TL;DR Summary – A versatile game engine using 2D6 and a 19-Hex Flower (it’s like a random table, but with a memory).
Edit: I recently made a overview/guide on ‘Hex Flower Design’, which you can get here: Hex Flower Cookbook.
More on the ‘theory’ Blog post.
A podcast review/overview can be found here
A video ‘talk through of my Hex Flower Cookbook can be found here.
If useful here is a Hex Flower template
I’ve been experimenting with a random game engine which comprises a 19-Hex Flower and a 2D6 navigation system, e.g.:
The idea is that the bottom and (less so the) left of the Hex Flower is favoured by the 2D6 navigation system. The top of the Hex Flower is quite strongly disfavoured. A crude summary of the most probable directions of travel in the Hex Flower:
Therefore, as one navigates the Hex Flower one is likely to head downwards, and slightly off to the left. Note these directions are tendencies only, and so there are still good/fair chances of moving in most of the other directions as well. By contrast, in a simple D6 navigation system, you tend to potter around the centre of the Hex Flower, with no particular direction being favoured.
To prevent stagnation (e.g. being stranded at the bottom of the Hex Flower), if you navigate off the edge of the Hex Flower, you appear on the hex which is on the opposite side of the Hex Flower (i.e. diagonally opposite, e.g. orange to green and yellow to blue in the example below), which introduces a sort of wildcard/chaotic leap.
The exception to the diagonally opposite transition rule being the top-most and bottom-most Hex’s of the Hex Flower, where you typically appear on the same/adjacent Hex (otherwise this would circumvent the asymmetric vertical probability being induced into the Hex Flower). Generally, the top-most Hex returns to the top-most Hex (see red Hex below). In the bottom-most Hex, I tend to move the side exits to an adjacent Hex and the bottom exit back to the bottom-most Hex, or the Hex directly above (e.g. purple to brown in the example below).
Even with the wildcard leaps, there is a sense of continuity in the system, as you generally can’t get to most Hex’s without passing through adjacent Hex’s.
Therefore, with this structure in place, you have
- the most improbable event/outcome at the top of the Hex Flower
- common events/outcomes at the bottom of the Hex Flower
- and a transitional zone there-between
- the wildcard leaps are there to induce a chaotic element.
So, with an understanding of the probability structure induced in the Hex Flower you can write various engines or games.
Video ‘Talk Through’ of my Hex Flower Cookbook
In case it is useful, I made a ‘talk through’ video, where I go through my ‘Hex Flower Cookbook’:
Video Demo (of the Heart of the Sea)
There are lots of Examples of Hex Flowers HERE. But, in the mean time, below are just two examples for flavour:
:: What the Hex’s Next? (a random outdoor terrain generator)
Note – this is not a map, but a tool to build a map!
:: Where’d the Rot Grub Go Next? (just some silly fun to mess with your players …)
It’s good, but for more complex variants, “gravitating” toward equilibrium is desirable, and weighting toward bottom left just doesn’t cut it.
Maybe an additional stage, like rolling another random number (on such small grids something like 1d3, on larger it may be something like 1d6+1), then either
A. Elastic leash: “if farther than this many hexes from the attraction point, move 1 hex toward it before random walk” or
B. Inelastic leash: “if farther than this many hexes from the attraction point, move 1 hex toward it instead of random walk” .
Doesn’t matter much how “move toward” is implemented, as long as it’s consistent (it’s simple if hexes are marked with coordinates, of course).
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Just Putt’n my $0.02 in here:
Looks good, I’ll have to give it a try!!!!
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I finally picked up the cook book to check if this kind of probabilistic model would be good for the movements of a walking castle, but I’ve concluded it isn’t really the kind of memory I’m looking for. I’m sure I’ll find a place for this cool technique in my game somewhere, though!
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If no one has mentioned it before, your hex-flower is what mathematicians call a Markov process, which might give you some ideas for further development. For example, each hex doesn’t have to have the same rules- you could weight edge hexes differently to favor moving back to the center, or even to keep you on the board, so you don’t need the “jumps”.
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Thanks for the comment. People have told me about Markov chains in the past.
Yep, these are like a Markov chain formed into a hexagon of hexagons, with a rule set that governs how the hexes are linked (normally with the idea of inducing a probability gradient). Normally there is a simple overarching rule set (Navigation Hex), with exceptions built in as necessary (e.g. an ‘x’ mean stay in current hex, ‘arrows’ tell you where to go next) etc.
I didn’t know about Markov chains when I came up with this idea, but it’s nice to know I stumbled into some maths theory by accident.