#1: Pre-rendered Previews
TL;DR: Pre-rendered previews for portals. Basically a static image shown in place of the render. Significantly less performance impact than the current portals.
I think a couple of images with transparency would make the best effect, each showing only blocks from a chunk or two, allowing a parallax effect – though just a simple render might be more consistent.
- Low performance cost on clients.
- As above, virtually all the portals could be previewed at the same time.
- Can be used in conjunction with the viewports.
- Can overlay a effect like a sandstorm etc. to make them look less static, on top of the normal portal effect.
- Has to be rendered somewhere. The simplest, I think, would be to have the client render it themselves. It could then be cached locally and updated from time to time. Maybe the client(s) could contribute their renders, but that is something I would avoid due to potential abuse.
- Visual quality would be hard to get right. Regardless, it would be a lot better than empty portals.
- Would not be real-time, so rendering players in the preview will probably not be a good idea.
- Implementation difficulty: Really hard to guess depending on how it’s implemented.
- Would not negate the connecting/rendering process. Invisible window effect highly probable; wear helmets.
#2: Gateway portals:
TL;DR: Multiple portals -> one portal. The exit portal remembers where you came from.
Terminology / description:
Gateway (portal) - A portal that allows multiple Nodes to connect to it.
If a player walks up to a Gateway, not having used it before: it will not link anywhere, and a tooltip will be shown, “This portal opens from the other side.”
If a player enters a Node, and comes out from a Gateway, looking back, they will see out from the Node they entered from.
If they enter another Node that leads to the same Gateway, the last location will be lost.
This portal will have a distinct haze from the normal portal blue.
Node (portal) - A portal that links to the gateway. Normal portal blocks should be usable for this, as it will behave like a normal portal.
Like the Gateway, a distinct haze to indicate that it is not a normal portal.
Anyone could have a Node at their place, leading to <Insert Prominent Location>, without the need for a mass of portals at <Prominent Location>.
I think this is a genuinely interesting mechanic. Some thoughts:
- Dungeon: Gateway near/at entrance; Nodes as checkpoints.
- Dungeon: Boss drops portal key. You can now open a portal to the dungeon, without needing to build anything around it.
- Return to the entrance for multi floor buildings, etc. without the need for a portal for each floor.
Does not need a GUI for normal use, no scroll boxes / long lists to choose from, etc. It “just works”.
Node portal is effectively “private”.
Can’t go to a node portal without coming from it.
- Implementation difficulty: Will need quite a bit of testing, and balancing; but there are no super challenges that I can see.
- Balancing (cont.): What will the portal cost to stay open? Will each Node have a x/hr cost? Or will the Gateway cost x/hr, and each Node only requires the amount to establish the connection?
Implementation could be a bit weird, specifically the memory part. Needs to be made scalable in some way (Does each portal remember where every player came from? More likely: Each player remembers where they came from)
With this kind of portal, I can imagine that people’d want to match portals of different sizes. (i.e, the gateway would be big, but the nodes likely small).
If you want to bring your friend to your base, you will still have to open a warp for them.
If parties or some such mechanic are added, then the gateway portals could show the leader’s location to party members – though, an option to enable/disable this for the leader and/or party members would be thoughtful.
Not as straightforward as normal portals. Might cause some amount of confusion while players learn the concept. (One case below)
As I’ve described it: You go from Home (Node) -> Hub (Gateway) -> wander -> Some place (Node) -> Hub (Gateway). Now you can’t take the Hub (Gateway) back to Home (Node).
Perhaps a different haze/confirmation would be appreciated? “Entering this portal will close the portal from (Gateway) to (Node). (Interact Icon)”
Thanks for reading (or scrolling to the bottom).