Weekly Update – Nobember 18, 2022

The algorithm for determining available space is fully working. I really struggled with it. I expected needing a few days to complete it but those days turned into weeks. The algorithm design itself was sound; it was the calculations that drove me nuts. Ample debug statements and code comments helped get the job done. Another useful technique for troubleshooting procedural generation issues is to temporarily increase simplicity, predictability, and repeatability. To debug the algorithm, I disabled the random starting point and instead set the starting point to 10, 10 and the initial feature size to 5×5, simplifying the math. By using fixed values, I knew what the expected values were (I didn’t have to calculate these in my head every time because the starting point and feature size changed each run). Using the same fixed values for every run made it easy to tweak the algorithm until the desired result was achieved.

Here are a few examples employing the new available space algorithm. Note that these aren’t playable maps; they simply demonstrate the algorithm at work.

Map generation example 1 (3×3 rooms)
Map generation example 2 (random rooms and corridors)

Other accomplishments this week:

  • Room and corridor fine-tuning. The ratio of rooms to corridors was adjusted, along with the sizes. In both cases, I compiled data from multiple hand-drawn dungeon maps and calculated min, max, median, and mean values. The median and mean values were similar when I removed extraordinarily large rooms from the data set.
  • Smarter corridors. Corridors now only connect to other corridors and rooms from specific points, based on the orientation and direction of the corridor. This helps corridors connect to other features in a more logical fashion.
  • Level graphs working again and improved. Level graphs required a few modifications to function with the new map partitioner. While I was in the code, I made some improvements. The new partitioner treats both rooms and corridors as graph nodes (previously only rooms were nodes), so I gave room and corridor nodes different shapes and sizes to better distinguish them.

New automated tests. I rarely use test-driven development, but there were some situations this week where it made sense. The calculation-heavy utility methods for determining available space were easier to develop and test independently rather than when integrated into the full map generator.

Next week I’ll continue refining the new dungeon layout. The goal of putting out a demo by year-end is almost certainly unattainable at this point due to the unplanned procedural generation work. But, I am taking a lot of time off in December and may be able to pull it off. 

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