Mini-map Was Planned for Shenmue I

Switch

Shenmue analysis at www.phantomriverstone.com
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A few small traces are all that remain in the game files to indicate that a detailed mini-map had once been considered to help Ryo navigate around Shenmue I's harbor area.

This isn't a new discovery (it was mentioned on the old Shenmue Dojo forums back in 2016), but may not be widely known so I thought it was worth writing up in a post, and fun to think about how it might have looked. Whether it would have been a good thing or not is another question!

https://www.phantomriverstone.com/2021/02/a-mini-map-was-once-considered-for.html

mockup.jpg
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
It's cool that it was only planned for the harbour (as far as we can tell) -- I wonder if the map would've been on sale at the mini Tomato store, or if someone like Goro would've given it to you :unsure:

I'm kinda glad it didn't make it in, to be honest. The maps in Shenmue II aren't very helpful, they're quite ugly and take up too much room on-screen. I don't think the harbour is complex enough to warrant a map, either. After a few visits you've basically got it down.

That said, I do think good, useful maps would've improved Shenmue II for a lot of players.
 
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amirmoosavi
I'm kinda glad it didn't make it in, to be honest. The maps in Shenmue II aren't very helpful, they're quite ugly and take up too much room on-screen. I don't think the harbour is complex enough to warrant a map, either. After a few visits you've basically got it down.
I keep forgetting they even exist. Think I used them on my first playthrough and then never again :p
 
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I keep forgetting they even exist. Think I used them on my first playthrough and then never again :p
Ha, I never use them either.

But I think for a lot of newcomers, finding locations in Shenmue II can be frustrating, so they rely heavily on following strangers. That's what it's there for, of course, but I think finding a location by yourself, even with the help of a map, is more rewarding than slowly following someone...
 
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amirmoosavi
Ha, I never use them either.

But I think for a lot of newcomers, finding locations in Shenmue II can be frustrating, so they rely heavily on following strangers. That's what it's there for, of course, but I think finding a location by yourself, even with the help of a map, is more rewarding than slowly following someone...

The option of following strangers in II was nice, but it would've been good to have the option to ask "Hey, I don't have old day, mind just giving me directions so I don't have to walk 3mph to my destination?"
 
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But I think for a lot of newcomers, finding locations in Shenmue II can be frustrating, so they rely heavily on following strangers. That's what it's there for, of course, but I think finding a location by yourself, even with the help of a map, is more rewarding than slowly following someone...

But there are static maps in every quarter, too, so no one is forced to use the minimaps.
I like that Ryo can buy maps in Shenmue II, but I do not like huds, so I would prefer if you have to open the inventory and select the map you want to take a look at, same for the watch.
That would also match the intention of the game to be realistic.
 
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Aug 19, 2018
Interesting post as usual @Switch.

I am a huge fan of HUDless displays and first thing I do before playing most games is turning off or toggling UI elements. Shenmue was very much about observing your environment and through sheer time getting familiar with the map, locations and routes.

Unless the harbour map was more complicated I don’t think a map was required.
 

Truck_1_0_1_

I Don't Know, but I Have You!
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It's cool that it was only planned for the harbour (as far as we can tell) -- I wonder if the map would've been on sale at the mini Tomato store, or if someone like Goro would've given it to you :unsure:

I'm kinda glad it didn't make it in, to be honest. The maps in Shenmue II aren't very helpful, they're quite ugly and take up too much room on-screen. I don't think the harbour is complex enough to warrant a map, either. After a few visits you've basically got it down.

That said, I do think good, useful maps would've improved Shenmue II for a lot of players.
I'm not actually mad lol, but:

1. They are VERY helpful
2. They aren't ugly at all; they're just... there.
3. They take up little to no space on-screen.

Now that we've all played the game 10+ times to utter completion, we know every location like the back of our hands, but until I dug deep into the series (probably around playthrough 3, to be honest), those maps helped significantly, for navigating the quarters and letting me know that Kowloon's quarters actually have multiple entrances/exits; I never explored every nook and cranny when I was younger and the maps helped me discover the hidden Lucky Hits on Dagon Street, among other things.

Different strokes for different folks!
 

xatruio

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I dont mind and actually like them when I do full, slow plays where I'm marking my fav pawn shops and jobs and gambling etc. Also nice to use the Map trick on book carrying and skipping the backpack mugging for a while at the beginning. Not really any situations in Yokosuka except maybe sneaking into the two other warehouse districts you're always blocked off from at the harbour...?

Otherwise, I also prefer minimal HUD, even the small button layout of Shenmue 2 and Shenmue 3 annoys me compared to the original DC Shenmue. Neither the map nor buttons intrude too terribly much though, so whatever!
 
Joined
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But there are static maps in every quarter, too, so no one is forced to use the minimaps.
I like that Ryo can buy maps in Shenmue II, but I do not like huds, so I would prefer if you have to open the inventory and select the map you want to take a look at, same for the watch.
That would also match the intention of the game to be realistic.
I love the in-world maps and I like the idea of being able to purchase maps...I just don't like the green line-art maps in the game because they're featureless and lack utility (for me).

If the maps you purchased were the same as the in-world maps, with the extra details, and your current position was marked, I'd be 100% on board. The green maps don't even look like maps a tourist could purchase -- they look like plans or something.

Get rid of the mini-map completely and make the user open it up.

1. They are VERY helpful
2. They aren't ugly at all; they're just... there.
3. They take up little to no space on-screen.
Agree to disagree :p
 
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Now that we've all played the game 10+ times to utter completion, we know every location like the back of our hands, but until I dug deep into the series (probably around playthrough 3, to be honest), those maps helped significantly, for navigating the quarters and letting me know that Kowloon's quarters actually have multiple entrances/exits; I never explored every nook and cranny when I was younger and the maps helped me discover the hidden Lucky Hits on Dagon Street, among other things.
My experience was the opposite. I actively refused to buy any map during my first playthrough of Shenmue II on the Dreamcast back in the day. Because i thought they looked fugly, occupied a sizeable portion of the screen (which was 4:3 back then, in 16:9 is mre bearable), and took my attention from the real game.

Then on second and successive playthroughs I always end up buying them to make sure I explore all the nooks and crannies...but I only buy them when I know I'm close to leaving an area.

These days I'm playing Yakuza 0 (my first Yakuza game ever), and after 30+ hours I still can't orientate myself in the city. I'm constantly looking at the map and not paying attention to the street signs and structures... (I must admit the same happens to me in real life LOL).
 
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