Fast Travel is a mechanism that is expected in most RPG games these days. In these games, you take out your map, click on a point and you are transported to that point.
This mechanism is not realistic at all and creates a bump in the gameplay, but it solves many problems for the game maker. Open world games are big and complex, and walking 20 minutes to do a trivial task is no fun at all. Big worlds, while great, have their own problems, and the Fast travel mechanism seems to be a simple and effective solution to these problems.
However, more and more people are realizing this day by day. That this mechanism hurts the sense of immersion of the game. This mechanism does not suffer from one big problem, but it has a number of small problems that together Can harm the game experience.
The first problem: there is no longer a sense of "distance" in the game, because you Can go anywhere you want in the blink of an eye.
The second problem: in a way with the user interface You make a connection that doesn't match the fantasy of the game world.
Third problem: planning for the future loses its importance, because if you forget something, you Can quickly go back and pick it up.
Problem 4: Navigation loses its importance and you don't feel the need to remember important roads and places, so you don't engage with the game.
Each of these problems is too big on its own. They don't look like it, but together, their impact cannot be ignored. This issue has led some people to conclude that it is better to remove the Fast movement mechanism from the games. Some players play the game without using it and this style of playing is also becoming popular day by day. Even for some open world games, materials have been made that remove or limit the Fast moving mechanism.
But I don't think the problem is the Fast moving mechanism itself. The problem is the unpolished and unthought-out Fast travel system used in most games. The modern Fast travel system as we know it was popularized in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and used in all subsequent games by Bethesda, the company that made the game; games like Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 4. These were all impressive games and helped further establish this system as a standard in the gaming industry.
In this system, the game fills a large map with all the locations that the player has visited: locations such as cities, towns, black holes, camps, etc., each of these locations becomes an icon on the map in the blink of an eye and without You Can travel to them at no cost. It is true that in-game time passes during the journey, but in these games usually weeks and months are not particularly important. You Can go from one end of the continent to the other to buy a bottle of water; Just wait a few seconds for the loading screen. In such a system, the comfort of the player is prioritized over everything else, and naturally, such an approach has its own side effects.
But not all games have such a system, and there are many fast-moving systems that are thoughtfully designed and Can have a negative effect. Minimize these side effects. Some of these systems Can even improve gameplay in interesting ways, adding depth to the very element that modern systems have simplified. had designed; Just before it changed its approach and made the modern system the industry standard.
The game I'm talking about is a title that Bethesda released in 2002: The Ancient Scrolls 3: Marrowind. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind). This game was a masterpiece in the field of Fast moving design. In this game, a large number of small features were gathered together and created a coherent and excellent whole. Therefore, in this article, I want to go into the details of Marowind's Fast travel system and analyze it to answer the question: what exactly made the game's Fast travel system work so well?
Part 1: How does this system work?
The most common way to get to Vvardenfell is by public transportation. There are three methods of public transportation, all of which work pretty much the same way: you have to find someone who is in the transportation business and choose between the places they are willing to take you to.
Each option has a separate cost. The more distant the place you want to go, the higher the cost. Public transportation methods are divided into the following three categories:
Silt Striders They are huge insect-like creatures with thick shells that transport passengers between the western and southern cities.
Boats They do not need an explanation. Boats are the only mode of transportation in the game that also exists in the real world and Can take you between coastal towns.
Wizard guides Can teleport you between five wizard guilds, all located in major cities.
These three systems are not just the same idea presented in three different skins. Each of these modes is an interconnected network with unique features and limitations.
This is a map of the game's public transportation modes. Each of these three methods is marked with a different color. Yellow for siltstriders, blue for boats, and red for wizard wizards.
Let's take a closer look at each and Let's check its details. As mentioned, the yellow lines show the movement of Siltstriders. These creatures connect the western and southern parts of the world. Some cities within the mainland are only connected by a network of Siltstriders. If a city isn't located by the water and isn't located in a mage guild, your only way to Fast travel there is to use siltstriders.
The reason this system does not cover the entire continent is that some areas are too dangerous for the Siltstrider to travel through. A Siltstrider might be able to pass through dangerous areas such as the Ashlands or Molag Amur, but it is not possible to pass through them. has divided the area and therefore does not allow Siltstriders to serve the East Coast.
Now we come to Boats whose traffic location is marked with blue lines. Boats Can only travel between coastal cities and are not accessible to inland cities. moving with boats is more laborious than the other options, but using them is vital for moving around the east coast, as there is only one mage guild on the east coast and no Siltstriders.
Finally we come to wizard wizards who Can move you between the five wizard classes, and these classes are marked with red lines. The places where wizarding guilds connect are fairly limited, but if you're traveling between one of these five cities, this is the most effective way to get around quickly.
Most importantly, this network connects a number of western cities to the eastern city of Sadrith Mora. If you want to avoid the expensive and long cruise around the island, you should learn this route. However, if you wish to continue using the wizarding guild's transportation system, you must maintain a good relationship with them.
Unlike the transportation system of siltstriders and boats, the wizarding guild is more than a commercial entity. If the members of this guild don't like your work or relationships, they have no problem banning you from their services. On the other hand, if you strengthen your relationship with the sorcerer's guild, the price of their services will be significantly cheaper. . These spells are not available at the beginning of the game, but they become very useful as you progress through the game.
Intervention Spells teleport you to the nearest shrine. If you are in a dangerous situation and want to get back to civilization as quickly as possible, these spells are very effective. The Mark spell marks your current position and the Recall spell takes you back to the marked position. This is very useful for getting to important locations (like a remote black hole or a character teaching an important skill).
Teleporting spells make the experience of traveling through the game smoother, but fundamentally change the experience. They don't give Intervention spells allow you to move quickly between short distances, but they don't allow you to go from one end of the world to the other. These spells don't require you to retrace the distance you've already traveled, but still force you to walk towards black holes and quests.
The mark and return spells may seem powerful, but remember: you Can only mark one position at a time. That's why you should be careful not to replace your previous position with a new one when you're not done yet.
Finally, to move around in the game world, your most important solution is to use public transportation methods. No matter how many spellcasting tools and scrolls you have; Sooner or later you have to get on the SiltStrider and the boat.
Part 2: Why is this system good?
Now that we understand how the Fast travel system works, we have to ask ourselves an important question: does this tangled network of transportation options make the game more engaging, or is it just complicated and confusing for no good reason? Got water?
Let's go back to the list of concerns we had about Fast shifting and see how this system addresses each one. As a reminder, these are the problems we need to fix in a modern Fast travel system:
To start, let's see if the Marowind system Can convey a sense of distance. If we take a closer look at the game map, we Can see that each SiltStrider and boat station is only connected to the nearest towns around it. If you want to go from Seyda Neen to Balmora, just hop on a Siltstrider.
However, if you want to go from Seyda Neen to Khuul (which is much further), you have to ride two Siltstriders.
This issue makes traveling around the entire continent much more laborious and expensive. This is the feeling that is absent in Ablivion and Skyrim. It creates distance. Sometimes knowledge is needed to start a long journey.
The map you see above is not available in the game itself. This map was made by fans who tried and noted different ways. When you start the game as a new player, you have no idea how to get from Sidda Nin to Kol. That's why you need to learn how these cities are connected by trying the SiltStriders network.
This process forces you to learn the structure of the game's transportation system. If you don't do this, you won't be able to move around in the game environment. This will enhance the sense of distance between different points.
Now let's look at the user interface elements that are involved in the moving process. In most modern games, you have to open a menu and select your destination by clicking on an icon to move quickly. This solution is certainly effective, but to do it you have to leave the game world. This temporary exit subliminally reminds you that the world you exist in is just a video game. But in Marrowind, Fast travel is part of the game's dialogue system. To get a ride on a Siltstrider, you have to talk to the person who manages the corresponding station and choose a destination.
Inhabitants of the game world also travel in the same way. They go to someone who offers travel services and start a conversation with him. It's a small detail, but Marrowind keeps you immersed in the game world by incorporating Fast travel into the game's dialogue system.
The game's transportation system forces you to make long-term decisions. During the game, you will be given missions that you must travel in the game world to complete; For example, talk to a certain person in Vivec, go to a certain library, and clean a certain black hole.
Some of these tasks are important enough that you want to organize a special trip to do them, but others There are simple missions that are better to follow when you are close to their destination. This gives you an incentive to plan the trips you take in the game and not take too many trips. The case remains like the real world; In the real world, when you want to make a purchase, you plan to buy many goods at once. It doesn't feel good when you go to the supermarket to buy a bottle of milk. It's a lot of trouble to buy just one item. But if you go and buy a week's worth of supplies and then go to the post office and drop off a package, your travel time Can be significantly reduced.
In Marowind is also the best app to multitask when you travel to Vivek. Tackling three missions in one trip is much more efficient than doing just one, and as mentioned, encourages planning.
However, it should be noted that this is important because Traveling is expensive and time-consuming. If we could teleport to the grocery store, it might not take us long to figure out exactly what we need. Similarly, in games with Fast and infinite movement, you will most likely always focus on completing one mission, because you Can go anywhere with a single swipe.
Finally, Let's take a look at the important roads and places. One of the favorite aspects of games for me is the experience of learning how to get from one place to another. By the end of this experience, I expect to be able to draw the game map from memory. In order to get to know a world this well, you have to spend a lot of time traveling around it.
Marowind's public transportation system takes you to cities and towns, but you can't go anywhere on it. The point where you want to go. Black holes, castles, camps and ruins are only accessible on foot and this limitation forces you to familiarize yourself with the roads of the game world. Points of interest along the way will be addressed to you. After you finish these missions, it's in your best interest to remember where you left off, because you can't Fast travel back there.
In modern games, almost any place you go to When you visit, it becomes a fast-moving location. Therefore, you have no incentive to remember the way to different places.
As you Can see, Marowind's Fast travel system provides both a way to move quickly and forces the player to engage with the game world on a deeper level. slow This system makes sure that no player has to walk from one end of the continent to the other, but on the other hand, it forces him to think about the distance and the cost of travel. This way you stay immersed in the game world while planning your next adventure. This system solves many of the problems with fast-forward systems in modern games by considering a number of disadvantages and costs for fast-forwarding and not allowing the player to do whatever he wants.
Marrowind's Fast traversal system is great and I think a lot of modern game developers could learn a lot from it. For me personally, among all the games, Marowind has the best example of Fast travel system.
Source: Gamedev Adventures