Hardscrabble Dungeons

Search through all of my Hardscrabble Dungeons!

When I was a child in the early 80's, I often spent my summers playing Scrabble against my mother (we'd play for a penny per point). This was also a time in my life when I was deeply involved in role-playing games (playing Basic and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and Gamma World). Whenever I finished playing a game of Scrabble, I would look at the tiles on the board and my mind would immediately think, "that looks like the layout of a dungeon map."

Decades later I still occasionally play role-playing games, and I can often be found at competitive Scrabble tournaments around the country. Both entertainments still fascinate me, and the association between a completed Scrabble board and a dungeon map continues.

And, now, I've finally decided to do something about it.

During a recent Scrabble tournament in Louisiana, I remembered to dutifully snap a picture of each of the final board configurations at the end of the games. With those digital pictures on file, I then spent an afternoon writing a computer program that would generate a simple "old school style" map (meaning blue background, plain white squares... much like the maps in the early D&D adventure modules).

Below is a sample. On the left is the final board configuration of my first game of the competition (which I won, by the way, 440-373). To the right is the dungeon map generated by my program.

Pseudo-Random Dungeon Generation

My goal with program is to have it be able to create dungeons pseudo-randomly; that is, the maps created look randomly generated, but, in fact, are completely determined by the configurations of the tiles. The casual observer will have a hard time realizing why map features have been placed as they have been, but the algorithms are completely determininistic -- no randomness was used. Another way to think of it: if two Scrabble games ended with exactly the same board configuration, they would produce the exact same map. Of course, the chance that two final board configurations would match is extraordinarily remote. And, on the flip side, if two boards don't match, I want their maps to be different most, if not all, of the time.

So, while the maps will look randomly generated, they will not be. It's just, that if I make the design parameters complex enough, it will be hard to predict how the designs will come out.

Feel free to browse the boards and maps I create. I'll add more as I play in more tournaments (and I'll update these maps as I write more features/algorithms into my generating program).

Search through all of my Hardscrabble Dungeons!

Versions of My Program

What's To Come

Things I hope to add soon (not necessarily in this order):

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