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Author Topic: Navigation once again  (Read 3357 times)
Q_x
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« on: June 27, 2011, 09:21:34 PM »

20 years after the collapse...
Do you guys think there will be any chance of successful navigation in the place where:

maps are 20 years old
all is frozen
all man-made terrain signs are all fallen
vegetation eats up close to everything
and the distances are huge?

there are some ways that people helped themselves in such circumstances, and it was before the compass was used. Look here for an example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inukshuk

I also remember an article about some small bizarre bone figurines, completely abstract, that was used to memorize and recall a route.

But apart from that - either you have a copy taken from a good map (I assume such treasure is not taken to travel with it) - that is 1:100 000-200 000, and it is thick like small book in case of Sweden, or you are just as lost as without a map at all, as there is not much use of a map in scale bigger than that after whole landscape changes. So, of course, you can have it and mark some things on it, but it would be still not more useful than this bone carving stuff...

Do you guys think that the compass and a map is really enough? Or maybe even with those inventions our PC can get lost from time to time?
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MrWillis
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2011, 11:18:31 PM »

Well maybe was can have a you are here part to it so the player has a general feel of where he is at.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2011, 01:09:59 AM »


Maybe you would get lost a little...that can just be abstracted in maximum travel times.  There are also locals you can talk to (abstractly) if they are not hostile.

Traveling in the wilderness is a skill like any other - I think people would get pretty used to the tricks.  You can use the sun, stars, water features to navigate.  Getting lost != death, either.  Just delays you (and consumes more resources)

I mean, I don't know how to skin and dress an dead animal, but if I was hungry enough I would figure it out eventually.


Note that it would be sort of nuts to take off on a long trip without some kind of map and no way of collecting food.
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2011, 08:59:24 PM »

It's not about navigation alone. I lived near old railroad (it has been dismantled a couple of years ago), and it was covered with brush stunningly fast. Forest pretty much hides all stuff really quickly. Abstracting "getting lost" may be hard (= interesting, why not!) and actually getting lost may lead to death - excellent example that kills people - swamps.
But yes, people traveled without any substantial help - but this was on short distances or on tracks that were maintained and the knowledge about a given route and hidden dangers was passed from one man to another. I imagine going away no more than two to three days for a pack of hunters in the wild (that is without regularly maintained tracks), and that is in known terrain, and in hunt for a game they would rely on, like following big herds and later following a major stream to get back safely.
We wish our poor PC to travel literally for years, in any weather, through whole year, doing insane things like crossing Baltic through ice. That is without any stable landscape features that could make navigation easier. I mean I know sea shore will not move, same with most of the rivers (for an exception - Vistula will make huge swamps when it's "delta" will be left unmaintained, even for a single year).
But... All man-made map points will become pretty much camouflaged and similar one to another. Horizon will be not made out of mountains and city in the valley, but of nearby trees. Going through forest will be impossible as it is done now - there will be no stable paths away from settlements. Old maps will be pretty much useless - no roads visible from distance, regular, 20 years old vegetation will be almost everywhere. As for me - quipu-like map would make more value than piece of paper to lost within.

And for now, we have settlements few good weeks or months one from another... What will be visibility of such place? If it's on shore (Helsinki) or on a river bank, man will not miss it, but apart from that - I hardly imagine any travel, that is even with compass, really precise topo map (1:25000, the paper needed will weight 0,5 kg if you will cut out only what you need, that is for 400 km travel) and pedometer you need to be a "pro" to get from point A to B with two-weeks long tundra walk.
An example:
Player needs to get from Tallin to Riga, that is about 460 km going close to the the sea shore, that is 20 days by foot, or less than a week with dog sledge, or a single day or two on an ice boat if there are the right conditions,  Terrain that is close to comfortable to walk through (4 km per hour is doable on sand), and it's easy to catch some fish in the rivers that will fall into the sea. In the same time this is under 300 km by the old road, so less than two weeks by foot, three days on sledge, but it's more risky - terrain is harder, the road may have collapsed many times, bridges may be missing, lake may form right in the middle of old railroad and so on. But at the same time - PC may hunt or scavenge old settlements (or just stay overnight in an inn, if it happens to be one somewhere there). It's just harder to go across it, and way more risky.

And when you hit a road wide enough not to be forested after 20 years, it will pretty much lead to a place that will be still a bit awkward to go to - like because of radioactivity. Will make travel easy though...

I also think some places could easily be abandoned, just because, for example, nearby lake has been frozen down to the ground, killing most of what was in it, and since there is no reliable food source, people will be forced to move on, so not only one can't rely on old marks, but on human signs (smoke, marks on trees) as well.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2011, 10:30:39 PM »


What makes you think there isn't enough people traveling to maintain tracks between "major" locations?  Especially since they could be built "near" old population centers which have extensive road networks, etc.   Sure a lot of it will be overgrown, but it's not IMPOSSIBLE to navigate!  People did this in the 18th-19th Century. 

Furthermore, we can use this to our advantage as game designers (BTW, this post is in the wrong forum!)  - we have a H.U.G.E. world map.  It will take forever to populate it all with cool stuff... having essentially impassible wildernesses about makes it easy to control where the player can travel.  Similarly - a trans-baltic expedition is like a "new level" in a more typical game.   You have to attain certain things in the game before it's reasonable to expect success (survival?)

I agree that the longer treks are a bit "heroic"... and possibly somewhat unrealistic... but compared to most games; at least we're considering it.
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2011, 06:29:06 PM »

How many people a major location will have? How much need for trade, and how many traders, hunters etc. will follow a given (inland, that is not by the river bank or sea shore) route to even start to clear any major path for the dog sledges? One hungry guy monthly, who travels in a hurry from inland to shore to exchange beaver pelts for seal blubber or moonshine for traps - this is my vision of such trade.

And how many such major pathways people would be able to maintain? I agree they can be in pretty good shape if this would be like 4-5 days on foot from one place to the other, where there will be need for trade and big places.  

Or, from the different angle: would it be possible to live without nearby stable water source - that is lake, river or at least a big stream near the settlement, so that people would be forced to actually go there through the forest?

If you look at those expeditions you wrote about... From the great ones I can think about only the route through Australia was not made following water routes or shores, and this was effort organized beyond imagination (with some really tough leader).
Of course, this was a bit different task that what we might expect from Scandinavia - in terms of distances and water sources.

I'm still trying to imagine how could that work, and it seems to me like PC will be have to be really damn good in moving across various terrain to visit all those places around Baltic sea and still be alive. Good in dog sleigh riding, carefull and really damn good in navigating using maps, unofficial routes, stars, terrain features, basically anything. Pioneers from wild west times would been like a kids when compared to this guy.

I just came back from nearby forest - completely wet, cold, now we're drying stuff all around our flat. There was no chance for me to stay a day longer, as I planned initially. Rain, wind, just all was wet. And that was in hi-tech poncho and waterproof backpack.
I've been wandering a lot with old maps - made 25 to 30 years ago. And a digital, compass, rather not precise device if you ask me.
The landscape changed a lot in countryside here - more buildings, more roads... It's all ok for now - forests are maintained with the same grid of cut-through quarters and same fire roads. But every single time when something changed - like a new dirt road was created, I was seriously feeling a bit lost - that is within well-maintained, unchanged framework. And I can hardly imagine anyone trying to do anything in a forest that has none of the features like roads. Problem is the maps we make (most often) pay little attention to the terrain (with the exception of rivers), and accent roads, settlements, paths - stuff that, apart from really big ones - will be hard to notice after 20 years of wildlife activity, erosion, corrosion and so on.

Now, to make this thread a bit constructive: How about keeping path finding not as a type of general knowledge or skill, but make it more territorial (or even separate for a single track, or all of the above joined together), so that PC may know how to travel through, for example, middle part of Sweden just because he heard lots of stories from the region, will make it on any shore line, but most probably will be immediately lost when crossing Baltic on ice for the first time, or will be lost when navigating through mountains on the far north? Or when using maps written in Cyrillic he will initially deal better with navigation, just because he will not be disturbed by "the old stuff"?
Also, we could have skills like "shore line travel", "river bank travel", "ice desert travel", "dog sleigh travel" and so on - basically whole set of essential skills needed to "travel" - that is navigating, hunting, trapping, snaring, fishing not only through a given territory, but a given type of travel and activities related to it. This may affect speed and health as well.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2011, 09:46:04 PM by Q_x » Logged

zenbitz
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2011, 07:56:18 PM »

Ah, the skill of which you speak is usually called "Area Knowledge".   Actually I think this is most useful for NPC guides.  PCs generally wander and won't bother to learn a specific area that well.  However, it's sort of a null skill because everyone who needs it has it, and it's not generally obtainable without spending months or years in the same place (not very RPG like).   
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We are not denying them an ending...
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