game navigation: some advice

Henk van der Velden henk at
Fri Feb 9 16:51:56 EST 2007

Good day all,

we have started development of a small game in which players move  
through a historical map of a city (the Dutch city of Delft,  
actually). The player has to be able to 'walk' through the streets as  
they are drawn on the map. The map is drawn in a projective view,  
much alike this map of Blaeu:

Does anyone have any general advice on how to move a character around  
this map?

One question has to do with how the roads are represented.
Should I use some kind of collision detection? For example, I have  
drawn a couple of polygons to represent the areas between the  
streets, and whenever a character moves I detect whether it collides  
with one of these polygons. If that happens, the movement is stopped.
I've also tried a different approach with paths, where every segment  
of a road - that is every part of it between two crosspoints -  
consists of a path. The character moves along the points of that  
path. On a crosspoint a player has to choose a direction, a new road  
that one wants to enter.

Are there any other options to consider? Is there perhaps a proven  
approach that one should take?

The other question - of course related to the previous one - is to  
how the movement of the character is to be controlled. Should one use  
keys? I have tried to use two keys for forward / backward movement,  
and two other keys for left / right rotation of the direction of  
movement. This approach can be used in combination with collision  
detection the way I described before. But it turns out that the  
player needs a lot of attention to choose the right direction,  
otherwise one bumps into areas outside the street and the movement is  
Another option, in combination with the aforementioned paths, is to  
use simple start / stop keys, and whenever one is on a crosspoint of  
paths, one can use the arrow keys to choose a direction.

Again my question: which approach would people suggest? Should I  
consider using the mouse for navigation?

Any insights welcome!

Kind regards,

Henk v.d. Velden
iGlow Media
Magda Janssenslaan 36

0031 (0)6 16 024 337

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