Still Alive Saturday #25: Caved In

Hey everyone!

Continuing with my usual tradition of making a horrible pun to celebrate the week’s update, this week is primarily about cave generation. Before I get fully into that, however, I should mention the other progress we’ve made this week.

Justin spent the week finishing up the ocean island chunk set. That means that all islands, regardless of what type, have at least one complete image set to work with. There will be more to come in the future, but this is a really nice thing to have complete and it looks great in-game.

We also put some time this week into starting the design for the game’s logo. We’ve come up with some pretty great ideas and I can’t wait to be able to show the finished image to you!

 

Cave Generation

Caves in Tomorrow’s Horizon are generated as part of an island event. Cave islands will be ones that are very thick (that you can’t see the bottom of) or ocean islands, mostly because it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense if a thin snaky island hid a multi-level cave complex inside of it. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far!

Caves can be seen as a sort of alternate (or in some cases, supplementary) challenge for a location. A lot of island locations will have their combat/events/exploration entirely above ground on the island’s surface, but cave islands will typically be more heavily emphasized on the underground aspect. This means that there will be fewer or no enemies above ground. However, some late-game locations might end up being a two-part challenge that requires you to fight your way TO the cave, and then conquer it for your reward.

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The generation process for caves is a grid-based recursion method. We start off with a root node which can have 1 or 2 children. These children are randomly placed in one of the four directions outside of the root node. Once this has been done, the children recursively generate their own children over and over (so long as the maximum branch length has not been reached). This leads to a very snaky layout that feels like a maze.

Obviously, you can see by the above screenshot that the generation is still very early in development, but this process allows us a great deal of customizability and control over the nature of each cave. In coming weeks you can expect to see more work done on the caves, so look forward to that!

I may write a more detailed technical break-down of the road, probably once the generation is a little bit more fleshed out.

 

That’s all for this week! See you soon.

Chris

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