Friday, June 21, 2013

A Procedural Hexcrawl I:The Land of Arador

I've always found the idea of procedural content generation to be rather fascinating.  Since I also find worldbuilding and Role-playing games interesting as well, it's natural that I like the combination of all three elements.  As such, this series of articles will follow my creation of a hexcrawl-style map, procedurally generated as much as possible.

What is a Hexcrawl?
Hexcrawling is a form of content organization for RPG content in which locations or other points of interest that the players might run into are keyed to a grid made of hexagonal tiles.  In addition to the tile, each tile also has a terrain type.
A more in-depth explanation of Hexcrawling can be found in Justin Alexander's excellent series of articles on the subject.

Starting Out: The First Parameters
The two things we need to know right away when creating our hexcrawl are as follows:
  1. How large are we going to make each tile?
  2. How many tiles do we want?
I'll be using tiles with a 6-mile radius (giving them an area of just over 125 square miles), generated in a 24x24 grid.  This means that in the end, we'll have a total area of 72,000 square miles, roughly the size of the US state of Washington.

Our map will come from the Wildgen Hexmap Generator.  For this step, I generated several until I got one that I felt had a satisfactory mix of terrain types (all present, but not dominated by any single type).  The end result looks like this:
Asking YAFNAG for some suggestions, I've chosen the name "Arador" for this land.

Now that we have our territory, we should break it up into Kingdoms.  For this exercise, I plan on having six nations, each containing a different D&D 3.X race: Humans, Elves, Dwarfs, Orcs, Halflings, and Gnomes.  As a simple way to divide up the territory, we'll select six random hexes and assign them as the "Origin" for one of the races.  From this point, we'll expand each nation outward by up to one hex each iteration until all of the land has been taken.  Each race will have different rates of expansion depending on the type of land.

RacePlainsForestWooded HillHillMountainSwamp

In the end, our final map looks like this:
So far, we have two city locations for each kingdom: Their Origin, and their median population location.  Next time, we'll generate a bit more information for each of our kingdoms.

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