Poll Question 201 – Do you like overlay maps?

5th December 2010

Do you like overlay maps?

The Rising looks a pretty cool mod and I’ll definitely be reviewing it for me new website but one thing that struck me was the overlay maps.

I know it’s a multiplayer mod but it got me thinking why mods include them. I can’t decide if I like them or not. It kinda breaks the immersion and definitely spoils the fun of exploring but if the layout is that complicated that I need a map, maybe it’s not my kind of mod.

That said, it’s nice to have different features, although I’d like to see it as an inventory item and viewed in the same way a weapon is, via my hand holding it. It would be pretty cool to select the map like a weapon and have my hand reach to the side and flick out the map and then flick it back again.

Anyway, how do you feel about these kinds of maps?

The Poll


  1. RustySpannerz

    I would like a map like the map in Far Cry 2 or the journal thing in Metro 2033. This mod would fit these brilliantly. I loved Metro 2033 because of the little things like that, it even had a little lighter with which you read the journal. I love that game.

    1. RustySpannerz

      Ooh, I also quite liked it in Penumbra when I had to go back and look at a map on the wall to figure out which rooms were where.

      1. Yeah. That was great, I hope more games used that because its quite common in real life. I even drew my own map in Penumbra. In some older dungeon crawlers you also had to draw your own map. I have always liked breaking the 4th wall in games by using my own pen&paper to make notes. It is also sometimes faster to look the map on your table than it is in-game.

  2. Overlay as a part of the hud is good for multiplayer. Also names for diffirent areas of the map as part of the map or hud are great too. You don’t need to long complex descriptions of places shout: “I am in this big hall with machines in it and greenish lights.” Simple: “I’m in maintance hall.” is enough. Compass is also really handy tool to have in mp.

    In singleplayer I don’t want it to be part of hud. Seperate button or inventory item is good when needed. In linear games like Quake and Half-Life I am not really missing it.

    And last but not least. There are more than a handfull of games with very poor maps and those games would be better without. If you are making overlay/map, plase make it readable for everyone.

  3. MikeS

    I voted ‘maybe” because I’ve never played a map with an overlay. It sounds good in principle but agree with Phillip that a map in your inventory is more realistic.

  4. Maybe:
    For linear HL/HL2 type games and mods, a definite no. On first play, it’s a crucial part of the enjoyment that you do not know what’s around the corner. Thereafter, you replay and go exploring not knowing what you will find.

    For open/sandbox type games a definite yes. In Crysis, this was done very well and added to the enjoyment.
    You get the map and an objective to reach. Without that, there are times when you simply do not know which way to go.
    But you can still do a little exploring.

  5. Berrie

    For a game like GTA it’s okay.
    In most games I’d like an explanation for it, though.
    I’ve your in some high tech suit or have cybernetic eyes, I can accept them.

    Otherwise I’d like it as something you need to pull out and check, rather than being omnipresent on the top right corner.

    So it really depends on the game and context.

  6. While not a an overlay in the sense of the word,EP2 used the radar map for finding hidden caches of ammo and health while driving to White Forest

  7. It’s all about how they do it. If they do it properly you won’t feel like it’s wrong. As far as I remember you can run it that mod while map is open. That’s why it bothers you if you ask me.

  8. JohnnyMaverik

    I put maybe cuz I feel sometimes they have a place and sometimes they don’t. I can understand why they have them in the rising, because if you a new player and you run off the wrong way, get lost, have to fight through a bunch of player controlled enemies while trying to work out which way your meant to be going, then die, you’re not going to put it down as a great experience.

    Sometimes they do feel out of place though yes. Other than massive, sprawling RPG’s I can’t think of many single player experiences where they’d make sense.

  9. HiroProtagonist

    In a non-linear game its great to have a pull out map, and depending on the amount of non-linear-ity (?) having the HUD map is great too. Large Multiplayer games like Bad Company 2 do the HUD map really well, with snipers having motion mines that show enemies in its AoE on the HUD map, or anybody hitting q to mark enemies in their crosshair for a few seconds.

  10. Bramblepath

    Like you said, it can depend on the type of mod. I have nothing against adventure-type mods where this might be necessary for exploring the environment, but in a normal single-player mod it isn’t needed.

  11. Kyouryuu

    It took a moment to realize what you were talking about – the minimap, yeah?

    I don’t have a problem with minimaps. They are essential in open world games and would be awfully convenient in games where you refer to the map frequently.

    But if you’re going to do it, you should integrate it into the rest of the HUD by keeping it somewhat abstract. Don’t draw buildings – draw big squares that represent them. For any map to be useful, you have to be able to quickly identify the important things on it. Metroid Prime has a good example of a minimap that blends into the rest of the HUD. It’s basically a simplified wireframe of the map in the same translucent orange that the rest of the HUD is drawn in.

    As far as normal single player goes, it all depends on how twisted the maps are and how much backtracking is involved. Half-Life tends to be a pretty linear point-A-to-point-B game, so there’s never really a question of where to go next. But games like BioShock have more of a hub-spoke system where you are expected to traverse different areas of the level forwards and backwards to complete your objectives. A way to get around the “map tells you everything” bit is to do what Doom (and Metroid Prime) did, and simply not draw an area until the player has been there or seen it. Course, that would make the implementation of the map a lot trickier, I bet. 🙂

  12. It’s pretty simple; If the map is complex enough to need it, USE it. Otherwise don’t. I do like the idea of multiplayer maps having them. I get lost so damn often on TF2 that it really puts me at a disadvantage as a newbie player, possibly even moreso than not knowing the classes that well. I know there are big arrows that point the main routes, but I still can’t judge if tangent paths are favorable or not, or what to expect when I round a corner. At least having the OPTION of pulling up a map overlay on my HUD would be a HUGE benefit.

  13. I like them on huge maps, but smaller areas where suspense is key like in The Rising I think its a bad idea.

  14. No No NO! Half of the game(if good) is exploring! I think a minimap where you see only a small radius is OK if in the right type of game; think gta and mafia. Another idea is having the map be lit up as you find new areas. However both of these destroy emmersion and so it’s best to not have them. Without them is good enough.

  15. Herr_Alien

    Yes, but only for SP games.

  16. Da Fat Cat

    Personally, I think TR would be better without the map overlayed on the screen, as long as you can still hold a key to get a big map on your screen.

  17. john

    in bio shock the map was a must have, I got lost all the time. in fall out 3 the world map is most helpful but the local map is not really useful.
    I did use leons map on strider to see my progression up the summit, course that’s not the idea here. have not had a need for any in half life. if episode 3 was more open terrain maybe a map would have been useful. course alex would probably get in the way of me reading it or loose it while in the car. hehe.

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