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Gravity Ark's Procedural Generation: Biomes

Gravity Ark's Procedural Generation: Biomes

This article is building off of last week's article: Gravity Ark's Procedural Generation: Using Chunks

A biome in procedural generation is an area where everything is generated with a similar algorithm. For instance in Spelunky, the Forrest Biome is always the second biome you hit in a play through, it looks like a jungle, uses the same chunks, and has the same level of difficulty.

An Example Biome:

For Gravity Ark, we can think of a biome as collection of chunks that are similar in some way. Some of our biomes focus on a specific elements, like the Slug nebula.
We've moved the different chunks up and down so that it's easy to tell them apart.

Most of Gravity Ark's Biomes are used purely to control difficulty though. So, we have the Easy Asteroid Biome and the Hard Small-Asteroid Biome, etc.

Controlling Difficulty:

Chunks at the beginning of a play through need to be easier, and then get harder and harder as the player makes it further and further.

When a chunk is needed, a biome is selected from a list of available biomes(with a bias toward the most recent biome selected), and a chunk is created from that biome. Whether or not a biome is available is dictated by how far you are in the game. For instance, the first biome the player meets is the Easy Asteroid Biome, which is available between 0 and 3,000 KM.

To test this out, we had the track generate far beyond what the player could see. Then we had a look and tried to determine if there were any snags. For instance, somewhere where it would be impossible for the player to make it through or if an obstacle was showing up to often.

This made it easy to iterate on the game's level design.

This is Chris Ross with WHY Games Studio, hoping your day is out of this world! 

-WHY Games Studio
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  1. Cool Chris. So once you're past 3000km there's no chance of getting an easy chunk? Sometimes ppl appreciate an easy bit after a rlly intense bit.

    1. We got you covered, man. Once you're past 3000KM, chunks from that particular biome(The Easy Asteroid Biome) stop showing up, but other biomes of varying difficulty come in and out of play. For instance, the Easy Small-Asteroid Biome appears around 5000KM.