We all know that I’ve never been any good at making textures. (Maybe I’ve never been any good at modelling and animation either, but let’s not get into that right now.) Making a game, however, requires lots of textures.
I’ve been surfing on two aging atlas textures for years, generic layouts I have ceaselessly wrapped around almost every single piece of geometry. While this approach makes it very easy to swap out varied colour schemes, I didn’t do that very much in Project Y4 and it turned out a bit monotonous in the end.
No, I need a new solution. One that will provide an endless variety of textures… without the need for any painting skill.
I’ve been replaying Fallout: New Vegas over the past couple of weeks, and it strikes me that this is the logical end to what I want to create for myself. A sprawling world in which an action RPG takes place, replete with characters, factions, towns, quests and exotic landmarks.
I don’t know how I’ll get there yet. I don’t know how big I’ll be able to make my levels before the computer dies, I don’t know how many characters I will be able to put in them before my tottering algorithms collapse, I don’t even know how to load and transition to new levels.
But long-term, super-super-long-term, I’m pretty sure this is the end state: exploration, discovery, bartering, crafting, conversation, factions, reputation and, of course above all else, action. The only thing I’ll do differently is make my world(s) less brown. Damn, but FO:NV is brown.
A few years ago now, I needed a computer for commuting work. A companion for the monolithic base-station, something that sacrificed power for portability. I bought a cute netbook and named it Astradyne.
Technology has moved on since then, though. Astradyne still works but is not quite quick enough for my increasingly impatient brain. Astradyne is light but surely not as light as an equivalent machine from this age of pocket rockets.
So I started looking around…
LBA2 is one of the first games I ever ever ever played. It came with our first ever PC, as part of the “Family Pack” along with other classics like Need For Speed 2 and… er… I don’t remember what else. Probably classics. Family classics.
Haven’t played it for ages, of course, and certainly haven’t ever blogged more than oblique mentions of it. I played the original Little Big Adventure a while ago and found it thoroughly traumatic, but LBA2 has always had a firm place in my heart. It’s not as traumatic.
I’ve maintained for a while now that I don’t actually like strategy games. I’m rubbish at them, I’m terrible at thinking beyond the short-term. My undying love belongs to the relentless, reflexive action of the shooter and the obsessive-compulsive inventory tetris of the RPG and the romance sub-plots shoehorned into both.
But I played Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance recently and… I enjoyed it. I was not good at it, but I muddled through on Normal difficulty. I like building bases. I like telling the units to mine resources and then build structures and build units. I don’t know why.
Here then, is another foray into the annals of RTS games that once piqued my interest. Can I find some answers in Earth 2150: Lost Souls?
So, several months after I actually got the physical box of the game, I finally managed to play Wolfenstein: The New Order, all thanks to a horrendous, mandatory, 10GB patch — 10GB being one month’s download cap, meaning I had to let it download in stages… over months. Because Steam couldn’t possibly let me play the game unpatched, no sirree.
Bah, first world problem. I have some shooting to do.
We’ve been through the cellular automata algorithm before. I said some things back then that were mostly theory — things I’ve now been able to test in the wild.
So how does one take a grid of noise and turn it into a functional RPG? Well, lucky for you, I’m getting close…