So I tried a totally different approach, as the one I was doing got quite fiendish (it still might be worth pursuing though I just wanted to try this).
How this works is it has a tile library of 25 tiles with different connectors on (Up, Down, Left, Right) and then it picks tiles at random and connects them together.
Compared with the other approach it feels a bit gamey maybe, like it starts to look a bit like a boardgame. However I like how fast it is and also I like that we could design all the tiles by hand. For example I really like the tile at the very top right at the start of the video, it’s a coastal with 3 tide pools coming off it, I think that’s quite interesting. Another one is the underwater cave connector which is two caves on a single tile in a line. I think they could provide interesting opportunities for life to evolve. Also it would be possible to draw nice designs on each tile and have special rare ones for deep ocean trenches or giant river deltas or something.
I think in general it will be able to generate pretty much anything the other prototype can generate, so I don’t think there’s a loss of complexity in general. The other prototype is essentially this with tiles with only 1 patch on. Also having the map change over time is quite doable as we can just swap tiles out for other ones with the same connectors.
I’d be interested in feedback on it. Do you like this idea at all, do you think hand crafting a tile library would be interesting?
Here is the current tile library I just threw together