Phoenix Point - Haven Design and Map Generation

The latest development update for Snapshot Games' Phoenix Point shows off a new Phoenix Project vehicle and introduces us to Phoenix Point's approach to level design through a series of work-in-progress screenshots and video clips. I'll let you explore those on your own, but here's an excerpt from the text parts:

As a little bonus this month, and maybe as an early Christmas present, we're going to share with you something new. In the last update, we revealed the New Jericho vehicle. This time, we're delighted to show you The Phoenix Scarab ATV.

Development on the Scarab began in 2025 with the objective of providing secure all-terrain transport for crews heading to remote Phoenix bases scattered around the world. The fuel cell powered vehicle would be fully automated with a contained atmosphere capable of accommodating eight personnel for a week without exposure to the outside. Radiation proofing and graphene mesh armour promised amazing levels of protection. The first units were produced in 2027, as Phoenix Command struggled to secure the secrecy and integrity of remaining bases after seizures by state actors in 2023, and the failed organisation wide activation of 2025. Due to the world crisis leading up to World War Three, only a small number were actually produced. In 2032 Scarabs were released to AI control to defend themselves, and as of March 2047 the whereabouts of most of them are still unknown.


Building the Maps

While some of the maps within Phoenix Point will be hand-crafted, most will be procedurally generated. What this means, in the simplest terms, is an algorithm takes a selection of premade assets and assembles them based on a set of rules. This gives a different result every time, but helps to ensure that objects and buildings still work correctly. For example; buildings should always be placed so that external doors face a path or road (and of course, to make sure they do actually have external doors!). Buildings with two or more floors should always have at least one staircase, or some other means to access the higher floors.

First, we design a number of map layouts. These allow us to set the size of the map, the road and path layout, and the positions for any cover or buildings. The algorithm then places a random variation of the correct building type and of the correct size on each of the pre-allocated building spaces. Buildings can be made up of smaller, modular buildings for even more variation.

Below is a short video showing how the different building components can be swapped out to produce different maps. As is the case here, building sections can even be placed within or on top of other buildings.

To add even more variety, Tzani wrote a script to randomize prop placement. The designers can choose where the props should be placed, and how much space they take, while Tzani's script will automatically place varying props in the chosen spaces.

Not only does Tzani's script scramble the placement of props, but even the items found on shelving are randomly placed!

All of these elements are coming together to make some great looking environments. Even in this early stage of their development, with only a minimal amount of polish. Just add lighting, a little fog and a few particle effects....