Development Interlude, Back-Patting Edition

Posted by Alex Jordan on

Because I'm a jerk, I loaded up the Hardest difficulty level in Around The World with some real mindbenders. Prepare to go hunting for obscure islands in places like the South Atlantic and Arctic Oceans if you want to earn those points!

These islands are so obscure that many of them failed to show up on the map I used to generate the game's world. I figured that wasn't fair to players - how could they find obscure places if they didn't show up on the map? - so I went and decided to fix that.

Players will never experience this, but I hid a nice little debug mode in Around The World that cycles through every location in the game's database and checks to make sure it's visible on the map. You see, the map has its typical Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) values to make those pretty colors that represent countries and borders and what have you. In addition to RGB values, the map also has what's called an "Alpha Channel" that determines transparency and, as a result, where you can see straight through to the water behind it. 0 Alpha is full transparency, 255 Alpha is full opacity.

So, my debug mode goes through all the locations and checks to see if the pixel at that point on the map is transparent (0 Alpha) or opaque (255 Alpha). If it's 0? The game resets it to 255, making a little island visible. When the process is done, the game actually generates its own brand new map and saves it to the game. Self-editing!

Cool, huh?

Okay, well, I think it's cool.