Captain Carpet: Arcane Worlds

that sure is a sun

I feel like I’m cheating a little here, because I’m going to tell you that Arcane Worlds aims to be a modern take on Magic Carpet but then I’m going to admit that nothing of the sort yet exists. That idea is something to giddily anticipate but the tech demo that has just been released by Ranmantaru Games only shows the absolute Genesis of it. It’s a freely downloadable landscape generator with some nifty fluid physics. In the last half hour I’ve made a great many worlds and while I’m keen to pilot a carpet around them, deforming the landscape as I go, I’m quite enjoying just looking at them.

That’s from when I first started playing around with the location of the sun, which is obviously something that it’s possible to do with a click of the right mouse button and a flick of the wrist. I find that this sort of thing creeps into my brain and just kind of makes itself at home, rearranging the furniture. It’s a tech demo, sure, but it’s also a grand series of vistas and possibilities. Every horizon is a prologue.

Sometimes there’s obvious potential, such as when a random collection of rocky outcrops seems to take the form of a fort atop a ridge.

Other times, a random chunk of land looks like exactly that.

There’s no water at first but the simple press of a button drenches the world.

So, this view is slightly to the left of the shot above, showing how much difference just one load of water can make. Here’s what happens when I add more.

The fluid physics look a little too choppy in motion but they’re impressive and the full game will come with lava as well as water. I’m hoping for volcanoes, of course. For those who don’t know, Magic Carpet involved flying around, exploring, shooting monsters and being a God-like wizard who was kind of playing Populous from a first-person perspective. What I’m saying is, Arcane Worlds needs to have a volcano spell.

And there you go, I just drowned the world. Let’s turn the lights out on it.

Grab the tech demo here and check this blog for more information in the coming months.

And for those of you stuck at work unable to enjoy the tech demo yet, here’s a Youtube video showing the developers playing around with the various features, which at this stage is mostly water simulation. It would be a Youtube video of me playing around with the various features but (a) my video would be less impressive, (b) I am already trapped in other worlds.


  1. Spider Jerusalem says:

    this is the best news.

  2. The Army of None says:

    Anything at all relating to Magic Carpet is totally a game to watch! EXCITED

  3. Carr0t says:

    For those of us stuck at work unable to enjoy the tech demo yet is there any chance of a Youtube video of you playing around with the various features?

    I last tried booting up Magic Carpet 2 on an old P133 (this was *years* ago). Sadly it seems time in the game was linked directly to CPU ticks or something, as the game played out at 50x speed or so. I had a very brief view of speeding ludicrously fast through the world before flying into something big and gribbly and dying in 0.1 seconds.

  4. e-dog says:

    Thank you, Adam!
    I planned to add volcanoes since the beginning, hence the lava simulation.

    I’m working on the game objects system now, to make it more a game and less a tech demo.

    • dog says:

      absolutely beautiful demo…. well done that man :)
      can’t wait to see the full game…

    • Wonko the Sane says:

      I never played Magic Carpet on my own PC. I was using someone else’s – I think it was the first Pentium system I’d seen. Happy memories – the FPS equivalent of Space Harrier. Well done for this – wonderful idea!

  5. AndrewC says:

    Choppy! Oh you’re a hard man Adam. Anyways, I reckon if an effect, like water, functions interestingly, most peoples will learn to love a slightly ‘ideosyncratic’ depiction of it – like those jaggy wave fronts.

    So: it seems promising! Yay! I wish to build a castle and fight a dragon!

  6. Inigo says:

    Is the GPU supposed to be permanently stuck at 99%?

    • Bremze says:

      i’m guessing that’s because the physics calculations are running on the GPU. Please be using OpenCL or atleast DirectCompute instead of Physx if this turns out to be correct, can’t check while at school!

    • e-dog says:

      GPU usage shown is inaccurate at best. For me, it sometimes drops to 0% for a few seconds for no reason.
      Also, vsync setting affects it dramatically. If it’s actually slow, try disabling AA – it’s very heavy on GPU.

      Water physics are running on the CPU though.

  7. Lambchops says:

    Oooh, intruiging. I’ve always thought a new incarnation of a Magic Carpet Type game would be a wonderful thing. I’ll be keeping my eye on this, by which I mean I’ll be relying on RPS to remind me about it when there’s been some more progress!

  8. equatorian says:

    Oh wow. This is lovely. I’m not that great a fan of MC even if my brother played it a bunch, but still this looks very interesting. Ocean-wise, it needs only a sea monster or two.

    I’ll keep an eye on this, too.

  9. haowan says:

    (chat rant transcript)
    like seriously, I felt so powerful playing magic carpet
    it was AWESOME
    POW, there’s a new valley
    BLAM, a volcano
    SMASH, a meteroite made a crater
    There’s much more that could be done there with power fantasy
    smashing up land as if it were bathwater
    RAAAAGH *waves arm and a giant scar is gouged out of the mountainside
    definitely kinect material
    I just want to play magic carpet with kinect. leaning for movement, waving my arms around to cast fireballs
    whooosh, I cast speed, I’m zooming across the ocean’s surface through the spray and foam
    “devil on the deep blue sea behind me…. vanish in the air you’ll never find me”

    tech demoooooo
    it’s really awesome
    man it’s just fucking amazing
    gonna be soooo awesome if they make this into a decent game

    • e-dog says:

      “They” are just one guy, me :)
      And I’ll do my best to make it into a decent game.
      Not sure about kinect though. Maybe in version 2.0 or so :)

    • Urthman says:

      haowan, it’s not Magic Carpet, but you might check out the indie game Caster. It’s more like Magic Carpet than any game I’ve played since Magic Carpet.

      link to

      e-dog, this is great. The Magic Carpet concept has just been sitting there for years waiting for someone to come along and do it in a modern engine. It seems like such an obvious good idea.

  10. edwardoka says:

    Looks really excellent, but I’m rather surprised that no-one has mentioned “From Dust”.

  11. hypercrisis says:

    water physics are great if this is supposed to be set in a bathtub

  12. Davee says:

    Wow, I’m amazed at how well this runs for this amount of water… And how you got the worlds/water pools to merge so seamlessly with the infinity loop!

    I’m eager to see where this game will be going.

  13. NamelessPFG says:

    A new Magic Carpet? WANT, SO MUCH WANT.

    Since it’s highly doubtful that Peter Molyneux is going to make the Magic Carpet 3 I’ve been waiting on, the indies might as well make their own spiritual successor, even under another name.

    Also, nice water physics. Not perfect by any means, but if that’s what it takes to keep things running smoothly on the average gaming computer instead of grinding everything to a halt while not having water just be some sort of flat layer with pretty shaders, I’m all for it.

  14. Davie says:

    Anything involving water physics and procedurally generated terrain has my attention. More games must include these things.

  15. kzrkp says:

    Man I love water physics. Playing it looked rather jaggy and unfinished but I see a nice work in progress. :D

  16. f_zul says:

    reminds me of Z.A.R. landscapes