Clarifying a couple of things

Over the last week or two, I've had this nagging feeling in my stomach. The feeling that many of the readers might have misunderstood what I am trying to do here.

I'm just going to spill it; For those of you who think I am making a new feature rich map editor, where you can specify each and every little thing... I'm sorry to disappoint you, but that's not it!

There's already a product out there that's good if you're looking for this kind of thing. I haven't tried it myself, but popular opinion seems to vouch for its quality. And that's Campaign Cartographer, which you can get at ProFantasy's web site.

So, back to my project. What am I trying to make? I'm trying to make a product for the lazy ones, for the ones who suddenly get the urge to play something in a new world setting and need the world now, and for those of us that aren't artists and want a good basis to found our game world on.

The first release of this product will be a web-based one-click creation process. A truth with minor modifications (you might have to check some checkboxes, and make some choices), but that's the jist of it.

You heard right. I want you to visit a web page. I want you to make some choices, and I want you to click a button. In return, I want to offer you a world setting.


  1. As I mentioned just now on a reply to the previous post, you should take a look at Fractal Terrains from the Profantasy guys. It does a lot of what you're talking about.

    The creator is also pretty free with his discussion of the underlying ideas, if you care to search through the Profantasy mailing list(s) on Yahoo.

  2. Pythor, I always welcome your insight, and again you bring something to the table. I have not tried Fractal Terrains either, but I googled it, and got a few image hits on world generation.

    Assuming you know a bit about Fractal Terrains, please take a moment to look at this image: http://www.profantasy.com/images/ft/ft3_edit.jpg

    We've discussed before on this blog how rivers should look natural, in addition to being "believable" in their placement. The image I posted here does not convince me of Fractal Terrain's river generation's capabilities. To me they don't look very smooth.

    Is this a bad example? If Fractal Terrains is awesome software (It does look awesome in many aspects), - what can I do better in mine? Where to focus the efforts?

  3. Uggh, I had a long comment here and the internet ate it.

    FT is very nice, but you're absolutely right that it isn't perfect. It does a great job of producing real-looking land masses using fractals, and it does that pretty quickly. It also has a nice climate map feature which is very cool. I'm not sure exactly what other features the new version has, as I used the old version a couple years ago.

    As you mention, the rivers FT generates have problems, too. I wouldn't say they have more or less issues than the rivers you are generating, just different. Lots of straight segments is one problem, and there is (or used to be) an issue with rivers that end in small interior lakes, as well. I would love to see what a combination of your spline method and FT's flow simulation would produce.

    As for a simple quick and dirty world generator, FT has worked for me. It's main lack is in editing tools, though it has some simple tools for that, too. Also, small scale detail. FT is a world generator. If you want a country or village, it's both overkill, and not very useful. On the largest scale I could use on my last machine, a pixel on the FT height map was something like 30 miles across.

    Again, I'm not sure the scale you are trying to work at. A small scale generator would probably be great, especially if it could take an input file for a height map. I know FT can input from various formats, and from reading, I believe that Wilbur is a popular tool for generating height maps.

    Still, what really matters is what you want to work on. Enjoying what you are doing is more important than doing something that someone else hasn't already done. If you aren't enjoying it, it won't go anywhere at all. And even if you created a tool with all the same features as FT, it would be different and useful for that alone.

    If you do want to go that route, there are a lot of nice resources to give you ideas. Me, I'd want to go to basics and attempt plate tectonics and erosion simulation, but I'm a little nuts.

  4. Great input! You're absolutely right, the most important thing is what I want to work on. And so far, I'm leaning towards creating worlds that are suitable for fantasy settings, over creating something that is topologically valid in the real world. Of course, if I can achieve both then that is great, but the former is most important for me at the moment.

    The "default" scale that I have been working towards would be something between the size of Europe or South America. But that's something that could change.

    As for heightmaps, my generator creates its own heightmaps, - so it would be unproblematic adding functionality so that it can accept a heightmap from an external source.

    Erosion simulation would be awesome! Actually it's on my list of todo's, although it's pretty far down at the moment ;)