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Hexes vs. Squares

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Davaris

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Jim the Dinosaur

Yep, hexes are nicer when it comes to maths. Things look better to me if they work without hacks.


Instead of a diagonal distance calculation, your character ends up walking as if drunk... but only in certain arbitrary directions. With squares, movement is consistent in all directions.

Depends on what you define as north and east. If your artists encourage an isometric north and and east, it can look "isometric". With square tiles, you have to change their shape to a diamond to get the same look.

And as I explained above, you get movement jaggies with both kinds of grids. And with squares if you go north east over a medium distance, A* takes an unnecessarily long route, due to the distance issue Jim the Dinosaur mentioned.
 

J1M

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Sure, in theory.

Theory ends when you try to move north and then west, or forward and then sideways.

Instead of a diagonal distance calculation, your character ends up walking as if drunk... but only in certain arbitrary directions. With squares, movement is consistent in all directions.


But what would you want diagonal movements to cost then? You can't have it the same as non-diagonal, so I assume, like Monblut in the thread you posted, that you'd want 1.5 the cost for diagonal movement; that means hex movement is "consistent" in 6 directions, while square movement is consistent in 4 directions at a time. That just makes hexes nicer in my opinion.

Jim the Dinosaur

Yep, hexes are nicer when it comes to maths. Things look better to me if they work without hacks.


Instead of a diagonal distance calculation, your character ends up walking as if drunk... but only in certain arbitrary directions. With squares, movement is consistent in all directions.

Depends on what you define as north and east. If your artists encourage an isometric north and and east, it works perfectly and artistically with hexes as it looks "isometric".

And as I explained above, you get movement jaggies with both kinds of grids. With squares if you go north east over a medium distance, A* takes an unnecessarily long route, due to the distance issue Jim the Dinosaur mentioned.

You are going to need to draw a diagram to convince me that you can portray a map in a sensible way where north and east are not perpendicular to each other.

If you go northeast on a square grid you move diagonally in a straight line. I think you meant north-northeast, but that would mean you are arguing that there are 8 directions you can move without jittering when using squares, and only 6 directions when using hexes. Somehow you think hexes come out on top in this particular comparison? o_O
 
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Davaris

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You are going to need to draw a diagram to convince me that you can portray a map in a sensible way where north and east are not perpendicular to each other.

Here they got one of the directions right. What other directions could that zig zag wall follow? Your answer lies there.

1S1vJH.png




If you go northeast on a square grid you move diagonally in a straight line. I think you meant north-northeast, but that would mean you are arguing that there are 8 directions you can move without jittering when using squares, and only 6 directions when using hexes. Somehow you think hexes come out on top in this particular comparison? o_O

If you go northeast on a square grid you move diagonally in a straight line - But only if you move for one square. Try moving in that direction for more than one square and you get jaggies and the long path, because of the distance issue JTD mentioned.
 
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Another reason hexagons are nicer, is because no matter which adjacent hex you move to, the distance is the same. With tiles the distance changes if you move on the diagonal. Yuck.

http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~amitp/gameprog.html#hex

Sure, in theory.

Theory ends when you try to move north and then west, or forward and then sideways.

Instead of a diagonal distance calculation, your character ends up walking as if drunk... but only in certain arbitrary directions. With squares, movement is consistent in all directions.

Preference for straight movement in 6 directions (over 4) is no more arbitrary than preference for 4 directions over 6. Wankery over cardinal directions is ridiculous.

One of the usual counter-arguments for cardinal movement vs hexagonal directions is that you can permit diagonal movement in a square grid and make it cost accordingly (eg. 5 for straight, 7 for diagonal, sacrificing a practically negligible amount of geometric precision) which also applies to a hex grid (4 to adjacent tiles, 7 to the closest no-adjacent tile).

There are all sorts of solutions out there. Make a character occupy 4 squares or 9 squares / 7 hexagons with absolute, impassable occupation at the center tile and conditional collision/passability and bonus/penalty modifiers at surrounding tiles. Anything goes for those willing to circumvent problems sensibly, without resorting to abstract constructs as absolute truths.

Personally, I prefer hexagons in games with a heavy presence of melee combat and squares for ones favoring firearms.
 

J1M

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You are going to need to draw a diagram to convince me that you can portray a map in a sensible way where north and east are not perpendicular to each other.

Here they got one of the directions right. What other directions could that zig zag wall follow? Your answer lies there.


If you go northeast on a square grid you move diagonally in a straight line. I think you meant north-northeast, but that would mean you are arguing that there are 8 directions you can move without jittering when using squares, and only 6 directions when using hexes. Somehow you think hexes come out on top in this particular comparison? o_O

If you go northeast on a square grid you move diagonally in a straight line - But only if you move for one square. Try moving in that direction for more than one square and you get jaggies and the long path, because of the distance issue JTD mentioned.

Are you talking about the rounding difference between using 1.41 and 1.5 to calculate the diagonal distance? In that case, we are talking about a distance of 11 squares, not one, before that issue creeps up. Or you could just let the computer calculate it.

I'm not seeing what you are trying to portray with that fallout map. The artwork was made in an isometric style and then a sloppy hex grid of blocked locations representing walls was placed on top. It does not look like the artists who worked on the environments were at all aware of the intention to use a hex grid for the game.
 
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Davaris

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The only criticism I have seen of hexagons that is valid, is the immediate jaggy movement if you go north and south. Squares are fine as long as I am the one that doesn't have to program them. :)
 
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Davaris

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I'm not seeing what you are trying to portray with that fallout map. The artwork was made in an isometric style and then a sloppy hex grid of blocked locations representing walls was placed on top. It does not look like the artists who worked on the environments were at all aware of the intention to use a hex grid for the game.

This is the best I can do with my programmer art. Magenta lines represent blocked out tiles. Orange lines are walls. These are the directions you would encourage your artists to use, to create a game that looks isometric. The game's north south and east west would be the directions those walls follow.


 

J1M

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I'm not seeing what you are trying to portray with that fallout map. The artwork was made in an isometric style and then a sloppy hex grid of blocked locations representing walls was placed on top. It does not look like the artists who worked on the environments were at all aware of the intention to use a hex grid for the game.

This is the best I can do with my programmer art. Magenta lines represent blocked out tiles. Orange lines are walls. These are the directions you would encourage your artists to use, to create a game that looks isometric. The game's north south and east west would be the directions those walls follow.



I understand your diagram here. What I don't understand is the suggestion that this strategy somehow lines up better for hexes, when it in-fact maps directly and exactly to a square isometric grid.

isometric-grid.png
 
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Davaris

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It is better IMO, because no fancy hacks are required to make hex tiles work in an iso 2D game. It just works out of the box.

And another point I was making is the complaints about zig zags when you run north south have little validity, if a hex game is laid out properly along the axis lines I described.

What I don't like about square grids is RPG rules by tradition make the assumption that distances on the diagonal, are equal to the distances in the cardinal directions. Path finders certainly notice the difference, unless you tell them lies. :)
 

Alex

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In theory yes, that could work. The size modifier applies in D&D to both: for the attacker as attack bonus and for the defender as AC bonus: http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Attack_Roll

A height step (e.g. of 2 feet each) above the enemy could add an additional attack bonus of 1, each height step below -1. But as I already said, usually the involved characters are standing on the same height when in melee.

Is height really an advantage in hand to hand combat? I mean, I can see it being advantageous with a weapon like a spear, as you can use its weight to help you thrust downwards. But with a sword, it seems like you would have trouble defending your lower body/legs while your foe could focus his defense on his upper body, taking away opportunities from you, making memorized feints a bit more awkward, etc.

Then again, I am not an specialist in this stuff by any measure, which is why I am asking this.
 

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Davaris, 3E DnD has special rules for diagonals, it's a mixed success.

Alex being taller *usually* means you have longer reach. If you can hit someone when they're too far away to hit you, it's usually a big advantage. Extreme differences might cause weird things to happen though, as extremes tend to do.
 

J1M

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J1M
It is better IMO, because no fancy hacks are required to make hex tiles work in an iso 2D game. It just works out of the box.

And another point I was making is the complaints about zig zags when you run north south have little validity, if a hex game is laid out properly along the axis lines I described.

What you are describing here is isometric diamonds, which are a square grid. Using hexes on the same type of artwork results in a strange situation where you can move NE/SW in a straight line but not NW/SE.

I agree that adjusting the perspective as you are suggesting helps to compensate for the inherently unwieldy situations that walls and rooms present for hexes, but that technique certainly does not work better for hexes than it does for a square grid.

Although it may not sound like it, I do think hexes look pleasant; but that is the primary advantage that they have over squares. Therefore, people who prefer them are graphics whores. ;)
 

Alex

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Davaris, 3E DnD has special rules for diagonals, it's a mixed success.

Alex being taller *usually* means you have longer reach. If you can hit someone when they're too far away to hit you, it's usually a big advantage. Extreme differences might cause weird things to happen though, as extremes tend to do.

Well, yeah, but I was talking about terrain. Does getting up on a stepping stone, for instance, increase your reach with a weapon? Also, I think 2 feet (the suggested size for a step) already causes a bit of confusion. Your opponent's eyes will be level with your waist, and your legs will level with his hands.
 
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Davaris

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Although it may not sound like it, I do think hexes look pleasant; but that is the primary advantage that they have over squares. Therefore, people who prefer them are graphics whores. ;)

We are also maths whores/neat freaks. :)

I think the way Fallout is laid out looks better from an artistic point of view, but it encourages vertical movement which gives the zig zag walk problem.

Edit:
Having said all that, the hexagons would have to be irregular in a 3D engine, so walls can be lined up with hex axes. It would be a bit messy math wise, if they wanted to go down that road.

I am looking at the Wasteland 2 demo and I see they haven't bothered to line 3D objects up with hexes at all. I guess they figure hexes are for TB combat only, so zig zag movement won't bother people too much.
 

tuluse

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I love hexes, and I it's because of the equidistance and the elegance of handling things like threatened areas. I think I might have minor OCD or Davaris says I might be a "neat freak".

If your problem with hexes is that you can't travel in a straight line to go in a certain direction, then your solution should be no tiles, not square tiles. Since square tiles have the same problem, they just have N/S and E/W axii handled.
 

J1M

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I love hexes, and I it's because of the equidistance and the elegance of handling things like threatened areas. I think I might have minor OCD or Davaris says I might be a "neat freak".

If your problem with hexes is that you can't travel in a straight line to go in a certain direction, then your solution should be no tiles, not square tiles. Since square tiles have the same problem, they just have N/S and E/W axii handled.

Personally, I prefer most characters taking up 2x2 on a square grid. When you move from a visible grid to a screen pixel grid the game becomes a pixel hunt trying to position properly and determine if a character can fit through a certain area.
 

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