Last time we talked about biomes back in February, Mr. Whitman had finished a framework for terrain generator and had implemented a few test case biomes which we have been using in-game for a while just to give us something to hack on to test the features we’re after. This small set of biomes has been the backdrop for a ton of our screenshots lately. You may have noticed a recurring theme of pine trees on a field of green grass with some lakes.
We’re going to start mixing it up in the next month or so. The system we’ve implemented runs on a concept of two or three specified biomes on a given game terrain map (the playable area in any given colony). Some examples might be a “high prairie” (aka “Steampunk Yellowstone National Park”) biome, a tropical rainforest, a desert, or the Novyrussian taiga. Within these biomes, we have subcategories of smaller environments that we call “mini-biomes” or “sub-biomes”.
For our high prairie example, these include the prairie highlands, canyons, conifer forests, aspen forests, or craggy hills. We have some heuristics for determining where these mini-biomes should go within the map. A fairly simple random walk for determining river directions, which gives us gravel beds, canyons, and actual rivers, and Perlin-based determinations for where forests or hilly regions are placed.