Carrier Command

Community Forums/Showcase/Carrier Command

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#1]
I'm kinda spamming forums now, but this should really be in this one!

I'm planning on making a remake of Carrier Command. I came up with the grand scheme after reading the 'what games should be remade' thread over in off-topic.

Anyway... 4 days later and...

The texturing isn't finished on any of this yet and I've used some bits of textures I've downloaded from various places so those will have to be replaced... but it just makes life much quicker to prototype when you've got truck loads of clip art textures!

Still got to model the mantas and walrus' then start working on some effects that make it look like the boat is in the water and do an animated rippley mesh for the water.

I thought if I made a fairly small water mesh and had it so that the x/z centre of it is always under the x/z of the camera it should work quite well.

Anyway... Please add your thoughts, let me know what made Carrier Command great, what made it pants, what it was missing, and what it really could have done without.

And maybe share a thought or two on the screenies above! :)

rsbrowndog(Posted 2004) [#2]
I've already said (in the Off Topic thread) that this looks excellent, but how DO you do that smart half-textured, half-wireframe effect?



Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#3]
but how DO you do that smart half-textured, half-wireframe effect?
lol... very very simple... Take a screenshot of your model textured, flat shaded, and wireframe. Load them into a paint package as seperate layers on the same image, then erase bits of each layer to expose the one below it. Job done!

_PJ_(Posted 2004) [#4]
Quick work, Rob!

Anyway... Please add your thoughts, let me know what made Carrier Command great, what made it pants, what it was missing, and what it really could have done without.

The whole resource management part, and necessity to move the stockpile island as you progressed further so you didnt have to run out of fuel moving all the way back added a great deal to the strategy. Combined with trying to defend this island (being as it was now closer to the enemy territories)

Perhaps more detail on the islands. From what I recall of the original, they were each just squares with a mountain, a base and a gun emplacement. This made it all quite samey and boring/easy.

A few more enemy installations, and more variety of craft may help.

I think the actual Manta/(whatever the amphibious tanks were called) control and flight/movement should be much 'better' and clearer (but this will probably be solved with PC resolution and multicolour graphics, it was sometimes hard to see what was what on the speccy)

Good luck anyway!

rsbrowndog(Posted 2004) [#5]
I've never actually played Carrier Command but am becoming quite intrigued with all this talk of it. If I wanted to play it through emulation, which would be the best version to use?



Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#6]
WinUAE (Amiga Emulator) I've got it running perfectly on that.

joncom2000(Posted 2004) [#7]
Or if yout an ST fan it runs in steem, the ST emulator. Automation disk 94 has it on from what has been said at LGD. :)

Back on topic, nice looking models already Rob, never played the original myself but I remember friends commenting on it :)

Banshee(Posted 2004) [#8]
I liked the original but I always thought the menu system was a bit dire, it was not very intuitive.

The same game but with a more intuitive interface might be quite enjoyable to play, I look forward to this.

morduun(Posted 2004) [#9]
The thing that irked me about Carrier Command is that you couldn't =really= multitask without a LOT of trial and error -- if you wanted to throw three attack mantas at an island you'd invariably crash all but the one you were directly controlling -- and usually that one too. Do us a favor and have there be at least a rudimentary player AI for the noncontrolled mantas -- or possibly multiplayer collab?

=DID= like the wire-guided missiles tho. Those were fun! :D

IPete2(Posted 2004) [#10]

I loved Carrier Command! What a great idea to make an updated version!

I loved the way I could control a Walrus and the Manta crafts! That was top! :)

I disliked the fact I usually had to travel all the way around the Arcepelago to get to the baddie carrier.

I would like to see a fast and furious version - a liuttle more like 'incoming' - make it so there is a lot to think about but a lot to do too!

Looking fab so far btw Rob!!!!!


Ricky Smith(Posted 2004) [#11]
Looking forwards to this ! Yes make sure the vehicles can function independantly with some basic AI - that was the major flaw in the original.

Perturbatio(Posted 2004) [#12]
Looks good. :)

Don't carriers these days have an angled deck?

Ricky Smith(Posted 2004) [#13]

Don't carriers these days have an angled deck?

Carrier Command was based in an imaginary future scenario and the Mantas were STOL/VTOL so wouldn't really need an angled deck.

CyberHeater(Posted 2004) [#14]
Inspirational. And all in 4 days. Puts me to shame.

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#15]
I've modelled the Mantas and Walrus' and got the manta's flying (physics now in) the lift of the carrier going up and down, pollutants coming out of the chimney of the carrier and a little bit of internal detail of the bridge.

Also, when I've worked out what is actually going to go on the bridge does someone want to have a go at modelling this for me. My idea is that the bridge will be the UI with various people stood at consoles controlling the walrus', mantas, carrier, maintenance etc. Then you'd just click on the person to deal with that stuff, and because the bridge is physically inside the carrier you can see all the stuff outside going on through the windows. I'd like this to be one animated mesh with people prodding control panels and stuff, this would be hidden when you're outside the carrier to keep the tris rendered down, although the idea of this being visible the whole time so you can fly past the carrier and see people on the bridge is pretty cool, but unnessary I think!

I might have to have a go at using the lotus particle system rather than my own sprite based one. Still got some texturing to do as it's all a bit lame at the moment.

I would have posted screenshots, however, this no internet situation I've got at home meant I have to bring things into work on floppy... so I did this, got to work, and the floppy isn't working... bah.

Anyway, I'll try and get a decent disk in to work and upload some screenies... I think I'm going to need to buy a pen drive!

rsbrowndog(Posted 2004) [#16]
Also, when I've worked out what is actually going to go on the bridge does someone want to have a go at modelling this for me. My idea is that the bridge will be the UI with various people stood at consoles controlling the walrus', mantas, carrier, maintenance etc. Then you'd just click on the person to deal with that stuff, and because the bridge is physically inside the carrier you can see all the stuff outside going on through the windows. I'd like this to be one animated mesh with people prodding control panels and stuff, this would be hidden when you're outside the carrier to keep the tris rendered down, although the idea of this being visible the whole time so you can fly past the carrier and see people on the bridge is pretty cool, but unnessary I think!

Sounds a bit like Star Trek - Bridge Commander, although I've not actually played it! How about adding voice control too!



Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#17]
Mantas and Ants (Walrus').

jhocking(Posted 2004) [#18]
I love the plane.

rsbrowndog(Posted 2004) [#19]

I can't believe how fast you work!!!



Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#20]
Next on the list is lanch procedures for the Ants and Mantas. If anyone has a new/better name for the Mantas please let me know.

At the moment everything is lauched from the off, there's no docking or anything, also there is only one manta and one ant. This will all be sorted soon, then add a bit of AI so they can get places without me driving them!

Taking the screenshots of the mantas and ants in the same shot was damn tricky as I was flying the manta with the mouse and driving the ant with cursor keys at the same time!

Elf(Posted 2004) [#21]
I vote for "Buzzards"

TOP work by the way, Rob!

Tracer(Posted 2004) [#22]
Very nice white boxes with red x's in em ;)


Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#23]
Tracer, seems odd you can't see them when everyone else can?! Click on my sig to go to my site, click on the projects bit and choose Carrier to seem em all.

AntonyWells(Posted 2004) [#24]
Shows up fine here, in opera7.

Looking very nice. Always wanted a nice pc update of these sort of open ended games you rarely get anymore. So I approve. You may continue.


Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#25]
Thanks Otacon, I was a bit aprehensive about starting this without your approval first... Phew!

joncom2000(Posted 2004) [#26]
Since the original vessels were named after sea going creatures and you have called the little wheeled vehicle after an insect maybe an insect name for the flying craft ?

Something like Wasp or Hornet maybe ?

Elf(Posted 2004) [#27]
hehe - the Wasps could fire "stinger" missiles ;o)

Beaker(Posted 2004) [#28]
Nice work RuskBoy.

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#29]
Last night I added a sphere map to make the Ants and Wasps looks shiny... looks very nice... I then spent hours and hours farting around with animated water textures only to return to a static one! Improved the physics on the Ants and Wasps... but really didn't do nearly enough last night on the game! Maybe better luck tonight!

Masterbeaker... RuskBoy... Not heard anything like that since primary school, clearly you don't need to sharpen your rapier-like wit.

rsbrowndog(Posted 2004) [#30]
I then spent hours and hours farting around with animated water textures only to return to a static one!

I know the feeling! I spent so much time getting meshterrains implemented in "Par FORE!" and then last week I ripped it all out and went with blitz terrains!



semar(Posted 2004) [#31]
fantastic work as usually - very well done, even in - so to speak - beginning stage.

I'm really impressed on how quick your progresses are, and how effective a simple scenario with one island, a carrier, a skybox and the sea, combined togheter, can be.

I whish I had the same capabilities as you have m8 !

I guess you would say that it's just a simple terrain and a skybox, but even so, if I try the same thing I wouldn't get the same nice feeling of your screenshots.

Would be very nice if you can write a short tutorial to show how to achieve such a good result..

By the way, which particle system do you use ? Do you use a terrain system too, or it's 'simple' blitz terrain ? How do you texture it ? And which 3D modeller did you choose ? And.. oh my ! I would fill the entire forum if I continue with questions... 8)

Again, my sincere congratulation Sir.


Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#32]
Particle System: My own system, although thinking about using lotus. Cost: Free
Terrain System: Blitz own brand. Cost: Free
Textured using: My own system - Terrain shader. Cost: Free for me... I wrote it!
3D Modeller: Milkshape. Cost: 16 or so.
UV Mapping: LithUnwrap. Cost: Free
Texturing/Painting: PaintshopPro 7. Cost: 50 or so.
Skytexture: My own sky creation thingy. Cost Free.

The terrain itself was created with perlin noise then loaded that into PSP, created another layer and black airbrushed round the edge to turn it into an island.

There is a light/shadow/colour texture stretched over the whole thing to give it tone and shade (create with terrain shader), then a noise texture tiled over the terrain to give it detail.

The particles are just various airbrush effects.

The water texture is lifted from somewhere! Although I've drawn my own now so it looks better.

Also, it's not a sky box, it's a flat quad that I scroll around and spin using a bit of maths based on the camera yaw,roll and pitch.

I've drew a sphere map aswell now, so it looks even better.

Not quite sure how to do a tutorial on this as it's just a simple terrain and a sky texture.

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#33]

We now have AI controlled Ants and Wasps, any amount of Ants or Wasps can be launched and run with AI or Human control, all of the vehicles have a first person view coutesy of a bone called camera.

The control method is now standardised across all the vehicles so there is one piece of code to handle the control (be it AI or Human) and that gets passed to the individual vehicle physics model this means that no matter what is controlling a specific vehicle (joystick, keyboard, mouse, AI, network player?) it will have exactly the same properties.

Currently the destination targets are random and as soon as a vehicle reaches it's target it will autogenerate a new one. Also the AI is very shabby at the moment and there is no collision detection or indeed looking around to avoid things in the first place... this will all come...

Once I've got something that works quite nicely I'll kick out a demo... Until then... um... you'll have have to wait!

joncom2000(Posted 2004) [#34]
Looking good Rob, your progress is impressive :)

Sounds like a very sensible way to approach the control of the various vehicles as well. Please keep us posted on your progress :)

rsbrowndog(Posted 2004) [#35]
This looks outstanding, I can't believe how quickly it's coming together!

Looking forward to that demo...



morduun(Posted 2004) [#36]
Lovely stuff, Herr Farley, quality visuals and quality design by the sound of it. Keep it up and you've got a winner on your hands.

podperson(Posted 2004) [#37]
There's another person working on a remark of CC, check out:

JohnMil(Posted 2004) [#38]
I think Rob's looks cooler.

beady(Posted 2004) [#39]
Don't be disheartened Rob, I'm sure that there's room for more than one CC remake in the heart of anyone who remembers the game of old. I certainly wouldn't say no. Stick with it.


rsbrowndog(Posted 2004) [#40]
Now then, don't use that as your excuse to give up! ;)



Red Ocktober(Posted 2004) [#41]
actually, both of em look really good as far as the graphics and artwork go...

yeah Rob, competition is good for the soul... and while this guy seems very organized (from what i've read of his progress) ... you never know what is gonna happen tommorrow...

... so, i wouldn't stop work on mine just because there's another project doing the same thing in the works.

take my situation for instance... my sub sim,

going up against these unknowns :)

but i have every intention of finishin' her up and getting er out there... my only hope being...

(1) i get it out there before they do
(2) i manage to fullfill a particular craving in the niche audience that the 'BIG BOYS' fail to see
(3) i can undercut them in price :)

hey, you see... you're not alone, and your competition isn't as undaunting as mine is :)

they got better looking ocean water...
they got better looking ship models...
they got better station models and textures...
they got world wide publishing outlets...

... hey, lemme stop while i'm, errr... ahead ???

anyway... Good Luck


Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#42]
Not worried about the competition as my game regardless of how it turns is going to be cracking!

Incedentally I appear to have lost my website. Darklordz had been hosting it for me and if the post a couple of months back is anything to go by he's died. So, in memory of the guy, thanks for hosting me for free for so long :)

Looks like I'm going to have to pay for some space now :(

rsbrowndog(Posted 2004) [#43]
Gah! All the inspirational screenshots are gone!!



Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#44]

I'll have some screenies up again soon, just bought myself some web space, although I'm not going to be throwing up a load on a forum this time as I'm now paying for bandwidth!!

Last night I got the manual control and AI control working so you can switch between vehicles which will automatically switch it to auto if you were controlling it manually, and other stuff, it makes perfect sense, it's just difficult to explain.

Improve the island mapping, made it 100% procedual so theoritcally every game could be unique.
Perlin noise creates the height map
Then there's some random black airbrushing around the edges to turn it into an island.
It then gets colour mapped and light mapped procedually.

This takes about 15 seconds for a 256x256 map, which is possibly too big anyway. I'm working on making these run in the background so as you play the game it will generate the next island as you're approaching it.

That's the theory anyway!

rsbrowndog(Posted 2004) [#45]
I've got 50 Mb of space with my ISP so I might be able to host some screenshots for you. I've got to find out the details (I just switched ISP last week, moving from dial-up to broadband) but I'll post back when I know a bit more - if you are interested?

The random/automatic terrain generation stuff sounds excellent!



Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#46]
I'm always interested in a free handout! :)

Yeah, I figured that either it can pre-generate all the stuff onto disk at the start of the game or do it on the fly. Not sure which way to go yet, obviously the pre-gen would be easier to manage. But either way it means that a game can be created from a seed so every game you play can be unique, or indeed the same if you so wish.

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#47]
Just optimised the island creation a bit, instead of using perlin noise it uses "lump-blobbing"tm technique that is loads quicker.

From there it then checks the land mass to give an idea of how much resource it will hold.

It also works out how damp the various areas of the island are and therefore how dense and what kind of plants will be there. Creates a planting script. The overall damp/dryness of the island contributes to the types of resource available on it.

Then textures the whole thing dependant on height and slope with light maps and shadow maps.

A name is created using a phonetics system of stringing a bunch together than sound about right.

A summary of the island is created from all the above information.

Then it twats the whole lot onto disk ready to be loaded in the game.

All this takes around 14 seconds on average on my althon 2600. The advantage is all this is created from a single seed so you could have a whole island network created from a single seed.

I know this is pretty slow, but if you only have to do it once per new game it's not too bad... thoughts?

Bremer(Posted 2004) [#48]
14 seconds to do all of that doesn't sound bad to me at all. Just show something on the screen that will keep the player busy while calculating and they will never know. :)

rsbrowndog(Posted 2004) [#49]
Like some baps, for instance!

But seriously, doesn't sound too bad to me. Only thing I would say is that there was lots of debate in the past about the consistency of Blitz's random number generation. Has this been fixed now? If not then just storing random seeds to generate levels from may gave inconsistent results on different machines. Which is fine if you're not trying to keep the levels consistent, but otherwise...



morduun(Posted 2004) [#50]
Take advantage of the fact that Blitz sound is threaded (unintentional advantage of using FMOD)-- toss some happy tuneage in there as it's rendering with a purty picture and that should satisfy most people.

Good point tho, RS -- Rob, Blitz's rand is still broken. I've got a DLL solution for you if you need consistent random number generation across every PC. Let me know.

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#51]
My site it back... I've put plenty of new screenies on there and a whole story so far...

Check out the projects section.

IPete2(Posted 2004) [#52]

The placement of this land generation code could perhaps be just before/during (i.e. out of sight) the actual mission screen where some instructions can be read/heard and some visuals telling the player what he/she has to do.

You have the advantage that first time players will probably watch the mission intro if it is done well enough and that you only have to do it once per game (as you say), I presume you will be able to svae your game and come back to it another day should you wish?

The other thing you could do is show one island actually being developed by the subroutines as though it is part of a computer simualtion in the intro section.


podperson(Posted 2004) [#53]
The setup time doesn't sound bad to me. Music would deal with it nicely.

I think both CCs look good (as said elsewhere)

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#54]
Right, got the island creation down to just over 4 seconds.

Re-modelling and re-texturing parts of the carrier.
Carrier now has 3 guns on it, 2 front fire, 1 rear fire.
Wasp AI improved.
Ant has a gun turret on it's back.
Splash FX added to the carrier
Wake added to the carrier
General sploshes added when the carrier's not moving.
First person view for carrier added.
Manual control on carrier added.
Auto control on carrier added.
Simplistic auto defence for the carrier added, although it's total crap and I will be ripping it out, but mainly it was to get the guns moving correctly.

Still got to do the docking procedures for the wasps and ants, should work on that soon.

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#55]
Added a couple of new screenies here...

Zenith(Posted 2004) [#56]
When can we try it out? :)

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#57]
When it's ready!

I don't mean to sound obtuse but I've only been working on this 4 weeks now...

As soon as I've got the docking and programming bits in then I'll probably release a tech demo so you'll be able to launch ants and wasps, send them off to places and manually control them.

But there's so much more to do to even turn it into a basic game, there's still no weapons for example.

joncom2000(Posted 2004) [#58]
Sounds interesting Rob, if you do decide to release that tech demo you can at least get some feedback on how it's running on peoples setups, then any problems might be easier to cure before you have more complex code and therefore a lot more to bug hunt in :)

Zenith(Posted 2004) [#59]
I know, I just want to fly around in a wasp, rawr!

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#60]
Been trying to work out how to make this work... Kinda entertaining!

I'm hoping in the next couple of weeks get a demo out so people can have a play with the carrier, ants and wasps. Just the launching, programming, manual control and docking.

I've got the manual control and the AI waypoint stuff working really just got to do a programming screen and the docking and launching.

The docking and the launching is the main thing, I've hopefully made all the necessary coding from the outset so when a vehicle is inactive the mesh is hidden and the AI skips past it. The more complicated stuff is making the transition from being attached to the carrier and free from the carrier. I'm guessing this is why in the original you had auto dock and launch so there was a big transition period.

The problem with this is the code I've written suggests that a vehicle is active or inactive, however, there are infact 3 states (maybe 4) which is active - manual or AI control, inactive - inside the carrier, and launching/docking - attached to the carrier and inactive, but moving in a set piece to get to the active or inactive state.


I've been putting this theory into practice and set up the wasp states, last night I got the manta to sit on the carrier lift whilst the lift went up and down and the carrier pootled around. Not that exciting I know, but it proved a bit of a theory so I'm quite happy!

This means I now have 2 states sorted for the wasps, the sitting on deck and the flying around, so I've just got to do the transition states.

Taking off is going to be easy as you're starting from a static position, so you've just got to make the wasp clear the carrier then let it go free.

Landing is going to be somewhat tricker as tha wasp could be coming from any direction, pointing in any direction, and moving at any speed, likewise the carrier could be doing the same so you've got a few things to take into account! That could prove to be a bit more of a challenge!

slenkar(Posted 2004) [#61]
Hey Rob Farley I take it you havent got any children and are not married??

You made this game in a tenth of the time it would have taken me with my distractions.

podperson(Posted 2004) [#62]
I've spent a good deal of time thinking about how to implement Carrier Command over the years...

The Mantas in the original game could do things in the automatic landing and takeoff sequences that were impossible for a player to do (basically fly at very low speed / hover).

It was also quite easy to destroy walruses by accidentally ramming them during docking / launching sequences.

I'd suggest the simplest option for each is to give the Carrier a number child waypoints, and have the auto-land and auto-dock sequences simply use these waypoints (imagine one is out behind the carrier and the other is in close -- just head to the outer waypoint, then the inner, and you're lined up; this is pretty much how CC did it -- that plus cheating...)

I wonder how many people won Carrier Command. I think I won it a total of three times. It was an incredibly lengthy game (even if you played in "Arcade Mode") and the load/save feature did not work well or at all. (I seem to recall that the CRACKED version worked better than the storebought version.)

Losing the game by running out of fuel sucked beyond imagining... But trapping the computer player into running out of fuel did not work (the computer player cheated).

Some other random thoughts:

1) Most of the weapons in the game were useless. E.g. the ship launched weapon guided by a rocket-mounted camera was incredibly fiddly to use and didn't have enough range to hit inland targets; the big bomb for mantas was very hard to aim and did less damage than its weight in AA missiles.

If you're redoing CC, make the different weapons actually useful.

2) Walruses were WAY too vulnerable in combat. The best way to take islands was to annihilate their defences using Mantas (armed solely with air-to-air missiles) then zip in with a walrus (and either drop an ACCB or use a virus bomb to steal theirs).

I'd suggest making Walruses (or Ants) either a LOT faster or a LOT harder to kill.

3) Winning the game involved destroying the enemy carrier, which NEVER worked cleanly. (In one case I duelled with the enemy carrier using the close-in-defence laser and won by the skin of my teeth, in another game the enemy carrier fled (at cheat speeds) and a lasered it to death with a manta just before said manta went out of control range.)

I'd suggest not making the game a carrier v. carrier duel, but having some kind of climax (e.g. a super fortified island). Then you can have more than one enemy carrier and not make it cheat to stay alive.

4) Carrier Command didn't have a nice difficulty gradient. Once you got good with a manta you could take out an island in 15s and colonise it in another 30. I'd have islands get nastier closer to the climactic battle.

I used to launch a Manta shortly before arriving at an island, and set waypoints for a second manta (in case I screwed up) and a walrus. Then switch back to the first manta (usually before it started taking fire...) then zoom in and empty 4-7 AA missiles into the command centre (the toughest CCs took 7 missiles + a manta to destroy, but mantas were just ammo...). Launch walrus on waypoint and then while it's heading to island set carrier waypoints for the next target. (Walruses are ammo too.) A "tough" island took two mantas.

5) Whatever you do, remember to implement LONG RANGE COMMUNICATIONS PODS ... they were the neatest concept in the game. (If the enemy carrier could actually run out of fuel and if the different weapon options actually worked they would have been even cooler...)

Keep up the good work!

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#63]
The Ants will be more intelligent, they are already very fast (on land at least), they've got seriously big guns on them although they don't work yet.

I'm thinking the game will be carrier vs island and not a lot else. I'm thinking of turning this into a game where you work from one island to the next, taking your own route and building up a resource network to help take on the next islands. I'm also going to have technology research so you can upgrade your weapons as you go through the game, and the ability to steal research from the islands you have taken.

I've now got the wasps launching and landing on auto, everything wasp based now is pretty much complete barring better AI and Weapons.

Ants now have a bay inside the carrier to launch from, I've still not done the avoidance AI for the ants yet, the waypoint AI is in.

I'm going to have to read your post more closely at somepoint Pod, it's 9:14am and I've not had caffine yet!

Slenker, not married, no kids, I do live with a very understanding girlfriend though... although I do most of my coding when big brother or eastenders is on!

slenkar(Posted 2004) [#64]
cool, nice to see you are not just copying CC 100%,
Ever played 'hostile waters'? that had some cool stuff that CC didnt.

If it is mainly carrier vs Island then are you going to make the Islands huge compared to the old game?

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#65]
Loads of people keep going on about Hostile Waters, someone on this forum was going to send me a copy but it's never arrived :( and not having the internet at home I can't download the demo.

I've checked out some of the screenshots and they look pretty good, athough my game will be nicer!!

The islands are of varying size from iddy biddy ones to huge buggers, I'm still trying to get them populated with stuff procedually so they look nice. At the moment it all looks a bit random, so I need to give it some hard and fast rules to create road systems etc.