For the architect on the go
Townscaper is one of those projects I’ve casually followed on social media since it was in early development, and man has it come a long way. It looks relatively simple at first glance, but from what I know of game development, it’s an incredibly impressive undertaking to get procedural generation running so smoothly and looking so good, especially for only one guy.
The creator in question, Oskar Stålberg, took to Twitter today to announce that his project would now be available to play right in your browser, as Townscaper had previously become available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS earlier this year. Even better, it’s completely free! When trying to new version of the game, some were surprised to find that the browser version is almost identical to the full one, the only difference being the grid on which you can build your town is smaller.
Oh. What's this?
A free Townscaper web demo, playable straight in the browser: https://t.co/yuiioimXGg
— Oskar Stålberg (@OskSta) December 1, 2021
Apart from his work on Townscaper, Stålberg also developed Bad North, along with programmer Richard Meredith and sound designer Martin Kvale. The game is a real-time tactics roguelite where players are tasked with defending their kingdom from invading hordes of Vikings, and it’s pretty easy to see Stålberg’s signature art style in its visuals.
Townscaper is certainly a smaller project, but its success is evidence of the rise in procedural generation in games, whether it’s the art, like in Error City Tourist, the world, as seen in No Man’s Sky, or even the game’s narrative, like in Road 96.
In addition to being incorporated into games as features to be enjoyed by the player, procedural generation can also make a world of difference when it comes to game development itself. Tools like those in Townscaper will only continue to make development easier and more accessible, so I can’t help but think that Stålberg is making the future of games even brighter.