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 Big Maps vs. Small Maps
I think one of the problems with large maps (or a least wide open ones) is that there's no sense of direction. The "camera" is only 20x15 tiles, and since we're restricted to two dimensions we can't tilt the camera see the horizon, and see what's going on.

So unless your large map is already zoomed out like a world map or is essentially several small maps that are connected, there's either nothing to look at or you don't know where you're going.
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I like a mixture of both actually. Variation keeps the game from becoming monotonous.

The size map you use depends on its purpose within the context of your game. Both have their pros and cons, but if used together and planned out correctly, make a stronger game.
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It mostly depends. If the creator can pull off a large map, then sure. Small maps are fine but large maps save the need to make lots of teleport events, and maybe map initializing events. Of course small maps would eliminate the lag coming from too much events.

Basically, if the creator pulls it off well, it doesn't matter how big or small the map is. It's a good map and it does it's job.
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I have to use large maps. All mine are the maximum size. I found that 999 20x15 maps will not even come close to what I want to cram into my game. I was at over 250 maps on the first 5% of the game... ~_~
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Ive been experimenting lately and I have found that different map sizes that vary really do give the best result. Not everything should be the same size. In my opinion, the more deeper you get into the area, the bigger the map should be. Ive also been experimenting with maps such as 20 by 80 and whatnot and have found you can make a real cool effect without being horribly restrictive.
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Hyetal, there is a script around which breaks the 999 Maps Limit, so maybe this would be perfect for you^^
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It depends on the use/purpose of the map, if you want the player to search for something/you're just going for realism, etc...
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As a player, what do you prefer, bigger or smaller maps? Why?
-I like big maps. it feels like there's a lot more potential for exploration.

Do you think there is a cental balance between the two?
-Only when there's stuff to do, or places to explore on smaller maps. laterally small maps are good when there's a lot of vertical space to explore.

Do you think that bigger or smaller maps makes the world look bigger?
-Bigger maps. how do smaller maps make a world look bigger?

Do you think that bigger or smaller maps immerse the player into the map more?
-Bigger maps have more potential to pack in more immersion.

Do you think a bigger or several smaller maps are easier to map?
- If I'm working on a big map, i work on it in small areas until I get it filled up. it's easier to keep my sanity that way.
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When I think about big maps vs small maps, I am reminded of Banjo-Tooie's first level. Big level, but the starting area has nothing in it. The player just holds forward (and occasionally jumps) for a while to get to anywhere interesting.

My point being, any size map is fine as long as there is enough content to support it. The RPG Maker engines in particular slow down if there are too many events on one map, so that should be kept in mind when laying out a map's size. I do think that a map's navigable area should be kept small, either with short distances or plenty of landmarks to aid navigation.
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