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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Map Generator

The start of 2006 was kinda slow for Earlsgames. Been "busy" so to speak with other projects, and after my previous post, i kinda started to think about the kind of games i wanted to make.

So I stopped the usual routine of making games and focused more on learning more advanced methods of game making. So until such time, i'm afraid this Blog of mine will see fewer entries.

Anyways, that beside the point, i just wanted to show you this Map Generator thing.

I made this application for that big secret project I mentioned a while back. You can probably imagine how big the project is... and who wouldn't? It's not everyday a Flash game will have it's own map generator program.

Similar to other map maker apps like those of Command and Conquer, and Warcraft, the "generator" basically does the same thing, but on a simpler level.

It features a flat isometric 16x16 tile grid. Each tile can be raised or lowered to build the map that you want, and tiles can be "removed" to represent cliffs or bodies of water. The generator allows you to save, and load maps to the hard drive via .map files and export the map as an image.

It also features a texture editing mode (disabled in this version) so you can have a good feel of how the final map will look like when finished. You can have grass textures, wild growth, sand, bricks, rubble, rock, pavement, marble, and of course, water. I disabled the feature for the time being because it affected the application's performance. I still needed to optimize the code, but set it aside for now.

After making the map layout, all i had to do now was to export the map as an image, and send the image over to the map renderers who in turn will use a combination of 3D Studio Max (or any other 3D application they like) and Photoshop (or any other image editing tool they like) to come up with the final map.

Maps will have their own themes, depending on which part of the game we plan to put them in. Once the game is launched, the generator may be downloaded along with the game client so players can design and render their own maps.

These maps will then be submitted to us for review, making sure it fits proper specifications for the game itself. If the map is ok, it will be automatically be included in map updates so players from all over can download and use the map. Pretty cool eh?

The actual game is nearing the start of our "internal alpha" phase where all of the guys involved with the project will get to play it and give their comments. After that, we start finalizing alpha for the Beta release. The website is currently in development and should come out a couple of weeks before the Beta.

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