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Progress on Procedural Generation.

From the start the idea of this project has been that everything should be done as much as possible with procedural generation. I want people to come back and play it again and again.

That's not to say that there won't be a story, and non random elements, but the key thing is that you can replay it and get a different experience.

Anyway, I've been working on the random dungeon generator for some time, more than a year it seems, though I haven't been working on it continuously.  I got some ideas from existing random dungeon generators such as this one:

There were three things I wanted it to do:
  1. Create interesting rooms which are more than just rectangles.
  2. Allow different ways of joining the rooms through corridors.
  3. Use different tile types in the same map to avoid looking repetitive.
 The first thing required a bit of a different approach from normal generators. Normally we just set a room size and make a room but I used a dictionary of interesting room shapes. At the moment the dictionary contains a small sample so rooms are a little repetitive, but later I'll be expanding the sample and adding different dictionaries for each tileset.

I used arrays to represent the rooms which look like this:

The arrays can be rotated or mirrored to create new rooms from existing ones. I may write a function to merge room types too.    

I used A* pathfinding to achieve the second goal. Corridors are drawn automatically from each room exit making every room accessible. They can join in sequence or join all to the entrance to the level, or all to the exit.

The builder uses several different tile types to make the rooms, some can transition to other types directly, some can't. I used a transition dictionary to set which can and which can't That can be changed for different tilesets.

Here's what the result looked like using simple colored objects as placeholders:

 The generator created them very quickly, meaning that to create a whole dungeon of levels would probably be the work of seconds rather than minutes (I hate long loading times).

One other thing I'm working on is to create granular rock, some hard some soft, which helps clump the rooms together in to more organic shapes and also causes the corridors to snake more pleasingly. Where corridors have to be cut through hard rock they can be set to have a different appearance.

Finally here's a look at how it all fits together in a video:

You can see the red circles show where there is hard rock. Setting granularity high makes a very noisy image with small pockets of hard rock, this snakes the corridors just how I want, lower granularity makes the corridors avoid certain areas of the map which is also interesting.

Next up I have to work on getting the tiles ready to walk on. I'll be using empties added to the mesh to show which squares are walkable. When the level is loaded the empties will be used to generate a A* graph (taking note of which nodes are linked to doors) which will be saved as a set of dictionaries which can be accessed one at a time to prevent creating a too large graph for the A* algorithm.

There already exists several variables that can be changed to create more varied levels, such as room mirroring, number of rooms and level size, as well as type of room linkages and average room sizes. These are mostly not active at the moment but have been tested and seem to work fine.

Later I'll be adding further refinements to the generator script so that it can add multiple stairs up and down to exit the level, match the location of previous levels stairs to the current level, and also match up rooms from the level above in cases where there is a pit trap. But for now it works well enough for testing purposes.


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