Author Topic: Low-key analysis of the current and legacy maps  (Read 1525 times)

Offline Peenut2k7

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Low-key analysis of the current and legacy maps
« on: January 10, 2023, 04:54:50 am »
I've been feeling nostalgic lately, and that's led me back to the fuzzy world of FeralHeart; I haven't been paying that much attention to whatever's been unfolding in the last few years, don't have strong opinions on them and won't comment on any of that, most of my attention lately has been spent gawking at the microscopic numbers that the player counter tends to display and most of my time in my recent FH wanderings have been spent in the legacy maps (this specific mirror of them, I believe). Also, bonus points for redesigning the login page, I haven't seen one gross and/or malicious ad since it was instated :p

This idea came to me today; I figured it would be fun to run around the Feral Lands, both its current incarnation (in place since mid-2016) and in the state I personally associate with FeralHeart (active between 2011 - mid 2016). I've made an effort to jot down what I think works and doesn't work about each map (that I can remember), alongside thoughts on the two "worlds" in general.

So, without further ado:

Old World (2011 - 2016)

In general: Rose-tinted glasses may be at play here. The maps are comparatively barren, but they tend to have at least a few notable landmarks. Many maps are arguably too big for their own good (a handful objectively so, read on).

Function-Driven Maps

Lonely Cave: Nothing really worth commenting on here, everything is fairly compact. The Cape of Distant Worlds, South Pole and Ficho Tunnels are easily accessible, and the small climb to Ascension Island reflects the trials of that map.

Cape of Distant Worlds: No longer accessible through the existing 1.17-friendly mirrors of the old maps. It had a sky, but that was the only obvious plus in its favor that I can remember. Both iterations serve their purpose.

Fichonian Realm

Arguably the three most iconic maps of the old FeralHeart world (and also Temple of Dreams).

Ficho Tunnel: The journey from the Lonely Cave entrance point to Fluorite Plains is unnecessarily lengthy and windy, and the one-way nature of the waterfall (good ol' Printscreen Falls) is a glaring design flaw. A point in the map's favor is that it is very straightforward, winding tunnel to Fluorite aside - the paths to both Fluorite Plains and Bonfire Island are simple and don't intertwine at all.

Bonfire Island: As simple as it gets: 2/4 jungle, 1/4 nothing and 1/4 the island's defining ridge + the coastal shrublands that sit behind it. The fact that the island was such a hotbed of activity and chaos in its day is a testament to the community back then doing big things with limited materials to work with.

Fluorite Plains: Even with some memorable landmarks (Stone Bridge, L Island, the Temple of Dreams portal structure and the northerly caves are good examples), the map is ridiculously gigantic and half of it is completely barren. The green plains that lay west of the western river, much of L Island and the entire southeastern portion of the map are egregious examples of this. The main landmass's coniferous northern half is unique among all of the old maps.

Temple of Dreams: It looks nice, but there really isn't much to it. Perhaps a few grassy islands with trees beneath the eponymous structure could have livened it up a little.

The Crappy Realm

Yeah, I won't lie, this specific set of maps stinks, each for their own special reasons.

South Pole: Nevermind there not really being much to this map, there's basically nothing to it besides it being pure snow and the heightmap looking like it was procedurally generated. At the very least, the snowy weather and landscape are distinctive by themselves for the old maps, but Kibou Ridge is a much better stab at a winter map.

Atlantis: Despite some interesting underwater architecture (speaking of - the old world, and to an extent the current world, have a smattering of old, overgrown ruins, often adjacent to fluorite crystals; I like to imagine that there was a sort of ancient civilization that predates the ferals that utilized the crystals), the map is the size of Fluorite Plains with basically no interesting landmarks besides a single lonely palm tree and fluorite crystal, let alone ones that can be discerned from the minimap.

Speaking of overlarge maps...

Last Cave: This map is not only too big for my liking, but it is objectively too big: it's so massive (probably twice the size of Atlantis and Fluorite Plains!) that, if the player goes to its edges, the game will crash - no, really, they won't get kicked, the game will just straight up crash! Even ignoring that, it has no interesting landmarks at all and the heightmap is reused from Atlantis's. Last Cave may just be the worst map in all of FeralHeart, be it pre- or post-map overhaul. Good riddance.

The Sky Realm

A world perfect for the winged... so long as they first prove themselves on their feet.

Ascension Island: Provides a challenge that scales significantly depending on the size of the player character (the scout character I used for exploring while writing this was small, so I didn't have that much trouble - THAT much - or any trouble at all with the rings, actually). The focus on gameplay over exploration or player interaction is totally unique, and completely unrepresented in the current iteration of the game.

Sky's Rim: Custom-built for winged ferals with flimsy guard rails for landlocked ones like my scout. The topmost island with the two caves and the steam is nice, and the map itself is unique and cool.

The Feral Lands (2016 - present)

In general: Suffers from a lack of major landmarks, foliage is too plentiful for its limited variety (WAY too much long grass). The extremely busy nature of the maps (the aforementioned foliage issue is a big part of this) takes away from the impact of the landmarks there are. The fact that they are generally smaller is a positive and a surefire improvement over the maps of yore.

Hub Worlds

There are two root-of-all-maps-type maps in the current iteration of the game for some reason; personally I'd have omitted The Grounds and made Lonely Cave more like its incarnation in the old world, with multiple portals leading to the different territories. I don't like The Grounds or its place in the feral "ecosystem" but this isn't the place to complain about that.

Lonely Cave: Nothing to really comment on, it serves the same purpose it did pre-overhaul. The boards explaining the game's rules are a good touch that would have been priceless during the game's prime, which was very ugly in basically all regards. A nitpick here is that the current map design doesn't fit its name very much, the namesake cave is a small part of the map.

The Grounds: Despite nice spots like a pond with islands, a raised bit of land near the pond and a small desiccated place perfect for the "OLs" of yore, whenever there are players on the map, they only ever stick to the path near the Lonely Cave portal and the adjacent acacias.

Cape of Distant Worlds: The lack of any sort of sky is weird, I genuinely don't know if that's intended or not. Otherwise, it's more aesthetically pleasing than the original iteration of the map.

Eastern Territories

A very tropical set of maps. Naturally, they bring to mind Bonfire Island.

Eastern Pass: Very mountainous and somewhat confusingly laid out, but the highlands of the central plateau bring to mind the peak of old Bonfire Island to an extent. Indeed, the layout and landmarks of the map could make for a fitting cradle for a TLK roleplay rebirth - locales like Pride Rock, the watering hole, the Outlands and the Elephant Graveyard can easily be interpreted from the various peaks, valleys, ponds and foliage. Also interesting are the highlands that form the map's borders, which are totally unlike anything from the early days of the game and are interesting design-wise.

Bonfire Islands: Technically more interesting than the original Bonfire Island, but caveats are aplenty; the eponymous islands are far from the portal, and personally I'm not big on the heaping helping of acacias that cover them (I'd have went for a sparse palm look akin to the old island, personally). Aside from a couple of campfires (not actual bonfires, booo /s) that finally add some flames to the place and a very nice mix between a hot spring and a tidepool, there are few landmarks, and worth mentioning is that there is nothing resembling the original, single island's  massive ridge - there is a ridge on the easternmost of the three main islands, but it is relatively small and unremarkable.

Zama Grotto: The notion of a purely submarine map is interesting and the heightmap shown on the minimap is intricate and beautiful, but I'd be lying if I said I liked the layout that much. It serves its purpose as a bridge between Bonfire and Kiwimbi.

Kiwimbi Beach: Very stretched out and sparse on memorable landmarks. Waterfalls and a mangrove swamp, which are very close to one another, and an easter egg are the main takeaways here besides the beach itself.

Western Territories

Er, territory, singular. Maybe there'll be an expansion of the western Feral Lands in the future, who knows.

Seaside Grove: There's little to comment on here beyond the fact that the map is thick with oak trees. The map is small and has lots of little places for the player to sit and run around.

Northern Territories

A more temperate/boreal realm than the east, akin to Fluorite Plains' northern reaches.

Ficho Tunnels: It must be acknowledged that the map addresses two major issues with the original Ficho Tunnel: it has no one-way waterfalls and, if you don't want to explore or go to Kibou Ridge, it's a quick, straight dash to Cherika Valley. The map is large, though, and somewhat easy to get lost in if you're like me and you aren't that familiar with the new maps. The old Ficho has exactly one thing over the new one, and that thing is simplicity.

Cherika Valley: A big, wide, relatively simple map, and perhaps the most "classic" of all of the maps that came with the overhaul - there is a very large, very easily-discernible landmark in the middle (a structure with a fluorite crystal in the middle - perhaps a remnant of the civilization that built Atlantis and the Temple of Dreams that survived whatever catastrophe altered the landscape?), a large lake with tall waterfalls, pebbled shores and nearby overhangs, and a big planter with a pine sapling (odd). I may be biased in this map's favor because I like the sort of boreal aesthetic.

Kibou Ridge: Besides the waterfall and stepping stone cliffs in the eastern third of the map, basically devoid of landmarks that are easy to spot from afar. I dig the winter aesthetic, though, and the easter eggs hidden here are very fun. (might the paintings be the work of the aforementioned precursor civilization?)

I've tried to keep my opinions on which set I prefer out of this, I've said my piece on that topic elsewhere - here I'll just say that both have their respective pros and cons. That's it for now, I might look back here to add spice like screenshots with my little scout character and the like.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2023, 07:24:51 pm by Peenut2k7 »
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Offline Jango_Fett

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Re: Low-key analysis of the current and legacy maps
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2023, 05:54:08 am »

i don't know nothing about mopeds
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Offline ferimeX3

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Re: Low-key analysis of the current and legacy maps
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2023, 11:33:06 am »
ooh nice takes! that was an interesting read :3
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Offline Oddonelynx

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Re: Low-key analysis of the current and legacy maps
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2023, 10:49:28 pm »
Fun read :)
That's a lot of writing

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Offline kythaela

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Re: Low-key analysis of the current and legacy maps
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2023, 06:30:25 pm »
This has been such a fun and nostalgic read! Especially about the older maps. I was wondering if the game/forum was still active after seeing a youtube video reminiscing about FH and decided to have a look around. Your post surely brought back some pleasant memories. :)