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2D Driving Vertical Scroller

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?I would like to be able to re-create an arcade classic from the early '80s on the PC using DirectX. The name of the title is not important unless someone is really interested.


?My question has to do with the map used in the game. When I first started to think about how to design the map (or the world), I assumed that I would need to spend a large amount of time re-creating the artwork for all levels of the game. I knew this would be a big task because I would need to lay out all of the tiles for each level.


?I recently came across some code for a very similar game and the author used a technique where he had defined something called "ambient segments". This does not appear to be something that is common in games because web searches turn up nothing for it. Specifically though, he had a set of small tiles on a larger texture and then would have separate textures to represent the different levels. He created loops by hard-coding different sets of tiles into 8 segments. In each segment, he would use a mix of tiles from the texture - so like a skinny piece of road, and then a fat piece of road, and then a curve in the road, and so on.


So for level 1, as you're driving up the screen, the terrain changes, but eventually loops back on itself and starts over. This appears to be a fairly quick way to get some amount of "randomness" in levels in terms of terrain without having to do a lot of work.


?I'm wondering if this is a common practice for games, especially ones that are a lot older? Or I wonder if there is a notion (back in the old days at least) of building the full map upfront and not using this random approach.


?My goal is to try to remain as true to the original game as possible, which may mean that I need to lay out the entire world upfront, but it would be great to understand how the original designers thought about this problem.

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