An information game

Hello dear followers.

This is the first devlog for a new project called Aekan : Call of Ruligon. It’s still in early development.Today, it look like a Walking Simulator, because, it’s pretty much the only thing you can do right now.

But it’s not.

It’s an Information Game. And by Information Game, I mean a game that is not about slashing mobs or testing your dexterity or skills. This game is about understanding what’s going on in this world. It’s about seeking the truth, and hopefully, have an impact on the story.

I’ll not go too deep into that topic today. But there is great a video on YouTube, where Tom Francis, who is an indie game developer and critic, define what an information game is. He said that “An information game is a game where the goal is to acquire information, and the way you do is to use information you’ve already gained” by applying it, combining it, deducing things from it, stuff like that.

Today, I’ll talk about procedural map generation.

I love the idea of having an infinite world where you can walk as much as you want, and you always find something interesting to do. And the most important things is that it should not be repetitive or boring. So the first idea to avoid repetition in a map was to create biomes. But biomes are handcrafted, and to avoid repetition I’ll need a lot of biomes, and that’s require time and a lot of art work. But I’m not really an artist. Maybe, there is also another option. Maybe I could randomize the properties of my biome and create multiples biome instances. Each time I load a map, it will use the same biome, but with randomizes values, so it should look different. For instance, I’ll randomize te max elevation of the terrain, or the amplitude of the Perlin noise. It’ll still look like the same biome, but it must be different enough to be noticeable for the player.

So I started to experiment a little around this idea. And of course, it was repetitive and boring because when the map is loaded, the randomized values of the biome are the same values anywhere. Unless you randomize theses values across the map. And that’s what I did. As the player walk, he’s moving from one biome instance to another. And the terrain is smoothly lerped between theses instances. With only one biome, I can generated an infinite number of variations. And if I now create more totally different biomes, the number of variations will increase even more.

Now, what’s next.

I’m not happy with the meshing of the terrain. It’s a pretty standard height map and diamond like mesh structure, but it’s not looking good. There are some artefacts, particularly near the cliffs, it could be better. I know that there are some advanced meshing algorithms like Marching cubes, or even better, Dual Contouring. I would like to implement one of theses techniques, if possible on the GPU side maybe.

There also a lot of more to do on the game design side. I want to learn more about games like Dwarf fortress, The Magister and Heaven’s Vault. Because they theses games managed to create procedurals stories, and to create a gameplay that makes mystery solving interesting to play.

This was the first devlog for Aekan : Call of Ruligon.

More will follow and if you want to hear more about it, just follow me.

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