Date: 1994-02-20
From: John
Subject: Terminology

My Dear Mr. Duk:

Received latest Alex and tried not to scroll: well done! The tiny world window is GREAT! Now that I can quickly grasp the kind of worlds we are generating and what effects the sparkcount and land/sea ratio has on the big picture, I think we need to fiddle with some of our fudge factors. Our continents usually come out looking like bits of cat vomit splattered across a kitchen floor: too stringy, not beefy enough to earn the name "continent" (sorry, Ralph threw up this morning and the image is still fresh in my mind). The coastlines are OK, more or less, but we need more interior in the interiors. Perhaps firing globs instead of sparks will do the trick.

I am very happy with the current size of the world view palette, er, window. It's too bad you can't clearly see the sparks, but the best thing about the world view is it's compact size - any bigger and it would become a nuisance. I suppose we COULD put an expand/shrink button on the window that would double its size in both dimensions and display markers on the map (sparks for now, eventually our troops in white, enemy troops in red - or something like that). Pushing the button a second time would restore the window to it's standard (tiny) size. In any event, I think the default size should remain one pixel per grid.

As for standardizing window names: I agree! The sooner we reach agreement on what to call these things the better. My suggestions are "Battle Map," "World View," and "Closeup View" - I would prefer to drop the somewhat redundant "windows" from the official titles, but in certain contexts it would still be OK to refer to the "Battle Map Window," the "World View Window," and the "Closeup View Window." I am slightly wary of "Battle Window" because we may someday create some informational displays that could also be referred to as "Battle Windows"; the word "map" underscores the graphical nature of this display. Similarly, "World Window" could also refer to some global display of statistics, but "view" conveys the idea that this is a visual image, yet subtly differentiates it from a "map" as something you look at to get your bearings instead of pour over and place markers on. By that definition, the closeup could qualify as either a map or a view; I prefer "view" for the closeup as this establishes that both the closeup and the world VIEWS are subordinate to the main battle MAP.

I am eager to talk more about the emerging idea of an "air" grid as separate and above the land/sea grid. I think the current Conquest game tiptoes along the edge of this distinction, and our expanded piece set inevitably forces us to confront this distinction with more clarity. The full implications, however, are only beginning to dawn on me. I'm thinking, for example, of the new possibility of helicopter airlifts into a beseiged city, what is adjacent to what when a fighter engages an army, etc. I'm hoping you won't be too tired after a day of skiing to pound out a few words on this subject.

BTW - My Newton shareware review is the lead street cred in the March issue of Wired! Another great issue!

Yours in haste,

Epicurious J.