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I'm creating an "exploration" game where the overworld map will be randomly generated. The biomes are generated using the data given by a "temperature map" , a "humidity map", and an elevation map for instance : cold + humidity = snow, hot + humidity = jungle, etc The problem I'm left with is how to deal with elevated zones in hot climate. Right now it is set to the "bare" biome (the gray areas in the following pic), which I guess is supposed to mean "deserted dry land". On the other hand, elevated zones with colder temperatures is set to snow (in white), which is ok. So, how should I deal with the elevated zones in cold climate? I have several ideas but I feel that none of them works: 1) set it to snow as well, but I think it would feel weird 2) set it to "bare" but I don't think it actually exists IRL or that i'd have any interesting gameplay perspectives

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

I travelled in a lot of "hot" countries in the 10 last years and each time I went to elevated areas it was cold or very cold even when I was close to the equator.

In fact elevated areas are semi-arid to arid. Vegetation is small (except some special species like cactus) and burned (by sun and cold). Most of the time, there is very little snow except at mountaintops. So it depends what "elevated" exactly means. Because indeed, when you go down the valley temperature goes higher and vegetation goes taller.

It's cold, but it doesn't look like a cold place in North America or Europe with snow etc. it's more like a kind of desert mapped on a mountain.


Let's take as example Bolivia. The north of the country is in the Amazon basin and the average temperature is 30°C (86°F) with jungle etc. So it's definitely a "hot" country when the altitude is near sea level.

But the south of the country is on the Altiplano, one of the most extensive areas of high plateau on Earth (altitude from 3500 to 6500 meters). The average temperature varies from 3°C to 12°C, which is cold.

And it looks like this:

Uyuni area 1 Uyuni area 2 Uyuni area 3

In order to avoid a too-big answer, I will link other photos instead of displaying them directly: Uyuni area 4, Uyuni area 5, Uyuni area 6, Uyuni area 7, Uyuni area 8, Uyuni area 9, Uyuni area 10, Uyuni area 11, and so on ... (Sorry I didn't clean my pics)

All of these photos were taken at an average altitude of 5000 meters, and the white on ground is salt or sulfur not snow. As I said, it might look like hot desert area but it's very cold. At lower altitude (around 3000 meters) there is much more vegetation.

I hope I answered your question. If you need more examples well tell it ;)

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This is a great post/answer, definitely shows another area that's similar height and humidity than I was familiar with and could help with, should be a useful answer thanks. –  FullyLucid Dec 11 '11 at 23:37
    
@Nathan Reed: thank you for the corrections ;) –  Valkea Dec 11 '11 at 23:50
    
+1 For discussion of humidity. I was remindeda little bit of the plateau region in Arizona, USA that's also kind of an elevated desert. The town of Wickenburg in that area (replacement-windows-arizona.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/…) has a few trees but is mostly it's what you see in this picture plus buildings, and it gets really freakin' cold. –  michael.bartnett Dec 11 '11 at 23:58
    
@MadPumpkin: I liked your answer too. I found interesting your suggestion about mesoamericans civilisations to make these areas interesting. The wayna picchu and the machu picchu are nice examples of the structures you are suggesting (although it's Inca) –  Valkea Dec 11 '11 at 23:59
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Honestly the only elevated hot things I can really think of are volcanoes. I find this question interesting because I'm also using a temperature and humidity biome structure for my game :]. Another thing, is that if you're game is fantasy adventure, you could have something special there, not just a volcano but I mean tons of things.

The native ancients of central America (Mayans, etc.) believed that they needed to build a monumental massive staircase on the highest mountain to get closer to god, these people are also quite famous for living in hot areas in central America. A similar if not equivalent "biome" could work too.

Another suggestion is to have a more realistic area which is actually probably more what you were looking for. I live in Utah and if you got down mid-south and lower, you get Moab, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion, etc. They're extremely mountainious areas that are actually pretty high up. I mean compared to the regular desert stuff. Here's some shots of Goblin valley to let you know what I mean:

Valley with some mounds

A mountain

Down in goblin valley area (those formations on the ground are about 7-11 feet tall)

Valley showing what you see A LOT (you can easily see the other mountains in the background because Utah is like that)

EDIT: Sorry forgot to note. As far as temperature goes it gets damn near melting skin during the middle of the day, just a few hours later it's tolerable but when it gets night time (9pm-5am -ish) you better have a coat. I think this probably your best bet on making the biome work realistically.

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