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You bring up Pac-Man, which I think most people would call a "maze" rather than a "map." I just found an essay over at Rampant Coyote on the topic of mazes; Game Design: Seven Ways to Make Mazes Suck Less. Some good thoughts there about why people dislike mazes.
Mazes are certainly relevant to this discussion, and they also have the 2D/3D aspect that is similar (mazes on paper vs. hedge mazes and the like). You might argue that a 2D maze is simply a map intended to disorient rather than orient; or that a maze is simply a space that is difficult to map. It seems to me that there's not a fundamental difference between designing something like a hedgemaze and a maze in a first person 3D game. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if someone had already made a FPS-style adaptation of an existing hedge maze.
I can't remember the game (thinking it was Riddle of the Sphinx II or some such), but it had you find your way through a difficult hedge maze, but there was also a map on a painting somewhere (can't remember if you found this before or after the maze) to help you. Seems like there was also an example of this in the Frankenstein game featuring Tim Curry (I could be "mis-remembering," of course). Anyway, the idea is that you have both a 3D, first-person maze, and a 2D map somewhere that gives you an overhead view. Then there are games such as Hillsfar that offer both--a 3D first-person view AND an overhead 2D-view with directional arrow showing which way you're facing. Of course, many modern games have that; WoW, for instance, has a small overhead map in the corner as well as a special map screen you can bring up. There is still a problem with things that are above or beneath you, though--I've yet to see something as elegant as Elite's radar screen for showing you visually where something is regards to above or beneath).
There is also the classic problem of making maps: if it's 1 to 1, the map is not a map but the actual thing. The question seems to be what level of abstraction is optimal for a map of a virtual world, since ostensibly a 1 to 1 map is no problem at all (totally unlike a real map!!). Perhaps the "map" could just be the ability to zoom way out or send a "camera" about the area. I've already noticed some games (Everquest did this) that borrowed the concept of Theseus' string in the maze; you'd select a waypoint and a shimmering ribbon like thing would connect you to it; then it was simply a matter of following the string to the goal. Other games use a less direct way point system, only giving you the distance and direction (this setup fails again though in terms of up and down movement). The Metroid games on the Wii have a very sophisticated map that is 3D and can be rotated, zoomed, moved about; whatever you want. It's nice but perhaps a bit too complex; I still have a hard time navigating from point A to point B even with such as a sophisticated system. Be nice if I could just set waypoints.
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