Weekly Blog #3: Wrapping my head around the matrix
Saturday, January 11th 2020
I dove back into my world generator scripts struggling to find the proper technique for contextual grid tile creation. I have looked up a number of tutorials and best practices on the topic but the desired outcome I am looking for differs greatly from what most others who have posted methods have done. I am basically trying to create a patchwork or quilt of ground tiles that connect seamlessly. The reason I am doing this over simply generating a mesh and adjusting the vertices to perline noise is that I intend on the tiles being more vertex heavy and realistic in appearance. Mesh grids have to layer other mesh objects on top of them to accomplish anything like this. Using a grid method will add a bit of a stylistic look to the game but I intend on making the visuals as realistic as possible beyond this. I don't want people to forget they are playing a game, I just want them to have a level of familiarity that will draw them deeper into the experience. I once read an article about xcom 2 procedural map generation that inspired me to use the patchwork tile method for world generation. At the end of the day Saturday, I had attempted many different methods of accomplishing this but was still falling flat of a true solution.
"Here’s how the metaphor works: imagine a map in XCOM 2 as a quilt, with holes where a pre-constructed modular building will be placed – those are the parcels. The holes are big, small, and medium-sized, with a range of unique buildings that could fit into each size. These buildings, and the holes in which they’re socketed, are the parcels of the system.
-Brandin Tyrrel, IGN.com
Link to the article explaining the tapestry method xcom2 uses for their procedural generation."
also... a little video showing what the outcome of this method looks like for xcom2
Sunday, January 12th 2020
"We are not defined by what we do occasionally but by what we do consistently"
I post that quote because Sunday was a bust for me. I made the mistake of staying up too late Saturday and when I got off of work Sunday I was exhausted. Sundays are also a challenge as they are a day that I spend time with my girlfriend and often her family. All that being said it is my minimal goal to do some concept art or think out design problems and I failed at that. Lesson learned. Wash, Rinse... do not repeat..
Monday, January 13th 2020
I put the problem of my world generation in the rear view for a couple days and focused on some concept art for the designated floor chicken coup. In the game, the player will designate floors of structures within range of population centers as different types of resource collection or amenity creation. One of the types of structures for food production is a chicken farming facility. I drew up what that floor might look like. The player will only see it from the outside during gameplay but each floor designation will have a details page as well showing the inner workings.
Tuesday, January 14th 2020
As a young and rookie game developer I battle with myself on what activities are time well spent and what might be slowing my progress. Concept art is something I am still totally not sure about. I love visualizing in 2d before ever creating 3d models or code but this takes time. The chicken coup for example represented about four hours of research, modeling, and painting before I realized how much time was going into it. I actually did not finish it either. A picture of my progress is posted below but I would argue that I have not fully thought out the concept. I posted a survey on twitter to other indie devs in the world and some devs were kind enough to give me their feedback.
Results of my twitter poll for whether or not concept art is important for an indie..
"" Depends on the game. As an #IndieGameDev you're kinda always short on time (by definition). The question is: how integral is concept art for your game's experience / marketing
If it's an absolute must, then it's worth investing some extra time/resources into it. Good luck! "
" I would say use it in a way to keep you focused. If you have too many "cool ideas" swimming around in your head it can be hard to focus and limit scope. "
" Beyond marketing, concept art is used to structure asset design. In many cases I will sketch the bare minimum on a sheet of lined paper with no intention of showing anyone, just to keep my ideas intact and working as a proto-drawing. This helps things to be cohesive. "
Wednesday, January 15th 2020
I jumped back on my programming horse and attacked the world generation script again. This time I had more success. I was able to get the river bed basic method completed.
I also determined that I could evaluate the context of surrounding tiles better if I started generation at the top left, moved right in rows, and only evaluated four surrounding tiles at a time. I had multiple white boards trying to figure this all out. Fourteen in total actually but I will post a couple below.
Thursday, January 16th 2020
Micheal and I met up to review progress on the game. We did a little bit of design discussion but not a very eventful day otherwise.
Friday, January 17th 2020
This is normally my blog post day but I got sucked back into my world generation script and failed to get anything posted. At around 11pm I decided it best that I put off the posting until today. I did make a huge breakthrough on how I will get the world generation complete. I was unable to finish it but the foundation is now there. I know what to do so I will be moving onto the next step very soon. :)
The hills in the video below are evidence that I have found the proper method for evaluating tile context while editing the terrain.
I am so happy to be focused on daily and weekly goals. I am definitely taking longer than expected for each and every task but as I repeat them my routine should get faster. Although I have spent much time learning each of these skills I still have so much more to learn. I appreciate anyone and everyone who is interested in taking this journey with me. On that note, our weekly poll has come to an end and once again we had only one vote. Whoever you are, I adore you and am grateful for your attention. The poll was to select the "most interesting" character from our Legendary Survivors lineup. The winner was "Carlos Diaz". As the game design progresses I will go into more detail about how the Legendary Survivors impact the gameplay.
What I did right:
I did not give up on finding a repeatable solution for the world generation script. I could have settled early on with scrambled code but I continued to alter it until I reached a versatile simple solution.... still yet to see total fruition.
What I did wrong:
I did not get enough sleep some nights causing my brain to move a bit slower out of work. I need to get disciplined again about hitting the pillow on time.