What exactly is this?
⚙ Swift Mazes is a framework to generate 3D dungeons from textual (Unicode or ASCII) floorplans. It reads a config file, a bunch of pre-made prefabs, and then generates a fully working 3D dungeon map for The Dark Mod, dmaps it (via TDM), and packages it together as a playable .PK4 file - all automatic!
The goal here is to make it easier to create playable FMs, without having to spend months within DarkRadiant.
The generated maps do have a grid-structure and focus more on puzzle solving and exploration, than trying to re-create a realistic scenery. However, games like Legend of Grimrock show that even "simple" level design can be rewarding and fun for the player.
Where do I get the map layout and prefabs?
The map layout is supposed to be written manually, but you could eventually also use
a computer program to generate it. Once the layout (and the options etc) are feed
to the program, it generates a playable map and packages it up.
You have to create the prefabs yourself, usually with DarkRadiant.
Some downloadable examples will be available later.
What will the game look like?
⚙ Swift Mazes ist just assembling your prefabs - the game will therefore look
like what you want. You can create dungeons, old temples, flooded sewers, even outdoors,
anything you can split into pieces, and re-assemble.
And the best part is you can change your visuals mid-project - just update the prefabs, and run the script again, and everything is up-to-date.
What about the game mechanics?
The generator does not restrict the game mechanics. Unless you extend TDM, or add some
custom scripting, the generated map will play like any FM
for TDM - you have free player movement, physics work, you can swim, climb ropes, have
the default inventory etc.
The framework itself can add new features like a local ambient light (so the distance vanishes into black), enhanced doors, traps, secret rooms and more. However, these are entirely optional and can be toggled on/off via the config, or are selected automatically if a prefab refers to the specific script objects.
So is it fixed to grids?
The generator operates on "cells" on a rectangular grid. The size of one cell is configurable.
But that doesn't mean the generated map is limited to this gridsize. Each prefab can extend beyond it's cell, and there can even be multi-cell prefabs like for large halls, rounded corridors, large waterfalls, or whatever you can think of.
But isn't it limited to rectangular looks and layouts?
It is true that the generator works on a grid, but prefabs itself do not have to
be rectangular – you can make curved hallways and glue them together. Prefabs also
do not have to stay inside the block where they are inserted. They can extend
in any direction and get arbitrarily large - the only restriction is that they
should of course not collide with other prefabs, or when they do, look good :)
Examples include: A hole in the ceiling that extends a few meters above, or a half-circle as hallway, or a huge hall that covers 5x7 blocks etc.
Is the movement and/or camera fixed?
No, both camera and movement are free, you can move and look around like in any
other first person game. This is essential to enable the many physics puzzles
that TDM makes possible.
Maybe later an option to use fixed movement paths with special keys will be implemented, to help certain types of games.