Hello and welcome to the ninth weekly development blog – this weeks focus is procedural generation, and what sort of things to expect as you explore the harsh frozen world of Fringe Planet!
One of the things we spent some time refining and optimising this week are the visiting islands. These are small islands that travel around The Void, orbiting each other and larger bodies as they travel through the infinite expanse. When you start a game, you can choose the number of visiting islands that will be initially orbiting your home, and these will come and go (being replaced by new ones) as time goes by.
These visiting islands are not just aesthetic however – they are incredibly useful for two main reasons. Firstly they contain useful resources (ores, items etc;) which you may have run out of on your initial island – or which haven’t spawned at all. By tethering a visiting island temporarily, you can send your peons to explore it and exploit any resources that are discovered on it. Secondly (and arguably more importantly) towards the end game your peons will discover a way of permanently tethering a visiting island to your home – permanently expanding the size of your play area.
The visiting islands can be created by a storyteller, or they are created by the engine itself – these small chunks of matter have either fallen off or been shattered off larger floating islands when two have collided. We wanted them each to feel unique and occasionally other-worldy, so we created multiple “blueprints”. These blueprints contain a base definition which tells the engine what it should build on the island, and what materials things should be made of.
Not every visiting island is interesting and this one isn’t. There may be some resources under the grass, but nothing too exciting. Though it is interesting to see the grass doesn’t cover the entire island – maybe those are paths or tracks? We wonder what caused that?
A large collection of rock floating through The Void. It may look boring, but sometimes extremely rare material can be found by mining these. Always worth checking out.
What monster structure would require such a vast amount of scaffold – or is it a mould? How long have these been floating through The Void? What was built with them and who built them?
That is a huge amount of bismunthite, but why is it above the ground and why is stored in such a manner – is it a natural formation? Did animals create it? These mineral stores can be made out of any single ore – so potentially you can encounter a huge amount of gold stored like this. It seems like a very generous input of material – we wonder what the drawbacks may be.
Another incredibly resource rich visiting island- this appears to be the part of a giant chequered floor. What creatures created it? Why did they create it? Where there no other structures built? or were the structures so big in scale that this entire visiting island is just a small part of the floor?
These platforms appear to be built on the visiting island after it was created – what strange creatures would build something like this? Why do the platforms seem to be built with peon pathfinding in mind? Why are all the platforms raised from the floor?
Compared to the other visiting islands, these structures seem to be completely intact. Many different permutations of them have been observed, yet they all seem aesthetically very similar. We wonder what could be inside them, and what purposes they serve.
Incredibly ancient, rotting buildings similar to what peons would build. Weathered by unknown epochs of travel through The Void. Maybe there are still resources that can be recovered from these haunted, lonely places.
A relatively intact, though often heavily damaged building that has been traveling through The Void. These must have been built (relatively) recently. We wonder what sort of cataclysmic event must have occurred to shatter the places they came from.
These are just a few of the visiting islands that are already in the game, and there are plans to add many more different types – each with their own stories, unique blueprints and resources. We’ve also got plans for some very exciting mechanics involving visiting islands, which will be revealing over the next few weeks.
Until next week, thanks for reading!
There is a lot more to read about Fringe Planet… why not try: