Procedurally Generated Islands

Duality is a recurring theme in Elle – Nature/Technology, Past/Future, Spiritual/Worldly, Yin and Yang and what have you..
Fittingly enough, the vast majority of Elle is played in two types of areas:

1. Procedurally Generated (“Random”) Islands – Floating islands where you practice your survival skills and harvest supplies for the adventure ahead

2. Hand Ruins/Orb Ships – Towns & Dungeons where you advance the story and do battle

Well, we recently completed the island generator:

For all m’nerds, here’s a quick rundown on how it works:

First, a noise map is generated. The noise is used as a height map which is used to generate the mesh of the entire island. Textures are then set based on height. Sets of textures are separated into randomly positioned biomes.

(The bottoms of the island and the water are generated the exact same way, except the height map’s amplitude is changed as necessary.)

After that, trees are generated, in their respective biomes, using a pretty simple jittery-grid function.

And finally, for the pièce de résistance, a navigation mesh is generated atop the entire island, which is going to come in very handy when the AI get here. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

After completing the island generator, I went on to fix up the player & camera controllers. Player movement can be controlled by point + click, keyboard + mouse, or a gamepad.

After all that felt good, I threw in some pretty water and a little running guy. When you put it all together, it looks something like this:

So that’s where we’re at- Not far, but it’s starting to look like something…

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