AI programmer

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    I don't think it's a big deal at all. I don't think it actually makes a lot of difference in terms of gameplay*; and I actually think the square tiles look a bit better. I find it easier to see what the fastest route is with square tiles. Zig-zigging along the hexes doesn't seem as neat to me.

    (* There are some tactical differences, especially with the one-unit-per-tile rule of Civ 5, but I just don't see it is as being a major feature of the game.)
     
  4. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam GiftOfNukes

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    Hexes are superior to squares. The just are not superior to squares when they are shackled by the combination of 1UPT and tons of small areas/chokes + ZoC. Civ V needed to zoom out a ton and give more room (differentiating between city tiles and culture control) to make 1UPT viable.

    Anyway, the reason hexes are has been stated already; it keeps movement in all directions fair. In terms of how it is visually, its an easy adjustment as long as the UI is reasonable. It's frustrating that very old hex based games actually did their UI better than civ V.
     
  5. Nicol.Bolas

    Nicol.Bolas Chieftain

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    what does superior mean?? all the players move on the same grid.

    in terms of being realistic it's inferior.

    when you move in real life, taking the diagonal route toward a destination is also faster then moving along the sides of a square defined by the origin and destination as it's corners.
     
  6. babar

    babar Chieftain

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    Not as funny as the Bush quote, but still, you're getting there in terms of nonsensicalness.
     
  7. Nicol.Bolas

    Nicol.Bolas Chieftain

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    no.

    you can try this right where you sit.
    imagine you want to go to the nearest corner of the room.
    if you go diagonally, its faster, then if you can only move along the walls
     
  8. ParadigmShifter

    ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator

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    Hmm.

    It still takes root 2 as long to move diagonally (using the Euclidean metric) than moving orthogonally.
     
  9. A_Hamster

    A_Hamster Small Furry Animal

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    Then do you remember what the initials SPI once stood for?
     
  10. ParadigmShifter

    ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator

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    sad pillocks inside?
     
  11. yturk39

    yturk39 Chieftain

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    How is movement along a square grid unfair? If you're in the center of a 3X3 grid, going a tile North, Northeast, East, Southeast, South, Southwest, West, & Northwest take exactly the same number of turns.

    In a Hex system you have equal movement along six of these directions: North, Northeast, Southeast, South, Southwest, & Northwest. How is depriving the player of the option of moving directly East or West a superior system?

    Honestly, I'm trying to understand.

    By my reasoning, logically an OCTAGONAL grid would most make sense, except that this is impossible; try to line the sides of Octagons together and what you end up with is basically a square grid system (try it yourself in PowerPoint! You'll see what I mean...)

    Hmmm...this gives me some ideas...
     
  12. cain3456

    cain3456 Chieftain

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    NO IT DOESN'T. 3N + 3E = 6 turns. 3NE = 3 turns. This is why wargamers prefer hex maps. Distance is the same no matter how you get there.
     
  13. Dhoomstriker

    Dhoomstriker Girlie Builder

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    You kind of lost me in your example. I see what you are doing for the square grid, but can you give a specific example for the hexagon grid? It seems to me that "how you get there" can also matter a lot in terms of either distance travelled or turns spent, in a hexagon grid.


    EDIT: I found a neat site that lets you print (or just visually look at) customizable .pdf files of various types of graph paper.

    Octagons
    Hexagons
    Squares
     
  14. yturk39

    yturk39 Chieftain

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    If you want to go 3NE, why not just do it in the three turns, then?

    ...Or do you want your unit to be facing a specific direction (other than the opposite of the direction travelled from)? If so, that's a tactical decision, and yes it will cost you more turns to achieve this, no matter which grid system you use.

    Distance isn't the same if you attempt to move directly East or West, since moving in either direction will also force you to move slightly northward or southward depending on which tile you pick.
     
  15. yturk39

    yturk39 Chieftain

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    I tried your 3N + 3E example and found something interesting:

    Say, on a hex map you do move directly 3 hexes south of your start position.

    Now, suppose from there you decide you want to go to the hex three tiles west of your original start. Here's one question: which one? There are two.

    Depending on which tile you're trying to reach, it'll take you four or five moves!
     
  16. karadoc

    karadoc AI programmer

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    I've played several different square-grid based games in which diagonal movements took (roughly) sqrt(2) movement points compared to horizontal and vertical movement. The sqrt(2) basically makes it as realistic as tile-based system is going to be, but frankly, I don't think it makes much difference.

    It's true that in civ4, 3N + 3E takes 6 moves, while 3NE only takes 3 moves — but so what? Everybody knows that a direct path will be shorter than a bending path. It's not a flaw in the system. And although diagonal movement in Civ4 is cheaper than diagonal movement in real-life, you have to bear in mind that it's all very approximate anyway.

    Let me remind you of a few other rough edges in Civ4's movement system. -A scout can move onto grassland then onto hill in one turn, but it can't move onto hill then onto grassland in one turn. -Moving onto a forested hill sometimes takes 3 full movement points, and sometimes it only takes 1/3 of a movement point. -The real planet Earth is spherical, but the map of Civ4 is just as wide near the poles as it is at the equator.

    My point is that a turn-based game with discrete tiles is never really going to be 'realistic'. It's just a game. And I don't think having hex tiles makes the game any more realistic, or fun, than square tiles.
     
  17. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Directions are more intuitive in squares, distances and areas are more intuitive in hexes. As such, I prefer hexes on small-scale maps where I care less about absolute directions than relative position of units.
    Squares require some effort to look organic (they didn't even bother in Civ4. Many earlier games had a ridiculous number of looks for functionally identical tiles to fit together in all combinations) and this can come at the expense of the normally superb readability. Hexes offer a decent compromise without needing to pick one or the other.

    The look and feel boils down to preferences, none of the above makes one better or worse. The most relevant distinction for gameplay is that squares are less restrictive (8 neighbouring tiles instead of 6) and different ways how orientation matters: Orthogonal/Diagonal is a rather big distinction somewhat controllable with ZoC rules, Straight/Zigzagging matters less and often not at all.

    These quirks of the playing field can be desired features, more often they appear to be unwanted/unconsidered artifacts - making the more neutral hexes preferable. I certainly feel more games use squares when they should use hexes than the other way round, not surprising as I assume squares are more expedient for the creators.
    Civ5 however would probably work slightly better with squares (more mobility and room for relevant positioning rather than managing a hex-not-gridlock).
     
  18. babar

    babar Chieftain

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    I largely agree with karadoc, except that I prefer hexes. Realism isn't the issue so much as geometric fairness, and the ability of two adjacent units to block an enemy from travelling between them. But I don't think it matters that much, and squares do have a certain something...
     
  19. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam GiftOfNukes

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    /jokes.

    What you're saying isn't relevant. In tile-based maps, people are moving in a straight line horizontally, but also moving at the EXACT rate in a diagnol northeast then south east, with the same movement cost. It's not hard math; in REAL life a direct route is faster than an indirect route all things being equal. In civ, you can move hugely northeast and then hugely southeast and have it take EXACTLY THE SAME effort as straight east. You're saying this is...realistic?

    Your argument about moving within the square is ridiculous; units in civ do not move inside squares. They move BETWEEN squares.

    This sums up why hexes are superior nicely. Now, it's possible for hex based games to be bad enough that the hexes themselves can't save them (IE civ V), but that doesn't change the reality that hexes offer more realistic/balanced movement models.

    TBH when designing games this doesn't have nearly as big of an impact as how well the system is actually designed, how balanced the game is, the controls, etc.
     
  20. Dhoomstriker

    Dhoomstriker Girlie Builder

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    I don't see movement in a hexagon-based grid approaching reality, either. If that's the argument for hexes and against squares, then it's a poor one to make.

    In a hex grid, if I move SE then SW, I end up in a very different position relative to my starting point than if I move SE then NE. In fact, the relative difference from the point of origin is large... using the hexagon-grid-generating web site that I linked above, it is a ratio of 168 : 289 pixels, with the first number being how far we ended up to the south by moving SE then SW, and the second number being how far we ended up to the east by moving SE then NE.


    Maybe I'm measuring the wrong values here, perhaps because I am using "square-based logic" on a hexagon-based grid, but there appears to be a definite bias against moving east and west.


    But, as long as you aren't trying to argue that either model does a good job of following reality, then both have their place and, if for no other reason, it was neat of the Civ 5 team to "change things up" just for the sake of changing things. Not neat in the sense that it makes for a good game, but neat in the sense that it brought in a lot of customers into the Civ series, who would then turn around and start playing Civ 4.
     

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