View Full Version : Mapping a MMORPG?

09-09-2009, 04:40 PM
There's a new MMO right now called Mortal Online. One of it's main features is that it does not have any ingame maps so you either have to find a website with maps or make your own. Since there are no Mortal Online map websites yet, I want to make my own.

I don't think you can make your own maps based on the position of the sun or the stars (but I could be wrong) so I really don't know how to find out what way is North, South, East or West.

I'm taking a pace count to get approximate distances between points. This should be fairly accurate (+-10%)....

I noticed most maps on this forum are drawn from the imagination. Can anyone guide me as to make a map based on a realistic online world?

The game is based on UnrealEngine 3 but ofcourse the map files are encrypted. If anyone knows were to get unreal engine 3 map editor and decrypter that would be sweet....

09-09-2009, 08:26 PM
Interesting problem. The old Unreal Engine was based on OpenGL and we were posting about how to rip the graphics from that the other day. In this particular case that might well be not allowed or condoned... serious frown etc. I think the new one is direct X tho which is harder. Also with the newer programmable graphics you can decrypt the map inside the video card which would make it quite a difficult job. Prob not worth going down that avenue.

The way you would make a map in real life given that you don't have GPS or any satellites or planes to make the job easy would be to use accurate measurements of distance and angles. So the old sextant or theodolite is used.

The first accurate maps of the UK were made by taking a pair of 50ft rods of glass onto Hamstead Heath which is a park in London and measuring them accurately and measuring how many were needed to get from one fixed location to another. From that and then by taking subsequent angles to other notable points and using a bit of fairly basic maths they measured out the whole of the UK. It turns out that by the time they got from Londons Hamstead Heath to the top of Scotland they were about 6 feet out. Thats not bad for about a thousand miles of very crinkly land to cover.

So, your right in that pacing out some starting point is probably the best thing you can do. Then I think the best would be to find out what angle the edge of the screen is in relation to the center forward travel. Then use some maths to figure out the distances to far off places like mountains or similar features. Do those from multiple directions, at least 2 but the more the better, and then average them all out reducing the error. Then you can plot those points down and find the land about them.

Its hard work to make a map like that. I think its an excellent ploy by the game makers not to have a map. That map presumably would be worth real money after you make it tho cos it allows you to go to the best places and get the best stuff. You might get more in virtual gold than real money for a similar commission !

Darn good example of why knowing trigonometry and geometry is useful too and should give you a bit of practice with it. 8)

Oh yeah, the stars. Well its not possible to know which way is North or South any more than which end of a magnet is North or South but it should be possible to figure out a map based on the stars which some might draw upside down to others. What you need to do is figure out if this planet is round and if so then is it spinning. All assuming its somewhat earth like then you need to sit in one spot at night and take regular screen shots and look for the bit of the night sky that is stationary and all the other bits of the sky like the stars revolve around it. That will be one polar axis. The angle from a flat horizon like the ocean to that star is the tilt of the planet and the latitude. If you walk toward that point in the sky your heading polar and perpendicular is the planetary spin rotation direction - the Easts and Wests. If you assume that the sun rises in the East then you can figure out which way is North. Of course the planet may spin the other way and its actually South from an Earth like perspective.

If you have a shortest day and a longest day then the difference gives you, in a roundabout manner, the tilt of the planet. If you know the tilt then you know your latitude so you can now assign that. On Earth the Astro dudes at Greenwich arbitrarily decided that they were at 0 longitude and scaled off the rest of the planet accordingly. So you can do the same, get your lat and assign your long coord.

If you have some online or real friends in the world then you might also be able to put a known object in several places at once and see if you get a shadow. If that shadow is different lengths then that might give some clue as to the size of the planet. Whilst you have instant communications, in the old days people had to synchronize clocks to do that. Thats why ships clocks were so expensive and also why they used the moons of jupiter which could be seen from far different places on the planet at the same time.

Anyway, im going off on one a bit. Post how you get on.

09-09-2009, 08:42 PM
What a cool idea for an adventure in such a world!

09-10-2009, 07:34 AM
Many years ago, I tried mapping the 'Butcher Block' mountains in Everquest by pacing. There were tonnes of maps about but I wanted to make my own.

So I got a squared note pad and ran from location to location and did a lat/long check - not sure if Mortal has this. The problem was that becase you had to take altitude into consideration as well, there was quite a bit of guesswork involved, particularly as the land was not flat. It was great fun though, I'd get chatting with other players who loved the idea and ran as bodyguards when I got too close to spawn points so I could have a straight run from point to point.

Going back to what Redrobes said, the ideal starting point would be to have something rather tall (perhaps a giant character?) of a known height which you could use to take sighting from.

I've just gone to the website and read about Mortal and I really like what I see. It's still in beta so looks like it's free for now. It might be fun to set up a chapter of the Cartographer's Guild there. I really like the open gaming concept and the combat looks much better than I've seen in other Fantasy MMORPGs. In the end though the problem is that one just gets bored with the teenage nonsense and having to kill 100 spiders to complete a quest. I hope this one will be different.

I might give it a go!

09-10-2009, 04:25 PM
In order to play in the beta right now you must preorder the game. So basically you pay some cash, get into the beta and get a free month of gameplay when the game is released. The beta is not free to play sorry....

This game looks awsome, the beta has graphics nerfed for testing reason,and alot of the features and game world are not activated yet but they should be shortly.

It looks like they're shooting for a release date of sometime before Christmas....

As for killing 100 spiders, there are no quests in this game. This game is entirely based around the players. It's mostly pvp, crafting, and exploration. There's something like 140million weapon variations and billions of different armor combinations so players will appear very different from one another and no 2 weapons will play exactly the same. The most important feature is that it's a full loot game, meaning you kill a player you take everything that player has on them. When the game gets released the world size will be about 64squared kilometers, but if the games successful they'll release more continents.

Maybe the easiest way to describe this game would be a cross between Eve Online, UO and Darkfall, but with top notch graphics in a fantasy setting.

As for mapping I found out that in the city of Tindrem has a harbor that faces north, so that will be my starting point.....

I will release whatever I mapped after the nondisclosure beta agreement has been lifted...