May 15, 2017

Simulating miniature cities with Tilewater

Tilewater is a little sandbox game I’ve built in Rust. It’s a sandbox game, where you place roads and buildings and simulated people (sims) live out their lives in the world you’ve built.

Sims arrive by train, move into their houses, visit general stores for their groceries, visit saloons to drink and find work, and then work in factories. Play the video to see it in action:

It’s still early days and I’ve been experimenting with sims building their own roads, more efficient pathfinding, and properly simulating an economy. The representation of buildings as 1x1 squares is something I find cute, and I plan to make them bigger on the inside than the outside similar to Factorissimo.

Tilewater originated out of a bit of ennui. I submitted my dissertation, Time-lapse Extrapolation, last Tuesday. Getting it done was intense, as those of you who have done degrees no-doubt relate to. In the preceding weekend I’d worked 26 hours solid and then 14 or 16 the next, surrounded by 5 whiteboards and a useful Trello board.

Suddenly I had a lot of free time! I slept and cycled and partied and had a great time. I’d been acting like a workaholic since March 22nd, and it takes time to fix that burnout. But after a few days started to feel a bit dissatisfied and aimless. So I took a project idea and ran with it. This time last year was when we started working on sirpent.

I’ve been watching a lot of Westworld lately, and I loved the idea of simulating frontier towns. In practice Tilewater is a long way from that idea, but having bandits run into town might happen in time.

I don’t know how much further I’ll develop Tilewater for the time being - I’ve been enjoying the sunshine and my books a bit more. But provided you’re a little bit technical you can play Tilewater by following the directions on Github.