Interpreter and Compiler Project

A Tiny BASIC Entry for PROCJAM

Sunday, 3rd November 2019

Damian Gareth Walker talks about writing for PROCJAM in this blog post.

This weekend I took the plunge and entered PROCJAM 2019. PROCJAM is short for The Procedural Generation Jam, an event where programmers get together and write programs that do something interesting with procedural generation.

Procedural generation is the process of creating something from a series of repeatable pseudorandom numbers, such as a game world. My first exposure to it was the game Elite back in the 1980s, where the technique was used to generate galaxies of stars and planets bigger than the computers of the day could store in memory.

If you want to have a sizeable and interesting game world in Tiny BASIC then procedural generation is the obvious way to go. There are no arrays in the language, and no loading from files either, so the only ways to have persistent locations are to painstakingly hard-code each one or use some procedural generation algorithm to create those locations consistently each time they are visited.

So as not to overload myself with too many new ideas or techniques at once, I've decided to go for a simplistic RPG or adventure game set in a large world. The quest will be to retrieve some valuable object and return it to its proper place. While you are doing this, some evil character will be heading for you and/or that valuable object. There will also be low-level monsters and treasures generated around the map, too.

In preparation for PROCJAM I've been trying out various algorithms to generate interesting paths between the locations, and a believable variety of geography. Because my random number generator is quite poor, this has been a trial, but I've made enough progress that entering the jam is a realistic project.

Hopefully I'll have a finished game of sorts by the end of the week!


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