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Mad Island

A topic by ArcaneRoboBrain created Mar 04, 2019 Views: 154 Replies: 7
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My 7DRL is going be a fairly traditional roguelike set on a mysterious island (because of course). The theme is steampunk but I don't know if I'll have time to really get that across. I want to push a combination of the mechanical and magical, kind of like the old Arcanum RPG.

The tech stack is my own engine built on top of Monogame and the Nez library, which I've slowly been replacing with my own code over time. I'm still not sure how I'm going to handle the graphics. There's a tileset I've been using for prototyping for a while and I may stick with that or switch to something else.  But I want to stay with a lo-fi esthetic so I can add custom sprites myself if I need to.

No screenshots yet, but here's a short story I wrote to help me establish the mood of the game and work out a bit of the initial gameplay...

You start the game on a random spot on the outer edge of an island. Most of it is hidden from sight, with only a small patch visible around you. But you don't know how you got here. The only thing you can recall is searing pain and then blackness. You look down at yourself and immediately find that your left hand and lower arm are encased in some sort of gauntlet covered with numerous gears and pistons.

You can move your fingers and turn your wrist, but no matter what you try to do it won't come off. Looking closer, you see two distinct recesses in the back of the "hand". They look like empty sockets, waiting for something to be attached.

You don't feel any pain now, but you do feel something. A strange kind of energy who's source seems to be the thing enveloping your hand. Acting on instinct, you pick up a rock with that same hand and close your fist. The rock explodes into dust. Amazed, you try again with the same result. Somehow, this… thing has incredible power that you can now tap into.

As you explore the island, more of it is revealed until you find the massive volcano at its heart. But the inside of the volcano is another mystery for another time.

You continue to explore, finding many clearings scattered across the island. In some, you find creatures skittering around what look to be groups of crystals growing out of the ground. As you approach one of the crystals to take a closer look, the creatures close in on you aggressively and you back off, thinking better of it. Even with your new found strength you don't think you could take all of them at once.

During one of your many excursions, you come across a strange machine. It appears inactive and you can't find any way to turn it on. There's a large opening on one side with a fine layering of dust over it. As you move around the machine, the dust sparkles in the light. Looking closer, you can see that the dust is made up of finely ground crystals.

The machine reminds you of something, and looking down you see the connection between it and the thing covering your arm. They look like they were made by the same person, or have at their base the same underlying technology. You've never seen anything like either one.

Exploring some more, you finally come across some unguarded crystals and gather them up. Each clump is a specific color. There's red, blue, a pale yellow, and a sort of amber color. An idea forms in your mind.

You make your way back to the machine and take out one group of crystals, the red ones. You drop them in to the opening and suddenly the thing springs to life. Internal gears start turning, plumes of vapor rise from pipes scattered across it. Heat begins to emanate from its surface and you take a couple steps back.

Finally it stops and something drops out of an opening that you hadn't noticed before. It sparkles on the ground and you go to pick it up. You have to wait until it cools, but holding it close to your face you can see that it's a large gem of the same color as the crystals you had dropped in moments before.

You do the same with the other crystals you've collected and after a bit of time you find yourself holding four perfect gems, all exactly the same size and all flawless.

You wonder what this all means when you glance at the gauntlet on your hand, as you've found yourself doing more and more over time. Your eyes come to rest on the two sockets. Again, acting on instinct, you place one of your newly acquired gems, the red one, in one of them.

Gears spin and lock the gem into place. You feel a wave of heat flow through you as steam issues from the gauntlet and the gem begins to glow with an inner light.

There's a rustling sound behind and you turn to look just as something lunges at your head. Your arm comes up and strikes out, a solid blow. You've tried fighting one of these before and barely escaped, but this time the thing falls back away from you, a smoldering hole where your fist connected with its body. It lunges again, and again you strike. This time you're not caught off guard and watch as the gem glows brighter and the gauntlet turns white with heat. The thing that attacked you lies at your feet, dead.

Your hand should be on fire right now, but there's no pain. And the gauntlet reverts back to its normal color, smoking a bit as it cools down. You look closer at it, examining it for the 100th time. It looks like a bunch of gears and pipes and metal plating, but there's got to be more to it than that. This is no ordinary machine.

You look back at the creature on the ground. It's not moving. You lean closer and notice a glint among the still smoldering flesh. Where you expected to see bone, you see metal. More gears and pipes. Just like your hand. Just like the forge. What is this place? Why are you here? And there's still one more empty socket on the gauntlet. What if…

Here's a gif showing some different versions of the randomly generated island you'll start off in. The clump of mountains in the center will eventually be a volcano. The tile set may or may not be final, but it'll be easy to swap out later if I have time.

OMG that is a thing of beauty... love it. What technique are you using to generate that pangea like land masses?

(1 edit) (+1)

Thanks! I might do a write up on the island generation later because I do think it's turning out pretty good. But real quick, for the basic landmass I start from the middle and do a drunken walk up to a predefined number of tiles. Then repeat that two more times. Repeating it fills out the shape more and makes it create a more rounded island. Only doing the drunken walk once or twice gives you more of a long, thin shape.

To find the center of the island for the volcano, I start from the outer edge of the largest landmass and keep working inward until there's nowhere else to go. There's a technical name for the algorithm, but I forget what it is.

For the shoreline, again I start from the outer edge tiles of the island and then recursively mark the walkable neighboring tiles of each one as a shore tile also, using a lower chance of success to continue each time.

Like I said, I'll try and write up something more detailed later in case none of that made sense. :)


The algorithm name I couldn't remember is "Inside Buffering". Here's a picture of how it works, taken from here...

It's turning out great :) I didn't expect you are using drunkard's walk as core element of generator!

I was surprised that it worked out so well myself.

And, it's done. Against all odds I managed to eek out a (hopefully) playable game. I mean, it's technically winnable but I haven't had time to do much play testing. :)

Have a look if you'd like:

If anyone was hitting problem running the game, I rebuilt it and re-uploaded. It seems to be working now.