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Good random seeds for very large maps

Started by jamespetts, September 29, 2013, 12:41:14 AM

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jamespetts

I think that it is probably useful to have a thread with a list of good map numbers (random seeds) for very large maps. I tend to look for maps that are usable in landscape format (as that is easier for navigation with the minimap), are plausible looking and have a good expanse of ocean in the middle with large areas of land on either side, so that players can take full advantage of air and sea transport for longer distances, without land filling such a large area of the map that it becomes overcrowded and puts too much strain on the CPU and other resources.

Map no. 9574 at 7727 x 2299 tiles seems to be a promising start: it has a swathe of mountainous land to the West (but with coastal plains large enough for a good few towns), a large continent to the East and a string of islands to the North, as well as a few islands in the South. There is a large central sea area, and the East and West continents are not linked by land. This map seems to work well with the default map roughness and mountain height, and with a water level of -1 rather than the default -2.

On a similar theme (and with the same dimensions), but perhaps even better, is no. 5763.  This one has a large continent to the East with rolling hills and some mountains, a large central ocean with two large islands in the middle of it and a number of smaller islands doted about, and a large amount of land to the West which is rather hilly and full of lakes.

Map no. 2147483646 at 2116 x 7928 (a portrait format map, which is then rotated to get a landscape format map) is not bad: it has a moderate block of land to the East, two chains of islands in the centre and a large block of land to the South West, with a mountainous area in the middle. There is plenty of central sea, although it is filled with islands of varying sizes. This map is best with a water height of zero.

Map no. 891573 has a rather different style: at 6912 x 2427, it consists of two large land masses in the middle, each with mountainous areas in the centres, surrounded by seas, with a finger of land extending towards the North-West, whilst a medium sized and relatively flat piece of land sits in the South-East. There are still many islands (I should ideally prefer a terrain generator that produced fewer islands) in the central and Northern regions.

Edit: The above map numbers are based on Simutrans-Experimental 11.11
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Sarlock

#1
Do you specifically want a random map or could we create one that better fits your requirements?

[EDIT]
Adding as I find them:

Seed 15000094  5,600x2,800  0-150-0  [Water level, mountain height, roughness]
Seed 15141  6,500x2,500  0-160-1
Seed 15000117  6,800x2,400  0-200-0 (tolerates water level change well, makes more land but still side islands)
Seed 15000145  7,500x2,000  0-150-0
Seed 15000173  7,500x2,000  0-150-0
Seed 15000239  5,000x3,000  0-150-0
Seed 15000274  6,500x2,500  0-150-0
Seed 15000276  6,500x2,500  0-150-0
Seed 15000409  7,000x2,200  0-150-0
Seed 15000423  7,000x2,200  0-150-0

Several of these can be changed with water level and height settings to create more land if desired.  The ocean in the middle is quite deep.
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jamespetts

Thank you for those: that is helpful. I notice that they all have low roughness settings of either zero or one: the trouble with low roughness settings is that it generates vast swathes of perfectly flat land, which rather takes away the challenge of civil engineering somewhat, and is also not terribly realistic.

As to generating a map other than randomly, what process do you imagine being used here? It is theoretically possible to use the raise/lower land tool with the public player when starting with a completely plain map (and also add rivers, trees and cities manually), but, for an enormous map, that would be an insane amount of work. The other possibility is to use heightmaps, which is far more practical; but I have had trouble finding suitably sized heightmaps.
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Sarlock

Let me see what I can slap together graphically.  I could use a couple of different maps and combine them with a large ocean section in the middle and add a couple of nice features.  It allows us to completely control how the map looks and behaves.

With higher roughness settings you tend to get a lot of little islands cropping up in the middle of the ocean.

At a very large map size, even seemingly small pieces of land at the sizes are enormous.
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jamespetts

That would be an interesting endeavour. Do you plan to try to generate a height map?
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isidoro

I find the idea of posting nice random maps interesting.  I would add the ST version next to it (in case the algorithm changes in the future) and, if possible, a picture of the minimap in adequate scale...


jamespetts

Good ideas - I have added the version number. Adding a picture rather increases the time taken, but might be worthwhile if one has the time.
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Sarlock

What I will do is use some existing areas as a height map base and then just do some editing afterwards to lay it out how we want it.

If the map is, say, 6500x2500 (or is this a bit too big? maybe 5,000x2,000?), what features would you prefer?  Do we want the two land masses at the edges to be joined flat to the edge of the map or as large islands?  About 1,000x1,000+/- each in size?  Do we want much in the middle, small islands, 1-2 large islands, etc?

I'll get to work on an initial creation, input on parameters will help fine tune it.
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jamespetts

Too big? Goodness, the very largest possible map as things currently stand is barely the size of Great Britain at 125m/tile, so the upper end of the range is to be preferred.

As to the land masses - there's much to be said for islands, actually, although the game usually generates land masses flat to the edge. We want to be careful, though, not to use up too much of the area beyond the main land masses as water, so as to enable long air journeys from end to end. Islands might well be useful in promoting sea transport, however.

This is very helpful, incidentally: thank you.
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pwhk

#9
Just by accident, what about no. 3242, size 1200 x 6400 (portrait)? Very high mountains at the north, another island at the south, and a mountainous archipelago in the middle.

Didn't look into details though, it took forever to make the map...

Sarlock

#10
Emerging from the map creation dungeons, I present a first draft of what I am working on.  I figure this is a good point to stop and ask for input/suggestions on the layout and format of the map and see what you'd like changed, added, etc.

The map is huge, 7,000x2,000, which concerns me a bit because it might make for very long download times for online players.  Easily adjusted, at least, being a drawn map.  The land areas look small but they are actually quite large and may need to be reduced a bit further.

I took some existing Simutrans maps and combined them together.  A lot of the landmass is taken from my Vancouver map that I made last year.  I pulled out mountains and made islands and grabbed a few other areas and combined them together to make the larger landmasses.  All in all it looks pretty nice and may function well for a long distance game (nearly 1,000km from west to east).  I created enough islands in the middle to make for some shorter runs (if you can call 200-300km in 1750 short!) for the early game.  I made the central islands very steep mountainous areas for additional challenge, given the advantageous location in the map's middle.

Water height is -8.

Input/suggestions welcome!



Full size map.  Hard to view in the forum format, but you can Save As... this image to view full size.


.PPM file download.  Be warned, this is 40MB!  You may prefer to download the PNG and convert it to PPM.
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ӔO

personally, I would like to see a mountain range that forces the player to go through it, rather than around it.
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Sarlock

Certainly easy to do!  The eastern island's southern section would present such a challenge as would the central islands.  The western island is fairly flat and easily looped around.  I could easily raise it up at the edges and make a formidable mountain range run down the centre.
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jamespetts

Interesting - thank you! My suggestions so far: larger land-masses (more North-South height) to the East and West, and smaller central islands; there is also much to be said for having a few much smaller islands (large enough for 1-3 towns) close to the coastline of the larger land-masses and larger central islands. AEO's idea is also an interesting one.

As to downloading very large maps, my tests have shown that this is not a problem for the terrain itself, provided that it is not filled with trees: empty terrain/ocean compresses very easily, so the compressed files that are downloaded are suitably small. What takes up space is the transport network and towns.
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Sarlock

I played with the map for a few hours last night and it is definitely HUGE (especially length-wise).

I'll add the mountain range to the western island today and make the other adjustments you suggest.  I can add a bunch of smaller islands, I was thinking the same thing after playing it last night.  With the high mountainous areas you certainly want to set the map generator to have a heavy bias towards cities on the coast.
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jamespetts

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Sarlock

Version 2:



I used a game image import so that you can better see how it looks with water levels.

Changes:

-Removed one of the big islands and incorporated that land mass in to the western island.
-Added several smaller islands to the centre area and spread it out.
-Raised the mountain height in a few areas on the eastern island.
-Added cliff sections along certain shore sections on the large islands to make natural obstacles to accessing certain areas (should force some creative tunnel use to keep grades down).
-Enhanced the deep gully on the south part of the eastern island.  Traversing the southern part of both big islands with a transportation network will be challenging.
-Added small islands off of both of the main islands
-Lots of little cosmetic improvements.

And the .ppm file if you want to try it out in-game.

Any further suggestions/guidance?  :)
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jamespetts

One thing that died strike me I'd that we could possibly do with a large-ish fairly flat area somewhere where a large number of towns nd farms might gather and where transport us easy - we want a Southern England as well as Scottish Highlands and Welsh hills.
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Sarlock

The north ends of the two islands are already fairly open and flat and the cities tend to congregate there (hard to tell with the zoomed-out image, but at 1:1 those areas are quite large and fairly flat).  I could expand the flat areas a bit more than that and introduce some plateaus in the mid-ranges.

Once you import in to the game and take a look at it at 1:1 scale, you realize how massive those islands are.  Railroads will certainly be in limited use until well in to the 1800's due to the difficult and expansive terrain.  A lot of cities on the mountainous coastal sections will be water access only until well in to the game.
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jamespetts

Quote from: Sarlock on October 02, 2013, 03:08:16 PM
The north ends of the two islands are already fairly open and flat and the cities tend to congregate there (hard to tell with the zoomed-out image, but at 1:1 those areas are quite large and fairly flat).  I could expand the flat areas a bit more than that and introduce some plateaus in the mid-ranges.

Once you import in to the game and take a look at it at 1:1 scale, you realize how massive those islands are.  Railroads will certainly be in limited use until well in to the 1800's due to the difficult and expansive terrain.  A lot of cities on the mountainous coastal sections will be water access only until well in to the game.

Hmm - I am wondering whether such a map might be too challenging, at least for the next Bridgewater-Brunel server game, although I daresay that some people have an appetite for this...
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Sarlock

I am wondering the same thing... it all depends on who the players are, I guess.  I love the idea of having a geographic challenge but others may disagree.

I am working on smoothing out some additional areas at the north ends of the end islands to create more flat land, then create a few long valleys down the middles that rail services can wind down to cross to the southern points.  We might find a compromise at that point by having enough terrain variation to make everyone happy, north end being flat and easy and the south end being mountainous and challenging.

I'll keep fine tuning the map until we find something that we like :)
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ӔO

I would add a few ocean ridges to make tunnelling harder in the late game.

those mountainous islands are reminding me of Hawaii islands, New Zealand, Madagascar, Taiwan, Kyushu and Shikoku.
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Sarlock

They are actually the tops of mountains from my Vancouver map, I just took off the top elevations and then lowered it all to sea level :)  Pretty much everything on this map is from my Vancouver map, some turned and lots of manually editing.  The island that looks like Madagascar is actually this mountain.

How will the addition of ocean ridges make tunneling harder?  I can certainly do that, though, not hard to do :)
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Sarlock

Version 3:



And the .ppm file here.

Changes:

-Flattened out several areas on the west and east islands.  Mostly in the north of the two big islands, opened up the area, added lots of extra flat(ish) ground.  Should be great for concentrations of larger cities and easy to build networks.
-Lowered the mountains a bit on the eastern island, made a few more valleys.  Still challenging to get to parts of that island but it's more of a plateau at the top now.
-Lowered several of the central islands to make more room for cities.

I await further direction and input :)
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sdog

#24
That's a rather nice map. Perhaps generate it with a city name file with scottish towns only.

I'd suggest a server rule where deep oceans are not to be crossed by tunnels or bridges. Ie the most westward island could not be linked. But also add a small island between the second largest island, to allow it to be connected by bridges to the archipelago east of it.

ps:
http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=largest+cities+scottish+
list of the largest 100 towns is attached




just seen the size...
that's more like britain in its entirety.

Sarlock

It's not possible to put a bridge or tunnel over/through deep oceans, which is everything but the lightest blue on the map for bridges and the second highest shade of blue for tunnels.

Thus, many of the inner islands are inaccessible via tunnel or bridge.  I could connect more of them if desired.  I like the idea of forcing some sea and air travel, however.
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sdog

Is that a new feature?

In such a case it might be neccessary to increase the number of transfers per connexion. As pax will often have to switch from train to ferry. Going from the western island to the eastern would take 6 extra transfers for ferries. With two more transfers for local trains and intra city transport it'd be at 10 transfers already. Give two more for network flexibility. 12 (hope that's not too much strain on the server)

jamespetts

Version 3 is looking good! It is good to have a mix of easy and difficult terrain, I think, and this mix is looking increasingly good. Loading it into the game, I wonder whether we could do with a spot more roughness in places, although I don't know how realistic that that would be. Much of the map does seem to have transitions between heights in smooth contour lines, however. Perhaps add a smidgen of noise in the GIMP for a little randomness?

Edit: As to maximum transfers, there is no longer a hard limit for these in Experimental in any event - a system of routing depth is used instead (and has been for a long while now).

The deep oceans thing for bridges is a fairly recent innovation, designed to stop people spanning large oceans with long bridges. I agree with Sarlock about encouraging air/sea use, which will be a worthwhile thing indeed on this map.
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Sarlock

I agree about roughness on the contour lines.  I can easily add that once we are happy with the basic layout/design, I was holding off on that as it's easier to edit with smoother lines.  Let me know if there are any changes to the general layout you'd like or if it seems good enough at this point (running it through a game will allow us to fine tune our list of likes and dislikes with a map this size).

I am playing a game on it right now and it's definitely huge... with lots of wonderful challenges in 1750; a 15km/h boat trip from the middle islands to the western island takes 30 game hours... 60 hours between the two edge islands!

I had to generate the map 4 times in order to get a city distribution that looked nice... it tends to get a bit too "clumpy" with cities growing close to one another, which on the small islands leads to 10-15 cities all being a few tiles apart covering the entire shoreline of the island.  I biased cities to water at a high setting of 85: there is so much shoreline that it makes sense to have cities grow there, especially with the mountainous inner regions.
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killwater

Just a quick question: I downloaded the ppm file and it was placed in maps folder but in game there are no files to choose from in Load Height map menu. Any suggestions?

jamespetts

Killwater - did you put it in the map folder in your personal Simutrans directory, i.e. the one in My Documents (if on Windows)?

As to general layout, this seems good to me so far from what I can tell, although play testing may well suggest further refinements. I should be interested in any other comments.
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killwater

No I put it in simutrans folder. Works fine  now thank you very much.

Sarlock

Been a busy few weeks.  Back to finishing off some of my projects.

It was difficult to find a filter that would apply the right effect to a map without making it look "too" distorted and artificial.  Hopefully this accomplishes the task.



.PPM file
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jamespetts

The preview looks good! I shall have to try that in a game when I get a chance. Thank you for that.
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ӔO

#34
# 2106574482
W-E: 1024
N-S: 8192

Cities: 600 or more
Clusters: 150 or more
Cluster size: 4

Water level: -2
Mountain height: 180
Roughness: 5
My Sketchup open project sources
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Colour safe chart:

Kozinsky




Map number = 15000171
Size = 8388x2000 (2727 Mbyte)
Cities = 1024
Intercity Roads Length = 512
Factories = 999
Attractions = 128


crossconnect_factories_percentage = 60
min_factory_spacing = 16
max_factory_spacing_percent = 10
max_factory_spacing = 900


Water level =0
Mountain height = 320
Map roughness = 2
Cities like water = 80
desert = 1
tropic = 5
mediterran = 10
temperate = 14
tundra = 19
rocky = 24
Number of rivers = 1024
minimum length of river = 128
maximum length of river = 2048
No trees = true


Map time generation = ~15:00 min
on Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU @2.40 GHZ 2.40 GHz, 4GB RAM


Maximum height, that I found on map, is 39 (in North-West corner).

jamespetts

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