I am working on a Dungeon Crawler type game and I need some maps. I don't know the "best" way to accomplish this, but at the current time I have a file of 0's and 1's (0's represent water where 1's are grass). The program grabs all of the values and populates a multidimensional vector with the values. Is there a better way of doing this that could possibly get me better graphics? I only have so many keyboard characters to use for different images, so I need a new system that will allow me to generate whatever landscape I please. Any ideas?
Start by reading through this
Then it's a design choice. If you want caves rather than constructed dungeons, look at https://code.google.com/p/jetblade/wiki/MapGeneration
If you want more classical dungeons, look at http://kuoi.com/\~kamikaze/GameDesign/art07_rogue_dungeon.php
However I have to say one of the things I hate about a lot of games these days is that the dungeons \ levels are designed by graphic artists.
They look nice, and have game play elements built into them, but are totally stupid.
Imagine you live in the middle ages and build a castle. There are certain things it needs to do.
1) Somewhere nice to live
2) Somewhere for the cooks and cleaners to live
3) Somewhere for the troops to live
8) Food and water storage
9) Weapon storage
11) Great hall
and the whole lot has to be connected in a simple way.
Troops have to be able to get from the barracks to defensive positions quickly, you want to get from your bedroom to the great hall down a private staircase. Cooks have to get from the kitchen to the great hall quickly and without the food getting rained on.
The same applies to dungeons, if you just generate random dungeons, it will be fine. I doubt anyone but me would complain, but you might want to think about going the extra mile and constructing some AI based dungeon designers when you have had a bit more expierience with random ones.
In my dungeon crawling game (Ghost Toast: http://www.marek-knows.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=531) I used an image file to encode my "map". Each pixel on the image represents one "square" in my dungeon. The color of each pixel dictates what should be rendered there. Then I use this information to determine how to great the geometry for each room and hallway.