Non-3D weenies?

Non-3D weenies?

Postby c_xong » 11 Apr 2017, 02:21

How do you do weenies in non-3D games?

"Weenies" is a term coined by Walt Disney, it's something (usually visually striking in the distance) that attracts the user's attention, invites them to get there, helps them stay oriented etc. Examples include the big landmarks at Disneylands, like the castles, the Epcot ball. It's named after dog handlers using a wiener to get the dog to look in a certain direction.

It's also used a lot in 3D games, especially via large landmarks, such as the White-Gold Tower in Oblivion, City 17 Citadel in Half Life 2. Even E1M1 in Doom kind of has this; the level has a horseshoe layout that lets the player see the end of the level from the start. There's heaps of examples if you start looking for it.

But these really only work in 3D games, where you can see (and go to) distant objects. They don't really work in games with a 2D world, or non-visual games. What are some other ways to do weenies here?

I suppose there are two approaches; one is to have a compass/quest marker, but that seems very awkward. Another is to place signs everywhere which point to all the important locations, but that also seems too on-the-nose, plus you have to go up close to the sign/NPC and actually read them. Does anyone know of some good ideas here?
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Re: Non-3D weenies?

Postby smcameron » 11 Apr 2017, 04:13

This may border on being too "3D", but I could imagine a 2D side scroller with a parallax effect with distant silhouettes of things in the parallax layers foreshadowing upcoming levels.
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Re: Non-3D weenies?

Postby onpon4 » 11 Apr 2017, 05:44

I guess it depends on what type of game you're talking about.
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Re: Non-3D weenies?

Postby eugeneloza » 11 Apr 2017, 06:58

Thinking of a 2D game (Oazis I've written you about :)). It looks like a cool idea to have a Northern Pole accessible (and yes, the compass would always point that direction even if not directly seen). Also such points of interest (as I call them) can be shown in a cutscene even in a 2D game.
I really liked that idea of Xenoblade where you can see Mechonis most of the time on the horizon, until you finally have a chance to travel there.

I wonder, if a "half-concealed" overworld map displaying the major locations of the game counts?
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Re: Non-3D weenies?

Postby c_xong » 11 Apr 2017, 07:31

smcameron {l Wrote}:This may border on being too "3D", but I could imagine a 2D side scroller with a parallax effect with distant silhouettes of things in the parallax layers foreshadowing upcoming levels.

This is a good idea as a narrative device. In sidescrollers you can't really move into the distance though, so it's not really a navigational aid in the same way as 3D weenies, unless you do something really unconventional, like FEZ, which does this in a few zones iirc. There's also that ulililia game but that's even weirder.
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Re: Non-3D weenies?

Postby c_xong » 11 Apr 2017, 07:57

eugeneloza {l Wrote}:I wonder, if a "half-concealed" overworld map displaying the major locations of the game counts?

World maps are also maps, which doesn't really count as weenies. If you think back to the Disneyland example, they could just hand out maps to their visitors and call it a day. They do still give you a map, but with weenies you don't have to rely on maps to navigate, plus they look great.
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Re: Non-3D weenies?

Postby c_xong » 11 Apr 2017, 13:34

One idea is to use paths. The more prominent it is, the more it implies something important lies at its end. This could be roads, rivers, or NPCs travelling along it.

Diablo's town level, Tristram, does this. There's basically one path that if you follow, you eventually get to the dungeons.

I also recall giving feedback for Valyria Tear on how its starting town was hard to navigate due to the lack of paths.
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Re: Non-3D weenies?

Postby themightyglider » 11 Apr 2017, 17:00

In th 16Bit era many top-down games used panorama views to give the player an idea of locations that were far away.
I think this is a great element for storytelling as well.

An example(from Final Fantasy VI):
Image

Sorry, I didn't found a better screenshot wight now.
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Re: Non-3D weenies?

Postby c_xong » 12 Apr 2017, 02:34

themightyglider {l Wrote}:In th 16Bit era many top-down games used panorama views to give the player an idea of locations that were far away.

Nice example! I think it's similar to the side-scrolling one, it works well for storytelling but not so much for navigation, since you can only do this on the top edge of maps, like cliff edges.
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