Monday, October 31, 2011

Miscellaneous Improvements

I recently made a few improvements to dxContent.

First, I've added an option so that text fields, picklists and radio buttons on the MakeForm~ function can remember the users previous settings. This means that when turned on (field-by-field capability) users don't have to keep re-selecting previous settings. I experienced this annoyance while testing the city block generator and most recently the latest dungeon map generator. The end result is that its now much quicker to generate variations from an "options" type screen. I haven't enabled this feature for the City block generator yet because of some issues it will cause, but it is working for the Beta Dungeon Map Generator.

Second, I fixed an issue on the generator pages. I've noticed that sometimes the generator isn't ready to go until after the google ads have finished their animations and such. If you clicked the generate button before the page was ready, you'd get an error message. There is now a simple "Loading... (please standby)" message that turns into the generator name once everything is ready to go.

Third, I continue to improve the random map generation functions. I've added a second "base shape" to the dungeon map (not to be confused with a tileset shape). A base shape is like a template floor plan, a starting configuration for the dungeon. The first shape was a random rectangular hallway, the second creates two long intersecting corridors.

Fourth, another improvement to the random map generation functions. Some of the early maps were filled with tiles pretty much for the entire map dimension. While this created some neat dungeons, I knew this had to be more flexible. So there are some new features showcased in the latest beta generator that allows you to set a simplicity level on a scale from 1 to 10. One extreme gives you a map filled with tiles and the other remains fairly true to the base floor plan. Here are some examples with increasing simplicity levels (1, 5, and 10)...

Have a [RandomPositiveAdjective] Day!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Random Dungeons!

I had my first taste of Basic D&D as a player with the The Keep on the Borderlands, and I was ready to DM. First thing I needed was a dungeon. My first endeavor was the worst 10 levels of random denizens ever produced.

I soon discovered that endless dungeon crawls do not make for good campaigns, but as a DM you'll ALWAYS have the need for dungeon-like settings, sewers and other hidden lairs. Creating maps can be time consuming and dxContent is all about saving DMs time.

So, I'm excited to announce some new features to dxContent. I've added a host of functions for creating dungeons! (specifically man-made subteranean areas at this point). Check out the beta-random generator for trying out some of the future tools. These tools are still under development, but they are at a point now where useful output can be generated.

The core of these map generating tools are Tilesets. Tilesets are like puzzle pieces that when used in combination make a larger map. The first tileset has over 300 tiles and features doors, halls, ledges pits and open areas.

Here is a quick and dirty dungeon generated from choosing just a few options like height, width, number of stairways, etc.

The generator has a few flaws right now like creating some doorless rooms on the periphery of the map, and roomless areas with doorways, but every good concept has to start somewhere. I'll continue to refine, add tilesets, functions and features as the year wraps up. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cloudy with a {Dice~1d100} chance of rain...

Waaaaay back in the way back days when I never missed an Issue of Dragon magazine and free time fell out of my pockets like lint, I remember getting excited about a random weather generation article. Up until that time my player's characters enjoyed an eternal paradise of sunny days and comfortable camping.

Demonic invasion of the dwarven mountain outpost? Warm and sunny.
Expedition deep into Dwagmar swamp? Warm and sunny.
Trek through the great Gemtaj desert? Warm and sunny.

Once I started using the article to change things up, everybody waited with baited breath at what new weather the tables would bring - after all, isn't the weather the default conversation topic? It affected the mood of the campaign in a good way, and kept me as a DM from following the the same old "warm and sunny" rut.

This generator really gets at the core of what I want dxContent to be - a tool box of generators that help the overworked DM keep things fresh without adding a burden of overhead. My friend John, creator of, requested this generator and I was happy to take it on.

It makes use of the new MakeForm~ function for a fairly simple option screen and the rest is pure content glory. I can't take any credit for the original generator tables, the Paizo wizards did that, but I've taken the sting of rolling all the details out of using it.

So check it out in the dxContent library here or on

Stay [RandomColdWeatherAdjective]!