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.





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.

Comments (Page 4)
on Nov 10, 2011

Kemo? I am sorry to hear that.

I hope everything is/will be ok.

Thormodr - Didn't you schedule your Chemo treatments?  Brad told us that FE would give us cancer.  I imagine the Beta will darn near kill us outright.    

on Nov 10, 2011

"Kemo? I am sorry to hear that.

I hope everything is/will be ok."


It's looking like cancer for sure, but the game might surprise us & be good

on Nov 10, 2011

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.


Never let her go. You are truly a lucky dude.

on Nov 10, 2011

Very little have a had a desire to post a reply on something here. The info given has been great, but this is....superb. I know exactly what it takes to do this sort of thing, but I also know how much more play time it creates. Excellent work and thanks so much!

on Nov 10, 2011


Quoting Thormodr, reply 43Kemo? I am sorry to hear that.

I hope everything is/will be ok.

Thormodr - Didn't you schedule your Chemo treatments?  Brad told us that FE would give us cancer.  I imagine the Beta will darn near kill us outright.    


Lol. I'm a moron and definitely not a morning person.

on Nov 10, 2011

It's ok to feel bad when someone talks about chemo. Doesn't make you a moron.

on Nov 11, 2011

Love the random map generation.  I'm really liking the differentiation in terrain types and the addition of rivers.  I wonder: are the volcanoes active in the game world?  Anyway, the land definitely appears to be more alive and dynamic, which is a wonderful thing.

on Nov 14, 2011

The sad thing is I've thought that original Elemental will bring me all kinds of fun and now I don't really wait Fallen Enchantress to give me any new expirience. But if it will I'll rape everyone's mind to buy this game.

on Nov 14, 2011

Oh yes, if it has multiplayer that plays like the single player (perhaps even with simultanious turns) I will force my buddies to buy it, or even buy it for them.


To topic; I must say the maps look splendid and interesting, and that I'm impressed of what the RMG seems capable of. If I'm going to judge from the pictures it is alot better then the RMG from HOMM 3 and 5.

on Nov 18, 2011

Just 1 comment on the 4th picture with sea, lakes and land sides by sides.

It seems like geographically incorrect and it should not looks like that due to wave erosion.

The closest one to look like this would be some Africa Archipelagos, but that is happen inland world with minimum erosion effect.


Suggest to consider some erosion effects, not to connect too many lands together

on Nov 20, 2011

My primary concern about maps is balance and that they look interesting (natural). So I wonder if you've thought about including templates like in Age of Mythology.


AoM templates

on Dec 06, 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."

I don't think it has to be balanced in multi-play either.

on Dec 06, 2011

I want natural looking maps.  Meaning that the map looks like it could be real geography.  The only map I liked from WoM was the Destiny's Embers Map.

on Dec 09, 2011

Love that last screenshots, really dig it, the others feel, well a bit empty in the wom way (love the choke points on some of the other maps though). Maybe it's due to the forests and the lighting on the last one? Dunno.