The last few weeks I’ve been working on a side project with the idea of creating an “exploration” game. The base of the game is a randomly generated world, making every gaming session unique and hopefully interesting.
The main world is a cave system generated using a Cellular automata method, a great explanation can be found over here. Normally these are used for top-down game’s and they serve as dungeons. So there are some dangers when using it for a platform style game.
It took some time to get the cave-generation working at a level that’s right for a platformer, so that ledges could be jumped and caves could be navigated correctly. Eventually I used the shortcomings of this method to shape the gameplay slightly. It’s impossible to get perfect caves that are completely explorable, one of the biggest problems was high ledges.
The fix for this was fairly simple: adding pilars that act both as cool scenery, but can also be climbed to reach higher points.
A second problem was that the random generation usually creates a couple of cave-systems that are not connected. The solution for this is pretty cool: the player can throw bombs to blow out some rocks here and there.
Using a set of rules we can add some nice scenery to the levels. These rules can be as simple as “X amount of tiles surrounding the spot should be empty”.