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Game landscapes



One thing I daydream about involves how to represent game landscapes.


It seems to me that a few layers of procedurally generated content could be a quick way of getting a game going. I think you need several levels of this kind of abstraction to make things look right.


So, like, for example, maybe you have a terrain generator. And you generate some huge body of terrain and look for features which fit your story, then grab the mesh of maybe 9 random number seeds which define your grid and its neighbors (I think the algorithms need blending to give restartable terrain creation).


And then you do a similar pass for placing structures on it - generate a whole lot of stuff and then search for something that looks usable.


And then maybe another pass for vegetation?


Obviously, this is something of a pipe dream - you need some way of dealing with or preventing collisions and that takes computational resources. And there's stuff like which ground can be walked on, and what can be interacted with. But if those issues could be dealt with then hypothetically something like this could be used to pack a lot of data in a very small space.


Another half backed idea involves capturing artist updates to the appearance of things by tracking the edits they use. This would not work so well for a photoshop perfectionist - but if the artist could buy into the concept of minimalist edits (perhaps with some feedback about how big things were getting and how long it takes to re-render things), then you might again have a good way of packing complex game content into small data structures.




Of course, sometimes you might need to fall back on classic polygon+texture approaches. And any software sometimes involves debugging headache.


But I can dream, can't I?


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