Zenbitz:Thoughts On Locations and Terrain

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Wip mechanic.png This article covers a work in progress game mechanic.

Work in progress mechanics get currently fleshed out and are not ready for review yet. Once they have been fleshed out in detail and are ready to be reviewed, they become submitted game mechanics.

World map

The major world map is a topological entity with 2 coordinates (X, Y or lat./long) and an elevation coordinate. The world map is divided into smaller areas, called tiles, which can be zoomed in for player action. World map tiles have an (average) land terrain type, an (average) elevation, and a weather class.

Land/Water distribution

They may be all or partially:

  • Land (You know it, you love it, you live there... LAND!)
  • Water ("We're going to need a bigger boat")
  • Water-Ice (solid ice, thick enough to walk on)
  • Ice Pack (Mixed open water and water ice - often fractured and mobile)

Or some combination. Any tile containing a significant (lake or ocean) Land-Water interface will have a coastline. Note that Land may be ice-covered (glacier) - this is distinct from water ice. The distribution of Water/Water-Ice/Ice Pack may change depending on the season. The distribution should be simple function of latitude time of year (including current year-from-start), and distance from land.

Land Terrain type

This is distinct from the land/water/ice distribution above. This is an "average" terrain type used for foraging (availability of food), and travel times. It only applies to "land" portions of the tile. The actual distribution of "terrain elements" and "scenery" within a tactical map of the tile should be either pre-determined or randomized ONCE per world map tile. In either case, world map tiles with the same land terrain types should have similar proportions of art assets (trees, snow banks, ruined buildings, open fields, etc.). Land terrain types can be combined (i.e,. Open Tundra, Forest Hills). "Foraging" is searching a random map location for FOOD. "Scrounging" is searching a random map location for pre-ruin artifacts (possibly including food!)


This is a catch-all type used to denote that the map tile has a specific "level" design. Typically a town, mine, set of caves or something else that has been specifically hand crafted as an "adventure" area. The details (travel time effects, forage rates) can be set manually or selected from any of the following below.

City Ruins

These are "very close" terrain for visibility, combat and moderate-low foraging for food possibilities. Excellent scrounging (for pre-ruin artifacts) opportunity. Similar to "high mountains/forest" but with travel bonuses (due to assumed roads)

Town & Suburb Ruins

These are "close" terrain equivalents for ruins. Rare to find buildings more than 2 stories (even when intact, let along collapsed). Good scrounging opportunity, average forage. Similar to "low mountains/forest", but with travel bonuses (due to assumed roads)


(need a better name) - this distinguished between flat, open terrain and more hilly or mountainous country.


Any terrain with a "maximal" horizon on land (>1/2km visibility with no elevated vantage point). Easiest to traverse.


Low rolling hills - enough to restrict horizon to <1/2 km. None or very small travel penalty. Also called "Close" terrain.

Low mountain

Restricted visibility (10-500m), good ambush territory. Moderate travel penalty. Also called "Very close" terrain.

High mountain / Cliffs

Extremely short visibility (<10m), heavy travel penalty



This is just any open grassy, scrubby, flowery or other place that's not truly forested. Uncommon in the game. You can grow crops here outside. No penalties for travel, good for foraging

Deciduous Forest

Just in case we need it somewhere warm-ish. Small penalty for travel, Best for foraging.

Evergreen Forest

Forested area - combined with Taiga should make the bulk of good foraging terrain. Small penalty for travel, good foraging opportunity (same as fields?)


Some small trees and bushes, animal life. No penalty for travel, reduced foraging opportunity.


Permafrost - essentially no plant life, perhaps lichens and such. Not sure if distinction between this and Glacier is relevant/necessary. Only animal life is sea based or predators of sea life (polar bears). Small penalty for travel, very limited foraging (hunting only)

Glacier/Frozen lake

This is solid ice and/or snow. Penalty for travel (crevasses, snow shoes or skis may be required, no foraging)

Coastal Types

If the world map tile has a border with ocean, sea, or major lake - the transition between land/water sections should be defined as one of the following (or combination) - note: Not sure all the following are really different.


You know, sand. Gradually sloping to water.

Sea Wall

A low, sharp break, perhaps 3-4m maximum in height


A sharp break to the ocean, too tall to jump (>4m)


Hmmm.... like an icey cliff?


Concrete barrier or man-made reef.


All major roads (highways, railroad beds) and bridges should be represented on the world map, although not necessarily DRAWN for the player (unless he finds a road map item, or gets directions?). These will roughly double travel times across world map, as long as the roads are mostly functional. Some vehicles will require roads to travel, and get stuck if roads are blocked (these can be designed or assumed to occur randomly over a certain distance).


All major and minor rivers should be represented on the world map. But could possibly be hidden from the player until discovered... These can act like roads for some vehicles ("boats"), although they may often be frozen. If you wish to CROSS a river, there is a travel penalty unless there is an intact bridge. This is also true of other bodies of water (lakes, bays, inland seas, etc.).

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