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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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Doggolainen

Looking for procedural game design

26 posts in this topic

[quote name='JTippetts' timestamp='1296886466' post='4769907']
[quote name='maxgpgpu' timestamp='1296858576' post='4769752']
[font="Book Antiqua"][size="3"]First, regarding issues like the intersection of things like "mountains, rivers and cities", the approach I decided to take (still entirely on paper) is to consider (and follow) the natural flow of processes. In other words, galaxies come first (if relevant), then solar systems, then planets, then continents (sorta), then mountains, then rivers that erode the mountains and create, then etch, then partially fill the valleys, then cities, etc.

By following the natural order entities form, you never run into wacky situations... like having a city and [i]then[/i] trying to run a river through it.
[/size][/font][/quote]

This idea is definitely attractive on paper, and certainly appeals to the computer scientist in all of us, but it's pretty much just the age-old trade-off of simulating it vs. faking it. We'd all like to build accurate models of our systems, but from a practical standpoint it is not possible to go that deep. Just look at the processing work involved in performing accurate fluid simulations to see how much computation the "simulate everything" approach requires. Some of those simulations can take hours, for relatively small-scale tasks. Not to mention the daunting complexity of building the rules of the simulation in the first place, or the huge sink of time spent iterating, testing and debugging such an overwhelmingly complex system. At some point you are going to have to fake it, and where you draw that line is a decision that you should base on your goals for the game. What makes the game fun? A completely realistic simulation is only fun from an academic standpoint, and not necessarily from a gameplay standpoint. Is it physically accurate that most game worlds are only at most a few "real" kilometers in size? Nope, not according to the laws and dynamics of celestial objects. The planet should be much bigger than that. But trying to provide a virtual world that is every bit as large as the real world, with all of the vast stretches of boring and non-plot-related landscape, is probably not appropriate for most games. This is the reason that there are so many Hangar levels in shooter games that are not structured at all like real aircraft hangars, why there are so many fortresses that are not structured at all like a fortress in the real world, etc... The spaces we play in are built for play, not for realism, and every level that you provide for the player must live according to that rule.

Some may argue otherwise, but realistically our goal as game developers is not to provide an environment that is authentic from a physical modeling standpoint, but to provide one that is fun to play in.
[/quote]
[font="Book Antiqua"][size="3"]You are taking my intent much further than I intend. I'm totally fine with faking how the mountains arise, faking how the erosion takes place, faking the path of rivers and so forth (to make them happen instantly if necessary). I'm only retaining the [i]order[/i] in which things happen.

And I'm not saying you must start at the scale of the universe in order to decide how to subdivide a building into rooms or something. Nothing could be further from the truth.[/size][/font]
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[quote name='JTippetts' timestamp='1296886466' post='4769907']

This idea is definitely attractive on paper, and certainly appeals to the computer scientist in all of us, but it's pretty much just the age-old trade-off of simulating it vs. faking it. We'd all like to build accurate models of our systems, but from a practical standpoint it is not possible to go that deep. Just look at the processing work involved in performing accurate fluid simulations to see how much computation the "simulate everything" approach requires. Some of those simulations can take hours, for relatively small-scale tasks. Not to mention the daunting complexity of building the rules of the simulation in the first place, or the huge sink of time spent iterating, testing and debugging such an overwhelmingly complex system. At some point you are going to have to fake it, and where you draw that line is a decision that you should base on your goals for the game. What makes the game fun? A completely realistic simulation is only fun from an academic standpoint, and not necessarily from a gameplay standpoint. Is it physically accurate that most game worlds are only at most a few "real" kilometers in size? Nope, not according to the laws and dynamics of celestial objects. The planet should be much bigger than that. But trying to provide a virtual world that is every bit as large as the real world, with all of the vast stretches of boring and non-plot-related landscape, is probably not appropriate for most games. This is the reason that there are so many Hangar levels in shooter games that are not structured at all like real aircraft hangars, why there are so many fortresses that are not structured at all like a fortress in the real world, etc... The spaces we play in are built for play, not for realism, and every level that you provide for the player must live according to that rule.

Some may argue otherwise, but realistically our goal as game developers is not to provide an environment that is authentic from a physical modeling standpoint, but to provide one that is fun to play in.
[/quote]

There is some truth to what you say but a couple points:
-Games don't have to have 'plots'
-Part of entertainment is suspension of disbelief or 'immersion'.

It might depend on the person but it can ruin an experience for some when the game environment is too obviously a 'game'. This leads to a) designing for how the player might think and B) playing the game keeping in mind how the designer was thinking. It can be very annoying to be reminded of these things while playing.

The other benefits of procedural environments are the opportunities for emergent behavior. You have the ability at your disposal to create arbitrary combinations of components which can interact and give rise to unique gameplay situations.

It's really up to the implementer to be able to fine tune and integrate enough levels of detail to prevent things from becoming too monotonous or sparse.
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