Patch Map Design Discussion

The earth has something like a band of land thing happening around the Arctic Sea, you can see between iceland, the UK and Norway the ocean is shallower and deep around the Arctic and in the Atlantic. So I disagree that it’s an unusual feature.

I also think re ocean depths have a look on google earth, you can see there are areas of deep ocean and other areas (North Sea near the UK, the Sea north of Russia, the sea around Indonesia and north of Australia etc) which are shallower over huge areas. So I think it’s totally normal to have oceans / seas of different depths.

I think in general it’s much more powerful to pick out interesting collections of patches which will make nice, variable, play areas than it is to try and sort of average a planet into patches.

Edit: This is also quite interesting, if you look at an elevation map of Mars and you imagine it filled with water there would be a large ocean in the Northern Hemisphere and then a large continent in the Southern with a massive sea / ocean trapped inside it.

Edit 2: Another thing I think is interesting about planet is what percentage of the surface is covered in water. I guess if 70-100% is covered in water (Earth has 71% I think) there might be a lot of large oceans all connected to each other. If 0-30% is covered in water I guess you might expect several smaller, shallower, oceans which are less likely to be directly. It’s not something I’d really though about before, how water percentage impacts patch connections.

Alright, I see. In that case I‘m in favour of your proposed additions.

Ok great! Overall I really like your map, I think you did a great job with it.

I think you oversimplified it too much. Yeah the transition between the continental shelf and the ocean looks really abrupt when seen on a world map, but for a microbe (and probably any living being) the slope would be huge, so I don’t think we should remove all those patches. Besides, from the article you linked, in the continental slope there’s a lot of sedimentation wich means there will be a lot of minerals and compounds that organisms could use. Not only that but if there’s a lot of sedimentation there can be anoxic patches where there’s very low oxygen, creating more unique environtments.

I see the point. I think it’s too far the other way to represent a whole ocean with just 5 patches and then use 10 to represent the slope up to the shore. However I’m ok with adding a few more in on one of the shores.

We’re not going to really know how this all fits together until we can all play on it and see how it feels. So yeah I fully admit I don’t know what I’m talking about and we will probably have to redesign a lot of this stuff once we’ve played on it.


Here’s what the map looks like with icons. Goro I added a more smooth slope on the right so we can try that out. I hear you on the idea of adding more patches, we’ve got time between playing on it for the first time and the release to alter it so lets do another pass then, like it might be 10x too big already or something.

Mirror Monkey: What’s your intention with those “land patches” on the left side. There’s the cave, two estuaries and two tidepools all connected to a coastal. Is the idea they all touch each other, if so shouldn’t they all be in a box? Or is it that they all touch the coastal but not each other? If so is there a better way to represent it, it looks like you can just go from one of the estuaries to the 2 tide pools for example.

Yeah the map looks fairly big already. However shouldn’t there be another patch above the seafloor ones? For example, the mesopelagic floors have only an epipelagic layer above them, shouldn’t they have a meso patch too?

Oh I see, well I guess that convention could go either way. Like if there’s two patches is it epi with epi floor or epi with meso floor? I don’t mind particularly.

One thing I did wonder about is whether it’s wise to have so many floor icons as it might make it harder to learn the game. We could just have 1 floor icon for all depths. I don’t mind particularly.

I imagine the floor being the same “depth” as the patch above it, so a meso floor would be the floor at the bottom of a mesopelagic patch, an epi floor at the bottom of an epipelagic, etc.; so excluding the hadopelagic, which hasn’t really been planned as far as I know, the very deepest ocean floor would be an abyssopelagic floor.

As for icons, I suppose it’d be neater to use the same icon for all floors, but it’d also be weird to see a high-depth floor icon in a lower depth patch, or vice versa. Especially since each floor level has its own unique pressure, temperature, and sunlight levels, that make each as unique as the different water patches above them.

(also you’re still using the icons with poor contrast and using the hadopelagic floor icon instead of the abysso one :c )

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Here’s a version with, for example, Epi floor under an Epi. Does it look a bit weird that there’s two wavy ocean surfaces on top of each other?


At least now floors make sense, but yeah it looks a bit weird. Maybe floor icons should be redesigned so they look like a continuation of the icon above them. I’ll work on it.


I’ll post here the work I’ve been doing so it doesn’t get lost on discord. Here are the icons I was talking about.

And I’ve also made a mock up of the patch report based on MirrorMonkey’s and Narotiza’s own concepts:


So I’ve been thinking a bit more about this. I think maybe a good approach to the proc gen side is to have a tile based, free form generator.

So by tile based I mean a tile is a little section of map, maybe with one patch on it and some connectors, maybe has an ocean stack on it, maybe has a few little boxes connected together each of which has a couple of patches.

By free form I mean the tiles can be placed anywhere, not in a grid, and can then be connected with interesting connections not just horizontal and vertical.

I think this might give a good balance between control of being able to design the tiles and freedom where the maps can look relatively fluid.

Here’s a few examples of things, cut from the patch map we’ve drawn, which could be tiles and then could be connected up. I think the trick is to have the tiles be big enough to keep things neat while being small enough to allow a lot of different feeling worlds to emerge. All feedback welcome.

I guess that as long as it’s done right it can work, the main issue i see with it being free form is that tiles may end up scatered all over the place. Another issue is that these tiles have rectangular shapes with only right angles, while conectors might end up being diagonal contrasting too much with the map’s overal aesthetic. One option might be having premade conectors so we have even more control.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it looks.

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So I had a little go at doing something a bit more freeform. This is boxes which are snapped to a grid but not tesselated like the tile prototypes. I think it has a nice balance between randomness and order.

Feels a bit like Christmas too :slight_smile:

I guess the patches will go inside those boxes right? Those layouts look interesting

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Yeah each box would be drawn from a tile library. Like 3 posts up I put a few examples of the sort of thing which could be in the library. So it might be a stack of ocean patches, or an estuary with a few tide pools branching off.

I like it because we could define cool features, like the two tide pools connected by a cave, and have that show up.

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Little bit of progress today, it looks weird because it can’t yet detect when two line segments are lying on top of each other, however I think I know how to sort that out. Also needs more work on the connecting lines.

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Ok this took ages but it’s finally working ok. Pro tip: down name all your variables the same thing ha ha, if you do you’re gonna have a bad time.

When I next get round to this I’ll have a look at designing some tiles for it and seeing how that looks. It might a bit “squiggly” at the moment where there’s too many curves in the lines, not sure.

Oh nice, but yeah it looks a tad too squiggly. When I made my maps I put the turns near the boxes to avoid that look, another option is to aling all the boxes’ nodes (and in turn, the boxes themselves) so there are as few turns as possible