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An exploration of the game’s Random Map Generator determined purely by experimentation.
Creeper World 4 Mark V Random Map Generation Mechanics
I did this research because I felt like the map generator was too basic and not very good at making unique or interesting experiences. Every map ends up feeling very samey and I don’t just mean because every map uses the same theme and background. But I wanted to really understand the generator before I started nitpicking it, so I began testing it and paying much closer attention to how it actually works. I discovered a few relationships in the settings I didn’t realize and debunked a few I was certain existed. I also discovered a couple of clever shortcuts Knuckle Cracker used when designing the random map generator that, while clever, also kind of left me disappointed too. Though that disappointment is kind of my own fault.
Disclaimer: there are a few points in this guide I can’t be exactly sure about and probably require more testing to confirm, but this information should be fairly accurate.
When generating a random map you are presented with 4 main options, 1 minor option, and a “seed word”.
The 4 main options are Map Size, Enemies, Resources, and Eggs. With 4 choices for each.
The minor option unlocks the construction of “super weapons”. Which determines whether the Airship, Bertha, and Sweeper will be available for the mission.
The seed word is used to generate the terrain and is NOT case sensitive. So lower case and upper case have no effect. I did not bother determining the maximum length of the seed word, but I was able to fit over 100 characters without getting an error message or the game otherwise stopping me. I suspect the limit is 255 or 256 characters, but I’ll let someone who cares figure that one out.
I don’t want to confuse anyone, but I would like to knockout the simplest mechanic first. Which happens to be the Eggs settings. Surprisingly, the Eggs settings have absolutely no connection to any other options. Map Size, Enemy Difficulty, and Resources have zero overlap with Eggs.
Note that Egg settings effect 3 things: Spore Launchers, which generate the eggs; Blobs, which can carry the eggs; and the Game Rules of Max Eggs and Egg Payload, which refers to how many eggs can be on the map at a time and how much creep is released when an egg is popped respectively.
do I really have to put anything here?
Egg Start Delay: 8000 frames (266.67 sec)
Egg Production Interval: 10-18 sec
Egg Count: 1
Egg Defensive Ratio: 0
Egg Carry Prob: 0
Max Eggs: 35
Egg Payload: 300
Egg Start Delay: 7000 frames (233.33 sec)
Egg Production Interval: 10-16 sec
Egg Count: 2
Egg Defensive Ratio: 0.2
Egg Carry Prob: 30
Max Eggs: 70
Egg Payload: 600
Egg Start Delay: 7000 frames (233.33 sec)
Egg Production Interval: 10-16 sec
Egg Count: 3
Egg Defensive Ratio: 0.8
Egg Carry Prob: 100
Max Eggs: 100
Egg Payload: 1000
Something else I found interesting is that when making a new custom map by default the Max Eggs rule is set to 500, which is 5 times the hardest Eggs setting. Strange.
Note: Egg Production Interval is random per map, as in every Spore Launcher on a given map will have the SAME Interval.
Map Size, Resources, and Enemies are very closely connected settings and it can be tricky to de-tangle them, but I’ll do my best in a way that is easy to understand.
The 4 map sizes are Small, Medium, Large, and Excessive. The number of Emitters is also tied to Map Size rather than the Enemies setting, though the strength of those Emitters is obviously still tied to the difficulty setting.
Sizes: 128×72, 128×96, 160×72, 160×96, 160×128, 160×160
Sizes: 160×96, 160×120, 160×160, 192×108, 192×144, 192×192
Sizes: 192×108, 192×144, 192×192, 224×126, 224×168
Sizes: 256×144, 256×192, 256×256
I would also like to note the default map sizes when making a custom map.
Too Large: 320×200
Determines how many redon and greenar crystals are available as well as how many ERNs and Resource patches there are in conjunction with the map size. That is the game determines the number of ERNs and Resource patches available by a combination of the Map Size and Resource settings.
*Resource Patches are large enough to fully fit 4 miners, with some space for about 2 more at not quite optimal efficiency, then enough remaining space for maybe 1 last at half efficiency. A Resource patch can be recreated in the editor by using a size 6 square and removing 3 pixels from each corner.
During map generation Resource Patches can be cutoff, either by the edges of the map or by generating void. Some patches may be entirely lost too. Also, Resource Patches that generate close together can overlap, though to what extent is hard to determine. Redon and greenar crystals always generate on solid ground and are never lost to void generation.
No more than half of the ERNs on a map start out buried.
It is also clear that plant life generation is connected to the Resource setting, but to what extent is nearly impossible to determine. All I can say for sure is that the same map on Scarce resources may generate with no trees, but a Plenty setting on the same map can have multiple clusters of trees.
As mentioned earlier the number of emitters is connected to the map size, but their strength is determined here. Interestingly, the amount of creep produced by emitters is a constant and not random at all. Also, the number of totems on a map is connected to this setting.
Small Maps = 3 Emitters
Medium Maps = 4 Emitters
Large Maps = 5 Emitters
Excessive Maps = 6 Emitters
|Map Size||Enemy Setting||Strength of Emitters*|
|Small||OK||10, 11, 11|
|–||Competent||26, 28, 28|
|–||Skilled||40, 42, 44|
|–||Insane||55, 58, 61|
|Medium||OK||10, 11**, 11, 11|
|–||Competent||25, 25, 26, 27|
|–||Skilled||41, 43, 44, 45|
|–||Insane||56, 60, 60, 62|
|Large||OK||10, 10, 11, 11, 11|
|–||Competent||25, 26, 27, 28, 28|
|–||Skilled||40, 40, 40, 41, 42|
|–||Insane||55, 55, 55, 56, 58|
|Excessive||OK||10, 12, 16, 17, 17, 25|
|–||Competent||26, 29, 37, 39, 40, 55|
|–||Skilled||56, 63, 71, 72, 85, 102|
|–||Insane||76, 86, 96, 97, 115, 138|
*Emitter strength is measured in creep produced per half second (0.5 sec or 15 frames)
**In one test of a medium sized map 2 Emitters produced 10 creep per half second. Glitch? Randomness? It only happened once in about 6 tests so I don’t know what to make of it.
Know also that on Skilled and Insane settings mesh connects the Skimmer Factor(ies) with roughly half the other creep units. Additionally, at the Skilled and Insane Settings, one edge of the map will be lined with a single pixel of Flip Breeder (golden mesh) and there will be patches of Flip Breeder randomly placed on the map. The line of Flip Breeder does not seem to be placed with regard to the longer or shorter edge in the case of a map that is rectangular. On Large maps there are between 3-8 patches, usually connected or running into eachother, and each equal to about a size 3 square brush. On Excessive maps there can be as many as 12 patches.
1. Whether Titan Weapons are enable has no effect on emitter strength or the number of ERNs. For some reason I believed this for the longest time so I thought I’d mention it in case anyone else had done the same.
2. Mesh Depth is not effected by the Enemy Difficulty or Map size. It is always 4.
3. All maps have Activate Totems, Reclaim, and Nullify All as optional objectives.
Some Final Thoughts
Personally I think the Random Map Generator is lacking. They can’t generate bluite, crimson crystals, contamination, absorber, or walls. And they always use the SAME theme and background. You can’t really even control what enemies you’ll be fighting. What if I want a showdown against a swarm of Blobs but not Spores? What if I just want to face wave after wave of creep while pushing back the aura of Dark Towers? What if I want to shoot down an army of Airsacs? I suppose you can just use the custom map creator or generate a map and then switch into edit mode to adjust the challenge, but it’s the principle. The random map generator is actually pretty bare-bones once you get into the meat of it. Other than the terrain generation, there isn’t actually that much random about it. Even the strength of the emitters is actually pre-determined!
Yeah, I know I am a couple years late to the party, but is it too much to ask for a more powerful Random Map Generator? Just some more randomness to the enemies you are pitted against or maybe some finer control on the terrain generation. I’d even take just randomizing the theme and background.