Feb 20 2012

LEVEL GENERATION

I’ve been working on a few new kinds of level for CQ2. The first is a forest to traipse through and kill things in. Forests are messy, confusing places! The main features in these forests are trees (that get in the way) and bushes (which you can’t see through). Your sight lines are pretty limited, except when you find the odd clearing, but there are plenty of opportunities for leaping out of the bushes and stabbing people.

Please excuse the placeholder graphics. It’s essentially grey boxing: I’m roughing the levels out with dumb coloured blocks to see what works and what doesn’t, and the pretty art comes later when we’ve settled on level features worth keeping. So for now, trees are solid orange blocks; bushes are mottled grey and orange; and the forest floor is grey.

You’ll just have to use your imagination a bit. Trust me, this is more forest-like than using the old tileset and having bricks everywhere!

(How it’s building the forest: it uses the rolling particle algorithm to create a soft boundary of forest around the edge of the level, then fills in trees and bushes at random points which have at least two neighbours with higher values in the rolling particle field.)

Another new type of level we’ll have is towns.┬áHere I am standing between a few houses at the edge of a town, near a couple of fields. To the right are the trees bordering the town.

It’s a bit basic, but it’s a start.

(How it’s building these towns: the same rolling particle system for the boundary, followed by attempting to place buildings and farms at random points over and over until they fit without hitting anything else.)

One major thing I’m trying out is the use of varied terrain to fill up spaces. The bushes in forests that you can leap out of and the fields in towns you’ll be able to hide in are perfect examples. However, this approach isn’t entirely limited to new level types. I’ve also been adding some abstract detail objects to the familiar dungeons:

Just pretend the grey/orange blocks here are tables, cupboards, shelves and so on. :D They’ll add a bit more variety to the levels and make them feel a touch more lived-in. It all helps.

So yeah, currently it’s all super-abstract while I figure out what I can make the level generation do, work out what different kinds of terrain would be neat, and prod the old tile system into supporting cool new features. Once all that’s settled it’ll start to get pretty again! Watch this space.

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