General Boards => Mapping Tips/Guides => Topic started by: TerraEsperZ on October 23, 2011, 06:30:06 pm

Title: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: TerraEsperZ on October 23, 2011, 06:30:06 pm
While mapping The Final Fantasy Legend, I've been using upper-case letters to identify doors/stairs and show how they connect together. However, right now I'm working on a particular map where I will eventually go over not only 26 pairs of doors (26 upper-case letters) but over 36 as well (in case I wanted to use numbers after running out of letters).

I could simply use lower-case letters afterwards which would give me more than enough to complete this troublesome map, but they're harder to make out against the map itself and I'd rather use something more noticeable.

Is there any sort of rule in the English language regarding this, namely numbering using letters past 26 items? I know MS Excel simply starts using two letters instead (X, Y, Z, AA, AB, etc) but it doesn't look good and the larger label would obscure the underlying door which I'd rather avoid. How would you guys do it?
Title: Re: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: gRE3N744 on October 23, 2011, 06:53:19 pm
If they are in a specific order I'd go with the 2 letter thing or start over with a new color, otherwise I would pull up Character Map and find some distinct symbols for anything after the 36 letters and numbers.
Title: Re: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: Trop on October 23, 2011, 06:53:53 pm
I've messed with this problem a lot and there are a variety of ways to solve it.  You can use numbers.  You can letter rooms instead of entrances/exits, so several paths leading to room "A" would all be marked "to A".  You can place adjoining rooms close to each other and only use letters when entrances/exits can't be lined up.  You can even use translucent arrows to join rooms.  Me and Paco used all of these at some point on the Mystic Ark maps.  I think if you use the dual lettering system you have to start with it instead of going up too two letters once you get to the end of the alphabet, but I don't know.
Title: Re: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: TerraEsperZ on October 23, 2011, 07:24:00 pm
Since I'm using the in-game font, I sadly don't have access to any fancy characters. Would have been fun to use something like that though. Switching to a different system is out of the question at this point since I've already labeled 30 maps and thanks to changing my mind about how to handle certain details and situations, I've already redone half of those 3 or more times. Simply switching to a different color I think would be the best option, but thanks for all speedy responses and ideas guys.

Trop, I just took a look at those Mystic Ark maps and man, that game looks brutal in terms of map size and all the various interconnected areas. Great maps with all the comments and tips.
Title: Re: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: Maxim on October 24, 2011, 02:30:13 am
I'd expect to see AA after Z. With hindsight, you could have used numbers always with two digits, or roman numerals if you wanted to be obtuse :)
Title: Re: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: TerraEsperZ on October 24, 2011, 05:37:45 am
I found that going from a dark blue to a light blue and starting from A again after Z works well considering that this is for the map of the tower that spans all the various worlds of the game. It's about 10 000 pixels in height so far and the letters are laid out sequentially in a very straightforward manner since each floor has only two doors that are lettered (leading upward and downward). Switching from Z to a differently coloured A about halfway through the map shouldn't be confusing to anybody in my opinion.
Title: Re: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: JonLeung on October 24, 2011, 06:51:35 am
One thing that's probably a good idea is to check ahead for things like areas with lots of doors.  If you always have less than 26, then alphabetical is a good idea (as is numerically).  If you always have less than 99, then two-digit numbers would be good, starting with 01.

Earlier, I was in the habit of renaming number-based stage map submissions to have a a leading zero so that all the stages would have the same number of digits.  It helps when listing files alphabetically.  But with Super Mario Bros. 3, whereby there is one stage that reaches 10, namely "6-10", it looks weird to have "World 1-01", etc., all because of that one case.  From around that point onwards, I didn't always add on leading zeroes, because some file browsers (like my grossly outdated CompuPic Pro that I still use) has the ability to sort files alphabetically as well as numerically, meaning that 6-10 appears after 6-9 as it should, instead of before 6-2.

I guess that was kind of tangential to the discussion.  But planning ahead is a good idea, because it's not so fun to have to go back to previous maps to change things for consistency's sake because of something you discover later.
Title: Re: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: snesmaster on November 01, 2011, 09:45:07 am
I know what you mean with the naming files.  I do the same thing with leading zeros.  I have some programs that will list them numerically and others that do alphabetically, I also noticed different versions of windows do it differently.  I typically don't count on all programs to be smart enough to organize files numerically, however more and more are doing it now.

I think for your case TerraEsperZ that switching colors would work the best.  Normally I would say do ..Y, Z, AA, AB.., but if that obscures too much of the map then colors should work just fine especially since there is a clear cut off point so two of the same letter with different colors won't be anywhere near each other to cause confusion.
Title: Re: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: Troy Lundin on November 01, 2011, 11:35:49 am
What do you guys think about (tasteful) lines connecting doors to each other? As long as each scene is placed semi close to it's corresponding scene it wouldn't look bad.
Title: Re: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: Maxim on November 01, 2011, 12:41:59 pm
I always prefer lines to doors, especially when they can avoid overwriting the map itself.

As an example of a game where 26 letters weren't enough is the last three maps in GG Shinobi (, where Will switched colours but I find it terribly confusing. Laying these kind of maze level out with arrows can be painful too - my Wonder Boy II ( map comes to mind, and there are plenty more complicated than that.
Title: Re: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: TerraEsperZ on November 01, 2011, 02:35:49 pm
I tend to switch between arrows and letters depending on the game. Games where doors are always nears the edge of a room or map segment work best for arrows since the relationship between said door and arrow is intuitive. For games like (J)RPGs where doors/stairs can be located anywhere in a particular area, letters work best. I agree with you that it's usually best to avoid writing over the map, but in some cases it's better than the alternative as long as it's done well.

With the map of the Tower, I only decided to switch colour because there's no way to find it confusing unless you're looking for a reason to be confused. Like I said earlier, I laid out all the floors vertically one over the other in order, and every door leads directly to either the floor above or under the current one, or to a major/minor world which is identified with a label.

And yeah, that Wonder Boy II map is a nightmare to figure out, but there was very little you could have done to improve it. It must be a nightmare to navigate without a map, and even making one while playing would be difficult.
Title: Re: Numbering things on your maps - A question...
Post by: StarFighters76 on May 05, 2012, 11:41:45 pm
I know it's been several months since the last post, and I'm sure the TC got their questioned answer, and I do apologize for the bump, but I still feel as if I should give my advice on the situation.

On the countless amount of maps I've made, there has never been an over-abundance amount of connecting points and items/points of interest at the same time. Knowing that, I consider the game I'm mapping, and decide which would be better to use for connecting points and which would be better for items. If I know a game is gonna have much more items than connecting points, I use numbers for items and letters for connecting points. If the situation was reversed, it would be letters for items and numbers for connecting points. Now if I know there is gonna be a fair balance between the two, then it really depends on what you feel like.

On the off-change I decide to go against this, when using letters for items, I get all the way to 'Z', then use lower case, because so far I have not reached the point where I need 52 letters (both upper and lowercase) for items (I save that for numbers).

As for this situation, I would have went with numbers for connecting points, it's a lot less of a hassle in the long run (especially since you were wondering if you should use double letters). Letters in this case should have been left for items/points of interest.

This of course is just my opinion :)