I’m Mod Orion, Content Developer for The Guardians. I’ve been spending a lot of my time over the past weeks working on a new system for the Arc – The Uncharted Isles.
As well as the big islands you already know of, there are a huge number of small archipelagos in the Wushanko Isles, and only a small number of them have ever been charted.
It has been my task to breathe life into these islands and make them a tangible destination on Gielinor – one that you could conceivably explore forever.
How do we implement this?
Creating a plethora of islands would have taken up far too much of our allotted development time, so writing a system that created the islands for us was definitely the way to go. Using carefully-clamped procedural generation, we have been able to generate billions of unique, varied islands.
Wait. How many islands?
Yep, billions. The islands are generated using random information as well as custom information from your player saved game. There are over 400,000 basic land mass configurations and shapes, alongside millions of variations of coastlines and shallow waters, alongside billions – soon to be trillions – of combinations of land décor, texturing and interactive objects.
This equates to an unfathomable amount of configurations and layouts. When you go adventuring in the Uncharted Isles, you’ll always find somewhere new to explore.
How does it work?
We start by plotting some basic shapes on a grid. We then join the shapes up in a specific way to create a fully conjoined land mass. The shape of the land mass needs to be validated and small alterations might need to be made to ensure that we can work with it.
Once the central land mass has been finalized, we can give it a glorious, golden beach. We do this by traversing around the edge of the island shape and assigning it a special value. This special value determines the shape of the coastline at that point.
Once the shape and two layers of edging are completely computed, we can create the island! We do this by using several specially designed, manually crafted ‘template’ islands made by Mod Alex. They contain many variations of every type of tile. We stitch these tiles together (like a quilt!) to create the islands based on the data we have just calculated.
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