Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Home

I’ve just finished transferring this site to a new host, owned and operated solely by me (and Linode, that I’m renting the server from). Previously, I was using space generously donated by Ashelia over at, but unfortunately I couldn’t configure things to work quite how I wanted without sabotaging the other sites I was sharing the space with. So, time to strike out on my own!

In the process, I also put in the time to improve the appearance of the site, including actually putting a logo at the top. I’m quite fond of the little iron spirit. I think he needs a name, though I haven’t decided on one yet. Suggestions are welcome.

I also finally have e-mail attached to this domain. So I can be contacted at contact, admin, webmaster, mike, michael and mpowell,, and I like to be thorough. But for now, I’m mostly advertising

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lack of Updates

Given the small burst of traffic I’m receiving after tweeting this URL at Notch, and the fact that I haven’t posted anything since March, I figured I should provide a progress update.

First of all: It’s still alive, though progress slowed for a bit, and it’s direction has now shifted slightly.

The big thing that happened is I got a new job. This job didn’t take up more time. Quite the opposite. It cut 2 hours of commuting out of my schedule. However, it also introduced me to the wonders of Test Driven Development, and all sorts of other good practices, which I hadn’t previously been exposed to. I spent close to two months exploring that and other related subjects, not wanting to dive too deep into my code for fear that my approaches would all be invalidated by what I learned next.

I finally reached a point where I felt ready to dive back in. However, in the interim, I’d gotten really excited about some of the simpler things I could do on the other end of the game, the actual down-in-the-world portion. So, I decided to take a two-pronged approach to developing the final product.

On one end, I build a detailed world generator, which is the project I’ve been working on that you see up here.

On the other end, I build a bunch of the gameplay in a small world using a relatively simple terrain generation algorithm.

So for now, I’m focusing on the gameplay side. And the game is currently tentatively titled Fire & Stone, though I reserve the right to change my mind on that. I’ll post a demo of that up here as soon as I have something sufficiently usable.

Edit: Also added a long-overdue screenshots page, after three separate friends and family independently suggested it in the space of about 5 minutes.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Genesis Engine Demo v0.1.1a Released!

I’ve released version 0.1.1a and put it up. You can download them right here: Mac | Windows

The biggest change is perhaps the least visible. The maps are now broken up into sectors, which allows it to handle significantly larger maps, and render them much more smoothly during the generation process. On top of this, there are numerous UI and usability improvements. The full changelist is as follows:

User Interface:
  • Zoom button – Once generation is complete, the map displays fit to the screen. Hit the zoom button to view it at 100% scale, and drag it around.
  • Cloth button – It no longer automatically generates the cloth map view. Now it waits for you to hit the Cloth button, and once it’s generated, you can use this button to toggle between the cloth view and detail view.
  • Continent Shadows – During the generation process, it displays a “shadow” of where the continents will be located.

Generation Process:
  • Continent Shuffle – At the beginning of the generation process, the continents push away from each other (and the wall) just a bit, to cause them to overlap less.
  • Mountains react less to continent size – It used to be that mountains would be smaller, more detailed and closer to the coastline on smaller continents. This is no longer the case.
  • Smarter mountain locations – It used to be that mountains were generated in a full loop around every continent, but then their height, and presence, on a given pixel was determined by a global noise map. Now, each continent places mountains around some portion of it’s arc, and the global noise map, while still present, has a lot less affect.

Core Systems:
  • Sectors – The map is now broken up into sectors, with each sector being 256×256 in size. This allows for much larger maps, and a better framerate during generation.
  • New File Format – This follows with the sectors change. It can still load v0.1.0a files, but it will save in the new format.
  • Localization Support – All user-facing text is now stored in external data files, making it easier to edit and localize.


The image exporter has been temporarily removed. Moving to sectors created some significant challenges in exporting the whole map as one image. I think I have a solution, but it hasn’t been implemented yet.

Download: Mac | Windows

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Genesis Engine Demo Available

After much toil, blood, sweat and tears, I have the first public build of the Genesis Engine available for people to play around with (v0.1.0a). It’s pretty bare bones at this stage, just a simple UI for you to select some parameters for the world, and a Generate button that builds a world to those parameters. It will save out the final cloth map rendering to a PNG automatically (see clothmap.png in the executable directory), and has the ability to save and load a fully generated world (see the world.genesis file, also in the executable directory).

There will be a lot more to come on this project in the coming months, but this should be enough to whet your appetite, and show the potential for this world generation algorithm.

Download here