Guru: The Quest Continues

Continuing to work on the code for GuruQuest this weekend. The screenshot here gives you the lastest idea of how it’s looking. Which is to say that I think it’s improving aesthetically at least, which is encouraging.

Development kind of oscillates between two different poles. On the one hand I keep trying to think about the overall experience of what it’ll be like to play around with this, and that leads me to focus more on getting the guru script right and to fret about how boring the world could be. Then on the other hand I become obsessed with the weirdness of generating a world essentially out of a single number, thanks to Perlin noise.

So basically the world is generated by using the wonderful pseudorandomness of Perlin noise. That draws the shape of the foreground landscape, the paralaxing landscape in the background, and the shapes of the clouds in the sky. It may also stretch to some generated birds to fly around at some point, too.

The central idea behind using Perlin noise is that it’s a pseudorandom number generator that’s repeatable. Which means that the world isn’t totally random, it stays the same once it’s generated. So you can walk for “miles” in either direction, but when you come back, the landscape will be the same one you left. I wanted to have a consistent world and large world, you see, but didn’t want to draw it myself in any more conscious way. So the “noise” approach worked out really well on that front.

Overall the project is pushing every so slightly closer to being something I could imagine actually giving someone to play with. The major things I want to get done is some kind of “zoom” if as all possible, so you could view the world either from this more meditative distance, or up close, and that it would be the same basic generation code either way. And I want to the player to be able to adopt “mediation” poses, as well. Long term I have a vague idea fleshed out with Rilla about a multiplayer version of the world.

It’s fun, exhausting, and endless. But what does it all mean?

19 March 2011
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