From the beginning, the choice is yours as to how you want to progress. Do you support the cultures directly by helping to gather resources, building new buildings, settling down with your own home, and maybe even starting a family? Or do you work indirectly, completing various missions offered (which may send you off to dangerous and exotic locations) that have the potential to impact on how well the towns function? Or maybe you simply don’t care about these people, and go off on your own and rough it?

However, be aware that the universe is ever changing. You may find yourself caught up in events that are far reaching even if you could care less about the people around you. These are times when the universe is looking for a hero, and the time for someone (maybe you?) can step up and be that person. Find out more here and the menu above.

From the beginning, the choice is yours as to how you want to progress. Do you support the cultures directly by helping to gather resources, building new buildings, settling down with your own home, and maybe even starting a family? Or do you work indirectly, completing various missions offered (which may send you off to dangerous and exotic locations) that have the potential to impact on how well the towns function? Or maybe you simply don’t care about these people, and go off on your own and rough it?

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Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest News: State Of The Game: New Year’s Edition (Part 1)

2 comments by mbhahn on Jan 8th, 2015

As we’ve been relatively quiet over the past few months, we wanted to get a post out focusing on what has been accomplished over 2014, and what we plan on doing moving forward. This first post will be focusing on the work Alex has been doing since joining the team in June related to the procedural nature of the planet, towns, and buildings. As these three parts are crucial to the entire game, we wanted to explain how everything works in this post (specifically what Alex has been working on and/or recently completed), and the 2nd part of this post will go into the road map for 2015.

in_FeatureImage_03

From Location to Realization

A large amount of objects goes into generating a fully random world with complex features like towns in, particularly when the goal is to have things appear different every time – terrain, road layouts, buildings and more.

Before getting into how the towns are made, here is a little explanation of the underlying terrain systems is in order.

Like an Onion

Generating all the information that makes a full voxel world is very expensive in terms of computer processing and may take several hours if it was all generated at once. Fortunately, not all of the information is needed for most things, and we can get away with using lower resolution or less precise data.

To that end, terrain generation is set up in layers, each subsequent level having more detail and bringing it closer to the final result. At the lowest level, only the general shapes of the landmasses and seas, and basic height ranges are visible. It is not a whole lot, but plenty for getting a good idea about where you might want to generate a village.

Low Res Town Pictre

An example of the lowest resolution height layer that is used for general shape. This is full size for an entire planet face. This particular image is old, since post engine change it’s harder to output images like this, but it’s extremely similar.

This allows the placement of towns to be planned ahead of building the area it occupies. Right now though, because they’re still heavily in development, a town is placed in the middle of the world area.

Tiles and Keeping them Hidden

The easiest way to build a structured area like a town is with tiles, each containing road and places for buildings. Tiles are easy to keep track of, and easy to work with, but have some drawbacks, mainly concerning how easy they are to spot in the world, especially where they join to other tiles.

This can be mitigated somewhat by making sure you have plenty of different tile variants for each type of tile that exists, so there’s a much smaller chance of getting two that are identical in a row, and by rotation and flipping to get more variants out of a single base image. More on that later.

towns article pic 2

Prototype for testing town layouts, showing two layouts as basic tiles (left) and the first image-based tiles (right).

Random Interior Design

As it turns out, designing the layout of a house is no simple task. The number and types of rooms and how they connect are a very important process. We need to make sure that a randomly generated blob of rooms both looks like a house and makes enough sense to be believable takes a lot of work.

A graph of the connections between rooms is made based on the type and size of structure. The rooms are placed, shuffled around, and expanded within limitations to make (mostly) normal looking structures.

towns article pic 3

Prototype for house generation showing the graph of rooms and their relative placement in the final house, back before doors were added.

After that, the doors and walls are fleshed out as the structure is bound to the block grid. The general features of the rooms like walls, ceilings, and floors are dictated by the room type. You may have seen some of the pictures in the weekly screenshot recaps showing the animal pen rooms as low walled courtyards.

The buildings are then placed into the town tiles to line the roads, which with enough variety can look quite natural.

towns article pic 4

Another town layout prototype pic, this time with a larger pool of different tiles to use with the houses.

Wrapping up

Eventually the houses will have more complex features and decorations, and be filled with the trappings of whoever lives or works there, but for now the focus is on getting them into the world. They’ll be functional places for the townsfolk to operate from, which is an important feature we are working on in the coming months.

Some of the features, particularly world gen and buildings, are currently in the early build available to backers. We’re expecting the town functionality in a build in the near future, and then the focus will be tweaking the current functionality and adding in the citizens.

- The Imagine Nations Team

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Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 43)
Vladiskov
Vladiskov Jan 9 2015, 12:44pm says:

Oh look Adventure mode (darwfortress) Got 3d ;D

+1 vote     reply to comment
jackawaka
jackawaka Sep 23 2014, 3:10pm says:

I just really, really hope it isn't like the "starforge" incident. This game has so much potential.

+3 votes     reply to comment
cptmashek
cptmashek Oct 22 2014, 3:29am replied:

Can you elaborate or post a source to this incident, so that we have context for your comment? I'm very interested to know what this incident is.

+2 votes     reply to comment
mbhahn Creator
mbhahn Sep 25 2014, 3:22pm replied:

I am not sure what happened with that incident. We understand the potential. We are committed to creating this amazing game.

+2 votes   reply to comment
GlitchyBunny
GlitchyBunny May 29 2014, 11:15pm says:

I just stumbled across this and already I can not wait for this game.
Not only does it look amazing, but it's like several of my favorite games rolled into one, but then given so much more. I'm definitely linking all of my friends here.

I do have some questions.
May have overlooked this somewhere, but will there be farming?
I love farming when it comes to sandbox/open world games for the sole reason of having to explore to find a particular plants/crops for crafting. As well as animal herding/breeding (Can't really quite find the word for it). And with Imagine Nations these could be absolutely amazing!

+2 votes     reply to comment
mbhahn Creator
mbhahn Jul 11 2014, 11:01am replied:

Sorry for the late response, We have not hammered down when farming will be put in the game. But it will play a role in Imagine Nations as cultures need to eat via hunting or planting etc.

+2 votes   reply to comment
Guest
Guest May 14 2014, 10:19am says:

Will this get on Steam at some point? I really hope it will, it looks very promising :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
mbhahn Creator
mbhahn May 14 2014, 4:39pm replied:

Yes. We have been Greenlit already. The page can be found at Steamcommunity.com .

+4 votes   reply to comment
Slaineify
Slaineify May 7 2014, 7:48am says:

Damn, this looks pretty promising. Will the cultures have geopolitical interaction? eg. one higher tech group attacks another one because of empire reasons, another high tech faction steps in to defend the less advanced people and then it ends up WW1 style because of all the alliances and relations

+2 votes     reply to comment
mbhahn Creator
mbhahn May 14 2014, 4:41pm replied:

It will be possible to have different cultures with different strategies. Some may be peaceful and some can be aggressive.

+2 votes   reply to comment
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