forums | blogs | polls | tutorials | downloads | rules | help

Modding: Loving it, but...

I'm having a blast with modding now that I can devote much more time to it. I'm testing out what I learn with small (most times unfinished) maps, laying out terrain and objects manually. A bit tedious but Node Matcher greatly helps. A bit frustrating especially when the terrain looks nowhere near what I had in mind, having grown organically by necessity in difficult situations. Now multiply that by however many regions make a decent playable map (Ugh!) Recent gotcha: trees snap to forest wall terrain's "fake foliage" making it look like they're floating above said foliage (fix: move each tree to a flat node -- or at least out of the fake foliage so that it snaps to the ground -- then slide it back, now it really sits at ground level OR place them that way to begin with). Do that for *each and every* tree. Not a matter of click, click, click and you have 20 new trees on the map (did I mention: Ugh!?)

I often thought, "It would be awesome if it could all be done automagically." So I searched, and found foerstj's post about the Green Range: "... I didn't place a single plant or enemy manually..." That's exactly what I had in mind! So I looked further and found "I made a little map" leading me to GasPy (thanks foerstj for making it public). Very interesting. Now I just have to familiarize myself with Python. Easy peasy (jk).

I had a previous brief affair with Python a few years back, so that could help or hinder, it's a toss. Tracing through the code, (re)learning Python while trying to figure out what it's accomplishing, I wonder:

"Is it possible to generate a map that doesn't look so uniform and manufactured? Or does that take a human hand (or some wicked AI or machine learning)?"

"How does that work when I already have an initial concept? (e.g., a water course here, a gorge there, etc.)"

"How does object placement work for uneven terrain? Wouldn't do to have a tree half-buried in a sloped terrain node. Or does that get corrected during tanking?"

Then again, I suspect I haven't experienced that map generator enough to come up with sensible questions. I have difficulty at this point reconciling the Green Range map (in all its richness of detail) with GasPy MapGen (as I currently, barely understand it). And I certainly have a lot to learn about meshes and textures et al.

If nothing else, this latest diversion with Python (Did I mention I have a slight issue with distractions? No wonder I have all these zombie projects laying around, staring at me with pleading eyes, "Love me or put me out of my misery, you fiend!") will give me tools to work with *.gas files, where up until now I extracted information by brute force with macros and spreadsheet magic. Sucker for punishment.

Still, as I said, I'm having a blast. I love the thrill of the chase.

Ending with a bit of levity: paraphrasing a de-motivational poster I saw: "Perhaps my only purpose (in this) is to serve as a warning to others (to not do what I'm doing and how I'm doing it)"

blogs: 

Comments

Hi there, just saw this post by accident. I'm traveling and will be for some more months and I currently have neither the time nor the setup to help you much, even tho I'm thrilled you're trying to use my code!!
I've written multiple map generators, they're all in GasPy.

About those trees, also in my generated maps: My GasPy is not smart enough to figure out terrain structure. I place plants at fixed heights, and then I open the region in SE, have snap-to-ground active, select all, and move by 1px. That should also work for the forest-wall nodes. Find the snap-to-ground option in SE Wink