Monday, April 30, 2007

Making One of those Weeks episode 14, part 2

More of Modern Melee Combat has been posted to the repository. The game is playable, but not fully tested. Still, unless I discover a major bug in the next few days, the game will be released this Friday. Being burned in the past when I didn't have an alternative ready, I am going to continue working on my Making of One of those Weeks chapter in this and in tomorrows posts. So, lets get on with the chapter.

As this episode takes place in a forest, we obviously need a way to create a forest. There are at least three ways that this can be done. My three methods are build the forest by hand, import an existing forest, or randomly generate a forest.

Building a forest by hand is time consuming, but not overly difficult. My 3D sequences are actually two dimensional maps extruded into the third dimension. As such, the forest is a simple tile map with three different tiles used to represent different shapes of trees, one tile to represent ground, one tile to represent sand, one tile for the river, one tile for Charles, and one tile for the cave. My Coffee Quest Construction Set was used to quickly build the tile map. That being said, even if the map was truly three dimensional, the task would not have been that much more difficult. The 3D map editor would probably allow tree objects to be placed anywhere. Some ground would have had to be created, but then the placing of trees would work out pretty much the same way as it did for the tile based construction set.

Importing an existing forest is certainly possible. You would have to find a map of the forest that you wanted to use for the game. You would also need to be able to either convert the map into a file format that your game could use or write your game to be able to handle the format that the map data is in. For a game like this, the time saved using an existing map is probably more than offset by the time converting the map. That being said, if your game was set in a real world location and you had legal access to map data, this could be a real time saving way of getting level data for the game.

The final method that I was thinking about was a randomly generated forest. I have done maze generators in the past (see the Ultimate Retro Project Maze and Dungeon Romp games) so I know that this is not that difficult of a task. A random map may add a small amount of replay ability to the game, but it does remove the consistency of the episode. Hand crafting a map gives the designer a bit more control over the flow of the map than any generated map does, but randomness is an option that as a game designer you may want to consider.

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