Hexes? Really?

By on June 30, 2014 12:37:31 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Tolan_Grimm

Join Date 02/2005
+1

Here we are in our third version of Galactic Civilizations.  I figured maybe we could ditch grids completely.  But they do have some use.

 

Hexes, on the other hand, though having some use, create really silly situations that look down right stupid.  For instance, my colony ship is moving to the southern end of the map.  On a grid, in the previous games, the ship made a clean arc to the proper rank and then moved in a straight path to the destination.

On the hex-grid, however, the colony ship snakes back and forth every hex, completely destroying any immersion, unless you just happen to be on the perfect rank.

 

Perhaps it's a back-end thing?  Couldn't you use an UI overlay each time you click on a ship to show it's possible range in an arc (with the option to turn it off)?

Couldn't we just measure, like in sandbox style, tabletop gaming, from point to point?

 

I really cannot stress just how bad Gal Civ III look on a hex-grid.

 

Captain Tolan T. Grimm

 

 

 

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June 30, 2014 1:07:56 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

While there is talk about fixing the issue the hexes are here to stay. The developers feel that too much is gained by the usage (bigger maps, better map design, more strategy issues, etc).

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June 30, 2014 2:06:26 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

I really like the hex system. Its been a better way to do things in almost all games including old table top Dungeons and Dragons. I agree the zig zag motion is rather silly. In Gal civ II, the ships were able to do Arcs and Straight lines. Both should be doable here in Hex forms. What is really good is the ability to make round shapes with hexes, something you cannot do with a square based map. 

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June 30, 2014 4:15:45 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting Larsenex,
What is really good is the ability to make round shapes with hexes, something you cannot do with a square based map.

It is blatantly false that you cannot make good looking round shapes on a square grid. What you cannot do is make good looking small round shapes on a square grid, and in my personal opinion the rectangular grids give better-looking circle approximations than the hex grids do for arcs with a radius greater than a couple of tiles (also, the three-tile hexagonal grid circle approximation looks like garbage to me). Also, when does Galactic Civilizations care about making round shapes? Aside from the influence circles, which are as likely to have long straight lines as long arcs, something which hex grids have less choice in handling, and whose arced segments are likely to be  large-radius arcs rather than small-radius arcs, I can't think of a reason why I'd care that the grid is supposedly better at portraying round shapes.

Quoting Larsenex,
Its been a better way to do things in almost all games including old table top Dungeons and Dragons.

Whether or not a hexagonal grid is superior to a rectangular grid is entirely dependent on the situation. Creating a small round shape by filling in grid tiles? Yeah, hex grids are superior as long as it's not the 1 tile radius around an intersection approximation. Hex grids aren't that great for large round shapes, though, and they don't readily accommodate the 45, 90, 135, 225, 270, and 315 degree lines, while square grids are bad at small round shapes and don't readily accommodate the 60, 120, 240, and 300 degree lines. Square grids also allow for 8 surrounding tiles rather than 6, which means that "target plus surrounding tiles" options can hit 33% more adjacent tiles when on square grids than when on hex grids. Hexagonal grids also do not readily lend themselves to a convenient coordinate system, unlike rectangular grids.

Regardless, I don't really care what kind of grid is used. The issue with the drunk ship pilots I feel is something that will likely be polished out as the game approaches completion.

Quoting Ryat,
While there is talk about fixing the issue the hexes are here to stay. The developers feel that too much is gained by the usage (bigger maps, better map design, more strategy issues, etc).

Would you, or anyone who can do so, mind explaining how hexagonal grids provide more strategic issues? Because I really don't see how a hexagonal grid is in any way superior in strategic depth to a rectangular grid. Equivalent, sure, but not superior (or, for that matter, inferior).

I can see the case for larger maps, in that the pathing is slightly less complex (maximum of six links from each tile to check, rather than the maximum of eight links for a rectangular grid, though you really ought to be using much less of a brute force pathing algorithm than checking every possible link from each tile along the path), but other than pathing there shouldn't be that much of a difference. The case for better map design is something I feel to be entirely a matter of opinion.

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June 30, 2014 4:18:35 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Well...pixals are tiny and square like and can make convincing circles.

but I like hexs, but hate the zig zag.

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June 30, 2014 4:29:14 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Oh and a square grid will translate quite nicely for 3d cubes while a hexagon cannot.

The hexagonal grid for gameplay purposes is just a square grid laid in a brick formation. Where each layer is shifted by 1/2 block. It gives the same effect (although visually looks unappealing.)

Hex or Square it matters not to me. I find neither to be more strategic than the other.

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June 30, 2014 4:35:52 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting DARCA1213,
Well...pixals are tiny and square like and can make convincing circles.

Pixels are also typically significantly smaller than the circles they approximate, which makes your average circle displayed using pixels into a large-radius arc (radius scale is being judged relative to the size of the grid unit, not absolutely).

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June 30, 2014 6:49:29 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

the biggest issue i have with square maps is distance

looking at a 5x5 square grid if i wanted to move from one corner to the other it should cost me 5.65 movement points however the game thinks that the four secondary angles are directly adjacent and therefore 1 tile away from the start and not the actual distance of 1.41

the only way this works is if we assume that gc2 actually used an octagon grid which was represented in squares.

 

the hex grid has the reverse of this problem when traveling north/south moving 8 tiles only actually moves you the equvelent of 6.9 tiles 

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June 30, 2014 11:33:18 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

The two biggest issues with squares vs hexes for a flat map are:

  1. Squares significantly distort distances; worst case is using 1 movement point for 1.4 of distance, and average case is moving a distance of 1.2 per 1 mp.   With hexes, the worst case is that you spend 1.15 less than actually traveled, and average case is 1.05.   Hexes are significantly closer to reality in terms of distance to MP required.
  2. Hexes tessellate better into all other regular polygon shapes.  That is, the percentage of "excess" or "missing" area when using hexes to approximate circles, arcs, hemispheres, pentagons, and even most quadralaterals is much less than when using squares (presuming the hex and square have similar face-to-opposite-face distance).  Squares are only slightly superior when the larger shape is a parallelogram; they really only have an advantage when the larger shape is a rectangle.

Most long-term tabletop gamers have always preferred hexes to squares, and it's been amazing to see that video games have been so long to catch up.  Heck, Civ5 was the first in that space to finally get Hexes, and it was wildly popular, for the above reasons.

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July 1, 2014 3:53:34 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

I didn't know galciv2 used distance like you two say?

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July 1, 2014 9:25:41 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Why not try Octagons ?  They are more visually appealing and to my way of thinking offer much improved "tile" movement although I've not tried to form an octagonal grid to see if it actually is build-able.

 

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July 1, 2014 10:18:07 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting Schaefespeare,

Why not try Octagons ?  They are more visually appealing and to my way of thinking offer much improved "tile" movement although I've not tried to form an octagonal grid to see if it actually is build-able.

 

Regular Octagons will not tessellate the plan. Although you can form a semi-regular tessellation utilizing regular octagons and squares. I do wait for the day when we get a game that uses a semi-regular tessellation instead of all typical tessellations.

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July 1, 2014 10:55:25 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

+1 for Hexes!

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July 1, 2014 11:06:59 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting trims2u,
Squares significantly distort distances; worst case is using 1 movement point for 1.4 of distance, and average case is moving a distance of 1.2 per 1 mp. With hexes, the worst case is that you spend 1.15 less than actually traveled, and average case is 1.05. Hexes are significantly closer to reality in terms of distance to MP required.

This is a valid concern if your tile grid is attempting to accurately depict absolute distances on a flat plane. However, I don't see how this matters for Galactic Civilizations, where it is possible for a planet in the orbit of one star can be closer to a planet orbiting a different star than the planet is to its own star or any other celestial bodies orbiting its star. Distances in Galactic Civilizations are already so heavily distorted from the absolute distance that the difference in absolute distance traveled on the tile grid is not worth worrying about.

This is also something that can be solved by using differing movement costs, which is something entirely practical for a computer game because the computer can take care of keeping track of the numbers. Making orthogonal movement cost 2 points and diagonal movement cost 3 points comes fairly close, and wouldn't be that difficult to track even if you were doing it by hand (especially over short distances), and a computer could easily track movement costs of much greater accuracy.

Quoting trims2u,
Hexes tessellate better into all other regular polygon shapes. That is, the percentage of "excess" or "missing" area when using hexes to approximate circles, arcs, hemispheres, pentagons, and even most quadralaterals is much less than when using squares (presuming the hex and square have similar face-to-opposite-face distance).

If the size of the polygon that you're tessellating the squares or hexagons into is much greater than the size of the squares or hexagons, it really doesn't matter that much. Moreover, when in Galactic Civilizations do I care about how well the tiles tessellate into a circle? Starbase area of effect is about the smallest one that you care about, and that circle already has a sufficiently high radius that the error isn't much to be concerned about.

Quoting Schaefespeare,
Why not try Octagons ? They are more visually appealing and to my way of thinking offer much improved "tile" movement although I've not tried to form an octagonal grid to see if it actually is build-able.

Hexagons are the regular polygon with the greatest number of sides which can tessellate into a planar grid composed only of one shape. If you tessellate with regular octagons, you'll need to have square tiles mixed into the grid.

Quoting androshalforc,
the only way this works is if we assume that gc2 actually used an octagon grid which was represented in squares.

Or, you know, if you don't assume that the grid maps to the space being represented without distortion. Because clearly those planets you occasionally see only one tile away from one another when they orbit different stars really are that physically close to one another. You're using a 2D map of 3D space which clearly has incredibly distorted the distances between various points (not to mention how much the map has to have distorted space to map the various stars onto the same plane in the first place), and you're worried that the absolute distances between a couple of points on the tile grid doesn't line up with the number of movement points it takes for you to cross that distance? It's not like there aren't ways of distorting a rectangular grid in order to make it work; just take a look at a globe or any flat map of the world.

Quoting trims2u,
Heck, Civ5 was the first in that space to finally get Hexes, and it was wildly popular, for the above reasons.

And one of the most popular map projections used in the present is the Mercator projection, which uses a rectangular grid to preserve relative bearing from one point to another but makes no pretensions to accurately represent the distance between points on a uniform scale (unless the points are at the same latitude and you're measuring distance along that line). If you're trying to map a spherical surface onto a flat plane, you really need to decide first what you want to preserve, because you have to sacrifice the accuracy of something in order to make the projection.

If you're going to complain about the way a square grid distorts movement costs, you shouldn't bring up Civ5, which maps a presumably spherical body to a regular hexagonal grid, as evidence of how great hexagons are at preserving the distances. If you want a grid of regular hexagons mapped to the surface of a sphere, then some of those hexagonal tiles in Civ5 should only be adjacent to five tiles and the strips marking the North and South poles should come fairly close to being a single tile. If your map is just looking at, say, Africa, then the grid of regular hexagons might be fairly close to accurately portraying the distances, bearings, and connectivity between points on the continent. If you're looking at the planet as a whole, the hexagonal grid really isn't any better than a square or rectangular grid.

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July 1, 2014 2:20:23 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting joeball123,

One thing;

Moving diagonally on a square grid as opposed to a hexagonal one gives the unit in question more effective movement than one who travels in the direction of the faces of the square. This is an "exploit" of the game's hardcoded limitations, and it gives the player who abuses this quite an advantage. Everything else is just gravy really.

Also, I think it looks cooler with Hexagons :3

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July 1, 2014 3:00:52 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Yea its time to move from Squares to Hexagons. If its really a huge deal just turn the grid off like I suggested in another thread. The game looks simply amazing for an Alpha and if you turn OFF the grid the game looks even better. 

+1 for moar Hexes.....

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July 1, 2014 8:20:55 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting DARCA1213,

Well...pixals are tiny and square like and can make convincing circles.

but I like hexs, but hate the zig zag.

Someone from StarDock said he didn't like the zig-zag either and said when they get to finallizing the pathfinding that they will see what they can do about it. I don't remember if I saw this on this forum or in one of the "Dev Streams".

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July 1, 2014 8:38:59 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

It was on the Dev Stream (one of the first ones).

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July 1, 2014 8:56:08 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Thanks for the info.

will circles work? How about triangles!

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July 1, 2014 9:57:21 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

I have to admit that while I love hexes for a tactical strategy game, like military tabletop strategy games, for a grand strategy, civilization building game like GC2, I prefer the squares.  

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July 2, 2014 12:09:24 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting DARCA1213,

Thanks for the info.

will circles work? How about triangles!

Circles have issues with tessellating the plane, so no they won't work. Triangle would work and would provide about the same things as hexagons.

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July 2, 2014 1:32:52 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting parrottmath,

Quoting DARCA1213, reply 18
Thanks for the info.

will circles work? How about triangles!

Circles have issues with tessellating the plane, so no they won't work. Triangle would work and would provide about the same things as hexagons.

 

Do you know what the word "humor" means? Lol maybe I should've added some smiley faces.

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July 2, 2014 1:59:34 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Screw hexes! I say we use SPHERES...

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July 2, 2014 10:35:49 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting Firehawk153,

Screw hexes! I say we use SPHERES...

 

Only 3 dimensions?  Why not 4 dimensional hypercubes?

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July 2, 2014 10:49:18 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Personally I would really like the game to be in 3-Dimensions [4 if you count time] so that you have a framework of 6-sided Cubes with Objects [stars/planets/dust/whatever] inside each cube, although you would need empty Cubes to travel between with starships or accomodate your starport/starbase.   Would this ramp up the memory useage almost astronomically ?

I'm sure this happened in one of the Beta versions of GC1 or GC2 although it disappeared after just one trial.

I have an other idea about game development which I haven't fully thought through yet but I'll mention it anyway - Multi-monitor gaming - channelling all non-gameworld screen displays to a second monitor to show Planetary surface tiles/hexes and Diplomacy screens, Etc. .  definitely Not spreading the map or action screen over more than one screen; more functionally dedicated screens than that.

 

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July 2, 2014 10:53:59 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Nice demo charon2112 [reply #23] more or less what I was thinking except for the revolving effect.

 

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