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ShawnCowles

I've built a world generator, what now?

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For the last two or so months I've been developing a procedural world generator in python. I'm almost done with it, and I'm not sure what to do next. I want to write some sort of game to take advantage of the worlds I can create, but I can't decide on a fun, interesting (to write and play), and most importantly [i]achievable[/i] project.[/size][/font]

Right now the world generator:
Makes a height-map (diamond-square algorythm) that wraps around E-W and N-S
Sets sea-level to cover a set percentage of the world.
Calculates temperature for each location.
Simulates rainfall
Calculates biomes (grassland, forest, etc) based on rain and temperature.
Simulates rivers, and creates lakes.
Places strategic resources (iron, wheat, etc)
Places inhabitants (human settlements, dragon lairs, goblin tribes)

What is left to do:
Simulate civilization growth, fighting, etc.

Tools I have:
Python / pygame (I've already completed a simple 2d space game in pygame)
Java (lots of experience, but prefer python currently)
Looking into Python / Panda3D

Thanks in advance, sample world generator output:
[attachment=1473:world0.png]

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Make a web site for it. Possibly a blog with some download or whatever. To make it more acheiveable, put a contact link for applicants. Also a cash button.

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That's mad impressive, good job.

If you're looking for suggestions for what to do with it, the first thing I thought of when I read your description was Settlers of Catan. You could try implementing a larger-scale version of the board game on your procedurally generated map. Could be fun!

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Sounds to me like the first two percent of Dwarf Fortress. A world isn't a game, as I'm sure you know. Neither is it a foundation of a game. There are plenty of games out there that don't even pretend to have a solid foundation in geography, as I'm sure you know. What you have there is a tool, a powerful element of world creation that can be either envied or totally disregarded. If you are able to come up with a context for it, it's a huge asset. If not, it's fluff.

Think about its merit. Think hard. Find a context in which that tool is powerful, and then capitalize on the power. A strong world leads naturally to resource exploitation, and if you can come up with a game that depends heavily on that, you're in good shape. If you come up with a design that uses your world generator in an ancillary way, you've got a handy utility. If you come up with a game design that features a world as a backdrop, you've got a ready-made green screen. Remember: A product for an audience should cater to the audience's perspective. It's possible to have thousands of hours of world-building that's only relevant in a three-minute cutscene in the middle of a 120-hour gameplay experience.

Don't be so proud of your world-building utility that you convince yourself that world-building is game design.

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Great work!

I think I can sympathise with how you feel...

I think it would be wise to ask yourself why you embarked on this project in the first place. What was the motivation? Perhaps the logical next step is contained in that.

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Unfortunately it sounds like you’ve put the cart before horse. You’ve built an impressive sounding world generator but the problem but don’t have a game to fit it into, rather then designing a game and building a world generator to fit your needs.



So you’ve got a choice now you can either start from scratch a design a game and then use experience in world generation to build a world generator for that game. Or you can try a shoe horn in some game play mechanics on top of your world generator. Which ever way you go you’ve got still got a lot for ahead of you.

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Thanks for the responses.

My original thought was to do something Minecraftian, or Dwarf Fortress-esque but I don't want to seem derivative of those games.

To me, the ability to create worlds like this calls for an sandbox game with plenty of exploration, it would seem a waste to not make the world an important piece of the game.

Main reason I created this generator was that I love exploring, it's my favorite part of any game. Unfortunately you can't really explore something that you made yourself, hence a generator that produces worlds that I have no knowledge of.

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What you have made looks very nice. What others have said is true though, especially what TechnoGoth said about shoehorning.

Apart from that I know ProFantasy make money from simply selling map makers and procedural world builders like you have. You could probably have some success releasing it as some form of random map generator.

My first thought when i read your post was to make a game similar to Victoria 1/2 by Paradox Interactive. It’s dubbed a "Grand Strategy War-game" on wiki. You couldn’t copy paste the elements in but I think a large scale world domination game would fit with the generator. Would it be achievable? I wouldn’t think so, on your own (at least in a reasonable time period) just due to the complexity involved in such strategy games.

The fact you can generate worlds on demand does make me think of some sort of space exploration game. For example the player could move form planet to planet colonising each one and developing civilisations etc. Could go into more detail but that would just be me rambling :P

Either way it would take a long time to create a game that could take full advantage of such a tool.

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[quote name='ShawnCowles' timestamp='1298297988' post='4777023']
Thanks for the responses.

My original thought was to do something Minecraftian, or Dwarf Fortress-esque but I don't want to seem derivative of those games.

To me, the ability to create worlds like this calls for an sandbox game with plenty of exploration, it would seem a waste to not make the world an important piece of the game.

Main reason I created this generator was that I love exploring, it's my favorite part of any game. Unfortunately you can't really explore something that you made yourself, hence a generator that produces worlds that I have no knowledge of.
[/quote]

Can you show us a video of what exploration of the worlds you create is like? If that's not possible yet why not make the next step an implementation of exploration?

Once you have exploration you can add a game mechanic that allows you to interact with the game world in some way, and hey presto you have a game that involves exploration and whatever that gameplay mechanic is!

One obvious and simple example might be a combat mechanic which allows you to fight the creatures you have in your world. You would then have a hack and slash game in a procedurally generated world that is interesting to explore! I'd play that. Not only that, you will have fullfilled another of your design goals which you quote in the OP, being that of "fighting".

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[quote name='forsandifs' timestamp='1298301133' post='4777038']
Can you show us a video of what exploration of the worlds you create is like? If that's not possible yet why not make the next step an implementation of exploration?

Once you have exploration you can add a game mechanic that allows you to interact with the game world in some way, and hey presto you have a game that involves exploration and whatever that gameplay mechanic is!

One obvious and simple example might be a combat mechanic which allows you to fight the creatures you have in your world. You would then have a hack and slash game in a procedurally generated world that is interesting to explore! I'd play that. Not only that, you will have fullfilled another of your design goals which you quote in the OP, being that of "fighting".
[/quote]

I think you misunderstood a little bit, let me clarify:
First about the world itself, right now it's being generated down to the township level i.e. to blocks of land sufficient to hold a town (2-10 sq km). In order to be worth exploring I would have to run the height-map algorithm for each township. While easily implemented, it would take a lot of computing time (optimistic estimate is 164 hours for the world attached above). So I haven't bothered to do that yet.

The reference to fighting was as part of the civilization simulation, that being the simulation of civilizations fighting each other. The world generator itself is barely interactive at all. The idea is to generate a world to be used in some [i]other[/i] project, which is what I'm having trouble deciding on.

Sorry for any confusion.

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[quote name='TechnoGoth' timestamp='1298293385' post='4776992']
Unfortunately it sounds like you’ve put the cart before horse. You’ve built an impressive sounding world generator but the problem but don’t have a game to fit it into, rather then designing a game and building a world generator to fit your needs.

So you’ve got a choice now you can either start from scratch a design a game and then use experience in world generation to build a world generator for that game. Or you can try a shoe horn in some game play mechanics on top of your world generator. Which ever way you go you’ve got still got a lot for ahead of you.
[/quote]I second this. Trying to make a game that would fit your generator would limit you too much. For example, what if in the middle you notice that the game would be better if you use premade maps instead? Would you scrap the core feature? Or would you carry on and make a poor game?

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Those would be awesome maps for a Web Empire building game, probably tick based.

Make water "always neutral", and focus a vast majority of it on land combat(water method of transport so you don't "need" to involve neutral parties).

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How about this:
Make the world generator create tiny islands instead.
Have a game where the main character gets washed ashore one of these islands. He/She than has to gather materials and build a hut, and further things (gather food, etc).
Eventually the character can make a boat and sail to the next island, to do further exploration, keep trying to find a way home.
Lets say it's possible to win by finding resources from few islands (randomly scattered for re-playability) to make a ship strong-enough to cross ocean, or maybe some-kind of a signaling device to find help.

This isn't exactly what your world sounds like, but that's the game I'd play :)

Your world to me sounds a lot like civilization, which I'm already playing.

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[quote name='abeylin' timestamp='1298399897' post='4777622']
How about this:
Make the world generator create tiny islands instead.
Have a game where the main character gets washed ashore one of these islands. He/She than has to gather materials and build a hut, and further things (gather food, etc).
Eventually the character can make a boat and sail to the next island, to do further exploration, keep trying to find a way home.
Lets say it's possible to win by finding resources from few islands (randomly scattered for re-playability) to make a ship strong-enough to cross ocean, or maybe some-kind of a signaling device to find help.

This isn't exactly what your world sounds like, but that's the game I'd play :)

Your world to me sounds a lot like civilization, which I'm already playing.
[/quote]

This last post sounds a lot like The Sims Castaway for PS2.


A map generated with this would certainly be useful for a strategy game since you included strategic resources.
You can also make an RPG or something similar, you make the "overmap" wich is this one first, and as the player enter the tiles they are generated. I think this is the way Spore galaxy was generated. The galaxy was the best part of that game, too bad it was targeted at the wrong audience.

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Cool. I understand the delimma as I sort of got myself into the same problem of generating bottom up and then scratching my head at how to make gameplay of the result.

A couple of ideas that might work well with a random map:

Scavenger hunt:
* You have to travel to different points and gather clues
* Clues are partly drawn from the procedural data on the map (an east-west river near three mountains is noted, for instance)
* Player is scored by how fast they can find the target

Survival
* Terrain yeilds resources needed for survival
* Fighting enemies costs resources
* Player is scored on how long they can survive

Rogue-like: Check out a game called Prospector, a space-based rogue-like which uses random planets. It mixes the two ideas above to good effect.

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