I've decided to use a base template. The bases are certainly bigger than the original Lode Wars, though bigger is not necessarily better.
I got about as far as a random map generator that creates a map featuring a whole lot of dirt and up to four factional bases on each side of the map (Lode Wars style). The method was essentially to flip an existing base template by transposing a square of turfs to the destination square of turfs, flipping the whole base in the appropriate direction.
At that point, I was severely derailed from my GSDC '10 project in light of my dogged attempts to study for my Spanish final. Attempts that mostly went unmet, alas, such was the state of my senioritus.
As of today, that final is completed - I can't even guess how well I did, other than it didn't feel too difficult. I won't know if I've actually graduated or not for another week, as it all hinges on my grade. It's nerve-wracking.
I've arrived at a common life crossroads. My educational obligations far into the foreseeable future are settled. I've now as much freedom as any native citizen of the United States... which is to say that I'm in debt. After all, the inevitable consequence of education are student loans to repay.
I'm a generally frugal spender, in four or five years of school I think I have something like $10,000 in debt (I think - there's currently a bit of a glitch in a readout that reads twice as much but seems to be including loans that were bought out). A comparative pittance to many - no more than the price of a moderate car - and it should be easily enough repaid... provided the job market is willing to cut me a break. That has proven a relatively tall order in the past, we'll see how things turn out.
I'll get right back to work on my GSDC project just as soon as I finish wrapping my head around the terrifying situation a 21st century university graduate is delivered.