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Can randomly generated worlds with handmade quests work?

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Lets take the 2.5 isometric mechanics/view of diablo type games mix in the randomly generated worlds and freedom/exploration of minecraft and then add randomly placed content (mobs/quests/buildings/mines/cities - all of which are handmade to give lore and story), do you think this would work?

 

The world i can create, that's the easy part, the harder part is trying to figure out how to implement the quests, sure you can put in random encounters like diablo 3, but they sucked and added nothing to the experience.

 

Guess the quest system really depends on:

 

A. Do i go diablo route and have the world generate every onload (which can get quite confusing if you quit midquest, and multi location quests would be hell of a pain in the ass to get right) 

 

B. Have a map which is randomly generated once and seed the map with random content once and use other mechanics (mobs/mines/buildings etc.) every load to add feeling of the world changing.

 

I'm trying to give the game a feeling of mystery, every corner there's something new, trying for big replayability in a way like minecraft/terraria/world of craft/cubeworld without the destructibility and building theme park.

 

Oh its going to be multiplayer too

 

On another note how hard to you think it would be to set country borders in a randomly generated map and have specific mobs only spawn in them?

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I like option B.

 

Here are my ideas towards the 

MOB's can be set to spawn in a certain terrain type(s).  This makes the appearance of the creature seem natural as "they are known to live there".

Also, procedurally generate the country borders first, then encourage certain naturally bounding terrains to adhere to those borders: mountains, chasms, rivers.

 

As for quests, I suggest having several "endgame" plotlines from which the engine randomly selects one.

For example, let's say the endgame for this instance is "Lich King".

The lair for the endgame is an old monastery on a high mesa in the middle of some hard-to-reach area.

The MOB's spawning around the lair are high-level and appropriate to the terrain.

The lair itself is randomly generated and populated with only a few key rooms being premade, but procedurally placed.

The location of the lair can be randomly found by player exploration, but because of the difficulty reaching it in the first place, clues to its location (terrain type, building type, direction from current location, etc...) can be scattered through the other random dungeons of the land.

 

Minor plotlines can be handled in the same manner, but would be more plentiful throughout the map.

 

Sorry if this post seems scatterbrained.  I've had to type it piecemeal as there are other things that are demanding my attention.

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It will probably not work if you take "random" literally. You need to use different things working together to yield in something playable. For example: The PC is at location A where a random quest hint needed to be randomly placed, so that it could be found. So far, so good. Now, is the quest's target placed into the world anyhow? Perhaps yes, perhaps no! The quest needs to be executed at a location B, which is placed (again) randomly. Does a way exist so that the PC can travel from A to B? Perhaps yes, perhaps no! Is the way short enough to let the player consider to travel there? Perhaps yes, perhaps no! Are mobs on the way that are by chance too strong for the PC to pass? Perhaps yes, perhaps no! Does the player get a reward that compensates the risks? Perhaps yes, perhaps no! Okay … I think you got what I mean ;)

 

You need to make sure that goals can be reached in general, and that players are willing to try, or else you will loose your players. That sets a couple of constraints onto your world, and randomness can be used in-between only. For sure, spawning a mob randomly is possible, but the strength of the mob has to be controlled. The more complex a quest is, the more dependencies are introduced by it. Having a real story contradicts pure randomness by far.

 

That said, implementing constraints into an otherwise (more or less) random world is possible.

 

Regarding to your options A and B, I'd prefer some continuity in my game world.

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Wow those are some awesome ideas guys, im not going to be taking random as literally  the content will be hand made (quests/buildings/random enounters) they will just be randomly seeded/placed in the world so they are not always in the same place and some maps wont have all the content etc (which means a few playthroughs to see all content)

 

Theres a big part of this game im keeping quite about so some of my ideas may not come across to well so i apologise

 

@haegarr i see what you are trying to get at and its, i do like option b and it seems alot more viable option to go for, think i have to map out some dynamics and options to help make sure.

 

@meatsack im loving you ideas and examples, especially the endgame plots thats really cool, though i say random, i only mean along the lines of terrain, mobs and locations but the content like buildings/mines/castles/cities will be handmade as to keep the lore, quests and style in check. (think of it as a bag of content, when someone makes a new game, terrain gets generated, borders set, and then random content from the bag will get placed in a random place but still adhering to their border designations, that make sense? and every new game will be randomised...

 

So the "lich king" castle would be custom built but in different locations of every new game.

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I'm of the mind of option B also.

 

Another game to draw some analogies from is Terraria.  In Terraria when the world is generated you know there will be some form of 'corrupted' area but it may be of different variants.  One of those is blue and the other is red. Depending on which variant you get different monsters and bosses are seeded for that area.

 

Taking this idea you can build on it as many layers of detail as fit your world. Similar to +Meatsack's example lets say you devise 4 'end game' scenarios a world might have when generated; but only one possible per world.

 

- Skeletal invasion

- Demonic invasion

- Orc invasion

- Elemental invasion

 

So now you break certain bits of the world, quest, monster spawning, loot tables in to scenario specific branches

 

Well use the demon invasion for this sample.

 

Terrain generation:

Somewhere on your map will be the demon infected land. It gets bigger over time; this creates some stress for the player to solve the quest or elements of the quest in a timely fashion or they become harder to traverse the land because the demon infected land is growing. The growing over time also satisfies some of your need to have differences each time they come in the game, the land is changing as an effect of the plot going on wards.

 

Well be sterotypical here, since its 'demon' the demon land will be tinted red.

 

Monster Generation:

In demon infected areas  demons will spawn.  Demons might show up elsewhere also with a lower percentage but demon infected areas are 'hot spots' for the scenario specific spawns and have the higher level ones as this involves solving the end game content.

 

NPC/Quest Generation:

 

When talking to NPC's they have scripts  "The (insert scenario) monsters killed my father and took our family sword.  Please go to (location x) and kill the (insert scenario guys) and bring it back for a reward".

 

You of course would have dozens if not hundreds of potential generic quests that let you insert some variables for scenario specific items.

 

These are your base-line 'foozle' quests. I would suggest a dozen or more 'main quests' that are more involved and include gathering or creating key items for specific scenarios would add a lot of value to the main game also.  'main quests' would mostly not be procedural other than where to find the quest items at perhaps.

 

End Game Specific:

As previously suggested in your end game you need a little bit of very specific content; this is simply surrounded by some procedural content.  The Demon King always lives in a lava cave, but where is it?   The Lich King always lives in a ice fortress but which mountain is it on? etc.

 

This is just the basics, you can add layers of polish, complexity, story telling in different layers of complexity and polish depending on your goals and required game play density for your players.

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