The World Wasn't Made in a Day

The World Wasn't Made in a Day

Hello! I”m Andy and this is my first post on the 1-6 blog. Since I normally like to keep a low profile and nobody knows me, I”ll briefly introduce myself and what I do at Q.

I”ve been working on PixelJunk as an artist way back since Racers. I did most of the art for the original Monsters, was responsible for the general art direction on the Shooter games and SideScroller, but I have a CS degree and got in the games industry as a level designer  because I like making levels. Because of this, I also did a lot of level design on Shooter and SideScroller, and am now helping out with programming on 1-6.

One of the things we wanted from the start in 1-6 is to have a world that is unique every time the game is run, so that every player will have a different experience, and also hopefully that people who buy the game will want to restart and try again on a different world. Anyone who has played Minecraft will be familiar with the excitement of starting a new game and finding a completely new world to explore, and this is something we would like in 1-6.

What I”ve been doing this week is writing some tests to improve our world generation. The meat of this is finding algorithms that can generate interesting patterns and coaxing them into creating features in the world such as tunnels, caves, ravines, forests, mountains; Basically areas that players will want to visit and hopefully instead of having a mess of extremely random looking shapes, will be memorable and easy to navigate by.

One of the easiest ways to add a memorable area into a procedural world is to have pre-designed areas saved in a file separate to the world, and have the world generator just stamp these into the world at random positions with only simple rules to guide it. One example is a rule that says there can”t be more than one of these stamps per world, another is a limit that prevents the stamp being placed too close to the surface of online casino dgfev the world. You could also have rules that makes stamps join together procedurally to create more complex areas.

Adding stamps can add interest to the world, but one of the problems is that – especially in a 2D game, where the player has not got a very wide view of what is around them – a single stamped area will only really be found by accident, when the player stumbles into them.

In order to help get around this problem, one thing I want to try doing is to add clues in the world that suggest the existence of something. When a player finds these clues, he or she should be able to deduce that if they follow the trail, they will find something that they are looking for. Some examples are natural formations such as a river flowing towards a lake, certain flowers that always grow around the edge of a desert, or small ruins suggesting the existence of a temple nearby.

Whilst it”s still early days for my tests, I hope to have more to talk about in a future post.