There is a lot to talk about when discussing the world of Eden. I’ll do my best to talk about the more interesting aspects of the game world and how they impact the player and game mechanics themselves.
The world itself is represented and realized in three dimensions, even if it is only displayed graphically in two dimensions. I’ve borrowed the same kind of interface that is found in Dwarf Fortress, where the player is looking at the 3D world compressed into two dimensions on screen. The world features ‘depth’ or ‘elevation’ and the player can change their view of the world at will by cycling through the available elevations. You can think of this as 2D ‘slices’ of the world if you want. If we’re looking down upon the world from a very high elevation, we’re naturally going to see all the land at the different elevations going down from that point, that’s exactly how the world is displayed on screen in Eden. You’ll notice that there are some hazier/whiter areas when looking from higher elevations, this is done on purpose to easily inform the player the the land that is hazy or white-ish is actually at a lower elevation than the elevation currently being viewed.
The world is procedurally generated following a variety of different rules and purpose driven algorithms to ensure the world is both interesting and and believable. From this perspective, as with many procedurally generated game worlds, no two games will be identical in Eden. Additionally there are a variety of options the player can make at world creation to create very specific worlds with their own very specific challenges as they see fit. For example, surviving in an area with very little trees is going to be a different experience than in say a forest, living underground is completely different than living on the surface, etc.
The world itself is composed of a variety of different terrain types, different types of creatures, plants and objects. Some creatures are modeled to be passive while others are more aggressive and each will behave accordingly. The world is simulated around the player and their colonists, animals hunt, forage and sleep based on their individual needs.
Day and night are modeled as part of the overall design of time within the game. The player will experience each day of their colonists lives, so a complete day/night cycle has been implemented that while visually engaging also affects various game-play systems within the game, from wildlife behavior to the moods and desires of the colonists themselves. I wouldn’t say the game is meant to be any more difficult at night, just different as nigh time is very different in real life than the day time is.
The world is composed of individual terrain blocks, these blocks can be mined for resources as well as serve as solid foundations on which to construct buildings and other structures to increase game play options and help the colonists survive.
While the world is the main stage on which the game takes place and the action unfolds, it’s not just a backdrop, it is malleable and the colonists themselves will interact with it with the direction of the player or not. Trees can be felled, the terrain can be mined and resources harvested and gathered.
Eden aims to simulate a world worth playing in. One that grows, changes and reacts to the player and their colonists. A world with resources to find and exploit, while at the same time is hostile and unforgiving. A world that represents the sandbox that is Eden and provides the tools to the player to do with it, what they will; and along the way have some really cool, interesting and/or disturbing stories to tell 🙂