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Cheers 'n Content

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Cheers to Gundown for reaching 400 downloads!

Cheers to Magma Duel for reaching 700 downloads!

Cheers to Admiral Overalls for reaching 700 downloads!

Cheers to Membrane Massacre for reaching 4700 downloads!

Cheers for shameless plugging! [smile]

Okay, okay. Mainly I just noticed that my last four games all just passed a 100 mark, so I felt the need to write about it. Far less dry than me writing more on BaseCamp -- people want the beef!

Procedural versus Hand-Made Content

In one of the local threads on the forum I stumbled across this neat article on procedural and hand-made content -- looking in particular at Oblivion.

The focus of the article is partly in showing that a full spectrum exists between pure-procedural and pure-hand-made content, and partly about how Oblivion manages to pull off most of this spectrum. It's interesting how effortlessly the NPCs of most MMORPGs fall into which categories, and also how Roguelikes tend to fit into the mix.

Naturally my interest in the topic was on how procedural content and hand-made content relates to Roguelikes (hint hint!). Roguelikes tend to rely primarily on procedural content: level generation, monsters, items, and some even generate quests. However, too much procedural content makes the game repetitive and eventually boring. A healthy mix of procedural and hand-made material is needed for the optimal experience, which I hope gives a hint in the direction that I'm taking our next project in. [smile]

What are your thoughts on procedurally generated content?
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I'd have to agree with Rozak on balance being key. Procedural content is cool and adds good dynamic elements, but without that overall sense of meaning to structure that content around, a game can quickly become repetitive and boring. This is something I'm facing with design currently. Thanks for the link to that article, it was a good read.

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Procedural content is awesome, as long as it's not completely procedural. Daggerfall is just about the right mix.

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There is definately a balance between procedural content and hand-made content. Too much procedural and it feels like everything around me is just a simple box. I sorta felt this way when I played the Hack-Sign games. It's the same corridor, again, and again, and again, until you reach the next floor. But then it's the same corridor .. with a crate and the walls are now red, etc, etc.

It kinda makes me a bit worried about the environments in Hellgate:London actually :(

I think that if you have really good gameplay, that people may overlook the procedural stuff and just enjoy your game for what it is. Roguelikes come into mind :)

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I think procedural elements are pretty important when it comes to graphical effects - pretty much every single movie with any special effect in it uses some form of perlin noise.

In a way, if you really think about it most of the natural (real) world is procedural. There are algorithms that determine how land erodes, how trees grow, how pebbles are shaped, etc... The difference between game procedural content and real procedural content is that the algorithms that the games are using are too coarse and don't correctly approximate.

I think eventually content will use a mix of procedural and hand created, since it is unlikely that the approximations will get so accurate that the hand tuning isn't needed.

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