Just a thought that lingered with me last night:
The island map is ok, but it's already failing to inspire me, and it's very easy to google it to get your bearings...
Perhaps you could add some random geographic permutations... build it into the story by waffling on about an island-wide improbably burp or whatever.
Keep all the outposts and perhaps the squares with places immediately adjacent to them as fixed groups of squares if they're important for the story, but semi-randomly permute everything else (including outpost group global locations). Draw a new map where the same squares of the same vegetation type with the same places exist (same crates sitting there...) but in a completely new arrangement. It would annoy everyone a little not being able to find their places anymore: a message from the council telling them the approximate region to look if you like. It would take some work to get the vegetation types nicely pieced together into the shape of yet another cat: you might find volunteer designers seeking glory. After an upheaval you could add an indicator on the travelling map window so people knew which new map they were dealing with (map 'cat licking it's left leg', square (1,1), rather than just square (1,1) as it is now). Eventually everyone would find their places/outposts in the new map, but you could have a small pool of permuted maps and randomly swap between them, introducing new maps at whatever rates amuses you. It could be a way to eventually introduce more virgin land, different vegetation types, or a new outpost. Personally I'd like to see the map blended and spread over the surface of a Klein bottle, though this might confuse the poor titans.
I'm sure all this would be TRIVIAL to program, and take no time at all... I'm just pleased to have this daydream off my back.
Err, I think a little annoyance is a gross understatement for people trying to find places. A randomized map would be horrible for trying to give people directions to places and make exploring the places around the map terribly difficult. And I don't think the map is intended to be something that's difficult to traverse. Sure, you`i can`i google it, but a lot of new players don't think about that, and the map is really not overly expensive to just buy on the island. The shape of the island isn't a secret. If I had to hazard a guess, the only reason you don't start out with a map is to keep new players in NewHome until they've got a bit of experience under their belt. Around the time you'll have the req for the map is around the time a new player should be looking to do the Museum quest.
Well, no problem if you think it's a bad idea.
However, I hear when places were introduced, whatever inferior versions of them existed beforehand were completely deleted. I think having to stomp around a bit to find your place would be very minor annoyance by comparison.
Directions would be map-specific at best, but I personally think directions on a place called 'improbable island' shouldn't be straightforward anyway.
You don't think the map is about as predictable and boring as possible?
The old 'dwellings' were indeed demolished when the new 'places' were introduced, though owners were given tools to help them reproduce their creations in the new system. But... that was not just to make things more Improbable. It was the (negative) consequence of a fundamental (positive) change in programming architecture.
The map is foundational to a great deal else in the Island's programming. Reworking it to be fluid... it's pretty safe to say, isn't going to happen. Not in Season Two. It would disrupt too much else. Moreover, forcing everyone to stomp around all the time to find every Place would not be a minor annoyance. It would be a deal-breaker -- for too many players, and it's not like the Island can afford to lose players. Some players like a lot of randomness here, and some very much don't. Instead they enjoy carving out a small haven of stability in the midst of chaos.
So, yeah. There are good reasons this hasn't been done.
If you want fresh territory to explore, I suggest you look at Down Below. Or, if you would like more randomness in just about every aspect of your character's life, try working your way up until you can play a Joker.
Well, I never doubted that it would be a ton of work to implement - hence it likely will never happen. You seem to imply that it's been considered before, and I wonder if that's actually the case.
Clearly, you wouldn't be forcing everyone to stomp around all the time, you'd need to explore once for each new map introduced (and a new map could not be introduced often). Given the resources available and time invested by established players, I still can't see it as anything other than a very minor annoyance. I would snap up a 1-cig mini-quest as a noob right now to find any named place on the island on a particular vegetation type: it wouldn't be a drop in the bucket compared to the mind-numbing tedium and lack of progress that is a Dan's Quest.
However, if after spending some ridiculous portion of their lives on cat island, players really would quit rather than go for a little walk; it's still possible to introduce new maps without ruffling the comatose masses. One simple fix that could be done in a number of similar ways would be to enable people to walk off the top of the map through the ocean, onto a new map. Players traversing the old and new map would still encounter each other when on the same squares/places/outposts, but new map players would appear to travel by zipping erratically between old-map squares, and vice-versa. Hence more interesting geography could be explored while still maintaining the current system for the virtually differently-abled.
It would never work because people are too lazy to look for their places: makes dubious sense to me + now easily avoided.
It's too much work to do for too little reward: fair enough; I'm not volunteering.
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