One of the big but largely under-appreciated features of Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is the new random generation.
In Elemental: War of Magic, the maps were random but the continents were not. This meant, after awhile, players knew “the lay out of the land”.
Now, having a random world generator is a non-trivial thing as those who have written them can tell you. Especially if you want a map that is “fun” (i.e. no one cut off, reasonably fair, and always interesting).
So here are 3 random starting locations to give you a taste of how different things are from game to game.
Now all this is only interesting if the worlds themselves are interesting. And this is a tough thing because interesting is in the eye of the beholder.
On tiny maps, we made the continents kind of square-ish so we could fit as much “stuff” on the map as we could. But as you get larger, the interesting shaped continents really come into play. You will never see that world I just posted again because it was randomly generated.
At tradeshows I’ve talked to my friends at Firaxis (Civilization series) about the map generation “challenge” and it is one of the most programming intensive pieces of strategy game writing.
The philosophy of random map generation is different from game to game. Are we looking for “realistic” or “fun” or somewhere in-between? For Fallen Enchantress, we focused on continents that are interesting and otherworldly that present a lot of opportunity for choke points and exploration.
Here’s another one you’ll never see again:
For those of you not familiar with Elemental, I’m using a cheat key to hide the fog of war (and yea, I’m gonna call it that because I’m lazy). So it wouldn’t look quite like this in an actual game as you wouldn’t get to see all this at once.