Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on November 9, 2011 By Draginol In Elemental Dev Journals

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.

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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.

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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:

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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.


Comments (Page 2)
on Nov 09, 2011

Absolutely beautiful maps. I do wonder how custom maps will work with all the new terrain being connected to goodie huts and creatures. Can't wait to get my hands on this. 

on Nov 09, 2011

Love the random mapiness.  Is needed.  And yes that does look like a flying unit...??? Oooo.  I had thought that dragons should fly in EWOM, but I guess all mine are too fat after eating so many little people.

on Nov 09, 2011

I don't think maps necessarily have to have balance in single player.  Maybe.  But if you end up on an island you build ships and explore.  If you are in an area with low resources, you go for a tech that doesn't require high resources.  Use what you got.  Adapt gameplay to the circumstances.  I think that would be interesting.  Choose non-random maps if don't want to risk the possibility of bad maps.  I don't recall an Elementarra map where I said "no f'ing way."  If anything randomness had its own kind of consistency, i.e. "Little of this here, little of that there, little of this and that everywhere."

on Nov 09, 2011

WTF is a boat? No such thing in Elemental . 

on Nov 09, 2011

Frogboy---I know I mentioned this on an earlier thread or two, but is there any way Fallen Enchantress we could have the Elemental map with the two main continents with "the henge" in the middle as an option.  I would truly love to play that map.

 

The random generator looks like great.  Cheers to your team.

on Nov 09, 2011

Excellent stuff, thanks for posting!  Just one thing that would kill all sense of realism: the squareness as seen in the mini-map, in the final pic.  Pleeease, do something to break this up a bit.  I guess this is a tiny map, but any hint of regularity really knocks you out of the immersion in a wild and mysterious world.

 

 

 

on Nov 09, 2011

I suggest you publish the random map generation rules in the manual and allow them to be edited via xml.

 

The rules for MoM generation are in the Official Strategy Guide. For example, cities try to be at least 5 spaces away from a node but will settle for as little as 1 space if I remember correctly. There is also information on what % of tiles will be each terrain type, what the chance is that they have a special resource and what kind it is, and lots of other info.

 

 

on Nov 09, 2011

Looks really GREAT!  I am really excited to get my hands on this upgrade. 

on Nov 09, 2011

Mortenart
Excellent stuff, thanks for posting!  Just one thing that would kill all sense of realism: the squareness as seen in the mini-map, in the final pic.  Pleeease, do something to break this up a bit.  I guess this is a tiny map, but any hint of regularity really knocks you out of the immersion in a wild and mysterious world.

Yea, although I get the idea of fitting in more interesting stuff, I have to agree about the aesthetics and how overly "square" looking stuff does kind of break the sense of immersion and sense of wonder I like to experience in fantasy games.

on Nov 09, 2011

I think realistic maps tend to be a lot of fun. The random maps I have enjoyed the most actually belong to the Firaxis game Alpha Centauri. They had various planetary features of importance that would appear in different locations on different continents when generating a random map.

But most importantly, none of it matters if you don't have locations of importance. Ditching the global resources and making location matter again is the most important part of all of it.

on Nov 09, 2011

Lookin' awesome and love the random maps. Both huge wins.

on Nov 09, 2011

Thanksgiving can't come soon enough.  I took Friday off so that's 4 days of FE Beta if you release Wednesday evening. 

on Nov 09, 2011

scifi1950
Thanksgiving can't come soon enough.  I took Friday off so that's 4 days of FE Beta if you release Wednesday evening. 

I said around Thanksgiving. Not before, my friend.  In fact, I'm almost positive it'll be AFTER Thanksgiving since we have a 4 day weekend and no one wants to be managing the beta.

on Nov 10, 2011

Fortunately we will all have ridiculous quantities of fatty foods to stave our hunger for FE. 

on Nov 10, 2011

Grizzyloins
Pic #4, bottom-middle, is this a winged/flyin creature?

 

To me it seems like a winged creature but its legs are on the ground. Wings doesn't mean flying necessarily.