Friday, January 2, 2015

Fractal Worlds

A World at the Press of a Button

The idea of generating a complete campaign world at the press of a virtual button is very intriguing to me.  My appreciation of randomness in RPGs began when I was surprised by how playable the random dungeons generated in the Warhammer Quest tabletop game were.  With a well-seeded set of random tables, an interesting story will unfold.

The Concept

There is already some great groundwork for dynamic campaign world generation out there, and new projects like Worldspinner look very promising.  But I'm going to take on the challenge of creating a campaign world generator as well.  My twist: the project will be powered by my database of random tables and generators.

DMMuse is a curated, open repository of RPG generators.  The idea is for community members to help populate the tables, resulting in an ever-growing store of value.  With the DMMuse framework well established, I have an engine that can generate the random settlements, adventure locations, and lairs that will eventually populate the procedurally generated campaign world.

First Step - Elevation Map

The first step in creating the world is getting a basic world map.  I implemented a fractal world builder that spits out an elevation map of a randomly generated world.  An example is shown above.  This particular map is 150x100 pixels in size.  When converted to a hex map, that gives us a campaign map of 15,000 hexes.

Taking this elevation map and converting it into a basic hex map will be the next step in the process.

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