I’m pretty pleased with the way the code to generate the 4 map archetypes has worked out. For Armageddon Empires I tried a whole bunch of different things to get the map to lay out properly. The heart of the map code is a topography/erosion generator based on Markoff Chains. I used a bit of this type of approach in Solium infernum for generating the mountain chains but since the terrain is basically passable or not passable for most legions, my big concern was creating interesting paths/choke points between areas on the map. My big idea for this was to do a variation on the genetic algorithm. I start with some basic genes for placing geographic features, starting strongholds and places of power and then create a group of maps (the generation) composed of these genes . Then I test the maps and assign fitness levels based on statistical aspects of the map… i.e. average distance between Places of Power, etc. Then I breed the maps a bit and mutate some of the genes. I do this for a few generations and then select the fitest map. It’s worked pretty well in practice to generate random maps that generally meet the placement requirements that I have been looking for. It’s fun to see starting positions emerge like this one here below.
The great dilemma for these two players is which Place of Power to go after. You get a bit of game theory here as well trying to decide what your opponent is going to do. You also have to take into account the power of each legion and the target Places of Power. Can your legion reach one of them before the other player does? Can he assault it right away or is it too strong for a quick grab or too risky? Is one of the Places of Power more valuable than the other? Where will I be moving after that to secure my borders? There are a multitude of data points to consider before you plot out your first movement and one of the big ones is “What is the other guy going to do?” Fun stuff.