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Medieval Fantasy City Generator (itch.io)
788 points by BerislavLopac 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 115 comments

One thing I would love to see in a city generator like this is a simulation of time and how gradual evolution shapes a city.

There's a picture book called "Barmi: A Mediterranean City Through The Ages" by Xavier Hernandez and illustrated by Jordi Ballonga. It illustrates a fictional city from Neolithic settlement to Roman outpost to medieval town to modern city. Some images can be seen at http://jordiballongaen.blogspot.com/p/baronia.html

In this book, you see how a Roman amphitheater decays during the Dark Ages, and the structure is partially used and cannibalized to create a circular set of apartment buildings, which then influences the later layout and design of the city in modern eras.

Procedural generation unfortunately tends to try to generate everything at once, as if a medieval city was created ex nihilo. It would be interesting to see what it would look like if such designs incorporated evolution over time.

Split in Croatia is a great example of this - where a part of the layout was based on the Emperor Diocletian's Palace:


Maybe Edinburgh and volcanoes as well...


That was one of the most interesting cities I've visited. The city was a mix of medieval architecture and pieces of a Roman palace. There were the brick walls of buildings built between Roman columns and there was a Roman-era mausoleum on one side of the street. It was clear that it used to be quite an open layout that was filled in by buildings in later centuries.

It must have been interesting in the early days of the city with a bunch of people occupying an old palace, fortifying it, and building houses for themselves within the grounds.

I wondered what Diocletian would have thought to see his old palace transformed in such a way.

Nice! This reminds me a lot of "City" by David Macaulay (https://www.amazon.com/City-Story-Roman-Planning-Constructio...). Absolutely loved that book.

That's a neat idea. I'm imagining a system based around a kind of decision tree of what different structures or districts could turn into. Each change adjusts the weighting for the potential futures of neighboring structures in the graph. Throw in random events like fire, invasion, etc that can change the map at a stroke.

> the structure is partially used and cannibalized to create a circular set of apartment buildings

Something like this happened in Barcelona, where columns of an ancient Roman temple where found INSIDE regular workers' apartments.

Oh, I found it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Augustus,_Barcelona

This is common in Tarragona, where Roman ruins are found pretty much every time there's some digging or work in existing houses in the old city. See Tarraco: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarraco

I was fascinated as a kid about "Una calle a través del tiempo" (a street through the ages), which is a very similar concept but with a first-plane of a street (and some general details as a background). Google images reveals some details with this title.

There's a nice 3D animation of Amsterdam's growth from Stadsarchief Amsterdam:


I love this sort of thing, but the far more interesting challenge to procedural games is engaging the player emotionally and intellectually, and giving them a sense of long term narrative progression. I'm mainly thinking of RPGs here, but it's a problem that surfaces up to this day in things like No Man's Sky. Even in non-procedural games that nevertheless allow you to continue playing in a world after all the storylines are concluded (e.g. GTA, Assassin's Creed), you still have this sense of emptiness when you realise these houses don't really have anyone in them, and there's just a city full of mostly silent people walking aimlessly around. Accumulating money or equipment isn't interesting anymore because there's nobody left to fight.

Dwarf Fortress puts in a lot of work to keep worlds and interactions rich. Even games like Football Manager are fundamentally role play, and the constantly evolving rivalries and personnel involved keep things fresh well into the game. Honestly think small but rich villages would be more interesting than massive but realistic looking cities, but this is still impressive stuff.

In one article about Dwarf Fortress they talked about how they would write stories, then pull apart the stories to figure out how they are made and then how to make them randomly. It's a bit different from physical/realistic inspiration, and likely to lead to more fun in the results.

If I vaguely remember, there's this sense of major plot points, and then everything else is connective tissue. You can imagine the same thing in a city design – what are the parts of a city that make it distinctive, or fun, or notable? You randomly choose some distinctive design elements, and then fill in.

This generator has a bit of that. I like how the rivers or an ocean can dramatically redefine a city in this generator. But there could certainly be more. Interesting topology. Highways, instead of a couple equally-sized roads. A scattering of distinctive building forms, like a military base, convent, marketplace.

The game "Caves of Qud"'s creators have given some GDC talks on procedurally generated histories [1] which I thought was pretty interesting. But it all seems very limited and hacked since NLP research is still very far from creating any useful text generation like good summaries let alone fiction.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0sLa1y3BW4

A problem I have with a lot of modern games is the fake sense of scale. In the Mass Effect games the Citadel is supposed to be some vast city floating in space but you’re limited to a few rooms with billboard textures to show the rest of it. On the other hand the game Fuel delivered a massive sprawling (mostly empty) wasteland to chew up in your buggy and was non-random per user. I would love to see this kind of procedural generation to deliver an actual Citadel type world where the developers could then sprinkle landmarks across it. You could just ignore it and take your flying car to the waypoint or you could drop down into the streets and trade, craft or just soak up the scale.

I think its more an issue with game design than it is with how big it actually is. Like you don't need infinitely generated worlds to produce a sense of scale, you just need it to take time to explore, and a good reason to explore. And this is ME's greatest failure I think: You can't interact with anything. You skip around space instantaneously, so the largest thing in the game is the citadel.. it's the only object that takes any amount of time to actually traverse (that, and planets, which you don't really want to explore). Yet you jump around that too, and are only actually interacting with preset objects.

The problem I think is that there's nothing to interact with. And there's no interesting ways to interact with the things you can interact with. Like star control 2 is technically a small game, and a small world; it just feels big, because it actually requires time to traverse, and there's actually things to find. Zelda games tend to be even smaller (primarily a sequence of small rooms), and yet feel much larger. Again, time, secrets and interest play a large role in why it feels that way.

people try to use procedural generation as a crutch, to avoid actual game design (see: no man's sky, minecraft; note the latter is popular by accident, adventure mode was intended as the primary, but loses its appeal quickly. Creative mode became the primary appeal by accident.) but its simply not sufficient without giving a compelling reason to actually explore and interact with the map.

> people try to use procedural generation as a crutch, to avoid actual game design

I agree. I guess what I’m saying is that procedural generation need not be a crutch. It should allow the game designer to treat a procedural world like he were a location scout. They can then build sets within that world where story elements can take place, locations modified as required and the remaining 99% left as a living world that swallows up the player. Perhaps as games slowly evolve out of their ‘save the world’ routine this might make more sense. Instead we get endless collectathons that require scouting every polygon of the world.

I’ve also wondered about reduced scale in open world games. Instead of building a hollow and empty city like San Andreas, why not build a fully populated and detailed city block? Every building has detailed stores and accommodation where characters live and work. Your character is perhaps a shut-in (Rear Window) or a beat cop (back to L.A. Noir) where you somehow interact with that compact world.

Remember the often limited worlds of the N64? Racing games could only fit a handful tracks on a single cart. Every inch of virtual real estate was utilised. Such games have gone from a hundred MB to almost a hundred GB. It’s probably the only medium where you don’t need to sit through everything to have a full experience. The virtual worlds no longer need to feel like oversized jumgle gyms.

I’m probably way off the mark but I think we’re in for interesting times ahead.

>I’ve also wondered about reduced scale in open world games

This used to be a popular strategy, my favorite being lego island 2. You don’t need anything as grand an excuse as a neet pc or detective to allow for it: just take away the fucking car.

>It should allow the game designer to treat a procedural world like he were a location scout. They can then build sets within that world where story elements can take place, locations modified as required and the remaining 99% left as a living world that swallows up the player

This is how I believe open world games are usually done now, if not actually generated, then done mentally (imagine a town by a river, add a simple crisis and let things play themselves out. Not necessarily likely events, and certainly not realistic, but sufficient).

Most open world games do have a decent number of setpieces to find. The problem, I think, is thats all they are. Oblivion, skyrim, witcher, etc all make the same mistake: “you can climb any mountain” and thats where it stops. They are open only in the sense that you can travel in a non-linear path, in an non-linear order of the story. But they forget that the main interesting facet of games as a medium is interaction. That the player has autonomy.

They’re merely open in story, but mechanically they’re extremely linear. They don’t provide open interactions. It doesn’t matter what backdrop you give it, or how well designed and populated things are, if I can’t interact with them.

Roguelikes (note the k), simulation-games and dwarf fortress (and from tabletops: adnd and its kin) are my favorite in this regard: you can interact with everything, in a somewhat limited and controlled fashion, with the potential for interesting, unexpected results. They essentially forgo any real plot or story in favor of letting player autonomy act as its own source of interest. The games and its internal interactions are mechanically complex, while the world around it is significantly less so.

But thus, my opinion is the opposite of yours: the advancements in technology surrounding games, outside of perhaps AR/VR, currently and in the near-future, offers nothing new. The same style of games have already existed, and will continue on independent of these advancements. The only difference will be their graphical complexity, and more likely than not, each advance in graphics will come at the cost of the game’s design, in general. We’re in for nothing new.

Thank you for sharing that.

All of the heavy Minecraft players I know (10+ people) play adventure mode exclusively. I don’t know anyone that plays creative mode for more than about 10 minutes before getting bored with it.

IMO games like the Witcher 3 and elder scrolls do a much better job of that. Mass Effect tries to trick you into feeling like you're in a big world with freedom to move around, but actually it's a lot more like a Final Fantasy type game: each area is a small "town" zone with the same couple shops, adjacent to a dungeon you need to clear to advance the plot. I like the Witcher style much better. Here's hoping their new game Cyberpunk 2077 lives up to it.

The Witcher indeed does a great job, and to a somewhat lesser degree Horizon Zero Dawn does well too. However these are essentially worlds with small villages and towns. Novigrad is pretty impressive but isn’t much bigger than a typical European small town.

What I’ve love to experience is getting lost in the sprawl and scale of a metropolis. Oddly enough L.A. Noir did a pretty decent job of this.

The difficulty is that it is relatively easy to generate patterns that follow rules because computers are really good at it, but it is incredibly difficult to make an algorithm be creative. What we really want when we say we want an infinity to explore and interact with is that we want infinitely many new and interesting experiences, which procedural generation has been, thus far, unable to provide. This is not surprising, even most human beings aren't very good at it.

>What we really want when we say we want an infinity to explore and interact with is that we want infinitely many new and interesting experiences


> which procedural generation has been, thus far, unable to provide


I think Dwarf Fortress (and to a lesser extent, EVE Online) has shown how to do procedural generation that does result in interesting interactions. There are four important factors in successful procedural games:

1. Granular modulation (you don't just punch a dwarf, you punch out a dwarf's left eye).

2. Diverse interactions (lava can be used to smith weapons. Or burn invaders. Or mixed with water.)

3. Persistent state as a result of the above. In a game like GTA, you can stage a one-man stand against overwhelming military force, but when you return to the site of your last stand, not a trace is left. In Dwarf Fortress, even if you lose you leave behind traces that can be revisited in future games. This is also the magic of EVE Online's alliance endgame (establishing player structures in contested space and seeing your alliance people flying there), without which I think the game loses its luster.

4. Environments small enough to build up a history. You can remember sites of memorable conflicts in Dwarf Fortress because your play space is constrained to a single tiny piece of the larger world. In Minecraft, Starbound, or No Man's Sky, your play area is so large that you never build up memories of any particular place (Starbound offsets this somewhat by having set pieces, but loses that sense of location outside of those pre-crafted zones). In EVE Online alliances settle for months or longer at a time in a particular region of space so that they develop an emotional attachment to it.

EVE Online gains most of it's value from PVP interactions even if they are remote. The random world generation is kind of meaningless backdrop to the human drama involved.

The only thing that makes eve online engaging is players interacting with players. Especially at scale. The market/economy is incredible, the high-consequence pvp is both boring as hell and occasionally exhilarating. The metagame is nuts.

It's a cool as hell set of concepts which would never make it into a modern game imo, but that's the strength of it and what keeps it ticking

>> which procedural generation has been, thus far, unable to provide

> Disagree.

We'll have to agree to disagree here. I've played hundreds of hours of Dwarf Fortress and it becomes very same-y and uninteresting.

But such a thing exists, life ;-)

Yeah, only in life we are bound by various constraints. Whether it's that you wouldn't want to be a criminal in real life, you don't want to risk your life in extreme sports or battle, or you were born too early to explore the universe.

+1. Alternatively, maybe you were born with or acquired some disability that makes it difficult to do what you want in real life. VR games especially can be amazing here for people with mobility issues. See this, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs0QPkR3BcY ("Virtual reality opens new worlds to a man with cerebral palsy")

Why story? The breakthough of SimCity was the concept of software as a toy. The user creates their own fun. In a more modern context, open things to the community by allowing them to write and share their own stories.

Anyone familiar with the history of Kerbal Space Program knows this issue. KSP's developers releases a "contracts" system that was essentially a random story teller. A few variables were randomly selected to generate a task. Of course many of the tasks ended up being ridiculous and they had to back-fill with a series of rules, but it is still rather silly. Then in a more recent update they allowed users to create "missions" and share them via steam (yawn). But this was layer atop the previous contracts scheme, resulting in a grinding mess that many/most players simply ignore. They instead play according to self-created story arcs and self-imposed rules.

SimCity did it best. Give the players the tools to play, but don't tell them how to play. Build a world full of towns and potential then let the players loose to explore and play how they want. Don't try to randomly build quests. Create the interface so that players can write and share their own storylines. I envision something more like OpenOblivion, aka Elder Scrolls with community-created quests/factions/stories.

I wonder if a modern SimCity could use some ML algorithms to emulate how humans build cities by mining data from real players.

One game which for me is closest to Dwarf Fortress and which for me, tend to beat it in few areas ( graphics, while still being text only, structure of the world ) is Ultima Ratio Regum[0].

It is still in very deep beta state, but this doesn't stop richness and complexity of worlds generated in it. It is seriously underrated project, and whole blog if worth a read

[0] http://www.ultimaratioregum.co.uk/game/

Skyrim and Oblivion are a good example here. Oblivion heavily used procedural generation to create the overworld. It resulted in a pretty samey experience. Skyrim, on the other hand, hand-crafted the entire overworld and paid attention to making sure that things looked spectacular from where the player was standing.

This isn't exactly correct. Oblivion's overworld and most dungeons were hand-built. The only procedurally-generated parts were unnamed caves/dungeons.

It's been forever since I read about this but the map itself was generated randomly. It was then manicured by hand. The buildings and cities and dungeons were all hand made, yes. But the dungeons were all using such similar art assets and there was a real lack of variety, so they all rather felt the same. Not that I'm complaining, it was an amazing game and probably one of my favorite gaming experiences of my life. It was way ahead of its time.

It's weird to think of Oblivion as in any way procedurally generated, coming as the sequel to Arena and Daggerfall that really felt like RPG versions of Elite.

Are you sure this is correct? I Feel like both were hand built overworlds, but Oblivion just had less decoration because of hardware limitations at the time.

I think I’ve misremembered this rather badly. It was used for things like tree placement, but not gross physical features like mountains.

I’m sure I read something at the time that said what I’m describing though.

This seems to be geared more at tabletop RPG. When you're running a game, it's helpful to have these sorts of artifacts to enhance players' understanding, but it's not the sort of thing that GM's really want to spend a lot of time on, unless there's some specific thing you need. Having this just be generated potentially saves a lot of time.

One of my interests for it is miniature wargaming campaigns. Where I really don't care how the city was built - just what it looks like before someone sacks it.

There are many different games types that can benefit from procedural content.

I've lately been playing Dead Cells a lot, er too much. It's a roguelike-metroidvania hybrid with a bit of Prince of Persia sprinkled atop.

All levels are procedural. Every time you die you start from level one again. But since it looks different every time, it doesn't bother one much or at all.

Curiously, there is no narrative or story line at all. The Indie studio behind it, Motion Twin, simply doesn't have the resources or budget for doing this 'properly'.

The typical approach is then to just use text -- just because you have to have a story. But they opted not to even do that.

For me Dead Cells is a great example of on-the-fly procedural content done exactly right -- w/o any narrative.

This is why IMO a well-run pen-and-paper RPG will offer a far superior experience to any computer game for the foreseeable future.


Are you asking if mmo beats pen-and-paper? IMO, no. There are no programming limits to how 'alive' a pen-and-paper game world can be. MMOs have no persistence and NPCs are little more than cardboard cutouts.

IMO the best is a hybrid approach, where the world and places are hand-designed, but procedural generation tools are used to amplify the creative potential of the person doing the design. I believe that the developers of Horizon Zero Dawn used this approach, and it shows— the world is lush and appears very organic, but is also thoughtfully laid out and not at all same-y.

That's how Star Citizen is doing their planets; different procedural biomes that an artist can take and brush around to quickly build a whole world with details that you can walk around, but they can also zoom in and move rocks, make lakes, place structures, and whatever else. It's a much bigger scale than an artist could design by hand, but we're not at a point where an algorithm can fill a universe with memorable landmarks.

Awesome! This is by the maker of Pixel Dungeon[1], the best rogue-like on Android. Anyone who's played it can testify that (s)he knows all there is to know about procedurally generated maps.

[1] http://pixeldungeon.watabou.ru/


The wiki is well organized for that kind of resources. It’s important to note that some of those irregular area are zones, not building. Actual building are simpler with the exception of some special cases.

I think perhaps you replied to another comment than the one you intended to reply to.

Seems like the one you wanted to reply to was https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17931944

If you like procedural generation and maps, you definitely need to follow this high-quality series here:


It's ranging from generating city icons to picking appropriate names and placing ocean labels. Really, check it out if you're even slightly interested in such stuff.

Thanks for the mention, I appreciate the feedback!

You're welcome! How did you notice?

Procedural city generators are finally getting decent. See this one.[1] Not only does it fill a city with marginally reasonable buildings, every room in every building can be entered. The rooms even have furnishings.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1eZOV8r_g4

It seems like they were downright crappy only a few years ago. What's changed?

A wild guess: more computing power means more content that can be processed and the need for more content can be addressed by computer generation. For example, just a few years ago open world games were just a handful and required a lot of work. Nowadays even a simple game can have a large procedurally generated world.

Adding to this, more computing power at everyones desk. Very good computers were probably capable of generating good maps five years ago, but if everyone can play around with generators and models as a weekend project there is a lot more innovation and development!

When are generators going to replace real world architects?

Serious application for these tools: crowded countries like the UK often talk about building new towns rather than annoying everyone is existing towns by more and more building work.

Unfortunately, new towns tend to be rather formulaic and dull. With tools like these, you could start with a medieval city generator and use algorithms to apply changes that would have happened over 500 years and then build the new town based on the result, something more organic and natural than something designed from scratch.

They should have a competition for it!

One problem. Cars!

Unless you can lay down some serious infrastructure as a constraint first hand. Driving in these types of places is always insane. Just look at Italy.

It'd be an easy problem to solve by pushing for a carless city or smaller car city paradigm. But folk will want their cars.

Well, this is really a two-way problem. Being mostly a pedestrian myself (I don't own a car, and only use one of them very occasionally to cover long distances or move furniture), I really enjoy old historic city centres, which are really easy to get around just walking.

Being a pedestrian in a car-first environment can really be nightmarish (and dangerous!) at times. I think about large shopping centers or industrial complexes, but also about American-type suburbs. Getting around is impractical, public transport i often nonexistent. As a results, this only encourages car ownership, which encourages building this kind of environment.

However, I also drive quite a bit at times, mostly in the countryside, yet I would take an easily accessible parking lot and public transit infrastructure in big cities over large roads. I don't really know about elsewhere, but it seems to me that car-less cities are pushed for in quite a number of places in Europe, and it doesn't seem like the opposite (making cities more car-friendly) pushes back that much in cities that were converted.

Now, about the parent, this could be taken a step further by optimizing for a lot of variables (walking time, access to public transportation, parkings, roads, etc), instead of just making an "historic simulation".

You really need to grade-separate car traffic, public transit traffic, bicycles, and pedestrians. If you set your citywide story height to be 3.5m, you can put the automobile traffic at ground level, the pedestrian deck at +7m, and in the city center, also elevated bicycle lanes at +10.5m, and elevated trains at +14m.

That allows for 1 or 2 stories of parking for each steel+concrete building, a double-height lobby level, with a bicycle-locker mezzanine, the possibility of double-height train stations built into buildings adjoining a mechanical floor, and "streets" that are narrower for walkers than for cars.

I'd bet that the cost of putting a 7m deck over every road you pave, or at least an elevated walkway 2m wide, is easily saved by subtracting the sidewalk width from the ground-level road footprint, allowing greater building density. A 21.25m road footprint can fit 4 3.25m travel lanes, one 2.75m center turning lane, and two 2.75m right-turn/breakdown lanes. A 12m footprint can hold 2 3.25m travel lanes and 2 2.75m turn/breakdown lanes. Additionally, above the 7m vehicle clearance level, buildings can be cantilevered over the roadway, making the pedestrian "street" narrower than the road-for-cars below.

In the US, the usual minimum acceptable neighborhood curb-to-curb street width is 8.5m, but then add sidewalks for a total footprint of 15.25m. Some neighborhoods allocate 18.25m for the right-of-way, with 12m for the road, then they add infuriating speed bumps. In Chicago[0], the major arterials are 30.5m wide, with at least 20% pedestrian width; minor arterials and collectors are 20m wide, with 33% for pedestrians. It's all based on the 66ft surveyor's chain. Stack the sidewalk over the street, and you give your city greater areal density and better use of available volume.

[0] https://www.cityofchicago.org/dam/city/depts/cdot/StreetandS...

I just spent some time driving in the Italian countryside. Dreadful if you are used to relatively newer infrastructure, but the people that are used to it don't seem to have an issue! It was terrifying.

Medieval cities were limited by the size of the fortification walls, so streets had to be as narrow as possible to save the valuable space. You don't have such limits with this, so you can turn all streets into boulevards if you like...

please no :(

Boulevards can be very nice if you put separated bike lanes and wide walkways (perhaps with trees to provide some shade during summer).

Italy: driving down a windy, curvy, one-way road, about 5 inches narrower than the car itself, which ends at a dead end. No signage. "La dolce vita!"

So, don't drive?

The Prince of Wales is already on that!


I don't think it's smart to build a medieval style city in this age, due to transportation concerns. But I think there's merit in using computation to plan and simulate a soulful city.

This is officially the coolest project I've seen on HN since https://github.com/fogleman/primitive

Another generator project I like: https://github.com/mxgmn/WaveFunctionCollapse

I think you would also like https://mewo2.com/notes/terrain/

Wow that is awesome.

I have always loved that project!

It looks nice. What I like about procedural generation is the great freedom in design. It's a great opportunity to tackle the problem of managing complexity in a visually rewarding way.

There is the top down approach where you start laying out the road networks, it defines neighborhoods, which you split up into individual houses. It can be made as nice as the programmatic time you are willing to invest, ultimately it's realistic, but quite repetitive and boring.

There is the scoring based approach where you get points when certain type of building are near other type of buildings. Then you optimize more or less. Quite often it's not as repetitive and boring, but not very realistic, so you can add some statistic matching penalties to make it more realistic (eventually using neural networks like GAN).

There is the more ambitious and computer-intensive bottom-up approach, where you start defining the rules of the game (like a sim-city generator) and have your city evolved by playing the game eventually from the point of view of the various agents in the game. The city will have a more organic feel and look. By defining the right rules, you can even witness some emergent behavior. You have less control but it'll give you a world deeper than it looks.

This reminds me a lot of the work Tarn Adams has done in city generation in Dwarf Fortress [1]. I seem to remember that he generated some similar looking maps as png files in his dev log somewhere, but I can't find them now. Obviously in-game they're all rendered as text.

[1] http://bay12games.com/dwarves/

A couple of small discussions that agree on triangular buildings:



Interesting about the overhang being due to taxation laws. I could swear they told us in school that it was because people often thew their dirty water out of second storey windows, and this way it could go straight into the gutter in the middle of the street where no one walked.

He even wrote an accompanying 3d visualizer: https://watabou.itch.io/toy-town

Semi-related, I really enjoyed the discussion and resources shared about a month ago in the https://www.dungeonstome.com/ HN comments https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17704557

And this lets you fly/walk through a 3D visualization of towns made with it: https://watabou.itch.io/toy-town

PSA: be very wary of clicking on the "overworld" link in the bottom left of the city map. It showed a continent-scale map, but then locked up the whole machine, swapping like crazy, for about 10 minutes before I finally managed to kill it. No idea what it was doing but it even managed to break Ctrl-Alt-Del on one attempt, which I'd never seen before, and was eating over 6Gb memory when I finally got Task Manager open.

This is great! Would love to see it used by city planners too - turns out a lot of medieval cities/towns are really pleasant places to walk, and just be.

> turns out a lot of medieval cities/towns are really pleasant places to walk, and just be.

minus the poop I'm assuming

and plague, and increased risk of murder, etc.

But the towns _now_ are wonderful. Beautiful architecture and fantastic for walking, or sitting and enjoying a meal, coffee, wine, or beer while taking it in.

Growing up I wished we had real towns like the ones in kids movies set in medieval Europe. I couldn't fathom that they do indeed exist - after all, why would you stop building them?? I still don't really understand why we stopped, to be honest. It's easy to say "cars" but I think there's more to it than that.

The first time I visited the Alsace I was blown away that places like this are real.



Replicating that beautiful masonry and hand-milling the timber would be outrageously expensive today. Plus, I doubt the raw materials are nearly as abundant, especially the old growth trees. Then there's modern building codes.

I agree that these are stunning cities, but more modern European buildings can also have similar charm, I think.

Fair enough - I used to work under a board that was about 20" by 20" by 30 feet. It was crazy to me that it's now rare to ever see a tree that tall and straight on this entire island any more, but once it was just a normal piece of building material in an old grain mill.

There were also markings on the wall about max weights in hundredweight (cwt) - I think the building was from the mid-19th century.

CalRobert means walking _nowadays_ (i.e. without poop) in cities that were built in the middle ages.

There's a really good video on a cityplanner playing simCity 3000


Its interesting to see how real life mimics the simulation here

I think this stuff is interesting but not heavily moving. Every few years someone shares a tool like this. But why not have such a tool connected to something useful like a flight simulator or openstreetmaps, or in a format that game engines can use as foundation for a game? Then people could actually do something with it instead of just looking at it.

Agreed. The Map is a great start. If this content could be exported to another type of game such as Elder Scrolls Morrowind or Thief. Even OSS games like Battle for Wesnoth , 0 A.D., and SuperTuxKart would be interesting.

or Unity or RPG Maker. Think about you want to build your own game and have tools like the Dwarf Fortress World generator as a starting point. This way it becomes much easier to create a lively world.

That this can be exported to SVG makes it useful for a number of applications.

Ah, really? Not just for presentation but for interactivity? Can you name an example?

A lot of European medieval cities are built on top of an ancient Roman city. You can usually perceive a very straight broad North-South street and a straight (but not so wide) East-West street, which have been kept from the earlier Roman city. The rest of the streets, however, seem to be in random order.

I play a fork of his Pixel Dungeon called Shattered Pixel Dungeon literally every time I have a free minute (e.g. waiting in line at the bank, using the restroom, laying in bed trying to sleep, etc). It does not surprise me in the least to see something like this from him.

Pretty cool!

Does anyone else get strange clumps of 'Gates'? Surely a city wouldn't need a whole block of gates, or am I misunderstanding something?

Edit: Just realised they are always around gates in a wall if the wall is enabled. ie. they are sections of the town that flank the gates.

I like how you can drag the wall control points in and out in alternation to make a star fort, like Naarden!



Reminds me of this http://mewo2.com/notes/terrain/

I have seen this a while ago in a thread about procedural map generation. If you liked the link, here is more of that stuff: https://twitter.com/ptychomancer/status/980968298002006016

I suddenly feel like playing D&D again.

I didn't see links to the actual algorithm and how this is constructed. Does anyone have source material?

If you can't seem get enough of procedural generation, 'procjam' has even more great past entries https://itch.io/jam/procjam2017#entries

Ok I'm impressed, this is cool.

The large cities in particular are really impressive. There's a great fantasy map generator which I followed on Twitter for a long time (can't find it right now, sadly) which would be a magnificent companion tool.

Possibly Uncharted Atlas, though they don't do cities. https://twitter.com/unchartedatlas

Is this by any chance open source? I would love to see the code.

> Made with Haxe + OpenFL, the source code is available here (https://github.com/watabou/TownGeneratorOS).

I missed that completely, thank you!

I really like the aesthetic of the maps. A kind of old map style. Is this done using some library or is it custom for this application?

ah this is very cool. I see many applications of this

reddit r/worldbuilding type applications. For building video game scenes to tell stories, or to write fiction & fantasy novels.

Absolutely brilliant! I love hackernews for these kind of gems.

Is this open source? If so where I can find the source code?

Haha I wonder what David Macaulay makes of this

D&D heaven xD


a link to a pirated zombie movie?

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