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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image

image

..

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 3)
on Nov 10, 2011

We had better get boats before flying!  

on Nov 10, 2011

Didn't you hire this guy/girl to write flavour texts?

 

It allready seems like it's paying off because I'm loving the writing on the first few pictures describing the statues and the wooden boxes.

on Nov 10, 2011

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

 

My girlfriend planned food reserves too, but it was because Skyrim is coming this week. Apparently I'll need to remind her to feed herself else she will pass the day without eating.

on Nov 10, 2011

seanw3
We had better get boats before flying!  

 

Sorry dude, I think we´ll get nice air long before nice boats. Simply because its a lot easier.

 

Good job SD!! The only little thing is the square shoreline, but you´ll handle it easily.

BTW, are these pics on debug mode?

on Nov 10, 2011

Frogboy
Quoting scifi1950, reply 27Thanksgiving 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.

Yes, I realize it was just wishful thinking on my part.  Seeing all these great posts just has us all a tad eager.  The FE team needs to enjoy the Holiday and recharge, because when we do get our hands on the Beta the fun's really gonna begin!

 

on Nov 10, 2011

Hm, i love random maps.

Thank you for including this feature!

on Nov 10, 2011

I adore random maps generation when it's well done. Thank you a lot for this feature. And I agree it is a very challenging task. I play again and again random maps on some games, and never play them on others, simply because an unbalanced random map is a very, very, very bad thing imo: after 6 hours of playing you find out that your opponent had the luck to get that special resource/tile/hut/temple/mine close to its capital that gave him so much advantage that he is waaay far ahead of you in terms of armies/tech/money/cities that you have no hope to win.

And yes, the last screenshot looks awesome!

on Nov 10, 2011

Frogboy
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.

 

Dratt, I'm gonna have to reschedule my kemo

 

 

I wonder what's up with the green/black dragon banner, pic 3 has like 3 of them spread out (looks like one might be the leader of those 1 calv/2melee/1ranged? groups/stacks & pic 4 has another ------ perhaps minor factions?

 

 

on Nov 10, 2011

A bit sad to see the same boring landscapes as in WoM. Either completely flat or a mountain. Is it really that hard to create hills?

on Nov 10, 2011

Magog_AoW
A bit sad to see the same boring landscapes as in WoM. Either completely flat or a mountain. Is it really that hard to create hills?

 

Lord Relias in pic 5 is standing on the edge of a hill

 

hills, flatland (grassland, desert, wasteland), mountains/volcanoes, water/rivers, woods - are all here anyway, now we need waterfalls, more 'meaningful' cliffs/beaches, swamps, & caves

on Nov 10, 2011

Didn't you hire this guy/girl to write flavour texts?
It allready seems like it's paying off because I'm loving the writing on the first few pictures describing the statues and the wooden boxes.

I agree! I hope the scrollbar on the wooden boxes text will be removed though.

on Nov 10, 2011

"I agree! I hope the scrollbar on the wooden boxes text will be removed though."

 

I was thinkin the same thing on Relias's action options scrollbar

on Nov 10, 2011

Grizzyloins

Quoting Frogboy, reply 28I 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.

 

Dratt, I'm gonna have to reschedule my kemo

 

 

I wonder what's up with the green/black dragon banner, pic 3 has like 3 of them spread out (looks like one might be the leader of those 1 calv/2melee/1ranged? groups/stacks & pic 4 has another ------ perhaps minor factions?

 

 

Kemo? I am sorry to hear that.

I hope everything is/will be ok.

------------------------------------------------------

Oooh...minor factions would be great.

on Nov 10, 2011

Didn't you hire this guy/girl to write flavour texts?

 

It allready seems like it's paying off because I'm loving the writing on the first few pictures describing the statues and the wooden boxes.

I believe David Stern is a man. Could be wrong though.

 

Loving the flavour text as well. Very well done.

 

on Nov 10, 2011

Beautiful pictures! Such an improvement over WoM!

 

One thing that did caught my attention was... not a single beach in sight. Does that mean we are losing the useless ships? (useless, and which refuse to be disbanded nor move after some auto-exploration...)

 

Either way, this looks better by the day! Surely by now we will only get a rash from playing!