As you probably know, the first versions of this generator were a small exercise in procedural generation without much purpose (here is my first post about it and the earliest screenshots). Over time it has found its audience of users, which affected the direction of development and made the whole activity much more rewarding - thank you all who supported the project and provided much-valued feedback! The time has come to decide how it’s going to be developed in future.
To implement all the requested feature (or at least the good part of them) and to keep myself motivated I’m considering shifting the focus of development from the current online generator to a new paid desktop application with much richer editing and customising capabilities. And before anybody asks: the online generator will stay where it is and how it is now - i.e. free (I will tell about it in a little more detail below).
Here is the list of new features which might be implemented in this new desktop application in addition to the existing ones of the online generator. They are grouped into 4 categories for a sake of readability:
Things in this category are the most interesting for me to implement and probably the hardest as well.
- Better rivers with support of multiple channels per map, tributaries and looped channels (e.g. moats).
- More diverse landmasses' shapes with support of islands.
- More flexibility in castle placement: within city walls, outside city walls, multiple castles per map.
- Support for multiple sets of city walls, both nested and independent.
- Better streets and alleys - more diverse and natural-looking layouts.
- More love for extramural farms.
Initially the goal of the generator was to produce reasonably believable maps with a single click. It changed over time, now it’s possible to customise cities to some extent and reroll individual wards. In the next update of the online generator a “warp tool” will be introduced, but I’m not going to push it any further, proper editing will be added to the desktop application only.
- Saving and restoring edited maps.
- Improved warp tool with undo history, “liquify”, “bloat”, “pucker” modes.
- Topography editor for manual marking (drawing) land, water, city and other types of map regions.
- Topology editor for editing roads and channels.
- Customisable list of wards with arbitrary names, layout settings and placement rules.
- Automatic POI generation - taverns, shops, local temples etc.
Viewing and exporting
Maybe the name of this category is not perfect. It’s about visual things, which may be present on a map, but do not affect its structure.
- Marking individual buildings with icons, labels, colours, and descriptions.
- Marking individual wards for highlighting and overriding automatically created labels.
- Marking freeform areas - large neighbourhoods, bays, city surroundings etc.
- Marking streets, roads and channels.
- Name generator for all kinds of toponyms.
- Customisable palettes and textures.
- Map decorations: titles, borders, legends, coats of arms etc.
For making a better 3d-visualiser than the existing standalone ToyTown, I’ll probably switch to Unity3D or UE4.
- Better render quality (AO, shadows, depth of view etc) and performance.
- More architectural diversity (roof types, chimneys, jetties etc) and slightly higher level of detail, although I’m planning to stick to low-poly aesthetics.
- Stylised rendering to produce more artistic-looking maps similar to the image above (another example).
- Physics (or just collision detection) for comfortable model exploring.
- Elevation support - hills, hollows etc.
- Customisable colour, light and atmosphere settings.
- 3D export.
As you can see this is a long list and a lot of work to do. So I am going to undertake it only if I’m sure that it is needed. Maybe I’ll try to run a small crowdfunding campaign to verify it.
If there will be an app, what is going to happen to the online generator?
As I said before the online generator will continue to exist as a free “click to generate” thing. I will keep updating it with features from the app which are easy to transfer, mostly the ones from the “Layout” category. Probably I’ll try to integrate ToyTown into it, although I’m not happy with its performance at all. The next update will be released tomorrow.
If there won’t be an app, then what?
Even if there won’t be an app I’ll keep updating the online generator, just not as often - depending on my interest and amount of free time available. Easy to do things will be prioritised.
So what do you think about it, guys?