Archipelago, Volume 5, John Card Number 7
No, you have not scared me away, but I must admit your list is rather formidible. And I fear it will continue to grow.
I suggest that we hash out the design over the next year or so and then try to implement it using SuperCard (if possible). As you have already observed, the challenge is to significantly enhance the current game without sacrificing its basic simplicity. If we ever come up with a working program, we could even try to market it!
As I see it, the task breaks down into several vast and challenging sub-tasks. The first of these is to create a world generator. It would be nice to employ fractal coastlines. I would also like to see true inland seas and river systems. How big should it be do you think? If we make it adjustable, what should the range be as compared to the current size? Should we have edges or should we wrap the screen into a cylinder or torus?
A special challenge in this case is creating a world that the computer can understand. It has to have the same kind of gestalt grasp of continents and spatial relationships that we do when we look at a screen. Another subtask of this project, after all, is creating a worthy opponent, one less dimwitted than the current program, perhaps an opponent who actually learns and adapts. Thus we will necessarily stray near the edges of artificial intelligence!
As soon as my programming schedule clears a bit, I will try dabbling with some world generation. If you think of any ingenious algorithms let me know. Let's keep a chain of voice cards going on this subject!